Retina MacBook Pros push graphics units to the limit

Macworld Australia Staff
2 July, 2012
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Apple’s latest release, the Retina display MacBook Pro, is pushing the graphics capabilities of its hardware to the limit according to AnandTech.

The tech website’s in-depth analysis of the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro states that the integrated Intel HD 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphic chips at their default setting, 2880×1800, “already have to render and display far more pixels than either GPU was ever intended to. At the 1680 and 1920 settings however the GPUs are doing more work than even their high-end desktop counterparts are used to”.

The result is a sluggish performance unable to maintain a “consistently smooth experience across all applications,” especially when tasked to zoom-in on windows or scroll webpages.

“At 2880 x 1800 there are simply more pixels to push and more work to be done by both the CPU and the GPU. It’s even worse in those applications that have higher quality assets: the CPU now has to decode images at 4x the resolution of what it’s used to,” AnandTech said.

Apple’s newest operating system OS X Mountain Lion, set to launch later this month, will speed up the frame rate on the Retina display MacBook Pro with the “experience under Lion to be borderline unacceptable, everything is significantly better under Mountain Lion,” AnandTech reports. Stating that Facebook news feeds are able to reach between 40-60 frames per second on the last, 2011, generation MacBook Pros while the Retina display versions are limited to 20 fps because of the vast number of pixels.

AnandTech believe future generations of MacBook Pros with faster hardware and embedded DRAM will address the problem but “there’s simply nothing that can be done at this point – Apple is pushing the limits of the hardware we have available today.”



2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Marc Stevens says:

    Another reason to NOT buy a MacBook Pro now!

    I’m going to wait and see if Apple can fix this issue…

  2. Ffiren says:

    Indeed. I’ll hold off for the big refresh next year. Now the burning question, do I do the same with the iMac or jump when ML ships….

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