MBP 13" vs MBP 15" for decent gaming?

Kevin Paquet

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 2, 2009
52
0
Hello,

I'm a bit confused about which Macbook Pro I should pick. Have been reading reviews about both the high-end 13-inch model and the high-end 15-inch model, as well as their low-end versions.

I thought to get the high-end 13-inch model at first, since the high-end 15-inch Macbook Pro is a bit too expensive for me. I took a look at the mid 15-inch model and it specs look great and also affordable when it comes to the money that I have available.

I'd just would like to ask if I could play games like FIFA 10 (via bootcamp) on the Macbook Pro 13-inch with no problems and smooth game play, or if I need to step up to the 15-inch mid model? Or would I run into trouble with it too when it comes to play FIFA and other similar (not so graphic intensive) games (via bootcamp)

Among others, I am also planning to do some photo edits with Photoshop and just the other ordinary things a normal user would do. Check email, play music, surf the web, etc.
 

JonHimself

macrumors 68000
Nov 3, 2004
1,553
4
Toronto, Ontario
Hello,

I'm a bit confused about which Macbook Pro I should pick. Have been reading reviews about both the high-end 13-inch model and the high-end 15-inch model, as well as their low-end versions.

I thought to get the high-end 13-inch model at first, since the high-end 15-inch Macbook Pro is a bit too expensive for me. I took a look at the mid 15-inch model and it specs look great and also affordable when it comes to the money that I have available.

I'd just would like to ask if I could play games like FIFA 10 (via bootcamp) on the Macbook Pro 13-inch with no problems and smooth game play, or if I need to step up to the 15-inch mid model? Or would I run into trouble with it too when it comes to play FIFA and other similar (not so graphic intensive) games (via bootcamp)

Among others, I am also planning to do some photo edits with Photoshop and just the other ordinary things a normal user would do. Check email, play music, surf the web, etc.
I would think the bigger concern would be having the discrete graphics card or not - not the screen size, though that is an issue as well. For gaming, I'd go with which 15" model has the two graphics cards to maximize performance - even if it is a bit pricey.
I do not have any clue about well the 13" would handle games though, hopefulyl someone else can help you.
 

reallynotnick

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2005
904
357
If you want to be able to play games you are going to need the 9600m, I have a 13in with a 9400m and it's a pain to play anything recent. Like with boarderlands I have to have everything turned down to minimum and have the res at like 848x480 and it's still not smooth.
While I always hate to suggest playing the waiting game, it might be in your best interest as whenever Apple updates the MacBook Pro line (probably Jan-Feb, who knows though) they are going to have to upgrade the graphics card because it is old as hell.
 

vant

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2009
1,231
1
9400m is terrible for newer games.

I would suggest at least the Mid-MBP15 for gaming. Actually, I'd suggest going away from MBPs period. Windows laptops are clearly the winner if you want to game.

Hint drop - Next refresh will most likely include new GPUs.
 

rsholzma

macrumors newbie
Dec 1, 2009
3
0
I have the 2.53 13" and I have been able to play red alert 3 for mac with only a little lag in places. the game runs on leopard thought so boot camp might be a little different.
 

Jason Beck

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2009
1,913
0
Cedar City, Utah
When I run games in bootcamp, like MW2, MW, Borderlands, etc, they run fine for me in mid settings. I get some pretty good frames too. I only have 2gigs of ram at that.
 

felt.

macrumors 6502a
Mar 13, 2008
698
222
Canada
I've always wondered how hard it was for people to Google for gaming benchmarks pertaining to the graphics card contained within the system they are considering purchasing?
 

Davidkoh

macrumors 65816
Aug 2, 2008
1,059
18
If your just gonna boot a few games to play the 13" would be enough, if you are a more intense gamer you want the 9600 card. Just getting the 15" with 9400 graphics card (the cheapest) is stupid, the screen isn't the issue.
 

zw-gator

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2005
697
5
Canada
The truth is, either one will suck for gaming.

Buy the 13" and with the money you save, buy a 360/PS3
 

phixiuz

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2009
103
0
If you want to be able to play games you are going to need the 9600m, I have a 13in with a 9400m and it's a pain to play anything recent. Like with boarderlands I have to have everything turned down to minimum and have the res at like 848x480 and it's still not smooth.
While I always hate to suggest playing the waiting game, it might be in your best interest as whenever Apple updates the MacBook Pro line (probably Jan-Feb, who knows though) they are going to have to upgrade the graphics card because it is old as hell.
Hmm strange, my 13" plays Borderlands just fine on native resolution, medium/high settings under Windows 7. Same with Call of Duty 2: Modern Warfare (already completed first three missions, very playable). Of course not 60 FPS constantly, rather around 20-35, but still smooth mostly.

Nevertheless, both still suck if you use them primarily for gaming...
 

six1ninepunk

macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2009
5
0
California/Oregon
I play alot of world of warcraft on my late 2008 mbp 15". It runs at about 35-40 fps on the 9400m and i can get 100+ with the 9600GT. I run games like CODMW2 and GTA4 in bootcamp and get 30-50 fps on the 9600. It does run rather hot(80-100c) so if heat bothers you I would go for something else.
 

zw-gator

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2005
697
5
Canada
Hmm strange, my 13" plays Borderlands just fine on native resolution, medium/high settings under Windows 7. Same with Call of Duty 2: Modern Warfare (already completed first three missions, very playable). Of course not 60 FPS constantly, rather around 20-35, but still smooth mostly.

Nevertheless, both still suck if you use them primarily for gaming...
But what about the temperature?

Is it really worth it if you have to crank your fans to 4k RPM and still have your CPU at 80*C+?

You're really killing the life of your laptop
 

flakes8

macrumors regular
Sep 17, 2009
142
0
New England
When I run games in bootcamp, like MW2, MW, Borderlands, etc, they run fine for me in mid settings. I get some pretty good frames too. I only have 2gigs of ram at that.
Hey Jason, your sister is HOT !!!!! :D Thanks for the info I was wondering the same thing !!!!
 

Tharian

macrumors regular
Apr 24, 2009
132
2
The most recent game I play on my macbook with the 9400m is Dragon Age.

Graphics set to medium and resolution is 1xxx by 720 and it works smoothly. Looks great!

-d
 

cababah

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2009
1,692
165
SF Bay Area, CA
laptops in general are lousy at gaming, I support the idea of having a separate pc dedicated to gaming.

gaming on any laptop destroys battery life and if anybody argues over using it to game on a desk then why not have a desktop just for that purpose?
 

Davidkoh

macrumors 65816
Aug 2, 2008
1,059
18
But what about the temperature?

Is it really worth it if you have to crank your fans to 4k RPM and still have your CPU at 80*C+?

You're really killing the life of your laptop
Why spend money on something you are afraid to use?
 

vant

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2009
1,231
1
Why spend money on something you are afraid to use?
Thats like saying, why spend money on a BMW that you are afraid to drive the crap out of?

So I think it's safe to say that you probably redline your car at every stop light? Or are you afraid to use it?
 

zw-gator

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2005
697
5
Canada
Why spend money on something you are afraid to use?
Because the MBPs aren't meant to be gaming machines. Sorry, but that's the honest truth. I can't rip a DVD without my CPU hitting 100*C, heck I can hardly play Mac Chess and keep my CPU temps under control.
 

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