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New Mac Mini, integrated video?


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#41 RandyWang

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 04:57 AM

View Postbobbob, on March 2nd 2006, 08:05 PM, said:

I know it's not for Intel, but I'm not lowering the bar to accomodate a POS integrated solution when there are much better ones. Apple should have gone ATI if they couldn't get anything respectable from Intel.

What would you suggest they use from ATI, that would keep the parts cost down, fit in the same form factor and achieve what the GMA950 can? Sure, the 9550's a nice chip, but its video capabilities are atrocious compared to the 950's - unfortunately, neither it nor the X300 are integrated, and neither of them handle HD as gracefully as the 950.

In the end, video is much more valuable for the Mini to excel in than 3D grunt: nobody buys a Mini as a gaming machine, but everyone expects their new Mac to be able to play video well. Hell, with the Mini's tiny form factor, good video performance and FrontRow + remote, you might almost be able to use it as a media centre box.
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#42 Drinniol

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 08:51 AM

^^ What he said. It's a bit much to think that Apple took this decision lightly. You all remember 1996, right? They know what they're doing, and they know the demographics of who buys their hardware more than any one of us here. If you want enough grunt for games, spend $500 more and get an iMac. Gamers have money and there's no way in hell any smart exec would let them get away for cheap.
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#43 Eric5h5

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 09:29 AM

View Postdehulk_9000, on March 2nd 2006, 09:51 AM, said:

They know what they're doing, and they know the demographics of who buys their hardware more than any one of us here.

Let me repeat that it was Apple that was selling the G4 Mini as a gaming machine, or rather as a machine that could play games, due to not having integrated graphics.

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#44 bobbob

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 02:47 PM

View PostRandyWang, on March 2nd 2006, 04:57 AM, said:

Sure, the 9550's a nice chip, but its video capabilities are atrocious compared to the 950's

You keep saying that, but I don't see why. ATI's offerings accelerate MPEG2 and 4, do motion compensation, deinterlacing, and deblocking, etc. plus they have a chance in hell of handling pixel shaders for Core Video. The Xpress 200 is also about twice as fast in many games, and it's about the slowest chip I can find for AMD. These are so low-end that even $5 in parts can double your performance. That's just sad.

#45 RandyWang

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 03:14 PM

View Postbobbob, on March 3rd 2006, 07:47 AM, said:

You keep saying that, but I don't see why. ATI's offerings accelerate MPEG2 and 4, do motion compensation, deinterlacing, and deblocking, etc. plus they have a chance in hell of handling pixel shaders for Core Video. The Xpress 200 is also about twice as fast in many games, and it's about the slowest chip I can find for AMD. These are so low-end that even $5 in parts can double your performance. That's just sad.

Uh, what? It looks to me much like the Xpress 200 struggles in gaming, to say the least. Yes, you're reading correctly: that's 16.4fps at 640x480 under Windows. The rendering artefacts in that particular example might interest you, too - take a look at the comaprison between the X300SE and XPress 200.

Compare this with the numbers Quicksilver provided for the GMA950 under OS X, and you should see my point.
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#46 bobbob

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 03:56 PM

View PostRandyWang, on March 2nd 2006, 03:14 PM, said:

Uh, what? It looks to me much like the Xpress 200 struggles in gaming, to say the least.

The GMA 950's worse than an Xpress 200. I don't think the visual artefacts of the pre-release board with pre-release drivers still exist. Yes, the Xpress still sucks in gaming, but it's faster. The 6150 is twice as fast again.

#47 Brad Oliver

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 05:06 PM

View PostRandyWang, on March 1st 2006, 12:55 AM, said:

In terms of actual performance, these two machines are very likely on par with each other. However, when you take into account the additional features of the GMA950 (CoreImage, hooray!), the PowerPC Mini pretty much loses outright.

I guess again that depends on what you are measuring. The GMA950 lacks hardware transform, clipping and lighting (TCL) so it's all (again) done on the CPU. The new Mac Mini will likely need a more robust CPU (probably a Core Duo) to break even with it's old PPC counterpart in the realm of 3D gaming.

I look forward to seeing a broad spectrum of benchmarks - likely performance improvements/potholees will be very game-specific on such quirky 3D hardware. The results should be interesting to say the least.
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#48 teflon

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 05:57 PM

the x300 comes in a form that is semi integrated. Using an idea that I believe is borrowed from Nvidia, the PCI Express bus is used to shuttle data from the RAM to VRAM quicker... But the most important thing is that is got VRAM as opposed to not.

Not to mention that the Core Uno processor in combination with a x300 would easily be able to handle HD video that gets thrown at it. And I doubt that either will be able to handle HD so well that it can be of decent use for video editing. But again, the Core Uno  should pull it up a bit.

I would be very interested to see the benchmarks that Barefeats come up with. Theyll probably not manage to recreate the specific circumstances that apple manage, but it would be a good indication... Not to mention that if it gets compared to an old G5 imac with the 5200FX, a 9600, and a X600, then we get the full spectrum, and a decent comparison for looking at the x300 on the pc side.
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#49 iRolley

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 11:08 PM

Guys, we are at Inside Mac Games, of course we are ashamed of the intel integrated graphics! Putting a X200 or X300 would not change much, it would still not give enough performance for most games (remember most Universal Binaries will be recent games).

But take a deep breath and realize that this little box will be excellent for anything but games. It even has optical audio-in now. It really is a good multi-media computer that would be a great development box, a good server, a good media-center, good for simple music or video content creation and almost a portable computer (you can always bring it to a friend house and hook it to its TV or for recording a jam-session).

For some reasons though, it feels too expensive. Apple should have positioned it a bit lower. Take the bluetooth away, find a way, but make it cheaper.

#50 RandyWang

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 12:59 AM

Quote

But take a deep breath and realize that this little box will be excellent for anything but games

Has the Mini ever been a gaming machine? Did anybody seriously expect that this update would make it one?
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#51 Jan

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 05:08 AM

Got my new Mac mini Core Duo with 2 gigs of RAM yesterday evening.

I didn't have time to do any serious benchmarking or testing apps until now, but I'll test the machine over the weekend with my daily apps and some games.

Generally, the machine feels very responsive, Core Graphics works perfectly with all the flashy Tiger effects, the iLife Suite feels faster than on my PowerBook G4 and H.264 HD videos run without any slowdowns or frame-drops.

I use the mini as a Media Center and replacement for my DVD player and settop box. It's hooked up to a Samsung 40" HDTV running at a resolution of 1.280 x 720 and my 5.1 surround system. Until now, I could only test normal DVD playback and both 480p and 720p H.264 movies, which run smoothly like on a Dual G5.

Just some first impressions, I'm going to install some unibin games when I get back home (Spidey 2 and Shrek 2 should run fine :-) ...
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#52 Batcat

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 05:36 AM

Which reminds me... is HDCP supported in hardware? Without it, you won't be able to watch commercial HD movies when they're released.

#53 DaveyJJ

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 05:49 AM

Yeah, Batcat, per our earlier discussion here, that is an interesting question.

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#54 Jan

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 10:02 AM

View PostBrad Oliver, on March 3rd 2006, 12:06 AM, said:

I guess again that depends on what you are measuring. The GMA950 lacks hardware transform, clipping and lighting (TCL) so it's all (again) done on the CPU. The new Mac Mini will likely need a more robust CPU (probably a Core Duo) to break even with it's old PPC counterpart in the realm of 3D gaming.

I look forward to seeing a broad spectrum of benchmarks - likely performance improvements/potholees will be very game-specific on such quirky 3D hardware. The results should be interesting to say the least.

Brad, do you think a game like KOTOR (Universal) would be playable on my new Mac mini Core Duo / 2 GB RAM?

I'm going to test-drive older universal games like Shrek 2 or Spider-Man 2, which aren't the most demanding games, as soon as I get home.
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#55 Brad Oliver

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 11:15 AM

View PostJan, on March 3rd 2006, 09:02 AM, said:

Brad, do you think a game like KOTOR (Universal) would be playable on my new Mac mini Core Duo / 2 GB RAM?

The original x86 Developer Kits had a hyperthreaded P4 running at 3.6 GHz and Intel video (I want to say a GMA950, but I'm not positive). At the default settings, KOTOR was not "butter smooth", but it wasn't bottom-of-the-barrel performance either. I would guess the Mini will be in that same ballpark. I suspect turning on FSAA or increasing the resolution towards the high end could push it too hard, but that's just a guess.
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#56 Jan

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 11:45 AM

View PostBrad Oliver, on March 3rd 2006, 06:15 PM, said:

The original x86 Developer Kits had a hyperthreaded P4 running at 3.6 GHz and Intel video (I want to say a GMA950, but I'm not positive). At the default settings, KOTOR was not "butter smooth", but it wasn't bottom-of-the-barrel performance either. I would guess the Mini will be in that same ballpark. I suspect turning on FSAA or increasing the resolution towards the high end could push it too hard, but that's just a guess.

Since I play my "mini" games on my HDTV and KOTOR doesn't support widescreen resolutions, I'll most likely run the game in 800 x 600, which looks just fine on the TV. Therefore I might have a chance to replay KOTOR on my setup.  :)

Do you think the 2 GB RAM could help increasing the graphics performance compared to, say, a 512 MB or 1 GB machine? I guess that's the only reason I maxed out my mini.  :unsure:
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#57 teflon

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 12:40 PM

definitely. I managed to get Doom3 (demo) mainly playable on 800Mhz, with a Geforce2. all because of the 1.5Gb RAM ive got. And comparing C&C generals on mine to my friends imac with exact same specs but less RAM, mine is soo much smoother. Add to that the fact that the mini's graphics eat into system memory, and youll need a decent amount of RAM to try and run these games.
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#58 Jan

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 02:16 PM

I am officially impressed: My shiny new Mac mini Core Duo plays H.264 HD files in 1.920 x 1.080p
absolutely smooth and without any frame drops or audio problems! It feels like a Dual G5. Amazing! :D
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#59 Batcat

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 02:18 PM

Try some games? Video streams have no vertices.

#60 Jan

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 02:34 PM

As far as gaming goes, my collection of "universified" games is somewhat small. I only have Shrek 2, which has already been updated, Jedi Academy, and KOTOR. Is the Doom 3 demo a UB?

Anyway, I'm installing Shrek 2 right now...
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