Why the nVidia GPU ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by whitedragon101, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. whitedragon101 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    When the rMBP came out I saw an nVidia 650m on the specs and thought. Its not bad and faster than the AMD6770 it replaces.

    BUT

    I only just looked this up. Hang on a second the Nvidia 650m is a 45w TDP chip. Apple have never put in a chip that hot before. For with a 45w heat budget they could have put in an AMD 7870m which is a much faster chip. Why did they choose nVidia ?
     
  2. Dark09 macrumors newbie

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    #2
    A few different reasons:

    1. The Enduro problems with ATI mobile chips and Intel graphics switching. Effects performance from what (maybe even battery life) I've heard with regard to windows laptops (not really sure if this would effect OSX).

    2. Cost. The 7870 is ATI's high-end mobile video card, and the Nvidia 650m is much inexpensive.

    3. I've seen benchmarks with regard to both high-end mobile gpu's (7870m vs 680m on youtube) and battery life is better on the 680m, which if thats the case the 650m will have even better battery life.

    Second Post ^_^.
     
  3. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Are you sure that was the 7870m ? I just searched on youtube and all I can find is 7970m vs 680m ? The 7970m has a tdp of around 100w.
     
  4. Dark09 macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Lol, you would be correct. I confused the two it would seem :-/.
     
  5. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    lol, no problem. All my hopes are with Nvidia Maxwell (2014).


    (and if they kill the standard MBP this year, a 17" retina . Pretty please apple ? )
     
  6. cirus macrumors 6502a

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    I doubt that the chip really uses 45 watts of power. Is the cmbp 15 with the 650m any hotter than the one with the 6770m? No.
     
  7. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #7
    I still don't understand why the nVidia GPU. Like you, the ATI alternative is much better. Furthermore, it is not about inexpensive when it comes to premium products.
     
  8. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

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    #8
    tdp is not the amount of the power that it consumes, but rather the amount of power it needs to be dissipated.

    and yes the 7870m is much more powerful than the 650m, and that would also benefit A LOT people that deal with openCL and GL apps, like graphical artists and so forth.
     
  9. Zeov macrumors 6502a

    Zeov

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    #9
    oh man.. if Apple make a 17" retina i will be spending a huge load of money on it..

    Especially if they throw in a sick GPU like 675 or something.. whatever works with heat and performance :)
     
  10. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #10
    Alternative theory:

    Apple swap from AMD to Nvidia from generation to generation to keep both hardware vendors on their toes and maintain stable drivers for both platforms.

    Thus, it will be easier to give one of them the finger if they try something stupid.


    Same reason OS X was running on x86 hardware for years before they ditched PPC, and also why they no doubt have ARM builds of OS X running internally already (they'd be stupid not to, along with ATOM builds of iOS). Have a plan B (and preferably plans C, D, and E).
     
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    Hmmm, quite possibly, but then again. Apple goes with the best GPU of the current generation between vendors. See the HD5000 and HD6000 generations in Apple products.

    Arguably the best GPU families in their time frames. What did nVidia have? The toaster-o-matic GTX400 series along with their nuclear power plant requirement to boot up.
     
  12. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #12
    Wasn't aware apple had ever used a best GPU... :D
     
  13. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #13
    Well, arguably, Apple at times falls behind in the GPU department (See Mac Pro GPU offerings)
     
  14. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #14
    CUDA helps, although I'm not sure that really drives Apple's decisions. It applies to a smaller portion of their market. I wouldn't ignore the reality that companies try to control costs. Labeling it a premium product doesn't change that. The 650m in the $1800 model came with less memory. They didn't use the 2.6ghz cpu by default even though they're both around the same price. You still pay extra. Apple like any company has their desired margins, which would influence choices. The only one I thought was really silly was the early 2011 base 15" with the 6490m. Putting a low end gpu in a machine of that price is silly.
     
  15. MacKid macrumors 6502

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    Apple has only ever used middle-of-the-high-end cards in its pro notebooks - or computers in general, really. None of the product lines have ever been on the bleeding edge of graphics hardware except the tower, for a few generations.

    I'm optimistic about the next generation of rMBPs all the same. They were confident enough to overclock the 650M in its first go-round, and the new cooling system is so good that it still doesn't throttle. Maybe they'll be more generous in this upcoming refresh.
     
  16. Ploki macrumors 68020

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    #16
    It all depends on TDP > battery life. They won't sacrifice battery life.

    anything aside 660GTX (650m in rMBP already performs as well as 660GTX, even better i believe?) consumes too much power.
     
  17. ybz90 macrumors 6502a

    ybz90

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    #17
    I don't know about this, but it's possible the GPU is downclocked. Apple has done that in the past. Either way, the thermal performance is clearly acceptable as is the battery life, so I guess Apple's design decisions and engineering teams are solid.
     
  18. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #18
    No, it's all about profit margins.
     
  19. leman macrumors 604

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    #19
    I guess the reasons are mostly pragmatic ones. Maybe Nvidia offered Apple a better deal, maybe API wasn't able to deliver the numbers of cards required, maybe Apple didn't want to write drivers for Kepler and the 7000 series.

    But yeah, I'd be happier about the 7870M in the MBP...


    The iMac begs to differ. Sure, it uses mobile GPUs... but the best in its class.
     
  20. Ploki macrumors 68020

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    As I said, 650m in rMBP is actually significantly overclocked.
    Downclocking a GTX 660 would probably hinder performance (Which is already worse than OC'd 650m), and the next in line (GTX670m) is 30% more consuming.
     
  21. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #21

    I fear these answers are closest to the truth. When the engineering doesn't add up I suspect there may be a business reason.
     
  22. cirus macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Gtx 660m is still more powerful than overclocked retina 650m.

    I have a laptop with a 660m and it runs at 950 core 2500 memory (because of boost function--but it always runs at that speed).

    Mr. MM.

    I was pointing out that the tdp is not the amount of power used and that it could be questionable to conclude that the 650m uses 45 watts. The 660m is suppoed to have a tdp or 65 watts. I doubt a small ~100 mhz boost in clock speed is going to require 20 watts. Actual power use is probably similar to the 6770m, given that thermals are very similar in the cmbp 15.
     
  23. bill-p macrumors 65832

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    #23
    Looking at it from a different angle, perhaps it's simply because nVidia drivers are much better than ATI?

    My 2011 MBP had a lot of drivers problems under Bootcamp. Since I don't run many 3D-intensive applications under OSX, I don't know how much worse it is, but the 650M in my rMBP is much better than the crap I had to deal with using the ATI graphics in Bootcamp.

    They seriously need to get their drivers in check on the Windows side.
     
  24. Ploki macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Seems your GTX 660m is clocked a bit higher as well though.
    Stock core speed is supposed to be a tad below 900mhz, while 650m in the rMBP is clocked @900mhz.

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/gam...2830-so-nvidia-gt-650m-gtx-660m-confused.html

    That's not to say that 660m isn't better, but that 650m setup as in rMBP is a very decent card not falling far behind 660m, so it boils down to implementation i guess...

    Considering the thermals Apple would probably also run 660m higher than usual (probably at frequencies you specified)
     
  25. cirus macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Every 660m I'm aware of runs at 950 core (through boost)

    [​IMG]
     

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