Stretching the gaming capabilities of Ultimate 13" MBA

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by logistic, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. logistic macrumors newbie

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    Jul 27, 2011
    #1
    Hi all I'm a new mac owner and have some qns regarding the machine,

    As of the title what are the best most gfx intensive game that a MBA 2011 can handle? what are the framerates of crysis 2 running on this machine as well as can it handle the upcoming battlefield 3 as well as fifa 12?

    P.S I wouldnt mind my games running @ low settings.
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    Even on low settings you're probably not going to get great performance. The MBA is not a gaming machine by any means.
     
  3. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #3
    I would have to agree. Even at low settings games like those probably will not run well enough. The MacBook Air has a slow hard drive and an integrated GPU. The processor is also pretty slow by today's standards even though it's a dual core "i" series. The RAM I believe is 4MB which is good. You really need a 15" MacBook Pro.
     
  4. logistic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 27, 2011
    #4
    I'm not sure about the "slow hard drive" part, from my knowledge I do believe that SSD is faster than a normal 5400/7200 rpm hard drive no?

    Also with regards to the processor I believe its fast enough to handle games just that the GPU wouldnt be good enough to process those intensive graphics.

    So according to the replies even on low settings those game wouldnt hit playable fps?

    than what are the chances of apple releasing a gfx card thunderbolt dock??
     
  5. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Slim to none.
     
  6. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #6
    You're not going to be able to run recent games on it, really. You're running on Intel integrated chip with a low clock speed processor. The SSD doesn't have much impact on gaming other than load times.

    It isn't a gaming computer, but that doesn't mean you can't play games on it. Look into older titles, and observe the recommended system requirements. If you aren't content with any older titles that aren't as intensive and you want to be able to run the more intensive older titles (original Crysis, etc) or new titles, I would buy either a PC desktop or a budget laptop. It doesn't have to be a "gaming laptop," you can pick up a notebook with a 1GB dedicated card for considerably cheap.
     
  7. TheStew macrumors member

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    Mar 2, 2011
    #7
    Maybe not Apple, but this will happen in the future.. Wasn't there an article on 9to5 or here on macrumors? You can find some stuff on google.
     
  8. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #8
    Sorry I forgot the new MacBook Airs came with an SSD as standard. Never the less the CPU and especially the GPU is going to be a bottle neck on performance. As already mentioned older games will probably run fine but newer games probably aren't going to cut it. Some of the more basic games from the Mac App store may run fine. The MacBook Air is not designed or marketed as a gaming machine.
     
  9. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #9
    Even if it does happen it's probably going to be pretty expensive possibly costing as much as the MacBook Air itself.
     
  10. TheStew macrumors member

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    Mar 2, 2011
    #10
    A 1000$ graphics card? You can get a good card below 400$ or something? I cannot see how this thunderbolt technology would add another 600$. Sure it will be expensive at start, but prices will drop like with the SSD's. There would be no use in putting out a thunderbolt graphics card if it costs the same as the laptop itself. That would make the total 2000$. While you can get a nice macbook pro 15" for the same price. Ofcourse the market for thunderbolt technologies is alot smaller than standard stuff, but still..

    I dont think it would make any sense
     
  11. Mr.C, Aug 7, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011

    Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #11
    You're not just buying the graphics card but the enclosure and cable as well. Looking at how much the Thunderbolt based hard drove enclosures go for right now I wouldn't be surprised if the GPU's are also going to be expensive. OK so $1000 might be a bit of an exaggeration but they will probably cost around $600 with an enclosure which is still a lot of money for an add on GPU.
     
  12. TheStew macrumors member

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    Mar 2, 2011
    #12
    Yeah, I can agree on 600$. Its pricey, but isn't a bad GPU a reason why people refresh their laptops? I got a 2,0Ghz pro, quad core. Its the one with only 256MB. While the +400$ one has 1GB. If there is a nice thunderbolt graphics card in a year or 2-3 for 600$, I think the difference between the 400$ MBP's and mine wont be that big. They got the GPU's now, and I dont. But I'll have a better one in a couple of years. One that will connect to all my macs, while their GPU is stuck in their machines.

    It has its pro's and cons, but I think this is an attractive offer. It will be like adding RAM or a SDD to keep your mac longer. It costs more, but it is the bottleneck of most laptops
     
  13. archurban macrumors 6502a

    archurban

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    #13
    you are talking about MBA or other laptop. then mention desktop GPU? you know that we can't replace laptop GPU anyway. funny.
     
  14. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #14
    It's got nothing to do with replacing the internal GPU. Technically the Thunderbolt connection has fast enough through put to allow a more powerful external GPU in an enclosure connected to it. This would boost the graphics power of the computer.
     
  15. logistic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 27, 2011
    #15
    so it seems like a thunderbolt gfx dock wouldnt be in the market for the near future? anyways yea i dont usually game but once in a while i do get tempted!

    esp when there are afew good titles coming out soon! probably a gaming console would do it as most games are on multi platform now.

    however i'm just curious of the capabilities of 13" MBA 2011, will it do an above 40fps for a game like COD4:D
     
  16. doh123 macrumors 65816

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    #16
    a $400 GPU in an external enclosure would be a waste.. you'd probably get something slower. While Thunderbolt might be fast for some things, its no where near a x16 PCIe slot, so you are still going to have low bandwidth for your GPU. It is possible to get something MUCH MUCH faster than the Intel, sure.. but definitely not the fastest. Also remember if this is external, you'll have to have an external monitor hooked up as well and not use the built in screen.
     
  17. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #17
    I very much doubt it even on the lowest possible settings. A game like COD4 is going to need a GPU with dedicated and faster VRAM. I would say if you're not a hardcore gamer and want to play games once in a while then a PS3 or Xbox 360 would be a better choice.
     
  18. archurban macrumors 6502a

    archurban

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    #18
    in theory? actually, you missed the point. mobile component is not compatible with desktop parts even you try to do with external GPU. the most important thing is that mobile board can produce enough power to boost GPU. in reality, desktop power is more than 4-5 times to eat electricity which laptop can't handle. the result will be worst than just Intel HD 3000. it's all about compatibility. mobile is mobile, desktop is desktop. don't even try it.
     
  19. ugru, Aug 15, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011

    ugru macrumors 6502

    ugru

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    #19
    I believe it is you who is completely missing the point. They are talking about EXTERNAL DESKTOP GRADE GPU connected to laptops....

    External GPU are already on the market and they work (albeit with little problems)...

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1203179

    Connecting one of these through Thunderbolt will give a MBA good performances, less than a desktop gaming rig but surely a lot better than crappy Intel HD3000....

    Sony already did it with thunderbolt:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1178226

    I do not see why Apple or others cannot...

    BTW thunderbolt throughput is more or less comparable to that of PCI x4, enough to allow decent gaming performances. The difference between 16X and 4X is less than 10% in real world benchmarks....
     
  20. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #20
    Actually you're missing the point. Sony already has a laptop with an external Thunderbolt ( what they call Light Peak ) docking station with GPU. If they can do it I'm sure such products can be made available for Apple laptops.
     
  21. samroberto macrumors member

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    Apr 22, 2008
    #21
    my gaming success on air

    Wow okay it seems everyone's infusing this thread with their pro or anti macbook air opinions. Have fun with that.

    Here are my results:
    Age of Empires III, runs perfect on highest settings until you really load up the screen with units, then it sometimes can slow down slightly- which I would rate performance as going from 10 out of 10 to 8.5 out of 10.

    Star Wars KOTOR: fine on medium. Haven't tried yet on high.
    Star Wars Empire At War: fine on high.

    Those aren't brand-spankin-new games, but still have pretty good graphics and look and play great on my 2011 MBA, 13" 1.8Ghz i7.
     
  22. Hastings101 macrumors 68020

    Hastings101

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    #22
    I think you'll be fine running at low settings on games two to three years old, anything newer and it might get a little choppy but should still be completely playable. Intel's integrated graphics cards aren't nearly as bad as they used to be and the Air comes with a decent processor.
     
  23. Carlanga macrumors 604

    Carlanga

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #23
    So much wrong in this post...
    HD is SSD so way faster than normal HD...
    RAM is 4GB...
    The graphics card is not bad for a laptop, he'll the 13MBP has the same one...

    TS you probably can run FIFA in the low settings, check 11 req and from there build onnit; same for BF check BF2 specs and so on...
    You can run Age of Empires III pretty good since I run it fine in my 2007 crappy 950 int card. Also older COD games should run.:cool:
     
  24. logistic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 27, 2011
    #24
    yea it seems that 2011 MBA will do Fifa but absolutely not bf3 where the gfx requirements are way higher. Thanks guys for all your inputs! and just in case if apple do come out with a gfx dock keep me inform pls!!
     
  25. nagromme macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #25
    My 11” Air is a gaming computer—it’s one of the things I bought it for, in fact. I don’t expect to run the VERY latest games at the highest (or even medium) detail, but I can run really awesome games at really awesome detail levels—and I do. IdTech 4 games (Quake Wars) and BioShock, mainly, both of which look great and run will once you find the right settings. (Figuring out what settings really affect the look the most, vs. what settings impact performance the most. The balance I’ve found is far better than I expected!) As for other games, people were getting StarCraft 2 to run decently on last year’s models, and for games, this year’s seem to perform about the same (although in some cases the new CPUs will help). It’s not the phrase “integrated graphics” that matters, and it doesn’t matter what Intel delivered in the past, either. It matters what this machine and these Intel chips deliver now. And I am a very happy gamer!

    Best of all, it’s a gaming machine I take anywhere amazingly easily! With a pocket projector along for the ride (soon).

    Not every serious gamer is best served by an Air, of course. But for some serious gamers, it’s ideal! You have to choose what fits your goals. Fun, for me, doesn’t come from benchmarks or even the latest shader effects (which are awesome but not vital). Or even playing whatever game that just game out—as though last year’s games are not fun in some way. Fun doesn’t come from bragging rights. But it does, sometimes, come from whether I actually have my laptop WITH me or not! Portability is great in those situations. I can grab my Air without a second thought, compared to heavy game-centric machine.

    As for a Thunderbolt dock... sign me up! Have my cake and eat it too! It won’t come from Apple—but from third parties? I have little doubt.
     

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