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  • Custom NVIDIA Card, Native Graphics Switching on New MBPs


    One of the new MacBook Pro models announced today boast a graphics processing unit that was custom-made for Apple's high-end notebook line. The NVIDIA GeForce GT 320M is only used on the entry-level 13-inch model, and doesn't have dedicated memory. Also, a spokesperson for NVIDIA noted today that - despite rumors to the contrary - the graphics switching method used in the new MacBook Pro is not the company's proprietary Optimus technology, but a custom design developed at Apple.

    The new higher-end GeForce GT 330M GPU represents a relatively minor speed bump compared to the 9600M GT, as PCWorld's Matt Beckham observed. In the 3DMark06 benchmark, the 330M got a score of 6126, compared to the 9600M's 5063, which measures the graphics cards running at their rated clockspeed: Apple runs the 9600M 500MHz core clock at about 400 MHz due to overheating concerns, and it's not known if the new chips will be similarly underclocked. However, Apple claims the new chip yields 80% better performance when playing Doom 3, prompting Beckham to quip "Still playing Doom 3? Call of Duty 4? Unreal Tournament 2004? Quake 4? Neither am I."

    The graphics switching technology Apple is using to optimize performance is what allows the new MacBook Pros to claim longer battery life. While NVIDIA introduced a new technology called Optimus that allows CPUs like the Core i5 and Core i7 to switch between Intel's integrated graphics processor and a discrete graphics processing unit, a NVIDIA spokesperson told AppleInsider that Apple had come up with its own solution with no input from NVIDIA. The feature dynamically switches between the 330M for high performance applications, and the integrated Intel HD Graphics for more energy efficient operation, auto-sensing which is needed. The user does not need to manually switch between the two, but can choose to keep the discrete chip running exclusively. Using the automatic switching solution though, gives as much as 8 or 9 hours battery life on the new MacBook Pros, according to Apple.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Custom NVIDIA Card, Native Graphics Switching on New MBPs started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. arem's Avatar
      arem -
      And why exactly don't I have an option to choose to run the better card exclusively also? oh right, we're talking about Apple...
    1. C-dub's Avatar
      C-dub -
      Think ill blow the dust off and play some doom 3 tonight. Im due for a zombie grunt fix
    1. jdys_1991's Avatar
      jdys_1991 -
      LOL Hahaaa xD
      I think someone needs to remind Apple that we are in the year 2010.
    1. Tylervalo's Avatar
      Tylervalo -
      nm, wrong thread.
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      You'd think with Valve coming on board with Steam this month, and all the publishers that could bring, they'd have some half decent video cards. 512mb dedicated video is flat out lame. Why can't Apple just offer something that has decent gaming cards in them? This is a great deal IF you have an older MacBook. I was very seriously thinking about updating my only 1 year old MBP 17 to one of the new ones but after seeing the dismal video card upgrade I'm going to have to pass. Though the battery bump is REALLY tempting!
    1. ultimatexpka's Avatar
      ultimatexpka -
      Unreal tournament 2004? call of duty 4? doom 3!!??? I just cant believe apple is this far behind technology, for the same price of an apple notebook, ill just go with alienware or a custom laptop that will run 2010 games, not games made 6 years ago, thats like the xbox and ps2 generation sheesh...
    1. Luppin's Avatar
      Luppin -
      Why are they using games released 6 years ago for benchmarks? It's real cool that a notebook released in 2010 can get more frames-per-second than a notebook released in 2009, but not when you're talking about a game released in 2004. Apple already knows that anyone who plays any games more intensive than Tetris dual-boots Windows on their Mac and by using examples from 2004 in their performance tests, they're fooling nobody but themselves.
    1. iphone8130hak's Avatar
      iphone8130hak -
      Good graphics
    1. MetallicaFan1991's Avatar
      MetallicaFan1991 -
      Why compare old games?? Get with the times, at least compare MW2!
    1. NessLookAlike's Avatar
      NessLookAlike -
      Nice graphics.. now, lets put up some pretty graphs with numbers showing the fractional speed percentage that the Macs run against similarly priced PC laptops.
    1. Success.Is.Sweet's Avatar
      Success.Is.Sweet -
      Considering netbooks can play the games listed here these days, I really find this as a laughable benchmark for a $2000 computer.
    1. Kruejl's Avatar
      Kruejl -
      I'll stick with my late 2009 13" MPB unibody. I already upped it to 4GB DDR3 RAM and a 320GB 7200rpm HDD. The graphics card bump is too small to justify an upgrade.
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      @ultimatexpka
      Call of Duty 4 isn't that old, dude. On top of that, it's still very awesome.

      Did you think CoD4:MW was from the last-gen? You're mistaken. CoD 2 was a PC and 360 exclusive.
    1. Success.Is.Sweet's Avatar
      Success.Is.Sweet -
      Quote Originally Posted by CZroe View Post
      @ultimatexpka
      Call of Duty 4 isn't that old, dude. On top of that, it's still very awesome.
      It came out in 2007. Three years is an eternity in the tech world. I was playing CoD4 on max settings at 1080p resolution with a 7950GT and a 2.0GHz dual core when it came out.

      Like I said, this benchmark is a joke.
    1. reanimationxp's Avatar
      reanimationxp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Success.Is.Sweet View Post
      Considering netbooks can play the games listed here these days, I really find this as a laughable benchmark for a $2000 computer.
      For real.. my $200 ION nettop could probably compete with this
    1. Success.Is.Sweet's Avatar
      Success.Is.Sweet -
      Quote Originally Posted by reanimationxp View Post
      For real.. my $200 ION nettop could probably compete with this
      It can. My ION netbook plays all of these games perfectly, and not even on the lowest settings either.
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      BWAHAHAHAHAHA....


      *Looks at his sig*

      I called my Vaio F series a Macbook Killer just to be facetious.

      Come to find out, not on is it a Macbook killer, it kills the Macbook Pro Too! Some poor schlep is going to pay $2600 for a 17 incher that can't outpace a netbook. Really Apple, really?

      To add context to my rediculous laughing, I paid 1200 dollars for the Vaio.
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      sweets
    1. adrian1480's Avatar
      adrian1480 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cpkirkley View Post
      BWAHAHAHAHAHA....


      *Looks at his sig*

      I called my Vaio F series a Macbook Killer just to be facetious.

      Come to find out, not on is it a Macbook killer, it kills the Macbook Pro Too! Some poor schlep is going to pay $2600 for a 17 incher that can't outpace a netbook. Really Apple, really?

      To add context to my rediculous laughing, I paid 1200 dollars for the Vaio.
      unless your VAIO gets 8 hours of battery life, it's not quite a MBP killer.

      I do, however, think ASUS and Acer have (or are soon coming out with) MBP killers. the Acer Timeline X 15" will get better battery life than the MBP and probably have a better GPU.

      only thing is, none of the above (not the Asus, Vaio, or Acer) have as good a screen.

      the only reason why I continue to consider the 17" MBP is because it has the combination of screen, battery life, and build quality that I value. I can't seem to get that combination anywhere else.

      However, I will reserve my final opinion on that until I see the HP Envy 17. If they launch that with Nvidia Optimus switchable graphics, the Envy will be an MBP killer. Officially.
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      Quote Originally Posted by adrian1480 View Post
      unless your VAIO gets 8 hours of battery life, it's not quite a MBP killer.

      I do, however, think ASUS and Acer have (or are soon coming out with) MBP killers. the Acer Timeline X 15" will get better battery life than the MBP and probably have a better GPU.

      only thing is, none of the above (not the Asus, Vaio, or Acer) have as good a screen.

      the only reason why I continue to consider the 17" MBP is because it has the combination of screen, battery life, and build quality that I value. I can't seem to get that combination anywhere else.

      However, I will reserve my final opinion on that until I see the HP Envy 17. If they launch that with Nvidia Optimus switchable graphics, the Envy will be an MBP killer. Officially.
      Ok, so if I buy two extra batteries (250) and subtract from the savings, I'd be left with a difference of 1150 bucks.

      1150 dollars less, with comparable battery life, better GPU performance (non underclocked GPU w/ twice the memory), on a laptop with a backlit keyboard, bluetooth, Blu-Ray burner, a full 1080p Screen, NATIVE hdmi out (no dongle needed), with TransferJet so I can wireless sync my digital camera. Not to mention my name/company laser etched into the lid, and Customer Service at SonyStyle store which is on par with the Genius Bar.

      Still feels like a Macbook Pro killer to me... In fact, with the money I've saved, I could buy a PSPgo, and Ps3, and a nettop to replace my now aging HTPC.