Gaming laptop just died - Whats the best Mac replacement?

sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 24, 2013
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396
New Orleans
So I come to you all for advice. My gaming laptop died. And I love my current macbook pro (13" base model Late 2012). But now instead of getting another windows gaming laptop, I was going to sell my macbook 13" and get another macbook that can handle my games. (using parallels desktop or bootcamp to run those windows only games).

The specs of my gaming laptop are: Intel Core i7 720QM(1.6GHz), and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 (1GB DDR5).

The games I play are usually fps on steam, and some do have high demand. (crysis, metro 2033, etc.) Note: I usually play on highest or just high settings.

So I was looking to the mac comunity, hoping someone out there is/has been in the same situation, and is using their macbook to play these high demanding games.

So what would you reccomend? (Macbook Pros Only please)

Im thinking maybe the Late 2011 17" because its got AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and 2.4 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7. I just dont know what graphics cards are better than what, but i would think the 6770 is better than the 5870 right? But if there is a chance that an upgraded 15" macbook, or even the 13" retina macbook can handle my games, Id prefer those. 17" is just to big to carry around. :p

Thanks in advance for any responses.
 

swerve147

macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2013
791
53
Hi, I came to Apple from approximately the same Windows gaming notebook (in my case, an MSI GX660 with a Core i5-450M and the identical video card ATI Mobility Radeon 5870M). I now have a 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display with the GT650M card.

If you go to notebookcheck.com you can get a fairly accurate idea of where the different video cards stand. The 6770M according to them is considered a Class 3 mainstream card (Class 1 being the best), and is significantly slower than the current card in the MacBook Pro, the GT 650M.

Based on my real-world experience, the 650M is about on par with or a bit better the 5870M. I'm getting about the same frame rates in Skyrim and Sleeping Dogs at identical resolutions. One major difference is that I can now play Assassins Creed 3 at medium settings at 1440x900 at a steady framerate (~40-50 fps from what I remember). With my old 5870M, AC3 would choke at any resolution (20-25fps) once I would step foot into Boston (it could be the dual-core vs. quad in the MBP, though).

That said, if you want equivalent performance to your current notebook you need to go to Apple's flagship 2012-2013 MacBook Pro, either 15 " Classic (2.6 GHz or better) or 15" Retina (any). The 6770M will not perform as well.
 

sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 24, 2013
2,376
396
New Orleans
Hi, I came to Apple from approximately the same Windows gaming notebook (in my case, an MSI GX660 with a Core i5-450M and the identical video card ATI Mobility Radeon 5870M). I now have a 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display with the GT650M card.

If you go to notebookcheck.com you can get a fairly accurate idea of where the different video cards stand. The 6770M according to them is considered a Class 3 mainstream card (Class 1 being the best), and is significantly slower than the current card in the MacBook Pro, the GT 650M.

Based on my real-world experience, the 650M is about on par with or a bit better the 5870M. I'm getting about the same frame rates in Skyrim and Sleeping Dogs at identical resolutions. One major difference is that I can now play Assassins Creed 3 at medium settings at 1440x900 at a steady framerate (~40-50 fps from what I remember). With my old 5870M, AC3 would choke at any resolution (20-25fps) once I would step foot into Boston (it could be the dual-core vs. quad in the MBP, though).

That said, if you want equivalent performance to your current notebook you need to go to Apple's flagship 2012-2013 MacBook Pro, either 15 " Classic (2.6 GHz or better) or 15" Retina (any). The 6770M will not perform as well.
Thanks so much! I love to hear this from another gamer. Looking at the specs, Im liking the retina 15" better than the non-retina. My only concern is the lack of cd drive. I dont use it often, but i do have people who ask me to occasionally burn cds for them, or if someone has a personalized dvd they want me to watch on the spot. Granted, i can definitely live without it or get the usb one. But i guess its something Id like to have as a "just in case" i need it. My last decision is whether to buy it now, or wait for the october refresh... >.<
 

swerve147

macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2013
791
53
With Haswell it's all speculation at this point but most people are guessing around a 750M (about a 10-15% performance increase over the 650M) or Intel Iris Pro (which is ~15-20% slower than the 650M in exchange for significant power savings/increased battery life). No one knows for sure though.

Personally I find it hard to justify buying a current, new retina MacBook Pro at full retail price with Haswell just around the corner. If you can't wait I would recommend buying refurbished/open box. Don't spend $2199 on a new base rMBP, it's not worth it at this point. $1600 for a refurbished base rMBP on the other hand is worth considering imo.
 

sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 24, 2013
2,376
396
New Orleans
With Haswell it's all speculation at this point but most people are guessing around a 750M (about a 10-15% performance increase over the 650M) or Intel Iris Pro (which is ~15-20% slower than the 650M in exchange for significant power savings/increased battery life). No one knows for sure though.

Personally I find it hard to justify buying a current, new retina MacBook Pro at full retail price with Haswell just around the corner. If you can't wait I would recommend buying refurbished/open box. Don't spend $2199 on a new base rMBP, it's not worth it at this point. $1600 for a refurbished base rMBP on the other hand is worth considering imo.
Oh yeah, I always go for refurbs. Saves me $600, Im definitely for it. That 750M sure sounds like something to wait for, but the Iris would definitely disappoint. Im going to go to my local Apple store later to check out the macbook up close. If I really like what I see, Ill probably get it online tonight! :D
 

sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 24, 2013
2,376
396
New Orleans
No, it couldn't fit a HDD.
This puts a dent in my plan D: with over 400GB of personal files, and a good 300+GB of games, Flash just wont cut it. The regular 15" Pros would hold a regular HDD though correct?

How much worse is the 512MB of GDDR5 video ram vs the 1 GB in terms of performance?
 

NewishMacGuy

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2007
636
0
One question though, does the retina display macbook only support SSD? Or could I put my current HDD into the retina?
Nope, can't use it. There'd be no place to put it, or even a standard SSD for that matter. The flash storage is proprietary card design.



___
 

Asuriyan

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2013
622
16
Indiana
This puts a dent in my plan D: with over 400GB of personal files, and a good 300+GB of games, Flash just wont cut it. The regular 15" Pros would hold a regular HDD though correct?

How much worse is the 512MB of GDDR5 video ram vs the 1 GB in terms of performance?
You can still custom order the 1GB, and for gaming you would want to.

Had you considered a network attached storage solution or a file server for your space needs? For $100 I bought a C2D Dell minitower and put large hard drives in it for music and videos, which I can share to any device I have via Plex.
 

Yahooligan

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2011
965
113
Illinois
This puts a dent in my plan D: with over 400GB of personal files, and a good 300+GB of games, Flash just wont cut it. The regular 15" Pros would hold a regular HDD though correct?
Correct, and with an optibay you can install a 2nd drive. I have an SSD and HDD in mine. :)

How much worse is the 512MB of GDDR5 video ram vs the 1 GB in terms of performance?
If you get a 2.6+GHz MBP then you'll get the same 1GB of video ram, it's only the base model 2.3GHz MBP that gets 512MB. As for performance difference, I can't say, but since you're wanting to do games then I suspect the performance difference could be quite substantial.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
17
This puts a dent in my plan D: with over 400GB of personal files, and a good 300+GB of games, Flash just wont cut it. The regular 15" Pros would hold a regular HDD though correct?

How much worse is the 512MB of GDDR5 video ram vs the 1 GB in terms of performance?
You could get a USB 3 external hard drive for the larger stuff.

The 15" Pros will hold a regular 2.5" HDD, as a matter of fact you can even replace the DVD drive with a special bracket that lets you fit a second HDD, so you could have a flash boot drive and a large 2.5" HDD for storage and games.

You should probably go ahead and get the 1GB vram option if you plan on playing games much.

Make sure you check out Apple's refurbished section, there are some good deals on 15" retina and non-retina models.

15" retina with 512GB SSD:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC976LL/A/refurbished-macbook-pro-26ghz-quad-core-intel-i7-with-retina-display

15" non-retina with the high res (1680x1050) antiglare screen, 128GB SSD, and 1GB video memory:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0MW3LL/A/refurbished-macbook-pro-26ghz-quad-core-intel-i7

That last one would be ideal for swapping out the DVD drive for a large HDD and leaving the SSD as just a boot drive.
 

sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 24, 2013
2,376
396
New Orleans
You can still custom order the 1GB, and for gaming you would want to.

Had you considered a network attached storage solution or a file server for your space needs? For $100 I bought a C2D Dell minitower and put large hard drives in it for music and videos, which I can share to any device I have via Plex.
Yeah, I have a Time Capsule. But for some reason I just use it for backups. I like having all my stuff on my laptop just in case Im on the go and forget to transfer something (because for some reason I cant access my TC from outside my house D: If i can fix that, the retina one would be perfect)

Correct, and with an optibay you can install a 2nd drive. I have an SSD and HDD in mine. :)

If you get a 2.6+GHz MBP then you'll get the same 1GB of video ram, it's only the base model 2.3GHz MBP that gets 512MB. As for performance difference, I can't say, but since you're wanting to do games then I suspect the performance difference could be quite substantial.
Thanks, I will look into that! I currently have a 1TB in my macbook 13, but I feel like if im going to add my games in there, I will probably need a larger drive, or a second one

You could get a USB 3 external hard drive for the larger stuff.

The 15" Pros will hold a regular 2.5" HDD, as a matter of fact you can even replace the DVD drive with a special bracket that lets you fit a second HDD, so you could have a flash boot drive and a large 2.5" HDD for storage and games.

You should probably go ahead and get the 1GB vram option if you plan on playing games much.

Make sure you check out Apple's refurbished section, there are some good deals on 15" retina and non-retina models.

15" retina with 512GB SSD:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC976LL/A/refurbished-macbook-pro-26ghz-quad-core-intel-i7-with-retina-display

15" non-retina with the high res (1680x1050) antiglare screen, 128GB SSD, and 1GB video memory:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0MW3LL/A/refurbished-macbook-pro-26ghz-quad-core-intel-i7

That last one would be ideal for swapping out the DVD drive for a large HDD and leaving the SSD as just a boot drive.
I thought about an external drive, but I have this thing where I dont like to carry extra equipment around if I go somewhere. I know, Im weird! =P

But thanks, I think the consensus is to go with the 1GB of vRAM. But I would really like to get access to my TC outside of my home and just get that retina macbook... I will try to work on this before I make a purchase.

again THANK YOU ALL! You've all been much more than helpful. This is actually the first forum in which I've experienced a lot of helpful, good, and friendly advice!
 

swerve147

macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2013
791
53
Yeah, I have a Time Capsule. But for some reason I just use it for backups. I like having all my stuff on my laptop just in case Im on the go and forget to transfer something (because for some reason I cant access my TC from outside my house D: If i can fix that, the retina one would be perfect)



Thanks, I will look into that! I currently have a 1TB in my macbook 13, but I feel like if im going to add my games in there, I will probably need a larger drive, or a second one



I thought about an external drive, but I have this thing where I dont like to carry extra equipment around if I go somewhere. I know, Im weird! =P

But thanks, I think the consensus is to go with the 1GB of vRAM. But I would really like to get access to my TC outside of my home and just get that retina macbook... I will try to work on this before I make a purchase.

again THANK YOU ALL! You've all been much more than helpful. This is actually the first forum in which I've experienced a lot of helpful, good, and friendly advice!
Yeah, there are some very helpful people who post on this forum, hope you stick around and add your biological and technological distinctiveness to the Hive :apple:

And if it comes to it avoid the 2.3 GHz classic if you can, if only for longevity's sake in terms of gaming. 1GB VRAM should be your minimum.
 

Asuriyan

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2013
622
16
Indiana
Yeah, I have a Time Capsule. But for some reason I just use it for backups. I like having all my stuff on my laptop just in case Im on the go and forget to transfer something (because for some reason I cant access my TC from outside my house D: If i can fix that, the retina one would be perfect)



Thanks, I will look into that! I currently have a 1TB in my macbook 13, but I feel like if im going to add my games in there, I will probably need a larger drive, or a second one



I thought about an external drive, but I have this thing where I dont like to carry extra equipment around if I go somewhere. I know, Im weird! =P

But thanks, I think the consensus is to go with the 1GB of vRAM. But I would really like to get access to my TC outside of my home and just get that retina macbook... I will try to work on this before I make a purchase.

again THANK YOU ALL! You've all been much more than helpful. This is actually the first forum in which I've experienced a lot of helpful, good, and friendly advice!
I have found this to be a relatively mature and helpful forum. We have good mods and a lot of knowledgeable people. Hope you stick around.

What kind of content and how much of it do you have stored on your TC? I have a few possible solutions, none of which require an external hard drive, depending on its distribution.

Also, I game on a 15" rMBP. My recommendation would be to try for the 512GB SSD as Boot Camp takes up a good chunk of space. If there's anything you would like some performance numbers on I'd be happy to give it a try.
 

sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 24, 2013
2,376
396
New Orleans
Hi, I came to Apple from approximately the same Windows gaming notebook (in my case, an MSI GX660 with a Core i5-450M and the identical video card ATI Mobility Radeon 5870M). I now have a 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display with the GT650M card.

If you go to notebookcheck.com you can get a fairly accurate idea of where the different video cards stand. The 6770M according to them is considered a Class 3 mainstream card (Class 1 being the best), and is significantly slower than the current card in the MacBook Pro, the GT 650M.

Based on my real-world experience, the 650M is about on par with or a bit better the 5870M. I'm getting about the same frame rates in Skyrim and Sleeping Dogs at identical resolutions. One major difference is that I can now play Assassins Creed 3 at medium settings at 1440x900 at a steady framerate (~40-50 fps from what I remember). With my old 5870M, AC3 would choke at any resolution (20-25fps) once I would step foot into Boston (it could be the dual-core vs. quad in the MBP, though).

That said, if you want equivalent performance to your current notebook you need to go to Apple's flagship 2012-2013 MacBook Pro, either 15 " Classic (2.6 GHz or better) or 15" Retina (any). The 6770M will not perform as well.
One more question for you because I can't decide. :p

So I went to go see the MacBooks, and I just don't like the feel of the regular 15". So I definitely want a retina one. But what storage size do you have for it? Is the 256GB enough for your games? Or should I go for the next one up?
 

saturnotaku

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2013
1,924
51
So I went to go see the MacBooks, and I just don't like the feel of the regular 15". So I definitely want a retina one. But what storage size do you have for it? Is the 256GB enough for your games? Or should I go for the next one up?
If you only install a couple games at a time and delete them when you're done, you could make do with 256 GB. Bear in mind, that's the total amount of hard drive space. You need to factor in the tolls of two operating systems and any other software you're installing. Having just a portion of my Steam and Origin games installed will easily occupy more than 200 GB.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Windows doesn't play entirely nicely with the Retina display. There are workarounds that make it tolerable but not as nice as OS X.

Honestly, if gaming is of importance to you, you should really stick with a Windows machine. The Lenovo Y500 and Y510 have Haswell, GT 750M, an available 1920x1080 display, and the option to add a 2nd GPU in place of the optical drive, all for much less than even a refurbished rMBP.
 

swerve147

macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2013
791
53
One more question for you because I can't decide. :p

So I went to go see the MacBooks, and I just don't like the feel of the regular 15". So I definitely want a retina one. But what storage size do you have for it? Is the 256GB enough for your games? Or should I go for the next one up?
Asuryian's got the right idea. If you want to do any serious gaming you'll need to create a Windows/Boot Camp partition, so 256GB for Windows 7 and OS X will be tight. I have a Boot Camp partition set to 128GB and was able to install 3 big games, tops (right now I have Crysis 3, Skyrim+ Mods and MoH Frontline and have maybe 10GB free). Windows 7 has a pretty big footprint I guess, I haven't really tried looking too deeply into it yet.

With the Thunderbolt ports on the Retina you can alternatively buy an external SSD and run games from the external drive, but that obviously won't be ideal if you're trying to stay away from external drives. Otherwise 256GB will be tight. Doable, but you can only install maybe 3-4 games at a time.

EDIT: Agree with saturnotaku as well. If your focus is gaming then a Windows notebook is the best bet, but if you also like your MacBook and OS X then the 15 retina MacBook is the best option to have both OS X and Windows in one portable machine that's also capable of playing Windows games.
 

tillsbury

macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2007
1,407
315
If you really want a MBP, and you have any intentions whatsoever of playing games, then the rMBP15 is your only serious option.

If you are going to bootcamp and install modern games, you are going to be banging your head on the wall all day long with a 256Gb SSD. I have the 768Gb but still prune out unnecessary games like Diablo, SC2, and anything I don't play enough to be worth the waste of space.

I would have thought you'd get away with the 8Gb/512Gb version, although if you can afford it bump up to the 16Gb RAM.
 

Krazy Bill

macrumors 68030
Dec 21, 2011
2,985
3
If you really want a MBP, and you have any intentions whatsoever of playing games, then the rMBP15 is your only serious option.
Or just get a couple of gaming consoles, a big-assed flat screen and call it good.

These topics of MBP's and gaming have always puzzled me.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
I think it's a really bad idea to buy a Mac for gaming purposes. You will pay $2k or more for a graphics card that is barely on par with what your three years old gaming PC had.

The Nvidia 765M that e.g. will be used in the new Razer gaming laptops is almost twice as fast as the 650M in the 2012 MBPs. The 6770M is roughly 30% slower, it is even slightly slower than the 5870M in your current gaming laptop.

At least, I would wait for the next generation retina MBPs. With a bit of luck they will at least feature 2 GB of video RAM.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,155
1,200
NYC
Seriously it's not worth looking at Macs for gaming.

I spent about $1200 in an Asus gaming laptop and it's already faster than and more powerful than my MacBook Pro. Upgraded the RAM to 32GB, installed dual SSDs in RAID 0, and it flies compared to my MacBook Pro. It's very quiet even when gaming for hours and there is a numeric keypad.

Same things can't be said for my Mac. For starters I have give up the SuperDrive for a second SSD (assuming I had the regular MacBook Pro, which I don't). And when I play a game (or just a Flash video) the fans spin up like a vacuum.

The only drawback of my Asus is it weighs like 12lbs and the battery lasts only 3 hours.
 

saturnotaku

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2013
1,924
51
If you really want a MBP, and you have any intentions whatsoever of playing games, then the rMBP15 is your only serious option.
ROFL

I would have thought you'd get away with the 8Gb/512Gb version, although if you can afford it bump up to the 16Gb RAM.
Now you're getting into an issue where for the same or less money you could simply buy a far more powerful gaming notebook while keeping the OP's existing MBP 13. An SLI (2x GT 750M) Lenovo Y510 with 1920x1080 screen, 16 GB RAM, and 1 TB HDD+24 GB SSD cache is less than $1300 and blows the rMBP out of the water in nearly every conceivable way.

Since the OP has no issue with having two notebooks, maintaining said arrangement is the best option.