Macbook Pro Intel Iris Pro vs AMD Radeon R9 M370X

My 2011 Macbook Pro recently died and I am about to replace it.  I need to choose between a 2015 Macbook Pro with integrated Intel Iris Pro graphics and a more expensive model that also has a separate AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics card.

Has anyone ridden Zwift using a Macbook with just the Intel Iris Pro graphics?  What was your experience?  If that is sufficient for Zwift, I would go that route rather than spending an additional $420 to get the AMD Radeon.


I haven’t personally tried the 370X, but I can tell you that a 370X gets you the “HIGH” graphics profile on Zwift (sun rays coming through trees, higher quality 3d models and textures, crisper graphics), whereas the Intel Iris Pro runs at the BASIC profile.

On average they both run about 30fps in Zwift, but the 370X will look much nicer (and probably chew through more battery if you’re running unplugged).

Whether that is worth $420 is up to you.   I’d personally go for it as the 370X will have longer legs than the Iris Pro and give you less reason to upgrade down the road.


Thanks for the reply.  Battery won’t be an issue since I always run Zwift plugged in, but I guess it might be worth spending the extra money to get that HIGH profile.

This is confusing as my 2010 MBP has a GT330M and allows me to run on the high 1080p setting. The 2015 MBP (basic model) has an Intel Iris 6100 graphics chip but is far superior to the GT330M…surely then the lower spec MBP would be fine?

Unless the high setting isn’t the same?

Jake - Have you experienced any problems at all when running on the high setting?  My old Macbook Pro (that died) was a 2011 model, but I think I was always running Zwift on the low setting so I don’t know how it would have performed on high.

Hi Jake, you are talking about high resolution, not high graphics settings.   The game screen resolution is one thing (which we give you control of), but the graphics features are not controllable by you - they are controlled by Zwift. A GT330M will be missing many of the graphics features that nicer cards get.

I just got a new 13" Macbook pro retina that I run zwift on, it works great.  That being said Zwift’s software takes out some of the graphic features that a higher card would give you.  I.E. I still don’t get a headlamp at night. So a Macbook pro with Iris will not get you all the graphic features.

Nathaniel - That’s really what I needed to know, thanks.  I think I will go with the integrated Intel Iris Pro… I don’t think I will miss the high end graphics details.

I would rather a 13" MBP over the 15" anyway… 

It’s not just the details but also the consistency of the framerate (FPS). You want a system that can hold a consistent framerate or else the animation will be choppy or experience stuttering.

Observe this video. It compares the mobile GPU in a MBP vs. a desktop GPU. The MPB framerate isn’t consistent and there’s considerable stuttering in the animation. The desktop GPU renders everything smoothly with more detail and lighting and shadows.


Michael - Thanks for your input.  That convinces me all the more to go with the cheaper Macbook Pro with the integrated Intel Iris Pro graphics.  Either way I will be using a Macbook, and even if I spend an extra $450 to get the discrete AMD Radeon graphics card, it will still be a mobile GPU and inferior to any decent desktop GPU.  The truth is that even riding Zwift using my old 2011 Macbook, I never once looked at the screen and thought it looked bad.  I don’t think I’ll miss the high end graphics.  But should I ever find myself wanting the high end Zwift visuals, I’ll just do it the right way and get a dedicated system, probably an Alienware Alpha console/desktop.