State of affairs Graphics Processors on the Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mdntcallr, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. mdntcallr macrumors 65816


    Aug 1, 2000
    Hi friends,
    I wanted to get in touch and see if anyone else who is a Mac user is upset that Apple doesn't seem to use the latest and greatest GPU options on new model macs or as options to be upgraded to.

    The current State of affairs is baffling to me as:

    Macbook: Has anemic Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

    Macbook Pro: lower end model has NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM
    Mid and higher end models have NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM

    Mac Mini: Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

    iMac: Lower end 20" ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128MB of GDDR3 memory. Higher end 20" and 24" have ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB of GDDR3 memory

    Mac Pro: Regular config MP NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 256MB of GDDR2 SDRAM.
    Custom configuration options:
    * • ATI Radeon X1900 XT with 512MB GDDR3 SDRAM (two dual-link DVI)
    * • NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 with 512MB GDDR3 SDRAM (Stereo 3D, two dual-link DVI)
    * • Up to four NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 256MB

    Today, AMD and ATI announced that they were putting an additional 3000 of the Mac X800 back on sale

    "Though supplies are limited, AMD is once again selling the Radeon X800 XT Mac Edition. The graphics accelerator has 256MB of DDR3 memory, and supports features such as Core Image, Shader Model 2.0, and MPEG decoding. A Dual Link DVI port allows HDTV output and the use of 30-inch Cinema Displays. AMD is charging $300 for the card; if it runs out once again, shoppers can have the company notify them when it returns."

    Am I the only one upset that graphics chips and cards are lagging behind the PC world? It feels like even the lowly Sony Viao's have better chips.

    Apple has happily settled on mediocre for it's entry level GPU's for Mac Mini and Macbook.
    For it's iMac, it is a chip which doesn't have any oomph, nor have they kept the ability for a consumer to order an imac with a higher end chip as a custom build option.
    For the Mac Pro, it's a decidely poor situation. It doesn't have an HDCP compliant chipset or output format that will support Blu-Ray or HD DVD. Nor are the LCD monitors HDCP compliant. The graphics cards are older models, sadly up to two years without a good upgrade.

    What chips to you want in your macs as options? Give Mac models and ideas on chips.

    Of course there will be those of you holding out for a Voodoo 3dfx card, but i think that Apple has alot of room to get up to decent level of performance.

    It's startlingly sad that they seem to pick the cheapest chips for mid tier performace every time and don't offer a BTO option that is better. Especially on the desktop models.
  2. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    with the fact that these high-end graphic cards are mostly important to games. and with the fact that there is not many latest games for OSX.

    It just doesn't seem to be a big problem for now.

    if in 3 years, more than 40% of the games come with a OSX version. Then there might be a change.

    I begin to wonder how many mac users have windows on their machines for games, maybe that would be another factor too.
  3. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    They should still offer current hardware.
  4. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    at the current price? I absolutely have no problem with what you suggested:D.
  5. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    Who would? The Mac Pro is well overdue. I am holding out. I am thinking October.

    But some fresh new cards, the new Harpertowns, yum yum. I actually had a dream about them announcing a Mac Pro last... it ended with then not doing it and talking about the length of the iPhone bill and Coolermaster cases... weird dream.
  6. mdntcallr thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 1, 2000
    It's frustrating because Mac's are a premium type product, yet Apple time and time again is slow to update or pick the better quality GPU chips.

    And yes it does impact gaming as well as other graphics work.

    they could definitely keep up with latest in technology.
  7. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I gave up on using a Mac for gaming and just got a cheap PC with the card I wanted. I use a PC for dedicated gaming. I could of course buy Xbox / PS3 but I have a huge investment of PC games that are older but still fun to play and plan to buy new games that run on Windows.

    The cider experiment with EA was a disappointment with C&C 3 from the review I read. Now when I look at the iMac, I won't be tricked into spending hundreds more for double the video memory or a 2300 vs 2600 (Atari?). It doesn't matter anymore. I would actually be happy with the default card that comes with the Mac Pro and use the Mac for creative / business activities.
  8. frick macrumors member

    May 16, 2006
    I will be thoroughly amused if Apple somehow gets a hold of Penryn a month early, updates the Mac Pro in October, and puts an nVidia 8-series card in it (with the 8-series being almost a year old and the 9-series likely being released in November). If they do this, it will kill any hope of Mac gaming ever bearing a resemblance to the PC/console world.
  9. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    First of all, the Macbook Pro and the iMac both have fairly new current-model graphics cards which are very powerful.

    The Macbook and the Mini still have the crappy GMA 950, but this doesn't really matter. These are consumer products intended for students and adults who just want to surf the web, check their email, write papers, download music, etc. They don't need a dedicated graphics card for this purpose. When Apple updates the Macbook to the Santa Rosa platform, it will get the X3100 or whatever. But the fact remains that these computers are intended for non-power users so they don't need top of the line **** in them

    This leaves the Mac Pro, which is no doubt due for an update. It should be coming soon (though people said that in february).
  10. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    Many light users would like to play the odd game...they need cards that can at least play the latest games, even at low settings...
  11. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    Apple has gone downhill with Gpu's after the geforce3 in quicksilver if I recall, I do want to say that the iMac's 2600 isnt all that bad and have seen some very good HL2 benchmarks. I really think this card isnt as bad as people make out and will be perfect once the drivers are polished. There isnt a better all in one anywhere.
    The sad fact is Apple is using GPU's to seperate the lines but iMac is creeping towards pro and perhaps with the 7600gt option got a little to close for the greedy bastards at Apple.
    (insert Kirk) line ...............for the sake of another...........product line. So Apple ends up with MacPro vs iMac vs Mini when they should have Apple products vs other Pc Makers. Ahh the GPU.
  12. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    They will probably go with the 2900XT, adding even more insult to injury really. Though if I recall right, the ATI cards have better OpenGL performance. I can't imagine gamers ever being catered to by Apple, certainly not in the comming product revisions.
  13. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    2900TX is as good as GF 8800GTS, if not better, not that bad if you ask me, but since there is next generation very soon....
  14. mdntcallr thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 1, 2000
    My main fault is that Apple won't give us the option of upgrading to the better cards we would want for the imac or mac pro.

    the options were taken away from imac, and the mac pro options are over a year old.

  15. erickkoch macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2003
    I'm by no means a hardcore gamer but I need to get my UT fix so I upgraded to the X1900 on my Mac Pro. The stock card it came with was bad. I had UT on the Xbox but it was just not the same.

    I get it that Apple is not making game machines but it would be nice if the at least gave us more options with graphics cards.
  16. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    People were expecting a £200 - £300 card in the new iMacs. Those people were always going to be disappointed.

    Personally I've had no problems with the 2600XT-type GPU in the iMac under Windows XP.

    You can't even judge it probably because we're stuck with out of date drivers and a beta Boot Camp. When Leopard comes out with the finished article, we'll see a bit more performance.
  17. Jasonbot macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2006
    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    I think the macbook pro has set the standard. I was just hoping that the new iMacs would follow the same path- I guess I was wrong.

    So, to make things right apple needs:

    Mac mini and Macbook: intel gma x3100 although its integrated it's still better than the older 950s

    Macbook Pro: Keep it like it is.

    iMac: Come on, the previous product revolution had the same card in both MBP and imac. Why not keep it like that? And by that I mean ditch the crummy AMD card and get the Nvidia's from the MBP's

    Mac Pro: kill the 7300, start with an 8600 as base and allow for the Nvidia 8800, STI/AMD x2900 and for those science types the Quadro FX 5600.
  18. bbcxx macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2007
    :cool:this is it!!! few days ago i asked if anybody else thinks that the current high end mbp 15'' model isn't worth the money. the gpu really sucks compared to the rest of the specs.
    that is kinda what apple does. they force you to buy the more expensive stuff. the imac could've been used for work...but they came up with a glossy screen, mbp gpu's are not even close to other manufacturers, but then again i guess they can do such things, because they have enough fans who don't mind the joke.
  19. mdntcallr thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 1, 2000
    The MBP is a great machine. i have it.

    dunno what you are worried about. for a laptop the new model has a pretty decent graphics chip. yes, they could have added an option for one with more sizzle, but it does the basic job, it's ok for some gaming, but not excellent.

    i use mine for photographics and more.. works nice,. also games occasionally.

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