The GPU: Faster

The GPU was the main recipient of Apple's attention for this upgrade. The old entry level model shipped with a pretty disappointing AMD Radeon HD 6490M. Apple has since upgraded the entry level 15-inch model to the Radeon HD 6750M, more than doubling its compute horsepower and memory bandwidth. Memory capacity has doubled as well to 512MB. I don't believe 512MB is ideal if you're going to be driving an external 27-inch panel, but for use on the notebook's screen alone (even at high res) you should be fine.

Discrete GPU Options
  AMD Radeon HD 6750M AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Manufacturing Process 40nm 40nm
SPs 480 480
Texture Units 24 24
ROPs 8 8
Core Clock 600MHz 725MHz
Memory Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Clock 900MHz 900MHz?
Frame Buffer 512MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5

The upgraded configuration now comes with a Radeon HD 6770M. The 6770M increases shader clock but not the number of processors on the GPU. Memory bandwidth may be improved, it depends on what memory clock Apple decided on - by default the memory interface is no faster than the 6750M. The bigger difference for non-gamers will be the 1GB framebuffer that comes with the 6770M. If you're going to be using a 27-inch display, you'll want this GPU.

I tested the 6750M in the $1799 model and found it generally comparable to the 6750M in the old upgraded setup. The old 6490M is much slower and thankfully, out of the picture:

Half Life 2: Episode 2 (Mac OS X)

Half Life 2: Episode 2 (Mac OS X)

Starcraft II - AT GPU Bench (Mac OS X)

Starcraft II - AT GPU Bench (Mac OS X)

Starcraft II - AT CPU Bench (Mac OS X)

Starcraft II - AT CPU Bench (Mac OS X)

Silicon Updates Display Quality & Peripherals


View All Comments

  • KoolAidMan1 - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    "there are plenty of laptops that are designed to do real work for people that has real jobs"

  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    No one has Jobs any more. RIP. ;-) Reply
  • Corland - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    Too soon Jarred.
  • robco - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    Your G73 is a 17" laptop and weighs over a kilo more (3.85 vs 2.54). Of course it's going to be faster. Many users are quite happy to have a thinner, lighter machine. If you care more about raw performance then the MBP is not for you. There's more to performance than fps numbers in games. Gaming has never been OS X's strong suit. For your needs, a Windows laptop is a much better choice.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to lug the ASUS around, but that's just me.
  • GotThumbs - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    I think the key thing to keep in mind, is that you CAN obtain (minus TB Port) an equally impressive PC based laptop for significantly less cash. With the $aving$ of purchasing a PC over a MBP, you can then upgrade to 8Gigs of ram (for less than Apple charges) and load a decent SSD as well.

    The real question most general consumers ask themselves is.... Do you want to be seen with an Apple product or not, and how much am I willing to pay for that fashion accessory?

    I'd be willing to bet that most MBP users (Include PC users as well) are not using even 50% of the systems capabilities. FB, Tweater, email, ITUNES do not utilize/need much processing power. In a society where woman can easily spend thousands on a purse, Apple has become somewhat of an accessory for women and men. I'm not saying ALL MPB users are motivated by fashion, but we all know a majority of users probably are. Just ask them about the specs and why thy chose an Apple laptop.

    It's an individual choice of how one spends their hard earned money. Personally I choose to avoid Apples controlling environment and do not own a single Apple product.

    Best Wishes,
  • Mystermask - Monday, November 28, 2011 - link

    "Just ask them about the specs"

    Because specs tell so much about usability, productivity, TCO and value?

    Personally I choose to avoid arrogant, narrow minded people.
  • CharonPDX - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    The Early 2011 model is the upgraded model, the Late 2011 model is the entry-level. So basically you're getting 99% of the prior "Upgraded" for the same price as the prior "Entry". Reply
  • gradjoh - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Okay, thanks, that makes sense. Reply
  • zhill - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    The model he is reviewing is the "low end" 15" MBP, the other in the charts is the 2.3GHz upgraded "high end" MBP, so they aren't exactly apples-to-apples. Basically, the previous high end is still faster than the new low-end. It's a somewhat confusing comparison since he doesn't have numbers for the "low end" 2.0Ghz config of "early 2011". For the same $1799 you get a faster machine now, but the $2199 config from the last iteration is still faster. Reply
  • sigmatau - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    Why would they use a $100 GPU in a $2500 laptop? Wow, now that is a ripoff. Reply

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