Wow...the 13" models actually got a great upgrade!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Wolfpup, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Okay, so the GT 330 is boring but predictable...but I was just looking at the 13" models, and had completely missed that they actually got a huge GPU upgrade! It's still integrated, so memory bandwidth will be a big issue (and you'll REALLY need to keep those things in dual-channel mode)...BUT...they went from only 16 cores up to 48.

    Granted for the price you can still do a lot better, but it's still a huge upgrade, and for the first time would probably make the 13" model legitimately useful for games (or other programs that can use the GPU).

    In a way, all you're getting going up to the 15" model is dedicated video RAM (and only 256MB unless you jump up two more models).

    So...actually a pretty nice upgrade! Don't know how I managed to miss that they'd TRIPLED the GPU hardware on those things!

    Just saw a thing last night, where Steve Jobs had apparently answered the "why don't these have i5" question with "because a massively more powerful GPU is a bigger deal than 10-20% more CPU performance" type answer, and shockingly that's not spin. That really is a much better setup than had they gone say Core i5 and only used the Intel graphics, or only used a 16 core GPU or whatever.

    It's not like a 2.4 or 2.66GHz Core 2 is anything to sneeze at, and the current units are actually fairly well balanced (assuming memory bandwidth doesn't slow them down TOO much).
  2. drmarburg macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2010
    If i buy a single 4gb ram module and upgrate from 4 to 6gb of ram, i will loose the dual channel capability, wont i?
  3. Wolfpup thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Yeah, or at least partially at best. Best to buy two 4GB DIMMS. (Although really, 4GB is already overkill for most of us.)
  4. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    wow! what are you on .... and can i have some please? :)

    a great upgrade? and here i postponed my mbp13 purchase by yet another 8 months or so, just because i thought it was a lame upgrade (to put it nicely). the 330 is mediocre at best (and still not dedicated but using slow shared DDR3) besides the c2d had a beard two years ago.

    but i am glad you like it and should you buy it i am sure you will be very happy with your purchase.

  5. Kingcodez macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2009
    Yeah 2GB and 4GB isn't dual channel. but it is 6GB and is open to future upgrades. I'd just save my money unless you find you really DO need 6-8GB of ram. That's a lot!

    I was really mad at the no i5 thing, I really enjoy the 13" line but now I guess I'm ok with it. The 15 & 17 all have the normal 4-5 hour battery, while the 13 should have more like a 6+ hour battery now.

    I just wish they had higher res screens in the 13", 1080p might be overkill but it'd be so nice.

    Someone really needs to figure out how to build an interface so we can get non apple high def 13" panels in these macbooks. Custom.
  6. saschke macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2008
    My base model 13 inch just came via UPS today.
    It's a screamer. Funny thing is, I've put my 500GB scorpio blue from the old book into this one and it just started. Everything fine.

    The LED screen seems even nicer than the late 2008 unibody
    and funny thing, it feels even snappier :D

    i took a photo while doing the drive swap. here it is:

    Attached Files:

  7. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    You mean 320m, but I still follow you.

    There's no denying it's an upgrade, but it's not 3x as fast as the 9400m, nor is it anywhere near the 330m. I guess if you consider current games fun at really low detail settings and resolution then the 320m will be just fine, but it's not a gaming GPU...I mean come on, they advertise Doom 3 performance.

    Oh and this: "all you're getting going up to the 15" model is dedicated video RAM" made me laugh. It's like saying "all you're doing by going up to the next model of truck is getting a v8 instead of a v6". It makes a huge difference
  8. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Apparently the real answer to "why no i5?" is that there isn't enough room for an i5 and a separate GPU. Intel embedded graphics is garbage. If you really need the extra performance you have to go to the 15" or wait it out until the graphics issues are resolved. And that might be a very long wait.

    But frankly, the C2D is fast enough for almost every user (but gamers), even if it is long-in-the-tooth. I just used mine (an Al MacBook, late 2008) in class running electrical engineering CAD software on Windows 7 under Parallels, simultaneously running Keynote, preview (for PDFs) and recording the whole presentation with iShowU. It didn't even breathe hard.
  9. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    No room isn't an excuse. This has been debated to death, but the fact is, they could always make room. Unfortunately, it would have cost Apple more than they were willing to spend in order to re-engineer the laptop to accept a discrete GPU chip.
  10. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    it always makes me smile when i hear SJ, ARS or people here saying that the 13 didnt get a decent upgrade because of lack of space. Of course they could have fitted a i5 in there even with a dedicated nvidia GPU.

    They could have asked nvidia to make the specially designed 320 smaller, could have changed the motherboard, the unibody, or even sacrificed the superdrive (which will gor the 5,25 and 3,5 path soon anyway i am sure).

    apple is in the computer business (or rather was, now they are in the consumer portable multimedia devce business first), it is their job to make computers and those smart people at apple design the stuff so they could design it in there if they had wanted to. they just didnt have the time or resources dues to the ipad or are waiting for the unibody refresh in the future, but to use lack of room as justification is nothing more then an excuse.

    ... ah yes i meant 320 instead of 330. i stand corrected :)
    oh a
  11. Wolfpup thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    By Apple standards it's a HUGE upgrade. I'm used to seeing tiny spec boosts, and here they just tripled the GPU. If you thought this was bad...well, get used to disappointment. Apple goes YEARS with smaller upgrades than this. They've been using a 32 core Nvidia part 2007 in their 15 and 17" models, just bumping up the clock speed slightly as they go along (and it wasn't very impressive to begin with). By Apple standards going from 16 to 48 cores is HUGE.

    How hard was swapping the drive now that you have to take the whole bottom off?
  12. saschke macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2008
    It was a piece of cake, really. Just about ten more screws to loosen.
  13. pinksatin macrumors member


    Sep 6, 2007
    What is the Geekbench score for some of the 13" MBP? How does it compare to the i7 MBP?
  14. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    It's virtually the same as the 2009 13" MBP, since the process hasn't really changed.
  15. Wolfpup thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Regarding Core 2 performance, it's fine for games too. I mean it's being paired with an outdated GPU even on the 15 and 17" models, and Core i5/i7 isn't THAT much faster. The better GPU is a much bigger deal.

    And yes, obviously they could have put both a better CPU and GPU in there...but they're Apple. How often do they go cutting edge? My Asus cost half the previous 15" Macbook Pro's price, and has basically the same hardware (slightly better and slightly worse in various ways), and the current 15" Macbook Pros are about the same as an Asus that goes for $900 since last year. I'm just happy Apple changed it as much as they did.
  16. Wolfpup thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Cool, thanks for the info! Glad to hear that. (I always swap drives when I get a notebook so I can stick the original back in if I need obviously it's nice to be able to easily replace it down the line if you need to!)
  17. macgeek18 macrumors 68000


    Sep 8, 2009
    Northern California
    Yes the C2D is a good processor for everyone.For me,it's not the processor at all,it's the 2GB of ram,I need 4GB of ram.And having the 256MB of ram taken by the GPU doesn't help either.
  18. Wolfpup thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Yeah, glad to see they bumped the RAM up to 4GB in the base model.

    They've differentiated the Macbook and 13" Macbook Pro pretty well now too.
  19. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    well in its defence the new MBP13 does have 4gb RAM even in its base version. I just hoped for something better, but as said here maybe i was asking for too much.

    now just make up my mind if i am going to regret buying it anyway, get an asus with a hyperthreaded 4x2core i5 or make my wife *very* angry by spending twice my intended budget on a MBP15 with i5...
  20. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    arent they pretty much identical apart from the backlit keyboard and the plastic unibody? i mean the 2009 MB vs the 2009 MBP and the coming 2010 MB will probably have 4gb, 320gb and the 320m by default too ... bet nvidia didnt put a new label on an old card for just one generation of mbp's...
  21. duky macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
    North Carolina
    What 2GB ram? It comes with 4
  22. Wolfpup thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Oh, you mean like the new Macbook would be using the same updated 48-core chipset? Yeah, could be. I don't pay much attention to integrated graphics so this 48 core part caught me totally by surprise. Don't know if they're phasing out lower end ones or not.

    Out of curiosity what Asus were you looking at?
  23. cathyy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2008
    Just because it went from 16 cores to 48 cores doesn't mean it has triple the performance. My 32 core 8600M GT still performs better. Benchmarks show that the 320M is 2x faster over the 9400M.

    Apple standards or not, it's a nice update, but honestly there's nothing to be amazed about. Technology improves as the years go by. The ATI 5450 which is among ATI's latest low end cards manages to outperform the 320M slightly, yet consumes less power than the 9400M. It supports DX11 too.

    At the very best, Apple is simply up-to-date with the MBP 13" graphic card. Unfortunately we all know how far behind it is in the CPU.
  24. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    it's the asus u30 jc:

    it's got:
    aluminium body
    512mb-1gb nvidia GPU with optimus
    >= 2.66ghz i7 or i5 quad core (with hyperthreading that makes 8 virtual cores against the two cores in the C2D)
    seperate clickity mac like keyboard
    Bluray drive
    USB3 support
    Win7 x64
    1366x768 LED
    7200rpm HDD
    9hr battery

    all for around $900

    the only thing it seems to have going against it is that it is not a MBP....and i don't know about build quality
  25. Wolfpup thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Just FYI those are dual core CPUs too. Depending on the clock speed it might not be much different from the 13" Macbook Pro. GPU I don't know...that's got 16 cores versus 48, but it's also got dedicated video RAM, idea :-D

    Probably a solid laptop for what it is, though if you want OS X...

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