MacBook retina 15" gaming cpu

LEOMODE

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 14, 2009
242
9
Southern California
Hi,

I'm still contemplating on which model to buy.

As far as researching is concerned, I've narrowed down on the following models:

1) early 2013 macbook retina: 2.7ghz 16gb ram 512ssd 650m
2) late 2013 macbook retina: 2.3ghz 16gb ram 512ssd 750m
3) 2) with 2.6ghz upgrade

I've gave up on the pc gaming laptop for various reasons: build quality, crappy display, weight. (But better price and performance)

My questions are as follow:

1) I mainly play WoW, SC2, D3. Do these games require cpu power for me to upgrade cpu?
2) since heat and noise will go together, do higher clock cpu produce more heat&noise noticeably? (More than 10celcius and etc)
3) do 650m lack more than 5~10fps than 750m under same settings?

I've looked up on barefeats and other benchmark sites but couldn't find a clear answer. Any real life users' comments will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,968
4,551
You are unlikely to see any difference in gaming experience with am upgraded CPU. All benchmarks I've seen indicate that the 650m is on par with the 750m. IMO, the last year rMBP is the best value for money.
 

john123

macrumors 68020
Jul 20, 2001
2,475
1,223
You are unlikely to see any difference in gaming experience with am upgraded CPU. All benchmarks I've seen indicate that the 650m is on par with the 750m. IMO, the last year rMBP is the best value for money.
This is all correct.
 

DannyDrama

macrumors regular
Aug 30, 2009
134
0
The 650m is ok for games but don't expect to play on highest settings. That said, Metro LL plays well on high.
 

LEOMODE

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 14, 2009
242
9
Southern California
Thanks for the comments on vga.

What should i do for the cpu?
It's not like I will never run cpu intensive apps at all, but just not so frequently. So having something is almost better than nothing at times.
Thats why I was wondering about cpu choices.

Thanks.
 

raptor402

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2011
399
2
Thanks for the comments on vga.

What should i do for the cpu?
It's not like I will never run cpu intensive apps at all, but just not so frequently. So having something is almost better than nothing at times.
Thats why I was wondering about cpu choices.

Thanks.
The GPU advise is concrete. You won't require the CPU for gaming, so it's your call - is the infrequent and almost insignificant CPU performance boost really worth the money? If yes, go for it by all means. If no, then don't bother. Personally, I would stick to the 2.3GHz.

Regards
Raptor
 

hfletcher

macrumors 6502
Oct 10, 2008
251
170
UK
WoW is actually pretty CPU intensive, more than most games.

I have the 650m/2.6 i7 and I can get a reasonable 50fps at full resolution, with low to medium settings. The machine runs just under 90 degrees when playing for a reasonable period of time.

I'm not sure what the realistic difference is between the 650/750, but I wouldn't completely ignore that fact that the newer MBP also has the newer processors which are generally faster.
 

LEOMODE

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 14, 2009
242
9
Southern California
The GPU advise is concrete. You won't require the CPU for gaming, so it's your call - is the infrequent and almost insignificant CPU performance boost really worth the money? If yes, go for it by all means. If no, then don't bother. Personally, I would stick to the 2.3GHz.

Regards
Raptor
Hi,

I thought the higher the clock, always better. At least back in the days. (I have 6 core 3.33ghz Mac Pro and I was always pleased with the cpu-usage performance such as encoding). So I thought this applies to mobile laptops as well. And since I can't update CPU's later I thought I should just get the highest possible.

But oddly, probably due to the new chip technology, late 2013 Macbook's Crystal Well's 2.3ghz beats Early 2013 Ivy Bridge's 2.8ghz. So since it beats out the benchmark as well as having a low voltage for better battery life, should I just ignore the numbers when I try to compare CPU's? (Of course newer technology CPU's will be usually better than the others but my 3.33ghz cpu still was holding out pretty in high ranks until new i7's with lower clock beat the crap out of mine)
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,968
4,551
I thought the higher the clock, always better.
This has not been true for a long long time.

And since I can't update CPU's later I thought I should just get the highest possible.
Often, higher-clocked CPU gives you only minor improvements (under heavy load an optimal circumstances), while being substantially more expensive. Do you want to pay a huge premium for few seconds faster video compression?

should I just ignore the numbers when I try to compare CPU's?
Comparing clocks only makes sense when you have two CPUs with the same architecture. And even then, the faster clock does not necessarily mean noticeably better performance. Not many applications can utilise the CPU to 100% of its potential. For example, modern Intel CPUs have enough computational resources to adequately handle games - the rest is spent waiting for the GPU. Or just needlessly burning energy (if you draw faster then the screen can display contents).
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,383
61
The whole clock speed stuff really doesn't matter too much in mobile devices as heat is such a big issue.
Basically if the GPU is active in your MBP, the CPU has to cut back significantly. If the GPU is off or does next to nothing the CPU will run quite a bit faster. Putting the fastest CPU in Money can buy, may in the end hurt gaming performance because the at its minimum clock the CPU will run slightly hotter which can lead to the GPU having less room to work with and throttle.

The base clocks like 2.3 Ghz mean fairly little nowadays. The Crystal-well CPUs do better per clock in some workloads than normal CPUs without the eDRAM. Do slightly worse in others because sometimes the EDRAM is useless and still consumes energy which means lower clocks. Generally games is probably not where Crystal-well will shine. Many games the CPU can practically run with 800 MHz and provide enough speed for the 40-50 fps that the GPU will be able to handle. It won't run anywhere near the 3.3 Ghz max clock. Car racing and first person shooters are usually low on the CPU. RTS are generally CPU heavy.
It always depends on the engine and the settings.

Quite honestly if gaming on a notebook is your concern, you should just ignore CPUs altogether. Anything Quad Core is great, Dual Core sometimes enough (there are bigger differences on Dual Cores). The difference between any Quad Cores whether Ivy Bridge or Haswell isn't enough to matter unless we talk about some 18" Alienware gaming notebook with the 100W+ GPUs.

#1 WoW is a joke for even Dual Cores. D3 shouldn't be fine with any most CPUs. SC2 is the only really CPU heavy game but the difference between the 2Ghz Quad and the 2.6Ghz wouldn't be noticeable.
#2 on average yes. CPUs are binned but that usually only accounts for a big enough difference on new process. 22nm is old. So essentially a 2.6Ghz will run hotter. During gaming the fans run full speed anyway in most games so it is really just trading heat between CPU and GPU.
#3 the 650M and 750M are equal because Apple overclocked the 650M form standard spec by about 20% (like most manufactures) and now underclocked the 750M by about the same percentage (if you count in Turbo). So it is virtually the exact same GPU with more VRAM. The 2GB VRAM will help get more detail especially in games that will be released in the future. With PS4 and XBox One Texture quality will probably increase and VRAM is the main limit of texture quality. Not having enough VRAM limits the picture quality not the performance in FPS you get, it also helps with textures popping up in wide open areas.
 

raptor402

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2011
399
2
#1 WoW is a joke for even Dual Cores. D3 shouldn't be fine with any most CPUs. SC2 is the only really CPU heavy game but the difference between the 2Ghz Quad and the 2.6Ghz wouldn't be noticeable.
True that. I run WoW on my mid-2010 15" on almost maxed out settings. The 2.66GHz Dual Core and GT 330M provide me with a steady 30-40FPS.

As for the topic at hand, such a difference in clock speed would mostly be noticeable in single core tasks. As stated above, with games, CPUs provide a bottleneck with only the strongest GPUs, such as triple or quad SLI NVidia GTX Titans (saw that on Anandtech's quad SLI Titan system review).

And as is also stated above, the 2.6GHz clock speed will result in hotter functionality and lower battery life. In fact, decrease in batter life has been noticed even without any major CPU use.

I hope this helps.

Regards
Raptor
 

Orr

macrumors 6502
Oct 8, 2013
363
50
An Air can play any of the games you listed fine. Assuming you're sticking to those older titles, a refurbished Ivy Bridge 15" w/ 650M is more than enough.
 

Zodiac.mj

macrumors member
Mar 10, 2013
85
10
I play only Blizzard games, mainly WoW and I have latest maxed out Air experience, so let me give you my 5 cents.

First of all, that Air was the best laptop I had in my hands. It's so light, so fast, event my maxed out current rMBP doesn't give that 'WOW' feeling while using it. But for gaming, it's a very bad choice.

That crappy TN display is main reason for me not to choose standard PC equivalent, so I won't pay premium for TN panel with just Apple logo on it. Performance wise, it's fast for day-to-day usage, but for games, when you have 15W TDP envelope it's just thottling you after 5 minutes of gaming. You can of course lower details (I played min-mid in native res), but I won't pay 1500$+ premium for that. In short, Airs are not meant to be played (on) :D

Air was just a replacement for my 1st gen rMBP. It was nice, I was able to play on high details but it was throttling all the time and overheating after 15 mins of playing WoW. I decided to get rid of it before new model arrives and prices will drop.

Latest Haswell rMBP is step up. Not in performance, it's pretty much the same experience on a model with 750GT GPU. But it's not overheating that much, throttling is gone and SSD speeds are twice the old model. Overall, it's a geat tool at work and really good piece of hardware at home to play on :)

EDIT: Of course forget playing native res (2880x1600) on retinas. You will have to stick to standard res which is 1440x900 and you can have maxed out everything and decent framerate with 30-60 fps pretty much everywhere. If you prefer consistent 60+, just lower shadows to high from ultra.
 

john123

macrumors 68020
Jul 20, 2001
2,475
1,223
EDIT: Of course forget playing native res (2880x1600) on retinas. You will have to stick to standard res which is 1440x900 and you can have maxed out everything and decent framerate with 30-60 fps pretty much everywhere. If you prefer consistent 60+, just lower shadows to high from ultra.
Unfortunately, WoW like many games is already rendering it at 2880x1600 initially, which is why the 650M and 750M offer worse performance than the previous non-Retina unibody models. I posted on the forums about this, and the developers said it's working as intended.
 

Zodiac.mj

macrumors member
Mar 10, 2013
85
10
Check my previus thread on this forum, I posted how to set the game to render at 1440x900: choose 'Get info' from contect menu after clicking on 'World of Warcraft-64' file, then check 'Open in low resolution'. And you're all set.

I'm playing WoW like this all the time. Works perfect and looks great :)
 

LEOMODE

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 14, 2009
242
9
Southern California
Thank you all for the insights.

I do not want to run the game at 1440x900 because I had the previous 2009 macbook pro and 1440x900 screen size was too small for wow to put any additional addons to appear! :(

Would retina run ok with wow on at least 1680x1050, the next resolution after 1440x900 with great details? (Like most laptops/monitors look weird with non-intended resolution)

1680x1050 was my intention to run wow screen if i get retina.

Thanks for your help all!
 

raptor402

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2011
399
2
Thank you all for the insights.

I do not want to run the game at 1440x900 because I had the previous 2009 macbook pro and 1440x900 screen size was too small for wow to put any additional addons to appear! :(

Would retina run ok with wow on at least 1680x1050, the next resolution after 1440x900 with great details? (Like most laptops/monitors look weird with non-intended resolution)

1680x1050 was my intention to run wow screen if i get retina.

Thanks for your help all!
You can run WoW on 1920*1200 on the rMBP without any issues.

And 1680*1050 should look alright, but not that great.


Raptor
 

LEOMODE

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 14, 2009
242
9
Southern California
You can run WoW on 1920*1200 on the rMBP without any issues.

And 1680*1050 should look alright, but not that great.


Raptor
Hi, do you mean it will look more crisp and detailed on 1920x1200?

Since 1680x1050 is a lower res i thought it will cut down more vga power thus better looking. (I can turn on more options such as on ultra)

But i guess you mean rmbp will look 1920x1200 on games better than 1680x1050 res if i get it correctly.
 

raptor402

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2011
399
2
Hi, do you mean it will look more crisp and detailed on 1920x1200?

Since 1680x1050 is a lower res i thought it will cut down more vga power thus better looking. (I can turn on more options such as on ultra)

But i guess you mean rmbp will look 1920x1200 on games better than 1680x1050 res if i get it correctly.
I meant that the system will be able to handle the game at 1920*1200. As for sharpness, I'm not exactly sure as I've never used a scaled resolution app on an rMBP.

I mentioned the 1680*1050 specifically because you asked about it.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1668215

I hope this answers some questions.

Regards
Raptor
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,903
480
1) I mainly play WoW, SC2, D3. Do these games require cpu power for me to upgrade cpu?
2) since heat and noise will go together, do higher clock cpu produce more heat&noise noticeably? (More than 10celcius and etc)
3) do 650m lack more than 5~10fps than 750m under same settings?

I've looked up on barefeats and other benchmark sites but couldn't find a clear answer. Any real life users' comments will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
1) No. I could play on my 2008 15'' MBP with a crappy 8600GT and a core 2 duo on low settings just fine. Games are usually GPU intensive, not CPU.
2) No.
3) AFAIK, the 750GT is the same card as the 650, only slightly overclocked, I would not expect night and day difference between both.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,047
1,104
NYC
Obviously option 3 is the best. The newer model has PCI Express based storage and faster wireless. Not much of a difference, but it may be something you want to justify getting the new one (we all have one of those). ;)

Personally I would go with which ever of the three options is cheapest.
 

raptor402

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2011
399
2
I would recommend option 2. But be warned, a MacBook is not the ideal computer if gaming is your main purpose. If gaming is a secondary but vital purpose, go ahead with option no. 2. The CPU won't affect the performance at all.

Raptor
 

exigentsky

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2007
125
0
Honestly the MBP just isn't that good for gaming. The 750m is mediocre card selected mostly for its price, large availability and modest power consumption. I wouldn't consider anything less than a 765M if I were going for an Nvidia-powered gaming laptop.
 

Leisyu

macrumors member
Nov 27, 2013
31
0
i dont think cpu matters that much for gaming, after all, all the options you get are quad core and latest versions, what matters is the graphics card, here is a post where they discuss the performace of only the IRIS PRO, you can have an idea of how well can the 750M perform compared to that. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1662978 :D
 

LEOMODE

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 14, 2009
242
9
Southern California
Thank you all for the comments. To clarify on the reason why I still chose MacBook retina for gaming is simple: Build quality wise and display wise there were no other options. The only advantage other window laptops had were price and better gpu. But i can sacrifice that. Besides even those laptops still suffer from bulkiness, weight (if they are top performance), cooling system, and heating (even if theyre portable) anyways from the reviews ive read.

So to sacrifice price and gpu, ive chosen to play the games with lesser graphic options.

Overall, ill just try to go for last gen model. Better price and similar performance it seems.