15'' vs. 17'' for Gaming

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Tears Apart, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Tears Apart macrumors 6502a

    Tears Apart

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    #1
    Hello all,

    I have been reading mentions here and there in this forum as to how the new 17'' MBP is less suited than its 15'' counterpart for playing games, having to deal with 60% more pixels real estate resulting in lower fps.

    I am in the market for a new MBP and I feel inclined to get a 17'', but I wanted to hear about the difference in performance gaming-wise between the two - is it that significant?

    Thanks for your insight!
     
  2. movieboy23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    #2
    I personally haven't heard about any differences gaming-wise between the 15" and 17". And I'm not quite sure that any lower fps on the 17" is much different from an upgraded screen on the 15". And given what you have, either of these new MacBook Pros will be significantly faster than the nearly 5 year-old dinosaur you're working with now.

    I think the question you should be asking is not necessarily if there's a hit in gaming performance or fps, since that's negligible and both are running the same processor and graphics chips. What you should probably be asking instead is what's the best bang for your buck. Are you going to be using the MBP primarily at home or on the go? If you plan on being more mobile with it, then it may make sense to do the 17", provided that you're willing to carry that beast with you. Otherwise I'd spring for a 15" and spend the extra cash that you were going to spend on the 15" on RAM and/or processor boost and/or a large external display that will inevitably be better for your gaming experience.
     
  3. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #3
    Of course it will be significant. 60% more pixels is an awful lot.

    However, it is slightly counteracted by the higher clock speeds on the 17" GPU, that said I doubt the clock difference is significant.

    Also, there's nothing stopping you from lowering the resolution. As the 17" has a high DPI value, you should be able to lower the resolution without it looking too bad. Or, if you want to play a really demanding game, use 960x600 pixels in a game if you can, maybe with some FSAA.

    However, if you're buying a computer just to play games, you're making a poor choice. The HP Envy 17" is much more powerful. If you're not just buying to play games, the higher resolution screen will be so much better for everything else it's easily worth the trade-off.

    I have a 17" ordered myself, will have it in a little over a week.
     
  4. Tears Apart thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tears Apart

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    #4
    Thank you for the reply Erasmus.

    I wouldn't even mainly use the laptop to play, but some times I would, and I was wondering exactly how slower is a 17'' compared to a 15''.

    I know I could lower the resolution, but in that regard: how does non-native resolution look like when playing games?
     
  5. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #5
    Why don't you check all the GPU tests that you can find en mass with google.
    They usually test in the standard desktop resolutions which are 1680x1050, 1920x1080 and 2560x1600. This will show you how big the difference is.

    Keep in mind though that if you have a 17" you get either a bigger more detailed picture or a screen with lots of pixels that should do scale quite well to resolutions like 1280x800.
    1280x800 should give you great performance in just about any game and it looks on the 17" likely better than a 15" HD.
    If you take 15" Low Def you get good performance in high demanding 1st person shooter. In strategy games with maps like starcraft, C&C .. you can see less on the screen and they often zoom in way to close. Also in a less demanding shooter like MW2 you have with the an HD screen the choice between high detail or many effects. With low def 15" you are stuck at the one res.
    I would never pay that much money for a low def 15" but I only game very infrequently. Still if you do not care about money or portability the 17" is the best option.
     
  6. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #6
    Exactly. It depends on what game you're playing. In Starcraft 2, I would rather play on a lower graphics setting at native resolution, so the menus look crisp and sharp. However in your standard FPS, there are no menus, and HUDs are often blurry to start with anyway.

    The effect on graphics quality of lowering resolution is a matter of personal taste. You will have to try it and see for yourself. However keep in mind that at the same resolution, the 17" will perform better due to the better cooling system and higher graphics clocks.
     
  7. ramo macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2006
    #7
    For gaming i would recommend a PS3, XBOX360, or Fast Desktop PC :D
     
  8. Looon macrumors 6502a

    Looon

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    Jul 10, 2009
    #8
    Basically, anything but a mac
     
  9. nostylez macrumors member

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    Mar 4, 2011
    #9
    Yep pretty much,
    If your main objective is just gaming.
    A windows desktop or gaming laptop is the option to go.

    Those Asus Gaming laptops are pretty good, they provide price+performance.
     

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