WEAK vs STRONG:
Three 2011 MacBook Pro
graphics processors compared
Originally posted Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated March 31st, 2011 with 2010 MacBook Pro 2.66GHz (13") results
Much of the email regarding the 2011 MacBook Pro goes, "Is the top model's GPU really that much faster?" To answer, we ran two tests on three different 2011 models. The 2.0GHz quad-core with the Radeon HD 6490 was tested by the OWC lab. Since they didn't have full copies of our test suite, they used demo versions of Portal and X-Plane. So we did too. An external display was used to add a little more stress to the test for those MBPs with lower resolution screens.
Steam Portal FIrst Slice (demo) was run with these settings: Model Detail = High, Texture Detail = High, Shader Detail = High Water Detail = Reflect All, Shadow Detail = High, Color Correction = Enabled, Antialiasing Mode = none, Filtering Mode = Anisotropy 4X Vertical Sync = Disabled, Motion Blur = Enabled. (Higher numbers are better. RED bar means fastest.)
Laminar Research X-Plane Demo has a timedemo mode which we run from the Terminal app with 4X anisotropic filtering and 2X anti-aliasing. (Higher numbers are better. RED bar means fastest.)
MBP 2.30 '11 = 'early 2011' MacBook Pro Quad-Core i7 2.30GHz with Radeon HD 6750M graphics
MBP 2.66 '10 = 'mid 2010' MacBook Pro Dual-Core i7 2.66GHz with GeForce GT 330M graphics
MBP 2.0 '11 = 'early 2011' MacBook Pro Quad-Core i7 2.20GHz with Radeon HD 6490M graphics
MBP 2.70 '11 = 'early 2011' MacBook Pro Dual-Core i7 2.70GHz with integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics
MBA 2.13 '10 = 'late 2010' MacBook Air Dual-Core 2.13GHz with integrated GeForce 320M graphics
MBP 2.66 13" = 'md 2010' MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz with integrated GeForce 320M graphics
1. The 2011 2.2GHz and 2.3GHz MacBook Pro with Radeon 6750M graphics (1GB GDDR5) is a 'different animal' from the 2011 2.0GHz MacBook Pro with the Radeon 6490M graphics (256MB GDDR5). Is it worth $300 more (comparably equipped). Yes, when you consider you are getting a faster CPU and much faster GPU.
2. The 2011 2.7GHz MacBook Pro with Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics does little or nothing to improve the 3D graphics performance compared to the GeForce 320M integrated graphics in the 2010 MacBook Air and 13" MacBook Pro.
If you have questions or comments, email
. (BTW, you can also follow us on Twitter @barefeats.)