MacBook Pro Geforce 9400 vs 9600 performance

volkerk's picture

Can someone advise me if a MacBook Pro with the discreet Geforce 9600M GT performs significantly better (QC, OpenGL, GLSL, Core Image) then the ones with the integrated 9400M only. I wonder because I use QC a lot for visualisation and about to purchase a new MacBook, but would prefer the 13" which has only the 9400M.


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franz's picture
Re: MacBook Pro Geforce 9400 vs 9600 performance

forget about the 9400. it is way to sluggish.

the 9600, in some of my tests, is up to 100% faster. If you do heavy viz, go for the 512meg option, it lets you load tons of images in VRAM.

e_fe's picture
Re: MacBook Pro Geforce 9400 vs 9600 performance

Hello Volkerk: I would suggest to get the MCBpro with the 9600M, but of course it depends on your needs. If your plan is to play live, believe me, the best chipset and lot of ram memory will make your life easier. I am not sure if new models have changed but the 13" computers didn't have firewire, a big problem if you work with audio. Of course the question(always) is to buy or not to buy, specially with the prices apple computer tend to have.


photonal's picture
Re: MacBook Pro Geforce 9400 vs 9600 performance


NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics is in the new low end iMac too!!

Is the performance so awful?!?

Anyone have links to some GPU benchmark comparisons?

volkerk's picture
Re: MacBook Pro Geforce 9400 vs 9600 performance

there is this one on the apple site: it states 1.7 times faster in "Call of Duty". This is a computer game, not sure how relevant this is to QC performance.

dust's picture
Re: MacBook Pro Geforce 9400 vs 9600 performance

i have both the 9400 and 9600. i have posted some n-body sim tests with various settings. the screen grabs at the bottom of the thread have the best updated frame rates.

these tests where not done in qc and at times i was testing both cards at the same time etc.. open cl in qc chooses the best settings for you which is kind of cool option but would make tests like this kind of hard because you it seems in qc you can only select one device at a time. possibly the qc open cl kernel may choose to use both cards if you program would perform better that way but i'm not sure.

a lot of calculations are much better suited for the cpu because the pci buses used with the graphics cards is well very slow in comparison to the cpu. put it to you this way the gpu is set up to do vector calculations very very fast, but usually by the time you can get the calculation from the gpu and back to the cpu the cpu could have done the same calculation many more times because the pci bus is very slow.

now the way memory is blocked out on the gpu and with some fancy gpu texture caching a calculation done all on the gpu can be so much faster than a cpu render if you don't have to transfer the data back to the cpu. if your interested in this type of stuff you should go to and watch some of the podcasts, they are a really a great source of information in regards to gpu computing although they have little relevance to QC and where made during the beta snow leopard but some of the examples are very impressive.

my mbp pro used to default to the 9400 all the time and until i changed the kernel settings to default to the 9600 i couldn't really tell much difference in qc, unless im messing with open cl. now snow leopard to me is just so much faster than leopard,its hard to tell where the speed is coming from in qc. what i can tell you is if you plan on doing open cl stuff you will have a much better time in qc with the 9600.

im not sure if i got a bum 9400 card because i got one of the first generations but when doing open cl on the 9400 in qc my whole system crashes frequently. now when my computer is using the 9600 card i can in qc set the device to use the 9400 with no problems but if im using the 9400 and try and change a open cl kernel to render on the 9600 because its not being used i get major crashes as in i have to do a hard reboot and let the computer sit for second. i don't seem to get these problems executing kernels in c++ so it must have something to with how qc does the auto memory management of its cl kernels.

with all that stated i suggest the 9600 even though i can not really tell the difference when doing normal other qc stuff. another reason to go with the 9600 is there are other programs that well won't work with the 256 chip at all. i have really only watched some pod casts on the subject and read part of the gpu gems book so i don't know much on the subject but one would think that 9600 would be twice as fast as the 9400 because its double the size but unfortunately the 9600 is not twice as fast. i can see how the 13inch would be attractive, its cheaper and the smaller better as far as lap tops are concerned if you ask me. well not to small an ipod or iphone is not a f^%in laptop.

i don't know what system your running now but a new im sure will be faster than your old one regardless, if you do intensive work with QC in snow leopard you will be much happier with the 9600. if your budget would let you get the 15inch you will have both the 9400 and 9600 then you can use one or the other or both.

toneburst's picture
Re: MacBook Pro Geforce 9400 vs 9600 performance

The 13" MacBook Pro's do have FireWire (800).