13" i7 MBA gaming report...

SBruv

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 25, 2008
539
227
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.

SB
 

Typswif2fingers

macrumors 6502
Feb 17, 2010
373
6
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 :)
 
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SBruv

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 25, 2008
539
227
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.
 
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reputationZed

macrumors 65816
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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.
 
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lasuther

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2004
670
0
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.
 
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Oppressed

macrumors 65816
Aug 15, 2010
1,265
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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.

The maximum clock speed remains limited by the processor brand - the Core i5 K is limited to 1100 MHz, while the Core i7 K can reach 1350 MHz. The additional execution cores can result in better performance in games.
 
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major7

macrumors member
Oct 20, 2010
76
0
Porto, Portugal
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.
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!
 
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Oppressed

macrumors 65816
Aug 15, 2010
1,265
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Those are for desktop chips and different from regular mobiles, let alone the 17W ULV-class chips.
Wouldn't that only effect the numbers, and basically the architecture differences would be the same?
 
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KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,604
3,135
Those are for desktop chips and different from regular mobiles, let alone the 17W ULV-class chips.
The HD 3000 in the Core i5 turbo boosts to 1.15GHz while the one in the i7 boosts to 1.2GHz.
 
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Oppressed

macrumors 65816
Aug 15, 2010
1,265
10
so much for people bitching about not having Nvidia graphics!!
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.
 
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Flagg

macrumors member
Jul 14, 2011
45
0
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.
 
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neo2021

macrumors newbie
Jul 20, 2011
6
0
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.
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.
 
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accessoriesguy

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Jul 8, 2011
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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.
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.
 
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Flagg

macrumors member
Jul 14, 2011
45
0
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.
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.
 
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accessoriesguy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2011
891
0
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.
Thanks! i'm guessing this is for the i7 not i5 correct?
and 128GB right? Because I may be ready to upgrade finally :D
 
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Davidkoh

macrumors 65816
Aug 2, 2008
1,059
18
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"
 
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striker33

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2010
1,098
2
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.
The screen size doesnt matter, but the resolution does.

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

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,604
3,135
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.
This site goes into a little bit of detail about the differences between the Sandy Bridge mobile chips:

http://www.brighthub.com/computing/hardware/articles/66776/p2/

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).
 
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h00ligan

macrumors 68030
Apr 10, 2003
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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.
 
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unknown mr T

macrumors member
Jan 20, 2009
67
2
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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