Now that Intel Iris arrives - Will rMBP 15" loose the discrete GPU?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jafingi, May 2, 2013.

  1. jafingi macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2009
    The Intel "Iris" HD 5200 (GT3e) seems to have performance on par with a discrete GPUs (especially the GeForce 650M in the current rMBP line-up), I'm thinking about if Apple will remove the dGPU?

    Of course, the rMBPro will loose its "pro" on paper. People will think (and complain) about such an expensive laptop would not have a discrete GPU, even though the HD5200 would perform just as good as a discrete GPU.

    Removing the dGPU would allow Apple to make the rMBP even thinner (as the Iris requires less cooling than the 650M).

    Remember, we don't have exact benchmarks of the HD5200 yet, but if Intel's numbers are correct (which they should be, as Intel used 3DMark as benchmark, not some home-made software that will make it look better), but if it really is on par with the 650M. I don't know about the new 750M, but as other has pointed out, it sounds just like a rebranded 650M with little performance gains.

    What do you think? Will Apple remove the dGPU, or will they upgrade it to (maybe) the 750M?

    I don't think they would shift to AMD graphics - they simply run too hot for that small casing.
  2. Petulka macrumors member

    Jan 22, 2010
    I would be super happy if they put 700m series into mid 2013 refresh.
  3. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
  4. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    I think it might be interesting to have a cheaper version of the rMBP without the dedicated GPU, but I think that the dGPU should remain an option or be standard on higher end models.

    They tried that once before with the 2009 models, but this looks like a big step up from the integrated graphics of that time.
  5. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    According to the most recent benchmarks, the GT3e is equivalent to about an nvidia 640LE. So, while impressive for integrated graphics, it would be slower than the 650m on current 15" rmbps, let alone the 750m that would likely be in the next revision.
  6. makaveli559m macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2012
    Integrated will never be as good as discrete the thought of paying a premium price for integrated is heart breaking to me.
  7. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    We have at least two threads on this already. Do we really need another one? And no, I can't imagine Apple dropping the dGPU from the 15" model. It took them some time to get good GPU performance in their machines, I don't think they will turn around now.
  8. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Here is my guess:

    Entry level priced 15'' machines ($2k): Iris only
    High end priced 15'' machines ($2.5k-$3k): Iris + discrete

    To those that say discrete is always better: How do you define discrete GPUs? For me the main distinction seems to be the VRAM. GDDR5 or whatever is state of the art should be better than shared RAM. Or not?
    Assume they would include some dedicated VRAM with Iris. Would you still consider it integrated?
  9. Giuly macrumors 68040


    This, but a dedicated GPU will always perform better for pro applications.
  10. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    PS: Maybe it is worth adding that the 2009 & 2010 low end 15'' models had integrated only graphics.
  11. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I think your question is stated incorrectly. First of all, I believe that at some point there will be no dedicated GPUs whatsoever and the CPU will take over the functions of the GPU. But it will still take some time. Right not, a mid-range dedicated GPU is still significantly faster than an top integrated one, and this is what counts.
  12. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    I agree with you. Mostly is was to a statement farther above, saying that "integrated will never be as good as discrete."

    A discrete GPU is expensive, VRAM is also expensive. It also makes the design of the cooling system more involved. If Apple wants to shave $100-$200 off of the 15'' entry level prices, this would be a way to do it, possibly without loosing graphics performance compared to the current models. This could also mean significant power savings for graphics intensive applications.
  13. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009

    Iris Pro includes 128mb of on-package eDRAM. That's a pretty far cry from the 1GB included currently in the 15" rMBP, but still better than previous integrated graphics.

    What I think is more interesting going forward is AMD's new architecture that combines CPU and GPU memory into one giant pool:

    I could see Apple being very interested in this technology.
  14. CitrusPisser macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2013
    Why would you assume? Until they include an integrated have a card that is 'discrete' by nature (has dedicated VRAM) it is not discrete. Also, i'd be pretty pissed if Mac started offering a discrete GPU as an 'extra feature'. It'd want to be a damn cheap upgrade. Or a top of the line card like the GTX680m.
  15. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    It is not like the Iris doesn't use system RAM as VRAM too. The eDRAM is only to keep some load away from the dual channel ddr3. AA and stuff afaik needs lots of bandwidth but can easily be made faster with such close extra memory. Not all the data in the VRAM is equally important. With 8GB system RAM the Iris Pro may eat 1GB sys memory or more. Whatever the driver thinks is reasonable.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The only reason why we have multiple GPUs on the MBP is because the integrated GPU is not powerful enough, and the discrete GPU consumes too much electricity.

    If Iris provides nearly the same performance of a discrete GPU, I cannot see what advantages keeping the discrete are.

    For apple, its a simpler design that frees up room, reduces heat and saves them money - no need to purchase a discrete gpu from another vendor.

    Am I missing something?
  17. thunng8 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2006
    From the Intel graphs it looks like the top end Iris Pro graphic in the quad core Haswell does ~2000 in 3dmark11 (intel HD4000 gets approx 800 and Intel claims a 2.5x speed increase). Very impressive for integrated graphics, however is still below the 2400 score for the Nvidia 650M in the 15" Retina macbook Pro. The new Nvidia 750M is around 15-20% faster than the 650M.

    Another thing to consider for the Iris Pro graphics in the Quad core is that the CPU frequency is down compared to the Haswell CPUs with Intel HD graphics.

    i.e. the i7-4950HQ's CPU frequency is 2.4Ghz, while the one with the lower graphics option, the i7-4900MQ is 2.8Ghz.

    So my guess is:
    Low-end MBPr 15": 2.3GHz with optional 2.4Ghz Quad Core Haswell and Iris Pro graphics
    ~2000 in 3dMark11

    Mid/High end MBPr 15" 2.7 with optional 2.8Ghz Quad Core Haswell with standard Intel HD graphics and discrete Nvidia 750M 1gb
    ~2850 in 3dMark11
  18. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    I hope Apple releases a cheaper 15" with just the Iris integrated graphics. That will be more than enough for what I do, and I may consider getting the 15" this time around if that is the case. We shall see...heavily depends on what happens with the 13" laptops also.

    They have done that before once with the 15" to drop the price, so that is def. a possibility this time around given the performance increase.
  19. cirus macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    The 650m in the rmbp 15 is nowhere near that expensive. You can buy a 650 desktop for around $100 and that includes fans + a massive pcb (compared to the rmbp motherboard). That also includes the middleman profit. The 650m in the rmbp probably costs apple around $70. Compared that to intel's cost of $50 for the edram alone (not including the more expensive gt3 chip). You are looking at a very similar price.

    the 3840qm gets around 730 gpu points in 3dmark. Multiply that by 2.5 and you get 1825, which is still quite a bit below the rmbp score of around 2300 (overclcoked 650m).
  20. luffytubby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    you probably don't know what you are talking about. The more dense power in a lower SKU = higher price. sticking that much power in that much smaller footprint.. come on son:rolleyes:
  21. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Well, what cirus says makes lots of sense to me. On the other hand, I can't even understand what you are trying to say. So yeah...
  22. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

    Jun 29, 2011
    not really, the cost of the gpu is not only the core, but the routing of the bus on the mobo, which is quite expensive, there is a reason that there is only 1 gpu using 192bit and 2 using 256bit, most use 128bit, like the 650m

    aside that notebook parts cost more, they are higher binned cores
  23. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    I doubt they would remove the discreet graphics chip from the rMBP. Something you need to keep in mind is no matter how fast the integrated graphics inside the Intel CPU's get there will always be a discreet chip that is faster. NVIDIA and AMD both have an entire chip on which to put their graphics die, Intel is sharing not just the package area but the total thermal design power. These are limiting factors that will always leave it a step behind.

    So even if the Intel Iris GPU inside the new Haswell package is as-fast as the current NVIDIA 650m Apple is not merely going to use that and call it a day. Each year they need to increase graphics performance not keep it the same. So expect a faster GPU to be present in the refresh. Probably an NVIDIA 700 series or an AMD chip of similar performance.
  24. golf1410 macrumors 6502a


    May 7, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    I think Apple will not do that. Another graphic card will be there. Keep in mind it is 3, 000 $ laptop. It should be customizable. One thing I know of. Haswell is more suitable than Ivy bridge for retina display. It will be smoother and no lag cuz it supports 4k x 2k resolution with iris pro. The previous retina was the work that Apple push hardware beyoud limitation. I hope Apple slove the ghost problem on display.

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