Why did Apple put a Mobile Graphics Card on the iMac?!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by iAppleseed, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. iAppleseed macrumors regular

    May 11, 2011
    I asked someone what he thinks of the iMac's Graphics Card (Without saying it's on an iMac) then he said it's probably a laptop.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Due to power consumption and heat generation, the iMacs use mobile GPUs, as those consume less power and generate and radiate less heat. A desktop GPU is also a wee bit bigger than its mobile counterpart, and the iMac does not have that much room.
  3. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Well, just have a look at your average high-end desktop GPU. Its heatsink alone is thicker than an iMac. How are you going to put something like that inside iMac's case?

    I often have an impression that people think of Apple as that big, evil company which tries to milk money out of consumers by trying to sell them overpriced crappy hardware. To some extent, this is true (RAM/HDD prices). But more often than not, Apple is bound by the existing technological progress. If their goal is to build a thin, light, functional all-in-one, they have to use components which are suitable for that task. Believe me, Apple would be more than happy to put a desktop class GPU in the iMac, just because desktop GPUs are MUCH cheaper than mobile GPUs — but there would be no way to cool that thing down. With these kinds of design, thermal engineering is the most important thing, or you will end like Lenovo, with their all-in-one computers suddenly bursting in flames.
  4. Johnf1285 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 25, 2010
    New Jersey
    Not to mention that a desktop GPU is designed to be used in an ATX/BTX style case in a typical PCIe slot. The mobile GPU makes perfect sense for the iMac.
  5. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Columbus, OH
  6. Graeme43, Mar 26, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012

    Graeme43 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2006
    Great Britain (Glasgow)
  7. drambuie macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2010
    There's also the matter of the large capacity power supply to provide the hundreds of watts required by a desktop GPU when under full gaming load.
  8. dwarnecke11 macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2009
    Why? So it doesn't catch fire!

    Seriously, mobile GPUs these days are pretty powerful for the power they draw...
  9. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    Five to twelve volts at Hundreds of Watts - WOW! Unbelievable!
  10. iAppleseed thread starter macrumors regular

    May 11, 2011
    Well, at least put two of them then.
  11. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Why not five? :rolleyes:
  12. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
  13. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    Usually when you see people with high-end systems, you'd expect them to know a thing or two about computers. Here it seems that this isn't the case...

    Heat and size, as everybody else has said. And what's wrong with a mobile GPU exactly? It's not about the form factor or anything like that, it's about the performance. And in the case of the current top-end iMac, the performance is pretty darn good for an all-in-one, actually. More to my previous point, it's quicker than your graphics card in your Mac Pro.
  14. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    It does use a mobile video card, which is fine for what I use my iMac for. Its an example of form factor/looks over performance. And if thats what your after its fine. Not really powerful enough for my needs at work, but for most people its fine.

    Plus its a super thin all in one, do you really expect them to stuff multiple desktop GPUs in there?
  15. G4DP macrumors 65816

    Mar 28, 2007
    The muppets are out in force again I see. Down voting what is actually a decent question.

    Heat and size.

    The form and look was just as if not more important than over all performance. When for a little bit more you could get a Mac Pro, or at the lower end a Mac Mini.

    The same reason they use mobile variants of the CPU's. An iMac is a top of the range laptop with a stand at its most basic. Nothing wrong with it, many people seem happy with what the iMacs can offer.
  16. Gloops macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2009
    I really wish Apple would make a Mac miniTower. The Mac Pro is too much [money] for my needs and the iMac isn't really enough. I'd settle for the guts of the iMac in a case with an easily accessible HDD and a desktop GPU. The Performa came in both all-in-one and tower versions.
  17. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Have you seen how big a desktop graphics card is? It won't fit.


    The iMac uses desktop CPUs.
  18. chibiterasu macrumors 6502


    Apr 5, 2012
    London, The United Kingdom
    It sure won't and don't hate on apple here, I have a sony Vaio VGC-LN2M (great name right) pic below, its an all in one and has a mobile Core 2 Duo as well as an Nvidia 9300M (which is a mobile graphics cars incase you couldn't guess what the M stood for) its the price you pay for an all in one design.

    Attached Files:

  19. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The top-end iMac has both a faster CPU and a faster GPU than the basic Mac Pro, while being cheaper and including the monitor.

    So what is your point, again?
  20. chibiterasu macrumors 6502


    Apr 5, 2012
    London, The United Kingdom
    The Mac Pro's ability to throw multiple processing streams at CPU-intensive tasks e.g what a work station does. The Mac Pro has more pure CPU-based number crunching power than the iMac 27-inch but the iMac 27-inch is faster at day-to-day tasks that use other components like the hard drive and graphics. Thats why a iMac is a consumer product and a Mac pro is a professional workstation system. Hence i for consumer and pro for professional. Oh and the Mac pro is upgradeable and not just the ram and hard drive.
  21. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    No it is not. The i7-2600 CPU in the iMac is significantly faster than the W3530 in the Mac Pro, period. Both in single-processing and multi-processing environment.

    Of course there are valid reasons why the Mac Pro is more expensive, and you listed some of them. But that is not the point. I am not trying to insult the Mac Pro. I was simply answering to this G4DP character who seems to suggest that the iMac is 'looks only' and uses slower components.
  22. chibiterasu macrumors 6502


    Apr 5, 2012
    London, The United Kingdom
    Oh you talking about the build to order option I was talking about the base top end but then really are getting close to a mac pro in price. Yer the iMac has some physical design constraints e.g there's no box on the floor and most people don't want a box. They want something that can do everything they need to run there business and still look good and the iMac covers both perfectly especially the top end as you said.
  23. thekev, Jun 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012

    thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    At least attempt to be accurate. I'm not sure about the lower imacs. The gpu in the top imac isn't exactly cheap. It's probably more expensive than than the 5770. The 6970m would typically be found in gaming laptops, so there is a bit of overlap there with desktop gpus. The 6770m and the 6750m in the lower ones are a little bleh, but this is not significantly cheaper than using a desktop gpu. If you don't believe me, look at macbook pro cpus and their launch pricing.

    This is the cto version in the 15" and 17" macbook pros. The cheaper one is suggested at $378.

    This is used in the cheapest mac pro, and don't give me the argument that big aluminum cases are expensive to build. They're no more labor intensive than using machined cases for the macbook airs.

    The point is that you don't use mobile parts specifically to cut costs. Now if we're going to look at money, they do lock in a high minimum sale from an imac. If it was just as easy to use a modest desktop gpu, they would already be using one to cut costs.

    Even HP's Z1 was using Quadro M options. It's fully possible that we'll see a real trend toward performance per watt that will eventually make these somewhat more convergent. I don't know how fast gaming needs are growing though.
  24. 0000757 macrumors 68040

    Dec 16, 2011
    Pretty much every All-In-One that has a dedicated graphics card uses a mobile graphics card. If they don't do that then they're using whatever integrated graphics processor came on the motherboard.

    I also agree with the person who posted about a Mac Pro Mini-like tower. That would be great for people who need more than a Mac Mini or iMac but less than a Mac Pro.

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