Core 2 Macbook Pro Gaming Performance

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by truffle, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. truffle macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2003
    I haven't been able to find much in the way of gaming benchmarks under bootcamp for a core 2 macbook pro, so I did my own.

    For the lazy I will cut-and-paste below:

    Macbook Pro Core 2 Duo Gaming Benchmarks

    I wanted to do some gaming benchmarking of a Core 2 Macbook Pro in Windows using boot camp. The purpose was to allow a realistic evaluation of the Windows gaming capabilities of a Core 2 Macbook Pro.

    I mirrored all tests on my boyfriend's Dell XPS M1710. This is not a comparable lap top, it has a Geforce 7900 GTX GO. This represents the almost-highest end representation laptop gaming performance, and it should blow away the Mac on all benchmarks. I'm sure I'll get flamed for comparing the two but the point was to compare the mac to something that would highlight how it compares to a more gaming oriented machine.

    My computer:
    * Core 2 Macbook Pro 2.16Ghz
    * 2 Gigs of ram
    * 128mb Radeon X1600 Pro
    * Windows XP Service Pack 2 + Boot Camp 1.1.2

    Fear Performance

    Fear has a built in performance test. I tested Fear on max settings with 1440x900 resolution. I received a warning that the settings I'd chosen I did not have sufficient video memory - oh well I'm not here to test on low settings. Resolution was set to 1440x900 with max textures.

    Macbook pro performance: 13 fps average

    XPS performance: 56 fps average at 1600x1200 resolution. I was not able to get the XPS to match the macbook pro's resolution. XPS outperforms Macbook Pro by over 4x.

    Additional commentary: I tried testing with medium texture size at which point I didn't get the warning about not having sufficient memory. At that point I got 15fps.

    Quake 4 Performance

    For this test I ran again with max settings on 1440x900. I used "playnettimedemo id_demo001" with "com_showfps 1" to track my fps. My video settings were "ultra settings" with 4x anti aliasing and dual core cpu enabled.

    Macbook Pro Performance: Quake 4 does not have aggregate statistics. Observing framerate during the demo it appeared to be between 12 and 20 fps the vast majority of the time, spiking higher during periods of very low activity.

    XPS Performance: Basically always at 60fps. Quake 4 seems to be capped there. I was able to set the XPS to 1440x900 resolution. XPS outperforms Macbook pro by over 4x.

    World of Warcraft

    World of Warcraft is one of the most important games to demo, and it also has a widely varying framerate. This results in many pointless comments like "ZOMG MY FRAMERATE IS USUALLY 40fps!!!!" The point is to compare in a consistent framerate challenging situation.

    In Ashenvale in Raynwood Retreat at coordinates (53,45) is a moonwell. Sitting in the moonwell while looking through the entryway arch seems to thrash the FPS on many computers including my old desktop PC. At 1440x900 here are my results:

    Macbook Pro Performance: 17.5fps

    XPS Performance: 60fps. World of Warcraft is capped at 60fps. XPS outperforms Macbook pro by over 3x.

    Side comments - I played with my settings to try and find good "bang for the buck" settings. I found leaving everything maxed, except minimizing anisotropic filtering and tweaking down spell effects a little produced the best overall results.

    I also tried the same benchmark under OS X and got about 14 fps.


    The XPS generally outperformed the mac by more than a factor of 3. The full extent to which it was outperformed was not accurately measured as Quake 4 and WOW both cap FPS.
  2. worldfar macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2006
    xps 1710 is just the one for the PC gameholic:)

    awesome game performance!!!!!
    if i haven't buy my xbox360, i will go for that.
    But.... so i choose the macbook:):D
  3. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    wow, so a 9lb. laptop with a better video card outperformed a MBP in gaming tests?

    thats a revelation.
  4. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    If only the MacBook Pro had a better gpu than the ATI Radeon X1600. :rolleyes:

    I know, go figure. :D :)
  5. Macnoviz macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Roeselare, Belgium
    The Core Duo MBP seems to run Oblivion quite nicely. I wouldn't buy it as gaming machine, but wanting to be able to play the latest games nicely is certainly no reason not to buy a MBP
  6. bobber205 macrumors 68020


    Nov 15, 2005
    Are you sure the vid settings for WOW are the same? I believe the FEAR ones though...

    I get good FPS (abeit with most not all settings turned down) in WoW on my macbook with only 512 RAM.
  7. truffle666 macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2006

    Video settings were max everything on both computers for the wow tests. I often get 60fps with max settings on my macbok pro in World of Warcraft. The machine is definitely fast enough for that game. But the point of benchmarking is to stress and compare, thus I looked for a good stable test area, and found that ashenvale moonwell. Go try it yourself!
  8. adiosk8 macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2006
    your test seem a little on the low side. You should try to overclock to where the norma x1600 specs are. But I usually bump mine up a little and the only game i play is counter strike and I get about 80 FPS
  9. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

    Aug 5, 2005
    Looks pretty good - getting the one above, so duck some of the stats and it should be ready to FEAR :D
  10. KipCoon macrumors regular


    Aug 23, 2000
    Any idea on the 256mb card's performance in the c2d MBP?
  11. dnadna macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2006
    That is what i was wondering..

    i can't decide between the 2.16 and 2.33 for that 128 more mb of VRAM...
  12. KipCoon macrumors regular


    Aug 23, 2000
    Went with the 2.33, just waiting for it to arrive XD
  13. bmcgrath macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2006
    London, United Kingdom
    Gaming between the core 1 and core 2 macbook pro aren't going to too different. core 2 might be a faster cpu but the graphics card is whats holding it back even when its clocked at its normal speed. As far as i know Quake 4 will improve slightly if you open the console and type in the command for Multiprocessor but im not sure what that is.
  14. Aelyrin macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Missoula, Montana
    Thank you for the benchmarks Truffle!

    I am actually rather pleased with the Frame Rates you have posted above for the MBP. The extra 128MB of Vram on the slightly higher end machines should make a noticeable change in the MBP performance. It won't be anywhere near the M1710 of course, but it will be comparably higher than the 128.

    My first inclination after reading this was to defend my new baby (altho it hasnt arrived yet...) and scream along with some of the others in this thread "ZOMG YOU CANT COMPARE A 4500.00 LAPTOP BuILT FOR GAMING WITH A 2500.00 LAPTOP BUILT FOR DESIGN WORK" or some such thing. However, the comparison here is actually a good one for some people.

    The end result is, if you are buying a Laptop solely for gaming purposes, don't waste your money on a MBP, go buy a Dell or an Alienware and you will be much happier in the end.

    Thanks again for the information!
  15. truffle666 macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2006

    Multiprocessor was enabled.
  16. truffle666 macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2006
    not necessarily

    Additional video card ram does not improve performance unless the game in quesiton is using too much texture ram. Unfortunately in most cases it's hard to know whether or not that is the case. In the case of Fear it seemed to do a good job of detecting whether or not the settings would require too much texture ram, the result was an increase from 13fps to 15fps ... not a considerable increase but an increase none the less.

    I'll try fiddling with Quake 4 to see if I can produce some demanding settings but with smaller textures to see if that makes a significant difference.

    I wanted to get a 256 meg card but given that a 128 meg card performs identically *unless you are using a large texture set* I couldn't justify the price increase.
  17. urrl78 macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2006
    Tomb Raider Legends works exceedingly well at 1400x900 with my 2.33 Ghz MBP C2d.
  18. GraceMolloy macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2006
    as far as WoW is concerned, (I was running this in OSX mind you) but I never dropped below 25FPS. and I was averaging 45-60. On top of this, things are only going to get better with the next patch as they are optimizing the OSX client.

    Granted I have the 2.33 with 256 VRAM. But you should have known a 128MB vid card was going to be slacking a little. Most cards are at least 512 any more. (Gaming cards at least).

    And a friend of mine was playing HL2 on his (Under BootCamp) and he said it was beautiful.

    So, to each his/her own.
  19. maxxum macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2006
    I'd say, save the extra 300 bucks for the upcoming Santa Rosa release.
  20. SiliconAddict macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Or had the GPU clocked at its normal speed. :rolleyes: There are many things that point to the MBP not being a gaming system. GPU and resolution are two of the biggest. Apple hardware is not designed for gaming. Period. If you want to do hard core gaming get a PC laptop. End of story.
  21. iBorg20181 macrumors 6502


    Apr 5, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    Good point, that MBPs aren't for "hard core gaming," but for that, you'll need an 10 pound lapzilla, like an Alienware. I think that most people know that.

    But most people buying a MBP, I think, are wanting an OS X notebook that can also do "casual" gaming, whether in OS X or WinXP via Bootcamp. And the MBP is "adequate" for that, particularly the C2D MBP, which has reportedly allowed the GPU to run much less crippled in speed than the Yonah units.

  22. e12a macrumors 68000


    Oct 28, 2006
    I can attest that the mbp is a decent gaming machine, as i can have max resolution in F.E.A.R. through bootcamp and have everything at medium so the game is playable. However, F.E.A.R. says that it is not optimised for widescreen, so i turned it down to 1024 x 768 and get annoying black bars on the sides...but i can have everything at MAX. :D

    i havent checked exactly, but i think the fps is around 20 ish, which is still playable. People come by all the time and are suprised i'm running F.E.A.R. on my mbp..let alone windows...and how good it looks.

    CS:S runs fine at the highest settings (w/o HDR)
    BF2:2142 Demo runs fine with the graphics slider set to "Maximum" though i would prefer a slightly higher framerate at Medium. It looks great anyhow. It should be noted that the default is Low..but medium and max dont affect it too much.

    i have not tried, and probably wont try overclocking the GPU though i have a laptop cooler for Windows sessions. (MBPs run hot in Windows esp. with heavy gaming). Whats interesting is that if i have the laptop cooler on, the mbp's own fans do not speed up under heavy gaming. I guess a lot of heat is dissipated through the bottom of the machine.
  23. maxxum macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2006
    Any idea why? If you have 2 gigs of ram, try turning virtual memory off under windows and see if it affects overheating. Next, turn virtual memory on and allocate it 4 or 6 gigs of hdd space for pagefile. My MBPs on its way but I'll check this out soon.
  24. e12a macrumors 68000


    Oct 28, 2006
    I believe it to be the way Windows run under bootcamp...even with 0 CPU utilization it just seems to heat up more than OS X. The idle is around or above 60 C. After rebooting into OSX, Smcfancontrol is high 50s to 60 C. Not so with a laptop cooler. it's at room temp with the thing on. I have turned off Virtual Memory already because i only allocated 10 gb for the windows partition (just solely for gaming) and i had 2 gb of ram on top of that. Still runs hot.

    just a side note: Hard drive noise is definitely much louder than through OSX. Any ideas?
  25. SilentCrs macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2006
    Just to chime in on a couple of points:

    1.) Comparing a MacBook Pro to a boutique-level gaming laptop is totally flawed. One is a desktop replacement, one is a mobile workstation. One is easy to carry, the other actually offers a backpack option instead of a standard case. One is built for gaming, the other isn't.

    What you SHOULD be doing is comparing it to other media-class PCs with similar hardware. Dell Inspirons would be a good comparison, as would Toshiba Satellites (the home series).

    When I purchased my MacBook Pro just now, I did a direct comparison with my former laptop: a Dell Inspiron 9300. That is a much closer comparison that an XPS. I found the MacBook Pro slightly outperformed it in 3DMark05, particularly on the CPU benchmark but also held its own on the GPU tests. This class of machines should get between 3000-4000 and the MacBook Pro almost got 4000 on the dot.

    Finally, in terms of your comparison, I don't think anyone would be playing Fear on one of these machines. First off, the game sucks. :p But more importantly, it's unreasonable to assume any media class (non-boutique gaming machine) is going to play Fear well. I bought this laptop knowing what was reasonable (Wow, UT2003, Doom 3) and what wasn't (Fear, Farcry, etc).

    2.) Blizzard just released the pre-expansion patch to the test realms for Wow. It's a ~400 MB monster that prepares the game for the expansion. One of the major improvements for Mac users is multithreaded OpenGL support. These OpenGL libraries have been included in recent Intel Macs. The difference is pretty impressive. With all settings on max, full resolution, I was pinning to 60 fps. In heavy traffic, it never dipped before 30. Considering this feature will be active for all users in a month, you may need to revisit your Wow test.

Share This Page