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Shocco
Aug 7, 2012, 01:56 PM
Hi :)

I currently have a 2008 unibody macbook and I'm looking to buy a new machine. Most of my time on my macbook is spent on the internet / writing essays/watching movies (typical student life) but I do like to play PC games. Unfortunately my current macbook can't play many new games if at all.

The current macbook airs have Intel's HD 4000 from which I've read is a semi capable graphics solution that can play newer titles but only at very low resolutions. The problem I have with this is a. no piece of mind playing newer titles and b. not future proof. Considering it is impossible to upgrade the Macbooks GPU once you've purchased one. I want something that should suit me for at the next 2 years.

At the moment I have 3 choices:

a. Buy a current Air and bite the bullet with regards to gaming :(
b. Buy a non Mac notebook that can play games :eek:
c. Wait to see if newer Macbooks come with discrete GPUs :confused:

My choice depends on the prospects of c. does anyone know whether the Airs or even the 13 inch Pros are in line for a discrete GPU upgrade?



pgiguere1
Aug 7, 2012, 02:04 PM
Not likely at all. The TDP of a discrete graphics card considerably better than the Intel HD 5000 would be far too high for a thin computer like the MBA. You would also need the physical space to put it and its cooling system. I think it would be unlikely even for a thicker computer like the rumored 13" rMBP.

Also, with integrated GPUs currently evolving at a faster pace than discrete GPUs, it's more likely that more and more computers will only have integrated graphics. The Intel HD 5000 is rumored to be 2.5x faster than the Intel HD 4000.

madsci954
Aug 7, 2012, 02:06 PM
Is a 15" MBP not an option?

House Crasher
Aug 7, 2012, 02:06 PM
Hi :)

I currently have a 2008 unibody macbook and I'm looking to buy a new machine. Most of my time on my macbook is spent on the internet / writing essays/watching movies (typical student life) but I do like to play PC games. Unfortunately my current macbook can't play many new games if at all.

The current macbook airs have Intel's HD 4000 from which I've read is a semi capable graphics solution that can play newer titles but only at very low resolutions. The problem I have with this is a. no piece of mind playing newer titles and b. not future proof. Considering it is impossible to upgrade the Macbooks GPU once you've purchased one. I want something that should suit me for at the next 2 years.

At the moment I have 3 choices:

a. Buy a current Air and bite the bullet with regards to gaming :(
b. Buy a non Mac notebook that can play games :eek:
c. Wait to see if newer Macbooks come with discrete GPUs :confused:

My choice depends on the prospects of c. does anyone know whether the Airs or even the 13 inch Pros are in line for a discrete GPU upgrade?

I doubt it. Pretty fast laptop as is, dedicated card would drive price to far north thus closing the gap on the MBP. Also my opinion is that the Air may never see a retina which is fine by me.

Beau10
Aug 7, 2012, 02:35 PM
The Intel HD 5000 is rumored to be 2.5x faster than the Intel HD 4000.

Totally. The improvements Haswell bringing here will be significant insofar that integrated will finally be competitive with low-mid/end discrete.

Shocco
Aug 7, 2012, 02:52 PM
Is a 15" MBP not an option?

At the price it's at no, I dont want to be spending more than a 1000 dollars for a macbook.

Thanks for the reply

madsci954
Aug 7, 2012, 02:53 PM
At the price it's at no, I dont want to be spending more than a 1000 dollars for a macbook.

Thanks for the reply

I see, what games do you play?

Shocco
Aug 7, 2012, 02:54 PM
Is a 15" MBP not an option?

Not likely at all. The TDP of a discrete graphics card considerably better than the Intel HD 5000 would be far too high for a thin computer like the MBA. You would also need the physical space to put it and its cooling system. I think it would be unlikely even for a thicker computer like the rumored 13" rMBP.

Also, with integrated GPUs currently evolving at a faster pace than discrete GPUs, it's more likely that more and more computers will only have integrated graphics. The Intel HD 5000 is rumored to be 2.5x faster than the Intel HD 4000.

Am I right thinking Haswell processors will be featured on the 2013 airs?

spork183
Aug 7, 2012, 02:54 PM
Not.a.chance.in.hell.

Won't because of space.
Won't because of cost.
Won't because of blurring product line differences.
Won't because of battery life.
Won't because of ongoing gains in integrated graphics.

Just won't. :D

KPOM
Aug 7, 2012, 03:04 PM
No. The whole point of Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, and Haswell has been to improve GPU performance and power consumption so that notebooks can get thinner and thinner while battery life increases.

plucky duck
Aug 7, 2012, 03:12 PM
With current technology, space and heat is a real problem. With the iGPU/CPU at full speed the base of the Air can get uncomfortably warm when in contact with skin.

pgiguere1
Aug 7, 2012, 03:26 PM
Am I right thinking Haswell processors will be featured on the 2013 airs?

Yes, Apple will likely wait for Haswell to release 2013 MBAs. They will probably release them during summer, like the two past refreshes.

If you have the patience to wait until then, you can be assured that they will offer better gaming performance. Otherwise, consider a laptop with discrete graphics.

I can suggest a refurbished 15" MBP: http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD318LL/A
That's the late-2011 model for $1359 and both its graphics card and CPU are nearly twice as powerful as the MBA's.

Stetrain
Aug 7, 2012, 03:45 PM
If there's a 13" Macbook with a DGPU in the near future it will be a 13" retina Macbook Pro, and even that isn't a sure thing for getting a DGPU.

Shocco
Aug 7, 2012, 04:46 PM
Yes, Apple will likely wait for Haswell to release 2013 MBAs. They will probably release them during summer, like the two past refreshes.

If you have the patience to wait until then, you can be assured that they will offer better gaming performance. Otherwise, consider a laptop with discrete graphics.

I can suggest a refurbished 15" MBP: http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD318LL/A
That's the late-2011 model for $1359 and both its graphics card and CPU are nearly twice as powerful as the MBA's.

Thanks for your suggestion but i'm over in UK here and theres no refurbished section on the apple UK site, but I will definitely have a look round for a 2011 15" MBP! :)

----------

I see, what games do you play?

Well It's be nice to play Skyrim from the comfort of my own lap, Mass Effect 3/GTA IV and possibly other games to be released I'm not really into console gaming, and I think spending 1000$ on a laptop that cant play games isn't really a great deal.

mslide
Aug 7, 2012, 05:53 PM
a. Buy a current Air and bite the bullet with regards to gaming :(
b. Buy a non Mac notebook that can play games :eek:
c. Wait to see if newer Macbooks come with discrete GPUs :confused:

I'd pick d. Keep your current Macbook and build a gaming PC. With the exception of gaming, you're current Macbook should be more than capable of doing what you say you use it for. I wouldn't spend all that money for a new Macbook just to be able to play games on it (and not as well as a PC that costs half the price can).

swordfish5736
Aug 7, 2012, 06:18 PM
Thanks for your suggestion but i'm over in UK here and theres no refurbished section on the apple UK site, but I will definitely have a look round for a 2011 15" MBP! :)

----------



Well It's be nice to play Skyrim from the comfort of my own lap, Mass Effect 3/GTA IV and possibly other games to be released I'm not really into console gaming, and I think spending 1000$ on a laptop that cant play games isn't really a great deal.

http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_pro

There is a refurb section there just aren't any machines in it right now. Check it every once and awhile though cause if its anything like the US store stuff comes and goes

or find somebody in the US to get you a refurb unit.

devilbond
Aug 7, 2012, 06:39 PM
Hi :)

The problem I have with this is a. no piece of mind playing newer titles and b. not future proof.

Dude, don't forget it's a computer.
If you want a future-proof computer you had better enroll in Computer Science & Business, become an inventor and make one yourself.

ujupanti
Aug 8, 2012, 10:06 AM
maybe with something like this?

External graphics card connected through thunderbolt!

http://pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/CES-2012-MSI-GUS-II-External-Thunderbolt-Graphics-Upgrade-System

clyde2801
Aug 8, 2012, 10:33 AM
maybe with something like this?

External graphics card connected through thunderbolt!

http://pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/CES-2012-MSI-GUS-II-External-Thunderbolt-Graphics-Upgrade-System

For windows use only. Apple won't supply drivers for OSX to work on puppies like this; otherwise, they won't be able to sell us new notebooks every year or two.:mad:

Macuser4154
Oct 17, 2012, 08:18 PM
If you only care about the GPU you can buy a seperate monitor and external graphics card, which is will never get outdated as you can replace the cards. just make sure you buy a powerful enough CPU.

Yebubbleman
Oct 18, 2012, 12:08 AM
The bottom-of-the-line 15" non-retina really isn't that much more than a bottom-of-the-line 13" Air, and it's definitely worth saving up the additional money for, assuming the Intel HD 4000 isn't up to par for your needs. In addition to my non-retina 2012 15" MBP, I have an Asus Zenbook UX31E-ESL8 (think bottom of the line Mid 2011 13" MacBook Air) and it has the Intel HD 3000, and for the most part, it can run just about every game made through 2010 just fine. Granted, said Zenbook is a PC, but that ought to show you how capable the Intel HD 3000 is, let alone the 4000. It won't do Crysis, and it'll likely choke on Civ 5 (I've been too scared to try it given how poor my mileage is on my Mac mini with the GeForce 320M), but Arkham Asylum/City, StarCraft II/Diablo III, any Valve Source-based game (TF2; CS Source/Go, Half-Life 2 [through Episode 2], Portal, Portal 2, Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, WoW, etc.) all of that will be just fine on the Intel HD 3000, let alone the 4000. Unless you have a game that's fairly new to the Mac, or fairly intense on requirements, or both, you shouldn't need more than the HD 4000, but again, if you do, it's worth saving for the bottom of the line 15" non-retina MacBook Pro.

0x000000
Oct 18, 2012, 12:22 AM
Totally. The improvements Haswell bringing here will be significant insofar that integrated will finally be competitive with low-mid/end discrete.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law

Please do not forget that even if Haswell were to, as expected, double the graphics capability of iGPUs, it took them two years to do so and time didn't stand still. It will be comparable to low-end discretes that the HD4000 had to compare against, but once haswell is on the market, it still be very soon far below average :)

Also my opinion is that the Air may never see a retina which is fine by me.

I also doubt that. Retina displays require a very large battery, that much is given. Put a very large battery into the MacBook Air and you have a rMBP.

Davy.Shalom
Oct 18, 2012, 12:23 AM
For windows use only. Apple won't supply drivers for OSX to work on puppies like this; otherwise, they won't be able to sell us new notebooks every year or two.:mad:

That's what dual booting is for. I'm pretty sure he isn't talking about playing native OS X games. Correct me if I'm wrong in assuming you're talking about OS X specific drivers, rather than Apple bundled bootcamp drivers?

clyde2801
Oct 18, 2012, 05:22 AM
That's what dual booting is for. I'm pretty sure he isn't talking about playing native OS X games. Correct me if I'm wrong in assuming you're talking about OS X specific drivers, rather than Apple bundled bootcamp drivers?

Articles and releases concerning the hardware itself were referring to OS X specific drivers.

Truthfully, I hadn't considered running it on bootcamp. But, if Apple's not going to include drivers in it's own OS, why would it include them for bootcamp?

Mac32
Oct 18, 2012, 06:57 AM
I remember reading that the ULV versions of Haswell CPUs would only have a moderate increase in graphics power, when compared to the coming regular notebook CPUs (to be found in MBPs). Isn't this right? So to expect suddenly great gaming performance in MBAs next year is a bit unrealistic.
Anyway, for the retina MBPs next year the more siginificant increase in graphics power should definately something to look forward to..

Wokis
Oct 18, 2012, 10:10 AM
I remember reading that the ULV versions of Haswell CPUs would only have a moderate increase in graphics power, when compared to the coming regular notebook CPUs (to be found in MBPs). Isn't this right? So to expect suddenly great gaming performance in MBAs next year is a bit unrealistic.
Anyway, for the retina MBPs next year the more siginificant increase in graphics power should definately something to look forward to..

Myes, Anand in his recent haswell run-through (http://www.anandtech.com/show/6355/intels-haswell-architecture/12) said we should expect only a "smaller", 30%, increase in GPU-performance on the ULV-line while the regular voltage ones will see up to 2x performance.

Apparently Broadwell (2014) is the one that will have the stuff when it comes to graphics.

DrumApple
Oct 18, 2012, 12:20 PM
HIGHLY doubtful. Word is they're not even putting discrete graphics in the upcoming 13" MBP retina. It's too bad Apple has shunned its working multimedia professionals user base. Get a Windows laptop if you want a true powerhouse with discrete graphics.

Patrick B
Oct 18, 2012, 01:44 PM
Another question (or rather a doubt....) about this is the value of a discrete graphics card specifically for playing games on a retina display.

I'm not sure of the relative performance of the 650m (??) vs the Intel HD-4000, but it would have to be significantly greater than 4x in order to make the discrete graphics card viable (in a retina vs non-retina display comparison).

Even running games at 1440x900 as the 'set' resolution....the 650m on retina is driving north of 5 million pixels on the display, vs the Intel HD-4000 driving just under 1.3 million pixels on the non-retina display. And I seem to recall that even when running at 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 on the retina display, the GPU is actually pushing more than just the 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 pixel displays (ie, they are interpreting 2880x1400 down to 6/7s for 1680x1050 or 3/4s for 1920x1200). That may not be entirely accurate, so some clarification should be in order.

Is the 650m really more than 4x as powerful as the HD-4000? Especially if the objective is playing games with high-frame rates?



Patrick

Calot
Oct 18, 2012, 02:01 PM
Yes, Apple will likely wait for Haswell to release 2013 MBAs. They will probably release them during summer, like the two past refreshes.

If you have the patience to wait until then, you can be assured that they will offer better gaming performance. Otherwise, consider a laptop with discrete graphics.

I can suggest a refurbished 15" MBP: http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD318LL/A
That's the late-2011 model for $1359 and both its graphics card and CPU are nearly twice as powerful as the MBA's.

For that money he could get a i7/8gb/256gb 2012 air which would be much faster in everyday use.

The ssd and twice the ram REALLY make a big difference.

And more ppi

And half the weight

And it runs diablo 3, sc2, half life 2, borderlands, doom 3, etc VERY well.

goinskiing
Oct 18, 2012, 02:02 PM
Highly unlikely, given they're using low voltage CPU and still run a tad hot. A discrete GPU would generate lots more heat and drain the battery.

strwrsfrk
Oct 18, 2012, 03:45 PM
Another question (or rather a doubt....) about this is the value of a discrete graphics card specifically for playing games on a retina display.

I'm not sure of the relative performance of the 650m (??) vs the Intel HD-4000, but it would have to be significantly greater than 4x in order to make the discrete graphics card viable (in a retina vs non-retina display comparison).

Even running games at 1440x900 as the 'set' resolution....the 650m on retina is driving north of 5 million pixels on the display, vs the Intel HD-4000 driving just under 1.3 million pixels on the non-retina display. And I seem to recall that even when running at 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 on the retina display, the GPU is actually pushing more than just the 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 pixel displays (ie, they are interpreting 2880x1400 down to 6/7s for 1680x1050 or 3/4s for 1920x1200). That may not be entirely accurate, so some clarification should be in order.

Is the 650m really more than 4x as powerful as the HD-4000? Especially if the objective is playing games with high-frame rates?

So many people seem to overlook that retina-ifying any resolution quadruples the number of pixels for the GPU to push. Personally, I'd HATE a retina MacBook Air. As long as we're on integrated graphics, there will not be too much power to draw from, and HD content and gaming will suffer (you think gaming on a MBA is Hell now?). And if we bump to a deiscrete GPU capable of moving those pixels around, we're going to see heat and battery life issues up the wazoo.

My personal hope for the 2013 MacBook Air is a slight "deepening" of the 11.6" Air by about .5". This would hopefully allow a bump in screen size to about 12.1" (the bezel would shrink about 1/4" in every direction), which would then be bumped to a 16:10 1440x900 resolution at least. 1680x1050 would be dreamy. For ports, the Thunderbolt moves to the left to be with the MagSafe, USB 3.0, headphone jack, and mic. The right side keeps the USB 3.0, gets an SDXC slot, and adds a non-video Thunderbolt port (or third USB 3.0 port).

Fantasy? You bet. Would I replace my 2012 11.6" i7 8GB 256GB with something like this in a heartbeat? Absolutely.

zhandri
Oct 18, 2012, 03:47 PM
get a macbook pro with the 650M. it's a very good card. it's the only mac notebook you will be able to play games with but it'll cost ya

pgiguere1
Oct 18, 2012, 08:39 PM
For that money he could get a i7/8gb/256gb 2012 air which would be much faster in everyday use.

The ssd and twice the ram REALLY make a big difference.

And more ppi

And half the weight

And it runs diablo 3, sc2, half life 2, borderlands, doom 3, etc VERY well.

The whole point of OP's thread is that the 2012 MBA is not good enough for his gaming needs. Running "very well" is subjective, and someone who expects high framerates at high settings will be disappointed by any integrated graphics on the market. I don't see the point of suggesting what OP literally said he didn't want.

Yes, the MBA has some advantages over a 15" MBP, but like I said, it's nowhere near as fast for gaming, and the late 2011 15" MBP will have almost both the CPU and GPU power, making it a machine much better suited for gaming. While the MBA is a very good computer overall, its graphics card isn't nearly as fast as a Radeon HD 6750M, and its 17W dual-core CPU isn't nearly as fast as a 45W quad-core CPU.

Intel HD 4000: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.69168.0.html
AMD Radeon HD 6750M: http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-6750M.43958.0.html
Geekbench results : http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

pgiguere1
Oct 18, 2012, 08:50 PM
Another question (or rather a doubt....) about this is the value of a discrete graphics card specifically for playing games on a retina display.

I'm not sure of the relative performance of the 650m (??) vs the Intel HD-4000, but it would have to be significantly greater than 4x in order to make the discrete graphics card viable (in a retina vs non-retina display comparison).

Even running games at 1440x900 as the 'set' resolution....the 650m on retina is driving north of 5 million pixels on the display, vs the Intel HD-4000 driving just under 1.3 million pixels on the non-retina display. And I seem to recall that even when running at 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 on the retina display, the GPU is actually pushing more than just the 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 pixel displays (ie, they are interpreting 2880x1400 down to 6/7s for 1680x1050 or 3/4s for 1920x1200). That may not be entirely accurate, so some clarification should be in order.

Is the 650m really more than 4x as powerful as the HD-4000? Especially if the objective is playing games with high-frame rates?



Patrick

The GT650M is around 4x as powerful as the HD 4000, meaning you would get about the same performance pushing 4x the amount of pixels on the GT650M. Gaming at native resolution on the rMBP will let you have around the same settings and framerate as on a MacBook Air, that's why most people choose a lower resolution.

I personally use my rMBP on an external monitor at 1920x1200. I play StarCraft II at Extreme settings and get 50-60 FPS. Extreme on my internal monitor at 2880x1800 gets me about 25-30 FPS. I would only get an acceptable framerate if I either lowered the resolution or turned down some graphics settings.

Calot
Oct 18, 2012, 09:50 PM
[/COLOR]The whole point of OP's thread is that the 2012 MBA is not good enough for his gaming needs. Running "very well" is subjective, and someone who expects high framerates at high settings will be disappointed by any integrated graphics on the market. I don't see the point of suggesting what OP literally said he didn't want.

Yes, the MBA has some advantages over a 15" MBP, but like I said, it's nowhere near as fast for gaming, and the late 2011 15" MBP will have almost both the CPU and GPU power, making it a machine much better suited for gaming. While the MBA is a very good computer overall, its graphics card isn't nearly as fast as a Radeon HD 6750M, and its 17W dual-core CPU isn't nearly as fast as a 45W quad-core CPU.

Intel HD 4000: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.69168.0.html
AMD Radeon HD 6750M: http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-6750M.43958.0.html
Geekbench results : http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

I was talking about that exact $1350 MBP someone was suggesting.

THAT particular one with 4GB of RAM and a 5400 RPM hdd would feel a lot slower with everyday tasks, like opening apps, surfing the web, etc.

I obviously know that gaming would be better on that 1350 MBP.

But that particular MBP kinda sucks, with the 1440x900 resolution, 4GB of RAM and 5400 RPM hdd. (I had one just like that, and after a while it got kinda slow, my i7 8GB 256gb Air boots up in 10 seconds)

I was merely suggesting that for that money, you could get something much, much cooler that would run the games NOT that much noticeably slower/worse that the MBP.

mrsir2009
Oct 18, 2012, 10:35 PM
I don't think so - The air is the low end Apple laptop, so a discrete graphics card will never be needed. Ever-advancing integrated graphics technology is more than enough for the Air :)

seong
Oct 19, 2012, 09:25 AM
I'm glad I got my MBA, because ever since the day I bought it, I stopped playing games!
With all seriousness though, meh. It could happen if Intel and nVidia works together to create a single chipset that includes both CPU and GPU... but that will take a decade or so? :p

bartzilla
Oct 21, 2012, 04:33 PM
Articles and releases concerning the hardware itself were referring to OS X specific drivers.

Truthfully, I hadn't considered running it on bootcamp. But, if Apple's not going to include drivers in it's own OS, why would it include them for bootcamp?

When running Windows under bootcamp you could use the graphic card manufacturer's own drivers. Nothing to do with Apple. In fact, I don't see any reason why a graphics card manufacturer couldn't make their own drivers for their cards under OSX.

Beau10
Oct 23, 2012, 10:51 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law

Please do not forget that even if Haswell were to, as expected, double the graphics capability of iGPUs, it took them two years to do so and time didn't stand still. It will be comparable to low-end discretes that the HD4000 had to compare against, but once haswell is on the market, it still be very soon far below average :)


2 years? HD3000 was last year, HD4000 is this year, HD5000 is next year. So 2.5x is one year. HD4000 is about 40% faster than HD3000. That's another year. We have not seen the kind of gains in IGPs year over year like we're seeing in Haswell, it truly is bringing us closer to actual low-end IGPs.

Yes, I'm well aware of Moore's law. I have a degree in computer science and have been writing software for embedded medical systems for about 15 years now. Thanks for the reminder though.

0x000000
Oct 24, 2012, 01:11 AM
2 years? HD3000 was last year, HD4000 is this year, HD5000 is next year. So 2.5x is one year. HD4000 is about 40% faster than HD3000. That's another year. We have not seen the kind of gains in IGPs year over year like we're seeing in Haswell, it truly is bringing us closer to actual low-end IGPs.

Yes, I'm well aware of Moore's law. I have a degree in computer science and have been writing software for embedded medical systems for about 15 years now. Thanks for the reminder though.

Yeah sorry, I was somehow under the impression we had the HD4000 for two years :)