Will we ever be able to use both GPUs in the new Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by EmSeta, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. EmSeta macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    I'm slightly disappointed in the new MBPs performance, and I'm curious about GeForce Boost mode (Boot Camp), and OpenCL (Snow Leopard)

    GeForce Boost already works on several other laptops with Nvidia cards. However, there have been complaints about the MBP already running too hot in Windows. Would activating both GPUs overheat the poor thing? Or could it be solved by forcibly maxing out the fans? Nvidia recently released new drivers, but I take it they don't add any support.

    Will OpenCL in Snow Leopard be able to take advantage of both GPUs, or is that also going to be a cooling issue?
  2. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Okay, I'm no fanboi, but how are you disappointed in the MBP's performance? Do you have the 256 or 512 video card?

    I mean, the prior MBP's were rated as the fastest windows laptops recently, weren't they? I don't mean to dismiss your concerns out of hand, and sometimes apple seems to put a premium of style instead of maximum performance. As much as I like their sleek, slim aluminum designs, I wonder if they could sometimes be to the detriment of maximum performance. ("Well, we could put in this bada$$ card, but it might cause the machine to overheat, that would require an extra fan, and we'd have to make the case bigger...")

    Let's face it, a laptop will never have true desktop performance. It used to be the rule that a portable would be twice the price, and have half the performance of, a decent desktop computer. The gap has narrowed considerably, but I don't think it will ever be closed.

    But I've been reading threads theorizing that the new OS may allow both cards to run at once in the MBP. I'm just wondering if it will make a true difference to anyone other than a gamer. Or if the machine may get too hot or sound like a g5 powermac (windtunnel).
  3. EmSeta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    I wanted to play Crysis on high. Or at least medium. I have the 512 version.
  4. jamestemroot macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2007
    this was revealed as possible by nvidia, however its up to apple to release the firmware updates that allow this.
  5. dark knight macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2008
    i hope so, but...

    of course i hope that automatic switching between the two or even simultaneous use comes around but have you ever seen
    1: the battery time remaining,
    2:how much heat is given off

    simply by using the 9600 on its own. imagine the battery stress and heat with both being used.

    its a fond hope that one of the cards will be able to somehow process information in order to help the other one. just keep the mains plugged in and the fans on!
  6. EmSeta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    If Nvidia would support a GeForce Boost between the 9600M GT and 9400M in their regular drivers, wouldn't the MPB be able to do it too? It could even be made possible in third party drivers. Sadly it seems like the Omega Driver project is dead.

    And isn't part of the point of OpenCL to distribute processing between multiple GPUs and CPUs?
  7. cg165 macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
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    I have the 9600m gt 512mb in my mbp and can play crysis on a mix of medium and high. Are you rebooting and going to windows through bootcamp? Don't use fusion or parallels for games. What version of windows are you using? I'm using vista ultimate 64 bit and also play crysis on directx 10. Plays and looks great. I've posted all of my settings in another post.
  8. EmSeta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    Really? I played Crysis Warhead (that's supposed to be more optimized) on Vista 32 bit and had to resort to a blend of low and medium to even be able to aim at enemies.
  9. Hydroxs macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2008
    If you want to play it on high, run it at a lower resolution.
  10. hari-bhari macrumors regular

    Jul 4, 2007
    i had dinner with steve last night. he said its a definite maybe.
  11. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    OpenCL offloads processing to GPU, therefore, if you have processing stealing GPU power, your graphic performance won't be any better. Plus, OpenCL is only for Snow Leopard so once you boot into Vista, you lose it.

    I played Crysis Warhead on my Penryn MacBook Pro w/ Medium @ 1440x900 and it was playable (25 fps at least)
  12. six.four macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2008
    adjust your shaders - they are the most taxing to your framerates.

    There's a video on youtube of someone with a unibody 2.5 that runs everything @ high (except shaders and shadows - low) at 1440x900 and averages about 40-50 FPS.

    youtube video

    Admittedly, shaders at low looks kinda crappy, but you can't argue with 40-50FPS.

    My merom MBP (2.4ghz, 8600gt 256mb, 4gb) gets around 30-40 FPS on the same settings.
  13. cg165 macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
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    Something is wrong then. That sounds like you aren't running it from bootcamp. How are you running windows? You should be reatarting your computer and holding in the option key and selecting windows.
  14. cg165 macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
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    Ok I found my post. It's the very last one where I give every crysis setting which works great for me.
    (unibody 2.53ghz mbp 320gb 7200 rpm hard drive, 4gb ram 9600m gt 512mb)


    Try those settings on bootcamp. Also uninstall the default nvidia drivers, restart and download the drivers I posted, restart and try all of those settings. Run your games in windows if you have the choice.
  15. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    You're joking rite?
  16. EmSeta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    I'm not dense. :)

    Thanks for the suggestions on settings/drivers. Gonna try it right away.
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    This has been discussed when the new MacBook Pro was released: This "GeForce Boost" cannot possibly do anything useful with two graphics cards running at different speeds.

    OpenCL is not available now. When it is available, it will be able to distribute processing between different GPUs and CPUs. It will not be able to distribute 3D game rendering in a useful way. That is because the time needed for rendering a single image is quite unpredictable, and if you were to distribute a single image to two graphics cards, you would always have to wait until the slower one is finished.
  18. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Most current DESKTOP CARDS cannot play Crysis or Crysis Warhead on high quality with high resolution with a reasonable frame rate.

    And no, Vista 32 is not great.

    There is some performance gain with Vista 64bit with Crysis. You also need 4gb of ram and 7200rpm drive for better experience. You also should have the 512mb graphics card. Also, update the graphics driver.

    FYI, any gain with the less powerful graphics chip in SLI would be minimal.
  19. duffyanneal macrumors 6502a


    Feb 5, 2008
    Ha, I just read an article about the fastest desktop available (Nehalem core). It could only do 60 FPS with everything set to high.
  20. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
  21. cg165 macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
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    heh, I didn't post that to say you were. I just wanted to cover all the possibilities. Some people don't know that, and since you never answered my questions I just threw that out there.

    Anyways, shaders and shadows I think affect the game a lot both in looks and in how well it runs. Don't forget it's the most demanding game out there, but you should have the same results I did. Let me know your results.
  22. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Don't forget that this is a *notebook* you're talking about. Running both may cause quite the heat issue. If you can't get whatever you need out of the better GPU, you need a desktop computer.
  23. David the Gnome macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2008
    Trying to run Crysis on high on a notebook isn't the best idea in the world and Apple definitely doesn't make the most powerful notebook in the industry. There are plenty of performance manufacturers who make laptops with desktop processors and more powerful video cards, even SLI video cards, which could do what you're asking but not for more than 30 mins - 1 hour on battery life. You need a desktop if you're serious about gaming. Falcon Norhwest can make you a laptop with a 3.0GHz Intel Core 2 Quad with dual 9800 GTX's in SLI; it'll cost you a hell of a lot of money but it'll eat up Crysis. Short of that, no 9600 is going to cut it.
  24. six.four macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2008

    Suggestion 3 is wrong. Try tweaking your settings individually. Turning your shaders + shadows to high will slow your FPS to a crawl - regardless of what your other settings are. Your shaders is what makes the largest difference in your frames per second achieved. Turning it way up only makes the game look marginally better, but takes a HUGE toll on the playability.
  25. cg165 macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    My crysis settings

    This is from my other thread:

    Here are the crysis settings that I just used which worked great for me. I'm using vista ultimate 64 bit and played on directx 10.

    Resolution: 1280x720
    AA: off
    Full screen

    Texture: High
    Objects: Medium
    Shadows: Medium
    Physics: High
    Shaders: Medium

    Volumetrics effects: Medium
    Game effects: High
    Post Proc: High
    Particles: High
    Water: Medium
    Sound: Medium

    I'm also using drivers 176.54 from www.laptopvideo2go.com

    I suggest those drivers (in general) and settings for crysis. I just played crysis with those and team fortress 2 without any problems! FINALLY, THOSE DRIVERS DID IT FOR ME! I hope that helps someone else...

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