Any chance 2013 Airs will get discrete graphics cards?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Shocco, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2012
    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?
  2. macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    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.
  3. macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2011
  4. Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    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.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2008
    Downtown San Diego
    Totally. The improvements Haswell bringing here will be significant insofar that integrated will finally be competitive with low-mid/end discrete.
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2012
    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
  7. macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2011
    I see, what games do you play?
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2012
    Am I right thinking Haswell processors will be featured on the 2013 airs?
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006

    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
  10. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    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.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2012
    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.
  12. pgiguere1, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012

    macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    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:
    That's the late-2011 model for $1359 and both its graphics card and CPU are nearly twice as powerful as the MBA's.
  13. macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    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.
  14. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2012
    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.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    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).
  16. macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007

    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.
  17. macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2010
    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.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2010
  19. macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
  20. macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2012
    Only GPU? Nothin else?

    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.
  21. macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    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.
  22. macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2011

    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 :)

    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.
  23. macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2008
    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?
  24. macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    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?
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2010
    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..

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