MBA vs MBP for gaming

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by skerk, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. skerk macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2012
    Hey all

    I'm going to hold out until the next generation of MBA and MBP but I'm still looking for any information on how well they handle games. I realize that Mac's are not ideal for games, and if I want a gaming machine I should buy something else, but that is besides the point. Their specs are very similar, with the MBP having a faster CPU and the air having SSD, so from what I can tell they are quite similar. Does anyone have any hands on experience gaming with either of these laptops?

    Will be looking to run diablo 3, dota 2, etc. Have seen the video of the diablo 3 beta running on the air, so shouldn't be much of a problem.
  2. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    Your games are able to be played on MBA.
    But I really do recommend getting an MBP.

    I dont know what model and size you're getting but I will be guessing 13in and up.

    The CPU are a lot faster on 15~17in.
    13in and MBA are very similar.

    However, the benefit of MBP is that you can add more RAM and HDD or SSD.
    This is the benefit that MBA dont have.

    Since MBA's RAM and flash memory is soldered on, it cannot be replaced.

    In power wise, MBA can never win on MBP.
    Speed wise, MBA can win compared to MBP's HDD.
    But add a 128GB SSD on MBP, take out the super drive and add an optibay with 500GB~1TB HDD.
    This would be a lot better compared to MBA.
  3. Andeavor macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2010
    You may have a good processor and enough RAM in a MBA but they only come with an integrated graphics card with only 256 MB or 384 MB RAM, which pretty much sucks for gaming. You'll be better off getting a MBP or wait for the next release.
  4. skerk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2012
    I was under the impression that they both had the same integrated graphics card?
  5. Andeavor macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2010
    MBPs have an AMD Radeon HD graphics card on top of an integrated one, and to save energy you can switch between them or only use one.
  6. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    Between the current MBP 13" and the current MBA they offer about the same performance running games. I suspect it is the CPU using it's Turbo boost to keep up. However because of this and the smaller size, the Air does get much more hot, and faster, and the fans are pretty noisy. Still it's amazing what it can do.

    If it's games more than a couple years old or you don't mind dialing down the graphics then they are fine for some light gaming. And Ivy Bridge looks like it will be a pretty nice upgrade. This should give you an idea of capabilities:
    (note: this is not a CPU that will end up in a mobile PC, but is a handy gauge)

    Obviously the Radeon GPU's in the 15" and 17" MBP's are a BIG step up, but they come with a heftier price tag too. So much so you could buy a thin and light 11-13" Air or Pro, and still have several hundred dollars left over to buy/build a desktop PC that would have superior performance to a 15" or 17" MBP. And you can upgrade the video card in it too, stretching the service life even further.

    - For light gaming with possible concessions on graphics settings, go for a 13" MBP or MBA. (I also want Ivy Bridge and intend to upgrade.)
    - If you're made of money, need a bigger screen or are content to run games on the market today. Then consider going 15" or 17" MBP.
    - If you're a dedicated gamer who cares about graphics quality and running future games you really should be buying a gaming console or a dedicated PC for the task.
  7. skerk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2012
  8. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    I have both the MBP and MBA 13 inch, latest models. The MBA gets SUPER HOT when playing games. I mean, hurts to touch hot. The MBP gets pretty warm, even hot but no where near the same temperatures as the MBA.

    If I use them on a hard cool surface, the MBA fans scream the entire time. The MBP is no where near as noisy.

    Don't even think about using them on an insulating material while gaming, like while in bed or laying on the couch.

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