Should I consider getting a macbook for gaming or look elsewhere?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by adrake86, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. adrake86 macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2007
    I am having a hard time deciding I have had macs and pc's before but I am having a hard time deciding what I want to do now. I am looking to hopefully get back into some pc gaming nothing to hard core just some casual games on the side. What my problem is that I am having a hard time shelling out 1k+ for a laptop that probably won't be able to run the latest and greatest games in the future so what I am thinking is maybe getting a macbook and building a desktop pc for gaming what are your suggestions?


    A mac is great and all but the cost is what is really keeping me away from purchasing one now when I can get some much more for the money if I get a pc. If I wasn't going to play games I would get a macbook pro and be done with it but the thought that I have enjoyed pc games for years keeps me coming back to the pc.
  2. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    For gaming you need a macbook pro, due to the two decicated graphics cards. the problem you really have here it seems is not Mac Vs. PC but Portable vs. stationary.
  3. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    This is definitely a good way to go. I would buy the parts through Newegg.

    For relatively little money you can get a Core 2 Duo, Radeon 4870, 500GB+ Hard Drive, 4GB DDR2 1066Mhz memory, Blu Ray reader, Motherboard, High efficiency power supply and a decent case. I suggest the 1066 memory since it is only about $15 more than the DDR2 800 but will give a mild speed boost just make sure it lists a maximum case latency of 5 and that the board can handle the higher voltage. Also overclock the Core 2 Duo.

    If you are looking to make the desktop a Hackintosh as well the top video cards are the GeForce 9800's or Radeon 3870x2's. As far as I know the Radeon 4000 Series and GeForce GTX200's have no working drivers for the Mac Side yet.
  4. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Actually you'd be spending a lot more. If you custom build a PC, it costs more than buying it from a PC vendor like HP or Dell. And unless you go with a tower (which those PC vendors never update with new chips and tech) the AIOs from Dell/HP/Sony all have integrated video cards which is a huge no-no for gaming of any kind. Unless you fancy playing stuff like Chess/Minesweeper/etc. Even the towers are kinda crap unless you go over 1000 USD for stuff like HP's Voodoo or Dell's XPS.

    I'd go with an iMac (wait a week or so for MacWorld Expo 09) and max out the memory to 4GB. It has a dedicated GPU and desktop class Intel chips. A MacBook will handle your gaming just fine. The newer unibody chassis models have the nVidia 9400M which is pretty good but cannot compete with dedicated graphic cards.
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Don't use a laptop for gaming. That's the best advice.
  6. adrake86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2007
    Those are all great suggestions the macbook/ mb pro is a great computer but if I was planning no playing games that are newer I would only be able to do that for maybe 1 to 2 years seeing as the hardware vard in the computer is not upgradeable. I guess I will just build a pc or maybe find a rig that I can upgrade.

  7. ToXicWaSTe macrumors member


    Sep 10, 2006
    I've tried both, and I found out what really matters...

    Screensize: You have to consider that 13 inches isn't that much if you like to multitask... I was getting to a point of fustration, trying to surf the web, listen to itunes and writing a paper, with several windows open on a MB. 15" makes a huge difference in my opinion.

    Portability: I often attend LAN parties and when I get invited to a LAN party, at the last minute, I can throw MBP, Mouse, Headset, power adapter into my messenger bag in less than a minute, and be up and running within 2 minutes after arriving (on my bike) at the event. My friends with desktops, have to dismantle everything, have throw it into the car, drive to the event, and set everything up... easily taking half an hour.

    Power: I don't play the newest games, all the time... Warcraft III, WOW, and CS source run fine on my 8600M, even Left 4 dead runs great. Often the best games, stick around a while and you don't need the newest Graphic cards.. I didn't like crysis or assasins creed which are very demanding games... Just didn't like the gameplay, but my MBP could still run them... BUT if you like playing the newest games or just trying the newest games with 8x AA and 8x MSAA, i would recommend a desktop.

    Price: A MBP cost alot, but is still less then a MB and a good gaming desktop pc. But in this case, price isn't that important... you're going to enjoy whichever PC you choose, as long as the combination suits you :p

    Hope it helped...
    Just FYI (I've had a MBP with 8600M, Dualcore desktop with 9800GT and a MB with x3100) and I only reget selling my desktop pc and MB when i try something really demanding like Fallout 3 with very high settings. For me GAMEPLAY IS the most important, though the day I sacrifice 1440x900 resolution to run a game, on my MBP is the day i buy a new MBP.
  8. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    I see some MacBook Pros from 2 years ago with the 2.33 Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, and the X1600 able to play CoD 4 and Crysis perfectly pumping out 30-40 frame per second with the settings toned down, and the X1600 wasn't a very good card to begin with.

    I would recommend buying the MacBook Pro if you want to just have 1 machine that does everything and you don't mind turning down the settings 2 years from now. A new MacBook Pro is a very powerful laptop, and you never know, if Apple can get both the 9400 and the 9600 working together in dual-mode, it will probably be just as powerful as some high-end single desktop cards.
  9. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    If you are okay with not playing the newest games at the max settings, the MBP is fantastic. And even then, it can play the new games AT THIS MOMENT at pretty close to max. I went with a MBP this time because I needed it to be an investment. I'm no longer at the point in my life where a majority of my funds can go into upgrading hardware all the time. The MBP gives me flexibility but also stability - I know that, with the included purchase of AppleCare, this computer will last me at least 3 years from purchase. Keep in mind though I do most of my gaming on a 360 and pretty much only play WoW on the MBP.

    It's a tough decision for sure.
  10. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    it depends really, im looking into upgrading my mid-2007 macbookpro with a new late 2008 15" because of the graphic abilities and the easier to upgrade drive and nice display.

    id wish they had a 17" model available but htatd probably cost way more than i could ever afford.

    if not using Mac OS isnt a problem and you really wanna game intensively and be portable id recommend

    a buddy of mine used to use all desktop machine and consolidated to just one of their premium 17" models that has sli-ready graphics, high-res display, built in raid etc etc. desktop power cpu (that can be upgraded).

    so if thats what you're looking for is a desktop gaming replacement and portability those are pretty good prices....OTHERWISE the 15" MBP 2008 will do gaming just fine, might not be a gamers dream but if your causally playing high framed games or anything like that theyre definitely doable.
    they have potential.
  11. AndrewD1022 macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2008
    I have the 2.16Ghz 17" MacBook Pro and I run a lot of games at a pretty decent frame rate. I mostly play CS Source and that game looks great on my screen. If screen size is a problem, since the macbooks are smaller, get an external monitor. You can usually pick up a decent one for around $200 online.
  12. adrake86 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2007
  13. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    One thing people don't consider when trying to make their Mac a gaming machine is hard drive space. Even after partitioning 100GB for Windows then she's already out of space. So what we do is just install games on an external drive, which makes the whole idea of "portable gaming" useless since she's tethered to a desk. (A desk which is shared by a very gaming-capable Windows box.)

    So the bottom line is that you're better off getting a Macbook that does what you need but if you want true gaming then just spend the money you save on a cheap dedicated windows box (or a console). But if you really want to make your Macbook a gaming system then the 9400M has been pretty impressive for a notebook and you can get a 500GB 2.5" HDD for less than $140.
  14. migsev macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2008
  15. mwpeters8182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2003
    Boston, MA
    There's no way this is true. Spec for spec, if you build a machine, you'll pay less for a tower building it yourself. At the low end, this might not be true, but to get a machine that you can game on, you'll be paying way more for that HP or Dell than the machine you'll build yourself.
  16. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    This is the case especially since the only ones that you can order with good video cards require you to buy the premium systems. Even if you add a card yourself only the high end ones provide a sufficient powersupply. Further you can not overclock the OEM computers. In which any Core 2 or Pentium Dual Core can take massive overclocks even running a stock cooler and voltage.

    Now if you were foolish enough to build yourself with parts from Best Buy then yes it would be more expensive.:rolleyes: That is why you use Newegg.
  17. Dagless Suspended


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I use my MB for playing some games over my iMac (x1600). The x1600 runs all the games I want very well but for Bioshock and Fallout - the MB is perfect for me. Plays them games with mid-high settings at native res very well.

    Personally I like it for gaming, though I'm not overly keen on laptops for games - it does get the job done.
    And I'm someone who plays at least 1 hour of TF2 every day :D
  18. G.T. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2008
    Get the mac and build a PC. It is not hard. 5 years ago I got an Ibook G4 and loved it, I then wanted to play PC games and built my own PC. I keep adding to it and it is able to play the latest games at their highest settings. I now have a new MBP unibody and while it is an amazing laptop I would never recommend playing games on one (I have my PC for that).
  19. DELTAsnake macrumors 6502


    Jul 18, 2008
    I'm about to leave the hardcore PC gaming world and about to buy a iMac which I will only do light gaming on.

    If you want to play games (not including Crysis) at full detail 30fps something equivalent to my current rig is all you need. I have a Core 2 Duo 2.4 (Conro) 4gb of DDR2 and a 8800gt running Vista Ultimate 64. I can run any game except Crysis (I have not tried GTA IV yet) at full detail running at 30fps at 1900 x 1080.

    The CPU in the Macbook is more powerfull than my CPU because it's a newer Penryn chip not my old Conro. The ram in the Macbook is faster, but an upgrade to 4gb would help gaming alot, finally the GPU is roughly half the power of my old 8800gt, but the resolution of a Macbook screen is alot less.

    I would suggest an upgrade to a Macbook Pro, but I think a Macbook is fine if you don't mind turning down the textures on a hand full of games.
  20. infernohellion macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2006
    Build your own Custom PC and buy a Mac laptop.
  21. therealdt macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2008
    northeast region
    I agree.

    If you must have a laptop for gaming, get a PC.
  22. timestoby macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2007
    north devon,uk
    id say get a pc desktop and at least that way you can upgrade the gpu in a few years instead of shelling out for another laptop,thats if you were going the laptop gaming way.

    and anyway if ur going to spend money on getn a macbook pro for gaming youd get better specs if you were to get a pc laptop for the same money
  23. Adrianus macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2008
    I´m considering getting a new mac mainly to be able to do things such as gaming and using some windows apps. What do you guys think about getting the Mac Mini?
  24. petermcphee macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    Look to a BTO PC for low cost gaming and easy upgradability. If you're dead-set on running OS X, build yourself a bitchin' hackintosh. If you're dead set against that, be sure and buy CrossOver Games to run the PC games on your Mac.

Share This Page