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World of Warcraft on my MacBook Part 2: 2GB RAM & 7200RPM HDD

Discussion in 'Games' started by iHeartTheApple, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. macrumors 6502


    As I promised in my original thread, I am reporting back to you all regarding the difference in performance between a stock MacBook 2.0GHz and my now, maxed-out MB.

    Just so we all know the specifics, I have installed a matched pair of 2GB RAM (OWC Brand) and a Seagate Momentus 7200RPM 100GB hard drive.

    Here is a quick summary of the results:
    resolution: 1280x800
    mode: full screen
    settings: medium (middle on all slider bars)
    max: 69.1fps
    min: 17fps
    avg: ~28-36fps

    Well, as you can see there's a marked improvement from the stock to the maxed-out MB. Honestly, I was *absolutely* stunned by the increase in performance! :confused: :eek: It was more than I ever hoped for...I would say, in general, that the ram makes a huge difference in *anything* on the MB. You think it's snappy right out of the box? Try it with 2GB of ram...everything is much faster.

    In Stormwind with people running around the bank, I'm now averaging about 32-34fps. In Ironforge, depending on where I was, it now ranges from 28-31fps...The auctionhouse and bank no longer cause a noticeable decrease in framerates.

    The effect of changing resolution and settings (as outlined in my previous post) are similar...You can expect to see around 5fps change per setting change.

    Questing/grinding/farming is rediculously smooth...it's almost always above 26fps. I don't see nearly as many drastic drops in the framerate as I did before, regardless of what I'm doing. In instances the framerates are right around 30fps on average. I've yet to encounter a situation in which my sustained framerate during regular activity drops below 24fps and *most* of the time it's more like 28fps. In caves and buildiings, the average jumps up to 33-36fps due to the reduction in the terrain distance needed to be rendered.

    In conclusion, I will again say that I am happier than I ever expected to be with my MacBook, both in general and with respect to it's ability to play WoW. I haven't gotten around to trying any other games nor have I tried WoW on BootCamp/Windows...this is all in OS X so far. Since WoW is really the only game that I play when I get a chance to play games at all, I would say that it's more than enough for what *I* expect/need/desire out of a computer.

    So, let me state this clearly: I am *not* making any claim as to how the MacBook will perform on any game(s) *other* than World of Warcraft! I hope that this helps put some myths to bed regarding the question of the MB's ability to play WoW...Happy gaming! :)
  2. macrumors 68000


    Thanks for the update, sounds great. :)
  3. macrumors regular


    I wonder what things will be at Low settings :d This is really impressive, if it can run Wow it can run hl2... Maybe not at 40fps but at least at 25.. If it plays Hl2 at 25+ I'm off!!!
  4. macrumors 68020


    Even better, I heard Blizzard is working on an OpenGL patch and a new OSX update that is supposed to bump performance even more... this may just be rumor but it is what I heard :)
  5. macrumors regular

    The Red Wolf

    Intel 950

    This is one thing that angers me. Everyone complained about the Intel 950 Integrated board. For the price it's a good chipset. Also when paired with 2 GB of RAM, it takes on the task of accenting the 950. I have a Duo 1.66 Mini with 2 GB of RAM and I get 23-27 FPS in Ironforge. The improvment was souly baised on the RAM as I have the original 5400 SATA 80 GB drive. However a 7200 will be a nice improvment as much of the Warcraft data is pushed from the HD.

  6. macrumors 68000


    First, you guys might be interested in my MacBook benchmarking article. Next up is gaming benchmarks.

    I haven't had much time, but so far I've been fooling around with City of Heroes/Villains and Guild Wars. Performance, post-tweaking, is acceptable. UT on the Mac was the suck. :(

    Right now I'm working on a formalized test suite -- including WoW -- but it'll probably be a few weeks before I can finish.

    One GB of RAM is mandatory and I disagree about the previous poster and the 7200 drive boosting performance; you'll see little to no gain, as my benchmarks above demonstrate.
  7. macrumors member

    but.....would a macbook with 1 gig mem and a 5400 hd be about as good?
  8. macrumors 6502


    Jsousa: While I have not actually run WoW using the configuration that you suggest, I do know that the stock MB configuration is more than playable for my taste. As I stated above, in my experience, there *is* a definite (~20fps) improvement going from stock to 2GB of RAM, so I would assume that you would see at least a decent (6-12fps maybe?) improvement going to 1GB.

    As Abulia noted, there seems to be some mystery surrounding the performance of a 7200 vs. 5400RPM HDD...I'm not sure whether the 7200RPM drive made a big difference in my system to be honest. Hope this helped...:)
  9. macrumors member


    ill still have my home pc desktop for serious gaming, but gaming on the go - id like world of warcraft, warcraft III, diablo II, etc to work easily.
  10. macrumors 68040



    You really sure about that?

    (not trying to argue, honest question)
  11. MRU


    It already does, BUT CS has some issues on some maps and HL2 has a problem with it loading checkpoints sometimes crashing to the desktop. Somthing I assume to do with it flushing it's memory, as if you just reload and continue it loads the map properly?

    And it's about 25fps average on High with 1024x768
  12. macrumors 601


    MacBooks have a edge with testing games with different memory configurations and 5400 rpm drives vs 7200 rpm drives. It is super easy to swap out the drive compared to MBPs. Perhaps it will end the age old question on rpm speeds for different apps.

    Right now it is a pain to swap out the drive that most MBP owners don't bother to perform that upgrade themselves when it is still under warranty.

    It would be nice if you can upgrade the graphics card in laptops. You can buy it with a cheap 950 integrated type or get the ATI 1800. Upgrading would be as easy as plugging in your Firewire cable. There would be a simple slot for easy upgrades. Probably only have to deal with card slot changes every 3 years or so.
  13. macrumors G3


    very impressive results. Thanks for the update. :)
  14. macrumors regular


    Oeps.. Problems.. that's not good that it's crashing....
  15. MRU


    There seems to be some info over on steam forum. A fix that you have to add to the config or some such. I'll try and dig it out later, I'm off to Cobh for some sun, (just hope it's there when I arrive :D )
  16. macrumors regular

    stupid question?

    Ok, i dare to ask,
    id like to compare your benchmarks with my old iBook (see sig).
    How do i check framrates in wow?

    Thanks for the help!
  17. macrumors 68040



    I remember some performance figure comparing 5400 and 7200 laptop drives and the benefit of a 7200 is that it writes faster than a 5400 but the reads are only marginally quicker.

    I don't have figures to back this up but this was for the Hitachi Travelstar 7k80 vs other drives. Based on this I opted for a 5400rpm drive in my powerbook (as most of my performance requirements are for reading data off the drive).
  18. macrumors 601


    Thanks for the test results, I was waiting for some of those before making a purchase decision of a MacBook myself. WoW performance is very important to me but that's about it as far as games go (who has time for more than that anyway?). Those results sound pretty decent, about the same as I get on my dual 2.0 GHz G5 with stock Radeon 9600 Pro (64MB).

    ZLurker, press Control-R and it will show your framerate onscreen, but as far as I know there are no test scripts or anything that will give you an automated benchmark yet for WoW. There's a lot of factors that go into your framerate including CPU, hard drive, and what settings you're running WoW at (even how far you're zoomed in can have a big effect). So the numbers are really just a rough guide at this point. Standing on the bridge in Ironforge facing the bank during a busy time (maybe 2-5 dozen people running around) is a common test.
  19. macrumors 68000


    Well, my benchmarks and testing suite are available for anyone to read. So either a) you don't believe the numbers (facts) or b) you believe I'm lying.

    Either way, I'm not sure what you want me to tell you. My benchmarks don't show a meaningful improvement on performance with 7200 rpm drives on a MacBook.

    So yea, I'm sure. :)
  20. macrumors 6502


    Press Ctrl+R to bring up the framerate meter. It should pop up in the bottom center of your screen just above your casting bar location.

    RE: 7200RPM drive
    Again, I haven't done any real tests on the 7200 vs. 5400RPM drives. Abulia seems to have some good results showing that the 7200 isn't all it's cracked up to be. Still, I based my decision on a benchmarking article I read (anandtech? I'll see if I can find it...), which compared the Hitachi and Seagate 7200 and 5400 drives, plus a Seagate 7200 3.5" desktop drive. In the test, there were similar, weird results at times; however, overall the Seagate Momentus 7200 blew the Hitachi out of the water in general performance and typically performed at or above its 5400RPM counterparts.

    In the end, there is not a huge disparity in the prices of the 5400 and 7200 drives and, as such, if it's not a huge improvement in performance, then I'm not too worried. Though, I have heard that WoW is particularly dependent on the hdd for loading, etc. so maybe the 7200 *does* help with WoW, but not necessarily with anything else? :confused:
  21. macrumors regular

    my 2cent

  22. macrumors regular

    my 2cent

    Ok, here is my results *(just to compare):

    iBook 1.07Ghz G4, 768Mb ram and 60Gb 4200rpm hard drive
    with Radeon 9200 32mb grafix card.

    9-12 fps in 90% of the time outdoors
    2-4fps on the brige in IF facing the bank

    to me it sound like there is a real improvement to the macbook even thou it has a integrated grafixcard.

    On the harddrive note:
    Isnt there one factor missing in this debate?
    I think the cache on the harddrive is much more important than the speed.
    Wouldnt a 5400 with 16mb cache beat the crap out of a 7200 with 2mb cache?
  23. macrumors 68030


    This is exactly the results BareFeats showed when they benchmarked 7200 RPM drives. There was no noticable improvement until they started working with large files. I'd link to the benchmark but I can't get on to BareFeats at the moment...

    edit: http://www.barefeats.com/5472.html
  24. macrumors 65816


    We tested various Macs with WoW. First, your FPS are going to vary depending on how much activity is going on around you. Also, we found that WoW + Mac OS X = 1GB+. So the gain you saw had everything to do with having MORE memory, not from having matched pairs.

    We haven't tested WoW on the MacBook 13" but it was soundly beaten by other Intel Macs and the PowerBook when we ran Quake 4, Doom 3, and UT2004. Our test unit had two 1GB sticks:
  25. macrumors newbie


    i've been running WoW on my Macbook 1.83 512 mb, and it's pretty smooth. there isn't as much lag as there is a lower framerate, though. the only time it ever lags is when i enter a main city, such as Orgrimmar, but other than that it's good. i just wish the framerate was a bit higher. :( but that's why i'm in the process of ordering 2 more gigs of ram.


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