Performance of MacBooks driving external monitors

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by maxbene, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. maxbene macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2007
    Hi all,

    my brand new MacBook (2.2GHz, X3100, 2GBytes ram, Leopard) is incredibly slow on certain (non-3D) graphic tasks when it comes to drive my external Apple 23'' HD Cinema display.

    Consider for example the jelly visualizer of iTunes in full screen mode (clamshell mode, full screen on the external monitor).

    The frame rate is between 2 (two) and 4 (four) frames per second!!!!!
    On the internal display, the frame rate is higher but by no means impressive: I cannot go past 14 frames per second.

    By contrast and comparison, all the other mac I've tried (iMac 20 and 24, MBP 15/17 with and without external 23'' monitor, Mac Pro on 30'' display) run the same visualizer at 50 - 60 frames per second.

    More than ten times faster.
    You can replicate these results at your local apple store.

    Other non-3D graphic effects (Genie, exposé, spaces) are also quite choppy on the external display, compared to all the other machines.

    Is this normal?
    Where is the bottleneck?

    The 23'' cinema display is officially supported in the MacBook specification though...


  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    wierd my mb cd 2ghz 2 gig ram has no choopiness playing that at all on my 19in monitor. its really smooth

    id try restarting computer maybe
  3. dcorban macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2007
    The native resolution of the 23" display is 1920x1200. Is this the resolution you are testing? It is quite a bit higher than the MacBook's 1280x800. The integrated graphics of the MacBook may not be able to work at higher resolutions at full speed.

    Also, you mention the other Mac models (imac, macbook pro, etc). All of those models have dedicate graphics hardware which likely do not break a sweat on your tests.
  4. koobcamuk macrumors 68040


    Oct 23, 2006
    20" ACD user here, MacBook does fine mostly. Sometimes it does better on the ACD than without it... :rolleyes:
  5. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    This comment is completely irrelevant to the thread post. You're not using the same system so your comparison is worthless, nor are you using anywhere close to the screen size or resolution.
  6. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    I too am having the same issue with the laptop. I had a MB 2.0 C2D with 2GB RAM and an external Dell 24" Monitor. It's not a matter of being able to support it because it worked just fine in Tiger 10.4.... this appears to be yet another issue of "Apple screws up a new OS" on release. I upgraded last night to the new 2.2GHZ Santa Rosa Macbook, and still having the same issue. There should be no issues with the Intel x3100 chipset being able to handle simple visualizations, yet it still has the same choppiness reported on this forum earlier.

    Apple needs to step up and fix this immediately! I'm becoming unhappy.
  7. maxbene thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2007

    thank you all for your comments.

    (for dcorban: yes, I'm using 1920x1200)

    So the problems boils down to either

    1) The X3100 being intrinsically unable to drive in a decent way my 23'' display (and in this case Apple should better not advertise the "compatibility"), OR
    2) The X3100's drivers for OS X being "preliminary", OR
    3) Leopard doing something "wrong" in the Core Image / Core Animation subsystems, OR

    a combination of these things.

    I could try to downgrade to Tiger and test whether the issue is still there, just to exclude case (1).

    Just like bella92108, I updated to the SantaRosa 2.2GHz MacBook after having worked a few days with my previous pre-SantaRosa 2.16GHz MacBook (with the GMA950 card and Leopard).
    Interestingly enough, I have the impression that the GMA950 was less choppy than the X3100 on the external display.
    This is maybe an indication that point (2) of my list of hypotheses is playing some role.


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