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Is MBP video RAM upgrade necessary?

2107 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  MacDoc

I am considering a MBP for my next Mac. I will be using it for general office work, but need the horsepower for photo editing (Lightroom and PS) and some video, but the latter on an amateur basis with iMovie. I don't use my Macs for gaming.

I would like to get the 7200 drive option. I will most often use the MBP attached to a second monitor.

For my uses, and considering the second monitor etc., is it necessary, or useful, to have the 256MB video RAM of the 2.4GHz MBP? Would I lose out on performance for my uses?

If it isn't useful, it saves me some cash as I would be able to go with the base MBP.

Thanks in advance!
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Barefeats did a comparison test between the 128 & 256 MBP models, and found that the 256 was, at best, 9% faster for 3D gaming. As a result of that test, I purchased an entry level MBP and couldn't be much happier.

Running an external monitor may well benefit from the 256 MB video card, but people shouldn't underestimate how good the 128 MB version of the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT video card is in the MBP. It continues to surprise me for gaming.

Here's a quote from that article more specific to your question...

Is there any situation where you could put the 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM to work? I suppose if you are running your MacBook Pro in dual display mode with an external 30" Cinema display, which assigns 128MB to each display, it could help. And if you are running a video memory hungry pro application like Motion 3, it could help. We're still trying to find a way to quantify this.
this is of interest to me as well, I'm looking at macbook pros now. I always run dual monitor and flash is my primary app. I don't have a 30" right now but you never know... ;)

I have run a second monitor from both a 12" and 15" PowerBook, which had 64MB video RAM from a much less capable card - there were never any issues with either.

I would be running at most a 20 or 21" display.

Seems to me that the extra expense of the higher end 15" MBP is hard to justify and that the difference would buy a nice chunk of extra RAM, which is always useful.

Thanks again!
There is a misconception that more video RAM = faster speed in say gaming which is is of marginal truth at best.

The iMac with say the 7600GT 256 was indeed faster than the stock 128 card but that was the card variant.

IF you are going to run a 24 or 30" off the MacBook Pro the extra video RAM will help.
We also think the intermediate MPB is over priced while the entry and the 17 well positioned

It should be a $300 gap not a $600 one.

Beefing up the base model with full RAM and 160 7200 rpm drive is a real treat and is still less than the intermediate base price.
The only area where the amount of VRAM is crucial is with resolutions. For pretty much everything else the GPU is the deciding factor.
IF you are going to run a 24 or 30" off the MacBook Pro the extra video RAM will help.
We also think the intermediate MPB is over priced while the entry and the 17 well positioned
This is a setup I am considering too, but with a 20" display. In what way does the video RAM help?
I suspect it's just like additional drive space and RAM the GPU in this case has more working room for an increased number of activities to occur within the RAM on the card as opposed to swapping it out.

So if you have a huge number of pixels active then it may bog sooner just as a machine with too little ram does. I notice it when I switch around cards in my own machine.
Not sure exactly how in real terms of process sharing the GPU and CPU act together.
( would like to here from an X "under the hood" guru on that. )

For a 20" I'd stick with the stock card but bump the RAM and maybe the drive - better value IMNSHO :D
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