Gaming problems on late 2009 Macbook Pro

rze89

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2011
8
0
Like the title says, this post is regarding gaming, more specifically Starcraft 2, on a late 2009 15' Macbook Pro.

In the recent years I havn't expected to be able to run games at high video settings and expect flawless gameplay. But the issue now is that my MBP is stuttering and slowing down considerably even at the lowest possible video settings while I play Starcraft 2.



Now before the bashing begins, I do understand Macbook Pros aren't designed for gaming and I don't have anything else open while playing SC2 except for skype. But I'm seeking a solution that would allow me to run the game smoothly at low settings and allow me to enjoy the game without horrible fps and stuttering.

Before I go, I do need to clarify that I do not know much about MBP's hardware so I wouldn't know exactly what all specs I need to give in order to come up with a solution to my problem, so I'll go ahead and link them all.

Link to specs: http://support.apple.com/kb/sp544
Link to SC2 minimum reqs: http://us.battle.net/support/en/arti...m-requirements

I've done some reading and some people have suggested adding more RAM and/or wiping the hard drive and starting fresh.

But to be clear, I'm not trying to run things at high settings, I'm just trying to be able to run the game at low settings and have smooth fps. Thank you


TLDR;My MBP is running slow and the fps is getting increasingly worse while trying to play Starcraft 2. Looking for solution to run game on low video settings but have smooth FPS and gameplay
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
I appreciate the effort of providing all information. However the link to the apple site lists three different configurations, with very different gaming potential. Please tell us your

CPU: (2.53 MHz or 2.6 MHz or 2.8 MHz is possible)
RAM: I guess 4 GB?
OSX version: SL or Lion?

at what resolution are you playing SC II? Fullscreen? Have you tried closing skype? Did SC II run better on your Mac in the past?
 

rze89

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2011
8
0
I appreciate the effort of providing all information. However the link to the apple site lists three different configurations, with very different gaming potential. Please tell us your

CPU: (2.53 MHz or 2.6 MHz or 2.8 MHz is possible)
RAM: I guess 4 GB?
OSX version: SL or Lion?

at what resolution are you playing SC II? Fullscreen? Have you tried closing skype? Did SC II run better on your Mac in the past?
Hey sorry for the confusion, it is a 2.53 MHz and yes, 4GB RAM, running SL and using a NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card.
I'm playing at fullscreen (same thing occurs in window mode), and even while closing skype it still happens. SC2 ran better after first installing but still had the occasional hiccup or two. Now they have become much more frequent and occur every time I play.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
Thanks.

One bottleneck is the GPU, which is a integrated GPU with shared memory and just not very powerful. Upgrading to 8 GB ram will increase the amount of memory available for the GPU, but I'm not sure if that will bring a significant improvement.

You can attempt a system wipe & reinstall. I don't think the RAM upgrade will help a lot. A faster HD or a SSD would help with loading times and might get rid of some of the intermediate hiccups.

Did you try running at lower resolution, e.g. 1024 x 768?
 

bokdol

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
880
18
VA
just curious but why are you using the 9400 chip. i thought the 15 models had the option to switch to the 9600 card inside. i might be wrong but if you switch it will take care of some of the graphic issues and run better.
 

rze89

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2011
8
0
Thanks.

One bottleneck is the GPU, which is a integrated GPU with shared memory and just not very powerful. Upgrading to 8 GB ram will increase the amount of memory available for the GPU, but I'm not sure if that will bring a significant improvement.

You can attempt a system wipe & reinstall. I don't think the RAM upgrade will help a lot. A faster HD or a SSD would help with loading times and might get rid of some of the intermediate hiccups.

Did you try running at lower resolution, e.g. 1024 x 768?
ah i see. I'll look into upgrading the HD and SSD. Lower resolution unfortunately still had the same result.

----------

just curious but why are you using the 9400 chip. i thought the 15 models had the option to switch to the 9600 card inside. i might be wrong but if you switch it will take care of some of the graphic issues and run better.
I've been researching how to do it, but apparently the "better performance" from System Preferences > Energy Saver no longer offers that option and has a different display than what the previous tutorials showed. I'm going to do a little more research on how to do it.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
I've been researching how to do it, but apparently the "better performance" from System Preferences > Energy Saver no longer offers that option and has a different display than what the previous tutorials showed. I'm going to do a little more research on how to do it.
The model with the 2.53 MHz CPU only has the 9400M integrated GPU. The faster 9600 dedicated GPU was only sold in the 2.6 GHz and 2.8 GHz high end models.
 

eLbanana

macrumors member
Oct 16, 2008
31
0
The model with the 2.53 MHz CPU only has the 9400M integrated GPU. The faster 9600 dedicated GPU was only sold in the 2.6 GHz and 2.8 GHz high end models.
Well this is wrong...

I have the 2.53 Mhz MBP late 2009. It comes with an integrated 9400m and 9600GT ( in my case with 512 VRAM)

So if your have a 15 inch 2.53 Mhz MBP then u have the 9600GT and u should definitely switch to it. This is why Starcraft is currently unplayable.

I can play Skyrim on mid-high settings with fxaa and aa without huge fps drops, so you should run sc2 with no problem (using boot camp of course).
If everything fails, then i would suggest running sc2 in bootcamp.
 

Arkangil

macrumors regular
Jan 5, 2009
135
0
I agree with the "this is wrong" statement. I have the late 2009 with 2.53 and it has the 9600GT built in. I upgraded (myself) to 8GB of RAM for about $100 from OWC. I am also running Lion. In the energy preferences, I have the option for better battery or performance. For the latter, I just select it, the computer logs me out, I log back in, and I am good to go.

The only game I play right now is the OSX port of Arkham Asylum. With the 9400 it barely plays on low (in fact, it's unplayable). On the 9600, it plays perfectly smooth on high. So the difference is pretty staggering.
 

rze89

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2011
8
0
Correction, the low end isn't for gaming. Other configs are fine for gaming.
I'm aware that it wasn't built for gaming(see first post), but I'm trying to make the best with what I have. Thanks for the helpful information though.
 

rze89

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2011
8
0
I agree with the "this is wrong" statement. I have the late 2009 with 2.53 and it has the 9600GT built in...In the energy preferences, I have the option for better battery or performance.
I really hope you and eLbanana are right. I looked up which graphic card my Mac claims to have under "About this Mac" and it only states the 9400. If it can switch to the 9600, I just dont have the option to. I've read that sometimes while using bootcamp, for some MBP's it'll automatically switch to the 9600 while gaming but I dont know if that is the case with mine. If you have any suggestions on how to make the switch I'd appreciate it.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
I really hope you and eLbanana are right. I looked up which graphic card my Mac claims to have under "About this Mac" and it only states the 9400. If it can switch to the 9600, I just dont have the option to. I've read that sometimes while using bootcamp, for some MBP's it'll automatically switch to the 9600 while gaming but I dont know if that is the case with mine. If you have any suggestions on how to make the switch I'd appreciate it.
Ok, I'm confused now. The website you linked above with the model of the MBP you have lists the 2.53 MHz machine as _not_ having a dedicated GPU.

There are two 15'' MBPs with a 2.53 MHz core 2 duo.
The late 2008 model, which has a dedicated GPU: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/stats/macbook-pro-core-2-duo-2.53-aluminum-15-late-2008-unibody-specs.html
And the mid 2009 model with does not have a dedicated GPU: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/stats/macbook-pro-core-2-duo-2.53-aluminum-15-mid-2009-sd-unibody-specs.html
 

eLbanana

macrumors member
Oct 16, 2008
31
0
Under energy preferences - if you choose better performance, then your mac will use the 9600GT, if you choose better battery -> the 9400m. Simple as that.

If you don't have this option, then i really don't know and maybe you really have only the 9400m.
And yes under Boot Camp the 9600GT is automatically used.