NEW Mac Mini 320m graphics vs iMac 9600m graphics

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TitanVex, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. TitanVex macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    #1
    Basically, I have three questions here revolving around this issue:

    1) What do the graphics cards do? Do they increase the speed of play, make the game look better, or both?
    2) How does the 9600 compare with the 320?
    3) With a better processor in the iMac, would the iMac run games better than the new Mac Mini, even with the worse graphics card?

    Thank you so much in advanced!

    -TitanVex
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    1. Both. They are useful in graphic intensive apps such as gaming but useless is other tasks

    2. There is no 9600M in iMac, it's 9400M. 320M is about twice as fast

    3. The GPU is the main component for gaming thus Mini will likely be better for games
     
  3. TitanVex thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 10, 2010
    #3
    Oh, okay, thanks. So if my dad wanted a computer, but never played games...he would not need the better GPU? He would basically just surf the web and check e-mail.
     
  4. oldMac macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 25, 2001
    #4
    To be fair, GPUs used to be "useless" in non-graphic-intensive tasks, but since Snow Leopard they can now be used as additional general purpose processing cores for applications that are programmed to take advantage of it.

    In the future, those "useless" GPUs will become more and more useful for general computing tasks.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    Yeah, 320M is more than fine for that and so is 9400M

    What tasks? Support for OpenCL is still very poor. Only couple apps can take advantage of it so far and 320M is integrated thus not very powerful so it can't provide big increase in performance anyway, maybe 5%.

    They will never be useful for other than heavy tasks. Emailing can be done with any computer. Technologies such as OpenCL are useful if you have a powerful GPU and need the extra power but in this case, you need a high-end iMac or Mac Pro, other GPUs aren't powerful enough to give noticeable boost. Video encoding is the only thing that comes to my mind which isn't professional stuff that can take advantage of GPUs (in future).
     
  6. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #6
    True, but Apple uses the GPU for Quartz, and Core Image, Core Animation and Core Video. The user might not see it, but it's fundamental to the way Apple renders the UI.

    But I will agree that it's not going to make a huge difference.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #7
    Of course the GPU renders the graphics in UI etc ;) You were talking about general tasks what are currently done by CPU but most of them cannot even be sped up because they are dependent on user input. Anyway, looking at OPs usage and I doubt any GPU or CPU would make reading emails any faster :p
     
  8. Atheus macrumors newbie

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    #8
    As if that's somehow obvious... plenty of rendering is done on the CPU and then sent to the frame buffer for display...

    What a ridiculous thing to say...

    Any task which is theoretically parallelizable can be speeded up by using the GPU cores in combination with the CPU. Tasks which are so dependent on constant input cannot be speeded up a great deal by _anything_ so the use or otherwise of the GPU is irrelevant.

    A dedicated GPU frees main memory which would otherwise have been used for textures etc, thereby (especially in a low memory situation like on a mac mini) speeding up the response time and transition between non-cpu-intensive applications, including email clients.
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    Theoretically GPUs could do all processing, but they don't. Software poorly supports OpenCL for example which unleashes the power of GPUs so they can be used as CPUs to speed up e.g. encoding. Unless the CPU is really under full load, the GPU cannot speed anything as the CPU is still capable of processing more.

    320M and 9400M are both integrated... 256MB isn't that much anyway, it's unlikely that you would notice any difference anyway. And you can always upgrade the RAM if you need more. If you have +200MB of free RAM, it doesn't matter is it 250MB or 4GB as the RAM is not in use. Mail won't be any faster even if you had 64GB RAM

    And you really thought that your post is so important so you had to wake up a dead thread?
     
  10. Atheus macrumors newbie

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    #10
    He did say 'in the future' so current software is beside the point. And I did say 'parallelizable' tasks. The CPU only has to be loaded for microseconds to make it worthwhile offloading instructions.

    Oh. In that case, I have been misled by Apple Store staff. Again.

    It would be if you were using 63.9GB of it on other tasks. Opening your mail client program would be quicker especially.

    You were being condescending - my mission is to mildly insulting to people who are condescending on forums. it was worth registering for the fsking site! ;)
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    OP's usage is web browsing and emailing, even if GPU could fully be used, the gain would be tiny, we're talking about nanoseconds. Plus HD is the biggest bottleneck so CPU has to wait for it anyway. Also, iMac has 640MHz faster CPU so it would crush Mini even if the GPU could fully be used with OpenCL for example.

    With OP's usage, he can barely fill 63.9MB... I said more RAM won't help unless you use it. It doesn't matter do you have 500MB or 500GB of free RAM, the speed will be the same
     

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