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New Mac Mini, integrated video?


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#81 teflon

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:43 PM

well, as has already been said of the GMA950, it was designed with HD playback in mind, so thats not especially suprising. The fact that the 9200 cant compete in the slightest shows how much of an improvement there has been in this area with the move to this chip.

What we really need now are some real world tests of UT2004, Doom3, KotoR, and Quake 4 (though essentially the same as D3, just more demanding). Obviously, by real world I mean using reasonable settings on the games. the tests by macworld, though standardised, were pointless and dont really seperate the two machines, simply pointing out that neither can play the game at full settings... well done. No i mean medium settings, 1024x768. Then wed need to try and discern how much of an effect the core chip has on the performance...

of course, those would have to be done on the forum, and standardised ourselves.
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#82 Brad Oliver

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 12:34 AM

View PostRandyWang, on March 4th 2006, 07:55 PM, said:

Actually, it supports CoreGraphics. That is, CoreImage, CoreVideo and, if it ever reaches a stable release, Quartz 2D Extreme.

CoreGraphics is just another name for Quartz, which is essentially the 2D graphics API of choice in OSX. It is not a superset of CoreImage or CoreVideo.
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#83 bobbob

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 12:39 AM

View Postteflon, on March 5th 2006, 07:43 PM, said:

well, as has already been said of the GMA950, it was designed with HD playback in mind

HD what? MPEG2 and 4 don't need much - it's not like basic HD would tax a CPU much, and the better filters from nVidia and ATI just need DX9 cards. Arstechnica's review says the Mini can have trouble with 1080p H.264. HD games are obviously out unless you run Bejeweled at 1080p for the heck of it. I think this argument is bogus. 'Designed with HD in mind' just means they accelerate a few things just like everyone else does, except much worse.

#84 Abecedaria

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 12:40 AM

View Postteflon, on March 5th 2006, 07:43 PM, said:

well, as has already been said of the GMA950, it was designed with HD playback in mind, so thats not especially suprising. The fact that the 9200 cant compete in the slightest shows how much of an improvement there has been in this area with the move to this chip.


Whuuuu? Ummm, I think the reason the Intel mini clobbers the PPC mini in HD playback is because of:

2 processors instead of one
Faster processors with newer technology versus the G4 dinosaurs in the old mini
Far faster bus speeds
...and the list goes on from here.

I would bet a 9200 in a Core Duo mini would rip the pants off a GMA Core Duo mini. But, we'll probably never know.

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#85 RandyWang

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:12 AM

View PostBrad Oliver, on March 6th 2006, 05:34 PM, said:

CoreGraphics is just another name for Quartz, which is essentially the 2D graphics API of choice in OSX. It is not a superset of CoreImage or CoreVideo.

Yah, I realised that a few hours ago (when I was out of reach of a computer >_< ). Thanks for the correction; it'd have been simpler for me to say that it supported CoreImage, or fragment shaders.

Quote

Arstechnica's review says the Mini can have trouble with 1080p H.264.

Did anybody ever expect it to? The important point to be derived from that review is that the Intel Mini improves significantly upon the original Mini's performance with H.264. From the review:

Quote

Playing the Deep Sea trailer on the Mac mini Core Solo had interesting results. It played the 480p version flawlessly with a constant frame rate of 24 fps. The 720p formatted film was a slightly different story. The video played very well, but when the video had quick-moving segments (schools of fish moving and changing direction quickly) the frame rate would dip slightly into the 18-20 fps region. The 1080p version was simply unplayable. There were frequent skips and jumps in the video playback and the actual frame rate hovered somewhere around 10-13 fps.

...

Playing these same videos on the first generation Mac mini G4 was like night and day. For comparison, the Deep Sea video resulted in solid playback at 480p, and brief moments of 24 fps at 720p, but more often than not, it was hovering around 18 with frequent dips into the 12-15 fps area. 1080p was simply out of the question on the G4 mini. Playback frequently paused altogether due to movement during the video and could only muster 2-8 fps average throughout and 15-18 fps maximum in quiet areas.

So the new Mini plays 720p near flawlessly while the old one struggles, and performs much better on 1080p. The same can be seen for the Deep Sea trailer, and while the Mini clearly was never going to be able to play back 1080p H.264/AVC video flawlessly, this review demonstrates that the machine is a massive step up for video performance at the Mini's price point.

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'Designed with HD in mind' just means they accelerate a few things just like everyone else does, except much worse.

So you have a 1080p H.264 benchmark for the 6150, then?
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#86 Jan

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 06:48 AM

I don't have any experience with the Core Solo. But as I posted several times: The mini Core Duo plays both 720p and 1080p files at constant frame rates of 24. At least on my 2 Gig machine.

Maybe it depends on the files, but the aforementioned trailers like Deep Sea work flawlessly here. :)
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#87 RandyWang

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 07:18 AM

View PostJan, on March 6th 2006, 11:48 PM, said:

I don't have any experience with the Core Solo. But as I posted several times: The mini Core Duo plays both 720p and 1080p files at constant frame rates of 24. At least on my 2 Gig machine.

Maybe it depends on the files, but the aforementioned trailers like Deep Sea work flawlessly here. :)

That's to be expected: the Core Duo is a ridiculously fast chip for such a cheap computer.
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#88 teflon

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 08:06 AM

most likely its a combination of a lack of RAM and not having the core duo. if they had 1Gb or more installed, performance would have been much better in all the tests that they performed (remember that it can steal up to 224mb of system RAM, but obviously cant do so without a decent amount of RAM installed). also with the dual core proc, the graphics could offload some of the work to the 2nd proc and not sacrifice system speed.

I still maintain that the main failing of the GMA950 is that it doesnt have dedicated VRAM, and I believe that this review just proves it. the blog that the review links to just goes to show that the integrated graphics are aimed at video, and with enough RAM, it would probably perform quite well... its a shame that its now difficult to install more RAM.
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#89 electricdawn

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 11:14 AM

View Postteflon, on March 6th 2006, 03:06 PM, said:

most likely its a combination of a lack of RAM

Well, let me correct that a little bit. More RAM certainly helps (especially on a memory starved mini with only 512 MB) but it is NOT the saviour as you make it to be. ;-) A weak GPU is a weak GPU and all the memory in the world will not save it.

BTW, what most people seem to forget is that the GM950 can't do T&L (very important for 3D games) but the lowly 9200 can.

Oh well, we all know it's not a gaming computer, and people shouldn't buy it as such. Apple is marketing the new mini as a straight multimedia machine, with no heavy gaming in mind. If people expect to play Doom 4 or Quake 4 in all its glory, they need to look at other options.

The old mini was advertised as being capable of playing Halo. Sadly, the new mini is not of the same ilk.

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#90 bookman

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 12:21 PM

Yeah it's not a gaming computer, but any new computer with a core duo should be able to play most games - the fact this one probably doesn't is a disappointment.
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#91 teflon

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:00 PM

forgetting the lack of T&L (which would partially be compensated for by a core duo processor), lets compare it to my system (800Mhz with a Gf2, and 1.5Gb of RAM)... now on my system I can play Generals at a reasonable pace, Doom3 with everything turned off, and i recently had a try with a friends copy of SWBF, which runs quite well... Now if i removed 1Gb of ram, my computer would run all those games appallingly badly. And youre saying that RAM doesnt have much of an effect?

now the GMA950 cant do T&L, and that in combination with the lack of RAM is the main failing, but as I said the second core of a core duo would go some way to make up for this failing (despite not being optimised for graphics calculations)..

and im not disputing that its not a gaming machine.
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#92 rob_ART

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:50 PM

Well I'm certainly not impressed with the GMA950s performance.

UT2004 Bridge of Fate Botmatch at 10x7 Max (Graphics on, Sound on)
PPC Mac mini 1.42 = 25 fps
Intel Mac mini 1.66 = 7 fps
Intel iMac 1.83 = 71 fps

Doom 3 10x7 Medium No Shadows
PPC Mac mini 1.42 = 13 fps
Intel Mac mini 1.66 = 12 fps (allocated 256MB of memory for video)
Intel iMac 1.83 = 43 fps

World of Warcraft (running from totem pole to tree and back in Camp Narache):
Intel Mac mini 1.66 = 8 fps avg (pixel and vertex shaders greyed out)
Intel iMac 1.83 = 45 fps avg (all shaders on)

It's also a poor Core Image platform. My iMaginator test uses pure Core Image effects:
Intel Mac mini 1.66 = 40 sec
Intel iMac 1.83 = 13 sec

Apple needs rethink this wording: "Mac mini features a graphics processor integrated into the system, and one that's no slouch, to boot. The Intel GMA950 graphics supports Tiger Core Graphics and the latest 3D games."

And you can't say, "You get what you pay for." The Mac mini with a 20" Cinema, keyboard, mouse, and 120GB drive costs more than an iMac Core Duo 2.0 with 20" screen, 250G drive, and iSight camera.
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#93 electricdawn

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 02:09 PM

View Postteflon, on March 6th 2006, 08:00 PM, said:

(800Mhz with a Gf2, and 1.5Gb of RAM) ... Doom3

Both phrases are an exclusion in themselves. You can't tell me that you actually get some decent frame rates on that machine with Doom 3. I wouldn't be able to convince myself to believe you, I'm sorry.

The GeForce 2MX is SO old and bad, that 1.5 GB RAM really might make a huge difference compared to 512 MB. Try that with a computer that has a decent graphics card and your difference is much less. Trust me on that. Sorry to be so blunt, but a GF2MX is hardly an adequate graphics card to play Doom 3.

And I just realize that you're actually right. A GMA950 is WAY above a GeForce 2MX...actually anything (including the ATI 7500 in my iBook which is way above a GeForce 2 MX) would be.

I would be interested on what fps you're getting in Doom 3.

v/r, E.

View Postrob_ART, on March 6th 2006, 08:50 PM, said:

And you can't say, "You get what you pay for." The Mac mini with a 20" Cinema, keyboard, mouse, and 120GB drive costs more than an iMac Core Duo 2.0 with 20" screen, 250G drive, and iSight camera.

And that would be true if you're looking for a gamer computer. And that's exactly what the new mini is NOT. Apple needs to realize that and change their marketing. Well, if you're looking at their pages concerning the mini, the graphics page is gone...

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#94 bobbob

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 03:36 PM

View PostRandyWang, on March 6th 2006, 01:12 AM, said:

So you have a 1080p H.264 benchmark for the 6150, then?

Well, I'd trust nVidia's PureVideo decoder more than Intel's for quality and acceleration, but it still probably wouldn't do 1080p well enough. That's part of the point. Apple says the 950 is no slouch, when it assuredly slouches all over the place instead of keeping up with 3 year old chips in games. The 6150's faster, sure, but even it is a bit of a slouch compared to other chips. This is the low-end of low-end we're talking about, and saying it's 'made for HD' and 'supports the latest 3D games' is just stupid when compared to other chips that handle 1080p H.264 and actually run the latest 3D games acceptably well.

Some Apple flack tried to spin their old comments about Intel Integrated Graphics as something that was only true when they said it and didn't describe the 950, yet they kept saying it long after the 950 came out and the 950 changed nothing about what they said. This chip sucks and they shouldn't try to weasel out of saying it themselves.

#95 teflon

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 06:21 PM

its mainly playable... the flashlight looked totally rubbish, and theres some good slowdown at the doors, but still... mainly playable. Ill get the demo down again. whats the time demo command? and the specs ask for a 5200FX... haha... yeah... right...

and the 950 is only ahead on fill rate. No T&L means that its going to run badly with anything 3D. and i know that the better the card the less effect everything else has on frame rates...

i think why people keep saying its built for HD, is because thats all it tries to do... the rest is software. If it was a graphics card, then people would be comparing the amount of VRAM or something like that, but everyone knows that the 950 cant do gaming, so they say its for HD... at least it can do that passably.
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#96 RandyWang

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 06:48 PM

Quote

Well, I'd trust nVidia's PureVideo decoder more than Intel's for quality and acceleration, but it still probably wouldn't do 1080p well enough...

...This is the low-end of low-end we're talking about, and saying it's 'made for HD' ... is just stupid when compared to other chips that handle 1080p H.264 and actually run the latest 3D games acceptably well.

Contradict yourself much? The 6150 either handles 1080p H.264 acceptably or it doesn't - you can't have it both ways. Personally, I'm inclined to think that it'd be pretty much on par with the 950, since we have no evidence at all to the contrary.

I'm still waiting for some evidence that it handles H.264 better than the GMA950, aside from your blind trust in NVidia's decoder.

Quote

This chip sucks and they shouldn't try to weasel out of saying it themselves.

So, would it be correct to say that you're bitching about Apple's marketing, rather than the hardware they use? After all, no company will ever tell their customers "our product's a steaming pile of popsnizzle, but it's still worth the money!"

I have a little surprise for you: marketing hype is just that. It's precisely the same crap as they've always spun, just like everyone else, and nothing is about to change that. You'll get used to it.
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#97 DaveyJJ

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 08:46 PM

View PostRandyWang, on March 6th 2006, 08:18 AM, said:

That's to be expected: the Core Duo is a ridiculously fast chip for such a cheap computer.

Plus, you can open the mini and pop out the 1.66 chip and stick a 2.16GHz Core Duo in if you really want a fast mini. The chip isn't soldered in. Someone's already done it but I can't find the link now. Rats.

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#98 converted2truth

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 09:51 PM

I've been following this forum area for awhile, and i've just had a very obvious revelation:  The iBook is going to have integrated graphics too.

Before, apple always touted having a name-brand GPU in their systems (primarily because they could not find anything cheaper [intel was x86 proprietary]).  Now they have a new freedom!  intel integrated graphics.  It will save them prolly $10 a computer, and when you add that up, it's a cut they will always take for thier bottom-end machines.  This really sucks.

I know 3 guys at work who are now looking for the old mini's on eBay because they want to play WoW better than the intel POS mac mini.  To be honest, i don't understand why they went with the core solo/duo with the mac mini.  They could have dropped a 2.x ghz celeron in there and kept it $100 cheaper.  Heat contraints  you say?  BS, apple could have gotten a G5 in there if it wouldn't have put the powerbooks to shame.

all these virus exploits over the past few weeks bringing bad news to OSX, and now they raise the price of the mac mini by $100.  edu discount is only $20 bucks!  holy crap... that's weak.

But anyways, this is something that should not really suprise the gamers.  Bottom-of-the-barrel macs never could play games.  It's awesome that the iMac can now!  and that's a first, but really...  bottom-ends are gonna have the cheapest intel integration they can get.  Every other PC manufacturer out there does this too... and apple should have a higher standard, but show them money and profit margin and they sell their souls to the devil too.
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#99 RandyWang

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 10:30 PM

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BS, apple could have gotten a G5 in there if it wouldn't have put the powerbooks to shame.

If you don't mind it running at 1.4Ghz with a single core. The G5 runs very hot - even the lower clocked models regularly exceed 70C in a tower; my 1.8Ghz iMac G5 rarely dips below 72-74C. Putting such a chip in a case the size of the Mini's is totally ridiculous, even just looking at it from the cooling perspective.

Quote

They could have dropped a 2.x ghz celeron in there and kept it $100 cheaper.

Sure, if you don't mind it performing worse in games than it already does.
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#100 bobbob

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 10:41 PM

View PostRandyWang, on March 6th 2006, 06:48 PM, said:

Contradict yourself much? The 6150 either handles 1080p H.264 acceptably or it doesn't - you can't have it both ways.

I said that the 6150 can handle 1080p better than the 950, and that other cards can do it better still. 'Made for HD' doesn't mean squat when it can 'mostly' handle H.264 at 720p and better cards barely notice it.

View PostRandyWang, on March 6th 2006, 06:48 PM, said:

would it be correct to say that you're bitching about Apple's marketing, rather than the hardware they use?

No. I don't like the Mini because it can't run games well and it can't be made to run games well. If it had a PCIe slot I might consider it. Oh, and I don't like Apple's video decoders because they're slow and look awful, so it's basically of no use to me anywhere.

Quote

no company will ever tell their customers "our product's a steaming pile of popsnizzle, but it's still worth the money!"

Honest people at least have some evidence to back up their claims. Intel's got nothing and a bad track record. Maybe AnandTech will review the Mini's decoder performance again, but until then all I can say is that the Mini's fast CPU and GMA 950 don't do H.264 as well as similar CPUs with other chips.