MBP 15" for gaming? Advice?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dudulang, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. dudulang macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2010
    #1
    Hi, everyone here. I want to buy a MBP 15 inch these days. I like the specs of i7, but that's more expensive. So I have some questions please.

    1. I use it for my university study and I play games occasionally (usually World of Warcraft). I'am wondering the difference of WoW performance between 15" i5 2.4GHz and i7.

    2. Can I play WoW via Parallel Desktop on Windows 7? I know there's Mac version WoW, but I just want to know the performance of running WoW via parallels desktop. A big drop of FPS? or 4GB RAM insufficient?

    3. Will 4GB be sufficient for my use? I don't really want to upgrade to 8GB on the official apple store, that's expensive. If I want to upgrade it by replacing a 2GB by a 4GB to increase the total RAM to 6GB, can I just buy one from amazon and replace it? That's all? Will there be some problems of compatibility? Will it work well?

    Thank you all in advance. Every useful replies would be very appreciated.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #3
    1. The 2.4GHz i5 is the best deal. i7 might be a frame or two faster but it ain't worth it

    2. Parallels or any virtualization sucks for gaming. Either run through Boot Camp or just buy the Mac version.

    3. You can mix 3rd party RAM if you want to and it will work well. Sounds like you will be fine with 4GB though
     
  3. dudulang thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2010
    #4
  4. Nightarchaon macrumors 65816

    Nightarchaon

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    #5
    Im using the "older" 15 macbook pro (512MB Nvidia 8600) and so far its taken everything ive thrown at it, including MassEffect 2, Dragon Age Origins, Just Cause 2 etc,

    just be warned, when buying a MAC version of a game, do a little research and find out if its a native MAC game, such as Valves half-life series, Starcraft 2, and World of warcraft, or, a horribly crippled wine-emulated port such as dragon age origins,

    The PC version of DA:O runs fantastically under windows 7 and bootcamp, but the "official" MAC version runs like a half dead horse with 3 legs and a blindfold on (seriously, its THAT bad a difference)

    So steer clear of wine-or-cider ports of games, there just selling you the PC version, way over market price, for sticking a bit of freeware emulation software around it.

    As far as World of Warcraft goes, install the MAC native version, either from download from your account page at blizzard, or from your original CD/DVDs which contain both clients.

    i would seriously not consider Parallels for gaming at all unless your playing Quake 2 or Unreal 2 level of games, for modern stuff, Bootcamp is the only real option to get the full oomph out of your hardware.

    obviously, the newer the MAC, the better results you may get, but direct access to hardware will always beat virtualisation via parallels or a wrapper.
     
  5. dudulang thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2010
    #6
    Thank you for you reply. I get your point. I will use Boot Camp to run Windows based games and just keep 4GB for my use.
    And another question for the 1st one. For the WoW, if I put the resolution to 1440*900 and every option to Ultra. What's the difference between i5's 256MB VRAM and i7's 512MB VRAM?
    And does WoW run more smoothly in Mac OS X or Windows 7 via Boot Camp?
    Thanks.
     
  6. dudulang thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    #7
    Thank you for your reply. From what you said, I would definitely play games using Boot Camp. Another question about RAM, please. Will I don't run any application, how much RAM is used by the system. Can I run simultaneously 2 or 3 WoWs? That will make RAM being insufficient?
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #8
    VRAM doesn't really matter when you're running it on such low resolution. If you were going to run it on 30" 2560x1600 display, then the VRAM would matter.

    Generally, games run better under Boot Camp but WoW runs fine under OS X as well so I would run it under OS X so you don't need to boot into Windows that often
     
  8. Pedromperez macrumors newbie

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    Feb 13, 2010
    #9
    Poor Starcraft II performance

    I recently bought a Macbook Pro 15, Starcraft II runs like crap compared to the windows version, so if you are into gaming, buy a Windows 7 license and install via bootcamp.
     
  9. No1nfoProvided macrumors 6502

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    Dec 1, 2009
    #10
    I'd have to disagree. I've never played WoW, but for games like SC2 (I'm not sure how close they are graphically), I think the VRAM really helps to run it even at native resolution without lag during big battles. The more VRAM you have, the more "future-proof" you are in terms of later games, etc. I would say it's worth the investment, since you are getting an i7 too with the 512MB of VRAM. VRAM would also help if you decide to get an external monitor like I did and run games on that thing. I also gave up on gaming on my MBP1,1. It was too old, so I just built a PC to supplement my MBP.
     
  10. e12a macrumors 68000

    e12a

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    Oct 28, 2006
    #11
    1. There probably would be some difference in performance, but if I can play WoW at lowest settings on my old pre-unibody C2D 2.4, then you should be fine.

    2. Do not use Parallels/Fusion if you want the best performance. Judging from question 1 you're looking for that. As mentioned before, run it within a Bootcamp windows install. It would probably be next to unplayable within Parallels.

    3. 4GB is enough. Keep in mind you need a 64bit version of Windows when you go past 4GB. If you run mixed RAM you will lose dual-channel. But that doesnt affect anything too much and the increased RAM will outweigh the ever so slight decrease in performance. Just make sure you get RAM that is known to work. If you're not going official Apple RAM or Crucial just research. Chances are other Mac owners have tried it. I'm running a pair of G.Skill RAM.
     
  11. AdamRock macrumors 6502a

    AdamRock

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    Toronto
    #12
    my friend has a 15" i5 and plays crysis (not on max but like on medium settings)
    and he says it runs fine, ive seen it IRL and it looks stunning too - no lag
     
  12. No1nfoProvided macrumors 6502

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    Dec 1, 2009
    #13
    You can probably run 2 or 3 WoWs, although I'm pretty sure you'd have to be in Windows to do it. If you do consider a RAM upgrade, I would advise against buying just 1 4GB stick. You no longer have the benefit of dual channel (2GB + 4GB). I would just bump up to 8GB. Take your time and try to find good deals; 4GB will hold you over very well until you can find a good deal on 8GB.
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #14
    http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp22.html

    There is no difference really. The issue is that 330M GT isn't that powerful so it could take advantage of the extra VRAM. 400$ more for i7 is quite a lot $ and in real world, the gain is very small as you can see in the link above.
     
  14. No1nfoProvided macrumors 6502

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    Dec 1, 2009
    #15
    Hmm. That's interesting. TBH, I would rather them test current games that are more demanding (like SC2, Crysis, etc that can't run on ultra on these MBPs). I don't mean to criticize, but I think the difference will be more obvious with more graphically demanding games. Once the graphics cards are stretched so thin, I think a bigger difference will be seen, but your research is pretty solid. Still, I think $400 is a very big difference in price that could be worth it depending on how hardcore of a gamer you are. For most of us, like myself, it is not.
     
  15. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #16
    Yeah, the games aren't the best but it's what we currently have, I haven't seen anyone posting any better benchmarks :(
     
  16. No1nfoProvided macrumors 6502

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    #17
    haha. It's not a problem at all. It was good work regardless.
     
  17. Armedwithi7 macrumors newbie

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    Oct 5, 2010
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    US
    #18
    I use to play games on my old MBP (Core 2 Duo) but it heats up way too fast and just makes me worried to hear the fan going faster than normal. I don't even have games installed on my new MBP (i7) just because I think heat will be an issue.
     
  18. No1nfoProvided macrumors 6502

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    Dec 1, 2009
    #19
    Yeah, I was scared when I first started too, but boredom forced me to get over my worries. My MBP is fine 4.5 years later. It gets hot doing some of the simplest tasks, so my worry started to dissipate after I was pretty sure the fans were taking care of business.
     
  19. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 4, 2008
    #20
    The extra VRAM only makes a difference when you run your games at high res or with higher textures. I don't think any difference between the two is worth it if you only game on the built in display.
     
  20. dsprimal macrumors 6502a

    dsprimal

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    Mar 27, 2010
    #21
    imma huge WoW head, i've had wow binges where i would play 24/7 and even after all that time my mbp i7 still runs like a champ, no issues whats so ever (knock on wood). I'm also on Ultra settings, so i guess you could say i'm putting the mbp i7 to the test. The only thing i would say from the i5 and i7 cpu, is that even in Dalaran city my mbp gets a big choppy at times. i can only imagine the i5 to be the same if not have a bit more choppiness more often. anyways, hope that helps with your decision.
     
  21. citizenal macrumors regular

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    Apr 25, 2010
    #22
    I was in the same situation back when they refreshed the macbook pro. I went with the i5, but after two weeks returned it for an upgrade and luckily didn't have to pay for restocking fee. I want to keep my computer for the next 3 to 4 years, so alittle extra affords me alittle better graphics over the next 3 to 4 years. That's how I looked at it anyways. Plus, when games in the future require more vram i'll be able to play if I want. Now, if you can't afford or will be eating potatoes for the next 6 months over the difference, I wouldn't do it, but if your just wondering if the upgrade is worth it, it definitely was for me.
     
  22. rekhyt macrumors 65816

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    Jun 20, 2008
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    Part of the old MR guard.
    #23
    I'm surprised. I'm using a 9600 and Assassin's Creed 2 runs TERRIBLE in Windows (Boot Camp) at the lowest res, lowest graphics setting, ...
     
  23. aaronpaws macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    #24
    I bought the 15" hi res AG 512mb video card model and have been running a couple games on it and my dell u2311h (1920x1080 res) and its been fine. Left 4 Dead 2 and Starcraft 2 run fine on the external monitor. The notebook barely even gets hot. WoW is even less stressing and 1080p WoW with a chrome window on the side to look up info doesn't even kick the fans up to an unbearable level.

    The machine is cool, quiet, and fast. Just make sure you buy as much computer as you know you'll need. I find you can often get deals on the i7 model, and its totally worth it tbh.
     

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