Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > ATi X1600 (dedicated) vs NVIDIA 9400M (integrated)

ATi X1600 (dedicated) vs NVIDIA 9400M (integrated)
Thread Tools
Cottonsworth
Forum Regular
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 7, 2010, 06:55 PM
 
I'm trying to do some research for a friend and I'm a bit baffled at what I am finding. Is it possible that a mid-2009 Unibody MBP has worse performance than a late-2006 MBP?

Specifically, I'm looking at the video cards. The 2.33ghz C2D MBP has a dedicated ATi X1600 Card with 256mb of vram, while the 2.53ghz C2D Unibody MBP has an integrated Nvidia 9400M with 256mb of shared vram.

Looking at Notebookcheck's benchmark site (Mobile Graphics Cards - Benchmark List - Notebookcheck) it would seem that the ATi X1600 ranks higher at position #145 than the Nvidia 9400M at position # 161. Am I missing something here? How can Apple put a worst video card in a machine that is three years newer?

I would appreciate if anyone could elaborate this. Thanks.
     
Chinasaur
Senior User
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland, OR
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 7, 2010, 11:01 PM
 
iMac - C2D, 2.8Ghz, 4GB, 320GB
MacBook - C2D, 2.4Ghz Uni, 4GB, 500GB
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 8, 2010, 06:14 AM
 
According to this, they're about equal. Also, the 2006 model cost $1999 compared to the $1699 2009 model.

Why they did it? Because they made a judgement of what people needed, and figured that the 9400M was a good enough baseline while being the cheapest and most power-frugal chip on the market at that point. Your priorities may be different, which is why they also offered a model with a 9600M GT GPU at the old $1999 pricepoint.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Cottonsworth  (op)
Forum Regular
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 8, 2010, 10:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chinasaur View Post
But alas, this is my point, from that link, "Compared to the predecessor in the MacBook, the Intel GMA X3100, the GeForce 9400M should perform 5x better."

Originally Posted by P View Post
According to this, they're about equal. Also, the 2006 model cost $1999 compared to the $1699 2009 model.

Why they did it? Because they made a judgement of what people needed, and figured that the 9400M was a good enough baseline while being the cheapest and most power-frugal chip on the market at that point. Your priorities may be different, which is why they also offered a model with a 9600M GT GPU at the old $1999 pricepoint.
Thanks for the link, P, very helpful.

In the MacBook, Apple decided to put in a much better GPU, 5x, according to the article but in the MacBook Pro there is no significant improvement and maybe even worst performance in a laptop that is 3 years newer.

During late-2006, the GPU on the MBP was either a X1600 with 128mb or 256mb, imagine if Apple offered the lower end MBP with the same GPU as the MB's integrated Intel GPU. I do understand you can get a better GPU in the mid-2009 MBP but I think to put the 9400M back then in a MBP was just ridiculous. They should have just called it MacBook XL. I don't see how now in 2009, Apple could have put the same GPU in the MB, MB Air, lower-end MBP.

Seems like the MacBook pro is just becoming more and more consumer based product.
( Last edited by Cottonsworth; Sep 8, 2010 at 10:48 AM. )
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 8, 2010, 11:52 AM
 
It only looks that way if you focus on the GPU to the exclusion of everything else. Everything has a cost consequence. Integrated graphics are cheap (price difference to a regular northbridge was about $2 back when Intel gave you the option), power efficient, practical (from a design perspective) and the performance they deliver is acceptable to many. Discrete graphics mean that you add another chip, separate RAM chips, a bunch of new leads and cooling equipment. $50 is probably the bargain basement price. At that point, moving from barely adequate to midrange isn't so expensive, so Apple did that.

The 2006 15" MBP started at $1999. In 2009, there was a new $1699 model with integrated graphics, much faster CPU and better battery life that happened to have roughly the same graphics performance. Apple saved money by using integrated graphics and pushed the savings on to you, lowering the price of entry for the 15". I can't fault them for that.

I do agree that the term Pro is becoming ever more loosely defined in Apple's lingo. It's basically a license to charge more money for it - not unlike Intel calling some of its bargain basement dualcore laptop CPUs "i7" because the quad laptop chip was a dud.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Cottonsworth  (op)
Forum Regular
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 9, 2010, 01:08 PM
 
It's just disappointing to see Apple compromise the prosumer/professional base and merge everything into a more consumer line. It would be nice to see three lines but that is just wishful thinking and they obviously squeeze more money out of just selling two lines.
     
Chinasaur
Senior User
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland, OR
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 9, 2010, 04:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cottonsworth View Post
But alas, this is my point, from that link, "Compared to the predecessor in the MacBook, the Intel GMA X3100, the GeForce 9400M should perform 5x better."
Except it does. You reference the X3100..not the X1600. The 9400M DOES perform 5x better than the X3100. It's the X1600 and the 9400M that perform on par..more or less.

The MacBook never had the X1600.. did you mean the MacBook Pro?
iMac - C2D, 2.8Ghz, 4GB, 320GB
MacBook - C2D, 2.4Ghz Uni, 4GB, 500GB
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2010, 03:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cottonsworth View Post
It's just disappointing to see Apple compromise the prosumer/professional base and merge everything into a more consumer line. It would be nice to see three lines but that is just wishful thinking and they obviously squeeze more money out of just selling two lines.
They haven't for two simple reasons:
(1) They still offer notebooks with a dedicated gpu at the same price point.
(2) Most people (especially for people in the 2d graphics business) will not benefit from a dedicated gpu. There are a few apps that warrant an exception (Aperture, Final Cut Pro, Motion), but if you use Photoshop, Lightroom et al, there is no advantage of having a dedicated gpu.

Plus, integrated gpus tend to use less power. That's the reason the current line-up has both, an integrated and a dedicated gpu.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
macaddict0001
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Edmonton, AB
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2010, 03:27 AM
 
Well, that and intel has sort of forced their integrated graphics on everyone for this generation.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2010, 04:38 AM
 
Well, but it continued the trend that Apple includes two rather than one gpu with their MacBook Pros: it used to be 9400M + 9600, now the integrated gpu is that which is included in Arrandale cpus (which is slower than the 9400M).
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Spheric Harlot
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2010, 06:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cottonsworth View Post
It's just disappointing to see Apple compromise the prosumer/professional base and merge everything into a more consumer line. It would be nice to see three lines but that is just wishful thinking and they obviously squeeze more money out of just selling two lines.
Careful with that.

An awful lot of "professional" users - possibly the majority - could not give a rat's ass about graphics capability.
     
Cottonsworth  (op)
Forum Regular
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2010, 09:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
They haven't for two simple reasons:
(1) They still offer notebooks with a dedicated gpu at the same price point.
(2) Most people (especially for people in the 2d graphics business) will not benefit from a dedicated gpu. There are a few apps that warrant an exception (Aperture, Final Cut Pro, Motion), but if you use Photoshop, Lightroom et al, there is no advantage of having a dedicated gpu.

Plus, integrated gpus tend to use less power. That's the reason the current line-up has both, an integrated and a dedicated gpu.
OreoCookie, if my friend uses a lot of Final Cut, do you think there would be a benefit would be significant enough to justify upgrading from a late-2006 2.33ghz to a mid-2009 2.53ghz with the integrated video card? I'm saying the mid-2009 2.53ghz with the integrated video card because she is thinking about buying that specific machine from another friend. Thanks.
     
Cottonsworth  (op)
Forum Regular
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2010, 09:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chinasaur View Post
Except it does. You reference the X3100..not the X1600. The 9400M DOES perform 5x better than the X3100. It's the X1600 and the 9400M that perform on par..more or less.

The MacBook never had the X1600.. did you mean the MacBook Pro?
I was drawing a comparison in how there is a significant GPU upgrade in the different generation MacBooks and not so when comparing some MacBook Pros. My main point is my personal surprise that the entry-level mid-2009 MacBook Pro came with a GPU that is pretty much no better than a machine nearly three years older. But this may be my own flawed viewpoint and logic. As many have pointed out, the cost savings and lack of necessity for a dedicated GPU justifies having a MacBook Pro at a lower entry level price point.
     
Spheric Harlot
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2010, 09:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cottonsworth View Post
OreoCookie, if my friend uses a lot of Final Cut, do you think there would be a benefit would be significant enough to justify upgrading from a late-2006 2.33ghz to a mid-2009 2.53ghz with the integrated video card?
If he does a lot of Final Cut work, he's going to want a discrete graphics chipset anyway.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2010, 12:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cottonsworth View Post
OreoCookie, if my friend uses a lot of Final Cut, do you think there would be a benefit would be significant enough to justify upgrading from a late-2006 2.33ghz to a mid-2009 2.53ghz with the integrated video card? I'm saying the mid-2009 2.53ghz with the integrated video card because she is thinking about buying that specific machine from another friend. Thanks.
There is a significant benefit in battery life, but not in performance, no.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Cottonsworth  (op)
Forum Regular
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2010, 07:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
There is a significant benefit in battery life, but not in performance, no.
I told her that by upgrading, she would gain (1) significant increase in battery life, (2) much better screen, (3) ability to upgrade the ram to 8GB vs 3GB. The only downside is the difference in cost between selling her MBP and getting the new one, and losing the firewire 400 port and expresscard slot.
     
Cottonsworth  (op)
Forum Regular
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2010, 10:57 AM
 
Thanks for all the insight guys. After much deliberation, she decided to pass on the entry level mid-2009 model and is going to look for an unibody with the discrete gpu.
     
Big Mac
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2010, 07:54 AM
 
And your friend can get a converter cable for any of her original Firewire devices, as I'm sure you know.

It's good that Apple has been offering more choice in laptop configurations, but I've always said that getting a 15" MBP with integrated graphics is a waste for all but the most budget conscious.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:22 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,