Help: How do I get the best gaming performance on a new MBP 2.8ghz/4gb/320gb@7200rpm

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by el.gringo, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. el.gringo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    #1
    So, I just purchased a new model Macbook Pro with the following specs:

    15in screen, 2.8ghz, 4gb RAM, 320GB Hard Drive at 7200rpm, Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT with 512mb VRAM, and Nvidia GeForce 9400M.

    It is not exclusively a gaming machine, but I would like to do some gaming on it. I want to play some of the better recent games (Call of Duty 4 (and 5 when it comes out), Crysis, Bioshock, Mass Effect, World in Conflict, etc. and I am wondering how I can get the best performance possible. I am not expecting maxed settings at 60fps or anything, I just want to do the best I can. So, I have a couple of questions:

    -What version of Windows should I install in boot camp (XP with sp3 or Vista with sp1)? Windows will be used exclusively for gaming. I have heard XP is sometimes faster, but Vista can utilize both graphics chips and is better for DX10, which some games I will play will have. Any advice one way or the other?

    -If a game is available for both Mac and PC, which should I buy to get better performance, the Mac version or the windows version? An example would be COD4, which I have heard plays better on windows than Mac. Is this true always, sometimes, never, etc?

    Any other advice I am not thinking of/aware of would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot!
     
  2. Nyaos macrumors newbie

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    Apr 10, 2008
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    #2
    Hey man!

    My advice to you is to Boot Camp a copy of Windows XP, not Vista, unless DX10 is ABSOLUTELY necessary for you.

    Play all your games on Windows, they generally will run better and easier. On the new MacBook Pro you can expect optimal performance on all games with the Leopard CD default drivers, as long as you make sure to update your Nvidia ones. (My default leopard drivers didn't let me run some games on my white macbook, but Intel ones let me run BF2 even)

    I envy you and your computer :p
     
  3. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    Yeah, I need a computer for college, so I figured I would get myself one that would last me a while, rather than a cheaper one I will have to replace soon.

    I do not thing DX10 is completely necessary. I can still play any game without it, right? Just with lower upper-end quality (which I will not get anyways on games that use it like crysis, right?)

    Can you (or anyone else) shed any light about Vista being able to use both graphics cards? That is the only reason I can think of that it would be a better choice.

    Is updating the Nvidia drivers pretty simple? I assume there is a guide somewhere online...

    Any other advice? And thanks again.
     
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
  5. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #5
    I've never had a computer devoted entirely to gaming before, so whatever I used for my normal computer. I had an iBook g4 for a while, a Powerbook g4 after that, and right now (until my new one gets here) a 2.2ghz MBP I am borrowing from my work. I have never installed boot camp on any of them before, so I am new to the Windows gaming side of things.
     
  6. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #6
    This is definitely new territory for you then. :D

    Stick with Windows XP SP3 for now and Windows is going to give you the best game performance. Not that it's new news to you.

    DirectX 9 gaming is still alive and well.
     
  7. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #7
    Alright, sounds like XP it is. Anything else I need to do/keep in mind that I might not think of, or any other tips for increasing performance?
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #8
    Make sure only necessary processes are running. There are a lot of applications that just love running background processes in the system tray.
     
  9. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #9
    OK, no extra processes. Makes sense. Is there a nice central location (website?) where I can conveniently find the latest drivers I need? Also, is there any reason to run the 32bit or 64bit version of XP? Professional or Home/Student? Etc?
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #10
    Install the provided Boot Camp drivers first. Windows XP should offer a few more via Windows Update.

    LaptopVideo2Go is the premier nVidia mobile graphics site.

    Go with 32-bit XP for now.
     
  11. pianoplayer1 macrumors 6502

    pianoplayer1

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    Dec 31, 2005
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    New York
    #11
    laptopvideo2go.com

    and use professional without a doubt

    I think 32 vs. 64 has to do with the games you want to play - but 64 can take advantage of the full 4 gb of ram.
     
  12. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #12
    Well, 64 bit sounds like the better choice then, since I will have 4GB and games would probably work best if they can utilize all of it.

    Any particular reason for Pro? Performance related, extra features, or what?
     
  13. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #13
    If you want 64-bit support then please get Vista instead.

    You're fine gaming under a 32-bit operating system right now.
     
  14. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #14
    Why is 64-bit XP bad?

    I have played COD 4 on two different Macbooks Pros:
    2.2ghz/4gb RAM/128mb VRAM
    2.4ghz/2GB RAM/256mb VRAM

    The 2.2ghz runs faster and smoother (on the same settings) even though it has a slower processor and has less VRAM. And when I check the Activity Monitor, it says COD is using all available RAM on the 2.4ghz model, while it has some extra on the 2.2ghz model. So, the 4GB really seems to help. It seems like being unable to use the entire 4GB I will have would decrease performance.
     
  15. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #15
    There are still very few 64-bit enhanced games to date. Crysis gets passing mention now and again.

    You're fine with 4 GB of RAM and a 32-bit operating system for gaming. If you want 64-bit then go with Vista. Windows XP x64 has gotten miserable support and none from Apple.
     
  16. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #16
    Yeah, 64-bit enhanced is not important to me really, I just want to make sure that however much RAM 32-bit supports is enough for the games I want to play. I will go with 32-bit XP, and if in the future I need more RAM I can always upgrade the OS at that point.
     
  17. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #17
    So, one further question about drivers:

    I went to www.laptopvideo2go.com and clicked on the drivers tab. Which should I install, just the most recent one? Right now it is 179.13 so is that what I should use, or should I use one of the older ones (more stable or anything?)

    Also, could someone give me a brief tutorial on how to install a new driver? I have heard you need to remove the old one first, then install the new one.

    Thanks.
     
  18. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #18
    All well and good!

    Well, finally got my computer, stuck XP on it, and got the new drivers installed. Far Cry 2 and Bioshock run great, can't wait to get some more games.
     
  19. palebluedot macrumors 6502a

    palebluedot

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #19
    Your computer is fast enough that the OS X versions of COD4 and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (A FUN GAME, Check it out) both run well on OS X. You wont get max fps but the human eye cant see below 60 anyway so it doesnt matter. Plus you will be supporting Mac gaming and helping to show the gaming industry us mac users are gamers too.

    Dual booting becomes a HUGE PITA when you just want to frag a bit and have to close everything your doing and reboot - so get any games for OS X you can. As a hardcore gamer who games in both OS X and Windows this is the best advice I can give.
     
  20. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #20
    Use external Display, turn off internal.

    However I found on my 2.4ghz if the lid is closed or almost closed, then somehow the fan noise would be transmitted to the audio input (microphone) port.

    XP 32 bit > xp 64 bit
     
  21. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #21
    Yeah, I actually have COD 4 for Mac, and I am planning on getting Quake Wars soon. The only problem is that I want to play Far Cry 2, Mass Effect, Bioshock, Crysis, etc. which are all Windows only. I certainly get the Mac version whenever I can if it will run smoothly. I would love to not have to f*** with windows at all, but unfortunately I have to.

    As to the external display, any particular reason, or just because it looks better (obviously)?
     
  22. mosx macrumors 65816

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    Mar 3, 2007
    #22
    Seriously, don't listen to the "XP is faster" crowd.

    That was true back in 2007 but it is absolutely not true any more.

    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2302499,00.asp

    Head over to futuremark and other PC hardware enthusiast sites too. They'll definitely agree that Vista is at least equal to XP now.

    One thing you'll want to keep in mind about the MBP is that Apple is basically using a custom chipset. So you might not get full performance by using the modified laptopvideo2go drivers.

    Laptopvideo2go drivers are basically desktop drivers with modified .inf files that allow them to recognize and work with mobile GPUs.

    But with the MacBook Pro having the "system on a chip" 9400M and the 9600M GT.......
     
  23. el.gringo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #23
    What drivers would you suggest using? The ones I have seem to work fine, but if there are better ones I would love to know about them. Thanks.
     

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