Most people I know that own macbooks, don't have it for gaming. So why do you care? There is a laptop with a better graphic card, so it's not that they're completely dumbing down. Or do you think the price range is too stupid? (ie. that they should make all components interchangeable, like 11" macbook, with a 8600m?) because if you don't, then I can't find a *logical* reason for you to hate them so much.
I'm on a crusade against stupid decisions. Because Apple wants to pinch pennies (add the IR remote-less MacBook Pro to the mile-high list of proof), they've created a MacBook that can't do a whole lot in terms of high-end multimedia entertainment.
Quick aside: you can't make the GPUs on Apple's systems interchangable (they're integrated into the motherboard) without adding a daughtercard, and that would make all of the systems fatter (and require a complete redesign).
Obviously, one way to translate what I just said is to assume that I'm only talking about games, but in reality, I'm also referring to "creative" applications that require decent hardware acceleration, like Motion in Final Cut Studio. As someone whose best friend is in the film industry, I know that a lot of students that want to use a Mac in the industry wind up shelling out an extra grand for a MacBook Pro just to get the 8600M GT. This may give you a better idea of why this issue keeps tripping my "Rant Mode." The way I look at it, the enormous gap in GPU power between the MacBook and MacBook Pro is:
a) Hitting students hard (who are potentially Apple's future "pro" consumers). As a student myself, I'm always super short on money, and from personal experience, that sting hurts for a long time.
b) The only reason that Apple can keep the specs on the MacBook Pro lineup artifically low. As soon as Apple adds decent graphics acceleration to the MacBook, all of the sudden, the MacBook Pro looks like the bad deal that it is.
Here's a few things to think about:
- Ever wonder how Apple can include a 250 GB hard drive on an expensive, professional media-oriented system when 320 GB mobile hard drives (the old standard) are in the process of being replaced by 500 GB drives?
- Consider the fact that the 8600M GT (512 MB) is about $90 in quantity. Why then would Apple save $10 by shipping the $2000 MacBook Pro with 256 MB of VRAM?
- You can find 4 GB (2x2 GB) SO-DIMM kits for $80 and 2 GB (2x1 GB) SO-DIMM kits for $40 if you shop for a minute or two. OEMs get them much cheaper since they buy hundreds of thousands of these things, but for argument's sake, let's assume that the difference in price (for them) is about $20. For $2000-$3000 "Pro" system, does it make sense from a public perception standpoint to ship a system with what we perceive today as the bare minimum? Even more importantly, what does it say about a company that charges $400 to upgrade from 2 GB to 4 GB?
To bring specs into alignment with Apple's current price points:
- The MacBook Pro lineup should include 4 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive, and a 8800M GTS / 8700M GT (high end / low end). In six months, all systems should move to the 9600M GT.
- All of the MacBooks should include a 8400M GT (with a 8600M GT as a speed bump in six months).
Another aside: In my opinion, Apple should replace the physical latch in the MacBook Pro lid with a magnetic clamp, dump the ExpressCard 34 slot, toss the Firewire 400 port in favor of a third USB port (include a FW800 -> FW400 adapter to make up for the loss), and use the resulting free space to include a third fan (whose cold-air intake, if you want to be creative, could be drawn through the Superdrive slot).
For reference, here are some rough 3DMark06 figures for the 8600M, 8700M, and 8800M GPUs (they're all 512 MB standard):
- 8600M GT (20 watt TDP): ~3200 marks
- 8700M GT (29 watt TDP): ~4700 marks
- 8800M GTS (35 watt TDP): ~8400 marks