Why is Apple not using current graphics hardware?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by w00t951, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Has anyone else been dissatisfied with the current Macbook Pro's graphics hardware? Don't get me wrong, I respect that Apple is planning its computer performance around the average Mac OS X user, but I believe that a computer with an astronomical price tag should have an equally astronomical performance rating. The CPUs finally got their long-needed update, along with the graphics cards. However, with a little research, I have discovered that the NVIDIA 9600M GT, shipped with the older Unibody Macbook Pros, were introduced in June/July of 2008. The Macbook Pros were released in November. This makes the 9600 a competitive, relatively high performance graphics card at the time of its release. However, the NVIDIA GT 330M cards that are shipped with the 2010 Macbook Pros are not that up to date. The card's architecture is based around the NVIDIA 200M series, which were introduced along with the previous generation of graphics hardware. Is anyone else hoping that Apple will include an option for a very powerful NVIDIA card with the next update? Something like the Geforce GT 280M graphics card?
  2. magallanes macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2008
    South of Jurassic Park
    Welcome to the Apple world.
  3. JoshGlzBrk macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2009
    The way I see it is Apple is not targeting hard core gamers. They are targeting the mainstream consumer who just wants something that works. Something that has long battery life, great build quality meaning it will last a long time, and a great operating system that is free of almost all of the troubles that windows brings with it.

    So if you really want to run the latest games at their maximum settings a macbook is really not the place to be looking. However if you are looking for a computer to use for almost anything else it will suffice.
  4. ozreth macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2009
    Not to mention you CAN play a LOT of games on good settings with the higher end models. So it all works out in the end : )
  5. magallanes macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2008
    South of Jurassic Park
    It is a pity excuse (from part of Apple) to say than the macbook/pro is not featuring a top-notch video card because they don't designed it as a gaming console. Currently the GPU is utilized not only for videogames but also for several other programs.
  6. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    But for the price of a macbook pro, there are plenty of notebooks that will run circles around a iMac i7 in gaming ;) ( don't even start on the MBP. A cheapo <$1000 notebook will outperform a i7 MBP in gaming with a pretty big margin )

    You shouldn't buy a Mac for gaming imo.
  7. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2009
    MacBook Pros are 1" thick. All the laptops I've seen with powerful GPUs have been thicker. Hell, almost ALL other laptops I've seen have been thicker (excluding taper).
  8. RubenTheys macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2010
    I thought that was where the normal Macbooks are there for. A laptop with PRO in its name shouldn't be targeted at consumers but prosumers or higher. One half of the MacBook Pro family is currently failing to live up to that name. The other half is way to pricey for what it's offering.
  9. gent11 macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2010
    PRO does not mean for gaming, thats for sure...
    Although, personally I would agree with you, 330M is a disappointment. On the other hand, there should have been a good reason why apple did not go with the current graphic cards... My mid 2007 macbook pro died after 2 years, because of nvidia (luckily I had apple care), so I would really have something a bit older but reliable in this case.
  10. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    At 75W, the 280M is simply a no go.

    The 330M and 9600M GT both have a TDP of 23W, so that must be the limit Apple has set for the GPU in the unibody design. Things like heat, fan noise, and battery life are obvious considerations. If someone can find a GPU with substantially better performance that draws equal to or less than 23W, please post it.
  11. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    It's not hard to find one. An ATI 5650 for example. Alot less power and more performance.
  12. aibo82 macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2010
    I know the GT330 is an older GPU but dont the Sony Vaio Z use this but with 1gb Graphics memory and isnt that not a current laptop?

    All said and done the Vaio z comes out at £1959
    Intel® Core(TM) i7 Processor 2.66Ghz
    Genuine Windows® 7 Professional
    128 GB Ultra SATA Flash SSD
    4 GB 1066MHz DDR3-SDRAM
    DVD disc drive
    33.3 cm LCD, 1920x1080, webcam
    No Wireless WAN
    No Fingerprint and no TPM
    Battery life up to 6.5 hours (top end battery)
    No headphones
    3 USB Ports
    NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M 1GB

    And for the same in a Macbook pro equivalent £2039
    2.66GHz Intel Core i7
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    128GB Solid State Drive
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    MacBook Pro 15-inch Hi-Res Glossy Widescreen Display
    Backlit Keyboard (British) & User's Guide (English)

    So thats an £80 difference for a larger screen solid design multi-touch and MacOS

    The only thing thats sony has over that is weight,size and 512mb more of GPU memory but the battery life sucks and the wedge design of sony vaios is ugly! and thats a current laptop!
  13. bigjobby macrumors 65816

    Apr 7, 2010
    London, UK
    I wouldn't classify those who actually do serious work on their MBP as 'mainstream consumers' and I wouldn't like to think that PRO is short for 'pro-gamer' either. There is no doubting there are alot of other laptops that can outperform the MBP in this department and at a lower lost.

    My reasoning for Apple charging a premium for their units are based upon overall performance, usability, build quality, reliability, longevity, after sales service, innovation etc etc. In my eyes the MBP is like a 'work of art' both aesthetically and under the hood and unfortunately 'works of art' does not come cheap in any shape or form.

    Other manufacturers generally have to use higher specs to market their product. Apple doesn't.
  14. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2009
    I didn't double check your TDP number, but it's possible that ATI couldn't guarantee enough supply in order to be considered for the spot. Or a whole host of other bureaucratic issues...
  15. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    Nvidia doesn't have anything newer for mobile, even their latest desktop cards are pretty much failures that put out lots of heat.

    So in this case Nvidia most likely simply either had a deal with Apple already or made a better offer than ATI.
  16. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    The 9600m GT was outdated when it was added to the MBPs.
    The 9600m GT was basically a rebranded 8600m GT and offered at best a 10% speed increase. The 8600m GT was introduced in MBPs May 2007, and was at that time very decent hardware.

    I guess you know very little about hardware since you are mentioning the 280M card, which is alone thicker than the Macbook Pro and uses and uses 75 watt, which would give a macbook pro 1 hours battery life.
    The 280M was introduced 02.03.2009 and is well over a year old and is built in 55nm technology. The 330M is based on 240M which is a much newer design built on 40nm technology.

    I can agree on the part that apple should use better graphic cards, at least as an option.
    Still the card must be in 25-30 watt range (the 330M is about 20w) which would make the Ati HD5830 the far best card that can be fitted without a complete redesign of the MBP.
  17. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    The Mobility 5650 is nothing substantial or awe inspiring versus the 330M in the world of Mac gaming (OpenGL), and Apple has no incentive to build a windows gaming machine.
  18. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    This is not about a comparison of money... it is about getting current GPUs for MacBook Pros. ATI has a bunch of great graphics that use very little energy. In Nvidia Apple could have gone at least to 335 GT with 1 GB VRAM.

    All the MacBook Pro users want is to be able to buy whatever they want. Add all of the BTO options like the Sony Vaio Z user gets. How about give MBP buyers the option of paying $500 more for BluRay, or $50 for USB 3.0, or $100 for an HD display on the 13" MBP, or even a dedicated GPU on the 13" MBP if it's sold without an optical drive for space for installing and cooling the dedicated GPU.
  19. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    Arrandale does not support USB 3.0, besides Light Peak is twice as fast.

    Rumors of Apple adding Blu-Ray drives to its computers (even as a BTO) have been around for at least 4 or 5 years. If they were gonna do it, they probably would have a long time ago. Sony seems to be the real spearhead for Blu-Ray, and I just don't think Apple really cares.

    If Apple were to add a discrete GPU to the C2D 13" MBP, it probably would just be the 330M, but the price would go up to near the i5 models that already have said GPU.

    The 13" MBP already has a HD display. Its called 720p.
  20. Little Endian macrumors 6502a

    Apr 9, 2003
    I'll Pass on this MBP update

    Here are some nice REAL world benchmarks on the new core i5 & i7 MBPs.



    In short, the new MBPs are faster in CPU performance but I would hardly call it impressive compared to the last MBP. The gaming performance increase is negligible at best compared to the old Core 2 Duo 9600M GT combo. The 330M is the obvious bottleneck in performance as I was hoping to see at least similar performance increases that were in line with CPU performance. Albeit gaming performance is still better than the last generation in almost every scenario, just not as good as it could be considering the rest of the hardware.

    Other than the nice battery life increase and higher resolution option on the 15" I see no good reason why someone would be compelled to upgrade from an older unibody MBP just yet. I will personally wait for the next revision.

    But hey if you are upgrading from an original base model unibody MBP or older it may be a nice time to upgrade
  21. mac2x macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2009
    My view on graphics: The cards Apple supplies are almost always good enough for me (as an ordinary user and non hardcore gamer). If you want insane graphics, you should spend the $800 or so it takes to build a really nice dedicated gaming PC from scratch, because if you really care that much you probably are more than capable of doing so. ;)
  22. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    When has Apple ever used current graphics in any computer they have made? I can't recall. Yes, it's annoying, especially how they jack the price up on old tech, but its one of those things you just have to resign yourself to as a Mac user. With market share increasing I see no motivation on Apple's part to change this tradition.
  23. ramzhh macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2010
    Oh, please tell me, who said the "Pro" meant "Pro-gaming"? Since when are Macs sold as gaming computers?
    For almost anyone that isn't a gamer, the MacBook Pro lives up to it's name.
  24. tdream macrumors 65816

    Jan 15, 2009
    Cost and heat.

    Macbooks are nothing more than glorified browsing devices. Got back to the old Windows 7 8 Core i7 920, downloading stuff in the background, compressing Avatar down to iPad format, gaming Modern Warfare 2 highest graphic fidelty 4xAA, and web browsing including flash pages all at the same time and not missing a beat.
  25. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    Apple made the mistake to stay with Nvidia ... they have been recycling GPU's for years now, and are starting to fall short to AMD/ATI. I would really like to see Apple to make a return to AMD/ATI GPU's in the next refresh.

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