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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > ATI Radeon Vs. Intel GMA 950 graphics

ATI Radeon Vs. Intel GMA 950 graphics
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Nov 17, 2006, 11:07 AM
 
sorry if this topic has already been posted but this will ultimately decide which imac i will buy. Heres the deal, im searching apples site and local apple stores for a good deal on a intel imac. The biggest difference i see as far as price lies within the graphics cards. dont really care about combo/superdrive because i have an external thats faster than apples internals. here are the specs and prices:

intel core 2 duo with intel graphics, 512 ram. 1.83 ghz for 961.93

intel core duo 1.83 ati graphics, 512 ram for 1015.00

intel core 2 duo 2.0 ghz 1 gb Ram ati radeon graphics for 1,175

1.83 core duo, intel graphics, 512 RAM for 799.95

all have 160 gb HD and are 17"inch screens. i am not a gamer but i do fiddle with ilife aps and photoshop. thanks for all of your help in advance

dee
     
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Nov 17, 2006, 11:23 AM
 
The GMA 950 takes away from your system RAM where the Radeon does not. If you are using Photoshop you need all the help you can get. The iMac has a 3GB max limit right now. If you are loosing 80MB of 3GB, it probably won't be much of a hit. However, if you only have 512MB or 1GB you are putting yourself into a hard situation. OSX needs at least 512MB to run efficiently and adding more apps to the mix only makes it harder.

Personally, I would not waste the money on something with a shared graphics card. Someone else can probably point you to information on the performance differences in the real world.
     
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Nov 17, 2006, 11:52 AM
 
The lowest end iMac is meant for institutional purchasers. Do not even think about getting an iMac without a real graphics card. If you cannot afford the extra $100, buy a mac mini instead.

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Nov 17, 2006, 11:57 AM
 
My MB has the GMA950, and I have used integrated graphics before. They suck. Even Expose performace is less. If you use Aperture, Shake, or games, then the GMA950 is not an option. In other situations, it is completely usable. What I wonder to myself, is that given the advancements in coding for GPUs that are happening right now, will CS3 use the GPU at all? Right now it does not.
     
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Nov 17, 2006, 02:10 PM
 
Yep. Unless you use GPU-reliant apps like those Tuoder just listed, the GMA950 graphics do fine. In fact, in many tests, the GMA950 does better than the Radeons of just a year ago, which are no slouches.

And FWIW, while Aperture is no speed demon on a GMA950 Mac, I know from actually using it that it's acceptably fast on a 2GHz MacBook with 2GB RAM.

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Nov 17, 2006, 07:06 PM
 
It's not really possible to compare the GMA 950 with other graphics boards, because it lacks one major feature - the hardware T&L unit. This means that in some respects, it can be quite snappy and outperform low-end Radeons (missed that qualifier there, tooki) from a year or two back. For other things, it's worse than the original Geforce 256 from 1999 (REALLY!). For yet others, the app in question won't even run.

How much this will affect you is hard to say. So far, every major version of Mac OS X has made more use of the GPU than the last, and Leopard is not even one year away now. The next version of Intel's integrated graphics, the GMA X3000, also includes a hardware T&L for the first time. OTOH, the GMA 950 is a chip used in many current Apple computers, and Apple won't abandon it like they did with the Rage Pro and lower chips. GPUs have also begun another big transition with the launch of the 8800, so any GPU you buy today might be out of date sooner than you think.

I would say that if you mean to use the iMac as your main computer for more than 3 years, you should get the Radeon model. You can upgrade the RAM, the optical, the HD and even the CPU, but you cannot upgrade the GPU. That might become very important down the line. It might also become completely irrelevant, but on the balance of things, I'd get the Radeon version.
     
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Nov 17, 2006, 08:42 PM
 
thanks for all of your input guys (and gals maybe). i guess the next obvious question would be about the processor. is there a BIG difference between the core duo and core duo 2? taking a 2 hour trip to the apple store tomorrow!!!
( Last edited by deeinc; Nov 17, 2006 at 11:59 PM. )
     
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Nov 17, 2006, 09:06 PM
 
You should not be able to notice the difference between the two. Apple says that you could get up to 29% but iLife will not be that noticably faster (unless you are pushing the CD processor). Of course if the price is the same where you buy get the C2D.
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Nov 18, 2006, 10:57 AM
 
The difference between the two CPUs is quite large architechturally. Core 2 has a vastly improved vector engine. It can run 64 bit code, which may become important with Leopard. It has an improved memory prefetching algorithm, which will improve memory latency. You CAN however replace the CPU at a later date, if you're compfortable poking around inside the computer. I won't say it's trivial, but it can be done if you're reasonably skilled with your fingers.
     
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Nov 19, 2006, 03:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
You CAN however replace the CPU at a later date, if you're compfortable poking around inside the computer. I won't say it's trivial, but it can be done if you're reasonably skilled with your fingers.
Note to be overlooked, however, is that doing so will instantly void your warranty.
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Nov 19, 2006, 06:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by stefanicotine View Post
Note to be overlooked, however, is that doing so will instantly void your warranty.
Good point, I suppose I should have mentioned that. My machines tend to have a few good years in them after the three year warranty, and that's when I start fiddling with them.

If I had been in your shoes, I would probably have bought the refurb Core Duo model and then, at some point in the future, replaced the CPU with the fastest I could get at the time, the HD with the biggest I could get and maxed out the RAM. That way, you can extend the useful life of the machine with several years.
     
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Nov 20, 2006, 02:09 AM
 
Integrated GPUs are teh crap. Seriously - you won't be able to run even basic game/photoshop stuff with integrated graphic processing.
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Nov 20, 2006, 04:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mongoos150 View Post
Integrated GPUs are teh crap. Seriously - you won't be able to run even basic game/photoshop stuff with integrated graphic processing.
Photoshop doesn't care about the GPU..

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Nov 22, 2006, 06:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by deeinc View Post
intel core 2 duo with intel graphics, 512 ram. 1.83 ghz for 961.93

intel core duo 1.83 ati graphics, 512 ram for 1015.00

intel core 2 duo 2.0 ghz 1 gb Ram ati radeon graphics for 1,175

1.83 core duo, intel graphics, 512 RAM for 799.95



dee
All are fine machines. Here are a couple of things to consider:

* The integrated graphic will not make any noticeable difference for the vast majority of applications including iLife. BUT... If you want to play any games that feature any form of 3D graphics then do not expect good performance with integrated graphics.
* 512Mb is not enough RAM, period. Get a minimum of 1Gb preferably 2Gb. This is especially true if you get the integrated graphics models since they will consume a portion of your base RAM.
     
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Nov 22, 2006, 06:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mongoos150 View Post
Integrated GPUs are teh crap. Seriously - you won't be able to run even basic game/photoshop stuff with integrated graphic processing.
This is just nonsense. Basic gaming is just fine on, say, a MacBook, it just can't run decent 3D games. Photoshop also is fine, it suffers from running under Rosetta, but the graphics card is not an issue.

Even the point about Shake raised earlier is overstating the case somewhat. Shake is not heavily GPU reliant, for the most part. They added GPU acceleration for Z-plane composite previewing, and obviously this will suck using integrated graphics. But Shake is still quite usable. Motion, on the other hand, sucks for any real-time previewing. But then, at least it runs; when Motion was launched you could only run it on high-end machines. Now at least you have the option of running it on a MacBook or Mini with the degraded performance.

Still, for any kind of desktop machine (ie. not a MacBook) I would always opt for a dedicated GPU if possible.
     
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Nov 22, 2006, 09:37 PM
 
Note that in addition to the SuperDrive, double the RAM, faster CPU, and dedicated graphics, you also get an Apple Remote and Bluetooth.
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Nov 23, 2006, 12:43 AM
 
Integrated graphics are to graphics performance as rosie o'donnel is to female beauty.
     
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Nov 23, 2006, 11:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sbtrfuge View Post
Integrated graphics are to graphics performance as rosie o'donnel is to female beauty.
This is crazy but it isn't the graphics card in a Mac which will make the difference. It is the RAM and the HD. This makes a difference in real world speed. Get as much RAM as you can afford and if you have some money left over get a faster disk. Photoshop loves RAID but that isn't an option in a iMAC.
If PS is your pleasure now, video will come up soon.
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Nov 23, 2006, 11:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by Goldfinger View Post
Photoshop doesn't care about the GPU..
I have to agree. Photoshop is a 2D graphics app. Any graphics chip will do for photoshop. What Photoshop needs is RAM and faster HDs if your going to be working with bigger pictures.

The Graphics chip will make the difference in games, Apple's Motion, and 3D apps like Maya, Cinema 4D, etc.
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Nov 23, 2006, 11:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by fritzair View Post
This is crazy but it isn't the graphics card in a Mac which will make the difference. It is the RAM and the HD. This makes a difference in real world speed. Get as much RAM as you can afford and if you have some money left over get a faster disk. Photoshop loves RAID but that isn't an option in a iMAC.
If PS is your pleasure now, video will come up soon.
More RAM, Faster HD= a more enjoyable Mac.
You can have a mac with a huge, really fast hard drive, a blazing fast core 2 duo, and if you have the integrated garbage that apple is trying to pass off as a graphics card option, the system will absolutely choke and die if you try to do anything 3d.

Games, rendering, and anything needing core image. The fact that the mini and smaller iMacs have these horrible graphics cards FOREVER, with absolutely no way to upgrade them, is just sad. I'd never own a system like that. It'll be painful to use in only a very, very short time period.
     
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Nov 23, 2006, 12:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sbtrfuge View Post
You can have a mac with a huge, really fast hard drive, a blazing fast core 2 duo, and if you have the integrated garbage that apple is trying to pass off as a graphics card option, the system will absolutely choke and die if you try to do anything 3d.

Games, rendering, and anything needing core image. The fact that the mini and smaller iMacs have these horrible graphics cards FOREVER, with absolutely no way to upgrade them, is just sad. I'd never own a system like that. It'll be painful to use in only a very, very short time period.
You've obviously never owned a Dell or HP. Apple's integrated graphics are better than anyone else's. They still aren't that good, but who cares. If they suit your needs then fine, if they don't then get something else.
( Last edited by stefanicotine; Nov 23, 2006 at 01:03 PM. )
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Nov 23, 2006, 12:54 PM
 
They might suit your needs today, but if tomorrow, or heck, tonight, you wanted to even try 3d anything, your system will be completely useless.
     
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Nov 23, 2006, 01:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sbtrfuge View Post
They might suit your needs today, but if tomorrow, or heck, tonight, you wanted to even try 3d anything, your system will be completely useless.
Which is why integrated graphics wouldn't suit your needs. However, alot of people will never open a 3D application in their life. You have to chose the lesser of two evils: either pay for a graphics card you either will, may, or may not use, or pay less and live with what you get.

I think Apple is doing pretty good catering to everyone's needs. I can buy a cheap laptop with incredible specs. It's cheap, because it doesn't have an insane graphics card in it. I like that. Normally, I'm an all out gamer, but going to college, even if I wanted to game, I should be glad that I can't. It's better to study.

In my opinion, integrated graphics are perfect for infrequent users, students, and tight budgets.

I'd love to have a MacBook Pro, but I'd rather pay less for a faster system with AppleCare and a laptop bag, if all it meant was sacrificing graphics.

I don't understand this "integrated graphics suck!" stance you're all taking. They work fine. They do their job exactly as they were intended.
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Nov 23, 2006, 01:30 PM
 
Agreed. Integrated graphics are not intended for gamers, they're intended for average users. What do average users these days do with their computers, 99% of the time? Web browsing, email, and Word, and organizing photos in iPhoto. None of those applications even remotely benefit from a gaming GPU, so a fancy Radeon is wasted on them. Similarly, most pro graphics apps (including the Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, and Quark Xpress) make no use of the GPU, instead relying on proprietary rendering engines that they can port across platforms. Users of those apps, therefore, also do not need fancy GPUs.

Would I buy a GMA950 Mac right now? Probably not, because I love Aperture, and it demands a fast GPU. But other than that single application, there's nothing a GMA950 can't do that I need.

The people who poo-poo the integrated graphics simply refuse to acknowledge that a) it's not as bad as they think, and that b) most people simply do not need anything more.

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Nov 23, 2006, 01:45 PM
 
Agreed. I have a MacBook and I have no issues with the graphics performance. I have a PS2 and an incoming Wii, so my gaming needs are met.
     
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Nov 25, 2006, 06:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by stefanicotine View Post
You've obviously never owned a Dell or HP. Apple's integrated graphics are better than anyone else's. They still aren't that good, but who cares. If they suit your needs then fine, if they don't then get something else.
Eh... Apple uses the same GMA 950 that other manufacturers have been using for some time now. Are you talking about older Intel graphics versions?
     
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Nov 25, 2006, 06:33 AM
 
The problem with integrated graphics is the long run. If you're not planning on using the machine for more than a few years, it won't be a problem, but the longer you will keep it, the more of a problem it will be. All major OSes are moving towards making more use of the GPU in everyday use, and even games that don't strictly need 3D graphics use them today - Civ4 is a good example, one game that will not run on the integrated graphics of a Macbook or basic iMac.

Don't get me wrong, I don't say that integrated graphics is just a horrible idea and Apple are idiots for using them, I just say that the GMA 950 is a chip far behind its times right now. The GMA 3000 and X3000 will be much better when Santa Rosa is released in the beginning of 2007 (GMA 3000 exists today, but only for the 965G chipset for Conroe, desktop Core 2. Santa Rosa is 965GM for Merom, Mobile Core 2, which is what Apple uses). I actually think that it's a good move for Apple to move to basic integrated graphics for the low-end machines. I just want everyone to be clear on what it means: No current games, with certain minor exceptions, and some graphics-intense apps won't run. If that's not an issue, then fine. But don't pretend that getting an iMac with GMA 950 today is the same as getting an eMac with Radeon 9200 back in the day. The GMA 950 is a step down, comparably
     
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Nov 25, 2006, 09:12 AM
 
….....................
Originally Posted by P
But don't pretend that getting an iMac with GMA 950 today is the same as getting an eMac with Radeon 9200 back in the day. The GMA 950 is a step down, comparably.
This is the point. In one sense Tooki is right--the GPU doesn't make much difference for nearly all people. One of my machines is a QS867 which has one of the really old ATI 16mb cards and it runs everything really well. It seems to me that the biggest disadvantage of integrated graphics is sharing the memory bus between your programs and screen draws (which are being done constantly). Also, memory use varies tremendously so that you will feel the pinch of the integrated graphics when you least want to--when you're running the greatest number of your most memory greedy programs trying to meet some deadline. Give me a really old dedicated graphics chip (even something like an 8500) with maybe 64mb of dedicated memory over the best integrated graphics any time!
     
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Nov 25, 2006, 01:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
But don't pretend that getting an iMac with GMA 950 today is the same as getting an eMac with Radeon 9200 back in the day. The GMA 950 is a step down, comparably
It's not a step down, it's a step sideways; the optimization targets are different.
The iMac with GMA950 supports all of the Aqua/Quarts/Dashboard/Core Image/Expose eyecandy smoothly, while the eMac with the 9200 doesn't support some of it (Core Image) and is a bit choppy on some of the rest.
The 9200 will have better framerates in most games than than GMA950, and that's partially helped by the eMac's lower screen resolution (assuming you're playing fullscreen).
     
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Nov 25, 2006, 02:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
It's not a step down, it's a step sideways; the optimization targets are different.
The iMac with GMA950 supports all of the Aqua/Quarts/Dashboard/Core Image/Expose eyecandy smoothly, while the eMac with the 9200 doesn't support some of it (Core Image) and is a bit choppy on some of the rest.
The 9200 will have better framerates in most games than than GMA950, and that's partially helped by the eMac's lower screen resolution (assuming you're playing fullscreen).
I meant relative to other machines available at the same time - I agree that a Radeon 9200 and a GMA 950 are more or less comparable. In 2004, when the eMac got a Radeon 9200, the iMac had a 5200 Ultra. Compared to that a Radeon 9200 wasn't all that bad - of course the iMac was faster, but it was more or less OK for basic gaming. The major difference between them, performancewise, was the CPU.

Now, the iMacs have X1600, 7300GT or 7600 GT and the basic iMac - the eMac replacement - has a GMA 950. The difference in GPU is huge, while the difference in CPU is tiny - the exact opposite from 2004. Saying that a GMA 950 is a perfectly fine GPU implies that the situation is similar to 2004 when it really isn't. That may be OK for you, considering the work it's doing - hell, I have one myself in the work laptop - but don't kid yourself into it being a halfway decent GPU. You'll just get sad when you try to play any games.
     
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Dec 2, 2006, 12:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
And FWIW, while Aperture is no speed demon on a GMA950 Mac, I know from actually using it that it's acceptably fast on a 2GHz MacBook with 2GB RAM.

tooki
Just to make sure I understand you, you have actually used Aperture on a MacBook? The first gen MacBook or one with the newer intel chip?

The reason I am asking is that I am using Adobe Light Room Beta [ALRB] right now and It's nice, but it's certainly no Apple developed app. I'd like something that's a little bit more integrated with the iLife apps and less clunkier that ALRB.

Oh, and I have a first gen 2GHz MacBook with 1 GB of RAM (but that could change easily).
     
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Dec 2, 2006, 10:13 PM
 
I have since found the trial version on Apple's website and installed it. After it updates all of the thumbnail previews it runs about as well as Adobe Lightroom beta. In other words, slow.

I need to upgrade the memory on this MacBook anyway. Hopefully that's what is slowing down Aperture.
     
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Dec 6, 2006, 05:32 PM
 
For those of you claiming that the integrated graphics cards are completley useless:

I won't try to prove that they're equal to their non-integrated counterparts, but they're not complete crap. On a dual core macbook, 64 mb integrated card, 2.0 GHz, and I think 756 or 1 gb of ram I can run Age of Empires III without a problem. I have also seen videos and heard of others who have run games such as Doom 3 on their macbooks - on the highest settings with no problems.

Granted, anything with a non-integrated card will do better, but be careful before you just start spouting off about how much they suck and how useless they are. For the casual gamer it's not really that bad.
     
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Dec 7, 2006, 03:52 AM
 
Please tell what FPS you got on Doom 3 on highest settings with a GMA 950 in the regular Macbook, I'd be very interested in that result. Even Age of Empires III requires hardware T&L, according to the spec.
     
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Dec 7, 2006, 01:19 PM
 
You can't run Doom 3 on the highest settings on a MacBook. Running it on the highest settings on an iMac is still choppy. I can play Call of Duty 2 on medium settings, but any heavy fog or explosions and it's a little choppy.
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Dec 7, 2006, 03:14 PM
 
As I see it the GMA 950 should be fine for everything except gaming. However I suppose it could be ok for causal/basic gaming. And someone who buys a Mac Mini or basic iMac probably isnt into gaming anyway. The Mac Mini is really basic and stripped down mac, so the people its aiming at arent power demanding people. They will use it for email, web browsing and office. Probably also some basic iLife, but thats only cause it happens to be there and they test it.

In anycase the REALLY MOST IMPORTANT part is the RAM, no doubt. Then i guess the CPU, and how much GB u have left on ur HDD. Cause as soon as my HDD gets around 50% full (irrispective of quantity) it starts to slow down and lag more. I dont quite catch the HDD "speed" thing, guessing its the amount of rpm.
     
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Dec 8, 2006, 08:50 AM
 
[QUOTE=Mac_X;3232364]As I see it the GMA 950 should be fine for everything except gaming. [QUOTE]
Generally as stated that's true, but if you want to run other software such as Aperture then the GMA950 isn't a good choice, however that horse has been beaten to death.

In anycase the REALLY MOST IMPORTANT part is the RAM, no doubt. Then i guess the CPU, and how much GB u have left on ur HDD. Cause as soon as my HDD gets around 50% full (irrispective of quantity) it starts to slow down and lag more. I dont quite catch the HDD "speed" thing, guessing its the amount of rpm.
Ram for OSX is a critical component. Too little means increased swapping, and with Rosetta memory requirements are doubled for non Universal Binary programs, such as Office or Photoshop.

I had a gig on my MacPro for a while (couldn't afford the 2nd gig for a while) and there was a lot of disk swapping, heck even with 2 gig, I find that it still swaps more then my powermacs with 2 gig
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Dec 8, 2006, 10:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mac_X View Post
As I see it the GMA 950 should be fine for everything except gaming. However I suppose it could be ok for causal/basic gaming.
That's just the point - it isn't fine for casual gaming, unless you mean Sudoku or card games similar. The Radeon 9200 was, back when it was new, but the GMA 950 isn't - partially because games have moved towards more 3D in all genres, not just shooters.
     
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Dec 8, 2006, 11:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sbtrfuge View Post
Integrated graphics are to graphics performance as rosie o'donnel is to female beauty.
I think Rosie's pretty hot, actually. But since we're both married to other people and she's a lesbian it will never work out.
     
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Dec 10, 2006, 01:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by selowitch View Post
I think Rosie's pretty hot, actually. But since we're both married to other people and she's a lesbian it will never work out.
Ditto
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Dec 23, 2006, 09:24 AM
 
I'm sorry, but anyone here who is defending the GMA 950 in the 17inch iMac Duo 2, has simply not seen one in action.

My folks just bought the low-end iMac and... I kid you not... my G3 pismo powerbook screen looks better than this.

I'm not talking 3D games, or iphoto, or even Youtube. I'm talking about the desktop, the text, and the colors. The resolution says 1440x900 millions (of colors). But just turning the iMac on without a single program running, the screen looks like a thousand or even 256 colors, at best.

The minute I saw how awful the screen quality was, I concluded that the iMac was either defective, or this was what PC users meant when they'd complain about the "shared VRAM" issue on Intel machines.

So, as a test, I played the same divx video file on my G3 Powerbook and the iMac using VLC players.

The result? The old powerbook played every shade and color of the video with crystal clarity, while the new iMac played the video as if nothing but 3 primary colors existed.

I've already ordered a 1GB chip to replace one of the two 256 chips that came with the iMac. But if I can't even get the basic screen quality of a Mac I bought nearly 7 years ago, I am going to raise the biggest stink possible with Apple.

BUYERS BE WARNED: DON'T BUY ANYTHING WITH THE WORDS "GMA 950" INVOLVED, NOT UNLESS YOU DON'T MIND STARING AT A SCREEN THAT'LL HURT YOUR EYES UNTIL YOU GO BLIND.
     
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Dec 23, 2006, 11:56 AM
 
I think something is wrong with your machine. And I hate integrated graphics.
     
joe
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Dec 23, 2006, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by nitejrny282 View Post
I'm sorry, but anyone here who is defending the GMA 950 in the 17inch iMac Duo 2, has simply not seen one in action.
<cut>
I've already ordered a 1GB chip to replace one of the two 256 chips that came with the iMac. But if I can't even get the basic screen quality of a Mac I bought nearly 7 years ago, I am going to raise the biggest stink possible with Apple...
The extra RAM won't help. I've got a pair of 512s in my MacBook and I still see artifacts in video playback. IMHO the GMA 950 doesn't belong in any Apple product. If I could go back in time I'd have passed on my BlackBook and tried to find a good deal on a used 12" iBook or 12" PowerBook. Both are better all around performers IMHO despite the slower G4 cpu.
     
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Dec 23, 2006, 03:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by joe View Post
The extra RAM won't help. I've got a pair of 512s in my MacBook and I still see artifacts in video playback. IMHO the GMA 950 doesn't belong in any Apple product. If I could go back in time I'd have passed on my BlackBook and tried to find a good deal on a used 12" iBook or 12" PowerBook. Both are better all around performers IMHO despite the slower G4 cpu.
I'm a potential GMA950 buyer and have been following this thread keenly to see if the GMA would be sufficient for what I need. Since i'm not a big fan of 3D games at all, i figured i'd save the buck an go integrated with a bigger HD. I do, however, watch a lot of movies & TV Shows on my Mac and video playback performance is very important so i'm very curious as to what exactly are those artifacts you mentioned?? Is it only while dragging the window around or is it really a bother??

Thank!
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Dec 23, 2006, 07:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by mactropolis View Post
I'm a potential GMA950 buyer and have been following this thread keenly to see if the GMA would be sufficient for what I need. Since i'm not a big fan of 3D games at all, i figured i'd save the buck an go integrated with a bigger HD. I do, however, watch a lot of movies & TV Shows on my Mac and video playback performance is very important so i'm very curious as to what exactly are those artifacts you mentioned?? Is it only while dragging the window around or is it really a bother??

Thank!
Don't let what these guys are saying stop you from buying a MacBook or iMac with a GMA. I'm not calling them liars, I'm sure their issues are real enough, but those are pretty rare cases. My MacBook is much clearer than my Core Duo 20" iMac and video playback is flawless (with every color), even if it's being played on an external screen. This is in VLC, NicePlayer, Quicktime, Frontr Row, iTunes, and DVD Player.

You either love or hate the GMA950, but nitejrny282's iMac is a very rare defect. Any Apple I've used with GMA's has been fine.
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Dec 23, 2006, 07:25 PM
 
Seconded. The GMA in my machine plays back DVDs, quicktime videos, AVIs, iTunes contect, flash, everything flawlessly. These are definitely isolated incidents, especially the lack of colors one. The GMA is even sufficient for some 3D CAD work I do. Granted it's not as perfect as the X1600 in the iMac I've tried it on, but I guarantee it's extremely smooth, infinitely better than software rendering under parallels.
     
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Dec 25, 2006, 06:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by nitejrny282 View Post
I'm sorry, but anyone here who is defending the GMA 950 in the 17inch iMac Duo 2, has simply not seen one in action.

My folks just bought the low-end iMac and... I kid you not... my G3 pismo powerbook screen looks better than this.

I'm not talking 3D games, or iphoto, or even Youtube. I'm talking about the desktop, the text, and the colors. The resolution says 1440x900 millions (of colors). But just turning the iMac on without a single program running, the screen looks like a thousand or even 256 colors, at best.

The minute I saw how awful the screen quality was, I concluded that the iMac was either defective, or this was what PC users meant when they'd complain about the "shared VRAM" issue on Intel machines.

So, as a test, I played the same divx video file on my G3 Powerbook and the iMac using VLC players.

The result? The old powerbook played every shade and color of the video with crystal clarity, while the new iMac played the video as if nothing but 3 primary colors existed.

I've already ordered a 1GB chip to replace one of the two 256 chips that came with the iMac. But if I can't even get the basic screen quality of a Mac I bought nearly 7 years ago, I am going to raise the biggest stink possible with Apple.

BUYERS BE WARNED: DON'T BUY ANYTHING WITH THE WORDS "GMA 950" INVOLVED, NOT UNLESS YOU DON'T MIND STARING AT A SCREEN THAT'LL HURT YOUR EYES UNTIL YOU GO BLIND.
Sounds like a bad LCD panel... nothing to do with the graphics card.
     
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Dec 25, 2006, 09:01 PM
 
I'm not going to say that integrated graphics are for everyone but some of the comments here smacks of elitism.
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Dec 26, 2006, 02:40 AM
 
It doesn't make any sense as to why Apple choose the GMA950. As far as integrated GPU's go the Nvidia 6150 or ATI x200 offer far more performance and a more compatible opengl implementation so that more games could run with the chip.

I've dealt with laptops that have the Intel GPU's before and its just disappointing that some app's and games just simply will not run, even though intel has a corner on the market of centrino based laptops.
MacBook Pro (Mid 2007), 2.4Ghz, 2GB DDR2-667Mhz, 160GB, Superdrive, Nvidia Geforce 8600M GT w/256MB, 15.4" WXGA+ LCD
     
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Dec 26, 2006, 03:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by fleaplus View Post
It doesn't make any sense as to why Apple choose the GMA950. As far as integrated GPU's go the Nvidia 6150 or ATI x200 offer far more performance and a more compatible opengl implementation so that more games could run with the chip.

I've dealt with laptops that have the Intel GPU's before and its just disappointing that some app's and games just simply will not run, even though intel has a corner on the market of centrino based laptops.
Apple is hand-in-hand with Intel. I'm sure they get a way better deal going with Intel's integrated graphics, as opposed to Nvidia or ATI
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