Macbook Pro 15" gaming

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Customhobo, May 25, 2009.

  1. Customhobo macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2009
    Hey there guys.

    I have a question for you today, something that has been eating away at me as I have been doing research the past few weeks, and I finally would like to ask for a forum's opinion, and I thought this would be a good one to ask.

    I am going to be picking up a new laptop soon, and money is not a factor really.

    I am going to be using this computer a lot for school (University student taking computer science), but it will also be the only computer I will have access to, thus, it will also be my main gaming computer.

    Here is my problem..

    I can't decide between getting a Macbook pro or just a PC laptop.

    I would really like the gaming performance to be good, but I just LOVE OSX and I love how thin and portable the 15" MBPs are, especially as something I take to school everyday.

    But the one thing that really worries me is the 9600M GT.

    I will probably have this laptop as my main computer for ~3 years or so, and I have a feeling that the 9600 just wont be able to keep up even after a year or so.

    If I were to get a MBP I would go with these specs:

    2.93 ghz processor
    4 gigs of ram
    samsung 256 SSD

    having low FPS with games on a computer I just bought within the last year would really upset me, but I just love everything else about the MBP.

    Any advice on what I should do? (Mac or PC)

    Thanks in advance guys.
  2. MarkMS macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    You're on a Mac forum, so most of us are going to say go for the MBP if money is no option. But I want to let you know that I think a PC might be better for you.

    And you must be asking yourself, why is a Mac user telling you to go for a PC? Well for starters, you are a CS major and you will need to carry the laptop everywhere you go. The 15" is thin and somewhat light, but I'm telling you out of experience that it becomes a hassle carrying a MBP everyday. You don't want to carry such an expensive computer everywhere you go. I always carried mine in a sleeve since I hated putting it in my backpack with my textbooks. Even though 5.4lbs isn't much weight, it becomes heavy after a while.

    Another reason is that you will be in Windows most of the time as a CS major, I presume. Yes you can Boot Camp, but is it worth spending that much to run Windows on a Mac? You'll access OS X when you are writing papers or doing personal things, but that's about the only time.

    Third is gaming. OS X isn't a good gaming platform. You'll need Windows and yes Boot Camp can help you. But again, is it worth spending your money on a MBP only to play games and do school work in Windows?

    Instead can you have two computers? Maybe a MacBook for OS X and a PC desktop for gaming? This way you can Boot Camp the MacBook (which is smaller and lighter) and take it to class with relative ease. When you want to game, just use the desktop. If not, have you looked at the Alienware laptops?

    That is what I would do, but it's still your choice.
  3. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    Realistically it is going to boil down to the OS. Sure the MBP will be fine for gaming. I still play games on my 2007 SR MBP w/ 8600GT but it's running at medium settings and 1440 X 900 for some games and lower for more current games.

    I think if you value your overall computing experience then gaming as a secondary, I'd say go for the MBP.

    if money really isn't an issue and OS isn't much of a issue then I'd personally go for a Dell Precision M6400. those things have some impressive specs.

    But on the flip side, the one thing holding me back from switching back to a PC is the OS, it's all of the little things that make my life easier, like scrolling on a non-active window, or dictionary in everything.

    Either way your really need to figure out what is most important to you. Considering your going to be a CS major (as am I) your going to get more than comfortable in every OS. The funny thing is though, with 90% of the OS market ran by Microsoft. I've had the most compatibility with everything I've done in my major. i.e. working in Java? no need to install anything, the JDK is already built into OSX, working in C? Xcode already has the GCC compiler built in. Need a true UNIX terminal? yep you guessed it, OSX is built onto it.

    Every quarter on the first day, the instructors tell the class what they need for the course. Everyone except for myself (for some reason I'm the only mac guy I've seen out of the entire department.... seriously) runs off and has to install linux in a virtual machine or install some SDK because they need to code in it. The only problem that I see in the near future is when I have to take ASP.NET. other than that, Everything I've needed has been built into OSX.

    So which do you value more? Gaming? OS?

    EDIT: Also you may want to check with your school but I get free (that's right, FREE) retail copies of Microsoft OS's (XP pro, Vista Business, probably even Win 7 when it comes out) for being a CS major, The program is called MSDNAA. try searching it on your schools website, maybe something will come up. I also get Visual Studio 2005 and 2008, SQL Server 2008, Windows server 2003 or 2008, and a hand full of all kinds of fun software just for being a CS major.
  4. Customhobo thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2009
    Thanks for the replies guys, I appreshiate it.

    And yes NRose, I do have login information for my MSDNAA, which is damn epic. (But that you for suggesting it anyways)

    I have owned a mac before (Old 12" powerbook) and it was the best experience I have had with a personal computer.

    Except games.

    I also was curious as to why you did not like taking a MBP around all day? One of the reasons I like it is because it is so portable for its power. (I don't really have any issues taking around something that expensive because I'll most definatly have applecare and I try pretty hard to take care of it)

    You are right though about the CS thing. I do speand a lot of time in virtual machines. But that is because I am running windows.

    We have been doing a lot of work usuing bash, which required a virtual machine and are moving on to general kernel security.. i would really like to spend as much time in OSX as I can.

    So, if I had to pick OSs, it is still OSX without a doubt.

    FOr games however, I am a big blizzard fan, and I am really just hoping that the 9600m can handle SC2, D3 and any new WoW expansions (Which will all be running in OSX which is a plus)

    If I were to get a PC though.. I have no idea where to look. I am not a fan of alienware, and their laptops seem to bulky to me anyways...

    Any more help would be great, and thanks for the info so far.
  5. TheSandman2236 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    The uMBP should have no problem at all running Starcraft 2 or Diablo III. Blizzard has a great track record of making their games run on OSX, and that shouldn't change. The 9600m should run it just fine.

    Can you post a link to a PC equivalent laptop you were thinking of getting? You'll also have to remember the Apple Products hold their resale value far better than generic PC hardware. So if you felt you needed to upgrade 2-3 Years down the line, it wouldn't cost you 'as much'.
  6. Customhobo thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2009
    Ya, I love how blizzard goes out of their way to make great OSX compatible games.

    And I never did think about that last points.. which is a good one.

    As for an equivalent PC laptop.. I have no idea.

    I have looked a that Dell Precision M6400, the Alienware Area-51 m15x, and a few configurations on and although their specs are pretty good, all of those laptops seem way too bulky to take to school every single day... so I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.
  7. MarkMS macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    I just didn't like carrying mine everyday because I didn't want it to get stolen. Even now, as a grad student, I feel like someone is going to steal it whenever I leave it in the lab unattended when I'm running apps for my medical genetics research.

    If all you are worried about is upcoming Blizzard games and can do all of your work in virtual machines, then go for the MBP.
  8. TheSandman2236 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    -Yea Blizzard is great about that. Windows 7 is free at the moment. I use it strictly as an 80GB partition only for gaming. Steam etc.

    -Just check out eBay or Craigslist and look at what 3+ year old MBP's are selling for, you'd be VERY surprised. The Unibody Macbook Pro's will do even better because of their more durable construction.

    -And if you ask me, that Dell, Alienware or iBuy Power laptop will either crack, break, overheat, or die in 4 years anyway. They aren't built like they used to. In fact I'm postive those models are all heavier than a MBP.

    Just take care of and keep an eye on your MBP. It wont get stolen. Get a good hardshell case and a good bag. Believe me, you won't regret it.
  9. Ov3rlord Falc0r macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2009
    Personally I would suggest just getting the 13 in uMB and upgrading the hard drive. Then use boot camp to run windows for school. Then I'd spend the 800+ dollars on a PC desktop for games. You can get a pretty decent one for 800 or so.
  10. onlycopunk macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2008
    No one has mentioned this yet, but a PC laptop that contains anything better then a 9600m, is going to be A LOT heavier.

    Carrying a laptop on it's own is fine, but couple that with a text book and you will rue the day you ever chose to get anything other then an ultraportable laptop. Seriously. As much as we all love our laptops, they are a true pain in the ass to carry around all day. So choose wisely as weight will make a huge impact.
  11. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    Its true, they will be thick, heavy, and have super short battery life. at least on all the mac notebooks you can take notes and cruise the internet all day basically on one battery charge. But if you have high expectations for gaming....youll be let down
  12. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    Textbooks? What are these????

    Since I've changed my major to CS 3 years ago, I really haven't carried a textbook with me at all:D:D:D PDF and Google have been my best friends.

    Battery life???? What would a CS department be without a plethora of power outlets and ethernet jacks and/or wireless.

    To the OP: Honestly if I had to go back to a PC, I'd either go for a Dell Precision or Thinkpad. Then again, my needs are different for yours, I really don't need a gaming machine, So you could probably rule out the Thinkpad. The Dell XPS 1730 look pretty sweet also but I think the components are getting a bit outdated and could use a refresh.

    A friend of mine uses a older Dell XPS 1530, and it seems pretty nice but for some reason the precision line always attracted me more.

    I think deep down inside, You really want the MBP, So get it!!!!!! it will definitely last you 3 years. and should meet all of your needs. Just think I'm still running on a 2 year old 2.4ghz MBP, and the performance of the newest 2.4ghz uMBP is probably only marginally higher than mine.
  13. Customhobo thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2009
    Thanks for all the great tips guys.

    I think I'm going to go with the MBP, and then just ALSO buy a PC desktop for my games.

    That way I can still run my blizzard games while lanning at my friends houses, but if something really intense comes out in the next year or so, I'll just have my home PC to handle it.

    You have all been great, and have have made me feel solid on my purchase.
  14. Unprocessed1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    With the specs you're getting, you could easily play almost anything using bootcamp without a hitch. I'd save your money and not buy a separate gaming laptop. Unless you want to spend $1500+, I bet the MPB would perform better when using bootcamp!

    Go to youtube and search macbook pro + games. You'll be surprised that the MBP is a fairly capable gaming machine with the right specs and bootcamp.
  15. bolen macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2008
    I would like to suggest a combo of PC and Mac.

    You can get the cheaper 13" Macbook (2,4GHz Unibody etc.) for $1699 (incl. 4GB RAM) and then spend the remaining ~$1100 on a performance PC tower and use that for gaming at home.

    This will get you a beautiful, slim and portable Mac that won't strain your back that you can use as your everyday computer (hook it up to the monitor while home) and you will also get the performance needed for games when you feel like gaming away some at home.

    You can get a pretty sweet gaming rig for that amount of money.

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