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Mac Hardware forum

General discussion

Graphcis Card on Macbook Pro 15

by arreis_email / July 1, 2009 3:48 PM PDT

I'm planning to buy a new macbook pro 15" probably by the end of the month(PC User, never used mac before). However, I'm wondering if it can handle 2D and 3D CAD really well since it only have an Nvidia Geforce 9600Gt.
Yes, I'm might use boot camp since some CAD softwares, like Solidworks 2009, is only native on windows.

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Shouldn't be a problem
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 1, 2009 9:55 PM PDT

Would you have the same concerns about a PC with this graphics card installed?


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Additional Info
by arreis_email / July 2, 2009 3:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Shouldn't be a problem

I'm actually still choosing between these two systems
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93GHz 6MB L2 Cache
512Mb Nvidia Quadro 770
4Gb 800MHz Ram

Apple MBP 15"
2.8 GHz 6MB L2 Cache
512Mb Nvidia GeForce 9600Gt
4Gb 1066MHz Ram

Both have identical price tag price.
I know Nvidia quadro is a lot better graphics card than the geforce for CAD users. On the other hand, MBP is a lot reliabble and stable when comapred to the current Windows OS. So, which do you think is a better deal.
I really need you're opinion.

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I have to declare a conflict of interest here,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 2, 2009 9:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Additional Info

I would not buy a Windows machine at all.

My machine of choice would be the Mac and while you say that the Quadro 770 is the better card for CAD, remember that applies to a Windows machine and not the the Mac machine running Windows.

If you can, pop along to an Apple store and ask the folks there about this dilemma.


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by arreis_email / July 2, 2009 4:04 PM PDT

what do you mean by that mrmacfixit

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There were a number of tests done,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 3, 2009 3:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Clarification

using Boot Camp, that showed that the best machine for running Vista was a Mac using Boot Camp.

As to the first part, I think that's reasonably clear


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Quadro is better for CAD, but only for those who can use it.
by tkessler / July 21, 2009 10:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Additional Info

The Quadro is built to be feature-rich as opposed to being optimized for speed and efficiency (battery life comes to mind). That's the trade-off between a GPU and it's "Quadro" version. In the case of the "9600" and "770" you're talking the "G96M" chipset. The difference here is somewhat analogous to the difference between a Pentium 4 and a Pentium 4 Xeon...larger caches and more features on the chip, but built around the same architecture.

The main difference specifically is the optimization for speed versus full rendering capabilities, which is enabled in the firmware and drivers for the card. In Quadro cards you are guaranteed to do the full rendering of a scene, at any performance expense. They do not cut corners in the firmware and drivers, but as a result the chip will consume more power and slow down when complex scenes are rendered. For most professional situations this is fine because quality is expected as opposed to real-time rendering.

As such, if you are a graphics designer and absolutely need the features offered by the Quadro (basically the guarantee of full-quality scene rendering), then you will not find that on Apple's laptops (yet?). However, many of the recent advancements in GPU and driver technologies have made the differences less apparent for many uses. For instance, it used to be that the FireGL and Quadro GPUs were the only ones that were fully OpenGL compliant. These days, most GPUs (consumer or "pro") are fully OpenGL compliant because games and home applications demand it.

The real question to ask is what specifically are you doing? If you're just throwing together concept models and simple to moderately complex scenes, then any GPU will do, but if you are rendering a production movie or feature-rich scene, then the Quadro will ensure no speed-optimized corners are cut and you wont run into the potential for clipped textures and non-smoothed surfaces, or similar cut-backs that are usually not noticed in a real-time rendered scene.

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That being said...
by tkessler / July 21, 2009 10:43 AM PDT

That being said...I have a new MacBook with a GeForce 9600GT in it, and have not run into any problems with Maya and Modo. Then again, I'm just a novice at those programs and have not done enough rendering to see the obvious differences. The only CAD I've used extensively is Google Sketchup, which barely touches the capabilities of the 9600 itself. Wink

For these uses the 9600GT is perfect, and I do not need the Quadro.

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Platform Competence
by sturner--2008 / July 31, 2009 3:01 AM PDT
In reply to: That being said...

All that about the graphics card being said, the real question is why go for a laptop when what you are doing seems to indicate the need for a fully competent desktop system instead?

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