The GPU Question

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mikeo007, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I see a lot of discussion about dedicated GPUs in past and upcoming MBP models. I know for myself personally, a dedicated GPU is going to be a requirement for any laptop that I purchase in the future. There has been some talk of Apple trying to phase out the dedicated GPUs through their entire laptop line, which I think is a mistake, but I'm wonder what others think.

    For my own uses, I simply want a GPU for playing the occasional game, although I want to be able to play newer games. I don't want to buy a Windows laptop for gaming simply because I want to keep my machine running OSX.

    I took a look at some of the trends with the past MBPs and put them in a chart. It definitely seems like apple is moving away from dedicated GPUs, which is quite unfortunate.

    Code:
    Year	        Low		High
    Mid 2010	330M (256MB)	330M (512MB)
    Early 2011	6490M (256MB)	6770M(1GB)
    Late 2011	6750M (512MB)	6770M(1GB)
    Mid 2012	650M (512MB)	650M (1GB)
    Late 2013	Intel GPU	750M (2GB)
    Late 2014?	Intel GPU	750M (2GB)
    
    Now one thing the chart doesn't reflect is price, but the low end models for 2010 and 2011 were significantly cheaper than they are now (although current models are retina). In fact, if I were to organize this chart with a third column for a "Medium" spec, there'd be an even bigger gap in the later models, where the integrated GPU is only included in the most expensive option.

    I don't think it's a good sign that despite being more expensive (and more demanding) the lower end Macbook pros are no longer coming with dedicated GPUs.
     
  2. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    Jun 5, 2012
    #2
    Again, its not Apple that is ditching the dGPU from Laptops. Its Intel with lowering the amount of PCi-Ex lanes connected to CPU. Intel is doing similar thing to dGPU's as they did to Chipsets with not allowing anyone to produce them, except - Intel itself.

    In short term, and even long term: you will not need a dGPU, cause for even heavier tasks Intel HD will be enough. If you want more? Thunderbolt.
     
  3. mikeo007, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014

    mikeo007 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    For some users, perhaps. For someone who wants to play games, yet have the stability of OSX, a dGPU is the only option.

    Also, not sure where you are coming from with the PCI express lanes thing. According to Intel's website, all the CPUs used in Macbooks since at least 2011 offered 16 PCI lanes with the same configurations:

    http://ark.intel.com/products/52219/Intel-Core-i7-2630QM-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-2_90-GHz
    http://ark.intel.com/products/64889
    http://ark.intel.com/products/71460/Intel-Core-i7-3635QM-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_40-GHz
    http://ark.intel.com/products/83505/Intel-Core-i7-4770HQ-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_40-GHz
     
  4. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    #4
    Im talking about Broadwell, not Haswell.

    Second thing, what if Broadwell and later GPU's will be faster than dGPU's that Nvidia offer in the same power envelope?
     
  5. mikeo007, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014

    mikeo007 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    That's a HUGE what if, and it seems highly implausible.
    It hasn't happened thus far, judging by the current generation, which is only running at about 2/3 the speed of dGPUs from 2 gens ago.
    http://arstechnica.com/apple/2013/1...s-15-inch-2013-retina-macbook-pro-reviewed/2/

    If Iris Pro is able to overcome some of the iGPU limitations and be better than the current Geforce offerings, then I'd be ecstatic. But so far that hasn't come close to happening, even when NVidia was making their own iGPUs.
     
  6. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    #6
    HD6100 from 13 inch MBP will be faster than HD5200 from 15 inch MBP. A lot faster.


    The GPUs and their performance is the biggest reason why Broadwell was delayed so much time. Intel had big problems with maintaining Gigantic improvement in iGPU and yet - running it cool, fast and stable.
     
  7. mikeo007, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014

    mikeo007 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    I haven't seen any actual numbers from Intel regarding Iris 6100 (GT3?) so if you have an article, I'd like to read up on it. The small amount of info I have seen only mentions EUs, of which the new GT3 only has a modest increase.

    I mean, it's not hard to believe that next years Mid-range iGPU will be better than this years high end. It's been that way for several generations now. But beating the Iris 5200 is a far cry from the 850m, or the upcoming 900 series.
     
  8. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #8
    I think apple's endgame with dGPU is to remove them entirely from laptops. Intel's next iGPU will probably reach slightly above 750M speeds, but it won't beat the 850M. By keeping the new revision at 750M, the broadwell update can remove the dGPU entirely and claim how much faster the iGPU is than the 750M in their marketing materials.
     
  9. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    #9
    Dig up the internet. Its all there. If you cannot, do the maths. even if they are increasing core count by only 20% think what will do increasing efficiency of the GPU by at least 30% and what will do optimizing the architecture.

    Iris(HD6100) from 28W CPU will be faster than Iris Pro from Quad core 47W CPU, and will be exactly in between HD5200 and GTX850M in terms of performance. HD6200 will be on par if not faster than GTX850M.
     
  10. mikeo007, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014

    mikeo007 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Google isn't telling me anything about these 30% increases in efficiency, or anything that's even measurable to compare to dedicated cards. I don't think anyone can claim where the numbers will fall based on specs (or expected specs in this case) alone. I doubt the 6200 will be at par with the 850m either, especially if history is any indicator. As stated earlier, the current top end 5200 is at best 2/3 the performance of the previous gen 650m.

    All this also still doesn't help with the fact that even if these numbers come to fruition, iGPU performance will still be a generation behind dGPU.

    Edit: I did find some articles claiming 40% overall improvement, which isn't that great. The current 5200 is already about 60% faster than the 5100, so increasing it by 40% in the next gen won't even bring it up to par with the 5200.

    If the 5200 gets the full effect of a 40% improvement, then that will bring it close to the 750m. The 850m shows about a 75% increase over the 750m, and even it will be a generation older by the time the Iris 6200 is out.
     
  11. vbedia macrumors regular

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    Jan 25, 2014
    #11
    As some people have said, Apple's roadmap is to ditch out the dGPU entirely of its MacBook Pro line and I agree with this. This has already started with Haswell.

    I don't think we will see anymore dGPU by the time the Macbook Pro comes with Skylake. Eventually the iGPU will have enough power for every use, and if some users require an extra punch then there will be available external GPUs (eGPU) much more capable than any dGPU.

    Thunderbolt 3 is supposed to be one of the assets of Skylake. I wouldn't be surprised to find Apple offering a eGPU solution during your purchase sometime soon.

    That would be much more convenient than any dGPU.
     
  12. mikeo007 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #12
    I don't think there would be anything 'convenient' about an external GPU. Everything in one package would be much more convenient than having to carry around an external enclosure that requires its own power source.
     
  13. vbedia macrumors regular

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    #13
    What is not convenient at all is to have a dGPU that is never good enough. There are already people waiting for a refresh Macbook that includes just a 850m even keeping the current Haswell processor because they find their 650m or 750m can't keep up with their needs. By needs I understand they mean gaming most of them.

    But if you want some serious gaming you can't be serious with a dGPU. Of course, everyone would like to have the whole thing in one package running quietly and coolly. However, running games at 2880*1800 while having 60 fps is not an easy thing to do these days.
     
  14. mikeo007 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #14
    The current crop of dGPUs is good enough for me. The ones that Apple chooses are pretty much the best you can get, without busting out of a reasonable thermal threshold. Plus, it's still way more convenient to have to turn down your graphics settings slightly as opposed to having an external GPU :p

    I'm not talking about serious gaming either; for that you want a desktop. I'm talking about playing new games, at decent settings that current iGPUs just can't touch, but run perfectly find on a 750/850m. If Macs aren't meant for playing games, then Apple have done a reversal since all the hullabaloo a few years ago talking about gaming performance. It's totally possible that they could have changed their stance, but it's disappointing if true.

    For the past several generations, MBPs were pretty much the best gaming laptop you could get that wasn't a total tank. I'd hope that that would continue, because I really don't want to have to choose between OSX and playing games.
     
  15. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    #15
    Why you don't understand what Im writing? Soon you will not be able to get Macbook and even iMac with a dGPU, cause Intel will get rid of them with new revisions of new CPUs, and with lowering the amount of PCI-Ex lanes connected to CPU.

    Only ultra high end desktop CPU's will have enough that type lanes to be connected.

    That was MAIN reson why Apple went with the Mac Pro design. Get the informations. Dig up internet. Its all there.
     
  16. mikeo007 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16

    I understand what you're writing, but it's all conjecture. You don't have any proof, just guesses about what Intel might do in the future.

    Intel would p-off a lot of their partners by completely removing the ability to use add-in GPUs (or anything else that might take advantage of PCI-E). It's not happening any time soon; you'd be foolish to think otherwise IMO.
     
  17. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I think everyone is right about the iGPU taking over.. This is sad but there will always be a place for a dGPU, just not in a Macbook (In Apples' eyes). I also think Apple is doing this because they want serious work to be done on their new line of Mac Pros.. Doing anything that will tax the iGPU will gimp the CPU so it's not very efficient. the iGPU is there because it HAS to be there and it just so happens to be powerful enough for 99.9999 percent of folks.. I think that is what Apple is doing.
     
  18. leman macrumors 604

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    #18
    Sorry, but this is just your fantasy. Without the eDRAM cache, the 6100 will not reach the same real world performance, even if they dramatically improve it (which they won't, 25% performance improvement is all I would expect). The Intel iGPUs are really good — in fact, they are currently the best integrated GPUs, but they are still significantly below a mid-range GPU from Nvidia, especially that Maxwell is now in play.

    I strongly believe that there will be the time when the dedicated GPUs will go the way of the x87 and audio accelerators, but this will require fast system RAM first. When HMC or comparable technologies arrive to the consumer, the iGPUs will fly. A dedicated GPU, as most specialised things in computing, are hacks anyway and the sooner they become unnecessary, the more advanced software and stable hardware we will have. But until then, a (decent) dGPU option is an important feature to have.
     
  19. mario-64 macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2012
    #19
    Post your source for this information here please. If we're to believe what you're saying then NO laptop will be able to have a dGPU in the future. Pure and total rubbish imo
     
  20. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #20
    I think the days of the dGPU are number, maybe not on all intel laptops but at least on MBPs. The performance increases with the Iris Pro and the improvements on the next generation iGPU, I think apple will be one of the leaders in dropping it. Especially so, given their recent track record with dPUs (2008, 2010, 2011 dGPU failures).
     
  21. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a

    SarcasticJoe

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    #21
    I doubt they'll stick to the 750M in the next models, they'll ether drop the dGPU option entirely or go for the 850M.

    When they upgrade to a new architecture they they pretyy much always upgrade the GPU at the same time. Here's a few examples of this:
    Mid 2010 - New architecture on both CPU and GPU*
    Early 2011 - New architecture on both CPU and GPU
    Late 2011 - Same architecture on both CPU and GPU
    Mid 2012 - New architecture on both CPU and GPU
    Early 2013 - Same architecture on both CPU and GPU
    Late 2013 - New architecture on both CPU and GPU
    Late 2014 - Same architecture on both CPU and GPU

    *For the 15" machines, 13" machines got stuck on Penryn Core 2 Duo's after Intel decided Nvidia couldn't make chipsets for newer architectures
     
  22. mikeo007 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Interestingly enough, I bought the 13" with the C2Duo because that nVidia 320m was really good for in iGPU at the time. Apple made a really big deal about its graphics performance back in the day, and cited it as a reason for keeping the old Core 2 Duo chipsets with the much improved GPU. That's why I'm surprised that they'd be moving away from this philosophy so readily.

    The more I think about it, the more I doubt they'd completely remove the dGPU from their laptop line. These things are made for professionals in several fields that required heavy graphics performance. For the foreseeable future, dedicated is always going to outperform integrated for specialized uses, like photography, rendering and gaming. They'll probably keep it only in the top tier model though, which is kind of a bummer, but I can see their reasoning.
     

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