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Author Topic: NVIDIA 9400M vs NVIDIA 9600GT on MacBook Pros  (Read 12866 times)
leicaman94044
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« on: August 11, 2009, 10:36:27 AM »
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I'm looking at replacing my old 2005 Powerbook with a new MacBook Pro 15".  The early 2009 2.53GHZ model had two video cards (9400M and 9600GT) but the new models have only the 9400M.  I've read that the 9600GT is 1.7X faster, cuts battery life by 20% and heats up more.  I'd use it plugged in while processing Aperture files so that's not a major issue for me.  I'm wondering; for those of you who have both cards in your MBP's and run Aperture, do you see a significant increase in processing speed with the 9600 GT?  I'm tired of watching the spinning beachball on my old Powerbook and am looking for the fastest card possible.
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CatOne
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2009, 11:58:20 AM »
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The 9600 GT is definitely faster at Core Image tasks (including Aperture) than the 9400M.

So you should not choose the base ($1699) model MacBook Pro; go with the $1999 model that has the dual graphics option.
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leicaman94044
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2009, 02:32:48 PM »
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Thanks Bill.
I'm looking at a used Unibody MBP as the new ones have been severely downgraded.  The early 2009 2.53 GHz model was available with both video cards... the 9600GT having 512 mb vram.  The 2.53 GHz is no longer available with the 9600GT and even the 2.66 GHZ model, though available with the 9600GT only has 256mb vram.  You now have to opt for the 28 GHz model to get the 9600GT with 512mb vram.  What is Apple doing here?

The Mac forums are replete with problems on the MBP's running both the 500gb 5400 rpm drives as well as the 7200 rpm drives.  I was going to install a Crucial Ram 256gb SSD and bump the ram to 6 gb with a 4 gb OWC ram module, but it might be best to wait and see how Apple addresses this freezing hard drive issue.  It appears to be very common.  Here is the thread, and the problem is on every model from the 13" MBP to the 17" MBP:  http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?t...45&tstart=0

The older models also have the EC/34 Express Card slot, removed in the new models for the SD card slot.  Yet another reason to buy used.

Lawrence












Quote from: CatOne
The 9600 GT is definitely faster at Core Image tasks (including Aperture) than the 9400M.

So you should not choose the base ($1699) model MacBook Pro; go with the $1999 model that has the dual graphics option.
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CatOne
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2009, 06:18:37 PM »
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Quote from: leicaman94044
Thanks Bill.
I'm looking at a used Unibody MBP as the new ones have been severely downgraded.  The early 2009 2.53 GHz model was available with both video cards... the 9600GT having 512 mb vram.  The 2.53 GHz is no longer available with the 9600GT and even the 2.66 GHZ model, though available with the 9600GT only has 256mb vram.  You now have to opt for the 28 GHz model to get the 9600GT with 512mb vram.  What is Apple doing here?

Probably hitting a price point?  The previous low-end machine went from $1999 to $1699.  For someone who doesn't need the graphics performance (likely NOT a photographer, but let's say a business user), why pay $300 for something they don't want and can't use?  Certainly businesses would ask the question.  Lightroom doesn't (yet) leverage the GPU, and Photoshop barely does (and that's new as of CS4), so it's a way to offer something $300 cheaper.

Similarly with the one with both GPUs: you're comparing CPU speeds and RAM amounts.  I'll bet the "former" 2.6 GHz model was at the $2499 price point?  So the new one is $500 cheaper than the old one was, and what you give up is 256 MB of VRAM.  Again, unless you're using Aperture or Motion (the only products that _really_ leverage the GPU right now), you're not going to miss it.

Bottom line is you are getting MORE for your money with the new laptops than with the old ones.  Compare the 2.8 GHz machine at $2499 to the previous offering at that price point if you want to play the spec game.  You can't drop $500 off _and_ complain if one spec has changed.  Well, you can; you did :-)

Quote
The Mac forums are replete with problems on the MBP's running both the 500gb 5400 rpm drives as well as the 7200 rpm drives.  I was going to install a Crucial Ram 256gb SSD and bump the ram to 6 gb with a 4 gb OWC ram module, but it might be best to wait and see how Apple addresses this freezing hard drive issue.  It appears to be very common.  Here is the thread, and the problem is on every model from the 13" MBP to the 17" MBP:  http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?t...45&tstart=0

My understanding is that there's a firmware update on the way, from what I've seen mentioned in the blogs/press over the last day or two.

Quote
The older models also have the EC/34 Express Card slot, removed in the new models for the SD card slot.  Yet another reason to buy used.

I've never used the ExpressCard slot on either of my MacBook Pros; the original 2.16 GHz model, or my new 17" model.  I use a Firewire reader (the ExpressCard reader is so big you can't leave it in there anyway).  If you had an eSATA drive this could be an issue.  I personally use Firewire 800 drives, and it's sufficient for me, as I travel with the laptop and it's sufficient.  For heavy processing work, I use my Mac Pro.  Plus, with the internal 320 GB 7200 RPM drive in my 17" MacBook Pro, it's fast enough for use and I just use external drives for my Aperture vaults.
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leicaman94044
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2009, 07:09:34 PM »
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Valid points... all of them, Bill.  I was unaware of the price differences between the old and new models.  Makes sense.

Since I'm using Aperture it only makes sense to go with the model with the most vram and the 9600GT.  
Thanks again.




Quote from: CatOne
Probably hitting a price point?  The previous low-end machine went from $1999 to $1699.  For someone who doesn't need the graphics performance (likely NOT a photographer, but let's say a business user), why pay $300 for something they don't want and can't use?  Certainly businesses would ask the question.  Lightroom doesn't (yet) leverage the GPU, and Photoshop barely does (and that's new as of CS4), so it's a way to offer something $300 cheaper.

Similarly with the one with both GPUs: you're comparing CPU speeds and RAM amounts.  I'll bet the "former" 2.6 GHz model was at the $2499 price point?  So the new one is $500 cheaper than the old one was, and what you give up is 256 MB of VRAM.  Again, unless you're using Aperture or Motion (the only products that _really_ leverage the GPU right now), you're not going to miss it.

Bottom line is you are getting MORE for your money with the new laptops than with the old ones.  Compare the 2.8 GHz machine at $2499 to the previous offering at that price point if you want to play the spec game.  You can't drop $500 off _and_ complain if one spec has changed.  Well, you can; you did :-)



My understanding is that there's a firmware update on the way, from what I've seen mentioned in the blogs/press over the last day or two.



I've never used the ExpressCard slot on either of my MacBook Pros; the original 2.16 GHz model, or my new 17" model.  I use a Firewire reader (the ExpressCard reader is so big you can't leave it in there anyway).  If you had an eSATA drive this could be an issue.  I personally use Firewire 800 drives, and it's sufficient for me, as I travel with the laptop and it's sufficient.  For heavy processing work, I use my Mac Pro.  Plus, with the internal 320 GB 7200 RPM drive in my 17" MacBook Pro, it's fast enough for use and I just use external drives for my Aperture vaults.
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sjprg
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 11:37:46 AM »
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Quote from: leicaman94044
Valid points... all of them, Bill.  I was unaware of the price differences between the old and new models.  Makes sense.

Since I'm using Aperture it only makes sense to go with the model with the most vram and the 9600GT.  
Thanks again.

I beleive I have solved the freezing problem with the new MBP - 2009 2.8Ghz.
I used the disk utility to remove all partitions from the drive and repartitioned with the journaled option. Reinstalled with SL and all apps and have had no problems since. YMMV. I also removed the HDD after doing this and installed a Vertex Turbo SSD using the same technique. No problems with the SSD either.
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Paul
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sjprg
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2009, 08:42:08 AM »
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Quote from: sjprg
I beleive I have solved the freezing problem with the new MBP - 2009 2.8Ghz.
I used the disk utility to remove all partitions from the drive and repartitioned with the journaled option. Reinstalled with SL and all apps and have had no problems since. YMMV. I also removed the HDD after doing this and installed a Vertex Turbo SSD using the same technique. No problems with the SSD either.

UPDATE: 2009_09_24
I installed Aperture 2.1.3 yesterday with disasteres results. The first time I opened Apture and tried to open a file it beachedballed.
After about 30 minutes I did a power down and tried a cold restart. To make a long story short it took 6 cold restarts over a two hour period to get the machine operational again. The machine has work to do so I can't try Aperture  again until the current project is finished. I'll attact the problem again next week. This is my first and LAST Mac.
Paul
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CatOne
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2009, 11:26:07 PM »
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Quote from: sjprg
UPDATE: 2009_09_24
I installed Aperture 2.1.3 yesterday with disasteres results. The first time I opened Apture and tried to open a file it beachedballed.
After about 30 minutes I did a power down and tried a cold restart. To make a long story short it took 6 cold restarts over a two hour period to get the machine operational again. The machine has work to do so I can't try Aperture  again until the current project is finished. I'll attact the problem again next week. This is my first and LAST Mac.
Paul

I am unfamiliar with the "beachballing" problem you noted you solved.  And I have personally never seen a 30 minute beachball in Aperture.

It's possible you have issues with the hard drive; given the machine is fairly new and still under warranty you should get it checked out.  Macs in general are good and stable machines, but issues do happen, and drive errors happen.  If you were seeing the same issue with the hard drive and the SSD then perhaps it could be something else, but Apple will want the original drive in there when troubleshooting it.

Have you tried the hardware test DVD that comes with the machine?  Let it run the tests overnight.
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sjprg
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2009, 07:43:13 AM »
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Quote from: CatOne
I am unfamiliar with the "beachballing" problem you noted you solved.  And I have personally never seen a 30 minute beachball in Aperture.

It's possible you have issues with the hard drive; given the machine is fairly new and still under warranty you should get it checked out.  Macs in general are good and stable machines, but issues do happen, and drive errors happen.  If you were seeing the same issue with the hard drive and the SSD then perhaps it could be something else, but Apple will want the original drive in there when troubleshooting it.

Have you tried the hardware test DVD that comes with the machine?  Let it run the tests overnight.

So far the Apple forum concerning the beach ball (spinning wheel) had 102 pages of messages. The problem is endemic to the new MacBook Pros.  The best guesses is it appears to be a SataII interface problem. Apple has not acknowledgesd the problem yet. Snow leapord appears to agravate it. Several people have had the hard drives AND the logic board replaced and still have the problem. I'm sure Apple will work it out eventually but in the mean time the MacBook Pro is almost useless. Aperture and other Apps just seem to trigger the problem when they read or write large files. Iphoto triggers the problem also. CS4 seems to handle jpegs OK but beachballs on Tiffs.
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sjprg
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2009, 12:56:47 PM »
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Quote from: sjprg
So far the Apple forum concerning the beach ball (spinning wheel) had 102 pages of messages. The problem is endemic to the new MacBook Pros.  The best guesses is it appears to be a SataII interface problem. Apple has not acknowledgesd the problem yet. Snow leapord appears to agravate it. Several people have had the hard drives AND the logic board replaced and still have the problem. I'm sure Apple will work it out eventually but in the mean time the MacBook Pro is almost useless. Aperture and other Apps just seem to trigger the problem when they read or write large files. Iphoto triggers the problem also. CS4 seems to handle jpegs OK but beachballs on Tiffs.

UPdate: I downloaded a program called smcfancontrol which allowed me to see the sensor temps and adjust the fan speeds. When I started the cpu temp at idle was 62c and went up to 75c where the MBP beachballed. By adjusting the fan speed after letting the unit sleep overnight I was able to keep the temps below 52c at full load and ~40c at idle. Until Apple finds a fix for the fan control algorythm this seems to be the interium fix for me. Unit has been doing a slide show for three hours now with temps at 52c.
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