Yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the company’s new Intel-based Mac mini which features, among many other things, Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory. Back in May 2005, when the Intel GMA950 debuted, Loyd Case took a look at the integrated graphics processor’s performance for ExtremeTech.

Case wrote, “The rendering engine supports all the texture modes you’d expect from a modern 3D engine, including cube map support, various texture blending modes, and S3TC texture compression. New this time around is support for anisotropic filtering. Note that vertex shaders are handled by the host processor, so the faster the CPU, the faster the vertex processing. The new core logic’s support for DDR2/667 should mean more available free bandwidth for the graphics processor. Still, integrated graphics is a balancing act between memory fetches for graphics and memory accesses for the CPU. How that arbitration is handled is the key to balanced performance. Another interesting feature of the GMA950 is the add-on digital video output card. Dubbed “ADD2+”, the card can use 4 or 8 lanes of x16 PCI Express and support up to two displays in multimonitor mode. Alternatively, it can work together to support one very high resolution display. The GMCH can also output S-Video. In addition to the 3D capabilities of the integrated core, Intel has built in a video engine with full hardware motion compensation, MPEG2 hardware decode, subpicture support (e.g., for closed captions), and dynamic de-interlacing.”

Case wrote, “We can state flatly that if you buy a system using Intel’s GMA950 integrated graphics and want to play 3D games, invest at least $60 in an add-on card. If what you want is simply a system that can run standard office software, plus maybe play some DVD movies, then Intel’s new graphics core is probably suitable.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: We are checking with Apple regarding whether or not the Mac mini contains the “ADD2+” card. If anyone has information regarding this, please email: . Apple does state on their Mac mini web page, “Mac mini features a graphics processor integrated into the system, and one that’s no slouch, to boot. The Intel GMA950 graphics supports Tiger Core Graphics and the latest 3D games. It shares fast 667MHz memory with the Intel Core processor, for an incredible value proposition.”

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Apple introduces new Intel-based Mac mini – February 28, 2006