Gaming MacBook Specs

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mrjordann, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. mrjordann macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2013
    I have a 15-inch, mid 2009 MacBook Pro and I want to find the perfect specs for gaming. I want to play Minecraft on my MacBook, but it lags a lot. So, I know that I have enough RAM to play video games, but I don't know much about graphics cards. And I am also aware that my graphics card is un-replacable. I know that my graphics card is probably not very good, so would somebody please tell me what to get? Here are my specs:

    Processor 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Memory 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB
    Software OS X 10.8.5 (12F45)

    I have had many people just tell me "Oh, you need to get a PC!" or something like that; but I absolutely love Macs and I am not willing to switch to Windows. Thank you for reading, and please reply if you think you can help me! Sincerely, Jordan :apple:
  2. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Macs are not a good platform for hardcore gaming. Nothing will change that.
  3. Breedlove macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2006
    Are you in love with Macs or with OSX?
    Hackintosh with dual boot to Windows wouldn't be a bad idea.
  4. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    The Late 2011 HD6770 would absolutely handle Minecraft, as would the newer 650M and 750M.

    If you wish to game on your Macbook Pro - you need a new Macbook Pro ;)
  5. castillo4141, Nov 15, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013

    castillo4141 macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    I have the same laptop you have and I played a lot of games on it.

    Currently I play games on my newer systems. MacBook Pro(s) can handle most games decently, usually the last generation games (as in last year) will be playable with 40 to 60 fps at mid/high setting. Current games perhaps can be played at mid/low setting and get an average of 20 to 40 fps. Older games (put aside the resource monsters such as Crysis 1 and similar) can be played perfectly at high settings and 60+ fps. So IF you're looking for a new machine any 15' MBP from 2011 to 2013 will kick Minecraft arse.

    *Edit* I need to elaborate on this with an example: The 2009 MPB will handle well the 2008 games, very well the 2007 and older games, BUT will start to struggle with 2010 games and newer. Remember, this is just a general case scenario, there are older games like Crysis 1 that still destroy most portable systems.

    BUT if you give the 2009 MBP a shot at playing Minecraft, seems possible (in Bootcamp using Windows, otherwise my advise won't be useful for you)...I hate the game so I don't know how to temper with the inner game settings (you'll have to find that out), but I can help you with Drivers and a simple overclocking.

    Drivers -> (download Nvidia Experience, or the drivers directly, but I recommend the program, it's quite useful). Use the more recent ones.

    For overclocking I currently use this program on that machine ->

    Here is how I overclock my machines:


    This goes without saying...but I'm gonna say it anyway: I'm not responsible for the damages you (very likely) could cause to your system.

    I have done this with every MBP that I've own, everyone of them still works. Just don't be so greedy, 6 to 8 fps more is OK, don't try to fry the c%4p out of your system for 12 fps or so.

    Oh! and make sure you're modifying the "Performance Level 3" profile.

    First start making increments of 5% on the GPU, Memory and Shader clocks (usually 10% increment on them is ENOUGH) - don't even dare to touch the voltage -. Usually the first to present problems is the GPU Clock, the others can be stretched a little bit more.

    Since every GPU can withstand different levels I can't tell you the "ideal configuration", you'll have to check the stability of you configuration with FurMark:

    Fingers crossed and you may be have a tough S.O.B. GPU. Mine can be overclocked to the level of the next GPU on the same line, from the 9600M GT to the 9650M GT, and not an extra dime, pretty neat huh? :p

    With 40-45 minutes of running it (patience please), without experiencing artifacts (weird geometrical figures that appear randomly in the screen, google it) or too high temps you're OK, and you may push it further if needed.

    Good luck, and remember...common sense!
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Its Minecraft, not Battlefield 4 :D A 2013 macbook air will do just fine. Or any 2011 and later MBP model (beware of 13 prior to 2013 though).
  7. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Such BS. Mac OS is not ideal for gaming...but that's why you can install Windows on it. I played Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 all the way thru with no problems on my old 11" MBA.
  8. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    I wouldn't call playing those games on an 11" MBA's internal monitor "hardcore gaming", which is what PDFierro's statement is referring to. Try running the latest games on a 1440p monitor at the highest settings and then you'll see that PDFierro's statement isn't necessarily BS. It's obviously not applicable to this thread, however, since we're only talking about mine craft but still.
  9. sonyisawesome macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    LMFAO. Any low tier laptops can run games like Skyrim or Mass Effect games.

    Try running games like Sleeping Dogs, Hitman Absolution, or even The Witcher 2. Any apple macbooks will struggle running these games over 30fps on high setting.
  10. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    The only macbook that can handle gaming well has a dGPU in it. Right now, that is only the high-end 15".

    Yes, Iris Pro is decent at some games at lower resolutions, but it is slower than the 650M and driver support for gaming is terrible.
  11. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Yeah, the graphics card that Apple includes is still a problem. That's something you can't change.
  12. Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    This is absolutely not true. Not even close.

    The New MacBook Retina 15" with the 750GT scores around 2100 on Passmark in Bootcamp with an overclock (which comes easily thanks to great cooling, that's a 50% overclock, usually only 10% is possible).

    That makes it the absolute fastest gaming laptop that money can buy in the 15" form factor without being incredibly bulky.

    The only laptops that can exceed the performance of the 750GT are those that have the 770m or 780m, those cards are so power hungry and run so hot that every laptop that uses them is a brick.

    Here's one of the thinner offerings with a 770m


    Apple also offers the iMac, which has a passmark score of 5600 overclocked with the 680GT.

    If you want anything faster your options until recently were a 690 or a Titan, both of these are $1000 cards that you could not buy on any mass produced computer.

    Nvidia has released better desktop cards, and neglected the form factor that Apple uses until the next gen, so Apple can't compete with some very high end mass produced desktops, but they did recently release the new Mac Pro.

    If everything we know about the new Mac Pro is true and a few assumptions, it will be the fastest non-boutique gaming computer that money can buy period, outperforming any single card system with a passmark score of 11,000.

    The conclusion is that Apple makes the fastest gaming machines on the planet within the small dektop, 15" laptop, and small workstation classes.

    Regarding the OP's situation he needs to sell his computer and get a new one. There is nothing he can do to improve performance significantly. Apple had very poor gaming hardware until 2-3 years ago.
  13. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I played hitman absolution and sleeping dogs on my MacBook Pro retina at high with 30+fps.
  14. cirus, Nov 15, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013

    cirus macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
  15. Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    This is a completely arbitrary citicism that shows you're poorly informed from the get go. Passmark has the best correlation to real world gaming performance of any benchmark that is popularly used.

    You seem to lack a basic understanding of some of the points I am making. Apple provides incredibly powerful cooling in the MacBook Pro Retina 15". This allows for extreme levels of overclocking not found in any other manufacturer that does not add excessive cooling to their machines. Most other laptops can be overclocked by 10%, the MacBook Pro Retina 15" can be overclocked to achieve 50% better performance. I know because I've purchased or exchanged 8 separate MacBook Retina 15" computers, and all 3 refreshes.

    Again your entire response is predicated on your lack of basic understanding of how the computer works. An overclocked 750GT in a rMBP performs like a slightly better 765m, which means the only better laptop would have a 770m+. That makes it the fastest laptop money can buy without comically oversized form factor.

    No, the 7950 overclocked is slightly slower than the 680/780m in the iMac, slightly, 5400 vs 5600. I had one in my workstation built.

    I've had several boutique computers, they were all pieces of junk. Small manufacturers do not make good computers for the most part. I've had Voodoo PC custom computers, Falcon North West custom computers, and Origin PC's and a few others. All were poorly designed pieces of junk with poor warranty support or had serious issues.

    You can compare it to all the specialty computers you want but that's not the point, the point is that it's the best mass produced gaming computer money can buy. This means it beats out every non niche computer, which is an achievement.

    Said like someone who truly is uninformed.
  16. sonyisawesome, Nov 15, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013

    sonyisawesome macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    Haha. Sure. And I can play Battlefield 4 on my 13 inch mbpr at ultra setting.

    Anyone who thinks mbpr is the fastest gaming laptop, they need some reality check. Now these deluded fools in this forum makes up fiction and believes them as real.

    This site is a god damn twilight zone...
  17. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Go troll somewhere else. The 13" does not have discrete graphics. It's basically a fat MBA. I work on major feature films and television shows on my Mbpr.
  18. cirus macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    He's being sarcastic.

    Have you looked at passmark scores? Its a load of crap. No/poor dual gpu support (a 690 is much faster than a 7970 and definitely not slower than a 680). Passmark also hates AMD. A 7950 is much faster than a 580 in pretty much every single game. A 7870 is much faster than a 480. Its the almost the worst possible benchmark you can pick. Even 3D mark has its problems but its a lot better.

    No, the rmbp is famous for cutting it close to the thermal limits. The 750m in the RMBP runs at ~967/1250 core/memory which is slower than other 750m (GDDR5 models) which have a boost of 1058 on the core. This can be easily seen by the fact that the 750m is minimally faster than the 650m in the 2012 model.

    Sorry, its not close. The 765m has twice the shaders running at nearly the same speed. 3dmark scores at much higher on the 765m.

    Maybe if you are playing Passmark. Is it a good game?

    Its not close, sorry but no matter how good the rmbp is designed its never going to be the best with only a 750m.
  19. yangchewren macrumors regular

    Dec 1, 2012
    Yes, the vram on the MBP's 750m can be OCed by 50%, but what's the point when the processor and GPU do not have enough power (max 85W)?

    I find it insulting to have a good thermal overhead (85 degrees on the CPU, I would dare to let thermals rise more) but being limited by power.
  20. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2011
    Personally, I agree with Cirus on most matters.

    One definitely can't compare the GT 750M to the GTX 765M; the GTX 765 will outperform the 750M in just about all cases.

    The Mac Pro isn't exactly a gaming PC. At the moment, we don't even know whether it'll support Crossfire in Windows.

    The rMBP's cooling is very objective. Under any normal, non-CPU requiring tasks, the laptop can run cool with fans spinning silently at minimum RPM. But, once you put some pressure on to it, the fans whir up to Max.

    As for the OP's query, I agree with what most people have recommended: if the main purpose is gaming and the OP has little attachment to the OS X environment, a gaming laptop (such as a Razer Blade) would be a much better way to go.

    I hope this helps.

  21. sonyisawesome macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    You aren't too bright? It's called sarcasm, genius.

  22. Celedral macrumors 6502


    May 29, 2008
    Los Angeles
    That 9400m is pretty weak. The Iris Pro looks decent for "casual" gaming. Opt for the 750M for "preferred" gaming.
  23. byuister, Nov 16, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013

    byuister macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Radiating, you are clearly in lala land. Are you trolling sir?

    Overclocked to perform "50% better performance" under what circumstances? Sounds just like the indefinite word choice tech companies love to use... Synthetics != real world gaming. You will be lucky to extract 20% of extra performance in-game.

    Nope, doesn't happen. A 765m's fps is often double that of the 750m in games that are GPU limited (Batman: Arkham, F1 2013, etc.), and at the very least 60% higher.

    If we're assuming overclocking (if the 750m overclocks the same as the 650m in the 2012 rMBP), the advantage held by the 765m may be reduced to an 50 - 80% increase (depending on game), but those two cards are still nowhere near each other...Oh wait, hang on. You can overclock the 765m too!

    Within the exact context of your post:


    Back @OP, Minecraft is not very demanding. Any 15" Macbook after 2011 should be able to handle it fine, and the 13" Haswell MBP will do so as well.
  24. scbond macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2010
    Nottingham, UK
    Don't be so sure! Minecraft soaks up memory more than anything else I've ever played, including Flight Simulator X with add-ons. 8 GB is probably enough but I'd check to see how much Minecraft uses when you play it as I only have experience of it on Windows, where it used around 4 to 6 GB and very occasionally slightly more.
  25. whitedragon101 macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2008
    He's right about sleeping dogs. Notebook check benchmarked it (750m) at 32.2fps on high and 78.2fps on medium

    Hitman absolution was getting there at 24.9fps on high and 42.1 on medium.

    Not bad for such a thin and light laptop.

Share This Page