Will we ever see a dGPU in a 13in Macbook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mac.User, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. Mac.User macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2013
    Personally I love and prefer the size of the 13in MacBook Pro, but due to my work I need a dGPU, also I occasionally game.

    Do you guys think we will ever see a dGPU option on a 13in MacBook?
  2. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    Not in the current scenario where integrated GPUs perform almost the same as dGPUs which equip high-end Macbooks. The last 13" Macbook equipped with a dGPU (although with shared RAM) was the 2010 13" one which had a built-in Geforce 320M.

    Later, Intel applied some restrictions over 3rd-party chipsets. In the meantime, Intel was capable to evolve at the point of providing iGPUs almost as good as shared mem nVidia/AMD dGPUs. The current scenario is that nVidia and AMD must provide some kind of revolutionary architecture capable of leaving Intel in the dust.
  3. TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    With even the 15" models starting to lose their dGPUs to the iris pro, there is almost no chance(zip, zero, nada,....) now that there will ever be a dGPU in the 13".
  4. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    I really doubt that you "need" a discrete GPU any more than you need a discrete clock chip, a discrete floating point coprocessor, or a discrete sound card--all of which used to be common.
  5. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    I think it's more of a thermal issue. The 15" has space inside to add a second heatpipe and fan to cool the extra chip, the 13" doesn't.
  6. Mac.User thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2013
    What dGPU's are you guys comparing against? No intel GPU is near as good as a good Dedicated.

    You guys should try doing any rendering that makes use of a GPU and compare a good dedicated vs intel's.

    At best I would say Intel's gpu's are "no longer worthless" but would never call them a replacement for a good dedicated GPU.

    ...then again Apple has never been known for using "good" GPU's just "top of the mid range"
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I hear you, mate.

    When doing rendering, the Iris Pro in my 15" rMBP just doesn't cut it. So that's where the GT 750M GPU in it comes to play.

    The Iris Pro is good enough for the regular consumer, but not for people who do heavy tasks like heavy 1080p (or 4K in my case) editing.
  8. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    You are certainly right, but what good GOU can you fit in a 13" laptop without sacrificing portability, battery or both? The Intel iGPUs perform better than the entry level discrete chips nowadays and they are almost as good as midrange ones.

    They are also quite good for GPGPU workflows, as they provide a decent number if FLOPs which rival midrange cards.Actually, a well-written renderer which uses ray tracing will be faster on a Iris GPU than on an Nvidia one.
  9. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    If you need a desktop quality GPU, then you either have to build a desktop or look into the external GPU options. As you correctly noted, even the high end 15'' only uses mid-range graphics.

    The Iris Pro in the 15'' can hold its weight against slightly lower range of dGPUs like the 640M - unless you need some specific graphics drivers that are only available from Nvidia or ATI.
    The Iris in the 13'' is a bit weaker, but still beats the dGPUs of 2011 15'' MBPs I think.
    The reason I'm saying this is to show that asking for a dGPU without any further specifications doesn't make sense. For lower mid-range graphics, it doesn't make sense anymore to include a dGPU in the limited amount of space that is available in the rMBPs.
    On the other hand if the question is whether we will ever see high-end graphics in the 13'' rMBP, the answer is clearly no, unless they completely change their design principles.
  10. alex0002 macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    I hope not, or at least I hope it doesn't become a standard feature in the 13 inch. The dGPU seems to be the least reliable part in past macbook pro models and with Intel integrated graphics getting better with each generation, there is less need for them than before.
  11. iKrivetko macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2010
    We're more likely to not see a dgpu in the 15" than see a dgpu in the 13", actually.
  12. lord69 macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2014
    There are relatively powerful low-power dGPUs that apple can use in their 13 inch pros. Asus has several Zenbooks equipped with GT 840M. I even read somewhere that its power consumption is on par or even less than the iris 5100 which makes it an ideal candidate for 13 inch laptops.
    But on the other hand I don't think apple will use dGPUs in the 13 inches anymore...
  13. iKrivetko macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2010
    They never did in the first place.
  14. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Not going to happen, especially given how intel has really improved the iGPUs


    The early 13" MacBooks (not pro) had dGPUs in them - see apple-history
    and the 2009 MBP had it as well -(I stopped checking at that point)

  15. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The 9400M is not a dGPU, its an integrated GPU. It is located in the mainboard chip instead of the CPU chip, but its still integrated. The GPUs on CPU die are quite a recent invention, for quite a long time all of the iGPUs (Intel, Nvidia, AMD) were all part of the mainboard chipset.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    My mistake - I saw nVidia and thought dGPU :)
  17. Freyqq, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014

    Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Nope, and even if they did, it wouldn't be as powerful as the 15" dgpu. Less room for cooling.
  18. Mac.User thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2013
    That doesn't mean a whole lot. There are 14in laptops as thin as a retina that have a Quadcore + a GPU better than the 15in retina.

    I'm sure it's possible, just tricky.
  19. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    the iris and iris pro are more than enough power for 90% of general consumer tasks. its only the (vocal) minority of power users that need the dGPU for video editing, gaming, cad, etc
  20. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    Those systems are highly specialized and appeal to only a niche clientele. If Apple saw a business case for offering such a configuration, they would.
  21. Lucas Godfrey macrumors 6502

    Lucas Godfrey

    Jul 12, 2010
    Somewhere between Here and There
    I think your are forgetting the nvidia equipped MacBooks and pros. 13" included.
  22. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    And these laptops usually have the fraction of rMBPs battery life. Look at the teardown photos of the Razer Blade and the 13" rMBP and compare the size of the battery and the cooling system. So sure, it is possible, but you can't have it all. Good battery life is not important for a gaming laptop, but a MacBook is a jack of all trades, where its a different story altogether.

    The 13" MacBooks (Pro or not) never had a discrete GPU. They used to have integrated Nvidia GPUs, sure, which were quite good for that time.
  23. iKrivetko macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2010
    Neither the 9400 nor the 320 are discrete gpus.
  24. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2013
    Have you ever tried using one? Because they're generally loud-as-hell and in a metal frame would become pretty uncomfortable to use. When you're doing anything even slightly heavier Apple's Macbook Pro line already runs too hot to be comfortably used on your lap without pants on and putting worsening the heat-to-dissipation-area ratio will only make it worse.
  25. whitedragon101 macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2008
    Hmm I wonder if they could have Iris Pro in the 13".

    It seems the 5200 is just a 5100 + the eDRAM. I'm not sure but I don't think the eDRAM would generate much heat but it does add cost. I suspect its the cost that keeps it in the high end quad core chips only. I think a mid level GPU i.e Iris Pro on a mid level CPU like the i5 in the 13" would be winning.

    Iris 5100 = 40 execution units @ 200-1200Mhz
    Iris 5200 = 40 execution units @ 200-1300Mhz + eDRAM

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