new Mini with Intel GMA 950 + WoW = ???

Discussion in 'Games' started by DougTheImpaler, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. DougTheImpaler macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2006
    Central Illinois
    Anybody have any speculation on how well the new Mac Mini will run with World of Warcraft? Basically, my Dell PC has become a WoW machine...that's all it's good for at this's a 2.8GHz P4 with an Radeon X600 Pro with 128MB of memory. I don't think I'd really be losing anything.

    What I want to do is sell my upgraded Sawtooth and my Dell and buy a new Mini with the should be a great upgrade all the way around compared to my current Mac, and it will also net me a copy of iLife '06 (which I was going to get anywya just for iWeb) along with it.

    I've done some GMA 950 research and according to Intel's website, it supports fragment shaders (which should also support Core Image, unlike my GeForce 2 MX) and alot of more advanced features. Also, it appears that the Mac Mini makes use of dual-channel SDRAM (as you can only buy it with pairs of DIMMs) so that should mean a full 10.6GB of bandwidth, with half of it being dedicated to the graphics chip. 5.3GB of bandwidth with the 64MB shared RAM should be somewhat similar to my Radeon X600, right (with the obvious 64MB loss in "dedicated" VRAM)?
  2. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Can't say for certain, but my guess is that it will run like a dog, if it runs at all. The 950 is a decent GPU for media and desktop work, but by all accounts it's absolute rubbish for 3D games.

    If you really want a Mac for gaming, I'd stick with an iMac (not much more money than the Core Duo mini, really), or get a second hand/refurb DP G5 PowerMac.
  3. Abulia macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2004
    Kushiel's Scion
    The new mini threads in the rumor section are up in arms over the mini's new graphics chip. In short, gaming performance should be just horrible. No one knows for certain, but you might want to wait for some firsthand reports on gaming performance on the mini before pulling the trigger.

    I agree with the other poster; sell your monitor and spend just a little bit more for the iMac. Much better value.
  4. grabberslasher macrumors 6502

    Aug 2, 2002
    Well, on an Intel GMA 900 on a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 running Mac OS X, Unreal 2004 is virtually unplayable except on LOWEST settings. This is with the universal binary. Don't expect much from these minis.
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    It'll be bad. Check out these benchmarks.

    And remember you have less system RAM available too.
  6. amholl macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    i'd most certainly go for an iMac. It is common knowledge WoW flies on them.
  7. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    I was all excited about the Mac Mini until I was scrolling through the specs and hit the graphics card.

    I looked up PC benchmarks and almost threw up.
  8. FocusAndEarnIt macrumors 601


    May 29, 2005
    Apple advertised on the Mac mini page how bad the built-in Intel Graphics were bad, now, there using them. :rolleyes:
  9. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    I imagine playing WoW on a mini will make you very sad very quickly, but MacFixit says that it'll probably be better than an ATI 9200:

    I wonder if the minis have full core image support?
  10. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Dec 9, 2004
    Not even close, sorry. Among other things, vertex shading has to be done by the CPU. Kinda sad that Apple bragged about the G4 Mini having a real graphics card (even if the 9200 wasn't cutting edge), and now this....

  11. applekid macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    My thoughts exactly. Bad play by Apple.
  12. bookofjames macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2005
    off-topic: seems to me that every time a new Mac comes out there's always a thread on how it will perform in WoW.

    just a funny thing to me. :D
  13. Haoshiro macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
  14. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603


    Aug 20, 2005
    Thank you Jah...I'm so Blessed
    Don't bother getting a mini for won't work made sure you guys will buy the top end for games...good move apple.

  15. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    How much can it cost to put something like an old Radeon 9700 Mobility into a Mini (which is, incidentally, no longer a $500 computer)? Bleh...why, Apple, WHY?
  16. centrollc macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2006
    Haha I love how everyone considers iLife "free" now. The price of the mini has increased $100, which I understand there are better components, but come on.... free? You know iLife hardly costs them anything in overhead.
  17. iHeartTheApple macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2006
    Boston, MA
    The GMA950 uses "Dynamic Video Memory Technology" (DVMT) to support up to 224MB of video memory; system memory is allocated where it is needed dynamically. It has 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM of its own, shared with main memory

    Yes, but doesn't this mean that 224MB (maximum) will be available, if needed, to the GPU? I mean, isn't that better than a dedicated 128MB card? Assume I get 2GB of system ram, then with the max of 224MB being taken by the video card, that leaves me with ~1.75GB for the rest of the system...I've already asked this question like 3 times, and noone seems to be able to answer it...furthermore, what does the x16 PCI expansion technology mean in the Intel description?

    Thanks for the help!
  18. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    No, not really. First off there is the obvious effect of stealing memory from the main system (leaving it less to work with). Then the fact that you are using the system bus to shuffle data from the GPU to RAM and back, rather than using an "internal" memory system on the GPU board. This is generally also slower (and leaves less bandwidth for the rest of the system to work with).

    There is also some overhead involved in managing the allocation of RAM and managing other features of an integrated video chip. It's not much, but it is more than a stand alone GPU needs.

    The GMA950 also lacks [some of] the hardware features a full fledged GPU offers. The 950 isn't going to be all bad, it'll be an upgrade, over all, from the 9200 we have in the G4 mini's. It'll do better with 2D multimedia acceleration, if I had to guess, plus it is CoreImage compatible.

    It's 3D gaming abilities are going to be probably about the same as the 9200 (in that games that work on a current mini will probably keep on working, but we're not going to get anything new with it), depending on the game and what hardware features it uses/needs.
  19. shortyjj macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2004
    to put it another way:

    WoW on a mini = teh suxxorz
  20. iHeartTheApple macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2006
    Boston, MA

    Sweet! Thank you a bunch for explaining that MrGreen...Your description doesn't paint as bloody of a picture as the big thread in the main forum.

    So, in short, the video card has the ability to use more memory than a lesser equipped (<224), dedicated card (which helps the video card); however, the infrastructure required to do so takes away from the performance of the cpu/frontside bus? In the end, it's performance won't be stellar or equal to that of a dedicated 224MB card, but it will certainly be able to handle everyday OS X and multimedia stuff?

    Well, that's at least how I understand it now...Any thoughts on the expansion description on the Intel site?

    "Upgradeability: PCI Express* x16 port available. Single platform can be deployed for broad range of client user needs, allowing upgrades to higher performance 3D graphics cards if required."

    Thanks again! :)
  21. Airforce macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2006
    That extra memory won't do a bit of good for it.

    A feature of the chipset that has nothing to do with the one in the mini.
  22. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Like Airforce said, the extra memory won't help much for that, but the GPU itself will handle all the everyday OS X eyecandy (you'll get Dashboard ripples :p ). Also, with the way that OS X distributes processing load for video effects and work the Core Duo should pick up the slack just fine for multimedia stuff and also for applications that use CoreImage for realtime effects; the Core Duo is a pretty big jump in raw power from the <1.5ghz G4 the mini used to have.

    For any sort of 3D games the min iis going to (still) be the suxor. For video playback and encoding, normal day to day usage, it's probably going to rock.
  23. bookofjames macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2005
    why thank you. *shameless blush*
  24. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    WoW on the new Mini will at best run the same as on the current G4 Mini - but it will probably run worse.

    You're better off getting a G4 Mini, an iBook or an iMac (G5 or Intel).
  25. bluebomberman macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2005
    Queens, NYC
    I feel the need to offer a partial dissent. Buying a G4 Mini is a BAD idea. Sure, the new Mac Mini has integrated graphics, but it's got a faster processor (come on, those G4s were dirt cheap) and a much faster bus. So even though you''re shuttling data back and forth more often than with a dedicated graphics controller, you got much bigger pipes.

    Frankly, I'd stick to the Dell as your WOW machine unless:

    1) You want to be the guinea pig with the Mac Mini, or
    2) You can afford (and actually want) a new Intel iMac, or
    3) You absolutely, positively can't wait for the Mac Mini to become more affordable or a better gaming machine.

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