Is the MBA better than the 13" MBP for games?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ElCidRo, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. ElCidRo macrumors regular

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    Aug 29, 2010
    #1
    I wanted to buy the 13" MBA when it was announced 4 months ago or so. I decided to wait for the macbook pro refresh, for the 13" MBP.

    Now that the specs have been leaked, the 13" MBP seems like it would be worse for games than the MBA. :mad:

    1. Mainly because of the downgrade of the IGP: intel's HD 3000 is worse than the nVIDIA 320M on the MBA.
    2. Also the SSD on the MBA will provide additional performance.

    Apparently for the new 13" MBP the GPU and HDD will be a bottleneck. So despite the fact the i5 Sandy Bridge is so much better, the MBP will actually be worse in games than the MBA?

    I use my laptop for Web Browsing the most, Office and Starcraft 2.
    Should I go for the 13" MBA? Will it run Starcraft 2 better than the 13" MBP?

    Thanks in advance :confused:
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #2
    The GPUs are pretty comparable, and the MBA's CPU will likely struggle with games. HDD will only factor in with loading, so SSD won't make games run better. I'd say the small trade of between the HD 3000 and 320m will probably be negligible, and the MBP will likely be better overall.
     
  3. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #3
    Drive performance don't matter when it comes to games. It only matters when loading games, but once loaded, it solely depends on GPU and CPU performance.
     
  4. ElCidRo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 29, 2010
    #4
    Yes but the GPU will be the bottleneck for the MPB.
    The system is as good in games as its weakest component. So overall the MBP will be worse in games than the MBA because of the GPU.

    the SSD will just provide additional snappiness and performance for my web browsing and office (while opening and closing apps and doing multitasking).
     
  5. jakesleepy macrumors newbie

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    Feb 17, 2011
    #5
    If you plan on intensive gaming I would not recommend either... with that being said the air will be your better bet due to the GPU
     
  6. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #6
    Air has much slower CPU and less RAM... no GPU difference can outweigh that. The MBP with intel integrated graphics will be surely faster.
     
  7. ozred macrumors 6502

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    Feb 19, 2011
    #7
    Do yourself a huge favor & buy a PC. You'll save lots of money & headaches.

    Macs are great, I use both PC's & Macs. But not for gaming. A PC is so far superior as a gaming rig it's not funny. Plus they're not overpriced.

    I pay the premium for a Mac for work, but it totally sucks for games and mines got 8GB RAM & a really fast SSD.

    Buy a PC & enjoy endless choices of games.

    Cheers
     
  8. ElCidRo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 29, 2010
    #8
    I have my PC desktop for that. I want something portable and with a good battery life (hence the 13" limitation, 15" would be too big for me), but I like to play a game of starcraft 2 in my breaks :D

    So like I said: internet browsing and apps, office and starcraft 2 will be the requirements.
     
  9. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #9
    Again, there are benchmarks and sites that rank the two GPUs (Intel HD 3000 and nVidia 320m) roughly equal. anandtech said that they were very similar in performance, with one winning by a little bit in some areas and the other winning in others. I very strongly doubt that there would be a noticeable difference. It sounds like you want the MBA though, so maybe you should just get that.
     
  10. ElCidRo thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    I already have a PC, custom built by me - for gaming.
    I want a Mac too because I really enjoy my iPhone.
    So it won't be for Gaming. Only Starcraft 2 and I want a Mac :)
     
  11. ElCidRo thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    I want whichever runs Starcraft 2 better :)
     
  12. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #12
    They should be roughly the same, although since the MBP's CPU will be more powerful, you should get considerably better framerates, so you may get better performance from that. Personally, I'd wait until the new ones come out and there is some real-world data out. The best solution for that may even be a refurb of the current 13", as it has a better CPU than the MBA, and the GPU has a higher clock I believe. Plus the battery is likely to be better as well.
     
  13. ElCidRo thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Or maybe the high-end 13" MBP - but I doubt it will have a discrete GPU. What do you guys think?

    Decisions, decisions... :rolleyes:
     
  14. kx22 macrumors member

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    Feb 4, 2011
    #14
    Notebookcheck.com did a test with the Intel HD 3000 on a i5 2500K (3.3 ghz). The results were that the Intel was close to the 320m playing Starcraft 2. Both run the game smoothly in low settings, they hit an average fps of 40 on medium settings. And high settings was like 15 fps (unplayable). The Nvidia 320m score higher then the Intel. I dont know the score for the i5 2410 (2.3ghz) in combination with the Intel. But i know it is comparable with the 310m.

    So the Nvidia is surely better then the Intel, but both can run it in low settings.
     
  15. ElCidRo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 29, 2010
    #15
    Thanks for the detailed reply.
    I think it would be best to wait for some reviews, hopefully someone will test Starcraft 2 too.

    But I really can't wait too much longer, I need my Mac :apple: :D
     
  16. kite07dx macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #16
    Hey ElCidRo, it seems we are on the same boat.
    After four years in high school with my 2006 macbook, I am eagerly waiting to upgrade and purchase a new MBP 13in for college.
    I really hope the baseline MBP, with basic specs,
    # 2.3GHz dual-core
    Intel Core i5
    # 4GB 1333MHz
    # 320GB 5400-rpm1
    # Intel HD Graphics 3000
    will handle SC2 on medium settings with minimal lag
     
  17. ElCidRo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 29, 2010
  18. WardC macrumors 68030

    WardC

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    #18
    The MacBook Air is driving a 1440x900 display, while the MacBook Pro only has to drive a 1280x800 display, so graphics performance at native resolution would probably be better on the MacBook Pro, since the native resolution is lower.
     
  19. tigress666 macrumors 68040

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    Apr 14, 2010
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    Washington State
    #19
    Games will bring down battery life anyways. My 2010 13" MBP lasts usually 7.5 hours under my normal use.

    But Sims 3? That will bring the battery life to 2 hours or under (Maybe it was four, but I think it was 2. Firefox will bring it down to between 4-5 hours which is why I use Safari instead when I'm on battery).
     
  20. ElCidRo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 29, 2010
    #20
    Any Starcraft 2 fans that bought the new MBP 13" - standard config?

    PLEASE post some framerates/low_details and at medium_details.

    The choice between the MBP and the MBA is killing me :confused:
     

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