New MacBook Air gaming capability is amazing

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by NuggetSauce, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. NuggetSauce macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2012
    I got the new 13" macbook air, and since it has integrated graphics, I suspected to be playing Peggle and Chess.

    I installed Steam, and got Borderlands, Diablo 3, Left for Dead 2, and Minecraft.

    I'm blown away that it's able to run new games, on medium settings with solid framerates, and older games, maxed out, with good framerates.

    Its gaming capability far exceeds my 2008 iMac.

    Now i'm glad I didnt pick the Pro. I'm not saying the Pro is a bad buy, the retina display is amazing, and I know many people need the DVD drive, wired ethernet, and more HDD space, but the Air does everything I need it to do.

    For anyone concerned about the integrated graphics, dont be. Unless you need to run Skyrim on max settings and get 60FPS, this laptop will satisfy 99% of gamers out there.

    Heck I might just sell my iMac and have this be my everything computer.
  2. seared.ahi macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2012
    I don't know...I downloaded the game RC Racers from the App Store last night and when I started playing it my computer got immediately hot and the fan turned on and spun really loudly. Yes, the graphics were great, but could I say my 13" MBA/8GB RAM could handle it? I don't know...It was good to see my fan working, but wow was it scary...and HOT! I deleted the game after that.
  3. dialed1 macrumors 6502


    Dec 21, 2008
  4. NuggetSauce thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2012
    The heat and fan is normal and will happen with any laptop. As long as it doesnt overheat and freeze, it should be fine.

    Considering the fact that gaming towers have giant heatsinks, and 3-6 case fans to cool it, and this is all done in a laptop thats less than an inch thick, its pretty impressive.
  5. Panini macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    Just curious - are you able to run Minecraft full-screen on maximum settings? Because my current macbook pro can't even do that...

    If it can (which I doubt) at which point do texture packs begin to cause lag?

    Oh, and have you ever needed to turn down the resolution to get playable Diablo 3 framerates?

    If you don't mind, can you install team fortress 2 and see what settings it runs smoothly on?

  6. seared.ahi macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2012
    So it does the same thing to you when you play Diablo, etc? I had never experienced it before. Thought that if that happens, it means your computer can't really handle it.
  7. NuggetSauce thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2012
    A couple months before Diablo was released, I was going to spend $800 and build a gaming tower just for the game. I'm glad I didnt.

    I'm not a fan of the game. A dull clickfest in my opinion. But I am loving borderlands GOTY edition and Portal 2.
  8. korbearus10 macrumors member

    Jun 27, 2012
    The fans spinning at 6000 RPM and getting hot doesn't mean the Air can't handle gaming. It's the same on the MacBook Pro 13" and the rMBP (though to a lesser extent, perhaps because it has two fans so they don't have to spin as fast). As long as the computer doesn't shut down, it's completely normal. In fact, even when you're not playing games, if you try encoding video with handbrake, your MacBook Air's fans will spin fast and the overall chassis will become hot.
  9. NuggetSauce, Aug 12, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012

    NuggetSauce thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2012
    No its only if your computer shuts down (as a fail safe from temps being too high) or your computer freezes (from the cpu being too unstable from the heat).

    Most any newer 3D game will make any laptop hot, and the fan spin to keep the temps stable, and since the macbook air is so thin, there are no big heatsinks to absorb the heat, so certain spots of the case being hot is normal.


    Its all about know which settings to turn down on game settings, because certain game settings affect performance and framerates more than others.

    Generally you want to have Anti Aliasing off on newer games, and use lower resolutions if you are getting low, choppy FPS.

    I can run Minecraft on high settings, full screen, and it being stable, but this is only single player. If you play on a multiplayer server that is filled with tons and tons of stuff, that could slow down even gaming desktops.

    In Minecraft, the Render Distance setting plays a big part in performance, so i'd turn it down if its running choppy for you.

    I know it can run Team Fortress 2, because Portal 2 uses the same engine, with more demanding graphics, and I am able to run that fine with high settings.
  10. boomboom2 macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    I'm still really underwhelmed with Intel's integrated graphics. The HD 4000 is noticeably better than the 3000, but that's no compliment. AMD's mobile APUs blow Intel's HD integrated graphics out of the water.
  11. NuggetSauce, Aug 12, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012

    NuggetSauce thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2012
    At the cost of battery life. Their APU's take more juice because of the larger die. But thats not a huge deal. The main concern is having to use windows to get it :D

    and the haswell intel cpu's coming out are expected to up the ante quite a bit.
  12. crossi81 macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Did anybody try the following games:

    - Guild Wars 2 (beta or beta weekends)
    - WoW Mists of Pandaria (beta)
    - Skyrim
    - Shogun 2
    - Starcraft 2

    @native res or bare minimum hd resolution (minimum 720p vertical)? I have an external 21'' 1366x768 to use with.

    I only play/will play these games (or old ones like TF2 or CS:S), not really a gamer just about 1h/day on average.

    I'm torn between rMBP and maxed out Air 13''. Budget is not a problem (luckily), but portability is. The lighter/smaller, the better. I will use the laptop mainly for other non graphical tasks, I'm not buying it for those games, I just wondered if I could play them. But at the same time, if I can't play those games fluently, rMBP will do in weight/dimensions.

    What's your experience?
  13. NuggetSauce thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2012
    I can say almost certainly that Shogun 2, Wow (all expansions), and Starcraft 2, it will run well on at least middle settings.

    Can't comment on the other games.
  14. Luigi3 macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2012
    OP, what configuration of Air are you using? Could you check any CoD or Assassin's Creed 2?
  15. Calot macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012
    I ran the first 4 missions on Starcraft 2 at native res, textures high, video high and everything else low on my 13" i7 8gb and it ran at a constant 60FPS. No slowdowns. I was very impressed. It looks great!
  16. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    That's the same reason I return a car if it goes over 3000 rpm.
  17. archurban macrumors 6502a


    Aug 4, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I don't understand why you bought MBA if you want to play games. the machine is not capable of playing game enough. with lower setting, I'd better kill myself. gaming is satisfied with full rich settings. if you continue to play that kind of games for long, your MBA will have a big problem. I guarantee it. I think that's stupid.
  18. JMS803 macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2010
    Gaming will not affect the longevity of a machine. Fans are there for a reason, and laptops are designed (and stress tested) to handle excessive heat. My 07 MBP regularly hits up to 180 degrees fahrenheit.
  19. Calot macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012
    Your post is stupid.
  20. snow blind macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2011
    Your snarky analogy was horrible.
  21. isrefel macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2012
    Yep, it really is impressive. Just picked up RAGE when it was on sale, and I can run it on the new i7/8gb on high settings at a cool 50 fps. Not too shabby for casual or slightly older gaming.
  22. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    Let me guess, real gamers play on xboxs? Millions of gamers play on lower settings by using consoles nowadays and they do just fine. No need to act an alarmist and make terribly false statements. Your computer will regulate its heat just fine, and if it gets too hot will shut itself down to prevent damage, not because it is damaged.
  23. NuggetSauce thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2012
    I bought the macbook air for many things. Web surfing, watching netflix and hulu, facebook apps, ebay, garage band, task management, iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto, Facetime, Skype, all this to do when I am traveling and away from home.

    And yes, gaming, which it handles fine. I played Borderlands, Minecraft, Left 4 Dead 2, and Diablo 2 for several hours last night on my Air, they all ran smooth on high settings. Not sure why you think you can't game on it.

    I have the 13" model with ivy bridge.
  24. lewdvig macrumors 65816


    Jan 1, 2002
    South Pole
    I played through Mass Effect 1 on a notebook that had a RADEON 2600. It was good for 3500-4000 pts in 3dmark06. The HD4000 gets 6,000 in the same test.

    So that is pretty impressive for a computer that is only marginally bigger than an iPad.

    I have a gaming desktop for heavy lifting, but because I love PC games so much it's good to know that I can take them with me on the road.

    I'll be buying Grimrock on GOG as soon as my MBA arrives. Porting team has made an excellent wrapper for that game.
  25. vtyler98 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2011
    To add to this thread, I would say that I've been able to run Rome Total War on the full settings fine without any lag whatsoever on my 2012 Air. I had a 2011 Air and had to run it on medium settings, and even on medium it would lag and sometimes freeze or slow down, but the 2012 on medium doesn't even get the cpu above 70C and the fans stay below 3000rpm whereas it would be 6500rpm on the 2011 Air. A big difference for sure.

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