OS X Intel HD 4000 and Gaming

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Sambo110, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    So I know the HD 4000 isn't great for gaming, but it can do it. My girlfriend wants to buy a Macbook, either this week or in 2 weeks if she goes for a 15" Retina. She isn't a gamer, but only because the only thing she has is an incredibly old Laptop that can barely run. She's interested in playing some games like WoW, Batman etc. So, how well does the HD 4000 actually run games at 1440x900 under OS X?

    Also, I see that most games now don't support the HD 3000, will games in a year not support the HD 4000? Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #2
    Your signature says you have the 15 inch rMBP, so just download gfxCardStatus, and set it to "integrated only". This will use only the HD 4000, and you can test it with that. Note, this won't work in Windows.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    Doesn't seem to work, at least from what I remember. If I ever forced a GPU, every game would crash.

    Plus I don't have many games on my Mac. The only ones I have are Blizzard, Valve and a few Indie games.
     
  4. macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2004
    #4
    All Feral games work with the switcher as long as the game has HD3000/4000 support.

    However you should not expect any modern game to play at native resolution on the HD4000. They will play find but native resolution in many cases is asking too much of the none gaming card.

    Edwin
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    MarcBook

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    #5
    I honestly think that even for relatively basic graphics such as those in WoW, it's still a very, very good idea to go for the 15" model with the dedicated graphics. It'll definitely be worth the 2 week wait; it'll potentially save months (or even years) of frustration relying on the HD 4000.

    The GeForce GT 650M is a great card, especially as it's hardware overclocked in the Retina models. It runs modern games at 1440 x 900 extremely well and even some in 2880 x 1880 (notably the League of Legends Mac client).
     
  6. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    #6
    What MarcBook said. Or if she can wait, get the 13" haswell when it comes out this summer. Its integrated graphics are supposed to be a good step up (on par with the 650M.)
     
  7. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #7
    The graphics in Haswell (HD 4600) won't be close to the 650m, apparently they're around 20% faster than the 4000, still way behind the 650m, but a good step forward.

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4600.86106.0.html
     
  8. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    #8
  9. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
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    Australia
    #9
    You're a developer, so can you explain how some games look the exact same at 1440x900 and 2880x1800, yet the performance doubles at the lower resolution? Valve games all look the exact same at those two resolutions, yet Blizzard games don't. It's quite strange.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    glsillygili

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    New York
    #10
    Source games work fine on my Intel Graphics 3000
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    #11
    My girlfriend has a 13" MBP with HD4000 and she plays CS:GO and TF2 happily, she does bootcamp to Windows though. I don't think she tried OS X for it.
     
  12. macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2004
    #12
    It's likely (I don't make either title you mention) down to the windowing mode used in the code.

    You have two ways of drawing to the screen the "new" way and the "old" way. Apple are pushing everyone to move over the new way as it support fancy stuff like the notifications and achievement popups. The old way is on the way out and will slowly be phased out I guess.

    When playing a game you have two resolutions:

    The resolution your monitor (and OS) is running in this is in almost every case the native resolution of the monitor.
    The resolution the game is running in, this is usually lower than your native screen resolution.

    The "old" way

    When the screen goes black and you enter full screen the game will tell the OS to lower it's resolution so it matches the resolution you selected to play the game in. This is the same as going into System Preferences and lowering it yourself. Everything gets bigger and more blurry but your Mac will only be drawing the smaller number of pixels for example 1024x768.

    This means the graphics card has a lot less pixels to keep in memory and will run faster.

    You can usually tell this mode as when you tab in and out of the game you might see OS X blue for a second or see some resizing really quickly.

    The 'new' way

    When the screen goes black and you enter full screen the OS does not change resolution and stays at native resolution. The game is rendered at the resolution you selected in the game onto an off screen buffer. Think of it as an image of a single frame of the game at the resolution you selected. This frame is then taken by the OS and scaled up to fit the screen resolution. Lowering the resolution means you have less calculations to do to create the final frame but that final frame is then scaled up to fit native resolution by the OS. This means the card has a little more overhead and will in some cases run a little slower.

    This new way as the final frame is in a buffer allows the OS to overlay messages like notifications etc over the top of a game, use Expose etc

    I don't know for sure in your case if this is part of the reason but how exactly you render the game does have an effect on the performance at various resolutions.

    Edwin
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    El Awesome

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2012
    Location:
    Zurich
    #13
    If you care about gaming even just a tiny little bit, I would forget about the HD4000. It's good for daily use like checking emails or browsing the web or some simple office tasks, but nothing more.

    Fantastically explained!
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    (Metamorphosing near) Staffs, 51st State.
    #14
    Hmmm. IMO, saying something similar but with a slightly different emphasis, seems no less appropriate. That is, if you care about gaming just a little bit, most likely the HD 4000 will be fine for most games at low-to-medium FPS.

    Kindly note, the HD 4000 wouldn't be fine at all for my needs. Also, I'm not trying to be contrary here for its own sake, but hopefully just adding a bit of balance. :)
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    Makes sense. The weird thing is, Valve games look amazing at 1440x900, yet Blizzard games look blurry at the same resolution. I prefer the old way of doing it in that case :p
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    dylin

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #16
    Well didnt read the entire thread, but noticed that she wants to play WoW. and so far i have my 2012 13" macbook pro connected to a external monitor.

    I play it at 1920 by 1080 and have majority of the settings set to high, except shadows, and i just cap the FPS to 30 as to keep the temps down so the CPU/GPU dont have to work with so many calculations. Runs well and runs relatively cool.

    temps are at 55 celcius and the fans dont really go higher than 2200 rpm.

    So if she is just going to play at 1440 bt 900. i dont think there would be any problem at all.
     
  17. macrumors member

    Donut4000

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #17
    HL2 in a VM with HD4000

    I have a 13" cMBP at the moment, so have the HD4000. I am playing through the Half Life 2 series, and have set them to native resolution (1280x800), and am able to ramp the settings all the way up to high or very high. I should add that I have SSD and 16gb of RAM. I run this all through Parallels 8, and am pretty amazed that the games run so well - really smooth gameplay. I don't know the FPS, but suffice to say, it is high enough not to notice stuttering other than occasionally when there are scene changes, and then only momentarily. I should also add that I performed the VRAM hack from over in the Mountain Lion forum, increasing the allocation to 1gb. This >seems< to have reduced graphical tearing and judders I was getting from before the hack - everything as I say seems pretty smooth. Naturally, things would improve even more if I set things up via Bootcamp - but that seems too much hassle compared to the functioning setup I have here, which was originally for running Windows only university software. The fact I can run HL2 from a VM is pretty cool. No such luck with Far Cry2 though....>much< more hardware demanding....
    Hope this illuminates in some way...:)
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
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    Australia
    #18
    She ended up just buying the 15" Retina... probably the best long term decision!
     
  19. macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

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    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #19
    Interesting...

    Yup agreed there mate
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    arctic

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    #20
  21. macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

    Joined:
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    #21

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