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View Full Version : What are the limits of the 2012 MBA?




Panini
Aug 1, 2012, 09:44 PM
With the release of HD 4000, I'm hearing a lot of news from friends who own this laptop that it can actually pass as a decent gaming laptop. Even for someone who doesn't care that much about gaming, I know it is probably one of the most hardware-taxing activities out there.

How does the 2012 MBA compare to the 2011 MBP?

I was at the apple store and ran a little test where I have a dynamically changing wallpaper (every 5 seconds) and launchpad open.

The 2011 MBP Lags when swiping between launchpad pages while the background is changing behind it. The 2012 MBA does not. I know this is probably one of the poorest benchmarks a person can conduct, but is the MBA really this close to MBP performance?

How good is the HD 4000 vs a nvidia 320m?



Lunchb0x8
Aug 1, 2012, 09:57 PM
I will geekbench mine when my 2012 arrives.

I have a 2011 11.6" and am getting the same in 2012, except with 8GB RAM...

Will geekbench and also compare with WoW and DiabloIII when it arrives.

Hopefully someone has some results before then though, as I am looking at a few days before mine arrives...

vtyler98
Aug 1, 2012, 10:05 PM
With the release of HD 4000, I'm hearing a lot of news from friends who own this laptop that it can actually pass as a decent gaming laptop. Even for someone who doesn't care that much about gaming, I know it is probably one of the most hardware-taxing activities out there.

How does the 2012 MBA compare to the 2011 MBP?

I was at the apple store and ran a little test where I have a dynamically changing wallpaper (every 5 seconds) and launchpad open.

The 2011 MBP Lags when swiping between launchpad pages while the background is changing behind it. The 2012 MBA does not. I know this is probably one of the poorest benchmarks a person can conduct, but is the MBA really this close to MBP performance?

How good is the HD 4000 vs a nvidia 320m?

I believe the Anandtech review or similar said it is 30-40% better than the nvidia 320m and 60% faster than the HD 3000 so that's a big improvement. I'm on my phone so I don't have the link but someone here may know the article I'm referring to. It definitely sounds from the articles like the HD 4000 is a good 50% faster for gaming and graphics.

That70sGAdawg
Aug 1, 2012, 10:43 PM
I believe the Anandtech review or similar said it is 30-40% better than the nvidia 320m and 60% faster than the HD 3000 so that's a big improvement. I'm on my phone so I don't have the link but someone here may know the article I'm referring to. It definitely sounds from the articles like the HD 4000 is a good 50% faster for gaming and graphics.

What they said...

TheRealDamager
Aug 1, 2012, 10:47 PM
The 2012 MBA will not solve the Middle East crisis. That is a limitation.

NewbieCanada
Aug 1, 2012, 10:53 PM
The 2012 MBA will not solve the Middle East crisis. That is a limitation.

If that's the benchmark applied it's as powerful as the most powerful supercomputer ever built and has diplomatic skills on a par with our greatest statesmen.

Puevlo
Aug 2, 2012, 03:20 AM
The only limits are the ones we create in our mind.

lannisters4life
Aug 2, 2012, 03:33 AM
I've started to play a few games after the recent Steam sales. I little Diablo 3 with settings medium/low, Borderlands with settings to medium, Mass Effect 1/2 on high/medium at the 13" native res. My favourite is Portal 2 and when I switched its installation from OS X to Windows I can play on medium/high, at 1600x900 on my 27" display. Portal/Half Life 2 is a bit older and can run at native on my 27" display on high without a worry. These aren't all the latest games, but so far, I've been quite surprised.

Panini
Aug 2, 2012, 04:31 AM
Anyone know how it stacks up against my macbook pro's dGPU (nvidia 330m)?

Wokis
Aug 2, 2012, 06:34 AM
Anyone know how it stacks up against my macbook pro's dGPU (nvidia 330m)?

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-330M.22437.0.html

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.69168.0.html

It's a pretty tough competition but I'd guess the 330M should be the overall winner.

From a windows-standpoint the HD4000 is seeing some advantages in modern benchmarks since it supports DX11 while the 330M is a DX10 chip. Looking at the gaming benchmarks the HD4000 seems to be behind still.

Panini
Aug 2, 2012, 02:56 PM
http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-330M.22437.0.html

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.69168.0.html

It's a pretty tough competition but I'd guess the 330M should be the overall winner.

From a windows-standpoint the HD4000 is seeing some advantages in modern benchmarks since it supports DX11 while the 330M is a DX10 chip. Looking at the gaming benchmarks the HD4000 seems to be behind still.

That's really strange. I see videos of the 2012 MBA (1.7Ghz) running Skyrim on maximum settings (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIVvQSqUjxs) while my 330m can barely go on the lowest.

Any reason why this may be? Both computers have a 1440x900 resolution. Does Skyrim just so happen to be one of those games optimised for DX11 that much or is it because it is similar to Oblivion in that it doesn't use all available cores? (Making clock speed more valuable than quad/dual)

SlickShoes
Aug 2, 2012, 03:07 PM
That's really strange. I see videos of the 2012 MBA (1.7Ghz) running Skyrim on maximum settings (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIVvQSqUjxs) while my 330m can barely go on the lowest.

Any reason why this may be? Both computers have a 1440x900 resolution. Does Skyrim just so happen to be one of those games optimised for DX11 that much or is it because it is similar to Oblivion in that it doesn't use all available cores? (Making clock speed more valuable than quad/dual)

That one in the video is the 11" which runs at 1366x768, it does look a bit choppy in that video too so I don't see any point playing a game on ultra if it's like that, the game looks great even on medium anyway. Lots of games these days scale pretty well because they are developed for the console market and that hardware hasn't changed now for almost 7 years.

More and more big games are developing console games first and then porting it to the pc, most games on these consoles still run sub HD so playing on medium on a laptop or whatever is still probably better than playing on the console.

Panini
Aug 2, 2012, 03:12 PM
That one in the video is the 11" which runs at 1366x768, it does look a bit choppy in that video too so I don't see any point playing a game on ultra if it's like that, the game looks great even on medium anyway. Lots of games these days scale pretty well because they are developed for the console market and that hardware hasn't changed now for almost 7 years.

More and more big games are developing console games first and then porting it to the pc, most games on these consoles still run sub HD so playing on medium on a laptop or whatever is still probably better than playing on the console.

But my 330m macbook pro can't even run it on low at half that quality and it's very clean (i.e no processes or junk running in the background).

SlickShoes
Aug 2, 2012, 05:18 PM
But my 330m macbook pro can't even run it on low at half that quality and it's very clean (i.e no processes or junk running in the background).

What version of windows are you using? and are you using the drivers for the graphics card that come with a bootcamp install or are you downloading the most up to date ones from nvidia?

Panini
Aug 2, 2012, 05:54 PM
What version of windows are you using? and are you using the drivers for the graphics card that come with a bootcamp install or are you downloading the most up to date ones from nvidia?

Windows 7 Home - most up to date drivers.

Another, more tangible example would be Team Fortress 2 on both computers. My friend's 2012 MBA is able to run TF2 for OSX a lot better than mine. We both get playable FPS, but I get around 30 while he gets 50+

Same resolution (he has 13") and I know it's my dGPU (330m) that's working since I'm using gfxCardStatus to monitor what's happening.

I should also note, however, that he has the 2.0Ghz MBA which gets a really nice 3.2Ghz turbo boost (higher per core than my 2.5Ghz i5 sandy bridge). (Don't know if it makes a difference)

SlickShoes
Aug 3, 2012, 03:26 AM
Windows 7 Home - most up to date drivers.

Another, more tangible example would be Team Fortress 2 on both computers. My friend's 2012 MBA is able to run TF2 for OSX a lot better than mine. We both get playable FPS, but I get around 30 while he gets 50+

Same resolution (he has 13") and I know it's my dGPU (330m) that's working since I'm using gfxCardStatus to monitor what's happening.

I should also note, however, that he has the 2.0Ghz MBA which gets a really nice 3.2Ghz turbo boost (higher per core than my 2.5Ghz i5 sandy bridge). (Don't know if it makes a difference)

Is your windows OS the 64 bit or 32 bit version?

I have no idea why he is getting better performance in OSX though, it seems pretty weird. I think as far as the difference between the 13 and 15 inch macbooks graphics wise the 330m is probably the weakest of the dedicated cards in recent years whereas the 320m integrated chip in the 13 was one of the better ones. Your 330m should still be performing better than the HD4000 though.

My wife has the same macbook air as you mention above so I may try some games out over the weekend to see what the performance is like.

Wokis
Aug 3, 2012, 06:33 AM
Windows 7 Home - most up to date drivers.

Another, more tangible example would be Team Fortress 2 on both computers. My friend's 2012 MBA is able to run TF2 for OSX a lot better than mine. We both get playable FPS, but I get around 30 while he gets 50+

Same resolution (he has 13") and I know it's my dGPU (330m) that's working since I'm using gfxCardStatus to monitor what's happening.

I should also note, however, that he has the 2.0Ghz MBA which gets a really nice 3.2Ghz turbo boost (higher per core than my 2.5Ghz i5 sandy bridge). (Don't know if it makes a difference)

Most games run on more than one thread leading to that turbo boost shouldn't exceed 3.0GHz and that is IF thermals allow it. Seeing as while gaming the HD4000 is also active and adding to the total TDP, it could clock the CPU lower. There still might remain some benefit over your CPU given that many games don't really multithread that well. But I doubt it could account for 20FPS.

I've also gotten the impression that source-engine based games do really well with HD4000, both on OpenGL and DirectX. I'm running a source-game called vindictus on above-medium with no hiccups.

Skyrim is a Directx 9 game but I think it uses the dx11 codepath when available. That should be a performance boost similar to what WoW sees with DX11 on.