Why complain about Mac Vid Cards?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by illicium, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. illicium macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #1
    I preface this with the fact that I am only a casual gamer, and not even a PC gamer at that. My games are Halo 3 and NCAA Football on XBOX 360, but after installing Leopard and Vista in boot camp on my MBP (see sig) I wanted to see what the 8600M GT 128mb could do. So, I installed F.E.A.R. to test it out. It even has it's own built in test to see which settings are best for your setup. I went into the settings and maxed out every single option and resolution was at 1024 x 768 I believe since there wasn't an option to run it at exact native resolution of the MBP which is 1440 x 900.

    At these maxed out settings, my frame rate average was 31-33 or so which looked pretty good in the system test video, so then I started a single player game to see what happened in actual game play. It played just fine. It wasn't absolute PERFECTION, but very playable and very minimal choppiness in very busy, fast-moving action. My roommate was very impressed since it outperformed his 1 1/2 yr old full tower Dell XPS gaming rig even tho my MBP only has the LOW-END MBP card. No doubt, having the 256mb version of the 8600M GT would have added a few more frames and eliminated the tiny bit of choppiness that exists on the 128mb version.

    I realize there are more demanding games out there than F.E.A.R. but not many. If my LOW-END MBP can run it no problem essentially maxed out, then what do all you guys really have to complain about?

    It seems that Apples choice of video cards seem to be pretty capable of playing some relatively demanding games.
     
  2. kkat69 macrumors 68020

    kkat69

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    #2
    I personally don't have a single complaint about the cards themselves.

    My only complaint and I believe that of a few others in my situation (actually quite a few others) is the immature video card DRIVERS.

    Personally I'm like you. I'm a casual gamer. If I want hard core graphics I'll crank up my SLI water cooled windows box. But 95% of the time, my iMac is just fine for what I play.

    That being said, the drivers need to be fixed. Now I certainly nor do I ever claim to speak for anyone else. Others have different views on the cards and Apple's choice. I for one am just fine.
     
  3. illicium thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #3
    Can someone please tell me what the uproar is about with Mac vid cards? If I can do that on a base model MBP then whats the big problem with Mac vid cards?
     
  4. hankolerd macrumors 6502

    hankolerd

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    Seattle, WA
    #4
    Basically what Apple does is uses energy efficient vc's in their laptops and iMacs, and saves the higher end cards for their macpro's. The problem some people has with that, is generally when you build a gaming computer, you want something that will be able to play next years games fairly decently. While the mac vc line is not bad, it seems funny that they don't at least give you the option to upgrade to a high end card. But probably the reason they don't, is because alot of people would be upgrading to it because they want the best of everything, and then they would get frustrated when their laptop lasted for half the time of what they expected it too.
    So basically what it comes down to, is that Apple has good reason not to put in the high end vc's. But for serious gamers, it is a little disappointing. Though FEAR is a pretty graphic intensive game, their are many games beyond that my computer can not run well on even medium settings, Crysis, COD4, Dirt, UT3, I assume Gears of War, and pretty much any game that is going to be coming out over the next year.
    Though, I guess I have had my computer for just over a year now, and it just now started to not be able to run games at high settings, so when I really think about it, I guess it did exactly what it was supposed to do.:apple:


    EDIT: I think what alot of people don't realize, is that RAM plays a crucial part in gaming, and alot of people only get 1GB of RAM, and then complain that the VC's are too slow.
     
  5. kkat69 macrumors 68020

    kkat69

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    #5
    This is very true. Most windows users know this to be very true. A good example is people most of the time associate artifacts on the screen with vc problems. Though sometimes it's true, that's not always the case.

    Case and point, I will open 4 applications daily when I walk into my office, Visual Studio, Outlook, MS Project and Excel. Excel shows the most artifacts on the screen yet I knew through past experience it's not vc but memory. Once I got my memory upgrade it all went away.

    I'm not saying that's always the case but RAM DOES HELP when it comes to vc processing. Running 1g of RAM and complaining BF2142 runs like crap with a particular video card isn't exactly accurate.

    In the iMacs the cards are actually pretty well compliant with dx10 runtimes so they should be ok to run games for about a year or so. Maybe not at full res cranked up etc, but they'll run quite a bit, once the drivers get ironed out.

    MBP's, heck I dunno, I never consider a laptop to be a game machine, I don't care who makes it, alienware, dell, apple, etc. Graphic intensive games IMO are best left to desktops. That's just my opinion, it's not wrong or right, it's just how I feel. That's why I keep an SLI water cooled windows box if I want to run something with full graphics enabled, I can do so for the next couple of years. After that who knows what apple will offer.
     
  6. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    Dornbirn (Austria)
    #6
    actually the MBP card in base configuration is actually decent (actually the best you can get for a laptop)... the problem is that on the desktop side you have to get a mac pro or else you are screwed 1 year from now
    your MBP is nowhere near "low end" .. it's actually one of the better/best cards you can get for laptops .. which we sadly can't say about any desktop model .. especially on the consumer products

    that said FEAR is already 2 years old


    and believe it or not: some people want to play games 2 years from now with the computer they buy now

    point 2: apple keeps talking about their computers being a personal media hub: for a lot of people games are about as important as a media as music or videos is to others so they don't feel happy about it

    personaly note: when i joined this forum people were still talking about playing age of empires II and other games from that period
    now thanks to bootcamp people are actually talking about new games here

    edit: currently PC prices are dropping very fast (perhaps comparable to the phase 7 years ago) which means you can get a lot of good deals on the PC side currently which means many apple offers look quite bad (1TB in hard disks, 3gb ram, a 4 core cpu and gf8500 graphics card for less than 1000 euro ? or 500GB harddisk, 2 gb ram, 4 core cpu and a better graphics card for 800)
    apple has to upgrade it's hardware more frequently or at least finally think about that headless 1 CPU unit in the 1000-1500 range with replaceable desktop parts

    seriously if the same difference in hardware is there in 1-2 years when i buy a new PC i have to think hard about switching back...
    why does it have to be like today when for the price of 1 good gaming mac you can buy a cheap mac computer _and_ a decent gaming PC and not can be happy with one single computer
     
  7. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030

    Wild-Bill

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    #7
    Because Mac Video Cards are HORRIBLE...

    Apple's video card choices suck, plain and simple. :mad: Not only are the video cards in the iMacs underpowered, they have been isolated as the main reason for the freezing issue. I think the MBP got a decent break with the 8600gt, but it is by no means a screamer. The mini has older-than-dirt integrated GMA950, and the Mac Pro's video cards are almost three years old in some cases.

    The base video card in the Mac Pro (nVidia 7300GT) is 17 months old and pathetically underpowered. It's like putting a 2-cylinder engine in a Mustang.

    The x1900xt in the Mac Pro will be three years old this coming January. Some people had to have their cards replaced due to artifacting. Apple had Foxconn produce a revision 2 of the card that supposedly cut down on the artifacting.

    The Quadro FX 4500 is about two and a half years old (July 05) and has been superseded by several generations of professional-level graphics.

    Apple prefers cards that are quiet, and in doing so have and will regularly de-tune the cards to lower clock speeds so that fan speed can be kept to a minimum. Apple never takes into account graphics performance, or anything related to gaming, because quite frankly, His Steveness doesn't want you playing games on your Mac. He wants you to make edible garbage with iMovie 08 and post it to YouTube.

    Pouring salt in the wound, Apple charges outrageous prices for these video cards, when you build-to-order. Want to add a second 7300GT to your Mac Pro?? It will cost you $150.00, when it can be purchased RETAIL for $50.00 or less. How about the x1900xt?? $400.00 for that card, where (if you can even find it anymore) it costs $150 or less. Consider this: an nVidia 8800GTS that would literally spank the x1800xt costs about $250.00. So for an extra $150.00 you can have a three year old card. :rolleyes:

    They could have done so much better on the video card options in the iMac, but they wanted high margins and low noise. And they could have at least updated the Mac Pro's at least ONCE since its inception a year and three months ago. The Mac Pro has been virtually untouched since its inception.

    Apple has no grasp of video card technology, given their long history of poorly-performing and absurdly expensive graphics card choices.
     
  8. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

    Joined:
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    Murka
    #8
    Because there has to be something for people to complain about, apart from the iPhone, iPod Touch, lack of Mac Pro updates, the 'big hole in the lineup', whether or not the Mac mini is 'end of life', or why the iPod nano can't have a 2650x1600 resolution on it's 2" screen. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    Jan 18, 2005
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    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #9
    I'm happy with my iMac video card. I paid £600 a year ago, for a computer that can run HL2 in native resolutions and Team Fortress 2 with everything on full at 1440*900.

    For the price I was more than happy.

    I prefer the lower powered GPUs too. Since they cost less to run, run very quiet etc.
     
  10. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

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    Jun 15, 2004
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    Norway
    #10
    As far as i know the MBP is the only mac that has an up-to-date GFX card.
    The rest of the machines has usually had lowend cards.
     
  11. hankolerd macrumors 6502

    hankolerd

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    Seattle, WA
    #11
    X2

    This is exactly the reason I have decided not to buy one.:D:apple:
     
  12. contoursvt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    #12
    Agree 100%.

    The point is that I find most Apple users who have had Apple all their computing years are somehow shielded from what the benefits of a stronger video card. Saying "oh this is just fine by me, I'm happy" but not really experiencing anything else is like having dialup all your life and saying "this is fast enough, I dont need anymore because I dont use the internet for anything intensive...just email and basic surfing"

    Well if you DONT have the capability, you wont do anything else. Once you get your high speed and use it, try going back to dialup.

    Apple video cards = Dialup for users who have had PC's in the past. The choice of pathetic video cards may be fine for people that dont know any better but the ones that do are the ones that complain.

     
  13. socamx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    #13
    There is nothing wrong with the ATI HD2600 XT in the iMacs. It is up to date, DX10/OpenGL 2 compatible and performs fine.

    I think most complaints most mac users have with video cards come from the people who buy Macbooks and Mac Minis and expect superb 3D performance.

    I do agree though that the Mac Pro needs to come with a midrange card and not low-end by default.
     
  14. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
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    Minnesota
    #14
    Calling a current MBP "low-end" is ludicrous; even the original MBP with the X1600 and Core Duo is considered a decent laptop. Nobody complains about the 8600GT in the MBP, but try playing any first person shooter released in the last few years on the Macbook or Mini.

    The previous-generation 24" iMac with the 7600GT can play games, but its replacement with the Radeon HD 2600 is a downgrade, meaning that if you want to buy a Mac that plays high-end games on decent settings, you need to buy a Mac Pro (and a new video card) or a Macbook Pro. As an example, it literally costs thousands of dollars to play Oblivion with high settings on the Mac, but you could throw together a PC that will run Oblivion on high settings for like $500. Seriously.
     
  15. Mr.Pibb macrumors newbie

    Mr.Pibb

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    #15
    Honestly, there is no better video card at this point... except for maybe an nVidia Go 7950. The point is, nVidia slapped everybody in the face with their 8-series cards. The so called "mid-range" cards (8600's) should be performing at about 75% of the performance level of the 8800's and clearly, they are not! Secondly, the 8800's are over priced "Enter nVidia 8800 Ultra @ +$1000" :confused: Just as well with the 8800GTX's and the only decent performance/price card, the 8800GTS. ...And by the way ALL of these cards got horrible frame rates with the Crysis demo, aside from the single core bottleneck.

    If your an "Enthusiast" or "Hardcore" gamer, you should not be looking at a MacBook Pro in the first place. Not even the 17" models. The cards chosen in these laptops (and the iMacs) aren't meant for gamers, but more for those in the photo and video business. Hence why they also chose such a stable and reliable OS. Gamers should be choosing XP or Vista wholeheartedly, especially when all they do on their PC's is game, and browse the internet. You don't need to pay the premium for a machine when a PC at half the price will perform better for your games.

    On the brighter side, the 8600 is a fine performer for a laptop... and for a puny 15" or 17" screen. DirectX10 is very new and very unstable at this point, it's just the typical phase that all new things go through. In the future we will see DirectX10.1 which will be highly better optimized, and better price/performance cards such as the nVidia 8800GT and the ATi Radeon 3800. But for now, as a broke gamer myself I'm completely satisfied with my choice of the entry level MacBook Pro video card. When I'm not using it for paycheck related purposes, it just gives me that little tingly sensation when I'm "fragging" all the little whine-o teenagers who've spent millions of dollars (*hint* that was an exaggeration) on their 8800GTX ultra super cooled with dual exhaust and gas powered hydrogen rigs with my ...Mac!:apple:
     
  16. macjonny1 macrumors 6502a

    macjonny1

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    #16
    Those puny 17" screens on the MBP run at 1900x1200 for the hidef option. Screen size doesn't matter it's the resolution.
     
  17. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #17
    I too am a casual gamer, and the numbers you got on your machine would be acceptable for me.

    But remember that there is NOTHING low-end about your MBP...Apple's low-end laptop is the MacBook, and it is saddled with an underperforming integrated GPU. This would be fine if a better GPU was available as an option, but that is not the case. Here's a rundown of the GPU sitation at Apple as I see it.

    MacBook: integrated GMA 950 graphics suitable only for the casual gamer, poor performance in demanding games. Apple should offer a mid-range GPU as an option to boost performance.

    MacBook Pro:
    the Geforce 8600M GT is solid, though it is a midrange GPU. Overall it is sufficient for most gamers, and reflects Apple's philosophy of weighting battery life, small form factor and light weight over all-out performance.

    iMac:
    The base card, the Radeon HD 2400XT, is underpowered, but fine for non-gaming use, or the very casual gamer - however you do have an option of a more powerful card. Unfortunately for this Apple chose the Radeon HD 2600 PRO, which is rather average...because the GPU in this machine is probably never going to be upgradeable, this will cause the machine to have a shorter useful life where 3D apps are concerned. To a certain extent it isn't Apple's fault, because the current crop of midrange cards are not very good. I would like to see a better midrange or even a high-end card as an option.

    Mac Pro:
    Will be updated soon, so not particularly relevant. The GeForce 7300 series cards are not intended for gaming. Beyond this low-end GPU there are no midrange options, but there are high-end and workstation-class options. The Radeon X1900XT is a excellent gaming card, not as powerful as the latest and greatest stuff in the PC world, but it won't embarrass either. It should handle almost anything you throw at it. The Quadro FX4500 is very powerful, but not so powerful that it's worth the massive price...the X1900XT is currently the only true "gaming card" Apple offers.

    In sum, I think Apple should offer an optional midrange GPU in the MacBook and Mac Pro, and an optional high-end desktop-class card in the iMac, at least the 24".
     
  18. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #18
    thanks for summing it up better than i could

    after all apple could easily offer more frequent updates on their computers especially with the current speed of updates

    i simply don't get it why a 999 buck PC should be able to put a mac pro in base configuration (how much is that ? 2300 ? 2400 ?) to shame in terms of performance
    in the past there was the excuse "but one is x86 and the other is powerpc you can't compare" .. now you can .. and i'm still told to buy a second computer which i, as a customer (i have a mac mini btw), don't get.. after all i currently have 2 computers: a PC for gaming and printing and a mac for the rest.. and believe it or not it's totally annoying and space wasting

    paying 100-200 premium ok i could live with that .. but paying thousands is something completely different
    i have a 22" LCD screen ... so i have to choose between mac mini and mac pro in the apple line up.. so i'm stuck with either laptop parts or paying through the nose for a machine aimed at photoshop
     
  19. PMR macrumors 6502

    PMR

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    #19
    Finally! A guy who thinks like me!

    About the 8800GT in your sig...from what we are used to maybe they'll stick to the HD2900XT/Pro or the upcoming HD3xxx:rolleyes:
     
  20. PMR macrumors 6502

    PMR

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    #20
    That's no excuse to sell it at $400. For $230 you get a card which is at least 3 times faster.
     
  21. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #21
    True, but at least it's available. Remember also that we are talking about a card that is about to be EOL'd as the update for the Mac Pro is just around the corner.

    I've never said I was happy with the pricing on the Mac Pro cards...I have always wished Apple would do a deal with one of the big video card fabricators to market retail, dual platform cards with pricing similar to that seen in the PC world. It wouldn't be that difficult.

    This could be one reason to advocate the notion of a Mac mid tower - the increased volume of dual-platform video cards being sold would further justify offering 4-6 different models at retail stores.
     
  22. PMR macrumors 6502

    PMR

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    #22
    That wouldn't solve the prices problem either. They can manage to put the new 8800 , HD2900 or HD3xxx series, but by the next mac pro upgrade (maybe in a year), the cards would cost exactly the same as they cost now.

    Does Apple has nvidia and amd guys working 24/7 for them on gfx cards drivers? Or is internal Apple people? Because paying for driver work is not cheap. That's why the nvidia quadro and amd firegl are so expensive. The hardware is outdated though.
     
  23. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #23
    At the moment, probably yes, or at least they better have. **curses his freezing iMac***
     
  24. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #24
    Which is why I wish Apple followed the upgrade path of the video card industry more closely. As it stands today, Apple doesn't make enough video cards to price cut them the way PC vendors do, even though Apple's video cards are hardware identical to PC video cards. The difference is strictly in the firmware and drivers.

    If I recall correctly, Apple produces the drivers for all of its NVIDIA cards, while ATI writes the drivers for its own Mac products. Incidentally, ATI's drivers are usually better than Apple's NVIDIA drivers and get more out of the their cards than Apple does with the NVIDIA products.
     
  25. contoursvt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    #25
    If you're talking notebook parts then
    there is the 8600GT Go version which is considerably stronger than the vanilla 8600 Go. Also to assume the 8600 should be 75% the speed of the 8800 is insane. Its never ever been like that. The 7600GT was 50% of the performance of the 7900GTX at best. The 8600GTS is on par with my 7950GT. There is a giant difference between the 8600, 8600GT and 8600GTS.

    Anyway your prices are way WAY off

    8800 Ultra 768MB with a free game $629
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3094833&CatId=2513

    8800 GTX 768MB $529
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2887266&CatId=2513

    8800 GTS 640MB $389
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2717553&CatId=2514

    8800 GT 512MB with a free game $299
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3436163&CatId=1826


     

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