Will graphics/web work benefit from 512MB video RAM (9600GT)?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by shred, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. shred macrumors newbie

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    Jul 8, 2009
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I'm looking for a clear answer as to whether I would see any benefit to have the 9600GT (512MB) on for graphics (e.g. Photoshop) and web development work.

    I don't really do any gaming, so I'm looking to see what the differences (e.g. benchmarks) are to having the 9600GT (512MB) on vs. the 9400 (256MB).

    If there isn't any benefit to having the 9600GT on, then will I conserve battery life by running the 9400 (256MB) full-time? And if so, how much of a battery life increase will I expect to see?

    Edit: Also, what about in regard to have the MBP connected to an external (e.g. 22" Dell 2209WA) monitor? Will it make a difference as to which card I'm using?

    Basically, I'm wondering if there's any benefit to having the 9600GT on if I'm not gaming.


    Thank you!
     
  2. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816

    sporadicMotion

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    #2
    You really won't notice any difference for those purposes. There is some debate when it comes to gaming, but for those... no.

    Realize that Photoshop doesn't REALLY use the GPU for anything other than zoom and rotate... the rest is CPU driven.
     
  3. pcwiz macrumors member

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    May 28, 2008
    #3
    If you are not gaming then the 9400M should work just fine. I have a 256MB 9600M GT and a 9400M in my MBP and I never use the 9600 on OS X. It will work fine for your needs, and it runs most older games well and newer games adequately.
     
  4. shred thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Also, what about the upcoming Snow Leopard OS? Will that take more advantage of the 9600GT (512MB)?

    What's the potential gain in battery life from running 9400M (256MB) instead of the 9600GT (512MB)?
     
  5. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816

    sporadicMotion

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    #5
    there's about an hour and a half difference from my experience. SL won't REALLY see much of a difference. I went from a 512 to a 256 (both 2.66 uMBP - previous and current gen) and there has been no noticeable difference.
     
  6. m85476585 macrumors 65816

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    #6
    SL will mainly just make it possible for more apps to use the GPU. We will have to wait for companies to actually develop them first (aside from any improvements in Apple apps).

    How do you like the 2209WA? I was looking at it for a while, then Dell ran out of them and I had to order mine from eBay for $300. I'm hoping it will be worth it; it should be here on Thursday.
     
  7. shred thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Love the 2209WA -- it's a fantastic monitor!

    Does anyone have any benchmarks of the 9600GT vs. 9400M in a MBP?

    If there's absolutely no advantage whatsoever to having it on (unless I'm playing games), then why ever use it?

    Just wanting to make sure before I bite the bullet. Also, looking towards the future and forward compatibility.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #8
    I'm not noticing too much of a difference between the 9400 and the 9600 and to be honest I'm on the 9400 99% of the time. The heat and lack of difference is the main driving force. I use Aperture quite a lot and that relies very heavily on the GPU and I was surprised at how well the 9400 handled that

    Here's some xbench numbers for you
    the 9400 GPU
    [​IMG]

    The 9600 GPU
    [​IMG]
     
  9. shred thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 8, 2009
    #9
    A very compelling argument for the 9400M -- I appreciate you posting those benchmarks.

    Anyone think the 9600GT will have an advantage once Snow Leopard comes around? Perhaps there's nothing really out there from an OS perspective to take advantage of 512MB video memory?

    Seems like the benefits of lower heat and longer battery life outweigh the negligible (<3%) performance increase seen by the 9600GT in graphic design applications (e.g. Photoshop).
     
  10. shred thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    I'm reading in this thread that the 9600GT (512MB) is advantageous when running an external monitor setup (as is my case).

    Bare in mind that the evidence is anecdotal.

     
  11. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    Location:
    NYC
    #11
    I almost never switch to the 9600M; I even drive a 30" display and my built-in monitor at the time and 9400M is smooth as butter. I really haven't found a need to switch to the 9600M intentionally. I do suppose I could open may more windows in Photoshop CS4 with the 9600M, but I'm content with working on 6 pictures at a time (yes if you want to open more, you need the 9600M—well at least if you want more than 6 windows with OpenGL effects).

    The 9600M also does not work very well when playing videos probably because the OS X drivers suck and cannot use the PureVideo HD decoder in the 9400M.

    Again I would point out the 9400M is sufficient for almost everything I do which is a lot; it's only when I play the occasional game that I use the 9600M and that's only because Windows doesn't give me a choice.

    Here is my 9400M; the score is actually higher than the 9600M of maflynn's.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Snowbound macrumors regular

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    May 19, 2008
    #12
    What about video chat? Would it matter for that?
     
  13. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816

    sporadicMotion

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    #13
    This benchmark is useless for the record... the software is too old and is not going to give a real idea of the the power difference between the 9400 and 9600. DO NOT base off this thing... seriously.
     
  14. shred thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Still looking for more input on this issue. This seems to be something that concerns a lot of people.

    I honestly wonder what the final verdict about the benefits (if any) of the 9600GT over the 9400M are.
     
  15. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816

    sporadicMotion

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    #15
    Seriously, don't worry about it. For what you're doing, a very basic card will do.
     
  16. shred thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    sporadic,

    I appreciate your advice and I'm sure you're right.

    I'm really just looking to find some objective evidence (up-to-date benchmarks) comparing the 9400M and 9600GT on the MBP.

    I'm a photographer and web developer -- so I can do some pretty intensive photo editing and graphic design.

    Just looking to find out what scenario (better battery life vs. performance gains (if any)).

    Thanks for your help so far though!
     
  17. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816

    sporadicMotion

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    #17
    If you're using aperture... then get the 9600m GT but do not worry about the memory. I find aperture to be frustrating when using the 9400m. The battery loses out by about an hour under the 9600m GT under standard tasks but it only lasts about 3 hours under a photographers work load. No the 512 won't make one damn iota of difference for you but you'll be annoyed if you're purely using the 9400m and have a heavy photographic workload. As for web development... really... you could do that on a 2 year old computer with minimal hardware. Do more research away from this tainted site too though. This is fact and I'm speaking from experience and doing the same research you're trying to do. I've also owned machines with each card.
     
  18. shred thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    I always have the screen brightness all the way, so I'm averaging around ~4-5 hours of battery life on the 9600GT while doing graphics/web work. I switched to the 9400M today and haven't really noticed much of a difference -- battery life or otherwise.

    It's just frustrating when you've got a more powerful card (512MB 9600GT) in your system and you're not even utilizing it, ya know? Maybe it's a subconscious thing -- but I've read reports of people noticing OSX speed differences between the two cards.
     
  19. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 9, 2008
    #19
    There's no performance increase. And realize that frame buffer size (amount of RAM) doesn't matter at all except in games, and even then it's only a factor if you run out.

    You could have no video circuitry and still run those things just as fast.

    No, Snow Leopard still won't make Photoshop faster on a faster video card.
     
  20. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816

    sporadicMotion

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    #20
    Yeah, you really don't get to take advantage of it unless you're using a GPU app like aperture. The only reason I really care about the 9600m GT is the odd time I load a game.
     
  21. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #21
    You do graphics work with the brightness all the way down? Seems like a bad idea since you are losing a huge load of detail with the brightness so low. I would never do graphics work with the brightness below 80%, it starts to lose detail really fast, the contrast ratio plummets like a rock.
     
  22. shred thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Brightness is at 100% at all times. Screen adjustment for ambient light is set to OFF. ;)
     
  23. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816

    sporadicMotion

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    #23
    Yeah, I can't stand doing anything graphical unless I'm at least at 80%.
     
  24. shred thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 8, 2009
    #24
    I have a color profile set for the 9600GT. Now that I've switched to the 9400M, I wonder if I need a color profile (calibration) specifically for that card or if I can just use the same one as the 9600GT?
     
  25. Philflow macrumors 65816

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    May 7, 2008
    #25
    This is what I believe too. 9400 will do fine.
     

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