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11" Macbook $999 Config - Games?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by brolfsen, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I got the 11" MBA 1.4GHz, 2GB RAM model.....I didn't buy it for games but for school mainly. Can I play any games on it that run pretty well? I'm talking about games like Rollercoaster Tycoon or stuff like that. I'm not expecting games like Call of Duty or anything really new to work. Thanks.
  2. macrumors 604


    Ouch dude your picking the worst Mac to play games on :eek:

    Try if you dare, but I would just use a more powerful Mac for stuff like that, such as a MacBook Pro or an iMac (you do have a second computer, don't you?)
  3. macrumors regular

    Most games will run fine on medium settings. Even newer ones (Call of Duty, etc.).
  4. macrumors 6502

    Twe Foju

    Yes, games like roller coaster tycoon will work super fine on your Air, you might be surprise, but COD MW2 actually works on High settings too on the Air


    but the newer games like the Crysis2.. um it works but on the all low settings

    so yes, you can game on your Air, especially if your games are the sims genre
  5. macrumors 68000

    I played Portal on my maxed out 11" and it worked perfectly fine with no lagging.
  6. macrumors newbie

    Yea, I have a nice Desktop I can play other games on but I just wanted to load a few games to pass time while I'm at school.

    I've heard you can play games on the "Ultimate" MBAs but you can even run newer games on the one with only 2GB RAM?
  7. macrumors 68030


    I have the base 11 with OS x 10.6.5 and Starcraft plays well on med in the single player. I haven't tried anything else.

  8. macrumors 6502a


    why not a full 13 mbp? is it portability you need?
  9. macrumors regular

    a current Sandybridge intel hd3000 equipped MBP cant even game as well as a 320m equipped MBA
  10. macrumors 6502

    Twe Foju

    yes you can, even with 2gb

    i assume that since you say in your 1st post that you didn't buy this for gaming right? and you have the desktop to play the big games ( AC2, Crysis2 etc )

    so light gaming is 1000% perfect in MBA, as i have shown on my previous post, even COD MW2 with High settings works like charm on a 1.4GHz and 2gb RAM Air
  11. macrumors 68020


    He already bought the machine. No need to convince him that something else is better- he asked whether or not games would work on his Air not whether or not a Pro is better.

    FWIW I have the 2011 2.7 13 Pro and it plays most GPU intensive games worse than my 1.6/4 Air because of the crappy HD3000.

    OP- gaming should be fine. I can play Portal (1) and CODMW2 on medium/high settings flawlessly on my Air. Yours should be as good- the extra 200MHz doesn't really make much difference. The extra RAM might, but shouldn't make too much difference.

    Watch your available space though- with only 64GB to play with you'll run out of space quickly if you plan on installing many games.

    Unless, of course, you're only going to play Angry Birds and Flight Control HD- those'll be fine obviously :)
  12. macrumors 6502a


    That is NOT the base 11, stated by the YouTuber. That is the 4GB 1.6 which is I believe $1199, not $999.

    I have the $999, and I'm sure Solitaire will run just fine. I see you already bought a machine but just FYI.
  13. macrumors 68020


    The $1199 spec keeps the stock model's 1.4/2GB spec but replaces the 64GB SSD with a 128GB. The 1.4->1.6 upgrade costs an additional $100 and the 2GB->4GB upgrade costs another $100 (ie Ultimate 11" Air costs $1399).

    The spec of the Air in the YouTube video is identical to the base model (1.4/2), but has a 128GB SSD.

    Don't underestimate the power of the $999 Air.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    It can't even run VMWare competently compared to the Pro. Believe me, I know all about the 11".

    In any event, the $999 Air which is 2GB is not going to be a gaming beast. At 4GB, it'll get by. But the 2GB? Forget it.
  15. macrumors 68030


    VMware need ram for its function. Most games won't be memory constrained. The GPU is usually the biggest limiting factor. The 11" MBA works ok as a highly portable gaming platform.

  16. TheMacBookPro, Apr 24, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011

    macrumors 68020


    VMWare and Parallels requires RAM to function as it is effectively running two OSes at the same time. Games OTOH are more about CPU/GPU (mostly GPU)'s power.

    If you look at the YouTube video you quoted and read through the comments you'll see that that Air is the base model terms of specs (1.4GHz/2GB RAM). The only difference between that YouTuber's Air and OP's Air is that the YouTuber has more storage (128GB v 64GB), which makes absolutely no difference in terms of system performance.

    CODMW2 is running smoothly at High settings on that user's Air so yeah... I don't think you know as much about the 11" Air (and game requirements) as you think you do.
  17. macrumors Pentium


    How did you configure your VM Guest ? If I run a 128MB Linux VM to do some command-line stuff, I can run it off a 1 GB Host machine without much worry.

    With 2 GB of RAM, you could run a 512MB Windows XP guest with 8 MB of video RAM without much impact on performance, I did it for the longest time and still use that VM (though now I allocate 1 GB of RAM to it and 32 MB of video RAM on my 4 GB Air).

    Of course if you just go with the defaults and don't understand how to configure a guest properly to fit inside the host's hardware, you won't be able to run VMware "competently", but the problem isn't VMware or the hardware then ;).

    Let's face it, VMware isn't anything new. I had their free VMware Workstation version 2.x something up and running on my Pentium 2 with 192 MB of RAM back in the days, running both Linux and Windows at the same time...

    You guys do realise that currently, the MBP 13" is teh worst Mac for gaming right, not the 11" Air ? The 320M+C2D makes for a superior gaming experience over the SB + Intel 3000HD combo.

    I thought that we realised in the 90s that the 3D accelerator (now known as the GPU) was the most important factor in 3D graphics gaming, not the CPU. I still remember my friends investing in PPros 200 with crap Matrox Mystiques thinking they would run games better than my Pentium 100 with a Diamond Monster 3D... all were left crying over their wasted money. Ah.. the good old days.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Twe Foju

    You should truly read the description again

    and thanks "TheMacBookPro" for answering that ;)
  19. macrumors 6502

    This is the 320m running (MBA 13)

    SC2 on custom (Med/low) at 62 FPS, rarely drops to 20
    COD MW Med around 70 FPS
    Civ V runs okay, not the best, Idk how to check FPS on that.
  20. macrumors 6502

    Twe Foju



    i just noticed that the 320M on the 13inch are actually faster in terms of the memory than that of the 11inch

    the 13inch 320 use 1064 MHz and the 11inch use 532MHz

    so yeah, probably 13 runs better game fps due to that
  21. macrumors regular

    Twe Foju, I'm not sure what you mean! Both the 11" and the 13" use 1066mhz system memory and the 320m shares 256mb of it, so surely they're both using 1066mhz? :confused:
  22. macrumors 6502

    Twe Foju

  23. macrumors Pentium


    Notebook check has it wrong. The only difference between both is that the Front Side Bus runs at different speeds. The 11" has an 800 mhz FSB, the 13" a 1066 mhz FSB. Memory speeds are the same and the IGP uses system memory, not dedicated memory, so it runs at the same speed.
  24. macrumors 6502a


    Blah Blah Blah. Try running ONE Windows 7 VM in a base model Air and come back to me. Does it work? Sure. But I bet you any of the Pros will blow it out of the water with the same amount of RAM allocated to it. That's what I'm talking about. It's not about CAN it game, but SHOULD it game. My answer is no. Get a Pro for power.

    Look, I know you guys love your little bastard Air and that's fine, but here's reality check dude.

    GPU matters - yes.
    Drive TYPE matters - yes.
    RAM matters - YES.
    Capacity matters - YES.

    It all frickin matters when gaming. Why? School:

    GPU is obvious. It's not just about the type of card but your front cache as well as how it interacts with the CPU. Doesn't matter if you have a stronger card if the cache is low nor does it matter if you have a stronger card if the CPU can't keep up with the crap. You might be able to start the game up and play a while but you're not going on a 4 hour binge I guarantee you.

    Drive type matters because of read/write which DOES happen when gaming. A SSD will blow a regular HDD out of the water in that regard. So the Air has that, sure.

    RAM matters because - UH OH - PAGING. Gaming isn't a free ride, the crap will take up RAM. The more RAM, the less paging. The less paging, the better performance, SSD or not.

    Capacity matters because for those so less inclined about how SSDs work, the lower your free space, your SSD performance goes in the crapper. Between cache and paging, yes, a 128GB SSD is going to be better in the long run than a 64GB one especially since roughly 20 of those GB's aren't even accessible off the jump.

    If you want to game GET THE MACHINE THAT IS BUILT TO DO IT. Hell, at least Ultimatize the bastard and stop being cheap.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Twe Foju


    i get your point..

    the OP ask if he can game with his Base Model, and he was only referring to playing games such as Roller Coaster Tycoon or maybe the likes

    he didn't say that he would play something heavy or via Bootcamp, and all we're trying to show him is that, yes he can play games such as the RC Tycoon just fine

    as simple as that

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