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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Feb 07, 2010
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    MacBook Pro to Mac Mini - Video Upgrade?
    I am running an older MacBook Pro (2GHz Intel Core Duo w/ 2GB RAM) and am replacing it with the latest Mac Mini (2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo w/ 4 GB RAM.) I always run the book closed with an external monitor, so I have no need for portability.

    My only concern is the video performance:

    MacBook Pro = RadeonX1600, 128 VRAM, dedicated memory
    Mac Mini = GeForce 9400M, 256MB shared memory

    The footnote on the shared RAM reads: Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 256MB

    It seems like more shared VRAM would be better than less dedicated. This is my home machine, but I do plenty of PhotoShop, Final Cut and music production.

    So what do you think? Is this an upgrade, downgrade, sidegrade?

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Here is what Apple says:

    Apple - MacBook Pro - Graphics - Even faster graphics processing.

    Click on the link...scroll down the page a little. You will see a box that says, "Integrated Graphics Performance"...then you'll see a link for "View Performance Chart"...click on that link.

    The chart says that the 9400m graphics is up to 6.1x faster than the older x3100 graphics. The x3100 graphics I believe is better than the x1600 graphics...so I would say that it is safe to assume that going from the x1600 to 9400m is an upgrade.

    Also consider that the dedicated x1600 graphics hardware is about 3 years old...and the integrated 9400m graphics is much newer. Video hardware advances very rapidly...so 3 years difference is big.

    Finally...you are probably going from a slower CPU MacBook Pro to a faster CPU Mac-Mini...which should help as well.

    Hope this helps,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
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  3. #3

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
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    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
    sorry, no...

    the nVidia 9400M is rated lower than the ATI X1600 which has no relation to and blows away the Intel x3100

    The X1600 was at the top end of 3D mobile cards at the time.

    back in a minute and will post link to a chart

    Here is a mobile chart

    Mobile chip curent rankings
    Intel x3100: 199
    nVidia geforce 9400m: 137
    ATI X1600: 122 - this chip is approximately equivalent to the older desktop X800 XT and still a nice card for those running older 4x/8x AGP systems.
    nVidia 9600: 90

    If you are looking for an upgrade in 3D graphics capabilities, wouldn't even consider giving up that X1600 for a 9400M. The 9600 would give you a nice bump.

    If you are doing general computing and video, then the 9400M will be fine and does provide up to double the vram.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  4. #4


    Member Since
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    Thanks all for the informed opinions.

    Acording to the charts, the older ATI in the MBP doesseem to rule on the 3D mark tests.

    But for basic Core Graphic speed (Motion, Quicktime, etc.) am I correct in assuming that the 3D component is not in play? Do I just need 3D for FPS shooters and such, or does the 3D power show up in apps I am unaware of?

  5. #5

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
    sorry, no...

    Mobile chip curent rankings
    Intel x3100: 199
    nVidia geforce 9400m: 137
    ATI X1600: 122 - this chip is approximately equivalent to the older desktop X800 XT and still a nice card for those running older 4x/8x AGP systems.
    nVidia 9600: 90
    Bob,

    Using the data/scores from the link in your earlier post:

    - x3100: 199
    - 9400m: 137

    How the heck then do we make sense of Apples claims that the 9400m is up to 6.1x faster than the x3100?

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  6. #6

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    26,455
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
    That is the card ranking from best to worst, #1 to #???, not a score or benchmark.

    Haven't compared scores in awhile, and don't know about the 6.1x faster, but I'd feel confident in saying the 9400 is a far superior chipset compared to that Intel piece of garbage everyone (not just Apple) was using in their low end notebooks for a year or two.

    And yes, if you're primarily doing video, then the 3D benchmarks will not come into play. There are plenty of folks using the mini for an HTPC.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

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