Fully speced 2012 MBA gaming capabilities

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Batra555, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. Batra555 macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012
    I am about to recieve my new MBA with i7 8gb 512 ssd and was wondering what gaming capabilities this particular machine has? Im not a hard core gamer infact i hardly played games on my laptop previously except for the ocassional CS 1.6 and source. However, i really like the look of some mods for gta iv on the computer and was wondering wether via bootcamp i can run gta iv with some car mods at a medium level. Has anyone tried playing gta iv on their new 12 mba?

    Also i read on some websites that one can connect an external video card to the mba via thunderbolt, is this technolgy out yet? More importantly does it work?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Retina MacBook macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2012
    Me too! I am about to get the worlds fastest MBA!
    It will handle games okay, though. It can run nearly every game you can think of in low graphic settings.
  3. ncvikingx97 macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2012
    It has the potential to run it. I have see grand theft auto run on the intel he 3000, so the 4 can most likely. I would be most concerned about the heating, I would think that it could hear up pretty fast
  4. 0000757 macrumors 68040

    Dec 16, 2011
    I would assume if you attempted to run GTA IV on a MacBook Air it would explode.

    Grand Theft Auto requires A LOT more than an integrated GPU and a Dual Core i7. You might be able to make it run. might, but it would be hell.

    The main problem with running games is the low processor speed and integrated graphics. I mean, the 13-inch Pro doesn't perform all to well with games and it's a better system.

    As for the external graphics card using Thunderbolt, I would assume they would work as they'll allow you to use desktop graphics cards, but you'll have to have your own external monitor to use it (they don't allow video sent back to the LCD on the laptop as far as I know) and can be pretty expensive.

    Basically you don't buy an Air to play games, unless they're online flash games.
  5. isrefel, Jul 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012

    isrefel macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2012
    I have a fully specced 2012 13" and I do casual gaming, mostly Left 4 Dead 2, Half Life 2, and Portal 2. These titles all run exceptionally well on the new airs.

    I also dual boot windows to play Fallout: NV and Skyrim. Both play fairly well all considering.

    EDIT: In reply to the poster above, I disagree. The airs are more than capable of playing semi-modern titles. Obviously you won't be able to play bleeding edge content, but thats expected. From personal experience, the new MBAs are fully capable of casual gaming, and not just 'flash games'.

    A quick google search returned this video of a >2011< MBA playing GTA4 with little issue...

    Do a youtube search for 2012 macbook air gaming, and you'll be surprised what this little machine can do.

    In reply to the other poster concerned about heating issues...the MBA does get hot, but not uncomfortably. The intel processors also have a failsafe that will shut the computer down before it does damage to itself, which has not happened to me as of yet *crosses fingers*, although even at peak gaming, I don't get anywhere near the 105* hardcoded limit.
  6. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    Every games i tested is very playable on low settings. Those are skyrim, call of duty blackops.

    And even smooth on half life 2, cs source, far cry 2.

    This thing is a beast. I can't believe i could play such games on a machine that is so thin.
  7. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    I'm curious, what is the framerate you get with Skyrim? I can run it on my 2009 MBA, but only at 15fps. A little choppy...and it gets worse with combat, obviously.
  8. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    My 2.0ghz 2012 can barely run Diablo 3 on the lowest settings, and is decent but crappy at Minecraft.

  9. mrs1986 macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2011
    I wouldnt try it... It can be barely run in a i7 quad core 8gb of ram and a GTX570M with 1.5gb so... In a MBA is like pointless... I guess...
  10. plucky duck macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2012
    I have the base 2012 13" Air and am quite happy with the HD4000, for the games that I play. NFS HP, SF4:AE, Civ5, Just Cause 2. NFS and SF4 I can run at default resolution, low settings. Civ5 default settings default resolution. Just Cause 2 is more taxing on the system, I run it at 1024 or 1200 resolution with low settings.

    GTA IV was unplayable for me, graphics did not render properly at low res and higher res was unbearably slow.
  11. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    ... Then you must not know how to keep a clean system or have crippled hardware.
  12. mrs1986 macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2011
    I dont understand your coment, you just said you couldnt run it smooth... I just said that with a LOT more power you can run it but not at the greatest settings... So.... I see no point in your coment...
  13. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    I"m not sure how to show a framerate on skyrim, but i'ts very playable.

    Btw i played it in windows through bootcamp.

    My air is a 11" 2012 ultimate. In windows, i has to run a program called throttlestop beta 5 to enable turbo boost to 3ghz processor clock.
  14. Nova Sensei macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2012
    Would anybody be kind enough to compile a short list of games that run well on a 2012 MBA in OSX?
  15. Hexiii macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2011
    Prague, Czech Republic

    That's not a 2011, that's the 2010 with nVidia graphics. I heard the 2011 MBA can't run the GTA since it has worse graphics, but I don't know about the 2012, so try it and you'll see.
  16. RaidersFan223 macrumors member


    Jul 21, 2012
  17. Ishmumrhmn macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2012
    Who said there are dual core i7s?
  18. mike5250 macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2011
    x Plane works fine on my 1.86 2 gb ram MBA. There is a free demo if you want to give it a try.

    I'm hoping it works with airplay streaming to my tv....not getting my hopes up with that one!
  19. Wokis macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2012
    Stockholm, Sweden
    The ULV i7 offered as a config option to the MBA is.. drumroll... a dual core! It has higher frequency and 1MB more L3 cache compared to the i5. Both have hyperthreading.
  20. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    I haven't played around too much, but the ones I've played

    2012 13" i5 8g
    iLoL: Med settings, any res getting 45+fps
    Trine: Med settings, full res, no lag
    Trine 2: Same as trine.
    L4D2: med settings, very good frames at 1440*900
    Portal 2: same as L4D2
    Limbo: 1440*900, runs fantastically.
    Diablo 3: Med settings 1440*900. Decent frames, (don't know a fraps equivalent for mac).
    Counter Strike: Source: high settings, 1440*900 no AA. stock maps great fps (occasionally custom maps are laggy, which says more about the map maker than the hardware).

    Those are all I've tried on mine so far, but the fact it can play all of those very well leads me to believe that there are few games it wouldn't be able to play. There are benches of the hd4000 (at a higher speed with a faster cpu) playing crysis at a higher res. I bet under bootcamp even that would be possible.

    I won't be testing much else unless I actually play it. I have a desktop and won't be putting w7 on my air as my drive space is limited.
  21. Nova Sensei macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2012
    Great, thanks very much for posting this, much appreciated! I'm in the same boat as you, I'll be getting the same model and don't intend on using Windows. Sounds like the MBA has enough grunt to entertain me on boring planes trips etc. Good stuff.

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