MacBook Pro 13inch Help?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by UserName, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. UserName macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2004
    Hi all,

    I'm really looking forward to buying a macbook, although I'm a switcher (have worked with windows only in the past), I'm really curious how Mac works and stuff.

    Anyways, I have thought about it and have a limited budget (about 1300 euros). I'm just wondering if anyone can shed some advice about the new Macbooks.

    I'm going for the basic MBP 13" with 2gb ram and 160gb hdd, 2.26GHz processor Intel Core 2 Duo (I believe, the latest ;))

    So I'm wondering if this one is able to play pretty much all the games with the 9400M Chipset, because I passed on an older model which was a bit more expensive but 15" and 2 graphic cards (9400M+9600). The store clerk told me that old generation (1 or 2 revisions back) had a few problems and battery life wasn't any good.
    The games I'd be looking for it'd be stuff like Steam (HL2, etc...) and online games, not really looking to play games at HIGHEST and AA 8X and stuff (for example: Prototype, GRID, ..).

    Tl;dr: Is it possible to play games on medium, even the newest (for this gen, 2009-2010) while playing older games and emulators (MAME, PS1) with no hitch on high(er) settings?
    I have a 9600 GT in my PC which runs games fine, so I imagine that 9400 isn't that much different? (Both 256mb cards)

    Also, would upgrading the ram later on really help me (8GB limit, so yeah) with general use?

    Another thing, I checked a mac store and the 13" seemed enough to play and use on a daily basis, is it like that for long time users? I can't afford a low-end 15" though, so just wondering if I'm not buying something I'll regret a bit.
    (Relating to this, if I buy a HDTV, Minidisplay to DVI and DVI-HDMI, no hitch to get it connected to use the HDTV as monitor to view movies or even play games with for example a controller? :p)

    Is the processor that much different from using a 2.53ghz? I know in total I'm missing out on 0.5ghz but does that make all the difference?

    And lastly, if I install Bootcamp with WinXP (or Win7, when it becomes supported or more stable), do Windows apps and games run as fine as running those with a same specs laptop?

    Hope that a newbie doesn't get bashed :) If it's not clear because I wrote all this in a hurry, feel free to reply.


    EDIT: A friend of mine could give me his Airport Express which he never used, but I have no idea. Since at uni I'll have just one internet cable to have wired into macbook, is the Airport Express actually a router that can give signal to let's say 2 laptops and an xbox 360 at the same time? (I'd use it for my dorm room, which isn't a house so how big is the range of an Airport Express? (Anywhere from 4 to 8 metres would be what I need)
  2. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    If you're wanting to do gaming, the prior gen unibody mbp with the 9600 and 9400 cards are the way to go. The sales person was referring to the early 08 (non unibody) mbp's with the nvidia 8600 cards: nvidia had manufacturing problems with those cards, and a lot of people have reported that they fry like bacon at a denny's at 6 in the morning. The 9400 is an integrated card that can play older games and some newer ones at reduced settings.

    The unibody prior gen 2.66 and 2.93 mbps also took 8 gigs of ram, the slightly older 2.4, 2.53 and 2.8's only took 6, though unofficially.
  3. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004

    The 9400 gets about 1/5 the fps of 9600. Or, you could build a pc for $700 that can run games at excellent fps (4870s are about $150 these days) and buy the cheapest mbp.
  4. UserName thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2004
    Hmm, okay. I think it was the bad model though, the price was a bit too low for what I got...
    Basically I'm asking some info with the new macbooks. It's portable gaming but for real gaming I still have a 360 or a PC. I'd just love to be able to play most games, not necessarily having it being a beauty at max res, since for that people just buy a high end PC.
    (Just playing them works on a 9400, so that's a good thing :)).

    Besides the model he showed me showed some problems with the switching between 2 graphic cards, and battery life was around 4hours =/ at uni/college, this isn't really a good thing.

    At least, I still believe as you guys say, the 9400 allows me to play games, even new ones, but on low/medium settings for new and high for old. This is basically what I want :)

    How do emulators fare though? Just wondering that too (MAME high end games, PS1, ...), I'd love to play some (arcade) games on TV with a controller through my MBP :p. Should be possible right?

    Thanks for the fast reply already, anyone else got some answers/tips for my other questions (HDTV, Airport, Processor, Bootcamp)? :)

    @Freyqq: 20% of the 9600? Is it that much of a difference? Because games work really well on my PC with the 9600, so I figured the 9400 wouldn't make much of a difference... 20% of a card is really a big statement :|
    Building a PC isn't needed though, as it would be for college use and I have a pretty decent PC already at home XD

    I have no idea what this meant, sorry. (New to the mac scene >_>) But I'd upgrade it to 8GB DDR3 Ram after a while only, I think 2gb is enough or even 4gb (might upgrade it to that before going for 8GB).

    Again, already thanks for the help guys...I just don't want to invest into something I'd regret.
  5. Frosties macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    Regarding Bootcamp so yes windows runs just fine, what you will run into is that Apple is not any good with drivers for fan control in windows. When playing games you have to install a program not from apple to set your fan speed so it does not overheat. When gaming the outer casing can become very hot if you don't do this. Other than that it works fine as it is regular windows on standard hardware.
  6. UserName thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2004
    Yeah, that's what I've seen. But I guess that problem is quickly solved when checking some forums and finding a program that does the fan control. :)

    Oh, additional to the questions I've put in bold in my last post, does an MBP heat up badly (when connected and when not connected to the AC adapter?)
    I'm using a toshiba 12" netbook temporarily (could use it from a colleague), but it heats up BADLY! Even when not connected, give it 30minutes - 1hour to heat up and have a crappy battery life. It's the U100 or something for people who are interested.

    EDIT: I should seriously register to this forum, quite friendly people and mac stuff. :)
  7. Frosties macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    No heat issues just from being ac/dc powered, it's stressing the cpu and gpu that gives you that warm feeling. :)
  8. Ddraig macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2009
    Although I am still awaiting my 13" MBP this is what I have read or been told. If you are looking for a Mac laptop with gaming in mind most will direct you to buy a refurbished 15" MBP (late 2008) from the Apple Store. Every so often you will see a 2.53 or 2.66GHz model pop up with the 9600/9400 512 video card installed. The word is this is the best bang for your buck with gaming or heavy graphic use in mind. As for the 13" MBP I have also read and seen from YouTube, people being able to play today’s games with no issues on low to medium settings.

    You should go ahead and upgrade the Ram and HD right off the bat for better storage and performance. Don't pay Apple to do it for this is easy and cheaper for you to perform the task yourself. I personally don't see a need for more than 4GB of Ram and 8GB is very pricey atm.

    The majority will state that there is real no difference between the 2.26 and 2.53GHz models.

    In the end you seem focused on gaming more than general use and with that should look more to a refurb model, console or PC to maximize your gaming needs. But with Snow Leopard coming out soon and the understanding that OpenCL might help even out the playing field with improving the capability of the 9400 to the 9600 model but to what extreme no one knows yet.
  9. UserName thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2004

    Ahah, it might seem that way yes but I just want an all-round model (not excelling at anything, but usable for anything).
    I think the 13" basic will do the trick, upgrading HD/RAM can come eventually. Playing general online games (Cabal online, Combat Arms, etc...) which don't require high specs work, and newer games run on low/medium settings, which is good enough. (And as you said, I have a console & PC as fallback for gaming, so yeah)

    (Btw: Might sound like a total moron here but what exactly is "refurbished"? In the apple stores here haven't seen it ever, do you mean a second hand mac?)

    Anyone who can help me still with the Airport issue? And if there should be any problems using Minidisplay-DVI & DVI-HDMI and an audio jack in at both sides (hence to connect to HDTV without a hitch).

    Thanks for the help guys.
  10. Ddraig macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2009
    From what I have read on other threads you should get about 150 feet or 50 meters but the further you go the worse the signal. I can't speak from experience only what I have read from 3rd party accounts.

    Here is the product information:
  11. UserName thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2004
    So it figures as a router, which is all I need, thanks :).
    (Everyone's being pretty helpful!)

    I think I'll like this mbp 13", pretty versatile all-round. :)

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