Macbook Pro 8600M 256MB or 512MB?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tuhintt, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. tuhintt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #1
    Planning to buy Macbook Pro Laptop. But very much confused which one to buy? Specially to play Computer Games.
    2.4GHz with 256MB NVIDIA 8600M or 2.5GHz with 512MB NVIDIA 8600M?
    Is there any different between 256MB or 512MB for Display Performance?

    Pls help me to Chose.

    Thank to all.
    :p
     
  2. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #2
    Huge difference. Go with the 512 card. Especially since you are using it for games. I have the 512 and 4gb of (non apple) ram and I play anything in Orange Box, COD4, Tomb Raider anniversary, etc just fine.

    Oh, and I should add go with the 7200RPM harddrive over the 5400. People will make up assumptions and say the 7200 drains your battery and its louder (I have yet to hear my machine make noise) etc and tell you a million reasons why you shouldnt get it.

    But....

    The only real difference between desktop and laptop performance on a base model non modified computer is the harddrive speed. Thats why laptops are generally slower they mostly have 5400RPM drives verses 7200RPM

    Now also, the reason I say "making up assumptions" is because I am lucky enough to have a coworker who has the exact same specs in his MBP except he has a 250GB 5400 drive. There is no noise/battery difference between the two machines but games run better on mine.
     
  3. gothamm macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I know you put some effort in your post, but i hate to say that you are completely wrong. there is no real difference between the 256 vs. 512....especially the 8600gt. The OP is probably concerned with Frames per second...

    http://www.barefeats.com/rosa03.html

    the 256 mb performance is lackluster relative to the 128. this will be doubly true when going from 256 to 512.


    as for your hard drive comment...its a tradeoff between larger storage and slightly faster speeds. I personally would go for more storage and get the 5400
     
  4. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    Britain
    #4
    Not much difference, its done because people think more = better normally. With a high end card this would be true but not with an 8600.

    Its up to you whether its worth the extra money though. The faster processor in the top model is not really important for games, I'd say spend the money you save on 4gb (non apple) RAM and the faster hard drive option ;) which will provide a noticeable difference.
     
  5. blurb23 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2007
    #5
    Isn't there something with the fact that the 8600M only has a 128bit memory bus? Meaning that it can't actually fully access all 512 of it's VRAM?
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    Would games even use 256 MB of vRAM?

    Don't assume that bigger is necessarily better. The technology built into the card is what makes it render graphics well, and provides the capability. The RAM is important, but 256 MB is a LOT of vRAM, and it's simply not worth the extra money to buy the mid-level system with 512 MB of vRAM system right now. The price difference between the low and mid-level system is too big for what you get in return.

    IMO, the only practical reason to get the mid-level system is the extra 3 MB of L2 Cache. Combined with the slightly faster processor, it may be 5% faster, or possibly a bit more than that for certain tasks. Even then, I don't think I'd ever get anything better than the low end MBP. ;)
     
  7. oxfordguy macrumors 6502a

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    Oxford, England
    #7
    The extra L2 cache was enough to make me want to order the 2.5Ghz instead of the 2.4Ghz model (not the difference in graphics VRAM) recently...
     
  8. ZolakJHS macrumors member

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    Wake Forest, NC
    #8
    Went through the same debate...

    I debated this same purchase myself (2.4 versus 2.5 macbook pro) and eventually came to the conclusion I would be better off getting the 2.5.

    This is because, while the performance improvements might be relatively meager, they will probably enable me to use the laptop for another year past when the 2.4 would be frustrating to me. The key to laptop purchasing is that, other than the RAM, what you get is what you have for life. Buy as much as you can afford at the time.
     
  9. tuhintt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2008
    #9
    Thank you Everyone, i am going for the 2.4. :apple:.
    Thanks Again.
     
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #10
    I hate to tell you you are completely wrong. I already tested it on two macs. I do this stuff for a living for companies rather then reading some review. There is quite a difference between the two cards. And , for harddrive speed, there is a big difference there as well. Harddrive speed is the main reason laptops run slower then desktops.

    If you dont believe me take two laptops with the specs mentioned above, run the exact same game on both of them (and make sure they have nothing else running in the background) and set them for the same graphics settings. I would love to hear you try say theres not a pretty noticeable performance difference.


    Sorry I realize I sound mean in the above post that was not my intent, Im just trying to prove a point.
     
  11. amiga macrumors 6502

    amiga

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    #11
    This is all vrey interesting as I've been wondering the same thing. I should be getting a MBP by the end of the month, fingers crossed...
     
  12. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

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    #12
    I seem to remember you trying to state this point a little while back,but from what i read & remember by the amount of people who claimed this false why bother now?
     
  13. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #13
    Because maybe the OP will see this and get the truly better machine. People who have not tested anything can claim false all they want, but the proof was on my desk with many different games.

    If you are testing an older game, yes you will see the same performance, but test a newer game and the faster vid card and faster harddrive have a noticeable difference. Not to mention the games that come out in the future.

    For reference, here were the games tested:

    Bioshock - Very noticable difference. (512 had better framerate)
    Beyond Good and Evil - No difference.
    Orange Box - No difference on all games except for Portal, slight difference (better frame rate).
    Supreme Commander - Noticeable difference (better frame rate).
    Tomb Raider Anniversary - Slightly Noticeable difference (slightly better frame rate).
    Call Of Duty 4 - Very noticable difference. (A lot better frame rate on 512)
    Battlefield 2 - Noticable difference (better frame rate)

    My point is why bother reading online reviews when you can try for yourself and see if what you read is really accurate. I cant go into the complete testing that I did because it follows my companies testing policy and i cant devulge that but you get the general idea. Why limit yourself when future games will definitely use the higher card.
     
  14. amiga macrumors 6502

    amiga

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    #14
    Does factoring in playing games or using graphics intensive applications and using a 23" ACD impact on the equation?

    amiga :)
     
  15. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #15
    Unfortunatly I cannot answer that as I no longer have the other mac to try it out. On my machine there is no noticeable difference when I play on a 22 inch but when I was testing both machines used the laptop screen (15.4 inch) and I never tried on an external monitor on the other machine.

    EDIT: On both machines they had a windows XP partition and the games were installed on windows not running on mac osx
     
  16. mwpeters8182 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    The 512 MB video card isn't any faster - it has more memory, but it's not faster. You won't be playing games at resolutions that require that much texture memory on the MBP (at least at playable fps).

    Now, you might get a bit better performance due to the larger L2 cache and speed bump.
     
  17. kmarketing macrumors 6502

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    Mar 26, 2004
    #17
    Didn't you say in your post, "I am lucky enough to have a coworker who has the exact same specs in his MBP except he has a 250GB 5400 drive"?

    Do you think it could be the hard drive that made the difference and not the video card?
     
  18. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

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    #18
    Hard drive has nothing to do with FPS.
     
  19. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #19
    I should have been more specific with what I wrote.

    I am not just comparing the graphics cards but the machine specs themselves. As far as the cache I believe that has something to do with it.

    As far as the harddrives I believe that has something to do with it as well because 7200 drives always perform faster then 5400s but something I did not mention is that now we both run COD 4 (sorry this is the only game tested with this setup) off of seagate 750GB sata drives using and esata enclosure (Azio) and a rosewill express card in the express card slot and there is still a difference between the two machines.

    We both chose this setup because why waste harddrive space on a windows partition when you can install your games on eSata (if you dont plan on traveling and playing games) and have them still run at the same speed (at least it appears at the same speed).

    I dont want to start a fight here I am just showing my findings because I am lucky enough to be able to test the two systems, most people are not and I am trying to help the OP and anyone else with their buying decisions if they are buying this for games.
     
  20. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    #20
    The big part of Frame rate is the speed of the graphic card, the clock of the GPU and the speed of the video ram. The 8600 with 512 and the one with 256 are exactly the same card, just one with more ram. The games doesnt even use 256 of video ram.
    I think that with the 500usd of difference you can get 4gb o ram a external backup hardrive a good carrying bag, maybe iwork and office mac.
    0.1ghz of Cpu and 50GB of HD, not too much.
     
  21. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

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    #22
    Don't you think this statement is mostly true,as some benchmarks have proved that a 7200 half full up with data is no quicker than a 320 5400,maybe just in seek times,although you do now state you had the game installed on a external which was misleading

    Also the frame rate is mostly to do with the graphics card ( speed off ),so even with 256 or 512 its the same card,abit more RAM
     
  22. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #23
    No, I stated NOW I have the game on an external and so does the guy with the other mac. At the time of the test, when we both first got our macs the games were installed on the laptop hard drives.

    If you guys want to constantly say I'm wrong thats fine. I know what I tested and what I saw and still continue to see. And, anyone can post whatever links they want but do you believe everything you hear or read? Why not test for yourself and see for yourself and see what the results are? I did and I found the 512 with the 7200RPM drive to be the clear winner. If I didn't see a difference I would have told the OP it doesn't matter which one he gets.
     
  23. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

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    #24
    When they come from reputable sites & people then yes, im not trying to start a fight but when its one against the masses & you can read benchmarks then you go with that
     
  24. makowb macrumors member

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    Jan 27, 2008
    #25
    http://www.macworld.com/article/1324...duo.html?t=201

    Look here. Check out the FPS between the 2.4 and 2.5 on UT2004.

    2.4 penryn 73.4 fps
    2.5 penryn 89.4 fps

    Tell me that's not a huge difference...yes the processors are 3mb vs 6mb cache, but 16 fps is huge.

    Edited, macworld uses a botmatch not a flyby.
     

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