What Is Holding The Mac Back!!!

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Jinnjuice1196, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Jinnjuice1196, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2012

    Jinnjuice1196 macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2012
    I would like to share with you, what my opinions are on what Apple can do to make their computers, specifically laptops, better. One thing I have noticed, and most likely you as well, is that Apple cares about how their laptops look. Their laptops have the nicest design I have ever seen. They are sleek, cool, very thin, and sharp. They do not seem to realize, however, how this takes away from the performance of their laptops.

    For instance, if their MacBook Pros, 15'' and 17'', were half an inch thicker, they could add much better speakers. The speakers are alright in the 15'' and 17'' laptops, but they have NO bass what so ever. I have seen and PC laptops, and I hate PCs, that have amazing audio.

    Another benefit of putting out a slightly thicker laptop is that they can make room for two HDDs. As of now you can only get one HDD in the 15'' and 17'' notebooks. Yeah some people mods them by taking out the optical drive and putting a HDD there, but who wants to go through all that trouble and then not be able to play a DVD?

    Moving on to what bothers me the most, is their graphics. If they made their laptops a tad thicker, they could put in MUCH beefier graphics cards. The graphics in the current 15'' and 17'' laptops are horrid. I cannot play GTA: San Andreas on max settings without getting a frame rate of 16fps.

    I have to play the game on the lowest possible settings to get an average of 34fps. The game is also 8 years old, yes, EIGHT. Another reason why they don't put in a better graphics card is because of battery life. They are very concerned about that, and I will admit their laptops have very good battery life. But they have the graphics switching going on, so why not have Intel HD 4000 graphics for everyday things, then switch over to an NVIDIA GTX 680M.

    Plus, they could put in a bigger battery with the extra room! Their 1920x1200 displays in their 17'' models cannot run games very well with a 1GB graphics card from AMD.

    Also if they thickened their laptops they could add better CPUs, and they already do have pretty good CPUs as it is, they could do better. Thickening the laptops allows for better cooling, you cannot go wrong with thickening the laptops!

    They came out with the retina display MacBook Pro which was a TERRIBLE idea! They made it thinner, and put a mediocre 1GB NVIDIA graphics card in it! My GTX 580 in my gaming PC probably couldn't play a game at that kind of resolution, and I am aware it's max res. is 2560x1600.

    Gaming on that must be terrible, and even watching HD videos must be terrible. I don't know what they were thinking when they put that graphics card in to power that display. I have a 2010 MacBook Pro 17'' with an 512MB NVIDIA graphics card. The resolution on that display is 1920x1200, and my GTX 580 powers a display that resolution. On games such as Saints Row 3, I get an average of 32fps on the 580. And that is 1.5GB of GDDR5 graphics memory!

    They really need to just up their hardware even if it means making the laptop a little thicker. They can still keep their crazy designs, it benefits everything. They can even add more ports on the sides of their laptops. Thicker laptops means much better Sound, Graphics, CPUs, HDDs, Ports, Battery Life, and Cooling.

    [mod note]
    Added some white space to make reading a bit easier
  2. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    Sorry, but I can't read your post until you break it up into paragraphs. That wall of text is unscalable haha :eek:
  3. Hastings101 macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2010
    Apple does realize it holds back performance by not including more powerful graphics cards. That doesn't matter to them, they want a product that looks nice, is thin and light, isn't too expensive, and is still decently powerful enough to be good enough for most users. You have to remember they are trying to make a computer that everyone will want, not just spec junkies and gamers.
  4. Thraun macrumors regular


    Dec 18, 2008
    Abbotsford, BC
    Apple doesn't make gaming machines. They make excellent computers that do everything quite well, gaming included. But they're definitely not designed with gaming in mind, at least at the forefront, and anyone who thinks Apple should do that is just crazy.

    Expecting Apple to make their premium laptops thicker and heavier just to be more powerful with games is one of the silliest things I've ever heard. Who games on a laptop anyway? That's silly in and of itself. If you want a gaming laptop, go buy some 20lb Alienware machine and have fun lugging it around everywhere.

    Do what everyone sane does: game on a console or desktop machine. If you want mobile gaming, get a freakin' iPad or something for crying out loud.

    Sheesh, sorry, I'm just so tired of threads like this and I kind of had to rant. But I'm also completely serious.
  5. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia

    if you want a gaming laptop, buy one.

    but they're pretty crap. a laptop just doesn't have enough battery to do any sort of high-end portable gaming on the move. so why bother. a laptop is meant to be portable and usable on the go, not tethered to an AC outlet.

    You're better off spending the money you'd spend on a portable gaming rig on a desktop PC and macbook air, so you have 2 devices that do the job they're built for properly - rather than being useless at both.
  6. SuperMini macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2009
    You dont have to play games at native res, the 650m in most games obviously cant handle it. In my experience gaming older games don't necessarily run better, gta sa doesnt run properly on my custom windows pc and is nothing but a crappy port from consoles.

    Also stop comparing video cards memory there so so many other factors that make a video card what it is. If you want a gaming machine buy an Alienware or a Clevo.
  7. SpyderBite macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2011
    I game almost daily on my Mac. Even abandoned a fully loaded Gaming rig for the convenience of gaming downstairs in the living room rather than caging myself up on the third floor of my home in the office where that beast resides.

    I sacrifice a little video performance on resource intensive games of course. But, I knew that I would before I purchased my MacBook pro.

    As has been said already, if you want your cake and eat it too; buy a gaming laptop. Apple is not in the gaming pc business with the exception of games sold in the application store.
  8. edddeduck macrumors 68020


    Mar 26, 2004
    Apple's laptops are actually really powerful, did you know the high end 15" MacBookPro with the CPU upgrade is more powerful than the 27" iMac with a CPU upgrade?

    I guess what you mean is that Apple don't install gaming level high wattage graphics cards as the rest of the specification is usually high level hardware.

    The need for two HD's is a small number of customers. Your average user never fills a 750GB driver never mind bigger ones. Also as 2TB drives now exist in laptop format the number of users who need or want 4TB internal storage in a laptop are few and far between. I admit it would be great to have 4TB but equally I would be surprised if even 0.1% of users wanted more space than a single drive can fill.

    That is likely down to the laptop you are using and the game. I know of much newer games like Deus Ex that can run at a smooth frame rate on MacBookPros.

    The 680M card uses 340 Watts while running, that means way more cooling and a tiny battery life. Apple don't want to make the laptop heavier, hotter and a lower battery life just to get a few more frames per second on a game. The 650M is decent and can play all games on decent settings. When you buy a laptop you want something portable not a desktop with batteries which a lot of these gaming laptops are.

    Oh and the 17" model does not exist anymore :)

    The top end CPU in the new MacBookPro is only beaten by the 8 and 12 core MacPro machines. Yes I am sure you could put an even more powerful CPU in a laptop but would the battery last for more than 10 minutes under load? Remember how big the heatsinks are in PC towers? Now think how thin a laptop is, I think Apple use pretty impressive CPU models for a laptop.

    Apart from making them heavier, which makes them less portable and easy to use which when a laptop is designed to be portable is a big deal ;)

    No graphics card can play at native retina resolution but if you owned a retina MacBookPro and tried it out you realise that the OS reports the previous standard 15" resolution to applications like games so the largest resolution is not actually native. However as the screen is retina (higher DPI) this does not really matter or make a huge difference in your experience when playing. Sure it cannot play on native but the real question is does it look better than the older 15" laptop playing the same game? The answer is to me when testing both side by side is yes it is.

    Not in my experience when testing, games, HD video whatever we have thrown at the Retina MacBookPro (stock low end model) it has dealt with it perfectly. 1080p, 720p, games they all run fine.

    That card is fine to drive that display apart from playing games on native resolution. As not even a high end card can play games at retina resolutions putting in a better card would not add much and would make the laptop heavier, hotter and thicker so Apple decided not to.

    The 2010 MacBookPro had one of the least powerful cards in recent years (330M) for a laptop and the drivers are also not the best performing. We have iMac's which are 18 months older with better frame rates in games. It's not great news I know but the 330M is a problem card when it comes to getting decent performance in games.

    A laptop by design is optimised for travel first not gaming if you want a gaming machine then buy an iMac or even better a MacPro and drop a flashed high end gaming card in it. Laptops are compromises between power and portability, sure having all the extra stuff you mentioned would be great but it would no longer really be a laptop it would more be a desktop machine with a battery and a fold down screen.

  9. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
  10. softypolimer macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2009
    This topics never gets old and it's it's keep on coming forever. Gaming laptop is an impractical dream of the rich gamer kids.

    Not everybody could afford mac or gaming laptop. Combining both would not be a good sell.
  11. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    Nice! Plus that brick is excellent for self-defense when needed!
  12. NeonKingKong macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2008
    Portland, OR
    NIceeee. Sign me up.
  13. johnmacward macrumors regular


    Jul 12, 2011
    Jesus, some editing please. Paragraphs would be lovely indeed.

    Apple don't make gaming laptops, they're laptops bridge an amazing gap between pretty incredible performance and unbelievably thin and portable design, tough as hell to boot.

    Essentially your entire post is about how Mac's could be better if they suddenly were good at gaming. MacBook is for grown ups, not kids. It's a portable device that I take to college, cafes, town and so on. I can't imagine firing up COD MW3 in a damn restaurant or city bench to go for a two hour killing session. Think it through. Laptops are not really the right concept for gaming so why turn them into a ridiculous piece of hardware to fill a tiny weird niche. Good luck with the battery too.
  14. johnmacward macrumors regular


    Jul 12, 2011
    Actually talking about gaming laptops, when I used to work in a repair workshop we got the odd monstrosity in.

    Alienware or Dell XPS's would come in and sweet Jesus, these things were ridiculous. Taking them out of a bag would break your wrist. They were easily 3.5 inches thick, 18" screens and no bag could reasonably fit them so I don't understand how they were portable computers.

    Get them powered up and the fans would scream most of the time, ironically the trackpads would be diabolical and they could bake a turkey from 10 inches away. They really were a case of being a PC / laptop combination that was completely unsure of what to really be.
  15. 50548 Guest

    Apr 17, 2005
    Currently in Switzerland
    I don't get the point of these threads either. My iMac can easily play L4D2, Starcraft II, CoD 4, TF 2 and many other new or newish games with the highest settings without breaking a sweat.

    The main issue behind the relative dearth of native Mac games is somewhere between the laziness of Mac developers when coding such games (usually nothing more than Cider-izing them instead of REALLY developing for the Mac) and the passivity of newer or younger Mac customers when preferring to run Windows over OSX (a terrible trend that we can see in these very gaming forums).

    The Mac market has never been bigger, and yet kids talk here about running the latest Windows version of a game instead of pushing developers to REALLY code something for the Mac and its native OpenGL drivers.

    This just reminds me of what TRUE "low-level assembly" native developers like the French guys of FTA were able to do with the Apple IIGS (and its low-clock processor) back in the day...too bad we don't see such hard-working people around anymore.
  16. BurningCa007 macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    In defence of the OP I have a few things on my mind also regarding this matter, and have coincidentally not only a pc with a gtx 580 in it and the same thoughts currently as to whether or not purchase a mbp... Firstly, the macbook pros today are very expensive in comparison to certain gaming laptops, let's take a company that builds custom built laptops: Sager, these guys have got the np9150 which boasts a gtx 680 and a decent ivy bridge processor at around $1800 while the mbp may have a better processor, the gfx card is still mediocre and will be overkill for having a better processor likewise a poor processor with a god like gfx card will lead to the gfx card being bottlenecked. Since we're talking graphics cards now let's look at the two main brands: AMD and Nvidia. AMD can be considered as a company that makes graphics cards for gamers and as a result are cheaper then Nvidia whose cards may be useful in games but are also great in other applications like video editing etc. And so the earlier mbps had AMD graphics suggesting gaming was somewhere in the forefront of the aims of this laptop, they even advertised it with World of Warcraft in the apple online store...

    Those are just my two cents and I fully agree that a slightly thicker laptop can provide better performance in terms of cooling, parts, etc.
  17. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    I have never understood the appeal of a gaming laptop - wasted money that could be spent on a superior desktop and say a netbook.

    Laptops have horrible audio, tinny sound. Get some proper 2.1 speakers or a nice pair of headphones. Its a simple matter of physics why laptop speakers can produce bass at audible levels - they are too small.

    The retina sells...so no need to make it any thicker or make it out of gold. Its appealing, a generic thick gaming laptop is not.
  18. 53kyle macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    Mac laptops at not meant for gaming, but they still aren't bad. My i5 2010 MacBook pro does decent "gaming" with 30 fps on simple games like portal 2, and that is just with a 256 mb nvidia 330 chip. I personally think that the specs for the last couple years have been fine for gaming al least compared to nvidia 330. Also, the 2011 MacBook 15 and 17 inch models had similar specs (6750 or 6770 and core i7) to my pc (5750 and core i7) and that can play almost any game that is out there, so I don't see why not the macs
  19. n8mac macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2006
    So very true. Well said. I game on OS X and while not a dream with ports, still better than Windows. On the console side you have 3 machines plus handhelds with many good ports between them. A good choice between them. On the PC side you have devs who only know one thing, Windows. Sad. :(
  20. throAU, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012

    throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Yeah don't get me wrong, you CAN game on a macbook pro.

    I do it myself. But expecting it to run high end games in high res with all details on at a frame rate comparable with a dedicated gaming machine is just too much to ask.

    There's a reason desktops have better gaming performance: they're in a desktop form factor and can cool, power and fit much more powerful GPU hardware. If you want a truly portable machine, sacrifices must be made. The difference between say, an MBP and MBA is simply due to the amount of power you sacrifice for portability and size.

    Max out the CPU and GPU on your Macbook? Fan noise is massive. Same for most other portables. Whilst they CAN do this sort of thing, its just not what they're built for. The CPU and GPU is powerful enough to run most tasks in a way that enables the machine to sleep/lower clock speed as much as possible.

    A core i7 for example that spends half of its time idling to do the same amount of processing as a core 2 running flat out will chew much less power.

    as far as a 340 watt GPU goes - the macbook pro power brick is 85 watts. With that GPU, you'd need a 360-400 watt PSU to carry around with you just to run the machine, never mind charge the battery at the same time. Which will be like a brick. The battery would need to be about 400 watt/hr to get one hour of battery life when using the GPU. Which will weigh 6x as much as the current MBP battery.

    Your laptop would be about 6kg+ and the power brick would add another 2kg +

    I've seen laptops like that before and whilst you CAN carry them around, doing so it awkward. The battery life on them is useless.
  21. unwinded, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012

    unwinded macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2007

    The vram is not currently a limiting factor. In fact for many games it amounts to a marketing gimmick from what I understand. And my understanding could be wrong, but i think there are limitations in overall RAM usage by 32-bit apps even if they are large address aware. I think it also includes vram but I could be wrong. The vram thing was used for years to make it seem as if vram was a basis of comparison. An entry-level gpu with 2GB of vram will perform worse then a mid-level one with 768MB vram. When the hardware is identical or similar, it's diminishing returns mostly. I suppose there are situations where it could bottleneck but they're not going to be common.

    I'm just happy the rMBP can run many games (in Windows via boot camp) at the retina native res and be playable (above 30fps). I never expected that. I use 1440x900 (had to custom add it in the nvidia control panel) in many cases because even though scaling sucks, 1440x900 is still technically HD and good enough and it's half native so 1 pixel becomes four and scaling is perfect. I run Witcher 2 like this with everything maxed except for SSAO and uber sampling and it's 30 on average with the rare dip. Cut scenes are in the teens and 20s only because I have DOF on but they're cutscenes. They are worse on the 360 port even. And indoors its 60fps. This is one of the most demanding games on the PC still. Anybody that would call it unplayable I would call crazy.

    Yep, and most PC gamers think "gaming laptop" is an oxymoron and joke that maybe it can run solitaire and hearts, bejeweled if we're lucky. That's obviously an exaggeration, but that niche is kinda snobbish and elitist. A stereotype often applied to mac users for different reasons. Anyways, the 650m in the rMBP is comparable to the 660m which is standard in many similar-priced (cheaper by a few hundred books usually) gaming laptops. Comparable because they're the same core and the stock clock is higher in the rMBP then the 660m GTX. Which means that technically it's in league with gaming laptops, finally. Beyond that, they start making machines that don't really look different in size then the above G5 powerbook mock-up. They have two cards, generate tons of heat, no batter life, and cost more than several equally-powered desktop setups combined. They're not practical.
  22. edddeduck macrumors 68020


    Mar 26, 2004
    Pretty much dead on.

    32bit has an address limit of 4GB. The Address space needed for the graphics card is not taken out of the games memory address space (if you program the game in the right way). However OS X has 64 bit graphics drivers now so in theory it can address upto 16 exabytes of memory.

    Apps are starting to hit the 4GB limits and are slowly but steadily moving to 64bit. Game engines are going this way as are most OS frameworks.

    But talking of VRAM the amount you have is not really the major factor in game performance (as long as you have minimum amount). A MacBookPro with a 512MB NV9600M will get destroyed in terms of frame rate by the AMD5000 series card with 256MB of VRAM in an iMac. VRAM is great but without the power it's not that useful.

  23. Json81 macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2012
    Correct and incorrect.
    512MB on the low end modell is a limiting factor.
    I checked vram usage while playing SW:ToR on my late 2011 with 1GB 6770m, it reached 800MB as max, mostly stayed around 650-700MB.

    As reference, more than 1GB can be needed when playing at 1920x1080 in some games.

    However, low end cards with 2-3GB is just a marketing trick.
  24. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    Same. But however it runs on a Mac, it runs better under Windows.

    Under Windows, I can run TF2 totally maxed out on my 27" iMac even with the high resolution character pack. A constant 60fps.
    On OSX with the same settings, not so much. The frame rate jumps around between 25-60fps and that is just a total pain.

    And it's not so much a terrible trend either. If Apple want to compete with gaming performance in Windows it's time they created a rival to DirectX. People are going to want to get the most out of their "investment" when buying a Mac, I did, that's why I run both OSX and Windows. I'm not going to run games at lower settings, or miss out on games entirely just to appease the ghost of Steve Jobs. Getting the most out of a computer is not a terrible trend.

    Low level coding is dying. It doesn't need to exist anymore when good middleware solutions exist, when using API's is easy. How long would great games like Half Life, Skyrim have taken if they had their own languages? We'd never get to play them.
    That time is over, and thankfully so because it shows the art of game development is evolving.
  25. LastLine macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2005
    Clearly the lack of a return key is the limiting factor...

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