I'm reviewing moving to some software that has a system requirement of a 1GB of video / graphics card.

The computer in question is a 2014 Mac mini, which I remember at the time of buying had a "Intel Iris Graphics" but no stated MB / GB number so I presumed it was a not very powerful graphics card built directly onto the CPU.

Just now i checked "About this Mac" and it seems to state that the graphics card is "Intel Iris 1536MB" - Does that mean that I have a 1.5GB graphics card ?

If so why doesn't apple list it as that, even now on the current mac mini page they list the graphic card as "Intel Iris Graphics" ?

Mac Mini Specs


The Intel Iris graphic chipset uses shared memory meaning it allocates up to 1.5GB (not 1.5Ghz which is frequency or more commonly known as speed) of RAM from the system to be used as VRAM.

So, If you have a Mac mini with 8GB of RAM, you really have a Mac mini with 6.5GB of usable RAM because 1.5GB was allocated to video.

From Apple's website: Integrated Video on Intel-based Macs

Apple computers using Intel Iris Graphics as the primary GPU dynamically allocate up to 1.5 GB of system memory.

You were correct in your presumption - it's not a powerful graphics card built onto the CPU.

You should check with the vendor of your software to see if it has a requirement of 1GB of dedicated video memory (meaning it's built into the card and doesn't share with the system) or not.

  • 1
    Well, the Mac mini only has 6.5 GB of usable RAM only when graphics is using all 1.5GB (Apple reports VRAM is taken from system RAM) – NoahL May 14 '17 at 16:25
  • Thanks @allan , generally speaking is there any performance downside (apart from sharing part of the ram) between a shared ram graphics card and a stand along GPU of the same / similar head line figures ? – sam May 14 '17 at 16:25
  • Not that you will see unless your app "prefers" a video card with dedicated memory, and/or you run out of RAM because the 6.5GB is now too little for what you want to run. Once you use up the 6.5GB of remaining RAM, the system has to go to swap which is infinitely slower. – Allan May 14 '17 at 16:28

The 2014 Mac Minis shipped with Intel Iris 5100 integrated graphics.

When you look at "About this Mac" the number it shows after the graphics name is the amount of VRAM. So, in your case, your integrated GPU is an Intel Iris 5100 with 1.5GB (1536 MB) of VRAM. According to everymac.com:

Apple reports that this model uses "Intel Iris Graphics" and allocates up to 1.5 GB of system memory for video function. Intel more specifically reports that this processor is packaged with a Intel Iris 5100 graphics processor.

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