RMBP VS AIR External Monitors & Games????

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by brownricetofu, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. brownricetofu macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Hi guys- I am typing this from a 2006 macbook/ 2GHZ Core 2 Duo with 2GB ram and 512gb 5400rpm HD. It is in clamshell mode driving two (2) 23" 1080p monitors. I get the second monitor using an H.I.S. USB to DVI adapter. You would actually be surprised how well this old girl powers this rig and runs snow leopard. Gotta love mac!

    ANYWAY... As you can see I have been waiting a very long time to get a new computer and the time has finally arrived but I am really torn on getting either a RMBP/512/16 or a maxed our AIR/512/8. This thing is going to be with me for another 6 years so I am willing to pay the extra $1K for the RMBP but I keep on coming back to the fact that 90% of the time I will never see the retina display because it will be in clamshell mode!!!

    I should have an iMAC but I really need to be able to take my computer with me to work from time to time. I hate the weight of my macbook now and would love to have the AIR for its size... but the kicker is- I really miss playing Call of Duty.

    6 years have gone by where I cannot play COD because my macbook can't handle it and it would be amazing to be able to play it again. I have searched the web for info on the HD4000 VS the M650 and it looks like I just might be able to get away with a little COD from time to time on the AIR with the HD4000, but on the other hand I am so sick of using an under-powered machine and would hate to shell out $2.2K and not have the option to play a some COD. Also I have not been able to find any info regarding people gaming on either of these note books on an EXTERNAL display.

    I love the idea of being able to ditch the H.I.S. USB to DVI adapter on the RMBP, but I am concerned about the weight, and also the fact that it is a REV 1 product and the air is on it 4th generation.

    So... What the hell would you do??? Should I grow up and give up gaming permanently, or should I splurge on the RMBP? If you made it through reading this post I am sincerely thankful and would honestly love to hear your $.02.

  2. kylera macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    Gaming isn't a childish activity, but you shouldn't let a single game determine your laptop choice.

    The RetinaBook is first-gen, but as long as you don't drop it or do anything downright stupid, AppleCare will cover for you.
  3. brownricetofu thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2009
    I hear you... Latest idea is to try and build a cheap gaming pc for cod and the air for everything else. Probably will work out to the same $ as the loaded retina...
  4. bit density macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2004
    rMBP hands down. Keplar class 650m. This is your 6 year part.
  5. Lonectzn macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2011
    I'd be really reassessing your actual need for mobility. It sounds like your laptop is being used as a desktop almost all the time

    For less than the price of a RMBP you could get a 27 inch iMac that would annihilate the laptop for gaming, and potentially increase your home productivity.

    Alternatively, you could buy a 13 inch Air and a fast windows pc just for gaming, which again would dominate the RMBP and cost less.

    Ultimately 15 inch laptops have always been stuck between two basic categories - the desktop and the portable, as a "desktop replacement" laptop, saving you from buying both a laptop and desktop. Problem is the RMBP costs more than both, while providing less utitily than either.

    For all the hype about the retina screen, a decent 24 inch, 1920x1080 monitor makes more economic, ergonomic and productive sense. On the other scale, it weighs 50% more than an air and for almost all practical non-gaming activities the performance difference is negligible.

    I would only recommend the RMBP if you absolutely need the graphics performance for your work or don't have space for a desktop at home. Otherwise, since you have two very different sets of needs, consider getting two machines that will suit them better.
  6. Svend macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2010
    If your mac is closed 90% of the time, then what is the point of a retina display?

    Buy the air, then spend 300$ on a pc for games.
  7. dona83 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2004
    Coquitlam, BC
    Just realize that the RMBP will not be great forever. My 2006 iMac used to be great and now it can't run Diablo 3. The RMBP is great but at this point can barely run Diablo 3 at 40 fps, mind you at retina resolution which is amazing, but specs are only getting higher.

    In two years, you won't be able to play the newest games at full retina resolution although 1440x900 should still be fine, then four years from now you'll have to play games at 600p quality, then six years from now your video card and/or CPU will no longer be supported. This holds true for most new machines.

    However the HD4000 can run Diablo 3 only at lower resolutions at low-med settings. In two to four years it may not run the newest games at all.

    My Xbox 360 which I bought back in 2006 meanwhile still plays the latest games wonderfully, albeit I had to get it replaced under warranty for the RROD. Nothing beats playing with keyboard and mouse however.
  8. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    How about the regular 15" mbp? You're using the thing with the screen closed and rarely carrying it, so there go the top two reasons to buy a rMBP (screen and slimmer/lighter form).

    Problem with the MBA is that 6 years is a lot to ask from something with lower end specs by today's standards. Even the rMBP will be very outdated in 2018, but the 650 will last a lot longer than the integrated graphics.
  9. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    I would suggest two computers - middle of the line MBA and an iMac top of the line. You'll pay the same price as the MBPR but you get the portability you want and you'll get the power to run games.

    Then I would boot the iMac from the MBA in target drive mode using a Thunderbolt cable so everything you do stays on the MBA and when you travel, you have all your data.

    I'm in the same situation and this was the option I ended up going with. I have a 2011 MBA, just waiting on the new iMac to complete the solution.
  10. dona83 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2004
    Coquitlam, BC
    I also agree with the iMac + MBA. A $1249 refurb iMac will give you space and gaming horsepower and a $1099 will give you portability when you need it.

    A non retina MBP is also a great idea. You can upgrade the RAM down the road.
  11. brownricetofu thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Thanks everyone for all the great replies. I just got back from the apple store and am still pretty confused:)

    The display on that RMBP is absolutely nuts. I mean wow. But at the end of the day, even though the vast majority of the time I will be using this thing in clamshell mode, I still have to take it on the road 2 or 3 times a week and I think the RMBP is going to be annoying to schlep around.

    Now I am trying to figure out if I should go with the 11" air or the 13." Power wise they can both be configured at 2GHZ/512 so the only difference is the SD card slot and a bigger screen. There is just something about that 11" WTF- can't decide.

    As for the regular MBP suggestions the thing is just too heavy and I want something new and sexy. It is too similar to my macbook and I haven't waited 6 years to get one of those.

    The 27" iMac is the freaking bomb but it needs to be updated and I really like the simplicity of having one computer, not 2. My main issue is that for work I need to have my very large uncompressed music library (512gb will do the trick but it will be tight) and I don't want to have 2 libraries.

    I am intrigued however by this "target disk mode" idea.

    So at the moment I am leaning towards one of the air's fully loaded and then perhaps a windows box just for gaming. Any recommendations on something under $500 for that would be much appreciated.

    I might stick with my dual 23" monitors for now and perhaps upgrade to a 27inch cinema display if they come up with one that has USB3.0 and other ports that I will miss.

    Still I love the graphics bump and the quad core horsepower of the retina.

    Real word though- for web surfing/ word stuff/ itunes/ photos- will i notice the difference btwn 4 cores and 2???
  12. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    Sorry as I haven't read all the replies but if you are considering a decked out MBPr and you like the idea of an iMac, then I suggest you get a 21.5" or 27" iMac for home, either the lower end 27" or higher end 21.5", refurbished. Then get either a new or 2011 refurb 11.6" MBA for your portability needs. Between the two you should be able to hit or get under the price of the Retina based on the specs you gave. Remember you can add RAM to the iMac yourself for cheap. And with a Thunderbolt cable you can make the iMac a 2nd screen for the MBA.
  13. ghettochild macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2007
    Bay Area, CA
    You'll be fine with the MBA, and unless you edit insanely large RAW files (think Nikon D800) you won't notice a difference in the applications you mentioned.
  14. brownricetofu thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Awesome thanks- thats what I thought.

    @roland- Kind of like the idea of using an imac as a monitor for the air (not that much more money than the cinema display and you get a computer you can game on) but my problem is I need 512gb storage on the air which is going to push it over the $2K mark.

    @bogatyr- I like your solution... need to look further into target disk mode

  15. The Samurai macrumors 68000

    The Samurai

    Dec 29, 2007
  16. brownricetofu thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Wow I am actually really impressed by how close the air was to the retina in all tests except the last. Thanks for the Vid!
  17. brownricetofu thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Can u really build a decent gaming pc for $300? Any place you can point me for putting something like this togeather?
  18. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    i've venture its closer to a grand at minimum, but then again people say they game on their macbook air's (HD3000) so maybe I'm the wrong person to ask.:p
  19. brownricetofu thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Yeah I have been looking around on the web and have found very little even around the $500 mark...


    ...I should just get a console but I just love keyboard and mouse and cant handle a controller for my life.

Share This Page