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On a MacBook Pro with the Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU, the amount of allocated video memory is 384 MB, as can be seen on this Apple support page (scroll down to HD Graphics 3000)

This GPU, however, is known to allocate base memory based on available RAM. In particular, for 8 GB RAM, it is expected to allocate 512 MB. It seems Apple has chosen to override this, and allocate only 384 MB instead.

  • 8 GB of RAM, 512 MB allocated. Exception: 384 MB is allocated on 15-inch and 17-inch systems

My question is, since the GPU supports upto 512 MB, is there a possibility to actually use that amount of memory for an application?

  • On a MacBook Pro early 2011 17" with 16 GB RAM installed the system summary shows 512 MB allocated GPU memory. – klanomath Aug 22 '15 at 17:34
  • Thanks for checking @klanomath If you are sure, this means the info on Apple support site is wrong. Might I request a screenshot? Because I might want to get in touch with Apple on this... – Yogesch Aug 22 '15 at 17:59
  • Sure! screenshot. Apple official max RAM: 8 GB. Actually installed RAM: 16 GB. – klanomath Aug 22 '15 at 18:07
  • Danke @klanomath This officially confirms that the info on Apple support site is wrong. On a matter as vital as video RAM. I will be sending them a mail on this (for reasons of my own, not just to point the error). – Yogesch Aug 22 '15 at 18:11
  • Hmm I don't think it's wrong (strictly spoken). Officially Apple only support 2 x 4 GB RAM in those machines. I've put in 2 x 8 GB RAM and run the Mac out of Apple specs. – klanomath Aug 22 '15 at 18:14
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It supports up to 512MB on 13" models.

I'm afraid if your model is 15" or 17" there's nothing you can do.

Oh wait, your last chance is to upgrade (coming this fall) to Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan which includes Metal, a new graphic framework. I have El Captain Beta installed and the allocated GPU memory went from 1024 MB (in Yosemite) to 1536 MB.

  • I find it a bit illogical to support less video memory on 15" and 17" models than on 13". Any idea what the rationale behind this could be? – Yogesch Aug 22 '15 at 17:01
  • I don't know actually, it sounds really strange though. We should have a look at your model tech specs in all 3 cases (13", 15" and 17") and check for differences. Maybe the "larger" one have faster hard drive or something like that and therefore they need more RAM available. – AlessioX Aug 22 '15 at 17:06
  • Yes, it does sound very strange I think it can't be about the hard drive or anything like that because then, what if someone changed the hard drive on the 13"? In any case, the HDD isn't faster on the 15". – Yogesch Aug 22 '15 at 17:44
  • Don't get me wrong, the HDD was just a silly example. Just saying that there might be some differences between 13" and 15"-17" that might need for some more RAM. That's the only reason i can think of. – AlessioX Aug 22 '15 at 17:47
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    @Yogesch The reason to support 512 MB in the 13" MBP early 2011 probably is the missing second graphic card. The 15" and 17" MBP early 2011 both contain a Radeon HD 6750M with 1 GB and if more than 384 MB are needed the Mac will switch to the Radeon. – klanomath Aug 22 '15 at 18:20

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