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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook - Question abt Intel GMA X3100


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peleshot

 
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Does the Intel GMA X3100 make a big difference in the new MacBooks? I just bought a MacBook(like a week ago) and I'm really annoyed that they released a new one. Anyway, compared to the old one (Intel GMA 950), does it make it "that much" faster or just a little bit. I don't play games or anything but I do use iMovie and iPhoto. Will there be a big difference in performance there? I already have 2GB of RAM and I'm very satisfied with it so I wasn't really very bummed to hear about the "up to 4GB RAM" thing..
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Zoolook

 
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There are two answers to this.

Yes it is faster than a GMA950. It has around 70% more bandwidth and can access a little more RAM. This would certainly make a difference if you like to do things in high resolution. It's important to not though that the GMA950 could actually access 224MB of RAM on some Windows machines, whereas Apple limited this to 64MB. The X3100 can access (in theory) 256MB of RAM.

However it still has no dedicated vertex shaders (needed for modern 3D games), there's still only 4 pixel pipellines (compared to 32 on even the 8600). Also the memory speed for the GMA x3100 is limited to the 667mhz or 800mhz bus speed of the Motherboard. Even a modest dedicated GPU would expect to have memory speed more than double this.

So, yes it's better, but it'll still not be a gaming powerhouse.

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peleshot

 
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Thanks!! But do you think that's a good enough reason to "upgrade"? I don't really do serious things in iMovie/iPhoto. I'm just a student who tinkles with it for fun.
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SNapEl

 
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One thing's for sure, I was able to play Hellgate London at reasonable framerates on a C2D MacBook with 950. Imagine wad X3100 can do for you.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peleshot View Post
Thanks!! But do you think that's a good enough reason to "upgrade"? I don't really do serious things in iMovie/iPhoto. I'm just a student who tinkles with it for fun.
For iMovie and iPhoto, it would make little or no difference, so it's not worth the upgrade IMO for day to day use.

For light gaming, it is a nice bump in speed.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
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technologist

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post
It's important to not though that the GMA950 could actually access 224MB of RAM on some Windows machines, whereas Apple limited this to 64MB.
Not true. From the specs sheet for the previous MacBook:
Quote:
Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 80MB, resulting in 944MB of system memory available on 1GB configurations.
And for the Current MacBook
Quote:
.... Minimum graphics memory usage is 144MB. An additional 16MB is required when using an external display
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celica73

 
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If the machine is 1 week old you can return it for a refund and buy a new one. Did you buy your machine at an Apple Store? If so, call them and ask about your options. It is quite probable that the Apple Store will offer you cash back just to keep your machine. I've seen it done before (when the MBPro went from Core2 to Core2 Duo).

Scott
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patch5674

 
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right so can someone please tell me in terms of games what it can play because i know about all the pixel pipelines and bus speeds and what difference they make but what is this card capable of playing (if anything)?

thanks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technologist View Post
Not true. From the specs sheet for the previous MacBook:


And for the Current MacBook
We've had this conversation before. The available video memory is 64MB (i.e. what is actually available for use by the GPU), regardless of how much it locks up, so it acts like a GPU with 64MB of dedicated memory - i.e. the resolution limitations, the texture limitations etc. The new X3100 acts more like a 128MB GPU (it says 144MB of the spec sheet which this time is the complete memory useage). So can hold more or less twice the amount of texture and vertex information in memory.

With the GMA950, anything needing more than 64MB of RAM would mean the video information would swap in and out of the 'video' RAM, via the CPU, which is why you get such awful frame rates in 3D games if you stick the texture details to high.

Not really sure why you answered 'not true'. Because I think you know what I meant.

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Zoolook

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patch5674 View Post
right so can someone please tell me in terms of games what it can play because i know about all the pixel pipelines and bus speeds and what difference they make but what is this card capable of playing (if anything)?

thanks
Under bootcamp, you'll probably get very reasonable DX8.1 performance. So any game made before 2005 will likely work fine, with the native MacBook resolution.

Newer PC games like BioShock or Crysis, forget it, but to be honest they'd struggle on a Mac Pro, without a GPU upgrade.

As for Mac Games, I should think games like Civ IV and the Sims 2 (which both play awful on the MacBook) would be better. Not sure about the newer EA games though.

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optophobia

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peleshot View Post
Does the Intel GMA X3100 make a big difference in the new MacBooks? I just bought a MacBook(like a week ago) and I'm really annoyed that they released a new one. Anyway, compared to the old one (Intel GMA 950), does it make it "that much" faster or just a little bit. I don't play games or anything but I do use iMovie and iPhoto. Will there be a big difference in performance there? I already have 2GB of RAM and I'm very satisfied with it so I wasn't really very bummed to hear about the "up to 4GB RAM" thing..
I have read sooooo many posts of people saying they were bummed that they bought a macbook a week ago before the release of the latest one.
You obviously read these forums. Did you not notice the "rumored macbook release" threads that had emerged all over the place ? It was time they were going to release the new macbook, yet all these people are complaining.. If you had read these forums and actually thought about it, you might have waited a week to get your new macbook, and then not had to moan.
I am not trying to direct this at you particularly since you might have had a reason to buy that particular day, but saying you are bummed is making it as if you had no idea there was going to be a release so soon, but everyone else did.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optophobia View Post
I have read sooooo many posts of people saying they were bummed that they bought a macbook a week ago before the release of the latest one.
You obviously read these forums. Did you not notice the "rumored macbook release" threads that had emerged all over the place ? It was time they were going to release the new macbook, yet all these people are complaining.. If you had read these forums and actually thought about it, you might have waited a week to get your new macbook, and then not had to moan.
I am not trying to direct this at you particularly since you might have had a reason to buy that particular day, but saying you are bummed is making it as if you had no idea there was going to be a release so soon, but everyone else did.
I think that's a little unfair - because when people ask when things are going to be released, and 'should I buy now', the answer is no one knows when the new machines will be released, and 'yes you should buy now'.

Apple are notoriously secretive about release dates. I bought my Core Duo MacBook 6 weeks before the Core 2 Duo game out with twice as much RAM... but there you go.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
- Joan D. Vinge

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patch5674

 
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Quick question is the gma card good enough to run leopard GUI easily or does it struggle at all and also what about windows vista premium aero interface?

I am guessing it can run OS X fine seeing as apple have put in their machines....
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nZa

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peleshot View Post
Thanks!! But do you think that's a good enough reason to "upgrade"? I don't really do serious things in iMovie/iPhoto. I'm just a student who tinkles with it for fun.
technical jargon aside, if you're a "tinkling student", you'd probably never notice a difference.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patch5674 View Post
Quick question is the gma card good enough to run leopard GUI easily or does it struggle at all and also what about windows vista premium aero interface?

I am guessing it can run OS X fine seeing as apple have put in their machines....
The Aero Glass works perfectly and very smooth on the GMA 950 in my Intel Mac Mini so if anything the new GPU will be even better.

Leopard runs great on that same GMA 950.
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