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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:21 AM   #1
NuggetSauce
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Exclamation New MacBook Air gaming capability is amazing

I got the new 13" macbook air, and since it has integrated graphics, I suspected to be playing Peggle and Chess.

I installed Steam, and got Borderlands, Diablo 3, Left for Dead 2, and Minecraft.

I'm blown away that it's able to run new games, on medium settings with solid framerates, and older games, maxed out, with good framerates.

Its gaming capability far exceeds my 2008 iMac.

Now i'm glad I didnt pick the Pro. I'm not saying the Pro is a bad buy, the retina display is amazing, and I know many people need the DVD drive, wired ethernet, and more HDD space, but the Air does everything I need it to do.

For anyone concerned about the integrated graphics, dont be. Unless you need to run Skyrim on max settings and get 60FPS, this laptop will satisfy 99% of gamers out there.

Heck I might just sell my iMac and have this be my everything computer.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:23 AM   #2
seared.ahi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NuggetSauce View Post
I got the new 13" macbook air, and since it has integrated graphics, I suspected to be playing Peggle and Chess.

I installed Steam, and got Borderlands, Diablo 3, Left for Dead 2, and Minecraft.

I'm blown away that it's able to run new games, on medium settings with solid framerates, and older games, maxed out, with good framerates.

Its gaming capability far exceeds my 2008 iMac.

Now i'm glad I didnt pick the Pro. I'm not saying the Pro is a bad buy, the retina display is amazing, and I know many people need the DVD drive, wired ethernet, and more HDD space, but the Air does everything I need it to do.

For anyone concerned about the integrated graphics, dont be. Unless you need to run Skyrim on max settings and get 60FPS, this laptop will satisfy 99% of gamers out there.

Heck I might just sell my iMac and have this be my everything computer.
I don't know...I downloaded the game RC Racers from the App Store last night and when I started playing it my computer got immediately hot and the fan turned on and spun really loudly. Yes, the graphics were great, but could I say my 13" MBA/8GB RAM could handle it? I don't know...It was good to see my fan working, but wow was it scary...and HOT! I deleted the game after that.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:24 AM   #3
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True that I was shocked 11" air ran diablo 3
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:27 AM   #4
NuggetSauce
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Originally Posted by seared.ahi View Post
I don't know...I downloaded the game RC Racers from the App Store last night and when I started playing it my computer got immediately hot and the fan turned on and spun really loudly. Yes, the graphics were great, but could I say my 13" MBA/8GB RAM could handle it? I don't know...It was good to see my fan working, but wow was it scary...and HOT! I deleted the game after that.
The heat and fan is normal and will happen with any laptop. As long as it doesnt overheat and freeze, it should be fine.

Considering the fact that gaming towers have giant heatsinks, and 3-6 case fans to cool it, and this is all done in a laptop thats less than an inch thick, its pretty impressive.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:28 AM   #5
Panini
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Just curious - are you able to run Minecraft full-screen on maximum settings? Because my current macbook pro can't even do that...

If it can (which I doubt) at which point do texture packs begin to cause lag?

Oh, and have you ever needed to turn down the resolution to get playable Diablo 3 framerates?

If you don't mind, can you install team fortress 2 and see what settings it runs smoothly on?

Thanks!
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:29 AM   #6
seared.ahi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NuggetSauce View Post
The heat and fan is normal and will happen with any laptop. As long as it doesnt overheat and freeze, it should be fine.

Considering the fact that gaming towers have giant heatsinks, and 3-6 case fans to cool it, and this is all done in a laptop thats less than an inch thick, its pretty impressive.
So it does the same thing to you when you play Diablo, etc? I had never experienced it before. Thought that if that happens, it means your computer can't really handle it.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:30 AM   #7
NuggetSauce
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Originally Posted by dialed1 View Post
True that I was shocked 11" air ran diablo 3
A couple months before Diablo was released, I was going to spend $800 and build a gaming tower just for the game. I'm glad I didnt.

I'm not a fan of the game. A dull clickfest in my opinion. But I am loving borderlands GOTY edition and Portal 2.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:32 AM   #8
korbearus10
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Originally Posted by seared.ahi View Post
I don't know...I downloaded the game RC Racers from the App Store last night and when I started playing it my computer got immediately hot and the fan turned on and spun really loudly. Yes, the graphics were great, but could I say my 13" MBA/8GB RAM could handle it? I don't know...It was good to see my fan working, but wow was it scary...and HOT! I deleted the game after that.
The fans spinning at 6000 RPM and getting hot doesn't mean the Air can't handle gaming. It's the same on the MacBook Pro 13" and the rMBP (though to a lesser extent, perhaps because it has two fans so they don't have to spin as fast). As long as the computer doesn't shut down, it's completely normal. In fact, even when you're not playing games, if you try encoding video with handbrake, your MacBook Air's fans will spin fast and the overall chassis will become hot.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:41 AM   #9
NuggetSauce
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Originally Posted by seared.ahi View Post
So it does the same thing to you when you play Diablo, etc? I had never experienced it before. Thought that if that happens, it means your computer can't really handle it.
No its only if your computer shuts down (as a fail safe from temps being too high) or your computer freezes (from the cpu being too unstable from the heat).

Most any newer 3D game will make any laptop hot, and the fan spin to keep the temps stable, and since the macbook air is so thin, there are no big heatsinks to absorb the heat, so certain spots of the case being hot is normal.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panini View Post
Just curious - are you able to run Minecraft full-screen on maximum settings? Because my current macbook pro can't even do that...

If it can (which I doubt) at which point do texture packs begin to cause lag?

Oh, and have you ever needed to turn down the resolution to get playable Diablo 3 framerates?

If you don't mind, can you install team fortress 2 and see what settings it runs smoothly on?

Thanks!
Its all about know which settings to turn down on game settings, because certain game settings affect performance and framerates more than others.

Generally you want to have Anti Aliasing off on newer games, and use lower resolutions if you are getting low, choppy FPS.

I can run Minecraft on high settings, full screen, and it being stable, but this is only single player. If you play on a multiplayer server that is filled with tons and tons of stuff, that could slow down even gaming desktops.

In Minecraft, the Render Distance setting plays a big part in performance, so i'd turn it down if its running choppy for you.

I know it can run Team Fortress 2, because Portal 2 uses the same engine, with more demanding graphics, and I am able to run that fine with high settings.

Last edited by NuggetSauce; Aug 13, 2012 at 12:47 AM.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 01:20 AM   #10
boomboom2
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I'm still really underwhelmed with Intel's integrated graphics. The HD 4000 is noticeably better than the 3000, but that's no compliment. AMD's mobile APUs blow Intel's HD integrated graphics out of the water.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 01:55 AM   #11
NuggetSauce
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Originally Posted by boomboom2 View Post
I'm still really underwhelmed with Intel's integrated graphics. The HD 4000 is noticeably better than the 3000, but that's no compliment. AMD's mobile APUs blow Intel's HD integrated graphics out of the water.
At the cost of battery life. Their APU's take more juice because of the larger die. But thats not a huge deal. The main concern is having to use windows to get it

and the haswell intel cpu's coming out are expected to up the ante quite a bit.

Last edited by NuggetSauce; Aug 13, 2012 at 02:13 AM.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 03:41 AM   #12
crossi81
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Did anybody try the following games:

- Guild Wars 2 (beta or beta weekends)
- WoW Mists of Pandaria (beta)
- Skyrim
- Shogun 2
- Starcraft 2

@native res or bare minimum hd resolution (minimum 720p vertical)? I have an external 21'' 1366x768 to use with.

I only play/will play these games (or old ones like TF2 or CS:S), not really a gamer just about 1h/day on average.

I'm torn between rMBP and maxed out Air 13''. Budget is not a problem (luckily), but portability is. The lighter/smaller, the better. I will use the laptop mainly for other non graphical tasks, I'm not buying it for those games, I just wondered if I could play them. But at the same time, if I can't play those games fluently, rMBP will do in weight/dimensions.

What's your experience?
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 06:36 AM   #13
NuggetSauce
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I can say almost certainly that Shogun 2, Wow (all expansions), and Starcraft 2, it will run well on at least middle settings.

Can't comment on the other games.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 07:10 AM   #14
Luigi3
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OP, what configuration of Air are you using? Could you check any CoD or Assassin's Creed 2?
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 09:27 AM   #15
Calot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crossi81 View Post
Did anybody try the following games:

- Guild Wars 2 (beta or beta weekends)
- WoW Mists of Pandaria (beta)
- Skyrim
- Shogun 2
- Starcraft 2

@native res or bare minimum hd resolution (minimum 720p vertical)? I have an external 21'' 1366x768 to use with.

I only play/will play these games (or old ones like TF2 or CS:S), not really a gamer just about 1h/day on average.

I'm torn between rMBP and maxed out Air 13''. Budget is not a problem (luckily), but portability is. The lighter/smaller, the better. I will use the laptop mainly for other non graphical tasks, I'm not buying it for those games, I just wondered if I could play them. But at the same time, if I can't play those games fluently, rMBP will do in weight/dimensions.

What's your experience?
I ran the first 4 missions on Starcraft 2 at native res, textures high, video high and everything else low on my 13" i7 8gb and it ran at a constant 60FPS. No slowdowns. I was very impressed. It looks great!
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 10:24 AM   #16
asting
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Originally Posted by seared.ahi View Post
I don't know...I downloaded the game RC Racers from the App Store last night and when I started playing it my computer got immediately hot and the fan turned on and spun really loudly. Yes, the graphics were great, but could I say my 13" MBA/8GB RAM could handle it? I don't know...It was good to see my fan working, but wow was it scary...and HOT! I deleted the game after that.
That's the same reason I return a car if it goes over 3000 rpm.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 10:56 AM   #17
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I don't understand why you bought MBA if you want to play games. the machine is not capable of playing game enough. with lower setting, I'd better kill myself. gaming is satisfied with full rich settings. if you continue to play that kind of games for long, your MBA will have a big problem. I guarantee it. I think that's stupid.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 11:08 AM   #18
JMS803
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if you continue to play that kind of games for long, your MBA will have a big problem.
Gaming will not affect the longevity of a machine. Fans are there for a reason, and laptops are designed (and stress tested) to handle excessive heat. My 07 MBP regularly hits up to 180 degrees fahrenheit.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 11:12 AM   #19
Calot
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Originally Posted by archurban View Post
I don't understand why you bought MBA if you want to play games. the machine is not capable of playing game enough. with lower setting, I'd better kill myself. gaming is satisfied with full rich settings. if you continue to play that kind of games for long, your MBA will have a big problem. I guarantee it. I think that's stupid.
Your post is stupid.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:02 PM   #20
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That's the same reason I return a car if it goes over 3000 rpm.
Your snarky analogy was horrible.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 12:07 PM   #21
isrefel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NuggetSauce View Post
I got the new 13" macbook air, and since it has integrated graphics, I suspected to be playing Peggle and Chess.

I installed Steam, and got Borderlands, Diablo 3, Left for Dead 2, and Minecraft.

I'm blown away that it's able to run new games, on medium settings with solid framerates, and older games, maxed out, with good framerates.

Its gaming capability far exceeds my 2008 iMac.

Now i'm glad I didnt pick the Pro. I'm not saying the Pro is a bad buy, the retina display is amazing, and I know many people need the DVD drive, wired ethernet, and more HDD space, but the Air does everything I need it to do.

For anyone concerned about the integrated graphics, dont be. Unless you need to run Skyrim on max settings and get 60FPS, this laptop will satisfy 99% of gamers out there.

Heck I might just sell my iMac and have this be my everything computer.
Yep, it really is impressive. Just picked up RAGE when it was on sale, and I can run it on the new i7/8gb on high settings at a cool 50 fps. Not too shabby for casual or slightly older gaming.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 02:43 PM   #22
asting
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Originally Posted by archurban View Post
I don't understand why you bought MBA if you want to play games. the machine is not capable of playing game enough. with lower setting, I'd better kill myself. gaming is satisfied with full rich settings. if you continue to play that kind of games for long, your MBA will have a big problem. I guarantee it. I think that's stupid.
Let me guess, real gamers play on xboxs? Millions of gamers play on lower settings by using consoles nowadays and they do just fine. No need to act an alarmist and make terribly false statements. Your computer will regulate its heat just fine, and if it gets too hot will shut itself down to prevent damage, not because it is damaged.
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Your snarky analogy was horrible.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 04:45 PM   #23
NuggetSauce
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Originally Posted by archurban View Post
I don't understand why you bought MBA if you want to play games. the machine is not capable of playing game enough. with lower setting, I'd better kill myself. gaming is satisfied with full rich settings. if you continue to play that kind of games for long, your MBA will have a big problem. I guarantee it. I think that's stupid.
I bought the macbook air for many things. Web surfing, watching netflix and hulu, facebook apps, ebay, garage band, task management, iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto, Facetime, Skype, all this to do when I am traveling and away from home.

And yes, gaming, which it handles fine. I played Borderlands, Minecraft, Left 4 Dead 2, and Diablo 2 for several hours last night on my Air, they all ran smooth on high settings. Not sure why you think you can't game on it.

I have the 13" model with ivy bridge.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 04:48 PM   #24
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I played through Mass Effect 1 on a notebook that had a RADEON 2600. It was good for 3500-4000 pts in 3dmark06. The HD4000 gets 6,000 in the same test.

So that is pretty impressive for a computer that is only marginally bigger than an iPad.

I have a gaming desktop for heavy lifting, but because I love PC games so much it's good to know that I can take them with me on the road.

I'll be buying Grimrock on GOG as soon as my MBA arrives. Porting team has made an excellent wrapper for that game.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 05:16 PM   #25
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To add to this thread, I would say that I've been able to run Rome Total War on the full settings fine without any lag whatsoever on my 2012 Air. I had a 2011 Air and had to run it on medium settings, and even on medium it would lag and sometimes freeze or slow down, but the 2012 on medium doesn't even get the cpu above 70C and the fans stay below 3000rpm whereas it would be 6500rpm on the 2011 Air. A big difference for sure.
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