13" Gaming impressions, MBA 2012

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by danistyping, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. danistyping macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2009
    Boston, MA
    So now that the 13" 2012's have been around for a few months, I'm wondering a few things:

    1. What games do you play on your 13" MBA? What settings do you use and what kind of performance do you get?

    2. Have you discovered any games that the hd 4000 can't handle?

    3. Are you using i5 or i7, 4GB RAM or 8GB RAM?

    The new Sim City comes out in March and I'm really hoping the air can handle it. The game looks sick. So if any of you are part of the beta testing for that game, your opinion is especially appreciated! I will go so far as to say that if it runs choppy on my air, I will sell it on ebay and upgrade to a refurbed 15" MBP for the discrete graphics.

    ps - I realize there is already a large gaming thread. I am asking specific questions that I figured would call for a separate thread...please don't be a hater.
  2. Calot macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012
    1. I play Diablo 3, native resolution, VSync on, Details High, everything else low/off. I get 30FPS, it drops in intense fights, not really that noticeable since you're concentrated on killing giant mobs.

    Half-Life 2 on native resolution, everything set to high, except shadows on medium. I get a constant 60FPS, it may drop to 30 in very intense/outside fights.

    Starcraft 2 on native resolution, high details, everything else on medium, I get a constant 60 FPS that very rarely drops to 30FPS.

    Torchlight everything on high/max and I suppose I get 30+ FPS.

    The Witcher on native resolution, medium settings. It plays very well, maybe it drops below 30FPS sometimes in cities filled with people, nothing terrible, to be honest.

    2. There are a lot of games that HD4000 won't be able to handle.

    3. i7 8GB 256 here
  3. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816


    Apr 5, 2012
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    The Witcher is the only game I've tried that really chokes, like 10FPS or so every now and then.

    i5, 4GB.
  4. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    There are plenty of threads on this subject, try searching.

    It will play nearly anything at low settings, and most things a few years+ old at med-high settings.
  5. MacPat333 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    Very good question, I want to buy Sim City too and I gonna have the 13" MBA with i5/8GB RAM/ 128GB SSD.

    I might get an external screen, but I'd play it on the 13" screen of the MBA too.
  6. insimbi macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2008
    Good to hear. I've been wanting to get feedback from MBA users that play Diablo 3. So you are running at 1440x900? I hate playing on anything less than the native resolution.

    I'll try your suggestions - thanks! :D
  7. danistyping, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012

    danistyping thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2009
    Boston, MA
    So far for me Diablo 3 runs great, though you have to sacrifice something (for me its shadows). If you set everything to high with AA on, it'll get choppy easily.

    I run it at native res (1440x900).
  8. jon1987 macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2011
    Glad I came accross this thread, was a little nervous.

    In a month or so my girlfriend and I are getting a pair of MacBook Airs. 13". The main use for them will be work and photo editing, but we will want to play some games.

    We are not to worried about brand new or up and coming games. My girlfriend wants to play The Sims 3 and I'm a Total War fanatic. Empire Total War is probably what I will go for.

    Do you guys think these games will run OK?


    Please don't mock, this will be my first Mac and I'm usure of the gaming ability. Ha
  9. Calot macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012
    Yeah. As long as you don't have fifty programs running in the background, it runs very well. Except for the occasional stutter that is reportedly Blizzard's fault and 'they have been working on a fix' for like 4 months. (I detest Blizzard and Jay Wilson)
  10. bushidounohana macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    St. Louis, MO (USA)
    Thanks for the thread, interesting to get more perspectives on the 2012 MacBook Air.

    I'm a little surprised to hear this--my 2010 MacBook Air (2.13GHz Core2Duo, 4GB RAM) plays the game with Texture, Shadow, and Light Quality all set on medium with everything else on low *fairly* well. Yes, there's a hiccup every now and again and a purist would despise it, but it's great for the casual pick up and go. I would have thought the 2012 would be able to run it on high?

    We are talking the OS X, original Witcher not the recently released Witcher 2, right?
  11. TheRichboy247 macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2012
    I play Minecraft or Tekkit on my MBA. It runs great and I run tekkit with a texture pack as well. It really performs. One drawback is that it gets really hot. The temperature goes well over 85C. Thats why I'm building a gaming PC to handle all the games that I throw at it. If you are serious about gaming and want a mac, consider the new iMac or the Mac Pro. The MBA isn't meant for gaming. Its meant for productivity and media.

    Just my opinion :)
  12. Calot macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012
    Yes! The original Witcher.

    It's not a hardware issue. As the game was not made for Mac. It is just a cheap port wrapped in wineskin, which hinders performance considerably. It crashes from time to time showing a Windows-like alert. (pretty weird)

    When you play Half-Life 2 with near-max settings you get the idea that the 2012 MBA is a very capable little machine. It just looks so good. The same goes for Starcraft 2, even though for SC2, it's more like high textures and everything else on medium-low. But it still looks and runs very awesome.


    That damned new 27" iMac has an option for a 3GB of vRAM video card. Now, that is lusty. Too bad it will probably cost $3500-4000 maxed out.
  13. bushidounohana macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    St. Louis, MO (USA)
    Ah yes, I forgot about The Witcher being a Wineskin wrapped game and not truly native. That explains things--while I'm not upgrading my Air until the next generation, I was certainly hoping we'd come a little further in the last couple generations!
  14. Calot macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012
    The 2012 maxed out is quite impressive. It boots up in 10 seconds and everything is very, very snappy... It's been only a couple of years, I'd say the improvements are very impressive.

    I plan on upgrading in a couple of years, hopefully getting a more noticeable improvement in graphics more than anything else.

    Maybe 1GB of vRAM?

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