13" MBA w/4GB RAM and HD 4000 - ok for casual gaming?

keelio

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2011
17
0
Good people - I'm looking to buy my wife a new 13" notebook. Preferably the MBA.

The MBA would mostly be using this for on-the-go office type software and internet, but with occasional gaming at home. Almost always Diablo 3 and Bioshock 2 (she's not a gamer and sticks to what she likes).

A similar discussion on the MBP forums indicated that the HD 4000 in the 13" MBP could ~reasonably drive Diablo 3 at Low graphics levels.

Would y'all expect the 13" MBA to be able to drive Diablo 3 at reasonable frame rates, even though the MBA has a slower CPU and comes (stock) with 4GB memory?

thanks!
 

dona83

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2004
317
47
Kelowna, BC
Diablo 3 runs decent on the HD3000 at low settings, the HD4000 is about 60% faster so it should be even better.

Apple went a couple steps back going to the HD3000 from the 320M, then made a few jumps forward going with the HD4000.
 
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keelio

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2011
17
0
Diablo 3 runs decent on the HD3000 at low settings, the HD4000 is about 60% faster so it should be even better.

Apple went a couple steps back going to the HD3000 from the 320M, then made a few jumps forward going with the HD4000.
Thanks. Offered answers to my question range from "yeah it'll work fine" to "no way Diablo 3 will suck on the HD4000" to "get a real computer" ...so maybe I need to wait until people actually try to run D3 on the 13" MBA and see how it goes.
 
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rygamble

macrumors regular
Feb 1, 2012
130
0
Thanks. Offered answers to my question range from "yeah it'll work fine" to "no way Diablo 3 will suck on the HD4000" to "get a real computer" ...so maybe I need to wait until people actually try to run D3 on the 13" MBA and see how it goes.
I run Skyrim (a much more demanding game) on low setting just fine on my mid-2010 White MacBook. HD4000 in the new MBA is actually faster than the 320M that's in my machine. So you should have no problem. You might even get away with mid settings!
 
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keelio

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2011
17
0
Many people don't grasp the concept of casual gaming.
Yeah, my lady spends a lot of her Bioshock 2 time cursing while running facefirst into the wall repeatedly while being eaten by spiders. No liquid cooled neon case needed here.
 
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Kungshi

macrumors member
May 11, 2011
47
0
Many people don't grasp the concept of casual gaming.
So very true! It's like they would rather debate you on irrelevant matters than answer your honest question about a machines casual gaming ability.
 
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kamgr

macrumors newbie
Sep 1, 2008
9
0
The below works fine for me so far in single player mode (these were auto set after installation). I just walked around Old Tristram and got 30-42 fps.

The only small downside is the mba is warm in my lap (which of course can be easily resolved).

Display: fullscreen
Resolution: 1280 x 800
Letterbox: off
Vertical Sync: off
Max Foreground FPS: on, 150
Max Background FPS: on, 8
Textures: high
Shadows: medium
Physics: high
Clutter density: medium
Anti-Aliasing: off
Low FX: off
 
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dHk

macrumors member
Jun 12, 2012
49
0
The below works fine for me so far in single player mode (these were auto set after installation). I just walked around Old Tristram and got 30-42 fps.

The only small downside is the mba is warm in my lap (which of course can be easily resolved).

Display: fullscreen
Resolution: 1280 x 800
Letterbox: off
Vertical Sync: off
Max Foreground FPS: on, 150
Max Background FPS: on, 8
Textures: high
Shadows: medium
Physics: high
Clutter density: medium
Anti-Aliasing: off
Low FX: off
you play games..... on your lap?
 
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jmthigpen

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2011
195
0
Charleston, SC
The below works fine for me so far in single player mode (these were auto set after installation). I just walked around Old Tristram and got 30-42 fps.

The only small downside is the mba is warm in my lap (which of course can be easily resolved).

Display: fullscreen
Resolution: 1280 x 800
Letterbox: off
Vertical Sync: off
Max Foreground FPS: on, 150
Max Background FPS: on, 8
Textures: high
Shadows: medium
Physics: high
Clutter density: medium
Anti-Aliasing: off
Low FX: off
Could you try the following settings and report back with your average FPS? I'm on the line whether or not to buy an air, since I would like to play D3 casually!

Display: fullscreen
Resolution: 1440 x 900 (if you have a 13")
Letterbox: off
Vertical Sync: off
Max Foreground FPS: off, 150
Max Background FPS: off, 150
Textures: medium
Shadows: off/low (whatever is the lowest setting)
Physics: high
Clutter density: medium
Anti-Aliasing: off

Thanks!
 
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kamgr

macrumors newbie
Sep 1, 2008
9
0
you play games..... on your lap?
Reiterating something I just read... "Many people don't grasp the concept of casual gaming."

:D
I make even the casual gamers look hardcore :D

I couldn't wait to try D3 on the mba, so I postponed the desk and mouse setup. So my testing was done with the machine in my lap and with the trackpad.

Could you try the following settings and report back with your average FPS? I'm on the line whether or not to buy an air, since I would like to play D3 casually!

Display: fullscreen
Resolution: 1440 x 900 (if you have a 13")
Letterbox: off
Vertical Sync: off
Max Foreground FPS: off, 150
Max Background FPS: off, 150
Textures: medium
Shadows: off/low (whatever is the lowest setting)
Physics: high
Clutter density: medium
Anti-Aliasing: off

Thanks!
I'll give this a shot after work.
 
Last edited:
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dona83

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2004
317
47
Kelowna, BC
Casual gaming = whatever little time you can get to game between going to work, studying, looking after kids, etc. If you're lucky, you get an hour to game uninterrupted. Typically 15-30 minutes. You don't play COD online because your stats are 1 kill - 1000 deaths, however beating the game in single player mode is doable, maybe, in novice mode after a few dozen deaths.
 
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Smartie

macrumors regular
Apr 25, 2012
170
0
Stockholm, Sweden
Casual gaming = whatever little time you can get to game between going to work, studying, looking after kids, etc. If you're lucky, you get an hour to game uninterrupted. Typically 15-30 minutes. You don't play COD online because your stats are 1 kill - 1000 deaths, however beating the game in single player mode is doable, maybe, in novice mode after a few dozen deaths.
That's the definition of being a dad/mom to small kids. :) thus, only Civ 5 and the like now because they are turn based and you can accept interruption.
 
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goinskiing

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2008
914
11
Meridian, ID
My 2011 13" MBA can handle a PS2 emulator (with low settings including native PS2 resolution). There's some occasional slow downs in large area with lots monsters fighting in FFXII etc, but definitely playable for a causal gamer. The new MBA should definitely suffice for the casual gamer.

Casual gamer is one who bought the machine for another primary purpose but can play games when you have the time between all the other things.
 
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kamgr

macrumors newbie
Sep 1, 2008
9
0
Could you try the following settings and report back with your average FPS? I'm on the line whether or not to buy an air, since I would like to play D3 casually!

Display: fullscreen
Resolution: 1440 x 900 (if you have a 13")
Letterbox: off
Vertical Sync: off
Max Foreground FPS: off, 150
Max Background FPS: off, 150
Textures: medium
Shadows: off/low (whatever is the lowest setting)
Physics: high
Clutter density: medium
Anti-Aliasing: off

Thanks!
FPS range is 19-25 with those settings. Also, after about 45-60 minutes on the original settings I posted earlier, FPS drops to the 20-25 range.

So far the frame rate doesn't impact me. I've heard it's more of an issue in Act 2+ though.
 
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mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,373
122
My 2011 13" MBA can handle a PS2 emulator (with low settings including native PS2 resolution). There's some occasional slow downs in large area with lots monsters fighting in FFXII etc, but definitely playable for a causal gamer. The new MBA should definitely suffice for the casual gamer.

Casual gamer is one who bought the machine for another primary purpose but can play games when you have the time between all the other things.
A ps2 emulator would be heavily CPU dependent. Most games are not.

----------

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.69168.0.html

I hope this can provide a better incite of how it performs on the Macbook Air. Just keep in mind that the framerates will be slightly lower, due to the CPU in the MBAs, which are ULV.
Until someone actually tests a MBA, this is probably your bet source of infO. Keep in min though, the MBA will be on the lower end of these benchmarks, well below the average.
 
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jmthigpen

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2011
195
0
Charleston, SC
FPS range is 19-25 with those settings. Also, after about 45-60 minutes on the original settings I posted earlier, FPS drops to the 20-25 range.

So far the frame rate doesn't impact me. I've heard it's more of an issue in Act 2+ though.
Dang, that seems like pretty low fps, do you think it would be enjoyable at 1440 x 900 with all low settings, could you check that out real quick? Does having the game set to a lower resolution make it fuzzy at all?

Thank you!
 
Comment

levitynyc

macrumors 65816
Aug 19, 2006
1,100
3,232
pretty bad results here.

embarrassing that my windows pc with medium range gaming components that cost me 900 can run Diablo 3 on high at 60fps while a $1,300 laptop can't get to 30 fps on low
 
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kamgr

macrumors newbie
Sep 1, 2008
9
0
Dang, that seems like pretty low fps, do you think it would be enjoyable at 1440 x 900 with all low settings, could you check that out real quick? Does having the game set to a lower resolution make it fuzzy at all?

Thank you!
I'm at low 30's with the following:

Display: fullscreen
Resolution: 1440 X 900
Letterbox: off
Vertical Sync: off
Max Foreground FPS: on, 150
Max Background FPS: on, 8
Textures: low
Shadows: low
Physics: low
Clutter density: off
Anti-Aliasing: off
Low FX: on

It's playable to me (ymmv). Just immersive enough.
 
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JesseW6889

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2010
317
0
pretty bad results here.

embarrassing that my windows pc with medium range gaming components that cost me 900 can run Diablo 3 on high at 60fps while a $1,300 laptop can't get to 30 fps on low
This.

In case anyone missed it.
 
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