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  1. #1
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of
    vonbonds's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2008
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    4
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of
    Hello all,

    I am going to buy a new MBP either tomorrow or next weekend when I get home from a business trip. I want a 15" model and am debating on the 2.53GHz model or the 2.66GHz and can't decide if I need the better video card or not. I am in sales but work as a technical resource supporting sales teams. My job function has me doing lots of presentations with MS PowerPoint, lots of emails, and I want to run Fusion to run multiple instances of Windows to show demo's of our products. For fun I would like to watch movies while traveling. I will upgrade the laptop to 8GB of memory after I get it.

    With those needs in mind can you all recommend to me which graphics card I would most likely need?

    Thanks in advance...

    Tom

  2. #2
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of
    CrimsonRequiem's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts
    6,004
    Specs:
    MBP 2.3 Ghz 4GB RAM 860 GB SSD, iMac 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 32GB RAM, Fusion Drive 1TB
    Doesn't sound like you need the dedicated GPU. It's mostly for used for 3D rendering, gaming, Photography, etc.

    It doesn't hurt to get the higher end model if you can afford it. Better resale value, and you are future proofing your computer needs.

    2GB is enough for every day computing, 4GB+ is mainly for the people that run VM, and or do music and video encoding.

    8GB is very expensive and it doesn't sound like you need it.
    死神はリンゴしか食べない。

  3. #3
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of
    Mac Pro's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 06, 2009
    Posts
    238
    Specs:
    27" iMac Quad Core i7 2.8 ghz 1TB HDD
    You should be fine with just the stock macbook pro. I think 2.53 ghz should be fine for you and most people don't notice the difference between the 2.53 ghz and 2.66 ghz as there is such a small difference. I would start with it stock and upgrade as you think you need it.
    Use the reputation system

  4. #4
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of
    vonbonds's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2008
    Posts
    4
    Thanks for your advice. I went with the 2.53 model as I don't see myself needing the enhanced graphics card. I am on an Acela Amtrak train heading to Boston and already installed Office 2008, Cisco VPN and transfered my files from my work laptop via a cross-over cable and ftp. I love how simple Mac's are, I am ready to rock and roll.

    Tom

  5. #5
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of

    Member Since
    Jan 10, 2010
    Posts
    4
    Hey All,

    Kinda hijack, but I thought better than creating a new thread.

    I'm in the same boat as Tom except with different needs. I'm a photographer/videographer looking at the 15" MBP wondering if I'm going to notice the difference between the 2.53Ghz model (with only 9400 video card) and the 2.66Ghz model (with the 9600@256mb video card). I've planned to definitely go with the 8GB of ram right outta the box.

    I run Aperture regularily with RAW files around 20mb, and produce videos in the 5-15 minute range, haven't toyed with HD yet but that's where I'm going. I also use photoshop with those RAW files.

    My question is, is the extra $300 worth it for the video card/processor boost (Kinda on a budget) and is getting 8GB ram right outta the box the best option vs upgrading later (is this cheaper?)

    Thanks for the help.

    Tyler

  6. #6
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of
    CrimsonRequiem's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts
    6,004
    Specs:
    MBP 2.3 Ghz 4GB RAM 860 GB SSD, iMac 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 32GB RAM, Fusion Drive 1TB
    Quote Originally Posted by TeeWebb View Post
    Hey All,

    Kinda hijack, but I thought better than creating a new thread.

    I'm in the same boat as Tom except with different needs. I'm a photographer/videographer looking at the 15" MBP wondering if I'm going to notice the difference between the 2.53Ghz model (with only 9400 video card) and the 2.66Ghz model (with the 9600@256mb video card). I've planned to definitely go with the 8GB of ram right outta the box.

    I run Aperture regularily with RAW files around 20mb, and produce videos in the 5-15 minute range, haven't toyed with HD yet but that's where I'm going. I also use photoshop with those RAW files.

    My question is, is the extra $300 worth it for the video card/processor boost (Kinda on a budget) and is getting 8GB ram right outta the box the best option vs upgrading later (is this cheaper?)

    Thanks for the help.

    Tyler
    Well I think going that route is kind of expensive. Especially with 8GB on a mobile machine, which only has 2 slots for RAM.

    If you don't need the mobility then an iMac would probably be a better buy, because you can upgrade the RAM cheaper.
    死神はリンゴしか食べない。

  7. #7
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of

    Member Since
    Jan 10, 2010
    Posts
    4
    Thanks for the reply. I was thinking of going the iMac route, but the portability would be much handier for some travel related work I have coming up. I'm currently running the 2.16Ghz 1GB white macbook and its killing me even to run just Aperture, let alone getting into HD video. Maybe I'd be better off making due with that on the travels and going for the iMac, maybe even upgrading the macbook with another gig of ram as well?

    The more I think about it, the more that seems like the better option. Well, time to look into iMac pricing! As a side note, any ideas where a good place to pic up RAM in Canada is? Lastly, taking into account the usage I said before, off hand what should I be looking at for baseline specs?

    Thanks for the help/re-direction.

  8. #8
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of
    CrimsonRequiem's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts
    6,004
    Specs:
    MBP 2.3 Ghz 4GB RAM 860 GB SSD, iMac 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 32GB RAM, Fusion Drive 1TB
    Quote Originally Posted by TeeWebb View Post
    Thanks for the reply. I was thinking of going the iMac route, but the portability would be much handier for some travel related work I have coming up. I'm currently running the 2.16Ghz 1GB white macbook and its killing me even to run just Aperture, let alone getting into HD video. Maybe I'd be better off making due with that on the travels and going for the iMac, maybe even upgrading the macbook with another gig of ram as well?

    The more I think about it, the more that seems like the better option. Well, time to look into iMac pricing! As a side note, any ideas where a good place to pic up RAM in Canada is? Lastly, taking into account the usage I said before, off hand what should I be looking at for baseline specs?

    Thanks for the help/re-direction.
    Since I don't live in Canada that's hard to direct you to a good place. I would check out Crucial and OWC for sure though, since they seem to be the more reputable places to buy memory and Mac related hardware.

    If I had the money I would totally spring for the Quad Core 27" iMac. If you are on a budget and just need the minimum...probably the high end 21.5" iMac because it has a dedicated GPU.

    If you can't quite afford the Quad core but care about screen size then the lower tier 27" iMac.

    The specs on the iMacs are pretty much the same...for everything on the lower end models except for the graphics card and storage space.

    I wouldn't pay too much attention to the storage and memory so much because you can always upgrade those later.
    死神はリンゴしか食べない。

  9. #9
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of

    Member Since
    Jan 10, 2010
    Posts
    4
    Canada ram was a shot in the dark, seen Crucial and OWC pop up repeatedly in my searches on the forum, will have to check out their shipping policies. Thanks anyway.

    Thanks for outlining the different options, right along with my lines of thinking. The budgetary stuff is something I'm just gonna have to consider, and completely agree with upgrading after the fact the memory/storage. Hadn't thought about giving priority to screen space either, something else to think about. You've kind of sublty answered my main question of whether it would be worth it to spring from the Nvidia to ATI card (yes).

    In terms of running something like Final Cut Express and doing HD movies (usually) no longer than 30 min, do you think the Core 2 Duo would be at a significant disadvantage to the Quad? I would most likely go for the higher 21.5 inch so the jump to Quad would be a 1/3 again increase in price. Also, how heavily does the video card play in editing/photo work compared to gaming?

    [Update:] Looking at refurbished iMacs, theres a 24" with nvidia gt 120 and new 21.5" with ati hd 4670 both are same price, what's the difference in graphics cards? / LED display in 21.5?

  10. #10
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of

    Member Since
    Jan 10, 2010
    Posts
    4
    Bump
    Bumpin, wondering what the difference between the ATI HD 4670 and nVidia GT 120 is, couldn't find a cross-generational (iMac model) comparison.

    Thanks

  11. #11
    Which graphics card for a power user...sort of

    Member Since
    Jan 13, 2010
    Location
    North Dallas, TX
    Posts
    20
    Specs:
    13" MBP, 4GB, 250GB, Speck See-Thru
    Given the choice between ATI and nVidia, I always go with nVidia. Just seems to be better supported. Also, a note about memory upgrades... If you upgrade your memory in the store (at time of purchase) it is cheaper than buying an upgrade later. Because 1. (if you buy at an apple store), they will credit you the price of the memory that is taken out of the new machine, and 2. you won't have two memory chips laying in a drawer that you can't use.

    Just my thoughts.

    Good luck,
    Hutch

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