Why Apple is breaking my heart.

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by heffer2k02, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. heffer2k02 macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2011
    Maybe someone can give me some perspective here.

    I recently bought the new top spec Air as my day to day main system, it's a great machine, apart from two things. Viewing angles and graphics. I'm not complaining about these things really (well maybe the viewing angles a bit) because I knew what I was getting involved with. This idea was that I get the new thunderbolt display to go alongside it and that would be a sweet setup.

    Then I started thinking to myself, "But what if I want to game?". I just about never game, but knowing that the Air is so graphically weak, suddenly makes me miss insane poly pushing power. Go figure.

    So, I though the Mac Mini would be the answer to my desires. I could just switch the external display between laptop and mini and game away. But it turns out the mini is pretty weak in graphics as well. At least, it is weak enough to turn me off spending a fair bit of cash on it for only a reasonable upgrade from the Air. Why does it have to be so weak anyway? It's not like heat, space or battery life is a problem with the mini. They could have given the option of serious graphics option like in the iMac surely.

    So, I think maybe the iMac is the way to go. The top of the range iMac has some pretty serious power in it (although still 'M' series chipsets), enough for me, I can game on the iMac, and still use target display mode to hook the laptop up to the screen. Except, target display mode doesn't carry over any of the ports on the iMac, thus destroying the beauty of docking station approach given by the external thunderbolt display, and rendering my Air essentially portless.

    The price is ever increasing.

    I look at the Mac Pro, and choke on it's price, and discover it won't even work the external thunderbolt display. I don't want to spend entry level 2 grand on something that's going to depreciate furiously anyway.

    So I consider getting both iMac and external display. Hey, I can hook the external display to the iMac and have double monitor going on. I can run keyboard and mouse etc from external display, which should be picked up by both iMac and laptop when i switch thunderbolt cable. Expensive and totally unnecessary for my needs but quite cool! Except the alignment between iMac screen and external screen doesn't even match up. And that would just drive me crazy considering the thing would bankrupt me.

    Finally, with great frustration I consider getting a PC for gaming and rigging that to external thunderbolt display. I could live with Windows for gaming. More choice after all. But gaming PC's all seem large, noisy, ugly, and don't even have thunderbolt yet (and won't for months to come).

    So I'm **** out of luck, and frustrated and upset that there seems to be no perfect solution to my problem, despite the fact I'm willing to throw a fair bit of cash at it.

    I don't expect there to be a clean solution to the "external graphics card over thunderbolt" option to arrive anytime soon, and when it does, I doubt it would work cleanly with external display to carry ports over the thunderbolt etc.

    I don't know what to do really. Meh.
  2. Curren~Sea macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    If you want the OS X experience and you need a mobile computer platform, the MBA is your best bet.

    Don't worry about gaming if it is not a big priority for you. Otherwise, you'll end up spending a lot of money on something you will "just about never" use.

    Personally, I use the MBA 13 and plan to get an iMac to replace my W7 computer. Any gaming that I want to do can be done on the iMac in either OS X or W7 boot camped.
  3. turbobass macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I 100% agree with this point, only I wish and hope the rediculous hope that Apple lets you target your iMac display with third party devices (or that someone makes a hack lol).

    I've made this analogy somewhere else but let me just say that buying a top tier iMac to game on is like buying a top model BMW to rally race. Yeah it handles great and is really comfortable, but its not a rally racing car and you're spending a ******** more money for stuff that honestly you'd be better off building yourself and replacing individually as your system ages. Yes the rally car (being the PC in this analogy) is loud and uncomfortable, but if you want a top tier gaming machine that -- you know -- you can, say, replace the graphics card to the top tier again when you need to with no problem or overclock the CPU easily.
  4. gman901 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    If you like the Air, you could always get the 2010 model and bootcamp to Windows. Gaming is much better with this model in Windows if you can live with 30 fps and low to medium settings on most games. Or you can wait and see if the external TB graphic card module comes out and then you can use the 2011 Air for work on the go and dock it to your graphic card for real desktop gaming. I have no idea when and if this project will become a reality, but I like the concept.
  5. turbobass macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Gaming...on a 2010 Mac Book Air. Suggested in a thread where a someone wants to max our their graphics and already has a top spec 2011 Mac Book Air.

  6. eobet macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2009
    Google for external graphics cards. I think I saw a newly announced Thunderbolt one for laptops recently...
  7. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    Why would you worry about gaming if you're not even sure if you want to game? Worry about it when you get to the point that the game you have/want wont run on your current Air. Either that or throw your money at a Mac Pro and throw more money at updated GPUs and be done with it that way.
  8. heffer2k02, Aug 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2011

    heffer2k02 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2011
    I knew mentioning "I just about never game" was probably not a wise move :)
    I actually game a fair bit, it's just I play quakeworld (ezquake client), which being a game from 14 years ago, updated to use GPU's etc runs pretty slick even on the Air. But what bothered me was that I've set maxfps down from 120 which I used on my 2008 Pro to 60, because other wise the fan gos nuts and the thing burns pretty hot.

    Truth is, I think I would get involved with some newer games if I had a more powerful machine to play them! I have Portal 2, which was playable (Although not exactly slickness) on my 2008 Pro. It's performance is considerably less enjoyable on my 2011 Air. I can forget playing Portal 2 smoothly on the external display. I don't even consider Portal 2 to be particularly demanding, so I do feel graphically underpowered, and would like a solution.

    Currently, the top Mac Mini seems like a good bet as that can probably drive many non cutting edge games well enough. But it still seems a bad investment as it's far from future proof.

    The PC option would probably be the way to go to avoid massive depreciation, but again, I can't run any PC against external cinema display, and if I get another display my Air become portless!

    Also, in regards to the ViDock, it could be perfect. Even with all that talk about only doing 4x PCI or whatever, I'm sure it would be the best solution for me.

    Only, the ViDock will drive a graphics card with DVI output, which if I want to use with the cinema display, will have to be converted back to displayport. This will obviously leave the ports on the display unusable.

    If ViDock is clever, it could split display port out to the GPU, and tunnel the rest of tunderbolt out a separate cable. Then another cable would be needed to convert DVI out and thunderbolt back into a single tunderbolt connection for the display. Or they could create a dock that specifically did this cleanly with apple cinema display.

    Never going to happen is it.

    So the ViDock route still leaves me with a portless Air.

    What's really needed is a ViDock style product that also provides the Firewire, gigabit ethernet, USB etc. Ethernet is important for gaming, especially in games like quakeworld where slight packet loss is make or break. Then you could hook up any display you wanted, including the older mDP display.

    Wasting my time dreaming.
  9. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
    Why would you face palm? the 2010 Macbook Air has much better graphics than the 2011, and can game much better. The ULV i5/i7 HD 3000 is quite slow, but the old nvidia 320m is much faster... It is sort of a silly recommendation, but doesn't seem like a facepalm.

    You'd be better off with the new top line mini though, as its Radeon is much faster than both of those options...

    If oyu want to game on a Mac, the top line Mini is ok... 15" or 17" Macbook Pro is pretty good, and basically any of the current iMacs can game good, even the low end one.
  10. heffer2k02 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2011
    I think perhaps your right. The top end mini is probably what I'll end up going for. I still get to use the external cine display as I wish, and with a quick cable switch I'll probably have enough power for most of my needs.

    It's also a purchase I can make ASAP :)
  11. Artofilm macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2005
    I really don't understand the expectations from computer owners. Seriously, take a look at the MBA, how can you expect that to be a gaming powerhouse??

    If you wanted to game you should get an Alienware laptop or the like. If you want portability, then the MBA is perfect.
  12. iMaci7 macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2011
    So its APPLES fault that ATI / Intel mobile GPUs are not powerful enough...? Thats the trend in todays day and age. Physics won't let you shrink the transistors any more? GPU companies can't fit a hot, powerful, power hungry GPU in a hyper thin 13" laptop? Apples fault! They did this just to smite you, they are after all..evil.

    But seriously, gaming on a Mac Laptop requires a Macbook Pro, at least.

    I use my iMac 27" for gaming, HD6970M is very fast. I recently switched from a gaming desktop, my CPU performance went up 70%, my GPU performance stayed the same, which is shocking because I'm going from a GTX 285 to a Mobile chip. Gaming is also improved because i get to play portal 2 at 2560x1440, which is epic.
  13. heffer2k02 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2011
    I think if you read my original post a little closer, you will see I have no dispute with Apple over the gaming performance of the MBA. I knew perfectly well it was not going to perform for gaming. I also have no interest in an Alienware laptop.

    My post simply claims that I'm having trouble deciding on WHAT I should use to get the balance of portability/gaming I need in my life, whilst maintaining a certain level of aesthetics that I obviously enjoy in Apple products.

    My lament was that I could not quite find what I would consider a perfect solution, no matter what avenue I take.

    Best compromise for me right now, is probably a top end mini.
  14. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    I think we all have learned something special here. Long posts are too long to read and no one needs to read an entire post before formulating their opinion. :D
  15. Killery96 macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2011
    It seems like you want the elegance and user friendliness and USABILITY of a mac, and you want the cheap price and geared-for-max performance-and-grilling-tuna hardware in gaming rigs. Sorry, computers are the wrong world for you. I bought a 15" Macbook Pro. The viewing angle is fine with the glossy screen 1680x1050 (couldn't stand for the color scattering of the AG), and the computer cost a little over 2 grand. I don't think it was worth making a forum post over the fact that Apple doesn't make cheap computers with powerful graphics. That's just not the way they do it. Stop being heartbroken and either get more money to spend on your "dream", or settle for something else. BTW: ViDock is comin and it will allow for PCI graphics cards over thunderbolt.
  16. archurban, Aug 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2011

    archurban macrumors 6502a


    Aug 4, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Do you think that windows 7 is ugly? think again. really seriously. of course, mac os x looks much better, simple, easy to use. but windows 7 is easy to use, simple as well (at least for me). I have no problem to use windows 7 and msc os x at the same time. what is your problem? you talk about money, afraid of being bankruptcy or something. but you still buy only mac? why? you have no idea how hard economy situation is today. however, you want to play games? don't ever buy any mac. mac is not really good for gaming in my experience. with that decent amount of money, you can just buy gaming laptop very easily. it's not even $2000 if you know that. I have Asus G73 (core i7 quad core 2.0 ghz, NVIDIA 560 GTX 2GB video memory, 750GB HDD, 8GB memory). actually, I can run any game whatsoever with high setting. I can still get more than 40fps. Crysis 2 with ultra high, I get 35fps still. how much did I pay for? it wasn't not even $2000. I had a good deal with fry's electronics. I only paid $1300. in mac side, it is impossible to get this kind of high end laptop. macboo pro 15, 17 inch high are not even closed to performance.
  17. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    If you want to game, you could get a machine designed for gaming - a console.
  18. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    Not sure how much you can spend in total, but buy Mac and PC. That's what I did instead of buying an expensive fully loaded Mac.
  19. Kenndac macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2003
    My Mac/Gaming needs are completely solved using a 2010 27" iMac and a gaming PC I built myself. Most graphics cards these days have DisplayPort on them, so I just keep my PC out of the way under the desk connected to my iMac. Cmd+F2 to switch to the PC and a USB switch to move the keyboard and mouse over. Easy!
  20. superericla macrumors 6502

    Sep 27, 2010
    This is because the GPU has to work harder to push that many frames a second to the display and while the Pro has plenty of space to cool the GPU, the MacBook Air does not due to it's size.
  21. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Actually heat and space are massive factors in the Mini, otherwise they'd have much better graphics. (As would everyone.)
  22. quasinormal macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Sydney, Australia.
  23. heffer2k02, Aug 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2011

    heffer2k02 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2011
    This could be the answer I was looking for!
    Will have to upgrade graphics card to be thunderbolt in future though.

    Anyone understand how that will work? Will graphics cards have thunderbolt outputs on the back that can carry full thunderbolt signal? Or will they only ever at best have displayport?

    If so, cinema display ports will remain useless.....


    And I forgot link:
  24. Scarpad macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    Buy a PC because seriously the games that require that much power are not on Mac anyhow. I've played games like call of Duty and Left for Dead on my Air, maybe not at top notch but they play fine, I've also played them on my Imac where they perform a bit better. If you are not a huge games then whats the problem, you'll enjoy them well enough

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