Put Me To Rest Here, which mbp should I get for gaming?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by llkennethll, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. llkennethll macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008
    I have been thinking about this for the past two days CONSTANTLY, and it is starting to give me a headache, so please give me some advice.

    Problem&Background info:

    I am switching from a mba to a mbp, and I look for some forward to game in my new machine. In particular, I want to play strategy based games (as it is hard to play on consoles) like AOE3, Sims3, and Napoleon: Total War. I own a xbox, so I will be doing games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (the so called "graphics intensive games") on there. Here are the requirements for one of the games I want to play:

    Napoleon: Total War

    OS: Windows Vista/XP/7 Processor: 2.6 GHz Dual Core
    CPU Memory: 2 GB RAM (XP), 4 GB RAM (Vista/Windows 7)
    Graphics: 256 MB DirectX 9.0c shader model 3 compatible GPU DirectX®: DirectX 9.0c
    Hard Drive: 21 GB free space


    Option 1: 13.3'' base model

    Option 2: 15'' base model

    I only hope for running the games smoothly in medium-high quality, and not the highest. Ideally, I would want to get the 13.3'' model, however, can any kind souls out there tell me if it can run what I hope for it to run??

    Thanks SO SO much!!
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    13" can handle those games fine but you are pretty much limited to low-med graphics in newer games.

    As strategy games aren't very demanding, I'd go for the 13" as you said you are fine with lower graphics
  3. Kingcodez macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2009
    The low end 13 should be OK, on low, the non-dedicated GFX chip in the 13 might make the laptop get super hot, I play Civilization 4 (Colonization) and my tub gets pretty freakin hot at times. But I can play med-high settings, and this is the last gen.

    I hear the card is 50% better now, so it should work fine.

    The 15" Will let you play on high settings most likely, that GFX card is almost twice as powerful as the 13", has a higher res screen, and a better processor.

    A good compromise would be the 13" high end model. a little bit extra horsepower but I doubt you'd feel it.

    If I were you I'd go for the base 13, put in an SSD, and try the computer out. If it isn't up to par, return it and get the 15".
    Within 3 hours of getting it home you should know if it's good or not.
  4. llkennethll thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008
    Hey, first of all, thanks for replying! Can you tell me how will the SSD affect my gaming experience? (for example, how big a difference it will be?) All I know is that it speeds opening up files...

    You can actually ask for an exchange if it doesn't match to you expectation? I live 3 hours away from an apple store, so I will have to order it online tho...
  5. llkennethll thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008
    Yeah, I am keeping that in mind too...that strategy games aren't very demanding...aii...I just need more people to help me make my mind up :confused:
  6. Kingcodez macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2009
    I'm pretty sure you can ask for an exchange within like a few days. Call and ask. If they say no, just tell them it doesn't work, and you want your money back. Then go buy a 13".

    SSDs will make everything load faster. My computer turns on, opens 12 programs, and is usable like 40 seconds after I hit the power button.

    It'll make the game load faster, it will 'help' everything else out a little. But the gaming is mainly CPU/GFX. In my experience, it was always the CPU that limited my play in Civ 4. My cpu was always maxed out. I have a 2.26 C2D.
  7. Guiguiga macrumors regular


    Jul 22, 2009
    Ft. Lauderdale - FL
    If you'll plug an external monitor, I'd consider the 15". You might notice some lag if using an external monitor with a 13" 9400 integrated while playing some games.
  8. ozreth macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2009
    Just get a 15" inch with dedicated graphics. Dedicated graphics are SO important when playing games. You will be MUCH happier in the long run.

    Sounds like you can afford the 15" so lets see....

    Dedicated graphics (a huge bonus)
    More screen (real nice bonus with games)
    Way better speakers (not sure if this matters to you)
    Faster processor (just as much of a no brainer as the dedicated graphics)

    Seriously its a better long term investment and who knows what games you will want to play a year from now?

    I have been doing heavy gaming on macs since '06 and find the 15" MBP's the perfect all around machines.
  9. llkennethll thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008

    Thanks for your input! I currently plug my 1st gen mba into an external monitor, but there's no sign of lag..
  10. llkennethll thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008

    LOL!!! Thanks for your opinion on this (or mayb not, cuz you are poking on my purse here XD)

    Yeah, I know a dedicated graphics card and a better cpu will boost up performance. But as for the screen size, I have a external monitor at home, and plus, I will be bringing my mbp around university a lot. Hehe...I have always hoped for a 13'' with the power of a 15''. Anyways, I still want to balance the portability too... Secondly, I am pretty sure that I will stick to strategy games on computer in the long run.

    Nevertheless, thanks again so so much! Sigh...you guys are really tempting me to get the 15'' aren't you...:cool:
  11. ozreth macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2009
    I went through this VERY strong phase of wanting a 13". I am a student who brings his laptop to classes every day. For awhile I thought how great it would be to bring a 13" to school.

    Also, like you said, being a hardcore gamer I was hoping the refresh would welcome a 13" with as much power as some of the 15" models...but it didn't happen.

    Anyways, one night I was bored and looked through this entire thread. Seeing all of those 15" MBP's reminded me of why I love this model so much. It just looks PERFECT (speaker size to keyboard size etc) and gives you so much power and really isn't much bigger than the 13".

    I ended up carrying my girlfriends 13" around campus for a bit and realized I barely noticed the weight difference AND there wasn't anywhere I could put the 13" that I couldn't put the 15". And when I pulled the 15" out I had double the power, more screen size, and way better speakers. I'ts nothing but win :)
  12. Kingcodez macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2009
    I'm afraid that I'm going to get crumbs stuck in the 15"s speaker grille haha.
    I don't even know where the crumbs come from I think they get sucked in through the fan, but every time I open my macbook up I have a lot of random bits in there... Mainly dust though.
  13. Quad 2.5 G5 =) macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2009
    Nothing gets trapped in the speaker grills of my MBPs, one a first-gen 17" and the other a last-gen 17' (Non-unibody). I think the unibody MBPs are less subsceptible of this, because the speaker grille openings are smaller than the PowerBook-based [appearance] MacBook Pros.

    Also, to the OP, both of my MBPs are running like trains, with the Core Duo obviously being slower than the Core 2 Duo. Gaming under Windows 7, with Boot Camp does well, and even the older MBP is satisfactory with the games I play. I would suggest, if you want to save money, get a last-gen refurb 15". The C2D is not all that much slower than the i5/i7, because, for example, if you get a 3.06 C2D-equipped MacBook Pro, 15", you have both the cores running at that speed all the time, and if you get an i5 equipped model, 3.06GHz will only come with Turbo Boost, and only on one core, if I read that correctly. Also, the 9600M/9400M combo doesn't seem slower than the GT330M/Intel HD Graphics system.
  14. EasyJW macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2010
    both will be able to play those strategy games, but the 13 might be a bit strapped with the lesser quality graphics card for newer games that are being released, so if you have the money, go with the 15[​IMG]
  15. llkennethll thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008
    Hey, thanks for your in put! So what games do you usually play, and what are your specs? Money isn't my main concern here, portability (weight&size) is what is stopping me from getting a 15''.

    Also, since I am not a that much into tech, I want to ask, say if I am going to put 8GB of ram into a 13'', will it fill the shortcomings of the graphics card and thus, perform better in games?

    And I just want to point out again, I just want to run strategy games (like the ones mentioned above) on a medium setting smoothly...
  16. llkennethll thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008

    Haha...you know what, I think I just have this psychological barrier to buying a 15''. I mean, if someone tells me that the 13'' will run the games I wanted to play smoothly at a medium quality, great, I will get the 13''. But my first laptop is a white mb (two years ago), then found it too heavy, so I switched to a mba (a year ago), and now I just sold my mba because I find it too slow....what I am trying to say is, switching from a mba to a 15'' mbp is a really big jump :(

    Just curious, do you drive? (because I bus to school), and do you use your 15'' a lot on your laps and in bed?
  17. llkennethll thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008
    Thanks for your opinion!
    But again, as I asked another poser, will adding the ram fill the shortcoming of the 13'' mbp's graphics card?
  18. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Getting a SSD is great but I wouldn't buy one from Apple -- they don't tell you the brand... some brands aren't too great, the Intel X25-M G2 SSDs are fantastic -- overall though I don't think you need it. The 13" would be great for portability, having longer battery life in particular. The 15"'s GPU will definitely perform a lot better. And, I don't think increasing your RAM will help the GPU at all.

    This is the 310M 512MB (I think Apple uses the 256MB)
    This is the GT 330M 1GB (Apple uses 256MB I think)

    Have a look at the FPS they say you get (approx.) with the Sims 3.
  19. llkennethll thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008

    more opinions please, i really need help from you guys :p

    also, anybody know how the 9400m+9600m compares to the 320m and to the 330m?

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