Retina or non-retina for gaming?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sofakng, May 20, 2013.

  1. sofakng macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    I've decided that I'm going to buy a Macbook (after WWDC) but I'm not sure what's the best choice.

    I'm going to be using it on my couch 90% of the time and I plan to play games 90% of the time. However, I'm talking about the "lighter" games such as Dwarf Fortress, Prison Architect, Terraria, Minecraft, etc. I am not going to play Bioshock Infinite or anything similar to it. Maybe something like X-Com Enemy Unknown as well... (slow turn-based games, etc)

    Is it worth getting a "retina" Macbook (Macbook Air refresh? ...or Retina Macbook Pro) or the lower resolution (1400x900) models?

    I'm concerned that a retina macbook has such high resolution that even simple games will choke. The lower resolution makes it much easier on the GPU... but maybe the games I want to play will still be OK in retina resolution?

    How well do the retina models scale to lower resolutions? (for example, I think non-retina iPad applications look BETTER on the iPad 2 because of the native resolution than scaled up on the iPad 3/4...)
  2. Giuly, May 20, 2013
    Last edited: May 20, 2013

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    As far as I know, most games let you set the resolution (and quality), so that you can run your games at 1920x1200 and still enjoy the retina display for everything else.
  3. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Are you looking at 13" or 15"?

    I think that most of the games you mentioned will probably play well on the 15" retina at native resolution. How they do on the 13" will depend on how much the integrated Intel graphics are improved in the next version which we don't know yet.

    I haven't tried it myself but there are many threads about gaming on the rMBPs where people run games at less that native resolution with good results, something like 1920x1200 or 1680x1050.
  4. sofakng thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    That's correct but because 1920x1080 is not the native resolution the display is scaled and often looks "blurry" or "fuzzy".

    Sometimes it looks better if the display can use pixel doubling (the method that the iPad uses for non-retina applications) but even that can sometimes not look as good...

    I'm looking at a 13" (MBA or rMBP) so it will most likely have integrated graphics. I know I can run games at lower resolution but I'm still wondering how the non-native resolutions look on the retina display. For example, I think non-retina iPad applications look better on the iPad 2 than the iPad 4...
  5. SMDBill macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2013
    I think it'll be that way for a rMBP as well, plus the display itself will require a great deal more iGPU power in the 13" retina than in the non-retina so it will surely affect game play more so in the retina than cMBP.
  6. Zeov macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2011
    This might come as a big surprise for you.. but it is possible to change the resolution you want to play at.. so even if your laptop has 34832x900324.. it is still possible to change it to 1680x1050.

    The classic is cheaper, the Retina looks better and is lighter.

    Go somewhere else for hardcore gaming.

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