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GeForce 9400M versus 9600M GT
(Both in the MacBook Pro 'late 2008')
Originally posted October 23rd, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
As many of you know, the 2.8GHz MacBook Pro* actually has two different graphics processors (GPUs). One is the integrated GeForce 9400M which uses up to 256MB of shared DDR3 main memory and the stand-alone GeForce 9600M GT which has 512MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory. You must choose which one to enable. You can't run both simultaneously as many of you wish you could.
We ran some 3D accelerated games at the native resolution (1440x900) to highlight the performance difference between the two GPUs.
LEGEND of Graphs
9600M mode = Energy Saver set to "Higher Performance" on MacBook Pro 2.8GHz
9400M mode = Energy Saver set to "Better Battery Life" on the MacBook Pro 2.8GHz
Switching is not dynamic or automatic. It requires you to logout after switching.
As you can see, in the case of OpenGL 3D accelerated games, the 9600M GT stand-alone GPU in the "late 2008" 15" 2.8GHz MacBook Pro is 121% to 286% faster than the integrated 9400M. It seems the only reason to enable the 9400M is if you are trying to stretch battery life.
The above results are also useful if you are trying to decide between the MacBook with the integrated GeForce 9400M (only) and the MacBook Pro with the "available" stand-alone GeForce 9600M GT. Though the 9400M is much faster than the integrated Intel GMA X3100 used in the previous generation MacBooks, it's no match for the 9600M GT.
We will follow-up with some QuickTime Encode/Decode and Core Image tests in the near future to see how the two modes compare in that milieu.
Presently we only have the 2.8GHz MacBook Pro in our lab. MacWorld Labs posted a comparison of various models of "late 2008" MacBook Pro running in both GPU modes versus various models of MacBook "late 2008."
PSSST -- REGARDING THE NEW APPLE LED 24" CINEMA DISPLAY...
It's about time that Apple add the iSight camera to a Cinema Display! It's more expensive than the Dell 24" UltraSharp 2408WFP with its landscape to portrait pivot feature, higher contrast ratio, and faster pixel response, but I think the new Apple 24" Cinema's LED-backlit screen, aluminum and glass enclosure, integrated iSight camera, and MagSafe charger make it worth the extra $$$. It's certainly better eye candy and matches the MacBook and MacBook Pro more closely than the alternatives.
For more info, see the LED Display SPECIFICATIONS PAGE.
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MEMORY EXPANSION FOR YOUR MACBOOK or MACBOOK PRO
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© 2008 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
, the webmaster