Apple MacBook Pro 13—Surprisingly Powerful 320M

Ah yes, the NVIDIA GeForce 320M, a.k.a. the excuse given for why the MBP13 is still running Core 2. It’s an integrated chip, with 256MB of system memory allocated to the IGP. As I said before, it’s got 48 CUDA cores clocked at 450 MHz, compared to the G 310M (in most of ASUS’ ultraportables) which has 16 CUDA cores at 625 MHz. It’s based on NVIDIA’s GT216 core and is basically an integrated version of the GeForce GT 325M. Interestingly, NVIDIA also has a similarly (and rather confusingly) named GT 320M (found in the HP dv6/7t) but that is a dedicated card with a stripped version of the GT216 core and has 24 pixel pipelines clocked at 500 MHz.

So, there’s your NVIDIA mobile GPU lesson for the day. But here’s the basics—the 320M is the replacement for the old 9400M and is basically a GT 325M integrated into the chipset. We expect it to run squarely in between the ASUS ultraportables and the N83Jv/Alienware M11x (GT 335M), slightly slower than the GT 325M, and somewhere around the ATI HD 5470. Here's how gaming performance stacks up.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

DiRT 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Mass Effect 2

Stalker: Call of Pripyat

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Under low settings, the MBP ended up around 10% faster overall than the Dell Studio 14, which has the HD 5470 (excluding the StarCraft II number). The Alienware M11x, ASUS N82Jv, and Gateway ID49C remain quite a bit faster, as expected, while the ASUS U-series end up significantly slower. The other integrated solutions (9400M, HD 4200/4225) are comparatively woeful. With the G 310M, you can play basically everything in our benchmark suite (except Mass Effect 2) at native res, lowest detail settings. With the other integrated graphics solutions, you need to take the resolution down a few notches to get anything even resembling a playable frame rate.

 Battlefield: Bad Company 2

DiRT 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Mass Effect 2

Stalker: Call of Pripyat

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty 

At medium detail settings, I expected the 320M to falter, but it surprised me by staying playable in all of our benchmarks. Bad Company 2 is a bit low, but if you really want to play it at Medium it’s possible, unlike with the G 310M and other low end dedicated graphics units. Frame rates in the mid-20 to low-30 range are awesome by mobile IGP standards. Things that aren’t playable on the G 310M, like Mass Effect 2 and Left 4 Dead 2, hit the magical 30 fps mark with the 320M. The 320M performs more like a midrange mobile GPU than any shape or form of integrated graphics; this is understandable given it’s roots as an integrated GT 325M, but it's still pretty awesome.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 - Core 2 Duo Performance Apple MacBook Pro 13 - Average Battery Life
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  • piroroadkill - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    I have some Pavilion DV6 right here that have only superficial markings for left and right, and infact are capacative to sense the side of the touchpad, and essentially is one button.

    I'm not a fan. I actually LIKE having seperate buttons, because it means I can have a finger on the button and one on the touchpad, to have accurate click timing (it's possible to game on a touchpad, just about, but not on a mac style one button touchpad).
    Reply
  • marraco - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    It's obsolete.

    And it have problems and Gray Screen of Death.
    When you have problems, you are again in DOS age. Macs forces you on command screens, to write cryptic unix commands that never work.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Leave it to anandtech to try and justify paying $1500 for a $800 notebook. Reply
  • Sufo - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    now, are you saying that just because you disagree with some of the conclusions or because you feel anandtech frequently oversells hardware?

    If the latter, then i'm somewhat suprised - i find anandtech to be one of the most comprehensive and objective reviewsites i've come across (if not the most). If there is some other source that you feel is even more objective and trustworthy, please throw a link this way because i'm actually in need of a few more sites to browse at work.
    Reply
  • fujii13 - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Anyone point out the fact that the audio drivers only allow for 50% volume compared to OS X, and that not all the speakers are powered in Boot Camp? Reply
  • mrsmegz - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    read about 5 comments up, I mentioned the Speaker problem, I was hoping they would address if this was still a problem w/ the crappy bootcamp drivers. Its one of the main reasons I got rid of the macbook. I listen to a lot of music, and wanted to use foobar in windows, but forget it w/ bootcamp. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    I get the impression from reading this article that the reviewer is feeling conflicted. Apple has obviously created an awesome small laptop that oozes quality and design, but the Core 2 processor makes it impossible to give the machine an overall favorable review.

    I would second this notion, and that's why I bought the 15" model. Hopefully next week, the 13" MacBook Pro will get some core i3/i5 love and discreet graphics.

    Then there will be nothing to prevent the looming Macpocalypse.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Yes, absolutely nothing...

    Except distasteful corporate arrogance and customer-gouging prices. People should vote with their wallets, which is why I'm always disappointed to see Apple products on the street.

    Any company that would actually put "We care about our customers" as a major bulletpoint in a presentation cannot and should not be trusted.
    Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Saturday, October 16, 2010 - link

    Where do you get this Corporate Arrogance thing? I just don't see it! When I look at Apple I see a company that is trying to produce something that is unique and better than the average. Sure they talk the BIG talk about their products, but they are supposed to, they want to sell them, that's Marketing 1.0. Would you buy a computer from a company that thought their products were complete crap?

    Every Apple product has at least a few worthy qualities. The author of this article clearly gets that. I can't say the same thing for many of the PC products I have used over the years.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, October 16, 2010 - link

    iPhone 4, Steve Jobs: "You're holding it wrong!"

    There have been numerous cases of Jobs blaming the users for problems with the product, and the elitist mentality of Jobs often extends to the users. That's not to say Apple can't make good product, but that there are plenty who refuse to buy an Apply product just because of the "culture" that goes with it.
    Reply

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