Scoop on GMA950/MacBook Purchase

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Kashchei, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. Kashchei macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2002
    Meat Space
    I am in the market for a laptop and I'm thinking about a MacBook (my wife uses one at work and loves it). The only thing holding me back, however, is the GMA950. I must state that I am not a gamer (the last video game I played was Defender back in the day). I am concerned about four things: first, I don't know how many times I've read that this chip is terrible (generally by gamers) followed by users saying that the chip is fine, so that I don't know whom to believe; second, Leopard will undoubtedly take advantage of Core Animation and I don't want to be left behind on this; third, I'm concerned that there are applications for which the GMA950 is insufficient, but I don't use Motion, Logic, Shake, et. al. (the closest thing to a pro app that I use is Digital Performer, CS3 and Final Cut Express); finally, I'd much rather use an X3100 and a Santa Rose chip but I don't think this will happen before January, if then, and I'd really like to buy sooner rather than later.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for me? Any corrections or comments will be greatly appreciated since they will help me decide whether I should buy or continue to wait (like everyone else).
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I really don't see any applications there that need anything better than GMA950, you should be fine with it.
  3. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    Having both this and the MBP, the only advice I would give is that is that video crunching etc is CPU bound and therefore there is little to choose in terms of raw power. Bear also in mind that that the GMA950 is also fine for Windows Aero, if you were thinking in terms of fewer snazzy visual effects.

    However, don't forget that the Macbooks are basically the same computer as the MBPs but in a smaller cramped package with inferior ventilation in terms of smaller gaps for the outlet of warm air and only one fan. If you are going to be running CPU intensive apps, the Macbooks will heat up and the solitary fan will be quite noisy. Certainly noisier than the MBPs. The Macbooks whine, the MBPs whoosh when the fans kick in.

    This should all be safe in terms of what the hardware will tolerate, but if you are irritated by noise, you may end up wishing you had spent more on the MBP. That and the ability to run games on a slightly larger screen is about the difference.
  4. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    Go for the MacBook, and be happy with it... I'm typing this on a white CD one, and, if I'm honest with myself, the reason I'm going to buy a Pro, is only because I want it... :eek: MacBooks are very powerful computers, once you put 2Gb of RAM in them... Of course, 3rd party RAM ;)

    CS3 works wonderfully on it...
  5. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    Nothing that I’ve read about people running Leopard betas worries me that the gold master won't run well on MBs. It’s worth remembering that the MB has been a fantastic seller for Apple and if Leopard performance on these machines was poor, Apple would have a lot of unhappy customers; plus, Apple has had a fair few digs at MS over its OS upgrades, so there would be a bit of embarrassment there.

    In terms of Core Animation, I believe that any machine that is Core Image-enabled (as the MB is) will handle it fine. From what I’ve read, in CA, the most important thing is having more than one core – while one core is running an app, another core runs the CA. I also think CA is also used in the iPhone.

    If you’re using apps like FCE and CS3, the GPU doesn’t really enter it because they’re basically reliant on the CPU.

    As to MBs having X1300 and SR, who knows? I’m not trying to be flippant here, but no one knows what the MB update will see or when it will be – we’re just going on guesswork and it some cases, bad guesswork. If you look at the threads before and after the last MB update, a lot of people got it quite badly wrong… and then got upset because Apple got it ‘wrong/let them down’. Not saying that you would have this attitude, but just that it’s best to take speculation with a pinch of salt… and to have low expectations!

    I would also say that when I was recently talking about the MB to a couple of friends who work as IT techs, when I mentioned it had a GMA950, was their reaction scorn? Nope - they commented that it was “perfectly respectable” – sure it’s not something you would expect in a ‘pro’ machine, but it’s a standard graphics solution in many a PC laptop.

    Why the antipathy to the GMA950 here? Well, I think there’re quite a few reasons, but when people bash it for saying you can’t play any game or it’s no good for video editing, it doesn’t matter why they think that, it doesn’t change the fact that they are wrong.

    For the record, I’m pretty neutral on the subject of GMA950 versus dedicated graphics cards – there are pro and cons for each side.

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