Macbook Pro 15in integrated vs discrete video card

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by intensee, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. intensee macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #1
    Hey, I was about to get the last generation MBP (15in 2.4 ghz) when the new macbook pros came out. Now I'm super excited for the new one because it's faster, has more memory, etc...The only thing that I'm concerned about is that the base mbp 15in downgraded their GPU (from 9600 to 9400). From my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) the 9600 is a discrete GPU and the 9400 is integrated.
    Now of course there's going to be a difference in performance but if I'm a college student just needing a MBP to surf the web, email, use facebook, do homework and occasionally watch movies, stream videos, and play games like WC3 Frozen Throne (DOTA) (this is the only game I'll be playing so no WoW or COD or any of those intense 3D graphics), which MBP would you recommend? The new baseline 15in or the last generation 15in.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Last gen. 9600GT is way better than 9400M and when 10.6 comes, OpenCL can boost your system. New ones can only take more RAM (4GB vs 8GB), that's the only advantage on new models
     
  3. drlunanerd macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

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    #3
    OpenCL can utilise the 9400M. It also does CUDA.
     
  4. NATO macrumors 68000

    NATO

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    #4
    If it helps, I haven't enabled the discrete 9600M on my 17" MacBook Pro once since I bought it as I've never felt the need to as the computer doesn't seem slow in any way during normal use and I have better battery life as a result. Unless you forsee yourself using the computer for something graphics intensive such as gaming, I don't think you'd really need the 9600M.
     
  5. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    May 27, 2006
    #5
    If you have any intention whatsoever to play games in the future you have to buy the 9600 option. You'll regret it if you don't.

    Remember, Apple didn't really change the MacBook Pro line - it still costs $1999 to get a proper machine. All they did was rename a few of their other computers and introduce a new half-baked attempt in order to stop people whining that you have to pay more for a bigger screen.
     
  6. tdmac macrumors 6502

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    Feb 9, 2008
    #6
    Depends on the gaming and it depends if those games were written with Open CL when running Snow Leopard. Yes you will get more out of a 9600 but you will also get more out of the 9400 then you can today.
     
  7. Shiner macrumors 6502

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    Oct 1, 2007
    #7
    It will utilize it, but that doesn't mean it will be that great. Never go integrated graphics if you can avoid it. If you really want integrated graphics stay with the 13".
     
  8. intensee thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #8
    that's true but i was reallllly happy when they cut the price down to 1699 because i'm a student and i'm trying to not spend so much. is there a benchmark test on 9400 vs 9600? i'll just be watching movies and playing less intense games like DOTA (WC3 which is very old already) so shouldn't the 9400 play it just fine?
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    Yes, it'll play 'em fine. 9400M handles old games well and new games at low/med settings
     
  10. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    May 27, 2006
    #10
    You don't really want to be buying a new computer which can only play games on low settings though. I know for sure that there are plenty of games which simply do not like the 9400m from my own experiments. Battlefield 2 is one of them and GTA 4 doesn't work out of the box, you need to do some serious messing around with the graphics drivers to get it to work, but even then it is unplayable because of such a poor framerate.
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    GTA IV doesn't work well on gaming monster either. When it came, Rockstar said "it's made for future computer".

    We all know that Mini isn't for gamers, but it can play most games OK.
     
  12. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    Apr 8, 2004
    #12
    I don't play games, and I have a late-2008 MBP with the dual GPUs. I run it almost exclusively (I'm a web applications developer running Tomcat, Eclipse etc) on the 9400M since I get considerably longer battery life, and it runs 10˚C cooler. To be honest, a MacBook would have been good enough.

    The 9600GT will indeed provide a performance boost using OpenCL ... for applications written to use OpenCL ... and there won't be many of those in the near future.

    This MBP is from work, but I were buying, I would get the 13" 2.53GHz model.

    So unless you want to play games (and why would buy a Mac for that? ... Linux for servers, Macs for everyday computing ... Windows for games) the best deal is the 13".
     
  13. intensee thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #13
    Well yeah i would've bought myself a pc but then the only game i'm going to play is wc3 and that would be once in a while since i'm going to college so more work besides games now :( and i just love the simplicity of macs :)
     
  14. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #14
    Discrete graphics card WILL NOT do anything to boosts speed/performance of any computer UNLESS you are doing something that requires high frame rates. Like gaming. Even if you are doing stuff like renders, video, 3D modeling, Photoshop, painting, drawing, etc. the graphics card will do next to nothing during those tasks. All of those tasks are done by the CPU, not GPU. Unless you have SL and a OpenCl enabled app, then your performance is still the same for discrete vs integrated graphics cards.
     

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