Should I downgrade my Macbook Pro Retina from 750m to Iris Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by KarmicKoala, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. KarmicKoala macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2014
    Hello, this is my first post here, and I'd be grateful for some advice. I recently bought a 15" Macbook Pro for work (video editing, and other collateral workflows). I opted for the upper end model with 750m because, as a moderate gamer I figured I could use it for entertainment too.

    Gaming performance is really dissapointing. It was my first Mac, and I understood that I would be making compromises, but one thing that I couldn't really anticipate was the sort of shocking quality of the ports from Feral and Aspyr. When I saw that Bioshock Infinite for OS X had these arbitrary limits on graphics settings, that's when the cage came down. That and the macbook gets very hot and fan very loud during gaming add up to a pretty poor experience.

    Basically I'm not seeing the £400 value of this 750m GPU at all.

    At the Reseller I have the possibility of downgrading to the 15" model with only Iris Pro and a refund of the difference, to put towards building a modest console level gaming rig, but I'm wary of how relying on Iris Pro might impact on workflows in FCP, or Premiere Pro. I'm an artist not a full-time editor, so encoding isn't time critical for me: I nurse longer term projects rather than having to put together projects rapidly.

    AnandTech's analysis of Iris Pro is very encouraging, but I wonder if anybody can advise on the suitability of Iris Pro for video and graphics work? All this 750m seems to accomplish is burning my fingers as I type.

    I would sell / return this thing for a Windows machine, but, nobody has yet made a gaming specced notebook that doesn't make me wince to look at it!

  2. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    I can't give you a direct answer, because I'm not a gamer. However, my purchase path might have an interest for you.

    I bought a 13" retina MacBook Pro (2.8GHz, i7, 16GB, 512GB) to replace an early 2011 15" MacBook Pro with discrete graphics. I assumed that the 13" would at least be capable of running CC apps with Intel graphics.

    I was very disappointed in the 13" - so much so that I bought the same 15" retina MacBook Pro you have. I sold the 13" ... in my opinion, the processor struggles to pump to all the pixels in the retina display and doesn't have enough "umph" do handle higher-end apps.

    That said, I don't think I'd downgrade to the Iris Pro thinking that you'll see better performance. The quad-core processor makes up a lot of ground, but I personally would not take the chance.
  3. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I love Macbook Pros (thinking about getting the 15" rMBP with Iris Pro only) but if you're looking for a PC laptop, I would suggest the lineup from MSI. They have great hardware specs, thin, and power for the money.
  4. rekhyt macrumors 65816

    Jun 20, 2008
    Part of the old MR guard.
  5. KarmicKoala thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2014
    Thanks for the advice. I would say that I'm not expecting better performance, just that I'm wondering whether quad-core i7 + 16GB Ram + Iris Pro would be more cost effective at £1599 than the same + 750m for £1999.
  6. Xace macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2012
    You can test the performance of Iris Pro in your current machine and decide for yourself.

    Using the gfxCardStatus ( you can force the computer to use only the integrated GPU.

    Macbook Pros have a history of problems with discrete GPU, so I would seriously consider if the 750m is worth the trouble.
  7. KarmicKoala thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2014
    I looked into Razer Blade before a Mac was even a consideration, but there is no obvious way to buy one in the UK. It seems to be US exclusive just now.

    The Macbook was a purely technical decision at the end of a process of elimination. There just wasn't anything else that balanced power with portability like I needed. Except maybe the Razer Blade, which was out of reach.
  8. rekhyt macrumors 65816

    Jun 20, 2008
    Part of the old MR guard.
    I personally am a 'core' gamer and a Mac user (a rare breed, I suspect), but I really recommend you to build a custom PC if you want to game properly.

    Laptops really aren't optimal for proper gaming, and I suspect that the issues that you've run into is due to the Retina-nature of the rMBP screen (the current graphics card for the rMBP 15" can't run games at max/high/medium-high at such high resolutions).

    Perhaps the 2015 edition of the rMBP 15" will be better, with nVidia's new offerings.
  9. KarmicKoala thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2014
    I'm increasingly coming to see things that way. I came from a £700 Toshiba Satellite Pro that really overperformed, to a Macbook that costs three times as much and actually underperforms. It's just that right now space at home is at a premium, and desktops aren't small!
  10. nerowolfe macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2014
    You can force your mac to use Iris using gfxCardStatus just like Xace has suggested and see for yourself if the performance satisfies your work needs.

    As for gaming, installing Windows via bootcamp is the way to go. OpenGl performance leaves much to be desired when it comes to gaming.
  11. TechZeke, Nov 13, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014

    TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    I've been impressed by the Iris Pro so far, plays everything surprisingly well, even at higher resolutions.As long as you aren't expecting to play all the latest games at very high or max at high resolutions the Iris Pro won't disappoint.

    While not as capable as the 750m or 650M, getting this level of performance with great battery life without the need for graphics switching is pretty nice.
  12. andeify macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2012
    It's not the same, your not paying £400 just for the 750m, you will be getting a slightly slower CPU, and half the storage (256GB instead of 512GB), if you configure the low end to the same it would be £80 for the 750m.

    £80 for CPU upgrade
    £80 for GPU (750m)
    £240 for the larger Storage
  13. Freyqq, Nov 13, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014

    Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Try bootcamp with windows. Gaming is significantly better. Like, double the fps on the same settings. The only games that work close to windows performance are blizzard games, in my experience.

    Maybe try installing the windows 10 dev preview or another copy of windows in bootcamp and see if it is any better.

    For reference, I have the 750M version and bioshock infinite ran at 30 fps on high at 1920x1200 in windows 8.1. Planetside 2 runs on high at 1920x1200 at 30fps. Titanfall runs on medium at 1920x1200 at 30-40 fps. Warframe runs on high at 1920x1200 with 60+ fps.
  14. KarmicKoala thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2014
    I'm also concerned about heat. I strongly suspect the 750m is the cause of this heating issue, and if its performance isn't far enough ahead of Iris Pro I'd rather have a cool laptop than one I have to be nervous about.

    Yeah, I know Bootcamp is an option, but I really don't want to partition a 512gb drive. Or buy a licence.
  15. nerowolfe macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2014
    I didn't want to either but I *had* to. In addition to compatibility, performance and regular driver updates, Windows nvidia drivers just give you so much control over your GPU that OS X drivers don't.

    As for your concern about excessive heat, it's understandable. I'd had my issues with that too, replacing the stock thermal paste between the cpu/gpu & heatsinks's a revelation in terms of both gpu/gaming performance and heat dissipation.

    My 650M, which normally clocks at 900ghz core speed (already overclocked compared to most other 650m chips) now runs at 1200ghz stable, whereas before it'd constantly throttle down to 270ghz. And the difference in performance is really worth the $15 paste price and time and effort investments. No prob running most games at 1900x1200 now. Prior to that, even 1200x800 posed a challenge. I may have lucked out with that particular chip, but the stability and performance gains are no accident.
  16. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2013
    obviously OSx is going to have terrible gaming performance...that's one of the most well known facts about macs lol...bootcamp is the only option really, unless you're playing casual/low demand games...after you install windows you'll have decent gaming performance but nothing eye poppin, the 750 is just too slow of a card.
  17. iamMacPerson macrumors 68030


    Jun 12, 2011
    I just got my rMBP back from the shop, basically the same model as yours OP but the late 2013 with a 2.3 vs 2.5GHz processor.

    From running Cinebench on the Iris Pro using gfxCardStatus, I get about 31 fps. I can tell from the Cinebench test video there are quite a few missing frames and the rendering just looks jerky.

    Now the 750m scores a nice 58 fps. (This explains why it switches when running high end programs, 2x video performance).

    Honestly I am not gamer, but I do edit videos in FCPX so the 750m gives it a swift kick in the code and speeds things up (from my experience) so its worth it to me. I noticed just running FCPX on the Iris Pro that it didn't render as quickly although the performance hit wasn't that bad but still worth it to me.

    If you are worried about heat, I recommend iStats Menu since it has built in fan control and a way to monitor all the sensors.
  18. KarmicKoala, Nov 13, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014

    KarmicKoala thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2014
    Thanks everybody. I'll admit that I had a sort of emotional response to the gaming thing: I still think heat is an issue, and I'll follow up on that, but after some more testing tonight I think the issue of poor performance is mostly to do with these ported games. World of Warcraft is fine - pushing 60fps in 1200p - and I think other 'truly native' (not ported) games would bear that out.

    I bought this thing principally for work, entertainment is only a bonus, and so long as it handles its main job it's probably still a good investment.

    Thanks for this in particular, your experience with FCPX is helpful.
  19. Macmark93 macrumors member


    Sep 30, 2014
    I have the newest rmb with just the Irish graphics, I am not sure why macs are getting more popular for gaming, guess its just a trend. I would say that even tho I don't game or participate in any graphical intensive tasks on my macbook, mine has been fine, I do moderate video editing and a bit of graphics work.

    With irish only your battery will last a lot longer, your machine won't get as hot, and tbh irish graphics are very sophisticated even tho they are integrated. I would say, macs in general aren't really gaming computers, I would personally sell your model, with the money you get back purchase a ps4 or something, which is easily as good as a mid range macbook if not better. Other option would be pc gaming systems , whatever floats your boat.
  20. airattack111 macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2008
    Download windows 8.1. Get the latest drivers and directX. Get a fan controller (set to a high rpm before playing a game).

    Then enjoy an extra 15FPS. lol
  21. rekhyt macrumors 65816

    Jun 20, 2008
    Part of the old MR guard.
    Case is out of stock (second round of production), but I've just put it here as a reference point:

    Indication of its size: [​IMG]

    Obviously it won't house multiple graphics cards and 4 RAM slots and 5 billion hard drives, as the size is mini-ITX, but it definitely fits the space considerations, and if you invest in a proper (Intel) CPU and a top-of-the-range graphics card (nVidia), then 1 graphics card should be enough.


    OS X isn't the premier gaming platform. If you want to game properly, then install Windows (possibly SteamOS due to optimisations).

    It is a very good investment. I've had friends who bought it and install Windows to use it permanently, as they really appreciate the build quality of it.
  22. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2013
    Irish graphics are all the rage these days ;)

    Any gaming rig will easily surpass even a maxed out top of the line retina macbook pro, definitely worth looking into if you have any interest in gaming
  23. iKrivetko macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2010
    The way I see it is that the 750m is only marginally faster than the Iris Pro, if at all, and in tasks where it considerably outperforms it, they both aren't that good anyway. As in, if you can't comfortably play a game in 1080p on the Iris Pro, you'll likely have just as much trouble getting comfortable FPS on the 750m. It's just that the former will have, say, 5 fps, and the latter will be giving you 10. You can say that it's double the framerate, but ultimately it is unplayable on either chip. So unless whatever you are using on a regular basis strongly depends on Nvidia hardware or is specifically optimised for it, I'd say there's little reason to go for the model with the nvidia.
  24. cfedu Suspended


    Mar 8, 2009
    ^^^ times 10

    I would go with iris pro for the following:

    battery life
    increased reliability
    resale value , and
    I do not trust dedicated GPU in laptops or iMacs
  25. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2013
    while the 750m is certainly nowhere near the best video cards, it does make a significant difference where gaming in involved compared to the iris pro. Drivers make a huge difference, something NVIDIA is known for pushing and intel is not. I've tried both models on a wide range of games and if your insistent on gaming on a macbook then you'll definitely appreciate having the nvidia option...unless of course you're not planning on installing bootcamp b.c gaming on OSx is craptastic regardless of hardware.

Share This Page