MBP 330M 256mb vs 512mb

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by exe163, May 27, 2010.

  1. exe163 macrumors regular

    May 13, 2010
    I am about to order a MBP15 for college to replace my bulky desktop. I want to game on it, something along the line of Starcraft 2 and maybe BFBC2 if possible. Is it worth it to get a 512mb i7 version? I would love to spend as little as possible so my plan is to get the cheapest 15" with matte screen if 512mb doesn't make much difference.
  2. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    Depends really; some portal benchmarks show differences between 256/512 - same with SC2. Now, whatever you do don't pay attention to the barefeats benchmark that will undoubtedly be posted here - his test is pointless.
  3. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    Care to explain why it isn't valid??
  4. gordonyz macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2009
    If you want to play GTA4 there's a huge difference.
    As a matter of fact 0.5GB is not enough for this game.
    THE game will take up to 1.7GB VRAM
  5. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    He tests using games almost a decade old; or games based off of engines that when they were launched 5 or 6 years ago - 256MB was the high end. His choice of games to test 256 vs 512 are very poor.
  6. exe163 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 13, 2010
    Can I get a link to the benchmarks you are talking about?

    Coming for a desktop enthusiast background (yes, water running through my system :)), I am pretty sure 1GB VRAM is the golden standard for 1920x1200. And for everything else, no less than 512. I know MacBook isn't target for gamers, but I will do with what I have.

    The 512 version cost 300 more than cheapest 256. As I don't care about the clock speed and HDD of the system, I probably won't get it unless there's a significant difference between the two.
  7. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008

    Halo is almost a decade old, World of Warcraft is 5 and a half (and is way more dependant on CPU than GPU anyways), Quake Wars is based off the almost 6 year old Doom 3 engine. Dunno about X plane though.
  8. exe163 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 13, 2010
    I think the problem is less so about the game he uses but of the settings and FPS. If you use high res texture no doubt it will eat up the memory and fall behind in fps. And the newest game on his list, quake wars, can't even get above 30 fps yet he's running AA on top of that, neither is playable so there's no point comparing min fps.

    And how did he manage to get i5 with 512mb?
  9. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    Those games tested weren't really meant to take up anymore than 128MB; 256MB at most maybe. 17" i5 comes with 512MB.
  10. inhalexhale macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Hey just throwing this out there......

    Price of a 15" Antiglare, i7, 7200rpm HD is $2179 (student discount)

    If you need a laptop for gaming I guess this probably won't help you, but if your only going to game at your desk you could get.....

    Dell 7100 - $899

    AMD Phenom II x4 945
    ATI HD 5870
    7200rpm HD
    3GB RAM
    1yr in home warranty

    and also grab a 13" MBP for 1099 (student discount)

    It would even be cheaper than the 15" MBP option. This way you would have an awsome gaming PC (5870 is a top 2 graphics card out there), and a Mac. Of course if you don't want a 13" screen, need the 15" for something other than normal stuff and games, or just don't want two computers then it's not for you.

    You would also save on a Windows license for your Mac if you were thinking about running games in bootcamp.
  11. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    Those benchmarks are old, but the general idea is still there. The 330m is a low-mid range GPU and as such, won't be running many new games beyond medium settings. VRAM is only going to cap out if you increase the graphics settings thus increasing texture resolution. When you do this, the VRAM won't be your issue anymore, as your bottleneck will likely be the processing power of the GPU itself.

    There are exceptions of course, but as a general rule, when you have a sub-par GPU, adding more VRAM isn't going to make it any better in the majority of situations.

    My suggestion would be to buy an Xbox for games and use a lower end macbook for computing. You could buy a decent $700 gaming pc if you really want to play some PC exclusive titles, but for $200 you can get an xbox and have $500 left over for games or a nice TV to play it on.
  12. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    Seconded. Unless you only play strategy games which aren't widely available on consoles, It is much cheaper and easier to play games on consoles.
  13. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    Games are cheaper on PCs. You don't always need a disc for PCs. If you have a laptop, you can take your gaming on the go, unlike with a console. Give me a computer to game on over a console any day. (And yes, I do own all the consoles. I'd still take a gaming PC)
  14. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    This, if something, is totally dependent on a person. Both have their pros and cons.

    I personally like consoles because they are so easy and I never have to worry about graphics. Plus, I can follow Forum Spy at the same time :p There are several games which are console only which I personally like, for example God Of War. Strategy games, on the other hand, I play on PC rather than on a console but I rarely play any though.

    This is something people argue everyday, in addition to console wars. I've never got the idea of it. Same as arguing which is better, beer or cider. It's all up to the person you ask from
  15. marcovortex macrumors member


    Jul 7, 2009
    Toronto, ON
    I went with the 512.. spent a bit more and happy I did. I decided to go this route because I said to myself 'What can it hurt?' Maybe my system when I'm doing heavy loading or gaming will use the extra vram but maybe depending on the app it won't. I know this; if it's not there it want be able to use it and I want things to run the best they can so I'm going to throw the extra vram at it and hope it helps. Does it; I'm not so sure..
  16. Rithem macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2008
    I went with the 512 and couldn't be happier. I have mostly medium-high settings on the mac version of sc2 at native resolution, which apparently is optimized to crap. I haven't really played the windows version of sc2 but apparently mbps can max everything out on 1280x1024.

    BFBC2 I'm getting about 40-50fps on 1280x1024 with high textures and detail with low everything else.

    Pretty solid gaming performance since besides those two games the only thing else I play is CSS and TF2 which goes at about 100 FPS (I have my old competition config in it with everything turned down to low/off)

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