Report: Apple severely underclocks MacBook Pro GPU to save power, lower heat

“Apple appears to have underclocked the ATI Radeon Mobility X1600 graphics chip in its MacBook Pro laptop. According to one online report, the GPU’s core runs 35 per cent slower than the clock speed recommended by ATI. The memory clock is 41 per cent below par,” Tony Smith reports for The Register. “The speed differential was spotted by a poster on French-language site MacBidouille, the site reports. The correspondent ran ATI’s ATI Tools utility – version 0.25, a beta release – running under Windows XP. The software revealed his MacBook Pro’s X1600 was clocked at 310MHz and the memory at 278MHz (556MHz effective).”

“Apple’s motivation would seem to be to keep the MacBook Pro’s overall thermal envelope down in order to keep the fan running as slowly as possible and the system as quiet as it can make it. There’s a battery life benefit too,” Smith reports. “According to the forum poster, who followed up his initially finding by installing “ATI-optimised drivers” rather than the ones supplied by Apple, his Counter Strike benchmark test with all settings pushed to the max and the resolution set to 1,440 x 900 saw frame rates jump from 61 to 97. Of course, that’s under Windows XP – it remains to be seen how Mac OS X users can gain the same benefit.”

More in the full article here.

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  1. Does everyone compare Apples to Oranges?
    The switch to Intel Dual Core chips from G4 chips is to give us FASTER laptops!

    Even with the underclocking we are still ALOT faster than what we had before.

    And for those who say the Intel chips aren’t as great as G5 chips – you’re right.

    BUT – that’s not the point. You’re doing the same as those Liberals who try to make the aswers fit their arguement even if it’s an answer from another questions.

    Look when we get the replacements for the G5 PowerMacs we won’t have to worry about heat since the unit can have the largest cooling system out there.

    The MacBooks are not PowerMacs and we shouldn’t be comparing the two different performance stats.

    It makes me sick to see people second guessing Apple’s decision and making the answers fit their attacks on Apple.

    The bottom line is: WE HAVE FASTER LAPTOPS! The G4 laptops weren’t going anywhere in regards to speed.

  2. Vista: I don’t know ANY Mac users that go into WinBlows fora and flame.
    Because our computers work.
    Your beige POS – whether running Linux or WinBlows is inferior in every way.
    You have to come here for fun?

    LOL x10(10E)


  3. BTW – if the speed of the Intel Dual Core laptop chips are close to the performance of the G5
    –think about what we can expect for TRUE desktop Intel chips that don’t have the Heat and Power limitations placed on them.

    We are going to ROCK!

  4. WHOA WHOA! Slow down guys. It said “The correspondent ran ATI’s ATI Tools utility – version 0.25, a beta release – running under Windows XP”. This is a cheesy little utility in beta. How do we know it’s reading the clock speeds correctly? It could be a glitch with the software on the MBP. Let’s not jump to conclusions. Apple may yet release a statement on this.

  5. If anyone woth a MacBook Pro has good electronics skills and the right equipment, they could check the actual clock speed with an oscilloscope or frequency counter to be sure (I have all of these things, except for the Macbook Pro!).

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