Where are the GPU's?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Applenewb, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. Applenewb macrumors member

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    #1
    What can be taking so long? The video card choices are a joke for PC users who want to be able to play their PC games, since Apple is touting Boot Camp and the "switch" so much, it just seems odd they haven't done anything to update their GPU choices for so long. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but it is the only thing holding me back from switching.
     
  2. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #2
    I think they're in a bunker in Indiana surrounded my a minefield and a national guard regiment. No wait, maybe it's a girl scout troop. Cookies for sale?

    Seriously, Macs are not gaming machines and as evidenced by the lack of the mid-range tower, which many longtime Mac fans want, but would also draw a lot of switchers, Apple's target market is the iLifers and the professionals, and not the gamers. Or is it gAmErZ.
     
  3. Applenewb thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    You are stating Apple doesn't carry the latest video cards because they don't care about gamers? Why would Apple go after the family market (imac), the high end market (mac pro), switchers, and tout boot camp for running PC apps yet just artbitrarily decide to not support/offer the best GPU's?

    I'm a bit offended by your elitist statement, which is honestly the exact stereotypical attitude most PC users eschew in Mac users.
     
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #4
    Why with Apple's lack of catering to gaming market would you think they do care about gamers?
     
  5. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #5
    I partially agree with you, in that our choices for video cards are ridiculously limited - however, the Mac Pro with the X1900XT is still a very creditable gaming machine.

    Unless Apple gets very serious about producing a full line of video cards (which they will never do), they should approach a GPU manufacturer like ASUS, BFG or XFX and have them produce cards for the Mac Pro. I'd like to see at least three cards this summer: a GeForce 8800GTX, a GeForce 8600-class card and a flasgship Radeon R600 card.
     
  6. Queso macrumors G4

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    #6
    The cards in the iMacs do badly need a refresh. I'm hoping that when the Santa Rosa chipset is released by Intel we'll get a decent update of the lineup, including a big jump in GPU performance.
     
  7. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #7
    Sorry, not being elitist. I am not a gamer. Nor do I care for a PC gamercentric attitude. However, I do understand that all users, but gamers moreso want a better variety of cards. I don't know if ATI and nVidia or Apple are more to blame for this. However, Macs have not typically been gaming machines. Gamers are more known to build their PCs to get the most out of them for their gaming. And Apple's push and success over the last few years has been to consumers who want to get more out of their digital life, hence the iPod, Apple TV, and all the iLife features that lets us make the most out of pictures and movies we shoot. Before this Apple was and will be a professional platform for designers, magazines, newspapers and video and photography professionals to produce high end machines. Since gamers typically don't want to spend an inflated price, the % of gamers who would pay for a Mac Pro with adequate RAM and graphics card is probably lower. I'm not saying that Macs can't be gaming machines, but that that is most likely the last niche in the target tier. Add to that that because most gamers have traditionally been PC users, the gaming market caters to the Windows platform and the Mac platform has always lagged and lacked. Now Bootcamp and Parallels make running Windows on a Mac much much more efficient than Virtual PC ever was, but Apple isn't in the business of selling Macs that are primarily Windows machines. Bootcamp and Parallels are touted to entice switchers who are either business or home users needing some windows only apps for whatever reason but want the other convenience and attractions of a Mac and OS X. Get the lure of a Mac, whether iMac or portable or whatever, the use of iTunes and other great apps, the freedom from viruses, the true plug and play compatability of the OS, and a single machine that can still be used for the occasional windows app. In all that gaming is still a viable option, but Apple has chosen for whatever reason to not offer a greater selection of video cards or those companies are choosing not to produce OS X drivers. Sorry.
     
  8. Applenewb thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Thanks for the great response. I'll pose a simple question and hopefully you'll see where I'm going with this:

    If Apple had support for the newest cards, who loses?
     
  9. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #9
    Guess I don't quite understand the question. Maybe you could give me multiple guess.

    Who loses?

    Microsoft?
    Are you saying that M$ is paying off card companies to not produce drivers. You still need Windows to run in Bootcamp or Parallels. They still sell the OS.

    Dell? HP? - The PC makers, marketshare goes down. Sorry, but I don't see that either, their machines are still cheaper and businesses and lower income/more frugal/more entrenched in Windows users will still buy PCs.

    The Lightning. 4-3 in overtime last night to the Devils. Not the result I was looking for. But they can still take the series.
     
  10. Applenewb thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    My point is, no one loses. Your point, is that no one cares. I disagree with your point, I think a large amount of people care.
     
  11. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    #11
    They will come once (or before) Leopard is here with support for OpenGL 2.1.
     
  12. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #12
    I didn't say no one cares, I said it wasn't their highest priority.
     
  13. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #13
    Apple might lose. We get a distorted view of "what people want" here on these forums, because the only people who post here are the ones who really, really care in the first place.

    The fact is: most people who care about GPU selection are PC gamers (a small subset of the larger PC market). The subset of those PC gamers who also are interested in a Mac is smaller again. Apple has to spend a lot to try to diversify their options. Engineering and launching a product is no small feat, and to engineer and launch a product that is targeting a market that is a small percentage of a small percentage of the general computer market is a very very risky gamble.

    Whatever Apple produces to target that market is likely to be more expensive than the mini-towers the PC gamers were building on their own anyway, limiting its appeal. The general consumer won't understand the distinction, and given the typical PC buying cycle for them (buy PC with everything, throw out everything when it gets too old), won't get why they shouldn't just get an iMac anyway.

    It's a sad fact that as a smaller player in the big computer market, and (more specifically) as a smaller player that faces a fair amount of pressure anyway (pushing a different OS, convincing people to "switch," fighting existing stereotypes), Apple really doesn't have the freedom to move in any direction. They're not Microsoft. They can't throw buckets of money and take losses on things for years. They have to tackle one area at a time, and right now their core markets are being served. They've decided, for better or worse, to try and crack the phone market, not the "PC gamers who want to try a Mac" market. I'll let you decide which of those two is bigger.

    Would it be nice to have a headless iMac with some GPU options and an E-series Core 2 Duo? Yes.

    Is it very likely to happen? Probably not.

    Sorry man. :eek:
     
  14. blargh-man macrumors newbie

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    #14
    People who want to sue their macs to play games aren't just hardcore gamers:

    Some professionals may want to play a game on their mac when they aren't working

    Some people want the beautiful mac design and OS X for their digital lives and be able to play games on their macs to save them having 2 computers

    I can't see a downside to Apple offering more powerful GPUs, either as a BTO option or just by updating the aging cards currently in some macs - People who like a bit of gaming win, although they may have to pay a little extra for the BTO upgrades. The other mac users don't lose out either - Apple's extra revenue can be put into making better macs in the future.

    I realise this is all a bit idealistic but the GPU options are one of the weakest strengths (??) of Apple's line-up today
     
  15. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #15
    Apple already has a GeForce 7600GT in the 24". Hopefully the next rev. iMac will come with the 7600GT standard in the 20" and 24", with an optional GeForce 8600 for both machines.

    As for the Mac Pro, like I mentioned before Apple doesn't have to do the cards themselves - I'll bet ASUS, BFG, XFX and others would be more than willing to make Mac-compatible video cards for retail sale. All that needs to be done is to write the drivers, since video card hardware is identical between Macs and PCs (and has been for over 10 years).
     
  16. Applenewb thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    Yes, and on a very basic level a lot of people don't want to spend double or triple the money on a machine that can't do what a 800.00 windows machine can. It's not even an economies of scale issue, technology in Mac's match and surpass PC's in every respect except the GPU.

    What people might not realize is you can put an Nvidia 8800 in a MacPro, boot into windows and it will run flawlessly. Since there's no EFI you'd have to swap the card back out to boot into OSX which no one really wants to do...anyway
     
  17. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #17
    The problem with that is that the graphics chipset companies (to wit: NVIDIA and ATI) don't write the drivers for OS X. Apple has to. They just turn over the card's specs and information. You can see why Apple wouldn't be particularly enthusiastic about having to write MORE drivers just because someone MIGHT go out and buy some other card that they don't ship. Until the Mac market (and more specifically, the upgradeable Mac market, which at the moment means "Mac Pros") becomes large enough, the graphics chipset makers will have no impetus to create OS X drivers themselves.

    It's a sort of chicken and egg problem. To launch the product takes a lot of work for Apple with no guaranteed pay-off, and even if they do, there's no guarantee the graphics chipset makers will step up to the plate.
     
  18. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #18
    Apple. Because of drivers and support and the time investment required.
    Their whole business hinges on restricting the hardware variables so that support issues are minimized, and the customer experience is --- well if not seamless, then way simpler than a Windows machine.

    If Apple opened the box to more brands of cards, the effort to support the machine with 30 choices of cards is much more expensive than with 5 choices. Every OS update has to be validated against each combo of machine and card, for example, so the effort goes up exponentially.

    And there's the whole modding/overclocking ethos. Apple really, really doesn't want an enthusiast community who overclocks, mods and generally $cr=#s around with (and b0rks) the hardware.

    Why doesn't Microsoft lose then, with the proliferation of third party hardware and modders? Because they don't support hardware! They offload drivers and support to the tp hardware manufacturers, and they offload the effort of updating, tracking down, installing and troubleshooting to the end user.
     
  19. Applenewb thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    hold up, I wasn't implying that users should be able to go buy a card off the shelf in Fry's, I was strictly speaking of the Apple offerings. They only need to offer (1) modern card, say the 8800 for example. It should not be *that* much of a resource intensive product to support (1) new card every 6 months.
     
  20. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #20
    Agreed.
     
  21. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #21
    I know for a fact that ATI writes the drivers for all of its Mac Edition retail cards , and I think they do the OEM ones as well (which is why ATI cards on the Mac usually outperform equivalent NVIDIA cards). Apple does all the NVIDIA drivers in-house.

    The only thing holding us back is driver development - write a couple drivers and literally thousands of different off-the-shelf video cards become available to Apple. It seems to me that the impact of making all those GPUs available to Mac owners (and allow them all to be considered for use in embedded soultions in other Macs) will outwiegh the cost of developing more drivers.

    It isn't as if Apple needs to design the GPUs or video cards themselves...I wish I knew how much it costs to develop a Mac driver for any given card. Either way Apple is very healthy financially right now, so I think they should be more aggressive about making more Mac-compatible cards available, getting them out less than 6 months after their PC debut, and giving us more retail options.

    True, but I think that the current lineup of cards is underutilized - for example, Apple went through all then trouble of getting a GeForce 7600GT in the 24" iMac - why not make it an optional card for the Mac Pro? It is much cheaper than the X1900XT but offers very good performance. They already wrote the drivers, and all they'd need to do is buy a bunch of cards from someone in China with their ROM in it and stamp "Apple" on the thing...

    Apple doesn't need to ever reach the level of options PC users have, but I would argue that right now they don't offer enough GPUs.
     
  22. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #22
    It may not be a hugely resource intensive product to support every 6 months, but Apple have the data and the numbers to know whether it's worth it, and it appears they don't feel it is. The Mac Pros will likely get an R600 option and the new 8000 series based Quadro cards, but I doubt the market is there for it to be worth them spending time writing drivers and providing support to a new GPU outside of full line updates. If they could have definatly made a good profit on selling 8800 cards for Mac Pros since they came out, we'd likely be seeing them.

    It's also worth noting that only the 8800s and ATI 1950s have come out since the Mac Pro was released. With alot of people holding back for full DX10 ranges from both ATI and Nvidia and the 1950 offering barely any more performance, I don't think much can be taken from the current GPU situation in regards to future possibilities.
     
  23. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #23
    Do you recall a mysterious black marketeer and smuggler called Otto, with whom you used to dine and plot and play for biscuit gain at the Old Pizzle in Dover?
     
  24. Vidd macrumors 6502a

    Vidd

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    #24
    I was going to start a new topic on recent gaming but it's probably more appopriate to ask here.
    The first time I bought a laptop I asked for one that I could game on but I never really picked up on that.

    With a new iMac, though, whether they're not a great gaming platform or otherwise, what sort of performance should you expect on a game like Doom 3?
    What sort of system would you need to drive it on full blast?
     

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