Gaming with rMBP in clamshell mode and boot camp?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CptBucky, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. CptBucky macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2009
    Hello all you rMBP owners :)

    My rMBP is arriving this morning and I have a few technical questions that need answering...

    I had a rMBP earlier this year (but had to return it for other reasons). I noticed that gaming frame rates weren't that great using the built-in display. I was using a lower resolution (1440x900) in boot camp with Windows 7. I couldn't raise the detail settings much.

    I had an idea though. Even though I was running games on the retina display at a lower resolution, does powering that hungry retina display put unnecessary stress on the GPU?

    If I was to put the rMBP in clamshell mode and use a medium-res (e.g 1680x1050) external monitor, would that increase frame rates as opposed to running the same resolution on the Retina display?

    I've heard that the GPU is almost on-par with the ATI 4870 and can be overclocked easily to reach 4870 clocks. That's pretty powerful for a mobile GPU!

    So my main question is, will clamshell + lower res external monitor be better for running games than simply lowering the rez on the built-in retina display? Will that increase the frame rates by reducing GPU stress?
  2. ibd macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2008
    I can't say for sure because I can't test this right now. From a technical point of view, there might be a difference, however it should be negligible. In addition, the laptop might get hotter when running games in clamshell mode.

    You might get better results with moderate overclocking. Make sure you got the latest drivers, for example from laptopvideo2go!
  3. nickbarbs macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2009
    no... just.... no....

    I know you mean well with this but it shows you don't really understand how pcs operate..

    the performance will be exactly the same given same resolutions on your built in panel or external panel. So if you're running at 1440x900 fixed on your retina panel, vs 1440x900 on your external screen, performance will be exactly the same. the upscaling the panel does, may look different on each screen with differing results but FPS will be 100%, precisely exactly the same.

    If you're in OSX using an upscaled UI on your retina display the performance will be different vs a fixed res on a 1080p external panel.
  4. CptBucky thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2009
    I question your logic there. Even if you play at 1440x900 on the retina display, the gpu is still pushing the full pixels of the display itself @ 2880 x 1800.

    I can confirm I tested this in boot camp with windows 7. Kept the the lid up to prevent overheating, used the nvidia driver to set the output to a single external monitor at 1920x1080 (disabling the retina monitor entirely) and my frame rates increased dramatically.

    I think it might be you who doesn't understand gpu's and pixel pushing...

    Anyway, I hope this helps people. I overclocked the gpu and the results are a really solid gaming laptop (swtor, civ v) so I'm very happy!
  5. nickbarbs macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2009
    Nope. If you set your res in game to 1440x900, it will run at 1440x900 on your retina LCD and your system will scale the image to fill the panel @ 2880x1800. however there is a difference between scaling and actually pushing those full range of pixels, which i recommend you educate yourself on.

    So the scaler within the GPU or the LCD (likely GPU in a laptop) is upscaling your image which doesnt impact fps performance as the GPU is actually just working towards that 1440x900. you'll just experience a "blurry" look as the scaler blows up the image so that it "scales" to the full resolution of your display.

    Some people don't like this effect and prefer to either run at full resolution or as close to it as possible to minimize the effect (ie scaling up from 1920x1080 would look better on the retina display than scaling from 1440x900.)

    Edit: You may feel the FPS increased dramatically on your external screen but if you actually run a benchmark at the same resolutions on your internal panel and external screen you will discover the numbers are exactly the same

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