Overclocking ATI video cards

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Robbie_DB, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. Robbie_DB


    As some of you will know, there's been alot of talk about overclocking the ATI video cards in the new MBP... they are currently underclocked by Apple.

    As I understand it, currently this is only an option under Windows. The ATI re-clocking software avaliable under Mac OS X is currently not working on the Intel based Macs/doesn't support the X1600 in the MBP.

    So, since this is solely a Windows issue (for now), the question is, how does this work, or does it even work under Parallels...?? My knowledge is limited here... but I have been told that the ATI overclocking process works under Boot Camp but not under Parallels... and that infact Parallels doesn't even have 3D support... is this correct...??

    If so, are these issues to do with the Parallels video driver...? And will these issues be resolved going forward...?

  2. jeffk


    I woud imagine your chances are very slim of this working under Parallels.

    Using Boot Camp you are running Windows natively with direct access to the hardware. Using Parallels you are running Windows but hosted inside OS X so it would be up to the host (OS X) to do any overclocking you were after.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2006
  3. deathshadow

    deathshadow Bit Poster

    Even if it did have an effect under a VM (it likely really wouldn't make a difference) Apple as a matter of habit underclocks all their hardware so they can skimp on cooling.

    Think I'm joking? Most of the iBooks are underclocked across the whole product line so they could build them without fans or HEAT SINKS. The G3 ibooks were worst of the lot as instead of heat sinks they had insulating foam over all the core chips... that could actually heat up and smoke under high loads... The cpu would slowly burn it's insulation to the point it left scorch marks on the modems... which of course were mounted directly atop the CPU separated by the half millimeter of foam and thin aluminum RF shield... Which is why the 'hottest' mod on those is to rip out the dialup modem and RF shield, put sinks on the CPU, northbridge and graphics chip and up the clocks to the native speed of the chip. The original 300mhz iBook for example has a 433mhz G3 in it... I'm running mine at 400mhz because the RAM can't keep up. I've SEEN them running stable as high as 500mhz with a fan and some mainboard modifications.

    Being the x86 iMac is a 'silent' and the MacBook Pro is a notebook, I'd not be surprised to find out they are uber underclocked. I wouldn't be the LEAST bit surprised to pop open one of the x86 minis to find out that the processor that's running at 1.66ghz is actually a 2ghz T2500 underclocked with a heat sink the size of my thumb on it. It would be consistant with what I've seen of the internals on the Apple side.

    As such I'd be REALLY against even THINKING about overclocking any apple hardware unmodified unless the sucker was submersed in mineral oil - and even THEN I'd not really consider it.

    Ah, that apple quality people tout so highly. (seriously, their stuff has such a rinky fisher-price feel to it I've NEVER understood why they get such rave reviews on hardware - I guess flash REALLY IS everything)
  4. acdha


    This is probably snake-oil - nobody has tested whether the card is in fact running slower during heavy graphics use or explained how it accounts for the extremely close OpenGL benchmark performance under OS X compared with native XP performance.

    In otherwords, unless this is actually causing you a real, verifiable problem I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
  5. Richard Hunter

    Richard Hunter


    One of the reasons that Apple does this is precisely because many of their customers don't WANT to hear fans or noises of any kind.

    I, for one... HATE loud, noisy, overclocked computers. Great for the 1 hour a week I get to play Unreal Tournament... but otherwise a pain in the ear (literally).

    The other issue is the tight packaging... ever notice how full featured and crammed in a tiny shell the Powerbooks are?

    Try buying a Dell with ALL THE FEATURES of the PowerBook (or MacBook Pro)... it is MUCH LARGER... by comparison.

    It's all about design trade-offs. If you want a loud, noisy, heavy but FAST machine... go buy a Windows machine.

    I personally haven't found a Mac that, even when underclocked, is slower than I am. So... I'll take the pleasing auditory experience thank you over every last drop of power at the expense of comfort.

    However, I can understand if you don't feel that way. The way many people are about their computers (extracting every last bit of power from them noise bedamned) is how I am with Cars.

    I haven't had an actual muffler on any car I've owned in the last 10 years. I use custom made, 3" silencers in a mandrel bent custom exhaust. I always have the fastest car... and unfortunately the loudest. My friends / etc. are always asking me why my car is so loud, and can't I make it quieter... and I always respond that sure I can make it quieter... but then I lose HP.

    Ever seen a 600HP VOLVO?


  6. deathshadow

    deathshadow Bit Poster

    Where I've been using computers for so long, that if a computer isn't making noise I assume something is broken.

    It's actually a pet peeve of mine... because to be honest, (and please people, this is tongue in cheeck, no offense meant :p )... my usual response after 30+ years of using computers on this subject is:
    "These limp wristed tofu eating vegetable loving {censored} who complain about the noise of a modern computer need to spend some time next to a TRS-80 Model II with the 8" drives, an XT with a pair of Bernoulli boxes, or a PDP-11 with those wonderful 18" 5 meg winchesters; or even better, an office where all three are in use at once!"

    (and as the poor bastard who spent a couple years seated at a Dec Rainbow...)

    But then, I have trouble getting to sleep with the comptuer off now - it's too quiet. (kind of like putting a baby to sleep by running the vacuum cleaner)

    No. At least, they wouldn't be if they didn't have a redundant three layers of RF shielding... You can generally reduce the weight and make room for things like actual heat sinks by just pulling out the extra layers of shielding (leaving the outermost one intact if you want to have children) and generally speaking there's a LOT of unused space inside the apple laptops, although the crappy e-cheapo iBooks are worse for this than the powerbooks (which are MUCH better laid out internally).

    Depends on the Dell... the Inspiron 1700 series isn't really that much bigger than the MacBook Pro... not that I would ever buy a dell or recommend a dell to ANYONE for ANYTHING. (You think I'm harsh on Apple - Buy Dell, they're like Packard Bell only worse!)

    I mean, compare the crappy little $2500 15.4" Macbook pro to something like the Acer TravelMate 8200... Same processor, and the differences end there. First off you get a full aspect 15.4" instead of a sawed off 'wide-screen'. (if it's no wider than the competition offers in normal aspect... you know it's suspect), double the ram, 20 more gigs of disk space, and 8x DVD+/- Dual layer with a real tray instead of a 4x DVD - only with the crappy friction feed... and frankly - IT'S BETTER MADE!!! At least, better made from the point of view of someone who opens these things up and actually starts pulling on things... or even freakier - swapping out parts himself.

    But again, Apples are not for people who KNOW or CARE about hardware - never have been. They are consumer level products for the non-technical saavy. The type of thing you get your grandmother or art-{censored} college student.

    Actually, I've never really had that problem with the my desktop PC unless I'm gaming, and as a rule don't recommend overclocking anything... I get a laugh out of the people who sink >$500 in water cooling to run their $48 celeron and $80 Ge6200 at the speeds of a $300 P4 and a $200 Ge6800 Ultra.

    Only reason I've overclocked the old G3 and G4 Macs is despite all the hype about their 'being superior per clock' to an equivalen intel, a 333mhz G3 just isn't all that useful for much of anything anymore - Especitally if you try putting OS X on them. Besides, I hate letting working hardware sit on a shelf gathering dust.

    I can get behind that type of thinking - although the engineer in me on both subjects does have that nasty "noise = wasted energy" thing echoing about in my head.... But given out level of technology the simple fact is physics theory and applied mechanics don't always line up in the real world.
  7. dr_lha


    I have to pick you up on this. The Inspiron 1700 is 1.6" thick, thats 60% thicker than the MacBook Pro.
  8. deathshadow

    deathshadow Bit Poster

    Which isn't THAT much bigger (but then I used to lug around a Trash-80 model 4P and a Kaypro II so...) and generally speaking is the difference between a brick and something I feel like I'm going to snap in half every time I pick one up.

    To me, there is such a thing as TOO thin... and from an engineering standpoint the MacBook Pro's have crossed that line; ESPECIALLY the 17" model.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2006

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