Why are graphics so important?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by XX55XX, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. XX55XX macrumors regular

    May 17, 2009
    There is one thing we can't deny:

    The HD 3000 is a mediorce graphics chip and the 320M is marginally better.

    Yet, are people really expecting subnotebooks to pump out an eye-bleeding 60FPS in every game? If graphics and gaming are so important, why not get the 15-inch MacBook Pro instead? It is only logical.

    Hopefully, Intel or Apple might release some OpenCL drivers for the HD 3000 when it comes out for applications that need it, but... other than that, I can't see why the MacBook Air's target audience (business executives, students, etc.) would be upset over the lack of any GeForce or Radeon graphics in the MacBook Air.

    The optimal solution would be for Apple to use AMD's Zacate chip (the E-350) with includes an HD 6310 as an integrated graphics solution, but CPU performance would take a serious blow, as the E-350 is only marginally better than an Intel Atom chip at best.

    So, what do you guys want really? Why the controversy?
  2. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    i think people wanted a better chip than those in the previous generation, which isn't so much to ask for. however, a better cpu has more appeal.
  3. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
  4. Duke15 macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2011
    I think that for the average consumer they will be happy with the ix chip it gets. Most ppl i think just look at what is newer and want that. They'll most likely know that the c2d is older and see ix and jump on it, not understanding the difference between ULV, UL, and regular voltage chips. I think the CPU will gain a decent boost, and that the GPU will take a marginal hit or stay the same. Lucky for my I don't game, prefer a console.
  5. Oppressed macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    There are people out there, such as myself, who like both the ultra portability of the MBA but also like to do light gaming. When purchasing the MBA I was more then ready to compromise FPS and graphics quality for the form of the MBA. The issue between the 320m and 3000 HD is the fact that most computers with the 3000 HD IGP has dubbed most games as "unplayable" i.e. below 10-15 FPS. I think everyone who wanted a laptop to do hardcore gaming already passed over the MBA.

    To answer the thread. People will see no difference in the GPU's performance in non-gaming and 3D situations. 1080p playback will still be smooth, OS X animations will still be smooth, and there will be an increase in multi monitor output due to thunderbolt port.
  6. Duke15 macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2011
    Quick question, could Open CL drivers boost the graphics performance, not familiar with that jsut wondering?
  7. XX55XX, Jul 3, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2011

    XX55XX thread starter macrumors regular

    May 17, 2009
    OpenCL is just a framework that allows a user to run specific types of programs more suited for a processor with many cores (i.e., a graphics chip). No speed increase in gaming applications.

    The HD 3000 can decode 1080p video quite well, from what the performance reviews say. It only fails at gaming.
  8. blipmusic macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    Why another thread?

    Since 15" is not, never have been, and never will be 11", I fail to see what is so logical here. I have not seen any posts complaining that the MBA does not reach MBP quality graphics - the discussion never has been about bleeding edge 60 fps graphics performance. You are missing the point.

    "Target audience" as defined by you? MBA is getting mainstream and a great computer to a larger, more varied consumer group than you (and possibly Apple, though I doubt that) seem to think. You mistake what is quite possibly *your* needs, not necessarily those of others.

    Some of the anger stems from the fact that what is effectively a step backwards, could have been progression as it should have been, if only Intel would have allowed nVidia and others to produce IGPs for their current crop of CPUs. I don't see why *any* supposed "target group" should be satisfied with "new" meaning "worse", nor do I understand how you can fail to see this.

    Personally, I plan on getting the probable new SB 11" as my main and only computer. If HD3000 means more battery I'm ok (then again, perhaps nVidia's next IGP would have allowed for more battery as well as increased perfomance ... and on it goes), though you can be sure I'll go for the occasional Portal 2 session on it. Why shouldn't I?
  9. XX55XX thread starter macrumors regular

    May 17, 2009
    Fair enough. But I believe you and many other "gamers" are expecting too much from the puny power of integrated graphics, be they AMD, Nvidia, or Intel chips. My 9400M on my MacBook Pro can barely break 20 FPS in Dragon Age 2. Am I upset? No. I know the limitations of the hardware I have at my disposal.

    Good performance in mainstream games is the last thing that most subnotebook users worry about, even if your point about a more varied consumer group is valid. I know. Most of my Mac-using friends don't game and don't care to.

    I hear the HD 3000 does Portal 2 quite well. Sure, it's a few frames slower than what the 320M offered, but it's still playable. Advances in technology do have their sacrifices. And fortunately, Intel has been getting better at the integrated graphics game (though still behind AMD in many aspects).

    Likewise, you can blame Apple for being equally dogmatic in refusing to examine the use of its new AMD Fusion chips in the MacBook Air (and of course, the reduction in CPU performance that might come with a combination).

    Intel doesn't want to lose its chipset business. You can't blame them for shutting out Nvidia like that. Perhaps one day, Intel will buy out Nvidia and ditch their current work in graphics, but that day seems far, far away.
  10. blipmusic, Jul 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011

    blipmusic macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    "Gamer"? Hardly. I play the occasional game. That's about it. So do others. I'm still afraid you're missing the point here since the reason we're getting an Intel IGP is due to a legal issue, not a technical one.

    You know the limitations? I'm not so sure about that. Computer hardware today is fairly powerful, even subnotes. I believe people are often underestimating their hardware and are either too picky (which gives credit to what you are saying) and/or simply overestimating their needs. I don't expect any of the computers I have owned in the last 20 years to play cutting edge games (for their respective time) at cutting edge settings. That doesn't mean I can't be satisfied playing them lower settings. Also, "game" does not equal Witcher 2 on max settings at fantasy resolutions.

    [EDIT:] I just noticed we both picked the same game. I have never claimed we're arguing about reaching MBP/desktop graphics quality which you also acknowledged.

    In all fairness, I think this goes for computer/laptop buyers in general. We tend to argue a bit more on a forum like this than I expect the "average" customer to do (case in point: this thread :D).

    Whereas I sit alone in my basement? It's a big world, you know.

    This, I'm happy to read! :)

    Sure, I don't expect them to release AMD MBAs (though, we - at least not I - know nothing of their in-house testing). Might have been nice if they did.

    As a potential customer, of course I can. I have the option not to buy because they made a choice I do not agree with. Since I'm looking into getting the SB 11" anyway, I realize I'm a bit of a hypocrite here. That Intel wants to maximize its profits is a given.
  11. michaelz macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2010
    MBA is the future of MBP. I don't think apple will release a slower new product.
  12. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    a quick guide to buying a computer:

    are you going to type on your computer? ... then you should buy a computer with an award winning keyboard. soft, furry keys are a plus.

    are you going to watch movies on your computer? ... then you should buy the computer with the best and biggest screen and best and loudest speakers. it should weigh 40 lbs and should also make popcorn.

    are you going to carry your computer around with you? ... then you should buy the smallest, thinnest laptop in production, something you can't even read or type on, if possible. in fact, whatever you buy, cut that in half. put one half in your pocket and throw the other half at a stray cat.

    are you going to play videogames? ... then you should buy a macbook pro. well, no, just kidding, you should buy an Alienware, with neon lights and a $1000 GPU. sell your car if you have to.

    are you are a business executive or student? ... buy the Air. the Air is for business executives and students. if you are not a business executive or student and attempt to buy the Air, a task force will be sent to your house and you and your family will be collected and fed to secret government bio-experiments (nuclear monsters). if you are both a business executive and a student, YOU MUST BUY TWO AIRS.
  13. Hyper-X macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2011
    Many people are bad decision makers thus make purchasing choices poorly but can't/won't admit it. It takes skill, intelligence and experience to make good decisions. You can't be completely computer illiterate, ignorant, and uneducated and expect to make good choices.

    I've always said that it's best to purchase one that fits your requirements, not what you necessarily want. In other words, everyone wants a SLI/Crossfire capable machine but don't need it or have any use for it.

    About your E-350 comment, I completely disagree. I currently own a Lenovo Thinkpad x120e E-350 and I'll say for certain that the Intel HD 3000 is superior in performance, the 6310 lacks dedicated memory and shares with the system RAM. However this isn't exactly a bad thing, it does keep the electrical requirements down all while maintaining a very respectable performance, very good 1080p output, low CPU activity, very good on battery, able to play most games at medium settings except for the really involved games.

    However we're comparing 2 different kinds of machines, one that uses a Duo-Core/i5/i7 platforms versus one that uses a Netbook-like architecture, it's like comparing a spoon to a shovel. The AMD Zacate platform is a huge leap forward in terms of Netbook performance as the overall performance trumps even the best Intel Dual-Core Netbook options. However a HP DM1Z or Lenovo x120e will not compare to even a basic Macbook.
  14. striker33 macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2010
    I'd happily take a slight gaming hit in favour of increased cpu performance and battery life.
  15. endhalf macrumors regular

    May 24, 2011
    This has been here over and over... It seems that someone can't understand needs of others and thinks of it as idiocy. You know, I can't understand need for 8GB ram, that doesn't mean that it is wrong that someone wants 8GB, or even 16GB, 32GB, xxxGB of ram in computer. You don't see the need for better GPU? BE HAPPY coz we won't get better GPU!
  16. blipmusic macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011

    Also, I hear the neon lights make things go faster. I mean speed stripe stickers does that for cars, right?
    (Ninja edit: It *is* quite ironic that we think of these multi-purpose machines as being almost one-task-wonders.)
  17. mattk3650 macrumors member

    Apr 5, 2010
    The MacBook Air graphics performance drop is not as much of a disappointment as the 13" MacBook Pro. It's that you would figure Apple would improve their graphics each generation. I mean, people could play Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty at native res on the 320M, why get rid of that?

    For me, I'm just plain disappointed that Apple's laptops are getting worse graphics. I want a laptop with three characteristics:
    1. Portable
    2. OS X
    3. Good graphics

    Apparently that's an impossible combination, even though Apple could have easily fit a 330M or even 530M in the 13" MBP with Optimus.
  18. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    Because I would like a workable computer that *can* occasionally play a game at moderate levels of quality.

    I don't think that's *insane*, and buy a much larger, much heavier machine for the task isn't the most useful advice.
  19. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    The reason I'm upset (better phrase to replace "upset": "not as happy as I could be") is as follows:

    The previous-gen Macbook Air utilized an older dual-core processor, and the 320m graphics chip. I expect with each iteration of the Air that we see better processing power and better graphics power, among other things. If we're simply stepping backwards, or putting ourselves at a standstill on graphics, then I feel like something is missing.

    That said, I'm interested in purchasing the product anyways. But were it to have better graphics than simply the HD3000 graphics, I would be exceedingly more happy with the product. I didn't want an insane two-times graphics performance over the 320m. I just wanted something along the lines of a 20-30% graphics boost in games and applications.

    I am a student, and this will be a multipurpose secondary machine. As such, it will be used for note-taking, on-the-go-whateverness, at home around-the-house computing, and of course casual not-on-the-desktop gaming. Since it will serve such a wide variety of purposes, the graphics card definitely plays a distinct role in how much I enjoy the Macbook Air.

    Why not buy a Macbook Pro with better graphics? A few reasons:
    1) It's not thin-and-light, and not 11.8 inches.
    2) It's more expensive by a significant amount.
    3) Coming back to point #1, but in the other direction, the Macbook Pro with decent graphics is very large...
    4) I'd rather buy a Windows-based laptop if I were looking at the Macbook Pro 15-inch.
  20. Duke15 macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2011
    I agree computers should get better with the release of newer models not backwards or standstill...saying that I personally do not know whether or not the HD3000 graphics will bbe worse or not, will be interested to see the first se of reviews.

    Wondering though, how many people actually do a lot of gaming outside of their house, not saying that it shouldnt be done, or that the MBA shouldn't be able to do it, but I think apple looks at this and realizes that there is(im guessing) more money to be made with faster CPUs. As long as it can run 1080p movies smoothly ill be happy luckily.
  21. gman901 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Graphics are important for gaming and video editing. Stick with the current MBA for decent graphics and get the new one with Intel graphics for business related tasks like browsing the web super fast and opening up business applications faster than the current core 2 duo processor.
  22. XX55XX thread starter macrumors regular

    May 17, 2009
    Really? I thought the CPU was more important in video editing.
  23. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    Dedicated GPU in the 13" macbooks (may they be white, air or pro) = burned alive!
    If you're talking about integrated chipset , it can't be done thanks to intel (not apple's fault).
    Apple only had 2 choices. Either get better processors and worse graphics, or stay the same (with c2d and nvidia graphics). Basically, if you want to game, just buy a refurbished or used 2010 model. Otherwise get the new one. Not that hard, is it?
  24. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    AMD's new Llano processors offer a technology which allows the built-in graphics in the processor to work in conjunction with a graphics card in the desktop (currently I believe this is only in desktops). This is a tad bit different from crossfire or SLI, since it's the processor's built-in graphics working in conjunction with certain other low-end graphics solutions in order to get dual-graphics solution performance.

    What would be interesting is, in the future, if Apple's Macbook Air line took advantage of something like this. It's quite a bit different from switchable graphics.

    Of course, ideally we'd just see a processor/graphics solution with ultra low heat output, while providing huge performance. But that's obviously too straight to the point :p
  25. nutjob macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2010
    I want the worse possible solution, clearly. Who needs anything when "reasonably good" is good enough? Lets all go back to PowerBooks they were good enough.

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