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Does the Intel graphics chipset handle 3D well, or does it let the processor do the 3D job instead?

I was using a Macbook with Intel graphics, and Restaurant City on Facebook was quite smooth. Today I went to BestBuy to see the new Macbook with nVidia GeForce 9400M, and Restaurant City on it felt a little less smooth. Of course it might be due to the machine being on for many hours and many people using it over the course of that time, leaving the machine in a less-than-clean state.

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On-board graphics acceleration is always going to be outperformed by dedicated hardware. The main reason is that the dedicated GPU will have its own memory and not have to share main memory with the CPU. The GPU will generally be faster as well.

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There are integrated GPUs with dedicated memory. On-board graphics is slow because it needs to be cheap. –  KovBal Oct 24 '09 at 13:50
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Intel graphics chipsets are inferior to a dedicated card. The Intel chipsets generally offload a lot of the video processing to the CPU, where the discrete cards handle the bulk of it.

There are many many other factors that can contribute to the "smoothness" of Restaurant City, not the least of which is that it is a Flash game. Flash performance is largely dependent on browser version, flash version, full screen vs. windowed, etc etc.

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A source for your claims might be nice. Afaik the newer GMA chips do a lot in hardware and nearly nothing in the driver anymore. It's just that without dedicated memory and underpowered hardware it's not as fast than with a recent GeForce 1337 or something. –  Joey Oct 24 '09 at 13:11
    
Intel's drivers for the embedded cards are also pretty poor, especially for OpenGL –  Martin Beckett Jul 9 '10 at 4:37
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