MBP - Snow Leopard, 9600GT, Gaming

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by GameFORtomorrow, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. GameFORtomorrow macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I really need some buying advice on a new MBP, but really thought this thread would be better suited to this forum.

    Anyway, here is my situation. The family currently has two iMacs in the house. An older iMac, which is fine for tasks like typing a paper in Word, or looking things up online. But games, if they even play, run at about 5-10 fps at min settings. Our newer '08 aluminum iMac runs OK for games at medium settings. I get around 15-30 fps depending on what I play. But lately everybody has been using both computers more and more to the point where now need to buy my own computer.

    There are a few reasons why I am hoping to buy a MBP over other computers. First, I LOATHE Windows. I won't even use a Windows computer for gaming. Secondly, I need portability. I need to be able to take my computer to a friend's house, up to my room, in the living room, to school, etc. Not possible with an iMac or any Macbook + Gaming rig setup.

    Now my dilemma. One of my friends has an HP computer running Vista. I'm pretty sure it has a dual core AMD Athlon 2.6GHz processor (something in that range) and 3gigs of RAM. He outfitted the computer with a nVidia 9500GT with 512MB dedicated memory. Running just the OS and WoW, he pulls about 40FPS most times at max settings.

    So my question is if I buy a 2.66GHz MBP with the NVIDIA 9600M GT, how will my computer compare to his?

    My other dilemma is the fact that the current MBP has been out nearly 5 months to the day. On average, MBPs get a speed bump once every 6 months. It would make more sense though for Apple to bump up the speed of their laptops (or the graphics anyway) with the estimated release of Snow Leopard in June, due to "Grand Central" and the fact that the GPU will act more like a "GPGPU". I would much rather wait for apple to offer a 9800M GT as a built to order configuration, but I don't know how long that will be.


    In summary, how does the 9600M GT compare to the 9500GT? Will Apple likely bump up the MBP in the next 3-4 months? And how will Snow Leopard impact the performance of my computer?

    Also, how much of a difference would upgrading to the 2.93GHz over 2.66GHz make?
     
  2. Sneakz macrumors 65816

    Sneakz

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    #2
    The 2.66GHz C2D P9600 is much faster than a 2.6 GHz AMD Athlon X2, so processing speed isn't an issue. The 9600 GT is a slightly faster midrange card compared to the 9500 GT but because were talking about the mobile variant, the 9600M GT, I cant say for sure.

    The high end 15" MacBook Pro did get a slight update in early March so a new update isn't likely. Another processor boost this summer is my personal guess. And sorry, but the 9800M GT will never be in a MacBook Pro. The TDP is way too high for such a small and thin laptop.

    2.93 vs. 2.66? Less than 10% difference. Unless you are rendering 3D animation or video editing with FCP or Premiere, you will never even notice.
     
  3. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020

    ViciousShadow21

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    #3
    you should get at the worst the same as him. depending on the settings the new MBP's get around 70-80fps in WoW from what i have read.

    the current speed bump only happened at the beginning of march. 2.53-2.66 and 2.8-2.93. so you would be buying one right after a speed bump.

    the speed bump of 270mhz is not worth it in my opinion. snow leopard will make a pretty big leap in OS smoothness and graphically so its good to have the 9600.
     
  4. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

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    #4
    The 9600M GT and the 9500 GT have the same GPU (G96) and memory bus width (128bit), so they will be pretty close. I don't know if your friend has the DDR2 version or the GDDR3 version (the latter is faster). ViciousShadow is right, worst case scenario, you will see similar performance. Probably better. The 9800M GT isn't coming, way too hot. You'll likely see the GT 130M, which will only be marginally faster (same specs mostly, just the die-shrink-and-overclock routine).
     
  5. GameFORtomorrow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2009
    #5
    Ok, thanks for all the info. Definitely more than helpful. Just what I needed to know. So I'll go ahead and buy the current gen book. Should give me plenty of power.

    And my friend's card uses the DDR2 memory. Got the card for just over 40 bucks. (The stock graphics with the computer were nVidia 6250GS or something absurd like that).


    On a side note, I may wish to buy a separate display in the future, but at $900, the 24" LED display is just too pricy. I would really like a display for under $400. Can anybody provide me with any quick pointers or links to help me out?
    Alternatively, many of my friends simply buy a 24" LCD television and plug their computer into that. Does anybody have experience with that who could help me out?

    EDIT:
    I did more research, and the 9600M GT seems to preform better at lower settings, but the GT 130M seems to preform better at higher settings. As said before, these differences were marginal (14 fps vs 17 with the 130M running Crysis at max. 60 vs 48 with the 130M running Crysis at minimum). If the 9600M GT runs slightly better than the 9500 GT, then I would expect around 50 FPS at max settings. I would guess the GT 130 would pull 60. Not at all noticeable except for those times when my framerate gets down around 10 fps. The difference between 10 and 15 fps is fairly noticeable. But overall, not nearly enough of a difference to justify waiting another 3 months.
     
  6. vm7118 macrumors regular

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    #6
    also, running vista or XP with the latest laptopvideo2go nvidia drivers on your future MBP will probably grab you another 10% in framerate. windows isn't has its pluses, u know.
     
  7. Hydroxs macrumors regular

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    #7
    The mbp is not the best gaming laptop for the money. It runs ok at 1440x900 and below but once you get to 1680x1050 and higher, it has troubles especially in new games. Apple won't put a 9800m GT in a mbp anytime soon because of heat/power issues. If you are looking for a 24 in monitor, look at the HP LP2475W. It is around $500 but is a IPS panel like that in the ACD.
     
  8. GameFORtomorrow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2009
    #8
    Yeah, I get that it isn't the best gaming laptop, but I won't use windows. I just wont.

    My current iMac is using the 2600HD or whatever from AMD. I assume this card is better by far? (or a fair margin at least)
     
  9. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    Jan 16, 2008
    #9
    FWIW, I recently faced the same decision, I went with a refurb 2.4 with 9600GT (only 256 mb but tests didn't show any real advantage - at least not the advantage for the premium Apple wanted for the next bump up in speed)

    I have an iMac with 7600GT. I now have that MBP 2.4 with 9600GT - both have 256mb of discreet video ram.

    Observations, I play WOW and will play D3 when it comes out. I always played WOW at 1920x1200 with all options pretty maxed except shadows which are off by recommendation of Blizzard. The iMac was more than fine even in raids with vent running. The MBP is even better. Even with the slower HDD (which I might replace) it loads new areas faster and have a better FPS.


    The reason I bring up refurb is this. I bought the refurb for 1600 or there about, tossed the 2g it came with 4g from Crucial for $60. I can now buy the 3 year Apple care and still come out less than a brand new one.

    Refurb = Great and Current MBP with 3year warranty for price of non-refurb.


    Since your not going to load windows just what are you playing?


    Oh, I did a test they liked to see on the iMac threads (so those buying the 4850 can make themselves feel good about waiting)

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=7456274&postcount=733

    Because I was curious, I ran this on my 2.4 MBP 256mb 9600GT (1920x1200 and settings as described)

    1.1 = 159
    1.2 = 169
    1.3 = 154
    1.4 = 124
    1.5 = 121
    2.0 = 122
    2.1 = 84
     
  10. GameFORtomorrow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2009
    #10
    So there really isn't much of a difference between 2.4GHz (256 card) and 2.66GHz (512 card)? I was looking at refurbished MBPs, but didn't see a 2.66, so I gave up on that.


    I'll do some tests on my iMac when I get home.

    EDIT

    So if I bought a 22" HP display, would it make a huge impact compared to using the laptop's screen
     
  11. GameFORtomorrow thread starter macrumors newbie

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  12. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020

    ViciousShadow21

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    #12
    If you are going to be using this computer primarily for gaming then i would say get the 2.66. that extra 256mb of memory will make a difference.


    it will because it is going to have to fill more pixels.
     
  13. cathyy macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 12, 2008
    #13
    The 9500 GT would be better simply due to the fact that it's a desktop card and has higher clocks than the 9600M GT. However the performance should be pretty close. The HD2600 in your iMac is slightly weaker than both of them. 256 vs 512mb isn't going to make any noticable difference. (less than 5%)

    You may outperform your friend in some games due to having a better CPU, but he's likely outperform you in most other games (if your play any other games) due to Windows.
     
  14. Pika macrumors 68000

    Pika

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    Japan
    #14
    The Unibody MacBook Pro 15" 2.66GHz is the most powerful apple laptop on stock at any Apple stores on the market today.

    The 15" MacBook Pro 2.66GHz can also be upgrated up to 8GB of Ram.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Laptops aren't meant for gaming, period. Light gaming, maybe, but most can't handle the new stuff coming out, and if they can, you can count on abysmal battery life, temperatures similar to that of the Sun, and something as heavy as a brick.
     
  15. zer0tails macrumors 65816

    zer0tails

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  16. Pika macrumors 68000

    Pika

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    #16
    For the price of a MacBook Pro + Apple's LED Cinema Display you could get a Mac Pro + cheap ass LCD Display.

    Your friends would be jealous at you... They might come at your house to play games instead of you going to their house.
     
  17. GameFORtomorrow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    So, if I buy a refurb 2.4GHz MBP with an education discount, it will cost me $1699 + tax. If I buy a new 2.66 (no refurb available) with an education discount, it will cost me $2399 + tax. The 22" display I linked has 25% more pixels, so it will preform 25% slower. So is it worth the $700 difference for 266MHz faster clock, and 256MB more video RAM?

    (I have half the people say it makes a huge difference, half say it makes almost no difference.)
     
  18. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020

    ViciousShadow21

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    #18
    i believe that twice the video RAM makes a difference. how could it not?

    anyway the good thing about getting the 2.66 over the 2.4 is that you can upgrade it to 8GB of RAM. you may not want to do this now but it's nice to have the option at least.

    if you have the money now to get the 2.66 definitely do it.
     
  19. Hydroxs macrumors regular

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    #19
    Can you show that twice the vram in a 9600m Gt makes a difference?
     
  20. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #20
    It doesn't work like that. Many more factors go into how well a card will do at a certain resolution (VRAM) for one. Moreover, although games look better at a LCD's native resolution, nothing forces you to use that resolution.

    To answer your earlier question, the hardware in this one will have to wait until the end of '09 for an upgrade because that's when a new chipset will come out from Intel.
     
  21. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020

    ViciousShadow21

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    #21
  22. Hydroxs macrumors regular

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    #22
    It seems like that the cpu speed made more of a difference since they tested with old games at low res. In newer games like cod4, at 1280x768 there is only a 0.4 fps. In older games like Doom 3 and Quake 4, they are more cpu dependent at low res.
     
  23. m1stake macrumors 68000

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    #23
    If you want to play games and have to have a mac, use bootcamp, build another pc, or get a console. Gaming and osx don't mix unless you're really crazy about Bejeweled.
     
  24. Subwaymac macrumors regular

    Subwaymac

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    #24
    IMO build your own. If you buy from a company get a alienware or a HP. You can get a CrossfireX set up on the alienwares and I think also on the hp. A Extreme quad QX9300 blows anything apple is currently offering. You can have all of this for the same or less then a mac.

    The problem is it will be sick at gaming but have 2 and a half hours of battarie life and be super heavy/noisey.
     
  25. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020

    ViciousShadow21

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    #25
    yea you're definitley right that cpu makes a difference same with the 6mb of cache, but ppl are saying that it makes a big difference with an external monitor. since this is something the OP says that he is going to be adding i would say that it is worth the extra $. but only if he has the cash to burn on it of course.
     

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