intel HD it decent for games??

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by backinblack875, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. backinblack875 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2010
    I'm thinking of getting a new mac, macbook air, and i have a mac mini right now that has nvdia 9400 and its pretty decent for the games i play, a better graphics card would def. be helpful though. so how does the intel HD 3000 perform for games stacked up to the nvdia 9400?? Mac mini is early 2009 btw.

    i don't play games that often, but enough to want my mac to handle them.

    ALSO, would about the gen of airs before the current airs with the NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics, is that better than both the 9400 and 3000??
  2. throAU, Feb 25, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012

    throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    The HD3000 GPU has had a lot of unjustified bad rap around here (before it was released).

    The order of GPU performance for the GPUs you mention goes something like this:

    9400m -> -> (i.e., significant gap) -> -> HD3000 -> 320m

    Both the newer GPUs are significantly faster than your 9400m.

    The HD3000 and 320m are pretty close. In some things the 320m is marginally faster, but its very very close. The HD3000 is also faster on a few things as well. I think the HD3000 got a bad rep because it wasn't much of an improvement, not because it's totally crap.

    However, sandy bridge core I series absolutely DESTROYS the Core2 Duo in the 2010 Airs. Its not even close. Hence, any game or application that is any way CPU bound will be much faster on a 2011.

    Especially so in the 11" models, where the fastest 2010 CPU is a 1.6 Core2 Duo.

    To give you an idea of just how much faster the new CPUs are - a Core i3 (dual core) has comparable performance to a Core 2 Quad at the same clock speed. You can spec the airs with a Core i7, and the i5s are standard.

    A friend had a 2011 13" air for a bit (his first mac, before stepping up to a 15" pro for more RAM for Vmware) and he could run Half Life 2 and a few other common LAN shooters just fine on it. He didn't upgrade because of lack of performance - he really loved the air, just needed more RAM than 4gig. The Air was just a bit of a long term test to see if he could live with a Mac rather than Windows.

    Obviously you won't be running the very latest stuff in full detail on it, but for games a couple of years old it should be fine on lower detail settings.

    bear in mind - whichever laptop you buy, running games on it WILL make the fans spin up and make a fair amount of fan noise. My 15" pro can run pretty high end stuff just fine with the AMD 6750 GPU in it, but the noise is quite loud :D
  3. backinblack875 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2010
    so the HD3000 is better than my 9400? or did i understand wrong??

    if so, then i will certainly go with the newer macbook air models versus the older ones for the faster CPU
  4. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's been excellent for gaming in my experience! So far the only games that haven't played well have been crappy rockstar ports (GTA, LA Noir), but all new games have played pretty flawlessly! Even Rage...which is a pretty brutal game.
  5. Warhawk15 macrumors regular


    Feb 1, 2012
    I use my air to play Portal 2, Torchlight, Left 4 Dead 2, and Starcraft 2.
    Those are the main games I play.
    For the most part I can have medium-high settings on all those games on single player.
    I don't know if my internet connection is slow or what, but I have to usually switch to low settings when online.

    intel hd3000

    nvidia 9400m

    Looks to me like the intel hd3000 is better, in some cases a lot, and in some cases not as much.
  6. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    No, you understood correctly. The HD3000 is faster than your 9400M.

    And yes, the CPU that it comes with is much, much faster than the Core or Core2 series.
  7. bRADYPUS macrumors member


    Oct 29, 2011
    if u are playing valve games it will be enough.
    Valve optimizes games good.
    I'm using my slow mba air 13'' 2010 with c2d 1.86ghz
    and i can still run css in an acceptable graphic at 60fps.
    Im waiting for the 2012 macbook too:mad:
  8. Constantine1337 macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2009
    My experience has been a different one:

    I own a MacMini baseline model and an 2009 MacBook Pro 13" with the 9400M. While playing Counter-Strike 1.6 the MacBook Pro 13" runs CS better than the MacMini does. I can tell that based on the FPS in game. Don't know about the other games, but this is just my experience.
  9. backinblack875 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2010
    you mean ur MBP with the 9400 runs your games better than the mini with the 3000?
  10. rolfbert macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2009
    cs 1.6 is basically over 10 years old and shlound run totally smooth on any hardware that has been produced within the last years.
  11. Constantine1337 macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2009
    Yes - but keep in mind that I can say that only based on the CS 1.6
    This is only partially true. I can tell for a fact that the constant 100fps rates are not achievable by neither 9400m nor HD3000. However, when the FPS drops, it drops lower on HD3000 than on 9400m.
    Keep in mind that CS 1.6 is a very old game - newer games have been optimized to run on a multicore CPUs, hence why they might run better than on 9400m. I am just saying this from my experience (perhaps some old school gamer still wonders these forums and needs an advice ;) )
  12. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    Yes, the HD3000 is A LOT better than the 9400. And the core i5 is A LOT A LOT (A LOT) faster than the core 2 duo.

    1 thing: For gaming on the air, do NOT get the i7, get the i5. The i7 has overheating issues. My friend has the 13" mba with i7 and it shuts down in windows because of the overheat. I have the 11" (you would think it gets hotter), but because it has the i5 it doesn't get that hot.
    I have the base model (2gb ram) and it plays WoW/LoL pretty fine (60 fps on med-high settings).
    So if you get a model with 4gb ram and HD3000 you'll be very happy with it.
  13. mrogersscf macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2012
    Can someone corroborate orfeas0's claim the i5 processor is better for gaming than the i7 processor due to heating concerns?
  14. velleity macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2011
    So, I might be a recovering WoW addict. I have the maxed-out i7 MBA.

    I notice the machine gets hot, but it seems less oppressive than my 15 inch early 2011 MBP or my windows gaming laptops before that.

    Actually, I had quit WoW for ages before getting this machine on Thursday and putting WoW on it to "see if it works on the new MBA."

    ...yeah, I played all weekend. Raided, quested - no lagging even though I also had iTunes and Dreamweaver open in the background.

    But that's WoW, which is a very processor and HD-driven game. I can say that the experience was far, far better than with the maxed 2010 MBA. WoW wasn't really playable on it (fps in cities was ~15, jerky movement). With the new one, I manage to get great framerates (50-60, sometimes as low as 30 in raids) if I keep most settings fairly low.

    My boss just asked what all the elves on my screen were. I said "science."

    Anyway, it's highly playable on the MBA. Obviously the screen size is less than ideal, and I have no idea how other more GPU-driven games would play - WoW is from 2004, after all. But I like it so far, and the heat hasn't bothered me yet. It would probably bother you if you were naked, though, and I wouldn't use it as a primary machine for more than casual use.
  15. dibbs98 macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2012
    command and conquer

    I have an MBP early 2011, i5 with 4GB Ram, intel HD 3000 graphics, I don't suppose if anyone has any experience of whether this will run Command and Conquer 3 Tiberium wars?

  16. velleity macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2011
    If you mean the Pro, then the 2011 models have graphics switching - when playing games, they'll bump up to whichever higher-end graphics card they have (they all have something better in addition to the HD 3000)
  17. LordVic macrumors 601

    Sep 7, 2011
    ya, I didnt get the MBA to game, but i had to throw WOW on it to see how it faired.

    Faired decently. However, maybe it was just me, but I found that running WoW natively in OSx was slower than if i booted into windows and ran the windows version.

    I actually found this in most gaming. So i wasn't sure if its me or not.
  18. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    that makes sense
  19. velleity macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2011
    Not just you! I experimented with a few games on my MBP, with similar results. Sadly I'm not technically proficient enough to say *why* this is, but I imagine I'd play through Windows if playing high-end PvP.
  20. jsolares macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2011
    Land of eternal Spring
    the 13" doesn't have dedicated graphics, only the 15 and 17 do, otherwise what you said is spot on.
  21. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    The WoW thing is not a suprise. OS X lags behind in the graphics department, and doesn't support the newest version(s) of openGL.
    This is the thing that annoys me. As far as new features in Mountain Lion and Lion we don't get better graphics support, better Finder, better file system etc., ie REAL functions, only "bling" that is at best unecessary, at worst seriously interferring with user producitivity.
    Sorry for going off topic.
  22. robbie12345 macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2011
    United States

    hate to be a grammar nazi but well
  23. jackrv macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
    You forgot to capitalize the "h" in hate. :)

    j/k ;)
  24. mrogersscf macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2012
    Anyone? Yay or nay? Is this correct?
  25. Sunsenista macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2012

    Just would like to know when Apple plan to release the new macbook air in 2012.
    Will it worse to wait for some time to get the new version?

    BTW for my use,

    Like to know if run this software is possible and with good performance?

    League of legend
    World of warcraft
    Win 7 or 8?
    Ableton Live
    Garage band
    music and some light gaming...

    or maybe using an ipad 3 when he is coming out but i need something to find tv show and movie who play on streaming but dont know what can i use ...
    Ps i m living in china


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