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Macbook for gaming?


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#1 gamer48

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:54 PM

Hello. I am new to the forums and I just wanted to find out some information about Mac gaming. Now, I'm in a little bit of a situation. I want to enjoy the the smoothness of the Mac, but at the same time I want to be able to have access to all the great technology that the PC offers to games.

Here's myquestion: what king of Mac should I buy if I want to enjoy top quality graphics and gaming? Can I play PC games on Macs if I switch onto the PC side or will the gaming lack graphics, speed, and gameplay? Am I better off just buying a PC instead and use a Mac for other purposes? What I was thinking is that I should buy a PC for gaming and a Macbook for everything else if nothing is out there. Thanks for your time.

#2 PeopleLikeFrank

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 07:14 PM

If you want  a Mac, and want the best possible gaming, then you need a Mac Pro. This however, will run you about $2500. For that price you can buy a MacBook for about $1000, and have $1000-$1500 left over to put together a PC that would outclass a Mac Pro for games anyway. Nothing other than the Mac Pro or MacBook Pro is terribly great for gaming, and the ones that are decent won't be in another year or so.

I'm currently on a MacBook Pro for work purposes, and have kept my previous PC around (with some upgrades) for gaming, and am totally happy with that situation.
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#3 Huntn

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 06:00 AM

The Apple Store shows MacPros at $2700. There is no way you can justify that just for gaming. I fall in line with Nobody except I'm using a MacBookPro for travel and a soon-to-be-built PC at home for gaming. I'm currently using a Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz tower which still plays games like Bioshock.

#4 Janichsan

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 06:24 AM

View PostHuntn, on March 6th 2008, 01:00 PM, said:

The Apple Store shows MacPros at $2700. There is no way you can justify that just for gaming.
Tthe Mac Pro is the only Mac right now where the standard configuration is not the lowest or cheapest option. By selecting only one quad-core CPU instead of two you can get this machines for a "little" as $2200 – since there is no game available or foreseeable that actually uses eight cores, there is no reason not to do this, if your focus is gaming. Anyway, adding a Geforce 8800 (which is almost a must) settles the price at $2500.

But I agree: a MacPro just for gaming is too expensive.

However, there is still the option to buy a MBP and run Windows games under BootCamp. The performance should be very good, especially with the 512 MB graphics board, and you have the advantage of having to have only one computer.

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#5 QuantaCat

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 07:32 AM

Which might be a disadvantage because you have to boot between windows and os x anyway. But yeah, I like my Macbook Pro, I don't know the performance/driver problems thing that is going on with the Nvidia card, though.
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#6 Huntn

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 02:41 PM

View PostJanichsan, on March 6th 2008, 06:24 AM, said:

However, there is still the option to buy a MBP and run Windows games under BootCamp. The performance should be very good, especially with the 512 MB graphics board, and you have the advantage of having to have only one computer.

When I bought my MBP, the step up to a 256MB card (as I recall) was a $500 option, but maybe I'm not recalling correctly. Whatever it was I could not justify the extra expense and it would have pushed my MBP up to $2600. My 128 MB card is handling games acceptable but not greatly. And I assume that upgrading my card would require a motherboard upgrade.

#7 gamer48

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 03:25 PM

How do you guys feel about gaming on just a Macbook? I'm getting the black one and to be honest, I'm only going to be playing one game on it: Red Alert 3. Do you think running boot camp on the Macbook could be able to handle playing RA3? I'm not looking for an uber powerful gaming machine, just one that could play Red Alert 3 somewhat smoothly. Also, if the MacBook were capable for gaming, do you think I should add in the 4GB of RAM or just leave it as it is?

#8 gamer48

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 03:36 PM

Would playing only one (specifically Red Alert 3) game and no more than one game on a MacBook have a smooth game play while running it on the windows side? Is it worth paying the extra $400 for the black MacBook to have 4GB of RAM or should it play smoothly with the 2GB? This is just only to play ONE game. Also, I was wondering if it would be better for me to buy the RAM separately and then build it into the MacBook myself. Would it be cheaper or am I better off just buying the extra RAM? Thanks for your time.

#9 QuantaCat

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 03:50 PM

Well, CnC can run with all settings to low on not that good a system, so I think the macbook should be able to handle it.


As long as you get boot camp, and not the possible mac version of RA3, which is inevitably coming too. (its faster on Windows)
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#10 QuantaCat

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 03:51 PM

RAM isnt that important, and yes, it is very much cheaper buying it from someone else than apple. Also, building it in is also rather easy, as far as I heard.


Also, tBC, please merge this one with the "Important Gaming Question" by the same poster, it's similar in content.. Thank you!

EDIT: I shouldn't overuse my graphics..
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#11 Quicksilver

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 05:33 PM

View Postgamer48, on March 8th 2008, 03:36 PM, said:

Would playing only one (specifically Red Alert 3) game and no more than one game on a MacBook have a smooth game play while running it on the windows side? Is it worth paying the extra $400 for the black MacBook to have 4GB of RAM or should it play smoothly with the 2GB? This is just only to play ONE game. Also, I was wondering if it would be better for me to buy the RAM separately and then build it into the MacBook myself. Would it be cheaper or am I better off just buying the extra RAM? Thanks for your time.

A MacBook will not run Red Alert 3, or any other modern game with 3D models.
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#12 the Battle Cat

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 06:41 PM

View PostQuantaCat, on March 8th 2008, 01:51 PM, said:

Also, tBC, please merge this one with the "Important Gaming Question" by the same poster, it's similar in content.. Thank you!
I did that bass ackwards because the question was better asked here in the Windows Gaming forum.
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#13 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 07:27 PM

View PostQuicksilver, on March 8th 2008, 06:33 PM, said:

A MacBook will not run Red Alert 3, or any other modern game with 3D models.

Are the system requirements even out, cuz I couldn't find them with a quick google search
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#14 gamer48

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:53 PM

Red Alert 3 system requirements are not out yet because the game is probably coming out late this year or early next year. However, the system requirement are probably similar to Command and Conquer 3:Tiberium Wars. You can find the requirements on this website: http://en.wikipedia....:_Tiberium_Wars

#15 Quicksilver

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 02:13 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on March 8th 2008, 08:27 PM, said:

Are the system requirements even out, cuz I couldn't find them with a quick google search

It doesn't matter.  The Macbook uses an integrated graphics system because Apple's profit margins must be kept ridiculously high, and without a real GPU, you won't be able to meet the minimum system requirements.
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#16 QuantaCat

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 02:44 AM

I don't think so.

I actually think that ETQW is *playable* on a macbook. Which is a modern game with 3D models.
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#17 Quicksilver

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 05:05 AM

View PostQuantaCat, on March 9th 2008, 03:44 AM, said:

I don't think so.

I actually think that ETQW is *playable* on a macbook. Which is a modern game with 3D models.

Okay, ignoring the fact that nobody in their right mind would want to play Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, we've already established that *playable* means entirely different things for different people.

I benchmarked the universal binary Halo at 1024x768 with everything maxed on a GMA 950-powered MacBook, and it got 11 fps.  The GMA X3100 in the newer MacBooks isn't much better. With Far Cry at high detail and 1024x768 resolution, the X3100 got ~8.5 fps.  Fry Cry was released four years ago.  

Maybe Enemy Territory is playable at 640x480 at the lowest detail setting possible, but if that's true, I can guarantee that it looks worse than Lindsay Lohan without makeup.  See Crysis at low quality (looking far worse than Far Cry) and high quality.  You may as well go buy a $300 Dell on eBay, buy a $30 GeForce 6600GT, and play everything up to Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory on high quality settings.  You may want to argue that the gameplay remains the same regardless of the graphical settings, but I would counter that graphics are an integral part of gameplay--they sell the mechanics.
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#18 Huntn

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 06:08 AM

The Mac Book does play games but you must know it will support the game you want to play. At this point I'd say that is questionable.

I recently cranked up a pretty basic game called Penumbra Overture. My aging G5 plays it without any problems, but my wife's MacBook with a X3100 chipset (sometimes referred to as a Santa Rosa, purchased in Dec) plays the game only if the shaders are set to low. Otherwise the first scene in the shipboard cabin all most whites out. The MB has the cpu horsepower to play the game but is very limited on it's graphic support using integrated graphics. The game does not officially support MacBooks. Older MacBooks don't play it at all, I suppose due to lack of shader support, but I'm not sure.

Under the Windows Gaming on a Mac FAQ I have a short non inclusive list of playable games for the Mac Book, see the Game Performance Via Bootcamp section. Any of our readers to encouraged to post new entries into that thread for compatible games.

#19 gamer48

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 09:32 AM

I'm just hoping that the MacBook can support games like command and conquer and red alert 3 without making it look bad.

#20 the Battle Cat

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 09:54 AM

View Postgamer48, on March 9th 2008, 08:32 AM, said:

I'm just hoping that the MacBook can support games like command and conquer and red alert 3 without making it look bad.
Hope and 99 cents will buy you a song at iTunes.  You are facing some hard realities when you buy a computer with integrated graphics, in your case the reality is that a Macbook won't play 3D games well.  The Macbook Pro is the way to go if you want to game on a Mac laptop.  Folks here with the Macbook Pro are very happy with the way it plays games.
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