13" i7 MBA gaming report...

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by SBruv, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2008
    Well, in a thoroughly vague, anectodtal sense, at least.

    Okay, I had the 'ultimate' 2010 MBA, and gaming on it was absolutely hopeless. TF2 (which I play fairly competitively, so high FPS is crucial to me), Civ V and Frozen Synapse all ran like treacle and were essentially unplayable at native res.

    On the 2011 model, however, the improvement is absolutely immense. TF2 is smooth and fully playable, Civ V looks great, and Frozen Synapse runs perfectly. Drivers, H3000 HD, Lion... whatever the reason, although this is by no means a 'gaming laptop', games definitely run much, much better on it than they did on its predecessor.

    just thought I'd share.

  2. macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2010
    Dubai, UAE
    I never had a chance to play any games on previous MBAs...

    But, I did download the only game I play (Rome total war) (probably fairly agricultural in comparison what other people play). The little buddy worked perfectly. It is just amazing how something so thin, petite.. fragile almost, performs so nice.

    The blokes at iFixit did their game with the screwdrivers this morning and when they opened it.. Very interesting.

    Sorry for carrying on like a pork chop, but I guess never having an MBA before I am still lifting it up and wonder... how thin it is :)
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2008
    Yes indeed - it's a truly incredible machine!
    Also, I'm noticing that general OS X animations are much smoother than they were on the 2010 - Exposé, the Dock, etc.
    Very, very happy indeed with the graphics performance on the 2011 i7, which I certainly didn't expect to be.
  4. macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2011
    34°55′42″N 80°44′41″W (34.
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Good to hear. I wasnt really expecting much from the new MBA's in terms of gaming but as long as it can play CiV and SC2 I'll be happy.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2004
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    Barefeets has posted some benchmarks of the new MBA to the old. For Portal on high settings, the i7 was 34 FPS while the old C2D was 32 FPS.

    I'm getting my 13" i5 Wednesday, so I'll be able to see SC2 and WoW performance then.

    There was a huge backlash over the integrated graphics being a step back, but I think as more benchmarks are done we'll find the new MBA to be an improvement in gaming.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    What kind of gaming graphics performance lose would be expected between the i5 and i7?

    Does the difference in chips only effect CPU tasks, and the GPU tasks would be the same?

    Edit: Found my answer.

  8. macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2006
    Those are for desktop chips and different from regular mobiles, let alone the 17W ULV-class chips.
  9. macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Porto, Portugal
    Nice to see FPS sticks the same but there's 1 aspect Barefeats didnt consider....fps varied on every OSX update so probably the 2010 also has different FPS values with 10.7 (Lion).

    This new one uses more RAM too(384 to 256) to compensate a "suposed" weaker graphic card in order to keep the values in the same level.

    Nice move by Apple! If i havent bought last year i would sure be picking a new one! Looks great!
  10. macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    Wouldn't that only effect the numbers, and basically the architecture differences would be the same?
  11. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    The HD 3000 in the Core i5 turbo boosts to 1.15GHz while the one in the i7 boosts to 1.2GHz.
  12. macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    so much for people bitching about not having Nvidia graphics!!
  13. macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    To be honest I haven't seen any clear cut proof from anyone besides laptopmag. Everyone has only been giving positive OPINIONS. Numbers/Videos/Real Life results pls.
  14. macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2008
    Your girlfriends place
    For sure, but I'm sure there will be some straggling zealots. :D
  15. macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2011
    Does anyone know how the 11.6" ultimate is doing? The specs are nearly identical to the 13" ultimate, though, so I'm guessing the difference is not much.
  16. macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    In my view it should be exactly the same because the specs are exactly the same except for the screen size which shouldn't matter in terms of performance.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    I only play Star Craft 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal, how well can it run those games? are they playable and smooth?

    That's all I really need to get the go ahead to get an air.
  18. macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2011
    OP commented that TF2 was smooth and playable. I've read elsewhere that Portal is easily handled and that SC2 runs smoothly on lower settings.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    Thanks! i'm guessing this is for the i7 not i5 correct?
    and 128GB right? Because I may be ready to upgrade finally :D
  20. macrumors regular

    Feb 20, 2007
    The thread starter said that TF2 is smooth, BareFeats reports 34fps in Portal (on "High") and another guy reports SC2 as playable on "Medium".

    So go for it!:)
  21. Davidkoh, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

    macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    I can report that Eve seems playable, haven't tested big fights but with everything at low it gets around 30-40 FPS when going around in space at native resolution. Seems to be around as good as my 2010 13" MBP was with its lower resolution.

    Though my temp rose to 95 celcius, thats a tad high actually...

    EDIT: I got the base 13"
  22. macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2010
    The screen size doesnt matter, but the resolution does.

    The 11" Air should be superior performance wise due to the lower res screen.
  23. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    This site goes into a little bit of detail about the differences between the Sandy Bridge mobile chips:


    The bottom line is that the mobile Sandy Bridge Core i3, i5, and i7 all support hyperthreading. The i5 and i7 both support Turbo Boost. The i7 has a bigger cache and higher burst speeds in Turbo Boost.

    On a side note, Intel has been very inconsistent with the whole Core i3/i5/i7 naming scheme in terms of features. For instance, the dual-core mobile Sandy Bridge i3s and i5s support hyperthreading, while the desktop i3/i5 and quad-core mobile i5 versions don't. It's very confusing, and Intel needs a better naming/numbering system. They'd be better off going back to some sort of performance-based system like what AMD used to do (an Athlon 2200 was faster than an Athlon 1600, for instance).
  24. macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    That's exactly what they are trying to avoid. There're plenty of reasons they name it this way. It wasn't an accident or mistake.
  25. macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2009
    Im am not really into gaming on my mac, but any idea hiw it will handle 3D CAD programs? To be specific solidworks which is windows only :s, so I need to run it with boothcamp ;), but then again, is the HD 3000 capable enough for those things? I am thinking about getting the 13 inch with 256 gig SSD ;)

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