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  1. #1

    Macbook Air 13 inch for gaming?

    I figured this would be a great place to ask this question. Basically I'm thinking of purchasing the new Macbook Air 13 inch as my main gaming laptop. I would upgrade to 8gb memory as well.

    I'm really not a huge gamer the only games I can see myself playing are WoW, Starcraft 2, Half Life 2, Counter-Strike Source, and TF2. Basically I'm wondering if this machine would be able to pull these games off without any issues? I would have the games installed on an external hard drive that is USB 3.0 compatible. I'm not looking for high-end graphics I just want a laptop to be able to handle these games on normal settings with no hiccups. Please share your thoughts, thanks!

  2. #2
    integrated graphic card troubles me greatly.

    I suspect severe FPS issues even on normal setting.


    Macbook air really is built for light-weight document processing/basic internet functions. Even then, it's still one overpriced eye candy.

  3. #3
    Mechagnome Dragore's Avatar
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    No, Airs aren't meant for that you can take that money and buy a really nice PC laptop that would be much better for gaming needs.

  4. #4
    Yeah that's what I'm afraid of. I currently have the Macbook air 11 inch (2010 version) and basically use it for what you said (writing papers, internet, youtube, etc...). It runs Half Life 2 but there are frequent freeze ups and fps drops.

    I'm hoping the Macbook Air 13 inch would be better capable of handling these games.

  5. #5
    You would be better off buying a desktop for gaming, or at least a Windows-based laptop. Macbook Airs aren't really designed for it. Especially given how small the screen is, you have to factor in that many of the games you mentioned were designed to be played on 17"+ at a decent resolution.
    This is my signature. You will now remember me.

  6. #6
    Ive had a MBP 13in for 4 years and ive played wow it it the whole time. So yes you can (not sure the spec diff between mbp and air) assuming similar. But with that being said you ive had to play on absolute low settings at all times, im on high pop realm so i lag in the city, raiding is possible but not high end raiding. So if your looking for a gaming computer/laptop. I would say hands down ideally build your own you can get a solid set up for under $700, and a great set up for more. I would stay away from laptops for gaming if possible.

    TL,DR
    You can play on a Mac, but to buy a mac for gaming is not the way to go. You will be 100% happier buying a pc, Good Luck (just built my own system and its amazing compared to my mac)

  7. #7
    I made a flowchart to help you make a decision.

    1) Is mobility (ie. having a laptop) really necessary?
    If No, get a kickass desktop for the $1500 that you were going to spend on a macbook air anyway.

    If yes
    2) Is aesthetics (brand/size) high on your priority list?
    If no, look around for other brands (I personally recommend HP/Lenovo) that has dedicated graphic card (1GB at least). Note that laptop that meets "gaming laptop" standard usually comes at least 15''+.

    If yes
    3) Do you have more money than the amount you allocated for Macbook air?
    If no, go back to step 1)

    If yes
    Buy the most expensive Macbook pro.

  8. #8
    Scarab Lord Robinhoodexe's Avatar
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    Macs aren't build for gaming Imo they're awesome for everything except for that.
    Congratulations on graduating to expert level trolling, I would stick around but I'm busy getting gay married in 13 states and performing roadside abortions while passing bills that take away people's guns while i sip superior european wine and cheese i bought with european style socialist money, arrivaderci!

  9. #9
    Its actually not that bad. Around 55 fps in portal 2 on medium settings. Arkham City medium at around 35 fps. Skyrim at 30 fps on medium

    This is all at 1366x768 based on anandtechs review/preview of Ivy Bridge with integrated HD4000 (which is what MB Air uses, so results should be similar).

    Certainly not a gaming pc....but its not THAT bad.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by k1llahk View Post
    I figured this would be a great place to ask this question. Basically I'm thinking of purchasing the new Macbook Air 13 inch as my main gaming laptop. I would upgrade to 8gb memory as well.

    I'm really not a huge gamer the only games I can see myself playing are WoW, Starcraft 2, Half Life 2, Counter-Strike Source, and TF2. Basically I'm wondering if this machine would be able to pull these games off without any issues? I would have the games installed on an external hard drive that is USB 3.0 compatible. I'm not looking for high-end graphics I just want a laptop to be able to handle these games on normal settings with no hiccups. Please share your thoughts, thanks!
    Macs are bad for gaming in all aspects, between the hardware Apple often picks, to iOS issues, they're just bad.
    To top that off, most laptops are bad for gaming. There are a small handful of exceptions, but even with those exceptions, you could take the money spent on the laptop and get a twice as nice desktop.

    So no, do not get a macbook if you want to use it to game. If you must get a mobile computer, get something worthwhile like an ASUS.

  11. #11
    Why would you buy an overpriced mac laptop to play games under any circumstance?

    * Mod edit: Please be civil and constructive.
    Last edited by tetrisGOAT; 2012-06-13 at 04:53 AM.

  12. #12
    Why are you sticking to buying another mac? Macs cannot handle that but there are several laptops out there that can. Mactops are designed for people whose idea of gaming is facebook and twitter. Buy a real good gaming laptop and spend less than that mac junk in the process.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Twistedream View Post
    Ive had a MBP 13in for 4 years and ive played wow it it the whole time. So yes you can (not sure the spec diff between mbp and air) assuming similar.
    Well then you'd be assuming wrong they are totally different in almost every way.

    ---------- Post added 2012-06-12 at 09:58 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by kendro1200 View Post
    Macs are bad for gaming in all aspects,
    This is not true, macs use the same hardware as a windows based PC. Only difference is OS.

  14. #14
    I've got one - it's simply not suitable for the task. Warcraft is 'barely playable' just chatting and browsing the AH and it only gets worse from there.
    They're a brilliant "i'm going to class and need to take notes" computer, or "I want to browse the web while sitting in my back yard" device - but they're not gaming computers. You can log in, and run around but even questing in cataclysm zones will tax the system unless you're prepared to suffer through absolutely minimal graphics settings (and/or sub-20 FPS 'drops').

    It's strengths are it's diminutive size, excellent battery life, and low weight, it's not a gaming machine so you shouldn't expect it to be brilliant when forced to the task. In the same vein you don't expect a 8 kilogram dell "gaming notebook" with a 2 hour battery life but excellent cpu/gpu/etc to be a nice travel companion.

    If your goal is "A gaming computer that can be moved about occasionally" and not "a portable computer that can maybe play some games" then I think you can do much better than a Macbook Air.

    I've raided on a Macbook pro - but even then I purchased the computer for other reasons - the fact that it could run semi-modern games was a nice side effect (and for warcraft you're still better installing and rebooting into Windows 7 than running it under OS X - which is how I run it on my iMac the rare occasion I want to log in on that machine).
    A new UI series for 5.2Steal my old UILearn about WeakAuras • Nobody to raid with right now so no PVE videos.

  15. #15
    calboy67 thanks for the flow chart!

    My main use for my MBA is for general day to day use. But I love the mobility of it. I bring it with me all over the place and barely notice it in my bag. I used to have a windows desktop to play games on but gave it away because I really didn't have much time to play games. WORST DECISION! Now I'm itching just to be able to play games every now and then.

    I really don't care about brand/style. But I haven't really seen any PC laptops that can compare.

    After reading all of these comments I think I should just build my own desktop and stick with my current MBA for general usage.

    Twistedream - do you mind me asking what kind of setup you have? If not I'll just look through MMO cause I know they post custom setups from time to time.

    Thanks for all the feedback! Much appreciated!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by lockedout View Post
    Well then you'd be assuming wrong they are totally different in almost every way.

    ---------- Post added 2012-06-12 at 09:58 PM ----------



    This is not true, macs use the same hardware as a windows based PC. Only difference is OS.
    if you knew the history of a mac they used to be different with their own unique parts that's why he said that assuming he knows stuff about macs. and osx and all the mac operating systems are just essentially unix. who cares about unix.

  17. #17
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL

    Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K

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    CORSAIR H80 (CWCH80) High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler

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    SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7850 OC 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card (11200-01-20G)

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    Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F120GBGT-BK 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    all from Newegg (website)

    total build w shipping cost around $1400 im sure you can go higher or lower and get a quality gaming experience, and like i said i dont know the spec diff between the mbp and mba but regardless for a similar price the pc i just got blows it out of the water for gaming. Otherwise i love my mac. Best of Luck

  18. #18
    Dat corsair

    * User was infracted for Spam
    Last edited by tetrisGOAT; 2012-06-13 at 04:52 AM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by k1llahk View Post
    calboy67 thanks for the flow chart!

    My main use for my MBA is for general day to day use. But I love the mobility of it. I bring it with me all over the place and barely notice it in my bag. I used to have a windows desktop to play games on but gave it away because I really didn't have much time to play games. WORST DECISION! Now I'm itching just to be able to play games every now and then.

    I really don't care about brand/style. But I haven't really seen any PC laptops that can compare.

    After reading all of these comments I think I should just build my own desktop and stick with my current MBA for general usage.

    Twistedream - do you mind me asking what kind of setup you have? If not I'll just look through MMO cause I know they post custom setups from time to time.

    Thanks for all the feedback! Much appreciated!
    You're welcome.
    And you made a wise decision.

    Here's a link that you may find helpful
    http://www.squidoo.com/build-gaming-pc#module149318355

    Some of these items are really for ultra high end gaming which you probably don't need. But it's still good to understand what products are out there and learn some of the terminology.

  20. #20
    Dreadlord
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    my current model 13" MBA can play all blizzard games with relative ease with all settings on low, but it gets up to 90*. i only use it when im at bored at school for gaming. for everything else it is nearly a perfect laptop, but gaming is not its forte, if this will be your main source of gaming look elsewhere.
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