15" 2011 MBP gaming w/ external monitor

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Frankied22, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Frankied22 macrumors 68000

    Frankied22

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    #1
    Hey do any of you out there who game with your 15" MBP use an external monitor? What kind of games do you play and how are the frame rates on 1080p resolution?

    Basically, I had the base 2011 21.5" iMac with the 6750M w/ 512mb and I was playing BF3, Dragon Age, Skyrim, The Witcher 2, CS, and other various games with bootcamp. All those games ran fine at full resolution at high with some tweaked settings. I had to get rid of my iMac for various reasons a couple months ago and now I need to get a main computer again. Instead of building a separate PC rig for gaming and having a Mac for all my other daily needs, I'd like to keep everything on one machine, and on an Apple machine. For around $1750 I can get the refurbished February 2011 15" MBP with the 6750M w/ 1GB. This would give me portability but also a workhorse, and can be paired with an external monitor for gaming. I know the 6750M with 512mb in the iMac had no problem playing those games so I don't see why the MBP with 1gb would. Does having a MBP push to a 1080p external monitor make it perform worse?

    I know the new MBPs may be right around the corner but in reality they may lose things (Upgradability, SuperDrive, dedicated graphics, etc); or they may not. No one really knows. One thing is probably for certain though: they will probably stay around the same price points. I don't want to spend over $2200 for the next gen high end MBP when I can get the last years model for $1750.

    I have fiddled with the idea of having a desktop and an iPad for mobile but I'm almost positive I'll be returning my iPad. I just don't need it enough to justify the cost. It's a luxury item. Also, I like to do a lot of writing and it's kind of annoying to do that on an iPad.
     
  2. upbraid macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
  3. mfuchs88 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    #3
    I know it's not much, but I play MW2 on ultra settings (everything max) in bootcamp hooked up to my 1080p HDTV, and it plays excellent. I don't know how many frames I get, but there is never any lag and it runs excellent, I'm estimating upwards of 35-40 FPS. It's really really nice. Quite a pleasant surprise for all I've heard about gaming on Macs (but then again, it is MW2). Best of luck.
     
  4. ArmouredGuitar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    I bought a late 2011 15" MBP with the 1GB GPU last week, tossed in 16GB of ram and a SSD drive.

    My apple 27" thunderbolt display arrived today. Plugged it all in, worked and looks like a charm.

    My only concern is the frames. I went from playing WoW on High 60FPS (on the MBP screen), with the 27" connected I am on medium and its around 25-29FPS. If I turn all my settings down to the lowest its still only 40-50FPS.

    I know WoW isnt as graphic intensive as some if the newer games are, I will fire up SC2 tonight and see what the frames look like in that game.

    I didn't think it would of dropped the frames that hard, but meh its a laptop.....with a expensive monitor also.

    I haven't installed bootcamp yet (SSD is only 256GB, might not be big enough for my setup atm), I wonder if I would get better frames in Windows 7 with this setup?

    Thanks,
    Ag
     
  5. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #5
    I did this for several months and it worked just fine for gaming. It'll be about the same experience as your iMac.
     
  6. ArmouredGuitar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #6
    After parking my arse down for the past 6hrs and playing video games, 4hrs of WoW and 2 hrs of SC2. I can say the high end late 2011 MBP + the apple 27" thunderbolt monitor do NOT run smoothly for games.

    Even with a laptop cooler, the MBP was full fan roaring with a temp of 87C (188F) the entire time and was choppy as a bugger on any level of graphic settings.

    I would get 60fps in WoW only on low settings, 29.9FPS in the middle setting, and 10-15 on anything above High.
    With SC2 I would get 34-40ish on Medium, and 8 on Ultra.

    Missing my old Macpro 1.1 with the 512MB ATI card and 23" ACD atm.... :(

    Do you think a lesser display would help? All these games run beautiful on the laptop screen, just become choppy via external.
     
  7. cosmicjoke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    i have a late '11 2.5ghz antiglare & 2 TB displays... you can run WoW at high or ultra settings with a few changes - put shadows on low, water @ good, disable sunshafts, & disable vsync.... leave the rest at high... i cap fps to 50 to keep it running a little cooler in clamshell.

    wow isn't very gpu intensive though, other games will be annihilated trying to run @ 1440p... a mid range 1gb mobility graphics card just isn't cut out for that.... such is life.
     
  8. ArmouredGuitar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    hmm, weird. I did your settings, still between 29.9 and 35 max. When I start moving it drops, but if I play in window mode its @ 60. What resolution are you at and your system temp? My temp is at 95c now....hmmm
     
  9. cosmicjoke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9
    um, i'm playing right now @ 71c in clamshell w/ both monitors, resolution fullscreen windowed 2560x1440... could talk in game if you wanted to PM me your addy we could maybe work it out

    also make sure to update all your addons cuz any bad addon can bring WoW to its knees fps wise... also i'm running the 64 bit client (go to wow mac support forums to d/l the 64 bit client app)
     
  10. Joseph Farrugia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2011
    Location:
    Malta (EU)
    #10
    Just a suggestion…

    Don't know if it'll help your macbook pro keeping the GPU working at top speed,
    but maybe installing smcFanControl to keep the fan's rpm to 5k or more could help keep lower temps (edit: it will keep lower temps, amazing what a difference it does).

    CPU & GPU throttling could be minimized if you keep temps low,
    I have a strong feeling you will see the same performance boost that I am seeing in very intensive use of Photoshop on my early 2011 15" 2Ghz MBP.

    Hope this helps,
    JF
     
  11. Kafka macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #11
    I have almost the same question:

    Which would perform better in games, in native resolutions: a high end 21.5 iMac, or a base 15" MBP (not hi-res)?
     
  12. ArmouredGuitar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    I downloaded Istat menus, to boast up fan power pre application launch. but for some reason Istat won't keep the fans running @ 4k.
    So smc still works on the new mbp's?

    To boot, I have 2 safari pages open....thats it....and my temp is @ 82c. She's hot without even doing anything!
     
  13. shardey macrumors 6502a

    shardey

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    #13
    Keep your eye out for a MBP on Amazon warehouse. My friend scored the early 11 15" for $1350 and ended up getting $350 back from the machine not having iLife installed (it came with the original discs that had it in it). So basically purchased a refurb for $1000 and even got Apple to start his 1 year warranty from the time he received the machine from Amazon. Can't beat that!!
     
  14. smali macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    #14
    This is why I sold my 2011 model. Was fast but way too noisy. Sounded like a jet engine going off all the time I could barley think.

    These things look nice but they are really crap designs. And now I hear they want to might make it thinner for the people too pathetically weak to carry the ones now.

    Useless laptop till they sort the heat problem out.
     
  15. ArmouredGuitar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #15
    well that doesn't sound good! lol....... I'm past my 14 day return policy now

    I just imported photos off my camera into iPhoto and the fans started to scream........ around 88 degree's C...defiantly run hot by just looking at it.
     
  16. mgartner0622 macrumors 65816

    mgartner0622

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #16
    I have a high end 15" from late '11... a 2.5GHz with the upgraded graphics and 8GB ram. I use mine with a 27" Cinema Display and with a Henge Dock, and although the fans are quite audible, temperatures are not that drastic with any games, such as the half life series, bioshock 2, or the GTA series. Maybe the dock, and the macbook being lifted vertically in the air helps? I don't use the smc fan control either.
     
  17. Sace macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    #17
    I'm using my early '11 for casual gaming with my 24" LED Cinema display - No problems. Mostly i play MW3, and it runs with no problems (not maxed out though).
     
  18. ArmouredGuitar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #18
    upgraded graphics? as in the 1GB version?

    The laptop at this very moment is sitting on a 230mm fan laptop cooler running WoW with the apple 27" TB external unplugged and its 94c in temp. Mind you it hasn't throttled on me yet, but its burning my fingers on the wsad keys.

    Back to the OP's original discussion.....I ask, Do the latest gen 27" iMac's heat up as dramatically?
     
  19. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    #19
    I know this thread is about External Screens, but i haven't found anything i can't run at MAX on my 2011 MBP with the Internal Screen...
     
  20. ArmouredGuitar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #20
    Whats anything? more details please lol
     
  21. mgartner0622 macrumors 65816

    mgartner0622

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #21
    Yes, the higher end card.

    Keep in mind when I'm playing in games I use the computer in clamshell mode, and thus don't feel the temps of the WSAD keys as I use an external keyboard. However, the fans are not running at the absolute speed, and 78-83˚ is the highest I've seen it rise.
     
  22. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    #22
    BF3, SC2, BlackOps, Skyrim.

    All Runs great...
     

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