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vargz
12th November 2006, 11:25 AM
I'm pondering upgrading to a new Macbook. My only concern with this is the integrated graphics processor - the Intel GMA 950.

From my understanding, it will be fine for such things as Photoshop, Illustrator, eyeTV live viewing/playback, DVD/movie playback, screen spanning/mirroring to 20-24" ext display. But won't be so good at handling (or won't work at all) for 3D design apps, Windows games (the newer ones anyway).

If anyone has informed or experienced thoughts/opinions on this, please post.

mini_Matt
12th November 2006, 11:50 AM
I have a Mac Mini 1.66GHz 2GB ram and although I haven't had any experience with using the GMA950 for Windows games or 3D applications, I think if you are expecting performance for such things I would try and avoid it.

Don't get me wrong the Intel GMA950 does perform well at everything you throw at it such as Quartz Composer and all things you have listed, but as for Windows tasks I'm not sure. I guess this comes down to personal preference I would only avoid it because I don't like the fact it uses shared memory. Sorry that's not much help :)

Brains
12th November 2006, 02:15 PM
You have to remember, as far as Apple is concerned gamers & gaming don't even exist on their marketing radar, not even as a faint blip.

The only real criteria they have for choosing what GPUs are used is Core Video compliance, with a reasonable response time. For a single-screen machine, OSX and the GMA950 is a very good, highly capable marriage, and will be more than sufficient for most people's computing tasks. Exposé will be smooth, iPhoto scrolling will be fluid, iTunes visualisations will be lush. High-end apps like Aperture will really find it tough going, though (but then, Aperture users should have a PowerMac G5 or a Mac Pro with not one but two 24" LCDs :))

As far as gaming is concerned, the 950 can just handle Waste of Warcraft on OSX without grumbling too much ... but it does grumble.

If you're a gamer (ie, you like things like HalfLife 2, Counterstrike or the Battlefield series) the games will run under Windows (Boot Camp only), but at the lowest resolutions with most of the eye-candy turned off. Kind of makes them not worth playing.


Brains

mjankor
12th November 2006, 02:21 PM
I think I decided the 950 sat just above the 5200 from the PB12". I've played HL2 on my Macbook. It was playable but not very fun. There were a few scenes where performance was below 5fps. I was playing it in the MB's native resolution.

It's not as crap as I expected anyway.

applecollector
12th November 2006, 03:08 PM
I have a mac mini 1.66Ghz (Dual layer superdrive version) runs doom 3 ran well with the intel patch.
Under Windows GTA San Andres work perfectly.
I haven't had a chance to see if aperture works.
But it'll do basicially anything you want but not to intensive games or apps.

f1_power
12th November 2006, 03:20 PM
I found that a GMA 900 which is the previous model to the 950 on a Toshiba laptop with 512MB of RAM in Win XP could run UT2004 fairly well last year when I tested it so presume that like the others have said for most apps and games it will be fine.

BlowMeDown
12th November 2006, 03:37 PM
My MacBook runs Sims 2 plus 2 expansions pack with little effort, as opposed to when it was running on a 12" powerbook which laboured through that game.

timwallG5
12th November 2006, 04:29 PM
Has anyone here played Doom 3 on a MacBook? I'd be interested in knowing how well it runs with the GMA950.

I am also considering a Black MacBook for school and travel purposes, as it has a neat and ultraportable 13" size, and a reasonably tough polycarbonate shell. I'd be playing games casually on it.

One point of curiousity - how does the GMA 950 compare to the dedicated graphics card found in the previous PowerBook and also the iMac G5 (my machine - first gen Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra, 64mb).

Also, if Motion can even be installed, how well does it run with the Intel GMA chip?

Currawong
12th November 2006, 04:53 PM
You have to remember, as far as Apple is concerned gamers & gaming don't even exist on their marketing radar, not even as a faint blip.

That's actually quite incorrect. There has been quite a bit of work done between Apple and game software companies to get popular games running well in OSX.

If gaming is a big deal for you though, save up for an MBP or use the difference in price to rig up a cheap PC dedicated to gaming alone.

vargz
12th November 2006, 09:04 PM
If gaming is a big deal for you though, save up for an MBP or use the difference in price to rig up a cheap PC dedicated to gaming alone.
Fortunately gaming (of the PC variety) isn't really a priority for me - its mainly the design apps, eyeTV/DVDs which are more of what i need. So from what people have said, I should be OK.

As for getting MBP, I don't need or want a 15" machine... it's a little to big for someone who currently gets by with a 12" PB spanned to a 20" monitor when at home. A 13" MBP would be lovely but even a dedicated graphics card option on the black Macbook would suffice!

qwijibo
12th November 2006, 11:58 PM
Has anyone here played Doom 3 on a MacBook? I'd be interested in knowing how well it runs with the GMA950.


Barefeats tested quake 4 & doom 3 on various macs: http://barefeats.com/mbcd3.html

From those results, I'd say doom3 runs great on a GMA950 ... as a slide show.

lenman74
13th November 2006, 07:47 AM
Hi

Anyone got SecondLife working on a Macbook with Intel video? Was it useable?

Ta

gelfie
13th November 2006, 08:08 AM
GMA 950

The GMA 950 was Intel's second-generation GMA GPU, used on the Intel 940GML, 945G series, 945GT chipsets. Most of the changes related to video decoding, adding support for VLC, iDCT, hardware motion-compensation, and dual video overlay windows (1 HD + 1 SD). The core clock was bumped slightly to 400 MHz, which increased peak pixel fill rates to 1600 MPixel/s. Like the 900 series, the 950 also lacked hardware T&L support, and therefore it remains unsuitable for modern games.

Some confusion made between GMA 900 and GMA 950 is that they both support the same Vertex Shader version, 2.0, while in reality GMA 950 supports version 3.0. This is also supported by the fact GMA 950 nearly doubles the 3D Mark 2005 score achieved by the GMA 900.[1]

Another version of the GMA 950 with a slower 250 MHz core clock was released as the Mobile GMA 950, used on the Intel i945GM chipset. The lower clock rate used less power and generated less heat, but the system was otherwise identical. Mobile cores retained the split core speeds found in earlier generations, but available core speeds for a given chipset no longer depends on CPU front side bus or memory speed.

Intel 945GT is a desktop variant of the Mobile Intel 945G, which retains the split core speeds, but render and display cores run at 400MHz and 320MHz respectively.

Source: Wikipedia

http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/gma950/index.htm

The main thing to note is the complete lack of Pixel Shaders, and the fact that all Transform and Lighting (one of the main reasons to use OpenGL/DirectX) is done on the CPU.

Basically, its a heap of shit for anything but accelerated video playback, and Core Graphics.

vargz
13th November 2006, 08:28 AM
Basically, its a heap of shit for anything but accelerated video playback, and Core Graphics.
You see, that doesn't tell me much. Perhaps you can give me an example of an application/use utilising accelerated video playback and core graphics?!

bartron
13th November 2006, 08:35 AM
You see, that doesn't tell me much. Perhaps you can give me an example of an application/use utilising accelerated video playback and core graphics?!

OS X

seriously though, think of it this way. Onboard graphics is enough to get you by. For most if not all desktop work it will be fine. A standalone grphics card is a boon to anything that requires intensive graphics calculation like 3d games and some CAD applications...on the issue of games though, the onboard graphics is good enough to play Quake 3 at a decent clip. It wasn't that long ago you had to buy a dedicated card to do the same job.

Bartron

gelfie
13th November 2006, 08:54 AM
Accelerated Video Playback:

Decoding various video formats such as the notoriously CPU intensive H.264 and other older types MPEG, Windows Media, DVD, etc... on the video card. Rather than relying on a software player to do all the work on the cpu.

So a machine with a GMA950 will play High Definition h.264 videos without dropping frames, which a G4 with a dedicated video card will not be able to do.

Core Graphics: The fancy video effects apple has added to OS X as of Tiger. They are basically like photoshop image manipulation filters, but because they are accelerated by the video card, they happen real time.

An example is the "Ripple" effect when you open a new widget in dashboard. But there are many more, from image rotation and scaling, transparancy, bluring, sharpening, contrast and brightness adjustments etc.

Have a look at the application Core Image Funhouse that comes with the Developer Tools, load up an image and manipulate away, all in real time. Pretty cool.

vargz
13th November 2006, 10:35 AM
Cheers.... that makes sense now and its good to know that it can handle these things :)

Currawong
13th November 2006, 11:29 AM
Essentially all the 2D and 3D effects which people rant on about in games, which they require expensive graphics cards for, are built into Mac OS X, allowing any program to take advatage of them.

Somewhere there was a list of effects were built into Mac OS X at what time (maybe on ARS Technica?) but I don't recall where.

t3h_0n3
4th December 2006, 02:47 AM
Hey people i wanted to know that will this GPU chip support a 1400x900 resolution.
well iam a windows user and have this motherboard with gma950 as the onboard gpu
was searching for the same on google but found nothing rather always land up on a mac forum so thought of posting it here.

I was going to purchase a 19" wide screen lcd which has a native res. of 1400x900 so just wanted to confirm whether this chip supports this res.

Thanks in advance.

:)

William
4th December 2006, 06:21 AM
Hey people i wanted to know that will this GPU chip support a 1400x900 resolution.
well iam a windows user and have this motherboard with gma950 as the onboard gpu
was searching for the same on google but found nothing rather always land up on a mac forum so thought of posting it here.

I was going to purchase a 19" wide screen lcd which has a native res. of 1400x900 so just wanted to confirm whether this chip supports this res.

Thanks in advance.

:)

IT sure does, I've tried it with two different screens on two macbooks :)

iDaife
4th December 2006, 06:23 AM
Hey people i wanted to know that will this GPU chip support a 1400x900 resolution.
well iam a windows user and have this motherboard with gma950 as the onboard gpu
was searching for the same on google but found nothing rather always land up on a mac forum so thought of posting it here.

I was going to purchase a 19" wide screen lcd which has a native res. of 1400x900 so just wanted to confirm whether this chip supports this res.

Thanks in advance.

:)

I'm using a 20" widescreen (Dell 2007WFP) with my MacBook. Max resolution of 1680 x 1050 is supported, and in the majority of cases runs fine. It is only a bit laggy when scrolling through Word or Pages. Expose and Dashboard aren't very smooth either, but I suppose this is irrelevant in your case!

Cheers, Dave;)

shorebuck
4th December 2006, 02:06 PM
I'm using a 20" widescreen (Dell 2007WFP) with my MacBook. Max resolution of 1680 x 1050 is supported, and in the majority of cases runs fine. It is only a bit laggy when scrolling through Word or Pages. Expose and Dashboard aren't very smooth either, but I suppose this is irrelevant in your case!

Cheers, Dave;)


Do you run the 2 screens at the same time? I found that screen lag happened when the laptop was open - when ran in clamshell mode, no probs - I was told that in spanning mode, the video ram is shared between the two screens - hence the slowdown.

t3h_0n3
6th December 2006, 12:46 AM
Thanks lot people for solving my query ,i guess i'd go for that lcd now. :)

Ben™
6th December 2006, 01:19 AM
Anybody know how well the GMA950 goes running HL2 and mods in Windows? I've just ordered a Intel Mini.

Ben™
8th December 2006, 11:53 AM
Anybody know how well the GMA950 goes running HL2 and mods in Windows? I've just ordered a Intel Mini.

Well it arrived yesterday, and since the above post, I've done so research into how well it can run it, and it does it quite well for what it is, but I seem to be having an isolated problem.

When I run CS: Source, the background image loads, then when it refreshes to where the menu should be, I get a completely black screen. If I move my mouse where the menu items should be, I can hear the clicking, so it's a display issue.

I've tried running it in DX 9, 8.1 and 7, still nothing. Anybody seen this before? If so, how was it fixed?

Thanks.

vargz
8th December 2006, 12:44 PM
I'm using a 20" widescreen (Dell 2007WFP) with my MacBook. Max resolution of 1680 x 1050 is supported, and in the majority of cases runs fine. It is only a bit laggy when scrolling through Word or Pages. Expose and Dashboard aren't very smooth either, but I suppose this is irrelevant in your case!

That's a bit of a bugger. I run a similar setup but with a 12" Powerbook and mine doesn't have lagginess in the instances/apps you mentioned, unless im running a million things at once. The Powerbook has 64MB dedicated graphics as well. How many MBs of ram are you running in your Macbook?

jboles
8th December 2006, 01:13 PM
I had lagginess when I started using my MBP with a 24" Dell LCD. Going into Quartz Debug and enabling Quartz 2D Extreme (? or whatever its called) produces a huge performance increase. Note that the setting will revert with a reboot... the link below describes how to keep it permanently enabled.

http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=2005050121260474

hank
21st August 2007, 06:32 AM
Many thanks for this thread --- getting a mini next week.

I've found it very hard to find out if any particular monitor has a native resolution that will work with the Mini. Finally started looking for "Intel GMA950" and found this helpful thread.

And I'd been hoping specifically that 1400 x 900 was supported.

geektechnu
21st August 2007, 09:02 AM
From my personal MacBook experiences:

- 24" screen @ 1920x1200 is fine
- Unreal Tournament 2003 @ 1280x800 is fine

Under bootcamp the amount of video ram allocated increases depending on the amount system memory installed - up to 244mb provided you have more than 1gb of memory.

Can anyone confirm that OS X is locked to 64mb?