Refreshed Macbook Air (Gaming)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Goldensage1, May 1, 2011.

  1. Goldensage1 macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2011
    I keep hearing that the refreshed Macbook Air with the sandy bridge processors will be worse for gaming. Can anyone elaborate as to why this is?

    I'm planning on getting it to play SC2 on and to do schoolwork.
  2. macingman macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2011
    For gaming get a Macbook Pro the air isn't suitable for *proper* gaming.
  3. Cerano macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2010
    dont be silly. the current 13" macbook pro is even crappier.

    the reason is the hd3000 intel igp
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    The GPU (Intel HD 3000) which is integrated into the CPU is worse than the NVIDIA 320M found in current MBAs. They are about the same in MBPs but it is unlikely for MBAs to use standard voltage chips and ULV and LV chips have slower IGP which makes the Intel HD 3000 worse than 320M.

    It should play SC2 fine though:


    The IGP in LV chips which are meant for 13" MBA is 150MHz (23%) slower than the SV IGP so if we use AT's tests as reference, 13" MBA should get around 37 FPS in SC2 at those settings. ULV chips feature 300MHz (46%) slower IGP so 11" MBA should get 26 FPS. If this is the only test we use, then the LV IGP is actually slightly faster than the 320M. Of course, a comparison like this is not strictly valid because the other specs are different but it gives you a rough idea.

    The bottom line is that the next gen MBA will be able to run SC2 as long as you are fine with it not running at the highest settings. We have to wait for the update to happen before we get any concrete numbers though.
  5. Poisoned1 macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2011
    So i'm planning on getting a mba to replace ipad1. I was going to be using it for school stuff and put small game like sc2 on it as well. i really want the 11" mba instead of the 13". if i got a 11" ultimate will that work fine? the other problem is i was going to wait till apple does the back to school special and get the free ipod as well. would it be better to get the mba now or during apple's promo? and fyi, playing a game on lowest graphics doesnt bother me, as i usually play on lowest settings anyways.
    1. Will the SB and IGP combo affect me that much?
    2. Should I wait for apple's promo and get the refreshed or get the current mba?
  6. FX4568 macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2010
    I am a fellow SC2 player!
    Uhm, I do use the air for sc2. I have the 13 inch MBA.
    Honestly, in 1v1 theres no lagg (200 food vs 200) 2v2 theres some lagg 3v3 its fine, not the best when map is maxed and 4v4, you better finish the game before everyone hits 200 food.
    I spoke in terms of low graphic settings.
    I dont think the ULV will be good.
    320m is barely enough to handle sc2 and constant not lagging gameplay, but seeing that ULV SB Intel looses around 50% in windows and (lets suppose 25%), you are better off with a 320m unless you REALLY need processing power.
  7. Poisoned1 macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2011
    So if i want to use it to do small games and for my needs im better off getting the current mba and not the updated ones? I dont really need much processing power. it would be to replace my ipad1 to do stuff like surf the web, same things i use my ipad1 for. but i really want an actual OS and rather play my little games that dont take much of a computer to run them like sc2 over iOS games.
  8. FX4568 macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2010
    Yes, the current MBA will run better.
    MBP 13 on normal Voltage runs almost the same as 320m.
    Imagine ULV.
    Yeah, but just wait. If SB airs are out, the 320m ones will be cheaper. (but you wont get the ipod since refurbished ones dont get the discount) so its either:
    buy it around early june with ipod or buy it later cheaper but without ipod.
  9. Poisoned1 macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2011
    So is it safe to say that apple will release a SB air this summer? I'm going to be taking a summer course after this semester ends this year and was hoping to have it for this class. When does apple usually do the ipod promotion? i remember seeing it last year but do not remember the dates exactly, i want to guess late may to september. Is it usually the same every year? Sorry for all the questions, im new to mac and really excited planning out getting a new mac laptop. im tired of my pc and windows.
  10. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    Why do so many people seem to think that one has to get a machine that is suitable for 'proper' gaming to be 'allowed' to game?

    And FTR- I have both an ultimate 11" Air and the i7 13" Pro with an SSD. The HD3000 is worse in terms of gaming.

    Gaming is mostly about GPU- very rarely is the CPU the bottleneck here.
  11. Twe Foju macrumors 6502

    Twe Foju

    Dec 20, 2007
    unless its RTS games, it does

    i believe the 13 pro will have advantage in Shogun2, SC2, and other RTS

    but yeah, other than that, GPU mostly do the work
  12. Poisoned1 macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2011
    Well i just ordered an ultimate 11". It's going to be my first mac so hopefully it will be everything i imagined. lol. passing my hp laptop down to my younger brother. :)
  13. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    I agree. I'm tired of hearing the same argument over and over again.
  14. FX4568 macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2010
    No, RTS wise you rather pick the 320m if you dont care about processors.
    I played sc2 in the 13 i5, it was almost the same in the beginning, but frame rates drop a LOT during large battles.
    I can barely cast fungal growth with accuracy with an i5 computer.

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