Gaming - Macbook Air 11' mid-2013 vs Macbook Pro 13' Retina late-2013

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kuanyu24, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. kuanyu24 macrumors newbie

    kuanyu24

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Location:
    Brisbane
    #1
    Hi,

    Currently I have a Macbook Air 11' mid-2013 model (i5 1.3Ghz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, HD5000 1024MB).
    I was a gamer and had a Windows desktop but ever since I switched I really like using OS X. However I still like to play a few games here and there.
    The games I play are games like Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Dota 2, StarCraft 2.
    They are not too graphic intensive however they don't run that smoothly on my Macbook Air for some reason.
    Currently I am running them on OS X (No parallels or bootcamp) through OS X versions.
    I've only had the Macbook Air for a few months (Since August 2013) and I've been thinking of upgrading this will not satisfy me in terms of gaming.

    I have taken a look at the mid range Macbook Pro Retina 13' (i5 2.4Ghz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel Iris (5100)). Looked at a few videos online and it seems like the Intel Iris has quite the punch.
    This seems quite attractive to me right now however I have 2 questions that I want to ask on this forum to have a better understanding:

    1. Is the difference between HD5000 vs Intel Iris (5100) really that big? A lot of the reviews I've found online about the Intel Iris, compares with the HD4000 instead.

    2. If I were to buy the MBP, should I wait a bit (After February) just incase Apple releases a newer model?

    If you can provide your answer to those 2 questions it would be fantastic! Otherwise I am still interested in your opinion on my current situation.

    I am new to the Apple Macbook world so I am not familiar with the release dates of Macbooks etc.
    I have done some research however it seems that they release either in February, June or October however sometimes they skip so I am not too sure when the next release will be.
     
  2. Itzamna macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    #2
    If you want to game you should get one with a discrete graphic card or at least the Intel Iris Pro…

    Other than that, yea, it will run the games but it will not be that smooth...
     
  3. saturnotaku, Jan 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014

    saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #3
    Iris is more powerful than the GPU that's built into the MBA, but it's still not going to provide an entirely smooth gaming experience. The Iris Pro in the 15-inch MBP is better, but if gaming is to be a part of your regular usage pattern, you will need a discreet GPU. Unfortunately, that's quite a stiff price premium from the 13-inch model you're looking at right now.

    If Apple were to release an update, it would only be for a minor bump in CPU speeds. To be honest, for the same amount of money you would spend on a Haswell (late 2013) 13-inch model, you can pick up a refurbished mid-2012 or early-2013 15-inch version, which has a discreet GPU. Apple refurbs carry the same warranty as new and can be extended with AppleCare. The only thing you don't get is the fancy box.
     
  4. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    #4
    the Iris/Iris pro are ok...they are not great for gaming, especially at high resolutions. You'll have to lower the game resolution/detail to get smooth frame rates. If you're interested in gaming on your mac you should play them on windows via bootcamp, you'll get significantly smoother frame rates since mac driver optimization is terrible. And starcraft is a pretty demanding game graphically, unless your playing with the low detail.
     
  5. kuanyu24 thread starter macrumors newbie

    kuanyu24

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Location:
    Brisbane
    #5
    Thank you for the prompt replies! :)

    @Itzamna
    You are correct in regards to having a dedicated/discrete GPU for gaming (As I was a big gamer on Windows, built myself a very nice gaming computer, but sold it as I was spending too much time in games).
    I've never trusted onboard GPU's, however with newer technology coming out so quickly, I thought maybe I could trust onboard GPU's now (Seems like Intel is going crazy promoting their Intel HD products) but it seems like I still can't fully place my trust in onboard GPUs.

    @saturnotaku
    Yes I agree with you and you brought up the point of looking at 2012 models and refurbish stores. Thank you for that as I totally forgot about the refurbish section on their website! Looking quite promising already, I might end up getting a 15 inch model with a GT650M. Will need to increase my budget a bit more though.

    @blooperz
    You also brought up a very interesting point about running games on Bootcamp (Windows). I didn't think about that too, as I didn't think there would be much difference. If any I thought the native OS X would be faster but I haven't personally tested it myself. I might take a look at the refurbished MBP and see what I can find then will put Windows on it too!

    Thank you all for your suggestions/opinions as it really has helped me out.
    You helped me think about other options to serve my needs instead of only looking at the current market for MBPs :)
     
  6. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #6
    OS X ports never perform better than their Windows counterparts. Always has been the case, likely always will be the case.
     
  7. MaulRx Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #7
    The Intel Iris in my 13" retina barely runs San Andreas if that gives you any idea how how it will perform.
     
  8. iKrivetko macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    #8
    Iris is about 20-30% faster than the HD5000, so unless you are going to play using the retina resolution, you'll definitely see an appreciable boost.

    Intel hasn't released any new chips as far as I know, so there will most likely be no february refresh. If you can afford waiting, wait until Broadwell.
     
  9. kuanyu24 thread starter macrumors newbie

    kuanyu24

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Location:
    Brisbane
    #9
    20-30% faster than the HD5000 wouldn't be much of a boost and I reckon I'll just become frustrated again 6 month or 1 year down the track. I intend to keep this one for a bit longer like 3-4 years.
    But it is good to hear that there probably will not be a refreshed MBPs.

    I will have to wait it out a bit longer anyways if I'm looking at getting one with a dedicated GPU (used or refurbished) so by then perhaps I would have a clearer options.
     
  10. frostiex macrumors regular

    frostiex

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    #10
    How is the Iris gaming capability? What is the comparison of if vs the dedicated?
     
  11. iKrivetko macrumors 6502a

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    May 28, 2010
  12. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    #12
    You won't be able to play many new games with decent detail, but it can handle older games depending on which resolution you play at
     
  13. kuanyu24 thread starter macrumors newbie

    kuanyu24

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Location:
    Brisbane
    #13
    Based on what you mentioned, you said that Intel Iris is on par with the 630M.

    What I'm not sure is, since onboard graphics (such as Intel Iris and Intel Iris Pro) use the the laptops RAM, will this make a difference if you compared it to (for this examples sake) a dedicated/discrete 630M which has it's own RAM (Memory)?
    Assuming both the Iris and 630M have the same clock speed etc of a GPU.

    I would say the onboard graphics would be slower because they will be taking up some RAM which other components might need however I'm not sure. Is there someone able to comment on this?
     
  14. iKrivetko macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    #14
    When I say that they are roughly on par, I mean that in real-life gaming scenarios they will be, on average, performing at comparable levels. Iris' architecture might perform better in some titles, but lose in others, and the memory used by a graphics chip is but a tip of the iceberg when you are comparing two absolutely different chips. You can have a look at notebookcheck.net and compare the performance of these two.
     
  15. AppleHater macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    #15
    I have a similar dilemma except it's about 128gb ssd vs 256gb ssd between 13 inch MBA and rMBP at around $1250.

    Not sure if I can survive with 128gb or future update is a possibility.
     
  16. kuanyu24 thread starter macrumors newbie

    kuanyu24

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Location:
    Brisbane
    #16
    I'm using 128GB MBA now and I can tell you there's not enough space for me. I don't even have my music on my MBA. My space is mainly taken up by documents (important documents on the go), Parallels and other softwares like Photoshop (I do some light editing, not hardcore stuff so MBA is enough for now for me).
     
  17. livit, Jan 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014

    livit macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    #17
    Bootcamp might be the answer

    I'd say you should try out Bootcamp with W7 or W8 before you make a choice. There's a big difference in performance vs OS X ports.

    This does of course tie up some of that precious SSD storage your Air is equipped with, but if you have a 256 version, I'd say you'll be okay, since the total of games are that few.
     
  18. AstroZombii macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    #18
    Just got my late 2013 13" pro this week. I don't do much gaming on it, but I was able to run XCOM: Enemy Unknown all at high settings. I've also been able to run CS:GO and TF2 at high settings on it with no issues
     

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