15" Macbook pro for gaming?

Beowulf666

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 26, 2007
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So after having my laptop destroyed (Party guest spilling beer all over it...:mad: ), I now have the chance to buy a new macbook. I thought about getting the 15" Macbook pro, and was wondering exactly how good it can be for gaming. I've noticed a lot of videos online about the macbook pro with the 9600 graphics card, but after I read the site it's now the 330m. Is that better? Also, for newer games, such as Starcraft 2, Call of duty MW2, etc..., does it compare to other higher end gaming laptops? Thank you so much for any input.
 

jimba

macrumors newbie
May 7, 2010
15
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It doesn't compare to an high end gaming laptop such as a top notch alienware imho, but check the thread about sc2 gaming, you'll get some infos
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
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It doesn't compare to gaming laptops at all. The 330m is capable of playing most older games at med-high settings, and some newer games at med-low settings. 330m is a low-mid range GPU and isn't powerful enough for serious gaming, but it will satisfy a slight gaming urge.
 

cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
It doesn't compare to gaming laptops at all. The 330m is capable of playing most older games at med-high settings, and some newer games at med-low settings. 330m is a low-mid range GPU and isn't powerful enough for serious gaming, but it will satisfy a slight gaming urge.
The "old" StarCraft 2 Beta runs without any form of lagging at "high" settings on 1680x1050.

The 330m is indeed not a great gaming card, but it is pretty decent and can run most titles pretty well, but do not expect very high settings.

To say it's not possible to compare the MBP to a gaming laptop is not entirely correct.

3D Mark06 Results for the new MBP:



It's behind the Envy and the Alienware, but the ALienware is considered state of the art gaming laptops
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
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Hehe well ya, but you could also compare just about any laptop. I was just saying that the MBP is not in the same league as gaming notebooks.

Those charts are a bit deceiving though, since they assume a baseline of zero 3D mark score. For example, the 800 or so points between OSX and bootcamp makes a good sized difference in gaming performance.
 

prism

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2006
804
132
Hehe well ya, but you could also compare just about any laptop. I was just saying that the MBP is not in the same league as gaming notebooks.

Those charts are a bit deceiving though, since they assume a baseline of zero 3D mark score. For example, the 800 or so points between OSX and bootcamp makes a good sized difference in gaming performance.
If I am not mistaken the HP Envy is a relatively strong gaming laptop and therefore am surprised to see a meager 7% better performance over the MBP. I wouldnt call the MBP a gaming laptop but I wouldnt call it a laptop to satisfy a slight gaming urge. That would be more reserved for the 320m of the 13".
 

cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
Hehe well ya, but you could also compare just about any laptop. I was just saying that the MBP is not in the same league as gaming notebooks.

Those charts are a bit deceiving though, since they assume a baseline of zero 3D mark score. For example, the 800 or so points between OSX and bootcamp makes a good sized difference in gaming performance.
I think the Macbook Pro is standing tall in the portable MacOsx world :D

And yes the Envy is pretty decent, but I believe that must be the 4830 version and not the newly updated 5830, which is a bit faster
 

hellric

macrumors member
Feb 8, 2010
69
0
Belgium
If you really want a gaming powerhouse, buy a desktop with Radeon 5850 and Core I7 desktop.
But I've gamed a lot with my i7 15" MBP, and it's really good : I tried Stalker Call of Pripyat, Red Alert 3, Dragon Age, The Witcher, Dawn of War 2, Bioshock, all work in 1440x900 @ high settings 4xAA. Not bad IMHO.
 

Beowulf666

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 26, 2007
113
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Hmm, so then would you guys not recommend a macbook pro if I wanted to play games on it? I mean, I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means, but the 3 games I'd probably want to actually play would be Starcraft II, Modern Warfare 2, and probably even Diablo 3 (once it's released). I guess the big thing for me when deciding when getting a laptop right now would be if it can handle games now, and if later on in say 4-5 years if the graphics card will still atleast be able to handle the games on medium settings (unlike my old macbook which even games released as the same year as i bought it I had to put on low).
 

ozreth

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2009
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Hmm, so then would you guys not recommend a macbook pro if I wanted to play games on it? I mean, I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means, but the 3 games I'd probably want to actually play would be Starcraft II, Modern Warfare 2, and probably even Diablo 3 (once it's released). I guess the big thing for me when deciding when getting a laptop right now would be if it can handle games now, and if later on in say 4-5 years if the graphics card will still atleast be able to handle the games on medium settings (unlike my old macbook which even games released as the same year as i bought it I had to put on low).
I've been gaming exclusively on macbook pros since 2006. You'll be able to play most games on med-high settings and then you get to log into OSX when you are done. Its a win-win situation : )

My only hang up right now is trying to figure out how big of an impact the higher resolution screens have on games like dragon age, oblivion, fallout 3, and a bunch of MMO's.
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,371
121
Hmm, so then would you guys not recommend a macbook pro if I wanted to play games on it? I mean, I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means, but the 3 games I'd probably want to actually play would be Starcraft II, Modern Warfare 2, and probably even Diablo 3 (once it's released). I guess the big thing for me when deciding when getting a laptop right now would be if it can handle games now, and if later on in say 4-5 years if the graphics card will still atleast be able to handle the games on medium settings (unlike my old macbook which even games released as the same year as i bought it I had to put on low).
Modern warfare 2 is the only game you can benchmark right now, and it will run fairly smooth at medium (and some high) settings on the current gen macbook pro 15". There's no way it will play new games in 4-5 years at decent settings though. Even a top of the line gaming laptop today would have problems with that. Basically, if you buy a macbook pro today, it will do ok for today's games, but as newer game engines are released, you will have to crank down detail settings.
 

The Final Cut

macrumors 6502
Sep 5, 2009
378
0
Modern warfare 2 is the only game you can benchmark right now, and it will run fairly smooth at medium (and some high) settings on the current gen macbook pro 15". There's no way it will play new games in 4-5 years at decent settings though. Even a top of the line gaming laptop today would have problems with that. Basically, if you buy a macbook pro today, it will do ok for today's games, but as newer game engines are released, you will have to crank down detail settings.
Medium settings mostly?, thats kind of sad...
 

The Final Cut

macrumors 6502
Sep 5, 2009
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Still better than xbox 360 version...
Link? Not that I condone console gaming though, but I was under the impression that the 360/PC versions were like 95% similar when maxed.

EDIT: Wait are you talking about the 13" or the 15". Because I have seen reports of 13" running it on medium, 330m has to be better than, especially when over clocked.
 

RossMc

macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2010
1,153
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Newcastle, UK
I have the base 15" i5 and I have just been playing Splinter Cell : Conviction on it with the settings at High with a wired XBOX controller plugged into the computer and it ran fine there was no freezing or anything.

Im not sure how any other game would play. I have seen someone playing Modern Warfare 2 on it fine, Not sure what settings that was on.
 

The Final Cut

macrumors 6502
Sep 5, 2009
378
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I have the base 15" i5 and I have just been playing Splinter Cell : Conviction on it with the settings at High with a wired XBOX controller plugged into the computer and it ran fine there was no freezing or anything.

Im not sure how any other game would play. I have seen someone playing Modern Warfare 2 on it fine, Not sure what settings that was on.
I just saw a youtube video of it maxed, the guy was using a MBP with the dreaded 8600m GT.
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,371
121
Link? Not that I condone console gaming though, but I was under the impression that the 360/PC versions were like 95% similar when maxed.

EDIT: Wait are you talking about the 13" or the 15". Because I have seen reports of 13" running it on medium, 330m has to be better than, especially when over clocked.
I've seen it on the 15" i5 330m. It ran at about 30-40 fps with all settings on either medium or high, at native resolution (1440x900). Performance wouldn't be much better than the 13" since the 15" has to push 20% more pixels at native resolution.

Overclocking is a different beast altogether though.
 

ozreth

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2009
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I've seen it on the 15" i5 330m. It ran at about 30-40 fps with all settings on either medium or high, at native resolution (1440x900). Performance wouldn't be much better than the 13" since the 15" has to push 20% more pixels at native resolution.

Overclocking is a different beast altogether though.
Although the 15" has a faster processor and twice as much vram.
 

Rithem

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2008
454
0
If you really want a gaming powerhouse, buy a desktop with Radeon 5850 and Core I7 desktop.
But I've gamed a lot with my i7 15" MBP, and it's really good : I tried Stalker Call of Pripyat, Red Alert 3, Dragon Age, The Witcher, Dawn of War 2, Bioshock, all work in 1440x900 @ high settings 4xAA. Not bad IMHO.
Good to hear. The only games I care about are Starcraft 2 and Steam games anyways. If I could find my bioshock cd somewhere at home I'd definitely play that.
 

rmbrown09

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2010
942
0
Seattle
have the 2.53 i5

games pretty well

Steam when it's released along with the source engine games im sure it'll breeze through. (except maybe Tf2 Max and l4d max, but close)

CSS HL2, all going to get destroyed.
COD4 runs on high and med on 1440x900
 

voyagerd

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2002
1,499
251
Rancho Cordova, CA
I still use my MBP with a 8600M GT for gaming as it's all I have right now. I've been playing Crysis which works surprisingly well with the latest drivers and a bit of overclocking.
 

ozreth

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2009
1,297
60
have the 2.53 i5

games pretty well

Steam when it's released along with the source engine games im sure it'll breeze through. (except maybe Tf2 Max and l4d max, but close)

CSS HL2, all going to get destroyed.
COD4 runs on high and med on 1440x900
Are you on the high res screen?