Macbook Pro for Gaming?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Prissy, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Prissy macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2009
    Hi, I am looking to buy a laptop sometime next year (Prob will wait for the next Gen of 15" MBP). I will want to do some hardcore gaming and some print design work with this new laptop. Do you guys think a MBP will be a good choice? Also are there a lot of aftermarket upgradable video cards made for the current MBP? Sorry for the noobness but I don't know if I can replace the video card for a MBP.
  2. happle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2010
    cant replace the video card (well discrete gfx as they call it) and the MBP is not good for hardcore gaming. you can play games like wow, starcraft, and team fortress, but i wouldnt take it any further then that.

    the MBP runs hot when gaming as well
  3. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    there is no way to replace the graphics card in a MBP. by that i mean of course it is possible, but it would be so difficult and cause so many issues that no one would dare do it. I mean, you'll have to literally take the graphics card off the logic board, replace it, and somehow get the drivers past apple's walled garden. so basically impossible.

    As far as hardcore gaming goes, you're better off using a real gaming desktop/laptop, but if you need OSX for your print design work then it will be passable.
  4. ThirtyThr33 macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2011
    Boulder, Colorado
    If you're looking to do some "hardcore" gaming then I'd look elsewhere. Macs are good for a lot of things but their graphics card is not built for hardcore gaming. I run Oblivion and Fallout on my MBP 15" 2011, but I can't run much on Ultra High Settings.
  5. ChronoIMG macrumors regular


    Sep 11, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    The new MBP with i7's and the 1GB ATI card's are amazing for gaming. I've got an SSD in mine and it screams. And for the first time, I'm actually happy to fire up Parallels 7 and play Dungeon Defenders without any issues. It feels native it's so freaking fast.
  6. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    The MBP is a great buy, but:

    This speaks for not only the MBP, but 99% of laptops. The only upgradeable parts that will not be soldered onto the mainboard are:
    The RAM and hard drive.

    Also, hardcore gaming and laptop should never be put in the same sentence. Laptops simply aren't suited for anything more than casual gaming. Why? They have poor ventilation, barely any upgradability, subpar mobile graphics cards, etc.

    If you truly want a gaming laptop, I'd look elsewhere. Sure, the current crop of MBP's are able to handle most modern games on moderate settings, but they will not be able to play the latest FPS game with all the graphics turned to max at 60FPS like a comparably priced windows desktop could.

    Just my opinion.
  7. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    You are a Desktop guy as it seems.
    There is no such thing as upgradeable GPUs for more or less any Notebooks. That is one of the big reasons why gaming on a notebook is a bad idea. With a Desktop you put a new midrange GPU in after 2 years and it plays any game again at decent details. With notebooks you need to buy an entire new Notebook after 2 years and still get much worse performance while spending about 10 times as much.

    There is hope on the horizon that with thunderbolt some external GPU solutions might come up which would be upgradeable. You can expect though that just such an enclosre with thunderbolt connectivity and an internal pcie x16 port will sell for probably as much as the GPU costs that you want to put in. If they do sell unbundeled at all.

    For casual gaming and current games a MBP 15" works quite well. If hardcore only means you play alot but not necessarily the latest games it works. Say playing mostly CSS and stuff. If you mean you buy the latest games and want to play stuff like BF3, SC2 you better look elsewhere. It works currently but will quickly become outdated and with future games. A casual gamer doesn't care, a hardcore gamer probably does unless he/she only means to play one or two special games for years.
    With a real gaming notebook the hardware stands its ground a bit longer.
    Real gaming notebooks have 560M or better GPUs. Best is 6970M or something in that range. They are huge, ugly, heavy and not very mobile but quite a decent bit faster than the 6770M in the MBPs.
    Better yet wait for 28nm GPU which are just around the corner and should give a healty speed boost in mobile graphics.
    If you just want somewhat stylisch and fast. Maybe the Samsung 700G7A is for you. I would get a more plain and ugly looking Asus G74 though they handle the cooling better.
  8. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    If you really care about hardcore gaming, don't buy a MBP.
  9. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    For gaming, their are many laptops far superior to a MBP. Especially if you are going to spend $2200 on a PC laptop.
  10. Prissy thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2009
    First, I would like to thank you for all the replies. I agree on all of the facts that you guys brought up, but my choices are pretty limited, The reason why I must get an apple laptop is because I already have a Mac Pro PowerMac deasktop which i am trying to sell it because it will not work with the new games, I got this for free so.... no rant lol. Also have a powerful PC desktop for gaming. I want to get my wife to play Diablo 3 when it comes out next yr, so I want something practical that would games at highest setting and also fits my print design needs. Hopefully they will have a much stronger video card for the next gen...
  11. ABadSanta macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2011
    Thought I'd add my perspective.

    The Macbook Pro 15 and 17 inch models are very capable computers. My early 2011 Macbook Pro 15" with the following specs

    2.0 ghz Intel Core i7 Quadcore
    8 GB G-Skill DDR3 Ram 1333 mhz
    500 GB HDD @ 7200 RPM
    ATI Radeon HD 6490M w/ 256 MB of VRAM
    OS X Lion
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit in BootCamp

    can play Starcraft 2 and Skyrim very well.

    The current 15 and 17 inch models with the Radeon 6750 and 6770 are even more capable.

    I'm sure next year's probably redesign will feature even more powerful graphics cards.

    If you're willing to switch to a Windows laptops, the Alienware laptops are very good and more intended for gaming.
  12. IGotBush macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2011

    which is going to cost an absurd amount of money, near half the price of the current top end mbp 15''

    OP you want to game hardcore make a desktop. If your definition of hardcore gaming is just playing a lot, mbp would work. Top end graphics and performance? No, but you will be able to play. For the price of the top end 15'' mbp you could make not the best, but a very very nice gaming rig
  13. Proph3T, Nov 29, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011

    Proph3T macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2010
    Mbp for gaming

    I love my MBP. It is great for most things. Gaming is really the only thing it is not great for. I have the sandy bridge 2.2ghz with the 6750m and it does not play the newer games well. It is great for older games like tf2, killing floor, and even Starcraft 2 is pretty decent. Skyrim, Battlefield 3, and arkham city not really playable at any settings that aren't complete ****. If you really want a gaming laptop it seems like most people in my major getting the ASUS gaming laptops. They are big and ugly and have horrible battery life but they game well. Still nothing like you will get from a desktop.

    If your wife doesn't need a laptop right now I would definitely wait for the next model. Graphics will only get better.
  14. ChronoIMG macrumors regular


    Sep 11, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    Yes, I'm quite sure there are "many" laptops "far superior" to a MBP for gaming. I haven't found one yet that actually works with Mac OS X yet though.


    Not sure why BF3 doesn't play fine for you on a Sandy Bridge but it plays great for me.
  15. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011

    Why would you want Mac OS X for gaming? It's almost useless.


    You can't have it all. A MBP is ok for gaming, so if it's a secondary gaming machine for your wife it will be ok. But don't expect to run everything at highest settings.

    Laptops in general make bad machines for gaming, since they can't be upgraded, and are very limited in the choice of graphics cards. You want OSX apparently, and a laptop, so you have three options:
    MBA & 13'' MBP with built in graphics
    15'' low end MBP with Radeon 6750 and 512 MB video ram
    15''/17'' high end MBP with Radeon 6770 and 1 GB video ram

    Check the system requirements of your favorite games and find out whether the above graphic card options are sufficient for them (Hint: Blizzard already put the system requirements for D3 on the web).

    The high end 27'' iMac has a 6970 GPU, which will do a better job.
  16. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    I've been using a macbook pro for gaming for a couple of generations. The most recent has a surprisingly good graphics card. The next rendition should have an even better GPU. Obviously better than the current one, but what I mean to say is better than the current curve. It wasn't long ago that macbook pros couldn't play the latest games at all. Now you can play most of them on high settings. Hopefully the next trend will continue to close the gap.

    As long as you understand the depreciation and not being able to upgrade as easily as a desktop, I think you'll love it.

    By the time you need to upgrade, we may have the fabled external video card thunderbolt option.
  17. IllIllIll macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2011
    There's your answer. No.
  18. praetorx macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2010
    My two cents (literally):

    1. Not all games are or will be cross-platform
    2. The iMac/Macbook Pro get really hot and noisy even from playing fairly modest games such as EVE Online, Half Life 2 etc due to inadequate cooling capabilities

    I wouldn't consider a Mac even for casual gaming because of number 2.
  19. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    If you are planning on having an MBP anyway, no need to buy an additional gaming PC. The MBP runs games very competently but there are definitely other options better suited to gaming. There are no external GPUs at this point but people believe there will be one at some point that uses Thunderbolt.

    The current mid-range has a GPU that is on par with what Alienware has in the M14x. I'd say that's pretty decent for what isn't a behemoth of laptop like some of the Asus or MSI ones . The entry level 15" is not far behind. However, the GPUs in previous gen MBP's were not as good (relative to the competition) so when you get your MBP after the next revision, things might have changed.
  20. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    There is no guarantee any current hardware will be able to run Diablo 3 on the highest settings. Blizzard hasn't even announced system requirements yet. I hope you have a really big budget for this...

    If you're willing to concede on the settings I'm guessing you will probably get by fairly well on a current model loaded Mac mini or MBP 17". Blizzard has been pretty good about making their titles pretty forgiving to run well on older hardware.
  21. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    >hardcore gaming

    Just build a gaming desktop PC :D
  22. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
  23. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    What the...nice. They need to update their FAQ:

    I consider myself rebuffed. :)

    So based off of the link Thundersteele provided it looks like HD 3000 will probably run it on the lowest settings. The 6490m medium, the Mac mini 6630m a little better and the 67x0m should run it on a mix of medium/high or better. Does that sound about right?
  24. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Omg, can someone fix my grammar in the sentence above? It looks totally wrong, but I can't figure it out.

    It should run on high settings with the 6750 and 6770 GPUs. Blizzard is usually not very demanding with graphics. 8 GB RAM could be useful.
  25. Prissy thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2009
    I;ll wait til the next MBP :) HOPEFULLY D3 will be out that time lmao.

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