The GPU: Faster

The GPU was the main recipient of Apple's attention for this upgrade. The old entry level model shipped with a pretty disappointing AMD Radeon HD 6490M. Apple has since upgraded the entry level 15-inch model to the Radeon HD 6750M, more than doubling its compute horsepower and memory bandwidth. Memory capacity has doubled as well to 512MB. I don't believe 512MB is ideal if you're going to be driving an external 27-inch panel, but for use on the notebook's screen alone (even at high res) you should be fine.

Discrete GPU Options
  AMD Radeon HD 6750M AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Manufacturing Process 40nm 40nm
SPs 480 480
Texture Units 24 24
ROPs 8 8
Core Clock 600MHz 725MHz
Memory Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Clock 900MHz 900MHz?
Frame Buffer 512MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5

The upgraded configuration now comes with a Radeon HD 6770M. The 6770M increases shader clock but not the number of processors on the GPU. Memory bandwidth may be improved, it depends on what memory clock Apple decided on - by default the memory interface is no faster than the 6750M. The bigger difference for non-gamers will be the 1GB framebuffer that comes with the 6770M. If you're going to be using a 27-inch display, you'll want this GPU.

I tested the 6750M in the $1799 model and found it generally comparable to the 6750M in the old upgraded setup. The old 6490M is much slower and thankfully, out of the picture:

Half Life 2: Episode 2 (Mac OS X)

Half Life 2: Episode 2 (Mac OS X)

Starcraft II - AT GPU Bench (Mac OS X)

Starcraft II - AT GPU Bench (Mac OS X)

Starcraft II - AT CPU Bench (Mac OS X)

Starcraft II - AT CPU Bench (Mac OS X)

Silicon Updates Display Quality & Peripherals
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  • KoolAidMan1 - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    You keep missing the point, the review is incidental, it's about the RAWR MAD responses Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    Ok, did some Googling and found the actual article, I was wrong about both PCMag (it is PCWorld) and the generation (it is a 2007 Conroe MBP): http://www.pcworld.com/article/136649-3/in_picture...

    "The fastest Windows Vista notebook we've tested this year--or for that matter, ever--is a Mac. Not a Dell, not a Toshiba, not even an Alienware. The $2419 (plus the price of a copy of Windows Vista, of course) MacBook Pro's PC WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 88 beats Gateway's E-265M by a single point, but the MacBook's score is far more impressive simply because Apple couldn't care less whether you run Windows."

    To be clear, this is less about it being the fastest notebook since the chassis limits the components you can put inside of it. If it was the fastest ever then it was only for a brief period. It again is about the outcry when a MBP gets a good review, that's all. This isn't rocket science, you see it here all the time. :)
    Reply
  • ananduser - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Stop using 2007 articles. Things change over time. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    Herp derp, you miss the point, thus proving my point, congrats! Reply
  • arterius2 - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    see this is exactly what i mean by spewing crap, the review on this page apparently shows that the 15" runs SC2 1440x900 on high at 32fps, this isnt even close to 1920x1080 yet, and its barely playable. the fact of the matter is, my 2 year old laptop can overtake performance of just released macbookpro at half the price (and it even comes with 8GB of ram vs 4GB of macbook).

    the only thing that makes the MBP "Fast" is its i7 processors, its memory/hdd/GPU are still light years away compared to the real high-end laptops. there are plenty of laptops that are designed to do real work for people that has real jobs.

    when you use words such as "fastest" you better have shit to back it up, you are going to involve power users, and thats not what MBP are designed for, its designed for little high school girls. I feel sorry for these pathetic apple cultboys.
    Reply
  • xype - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    I am sure all the pathetic apple cultboys, like Anand, are going to be very hurt by your comments.

    Apple owns the laptop market. Deal with it.
    Reply
  • arterius2 - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    You've got to be kidding with a comment like that. Apple owns the laptop market? WHAAAT? where are you getting these numbers, show your sources, last time I've checked Apple's slogan was "We don't get viruses [because our market share is pretty much non-existent]" Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    First off, you're ignoring that the benchmark was 46fps using the dedicated GPU in OS X, but go right ahead and cherry pick data using Intel's integrated graphics instead.

    Seriously, CPU benchmark vs GPU benchmark, I thought people that came here knew how to read technical charts.

    Second, my numbers are correct, I was running SC2 at high in Windows 7 on Boot Camp with the framerate showing via Ctrl-F. Perhaps you want a screenshot for proof next? I'm using the high end 2011 model which is slightly higher in benchmarks than the baseline model that this review tested. It is outputting to a 1920x1200 monitor but its native res is the upgraded 1680-by-1050 screen, so I've never even seen it at 1440x900.

    The Radeon 6750M and 6770M are actually quite good high-midrange mobile GPUs, with the unreviewed 6770M not too far off from an 460M. Yeah you could get a faster GPU in another laptop, but the result is a 8lb+ 2" thick behemoth with an hour of battery life. Some people don't want massive laptops with no battery life. The MBP is an excellent balance between high performance, long battery life, and a slim/light enclosure, plus you get the awesome display, etc etc.

    As for "fastest", I addressed that above. I gave an example where fanboys went crazy when PCMag called the first Penryn Macbook Pro the fastest PC laptop around, and for that period it actually was. I didn't say it is CURRENTLY the fastest laptop around, that's ludicrous.

    I was using the story as an example where anti-Apple fanboys go nuts if you even dare say that the hardware is any good. You proved my point perfectly while making a fool of yourself. Thank you.
    Reply
  • ananduser - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    There are moments in SC2, if you play let's say 3v3 or 4v4, when the combined graphical artifacts that have to be rendered pushes the machine(especially a laptop) pretty hard, so your 46FPS might vary.

    But still SC2 is not a demanding game, Blizzard is not famous for cutting edge graphics, great gameplay and extremely refined cinematics instead.
    Anyway, the MBP has GOOD hardware, no one denied that, BUT it could be better. Since moving to Intel gear Apple has had moments when its laptops were cutting edge. And that was when Intel introduced its brand new cpus, usually exclusively on Apple gear first through exclusivity agreements, thus shafting the other manufacturers from a marketing point of view.

    Sorry for hijacking your argument, just pointed a few nitpicks.
    Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    It could absolutely have better hardware, no question. The problem is that it would result in a larger chassis, reduced battery life, or both. As it stands the current CPU/GPU are just acceptable for a MBP, go anything higher and you'll deal with overheating components or reduced battery life.

    It's a concession that people knowingly make. If someone wanted more GPU, they'd get a larger laptop (such as the excellent Asus mentioned) with more cooling and less battery life, simple.

    It's actually ok, my 2011 MBP runs SC2, Diablo 3 beta, and DOTA 2 *perfectly* even outputting to a 24" monitor, so no complaints. If you want more for something like BF3, bigger laptop.

    That's what my SLI desktop is for anyway and I want a light but powerful laptop with lots of battery life, so yeah. :)
    Reply

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