MBA 11" vs. Diablo III

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Pengapine, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Pengapine macrumors member

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    Mar 9, 2011
    #1
    11" MBA owners,

    Can the latest 11" MBA version handle this? I understand it's not really meant to be used as a gaming computer, but the question is, can the current processor and gpu handle games similar to this (thinking like WoW or maybe SCII)?

    I am waiting for the news to drop on the new refresh. But this decision will determine probably whether I go for the 13" or the 11" MBA in the new iteration. What's the current cpu/gpu gap between the 2 models?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Nebrie macrumors 6502a

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  3. amarcus macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I haven't tried myself but I'd expect them to run smoothly at lowest settings and perhaps a reduced resolution.

    Negligible at best. I really wouldn't worry about the GPU performance differences between the current 11inch and 13inch Macbook Air's. Although this might not hold true for the new Macbook Air's.

    Don't get your hopes up they'll still be pretty unremarkable compared to dedicated graphics (read: Today's 15inch Macbook Pro is on a different league!). However what might be worth considering is thunderbolt driven external graphics - the MSI GUS II is set to launch this month so fingers crossed it hits the mark.

    Adam
     
  4. bogatyr macrumors 65816

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    #4
  5. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Rumors state that HD4000 will be around 30% better than HD3000, which is OK but still far from a gaming-friendly GPU. It will get the job done, but it won't be totally smooth.
     
  6. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a

    Psilocybin

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    #6
  7. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #7
    I wouldn't game on a MacBook Air. Period. Nor would I on a 13" MacBook Pro equipped with an Intel HD 3000 for the exact same reasons. If you want a good gaming experience on a portable Mac, do yourself a favor and go with a 15" MacBook Pro. The Intel HD 3000 can run StarCraft II well on lowest settings and passably on medium settings (albeit not as well as the GeForce 320M-equipped Core 2 Duo Macs) and in my experience, Diablo III's minimum system requirements are just a slight notch higher than StarCraft II's. If you want an 11" Air for the ultraportability element, fantastic, but I would never recommend one as your only computer.
     
  8. Yggbert macrumors regular

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    #8
    SC2 runs quite nicely on the current gen airs, Diablo III is going to work nicely too. Blizzard always cater quite well for the low end users.
     
  9. Pengapine thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 9, 2011
    #9
    Thanks for all the responses. Yes, I am well aware that MBAs don't necessary cater to gaming, but it's nice to know that it can handle it from a cpu gpu perspective (I currently have a 2011 15" Sandy Bridge MPB Ultimate).

    I am looking for a secondary laptop for the wife and we're eyeing the new gen of MBAs (hence the 11" vs. 13" comes into play). I don't think it will be used to game much, but if she ever cares to join me in Diablo III, it's nice to know that the option is there. :)
     
  10. i0Nic macrumors 65816

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    #10
    When are the new Air's rumoured to be released? I know we can't rely on anything, but wondering if there are any ballpark figures.

    I am satisfied with the way my 13" Air runs SC2, I would possibly upgrade to a new Air if it can run it slightly better as well as Diablo 3.
     
  11. Oli3000 macrumors regular

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    Apr 20, 2009
    #11
    What's your source for this? Been trying to find more information on it for a while - shame it doesn't seem to come with minidisplay/thunderbolt daisy chaining though, pain in the ass if you have an ACD or even the ATD!
     
  12. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #12
    Diablo III has a higher graphics requirement than StarCraft II; also StarCraft II runs OKAY on the Intel HD 3000 in the current Airs; certainly not as well on Medium settings as you'd see on the NVIDIA GeForce 320M. Similarly, I have run the Diablo III beta on the GeForce 320M and the experience is passable, but not at all ideal. So, yes, while Blizzard does make scalable game engines and while the game will likely run smoothly on Diablo III, it will look terrible as all of the settings will have to be turned down/off.

    The Intel HD 3000 will be sufficient to run the game, but with most settings either turned off or down. This is how I run the game on my Mac mini with the GeForce 320M, which is slightly better than the Intel HD 3000; the experience in the beta isn't great; definitely passable, but not optimal. If we're talking about which Intel HD 3000 machine she should go with, I'd go with a 13" MacBook Pro (customize it with an SSD if you really want an SSD) over either MacBook Air model, but if you have to go with a MacBook Air, I'd go with a 13" model over an 11" model. The 11" model is an overglorified iPad/Netbook.
     
  13. Yggbert macrumors regular

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    #13
    Yeah I know, I am assuming the OP is going to be fine with low settings.
     
  14. amarcus macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Someone asked MSI directly: http://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=157764.0. Of course your welcome to do the same ;)

    In practice I don't think chaining will be such a big deal I mean the ACD/ATD usually goes at the end of the chain anyway....

    Adam
     
  15. Oli3000 macrumors regular

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    #15
    Yeah exactly, but there doesn't seem to be a second port on the GUS to allow you to connect your ACD/ATD! Which would be a massive pain in the arse! Essentially makes your ATD redundant and ACD only functional with an adapter!
     
  16. cirus macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 15, 2011
    #16
    it is for a 'tick'.

    Intel tick-tock strategy
    tick (die shrink) followed by tock (new architeture)
    Tocks are usually much larger than 'ticks'.
    from sandy bridge to ivy bridge is a tick and so you should expect less than the transition from westmere to sandy bridge or the transition from ivy bridge to haswell.

    Intel's igpu's are improving much faster than the industry average.
     
  17. Bosmonster macrumors member

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    May 17, 2010
    #17
    I run Diablo 3 on my 11" i7 Air. It is playable in single player, but multiplayer is mostly unplayable. Too many effects for the Air to handle. Also outdoor area's are notably slower than indoor area's.

    It's cool to play the beta on, but I wouldn't wanna play the retail version on it.
     
  18. Old Smuggler macrumors 6502a

    Old Smuggler

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  19. minnus macrumors 6502

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    #19
    As long as you stick with the ACD, you can connect it to the actual video card for maximum performance. You're SOL if you want to connect it to a ATD since Apple thought it would be awesome to release a display which only supports native Thundebolt connections...which no video cards support currently.
     
  20. amarcus macrumors 6502

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    #20
    The solution to the cabling mess: integrate a GPU into the Apple Thunderbolt Display. I really hope Apple moves in this direction as it just makes perfect sense to me. They could make sure the display is matched with a card appropriate for it's resolution. Wouldn't it be great so that when they introduce a "retina" thunderbolt display that all Mac's (with thunderbolt) could use it regardless of their age/integrated graphics etc.

    Adam
     
  21. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #21
    Yeah, he'd kind of have to be. Personally, I'd save the money toward a 15" MacBook Pro as the experience would actually be decent.

    There would need to be additional cooling inside the display, which given the iMac's many problems with that does have me wary. Though if all that was added was the same style of GPU, it wouldn't be the end of the world. In fact, it'd be the perfect solution to those with a low-end Mac mini, a MacBook Air, or a 13" MacBook Pro.
     
  22. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Hmmm interesting idea. Could any tech guru here shred some light on whether this approach would be feasible at all?
     
  23. marcovortex macrumors member

    marcovortex

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    Toronto, ON
    #23
    Diablo 3 on low-end 13" Air

    Was lucky enough to try out the Diablo 3 Beta on the weekend when my friend came over.
    First, the game is amazing! I totally fell in love with it :D ..can't wait til May 15th!
    I have a low-end 2011 MacBook Air (i5, 4GB, 128SSD, HD3000) and was hoping to see my Air (which is my favourite Mac I have ever had) was going to be able to run it.
    Yes, it can run it but not well. With native resolution I had to have everything turned right down and the experience was still a TINY bit choppy with a hint of lag. The game is still in Beta so the final might run (alittle?) better but it wasn't a good experience. When the action got going (more on screen enemies, environmental action) things got even worse.
    Don't take this as I thought my Air was a gaming powerhouse but as others have said I play SC2 on it and it plays on low really well and on med pretty good, WOW plays well, but Diablo 3 wasn't a passible experience for me.
    I didn't plan on upgrading yet but will now be looking myself to get the 2012 model of either the Air or Pro depending on what Apple does.
    Love the idea of the new Air with the HD4000 being able to run Diablo 3 well but not sure its going to cut it and be enough of an upgrade to handle D3.. Haven't even tried running it in multiplayer yet which I guess would add even more strain on the GPU.
    Hope some of my experiences and insights help..
     
  24. LordVic macrumors 68040

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    Ontario
    #24
    this is very misleading.
    You may not game on it because you have high expectations of what performance you get.

    But gaming is still entirely possible.

    While it is not my gaming machine (I have a beefier windows desktop). The macbook air at least holds it's own on a couple games I throw at it for fun.

    While not the most intensive games, I have both Counterstrike Source and World Of Warcraft on my Air.

    Now, there's a big Caveat here.

    Under OSx. World of warcraft and Counterstrike do run pretty poorly. WoW requires me to set the graphics to the absolute minimum with 800x600 for 20fps. Similar issue with Counterstrike.

    However, IN windows 7. The Windows versions of these games can be run at native resolution in medium to medium high graphics and still maintain playable 30+ FPS.

    I do not foresee this being significantly different for Diablo. Yes, the MBA won't run high graphics, it wont run the latest texture mapping bump mapping or what not very nice.

    But it should be entirely playable. There were people who even were running SWTOR off their Airs
     
  25. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #25
    Fine, let me restate my point; gaming is not optimal on a MacBook Air. Yes, I can run older games like WarCraft III (assuming one can find a means of installing it in Lion) and Counter-Strike: Source on it just fine, but the experience sucks. Plain and simple. It is not recommended. It is not optimal. As a gamer, who has the GeForce 320M on his Mac (which is a hair better than the HD 3000 on the current Airs), I can't play anything more intensive than StarCraft II and have the experience be stellar. Diablo III is passable on my system, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're someone who has been waiting since Lord of Destruction came out to be playing Diablo III and really values the experience of playing it. The MacBook Air is not meant for heavy gaming. Legacy gaming it can do with no problem. Older games like WoW and CS: Source will be fine (albeit not as good as they can be on something like a 15" MacBook Pro). But the argument isn't about whether it can be done, it's about whether it SHOULD be done, and I still maintain that it shouldn't, if the experience is at all valued.
     

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