'Ultimate' 13.3" Sandy Bridge Air, Bootcamp-Windows 7 & Gaming

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by clareclair, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. clareclair macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    #1
    Hey,

    I'm planning on buying my first ever mac (hopefully this month!) and have a few questions I hope someone may be able to answer. This will be my main computer (replacing a Vaio) and as such I would like the option to play some games now and again. However, I am not a big gamer and appreciate this is far from a gaming machine.

    I'm under the impression that due to different Windows graphical drivers and occasionally, bad OSX game ports, it is best to run games via Windows and Bootcamp. Is this true for all games? I'm assuming parallels desktop/VMware fusion will run slower than bootcamp. The latter, however, would obviously be more convenient.

    Someone mentioned to me that a new version of Civilization V had been released. I have enjoyed playing this in the past so have searched the internet for information on its playability on the air. From what I've read it seems to be just about playable.

    Obviously the new Sandy Bridge processors with increased clock speeds should improve gaming, but is the Intel HD Graphics 3000 going to be much of a step-down from the NVIDIA GeForce 320M? On balance, I'm assuming gaming will be improved as I understand the Intel and NVIDIA performance is somewhat comparable.

    As this will be my main machine, I just wanted to do some homework and ensure that if I decide to dabble in a bit of gaming down the line, I won't be massively disappointed. Once again, I appreciate this is not a gaming laptop.

    I have also been considering the 13.3" Vaio SA due to its high pixel density (1600x900-->~138dpi Cf. 128dpi for the 13.3" air at 1440x900) and the reliability of Vaio laptops. However, the quality of the air's screen is otherwise better (e.g. contrast ratio etc.), I like the design of the air, and I'm becoming increasingly fond of the OSX software (as well as looking forward to the arrival of Lion).

    Any input would be great. Thanks a bunch!
     
  2. Beaverman3001 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    #2
    You'd be better off with the current MBA than the next generation sandy bridge version if you are worried about games. The IGP in the ULV sandy bridge cpus is going to be pretty bad.
     
  3. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #3
    Wait until the new ones are out then hit the refurb store. They're bound to shoot down in price given a few days.
     
  4. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Location:
    California, United States
    #4
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Or better yet, get a new one still from either Amazon or JR.com as they discount remaining last gen models down to refurb prices while also avoiding taxes and shipping charges (depending on where you live of course).
     
  5. endhalf macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    #5
    To be honest, GF320M isn't exactly gaming graph. card either... And for some games bottleneck will be processor anyway so u won't enjoy much gaming on Air... Current air however should be better for gaming than the next one so yep, wait for refresh and then hit refub one :)
     
  6. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #6
    Shouldn't be the case, games are dealt with by the GPU, not the CPU.
     
  7. endhalf macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    #7
    NutsNGum: What are you talking about? :D Every game has requirements on GPU and CPU at once... And since CPU on Air is so outdated, it will be bottleneck for games like Civilization 5, Supreme Commander etc.
     
  8. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #8
    The only Macbook even half capable IMO if you are serious about gaming, would be to get the lo-res 15" MBP with the 6750M.

    The SB Air would be a huge waste of time in this regard, unless Apple somehow squeezes in a discrete GPU. And the current late 2010 is not that much better really... unless you want to game at really low non native resolutions.
     
  9. Onimusha370 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    #10
    the post above about getting a refurb in a few weeks is the right thing to do. i'm not sure on the differences between the 320m and the IGP in the ULV sandybridges, but on games, you're looking at atleast double the performance on the current models 320m compared to the new models. And if you are getting an air, don't worry about the CPU being the bottleneck, the vast majority of games work fine with a 2.13ghz core 2 duo.
    if you are thinking about gaming though, i'd seriously consider a 15" MBP, with the 6750M. you'll be getting several times faster graphics performance, and a much faster processor, for not much more money than an UMBA.
    good luck deciding.
     
  10. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #12
    Not even close.:rolleyes:
     
  11. Cerano macrumors 6502

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    Oct 28, 2010
    #13
  12. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #14
    You seem to not understand that it requires the GPU and CPU to work well in games. It isn't just the GPU like the person I was responding too. It actually has to do with the CPU a lot.
     
  13. endhalf macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    #15
    Dude, actual games? What are you talking about? There are games, wich are more GPU intensive and there are games, wich are more CPU intensive (mostly strategy games). WoW will run even on previous generation of MBA, but I'd like to see Supreme Commander, wich requied atleast 4 quad on desktop to be fully playeable in 4 vs 4... Now MBA isn't really gaming machine and we all knew that WoW will be playeable on it even before you post your comment. WoW will be playeable even on SB MBA... Doesn't change the fact that MBA isn't gaming machine and if he is serious with gaming, he should buy 15" Pro instead.

    Or if he wants to be portable, he should consider new PSP Vita, Nintendo 3DS etc. MBA isn't gaming device even if it can run few games. For some it may be OK, for serious gamers there is 15" MBP, or better, gaming desktop.
     
  14. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #16
    Agreed. Another example is my older system. Quad Core Q8300 2.5ghz with a Nvidia 9800GX2 had lag and trouble running Call of Duty Black Ops. I replaced the video card and it helped a lot with a 6970. But then the CPU seemed to be a bottleneck. So I replaced it with a X6 AMD 1100t, and no lag at all.

    CPU and GPU work together. You need to have both for games or any graphical intensive operations to work well. But it isn't just the GPU. Wish people here would not respond if they do not have a computer engineering background.
     
  15. Cerano macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    #17
    dude, i agree certain games will be more CPU intensive but it has been proven by Anandtech that beyond a certain point eg 2.2ghz C2D, the single-most important variable is the GPU.

    look again at the link ive shown you

    Samsung Series 9 SB

    14 fps

    MBA

    56 fps

    tell me if 14 fps is playable. nuff said.

    that said, a MBA isnt a gaming machine i agree with you. However, he is evidently not a pure gamer. He, like the rest of us want portability along with the power should the need arise.

    He is simply asking if a SB MBA is adequate to which the simple answer is no.
     
  16. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #18
    Sorry but it is and will always be a combination of both. And there is no after a certain point. And until the laptop is released you have no clue if the new MBA is powerful enough to run what he requested. WOW is not a test for real games in any way either.
     
  17. drewyboy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    #19
    You rang? I have an electrical computer engineering background. Ha! Seriously though, I do, but I'm not going to bother saying much because I don't code games which are the people we should be asking questions. I have no idea how they split up the resources. Never did like the high level programming...

    Anywho, I'm prob. going to get MBA replacing my 2010 iMac because I won't be surprised if on a computing level, they are similar (13" i5/i7 MBA vs. 2010 i3 iMac). Paired up w/ an Asus 24" monitor :) Then make a cheap $400 gaming rig this fall when BF3 comes out. I do like to edit video a little here and there and have CS5 Production Suite... so I'm gona have to see a few benchmarks for before I go ahead and get it. It would also be nice to see how the new FCPX performs, also the new Motion. Torn though when knowing MBP would be better, but there's just something about the MBA that appeals to me, maybe the simplicity and lack of clutter. As an engineer, I don't make many emotional decisions, but when it comes to Apple, screw them they've got me.

    Well, I talked about nothing really, but I'd honestly suggest just build a cheap $400 rig to game along w/ your MBA!
     
  18. Oppressed macrumors 65816

    Oppressed

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #20
    Read all the words in the link.

    Thats about 47.5% increased in performance. The point of the post is to compare what could be very similar specs to the SB MBA to the current models. The question is if the current MBA could play casual games if the OP wanted it to. The answer is yes, and based on the information that we currently have it should be a better experience than the SB MBA. Can the OP play Crysis with full detail on with no lag? No, but I believe he realizes that some detail/FPS will have to be given up for the sake of portability.
     
  19. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #21
    My mistake, the word "primarily" didn't feature as heavily as it should've in my initial post.

    Clearly the CPU is a necessary component.

    Please enjoy the smug satisfaction you can only truly get from a combination of both the rolleyes icon, and being correct on an internet forum.

    Master I have failed.
     
  20. Xgm541 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #22
    I have a macbook air 11 inch 1.4 c2d 4gb ram and it games surprisingly well.

    Yes should use bootcamp as windows does have better driver support.

    If I can game on my 11 inch, youll be fine with your 13 inch ultimate. Although keep in mind you probably wont be playing crysis on max settings, but you certainly could get decent performance on low.
     
  21. voigtstr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Location:
    Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
    #23
    I'm thinking that to play EVE online (Incarna) the new Air just wont have the graphical oomph. Might lean towards a 15" MBP with largest SSD.
     
  22. Oppressed macrumors 65816

    Oppressed

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #24
    If you can afford it then go for it. That should last you many years.
     
  23. voigtstr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Location:
    Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
    #25
    I just checked the largest SSD price, its quite insane isnt it?
     

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