Gaming on Macs

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thisismarkace, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. thisismarkace macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2014
    Hi there,

    First of all let me apologise if this topic has already been answered. I spent some time searching through "gaming on Macs" and didn't really feel like I got the answer I needed.

    I currently have a 2011 13in MBP, which I am thinking of replacing.
    For the work that I do, the specs on an Air more than suffices. However, I do like playing the occasional game and I have heard that the Air may suffer a little. I haven't seen a shootout between the two so I can't really judge if this information applies to me.

    On the one hand, I don't play a lot of action or FPS games that seem to require higher specs. But having said that, running Civ V on my current MBP with 8GB ram is really sluggish! I do like strategy and sim games like CIV and Settlers and play these primarily, but if performance wasn't an issue I would play driving and adventure games like Disney's Castle of Illusion, Lego's Batman or Star Wars Old Republic...

    So snooping around seemed to point towards the fact that the retina 13" may be a good choice because of the Iris chip (can't afford the 15" with Nvidia - and neither will I buy it just to play games), but on the other hand the rumoured 12" Air coming out sometime next year could rival the current rMBP.

    Now my question is:

    If you were in my shoes, would you upgrade now (and which machine would you choose) or would you wait for the new Air's to show up?

  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    The only Macs that can game are the ones with discrete GPUs.

    And for that, there is only one rMBP that can do it - the 15" rMBP with GT 750M. The Iris Pro only variant may suffice, but don't expect stellar results.
  3. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Any mac can game, it just depends heavily on which game and what settings. The games you mentioned are pretty easy to run, relatively. Also, if you run your game through bootcamp, you get much better performance. Civ 5 would work just fine though with a new 13" rmbp on about medium at 1280x800.
  4. freeskier93 macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    A fair amount of games should run fine so long as you turn the resolution down to 1280x800 and you aren't playing hard core FPS like COD. My 2010 MBP always faired well with games. The most demanding games I played though were Deus Ex: HR and Mass Effect 3. Nowdays I have a Windows desktop for playing games.
  5. GoldfishRT macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2014
    Frankly any of the rMBPs will kick that 2011 13" to the moon in terms of game performance. The Iris Pro in the base 15" really isn't a slouch either, especially for an integrated chip. It outperforms this 6770m in many benchmarks anyways and I've never found much trouble playing anything on this particular system.

    Personally I'd just go ahead and get an rMBP. However you are the only one who can really answer whether you should wait or not.
  6. Anitramane macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2013
    I would've gotten the pro laptop. The HD 3 000 found in the 2011 macs isn't ideal for anything really. The HD 5 100 in the new macs is much better.

    I don't know how thermals are Smith the retina model, but I think they should be ok while playing games.
  7. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2013
    you can do basic gaming on the 13" and base 15" rMbp's. The 15" with nvidia will give you better gaming performance of course because Nvidia >>> intel when it comes to gaming optimization. That being said the 750 m is a pretty terrible card and not worth upgrading to just for gaming. I don't know how the new 12" air will be but if rumors are correct it's going to be a low voltage system so I wouldn't expect great performance out of it. Any of them should be able to run the games you listed
  8. 827538 macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    I do a lot of gaming on my rMBP and have had a lot of people ask me questions on it. If it were me I would wait until the upgraded 15" rMBP comes out and buy that with the discrete GPU, a highly capable gaming laptop even if it wasn't designed as one.
  9. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    If you can't afford the rMBP with NVIDIA GPU, I would buy a base MacBook Air for the work you do on OS X and then an Alienware Alpha for gaming. If you're not playing anything super intensive, the base i3 Alpha will suit you just fine. Though it primarily uses Steam, underneath its primary GUI is a fully functional Windows 8.1 desktop.
  10. thisismarkace thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2014

    Hi guys,

    Happy new year!

    Thanks for all your replies.

    Having read all of them and contemplated my options, my best choice would be get the base 13" rMBP. As I'll need to invest in a very durable and very large portable drive, I probably won't be able to afford separate laptops for work and games.

    That the potential low voltage processor in the to-be-announced Airs hampering gaming performance is a good point - which has probably led me to decide on the rMBP. It is a little heavier than an Air, but certainly lighter than the current 2011 MBP. It's a inevitable (and inconvenient) compromise, though!

    Again, thanks for taking the time to reply and help me out with this!
  11. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    The current rMBP 13 uses a low-voltage processor as well, but it's certainly far more powerful than what's in the Air.
  12. thisismarkace thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2014
    Yeah, it's quite a pain to need a single workhorse to power through work, games and at the same be mobile enough to not break my back...If it was an ideal world, I'd have a 15" at home and and 11" for when I'm on the go. :D
  13. theycallmetc macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2013
    The Nvidia equipped rMBP is the one that will give ok results when gaming on Bootcamp. But I wouldn't buy a rMBP just for that. Might as well get an Air and use the difference to build a gaming desktop that will rock the socks off of it.

    As far as weight, the larger rMBP will definitely not break your back.
  14. Giev macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2013
    I am not sure if you actually need a "mobile" gaming setup, but it usualy turns out more cost effective to got a basic laptop/mac with a budget gaming PC rather than a gaming laptop/mac.
  15. thisismarkace thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2014
    The last two replies definitely made a lot of sense - And seeing as I'm more of a casual gamer, it might make sense to just get the Air for now and see what happens later. Decisions, decisions, decisions... :rolleyes:
  16. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    I wouldn't buy an Air these days. It has an outdated screen and it will probably be replaced soon with a new design. The price jump to the cheapest rMBP isn't that big, in particular if you take into account that in any case you want to upgrade to 8 GB of RAM. And it even plays some games :)
  17. thisismarkace thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2014
    Good point about the screen. The current Air is pretty much on its way out so it would be quite pointless to get one immediately. But on the other hand I don't know if my current MBP is going to be able to wait until then! If only the new ones would be announced soon...
  18. TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    Starcraft II, LoL, Diablo III, CS: GO, Civ V, Borderlands etc run fantastic on the Iris Pro. From my experience, these are the types of games people spend the most time playing anyway.

    If you are trying to play Far Cry 4 or Assassin's Creed Unity at Max settings, you should think about getting a gaming PC, although the 750M will hold up on those games nicely.

    'Game' is a vague term anyway, a gamer could be some who plays solely on a nintendo DS, or solely plays flash games.
  19. Merode macrumors 6502


    Nov 5, 2013
    Warszawa, Poland
    I have Late 2013 13.3" rMBP with Iris GPU. I do play some games and..

    1) Civ 5 works fine but it's so badly optimized that fans start screaming in Menu. It sounds like starting plane.

    2) Hearthstone works find on Low settings (about iPad level settings). Medium = little noise and High = lots of noise, heat and stuttering.

    3) Warcraft 3 - works fine maxed out without a lot of fan screaming.

    4) WoW - works fine on mid-high 1440x900. About 50FPS in TBC areas. I guess raids will be worse but WoW now has seperate Video settings for raids.

    5) The Witcher 1 - works really fine maxed out, but fans quickly kick in.

    6) Diablo 3 - I had about 30FPS on mid settings and 1440x900 on Mavericks. Can't say for Yosemite, haven't tried yet.

    In general, you're going to need headphones because games cause fans to kick in and cause lots of noise.
  20. RVn13.3 macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2015
    rMBP 13.3-MGx72 2.6Ghz, 8Gb ram

    Dear friends,
    I have planned to buy a rMBP 13 2.6GHz, 8Gb ram.
    does this system meet the minimum requirements for gaming PES2015?
    I know it is not the best system for gaming, but i would appreciate if any one would answer me whether any of you have played PES 2015 on this system??
    Can it run the game even on the low config well?
  21. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Should be fine

    The system requirements are fairly low core i3 and HD 3000 graphics card, that rMBP should smoke it...
  22. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I think the Civ V Mac version is really really bad. On windows it runs soo much better that it probably only needs a 13" rMBP under Windows to get more performance than Civ V on OSX gets on the 15".
    Starcraft 2 works well even in the Mac version. It is a little slower but not by leaps and bounds and still very playable.
  23. aoaaron macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2010
    Even if you can afford a macbook pro w/nvidia GPU, it will not compete with a proper gaming device on windows OS.
  24. RVn13.3 macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2015
    What about Fifa 2015? which seems to need a more powerfull GPU
  25. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    On a side note, the GT 750M is no slouch either.

    Battlefield 4, 1680x1050, mix of high and ultra, 16xAF and FXAA, and I get an average of 47-50 fps, with the lowest being 35 fps and easily getting 60 fps in quite a number of situations.

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