New base Mac Mini alright for casual gaming?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by adamtj11, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. adamtj11 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Is it good enough to run the odd game like say assassins creed or WOW ? Just wondering before i sell my old 2008 mini and xbox(i rarely use it) for one, thinking i can combine both my gaming and desktop computing into one device.
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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  3. adamtj11 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Cool, i mean I'm not looking for 100 fps or anything :p just enough to play a game on medium settings in Bootcamp.
     
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #4
    You may want to consider the upgrade then. The HD 3000 is pretty weak in windows. It's livable for OS X gaming, but not so great in Windows. Maybe someone that has used it or a base 13" MBP for gaming in windows could chime in.
     
  5. adamtj11 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Now you mentioned it I found a video or 2 on youtube about the MBP 13" with modern warefare seems pretty good


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0WgDlQtVDU&feature=related
     
  6. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #6
    Even if you're just doing casual gaming, I would take the plunge and dish out $200 for the top end. The fact that you mention that you will be boot camping tells me that you're a little bit more serious into gaming. After all, you've already spent the money on Windows and won't mind taking the time in between boots.

    Seriously though, that discreet card should be worlds apart from the Intel HD3000 and will last you quite a bit longer than the base model will. Please keep in mind the resolution of your display as well. If you're intending to game on a 1080p display, then I would say just forget about the base model altogether. Even though you'll be playing on medium settings, don't hurt it even more by forcing yourself to downgrade your native resolution.
     
  7. adamtj11 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Well I'm a computer science student so switching between OS X and W7 comes naturally to me :cool: , i don't know if id have the extra $200 to get the higher end Mac Mini, I've already ordered a MB Air and was just hoping if i bought a base Mac mini it would even play games on low-medium, I'm not a heavy gamer really i maybe play 5 games a year. my monitor runs at 1680x1050. I might see first how the Macbook Air handles games and then make my decision.
     
  8. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #8
    Oh cool, so Windows is not just for games then :) Yea, the resolution is higher that of either the MBP or MBA so its just something to think about. I check a lot of those youtube test runs too, like the one you've linked. They're quite helpful. Try and look for gaming tests on the new MBA 13", as it has the closest resolution to your display.

    Edit: Here's a video testing out Borderlands on the 13" MBA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mMP3Cm7k8o
     
  9. adamtj11 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Haha definitely not, i think ill do that seems like a good comparison.
     
  10. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #10
    Problem with that is that the MBA uses a slower GPU. If you're light on the gaming, the base mini will be just fine. I can game lightly on a 1680x1050 monitor with my 9400m macbook, which the mini will handily beat, so you should be fine.
     
  11. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #11
    Slower GPU? They are exactly the same? Intel HD 3000. I do see that the MBA has a slightly higher shared memory though. Mac Mini only has 288, MBA uses 384.
     
  12. adamtj11, Jul 24, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011

    adamtj11 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Think he means speed of the processor i.e. 1.6ghz i5 vs 2.3ghz i5
    I'll see my MBA and if its in anyway operable with gaming ill go low end, gaming is only really a side option anyway, I wanted a decent desktop(my current Mini is aging) and ultra portable fast laptop(MBA).

    oops thought i read cpu not gpu :/
     
  13. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #13
    Right, but the HD 3000 has a slower base clock in the Air, and I don't believe it can maintain the turbo frequency under load for a long time, so the Mini should in theory be faster. Check out the 2410M vs. the 2557M or 2667M
     
  14. walterp macrumors newbie

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    #14
    There's some relevant information available at notebookcheck.net.

    An overview of the HD3000 graphics, with frame rates for a lot of different games:
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-3000.37948.0.html

    A review, also with frame rates for some games, of the Macbook Pro 13" which has the exact same CPU as the base Mini and should perform almost exactly the same:
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Apple-MacBook-Pro-13-Early-2011-2-3-GHz-dual-core-glare-type-screen.51409.0.html


    A relevant quote from that review: "In terms of gaming potential, the MacBook Pro 13 with the Intel HD graphics card doesn't bring much to the table. Only running undemanding titles at low resolutions with low detail settings results in a smooth, playable frame rate."

    To me, it sounds like the base Mini's graphics are iffy at best for gaming. (FWIW, the 2.5 GHz i5 model is only $770 at Amazon... $176 more than the base model.)
     
  15. adamtj11 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Had a look all those games play great on low and average on medium, thats all I'm looking for really, I'm not buying a gaming pc, just a mac I can throw a game on when really needed and it will run without dying!
     
  16. Vermifuge macrumors 6502a

    Vermifuge

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    #16
    The HD 3000 is not for gaming. Most bench marks show it underperforms next to last years 320M equipped minis. That said the HD 3000 will play games on on live just fine and i highly recommend the service for both the mini and the air.
     
  17. Jupeman macrumors member

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    #17
    My son plays WoW and SC2 on a 23" ACD using the new 2011 mini (middle 2.5 i5 version with discrete graphics). The machine works pretty well, but you have to keep the settings medium to low. Compared to the older Mini it replaced, he feels it is amazing... ;)
     
  18. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #18
    I think anyone trying to play games on the lower end Mini with the integrated Intel GPU even at a casual level is going to be disappointed. Even on the model with the discrete GPU most games have to be played on low to medium settings. If you look at most game requirements they state the Intel GPU is either not supported or at the very least not recommended.
     
  19. Ieo macrumors 6502

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    #19
    My base 2011 13" MBP (2.3ghz i5 w/ HD3000) is fine for casual gaming....the only problem I run into is cooling, which isn't as big an issue in the mini from what I can tell. I play Civ5, SC2, both L4D's, both Portals, etc with no problem with a mixture of low and medium settings. Definitely not for competitive gaming, but just fine for a round of SC2 here or there.

    That said....I replaced my old early '09 base mini with the BTO 2.7ghz i7 w/ ATI mini (en route) because a lot of the automated duties I assign to my mini as a home theater machine and home media server require a fair amount of oomph. I did alright with the old mini because I left it to do these tasks over night, but there were just too many occasions where I didn't have access to what I really wanted because the mini was still chugging along.
     
  20. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #20
    All depends on what your expectations are. Most people myself included would not be happy with the frame rates from that setup. The HD3000 is seriously under powered like any integrated GPU using shared memory would be for gaming for all except the simplest and basic games.

    That said for someone who plays the odd game once in a blue moon would probably be OK with an integrated GPU. Although I'm not a hardcore gamer I'm not a casual gamer either owning a PS3, Xbox 360, Wii as well as a computer. Most games I tend to play on the consoles but there are some games only available on PC and Mac or simply play better with a keyboard and mouse interface.
     
  21. ForI macrumors newbie

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    #21
    The HD3000 is horrible for gaming. It has the power of an 8 year old desktop GPU.
     
  22. TheBaconKing macrumors regular

    TheBaconKing

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    #22
    I used to use a 2006 Black Macbook with the intel integrated 950 graphics to play WoW. I don't play computer games anymore (mostly use PS3 now), but the Intel 3000 HD should be fine if I ever want to fire up Civ 4 on my mini.
     

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