Any chance 2013 Airs will get discrete graphics cards?

Shocco

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 7, 2012
17
0
Hi :)

I currently have a 2008 unibody macbook and I'm looking to buy a new machine. Most of my time on my macbook is spent on the internet / writing essays/watching movies (typical student life) but I do like to play PC games. Unfortunately my current macbook can't play many new games if at all.

The current macbook airs have Intel's HD 4000 from which I've read is a semi capable graphics solution that can play newer titles but only at very low resolutions. The problem I have with this is a. no piece of mind playing newer titles and b. not future proof. Considering it is impossible to upgrade the Macbooks GPU once you've purchased one. I want something that should suit me for at the next 2 years.

At the moment I have 3 choices:

a. Buy a current Air and bite the bullet with regards to gaming :(
b. Buy a non Mac notebook that can play games :eek:
c. Wait to see if newer Macbooks come with discrete GPUs :confused:

My choice depends on the prospects of c. does anyone know whether the Airs or even the 13 inch Pros are in line for a discrete GPU upgrade?
 

pgiguere1

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2009
2,157
1,081
Montreal, Canada
Not likely at all. The TDP of a discrete graphics card considerably better than the Intel HD 5000 would be far too high for a thin computer like the MBA. You would also need the physical space to put it and its cooling system. I think it would be unlikely even for a thicker computer like the rumored 13" rMBP.

Also, with integrated GPUs currently evolving at a faster pace than discrete GPUs, it's more likely that more and more computers will only have integrated graphics. The Intel HD 5000 is rumored to be 2.5x faster than the Intel HD 4000.
 
Aug 4, 2012
120
0
Hi :)

I currently have a 2008 unibody macbook and I'm looking to buy a new machine. Most of my time on my macbook is spent on the internet / writing essays/watching movies (typical student life) but I do like to play PC games. Unfortunately my current macbook can't play many new games if at all.

The current macbook airs have Intel's HD 4000 from which I've read is a semi capable graphics solution that can play newer titles but only at very low resolutions. The problem I have with this is a. no piece of mind playing newer titles and b. not future proof. Considering it is impossible to upgrade the Macbooks GPU once you've purchased one. I want something that should suit me for at the next 2 years.

At the moment I have 3 choices:

a. Buy a current Air and bite the bullet with regards to gaming :(
b. Buy a non Mac notebook that can play games :eek:
c. Wait to see if newer Macbooks come with discrete GPUs :confused:

My choice depends on the prospects of c. does anyone know whether the Airs or even the 13 inch Pros are in line for a discrete GPU upgrade?
I doubt it. Pretty fast laptop as is, dedicated card would drive price to far north thus closing the gap on the MBP. Also my opinion is that the Air may never see a retina which is fine by me.
 

Shocco

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 7, 2012
17
0
Is a 15" MBP not an option?
Not likely at all. The TDP of a discrete graphics card considerably better than the Intel HD 5000 would be far too high for a thin computer like the MBA. You would also need the physical space to put it and its cooling system. I think it would be unlikely even for a thicker computer like the rumored 13" rMBP.

Also, with integrated GPUs currently evolving at a faster pace than discrete GPUs, it's more likely that more and more computers will only have integrated graphics. The Intel HD 5000 is rumored to be 2.5x faster than the Intel HD 4000.
Am I right thinking Haswell processors will be featured on the 2013 airs?
 

spork183

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2006
878
0
Not.a.chance.in.hell.

Won't because of space.
Won't because of cost.
Won't because of blurring product line differences.
Won't because of battery life.
Won't because of ongoing gains in integrated graphics.

Just won't. :D
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,504
3,050
No. The whole point of Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, and Haswell has been to improve GPU performance and power consumption so that notebooks can get thinner and thinner while battery life increases.
 

plucky duck

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2012
576
107
With current technology, space and heat is a real problem. With the iGPU/CPU at full speed the base of the Air can get uncomfortably warm when in contact with skin.
 

pgiguere1

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2009
2,157
1,081
Montreal, Canada
Am I right thinking Haswell processors will be featured on the 2013 airs?
Yes, Apple will likely wait for Haswell to release 2013 MBAs. They will probably release them during summer, like the two past refreshes.

If you have the patience to wait until then, you can be assured that they will offer better gaming performance. Otherwise, consider a laptop with discrete graphics.

I can suggest a refurbished 15" MBP: http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD318LL/A
That's the late-2011 model for $1359 and both its graphics card and CPU are nearly twice as powerful as the MBA's.
 
Last edited:

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
If there's a 13" Macbook with a DGPU in the near future it will be a 13" retina Macbook Pro, and even that isn't a sure thing for getting a DGPU.
 

Shocco

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 7, 2012
17
0
Yes, Apple will likely wait for Haswell to release 2013 MBAs. They will probably release them during summer, like the two past refreshes.

If you have the patience to wait until then, you can be assured that they will offer better gaming performance. Otherwise, consider a laptop with discrete graphics.

I can suggest a refurbished 15" MBP: http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD318LL/A
That's the late-2011 model for $1359 and both its graphics card and CPU are nearly twice as powerful as the MBA's.
Thanks for your suggestion but i'm over in UK here and theres no refurbished section on the apple UK site, but I will definitely have a look round for a 2011 15" MBP! :)

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I see, what games do you play?
Well It's be nice to play Skyrim from the comfort of my own lap, Mass Effect 3/GTA IV and possibly other games to be released I'm not really into console gaming, and I think spending 1000$ on a laptop that cant play games isn't really a great deal.
 

mslide

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2007
708
2
a. Buy a current Air and bite the bullet with regards to gaming :(
b. Buy a non Mac notebook that can play games :eek:
c. Wait to see if newer Macbooks come with discrete GPUs :confused:
I'd pick d. Keep your current Macbook and build a gaming PC. With the exception of gaming, you're current Macbook should be more than capable of doing what you say you use it for. I wouldn't spend all that money for a new Macbook just to be able to play games on it (and not as well as a PC that costs half the price can).
 

swordfish5736

macrumors 68000
Jun 29, 2007
1,898
104
Cesspool
Thanks for your suggestion but i'm over in UK here and theres no refurbished section on the apple UK site, but I will definitely have a look round for a 2011 15" MBP! :)

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Well It's be nice to play Skyrim from the comfort of my own lap, Mass Effect 3/GTA IV and possibly other games to be released I'm not really into console gaming, and I think spending 1000$ on a laptop that cant play games isn't really a great deal.
http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_pro

There is a refurb section there just aren't any machines in it right now. Check it every once and awhile though cause if its anything like the US store stuff comes and goes

or find somebody in the US to get you a refurb unit.
 

devilbond

macrumors member
Mar 8, 2010
89
0
Hi :)

The problem I have with this is a. no piece of mind playing newer titles and b. not future proof.
Dude, don't forget it's a computer.
If you want a future-proof computer you had better enroll in Computer Science & Business, become an inventor and make one yourself.
 

Macuser4154

macrumors newbie
Oct 17, 2012
3
0
Only GPU? Nothin else?

If you only care about the GPU you can buy a seperate monitor and external graphics card, which is will never get outdated as you can replace the cards. just make sure you buy a powerful enough CPU.
 

Yebubbleman

macrumors 68030
May 20, 2010
2,942
291
Los Angeles, CA
The bottom-of-the-line 15" non-retina really isn't that much more than a bottom-of-the-line 13" Air, and it's definitely worth saving up the additional money for, assuming the Intel HD 4000 isn't up to par for your needs. In addition to my non-retina 2012 15" MBP, I have an Asus Zenbook UX31E-ESL8 (think bottom of the line Mid 2011 13" MacBook Air) and it has the Intel HD 3000, and for the most part, it can run just about every game made through 2010 just fine. Granted, said Zenbook is a PC, but that ought to show you how capable the Intel HD 3000 is, let alone the 4000. It won't do Crysis, and it'll likely choke on Civ 5 (I've been too scared to try it given how poor my mileage is on my Mac mini with the GeForce 320M), but Arkham Asylum/City, StarCraft II/Diablo III, any Valve Source-based game (TF2; CS Source/Go, Half-Life 2 [through Episode 2], Portal, Portal 2, Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, WoW, etc.) all of that will be just fine on the Intel HD 3000, let alone the 4000. Unless you have a game that's fairly new to the Mac, or fairly intense on requirements, or both, you shouldn't need more than the HD 4000, but again, if you do, it's worth saving for the bottom of the line 15" non-retina MacBook Pro.
 

0x000000

macrumors 6502
Aug 26, 2011
278
1
Totally. The improvements Haswell bringing here will be significant insofar that integrated will finally be competitive with low-mid/end discrete.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law

Please do not forget that even if Haswell were to, as expected, double the graphics capability of iGPUs, it took them two years to do so and time didn't stand still. It will be comparable to low-end discretes that the HD4000 had to compare against, but once haswell is on the market, it still be very soon far below average :)

Also my opinion is that the Air may never see a retina which is fine by me.
I also doubt that. Retina displays require a very large battery, that much is given. Put a very large battery into the MacBook Air and you have a rMBP.
 

Davy.Shalom

macrumors 6502
Dec 23, 2008
465
1
For windows use only. Apple won't supply drivers for OSX to work on puppies like this; otherwise, they won't be able to sell us new notebooks every year or two.:mad:
That's what dual booting is for. I'm pretty sure he isn't talking about playing native OS X games. Correct me if I'm wrong in assuming you're talking about OS X specific drivers, rather than Apple bundled bootcamp drivers?
 

clyde2801

macrumors 601
That's what dual booting is for. I'm pretty sure he isn't talking about playing native OS X games. Correct me if I'm wrong in assuming you're talking about OS X specific drivers, rather than Apple bundled bootcamp drivers?
Articles and releases concerning the hardware itself were referring to OS X specific drivers.

Truthfully, I hadn't considered running it on bootcamp. But, if Apple's not going to include drivers in it's own OS, why would it include them for bootcamp?
 

Mac32

Suspended
Nov 20, 2010
1,263
440
I remember reading that the ULV versions of Haswell CPUs would only have a moderate increase in graphics power, when compared to the coming regular notebook CPUs (to be found in MBPs). Isn't this right? So to expect suddenly great gaming performance in MBAs next year is a bit unrealistic.
Anyway, for the retina MBPs next year the more siginificant increase in graphics power should definately something to look forward to..