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What's the MPB like for gaming?


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What's the MPB like for gaming?
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Capella
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2007-08-03, 13:49

I'm asking this because I'm trying to decide between a MBP and an iMac and would like to research the MBP a bit more before I make my decision.

I plan to do quite a bit of gaming on my new Mac. My game of choice is Guild Wars most of the time, which isn't very graphically demanding, requirements wise. I know that the old ATI card or the new nVidia one in the newer models can both play it with no problem. I'm more concerned about what it actually FEELS like to game in BootCamp on a MBP, because I don't know anyone with one so I can't try it out.

I'm going to be playing for about 3 hours a day almost every day of the week, but for even longer sessions on weekends (maybe 4-6 hours, but I've done bouts of 8 before!) I'll be using an external mouse, but using the keyboard for the keyboard commands, and I play mostly with a keyboard. Does it feel awkward to use a laptop keyboard for that long? How hot is the laptop going to get? Is that going to interfere or make it uncomfortable? Do you think a laptop is a bad idea if that much gaming is going to be done?

I'd really like people who spend time gaming on their MBPs to give me feedback about their own experiences, tips and tricks, and if they think it's a good choice.
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Kraetos
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2007-08-03, 14:09

I've run more intensive games on my *old* MacBook Pro with the X1600. The 8600M GT probably fucking flies.

In short, go for it. But be prepared to Boot Camp (with XP, not Vista) because Parallels' 3D support, while technically working, is still a little sketchy.

Furthermore, invest in an external keyboard. For wired, the Macally IceKey is great. Wireless, the Logitech S530 is great, for two reasons:

1) Low profile keys, laser mouse;
2) Mechanically identical to the Logitech S510, a PC keyboard, meaning you can install the S510 drivers in Windows for a flawless experience.

I find that a keyboard is awkward without either using an external screen or a stand. For external screens, I recommend either a Samsung 226BW or the 20" Apple Cinema Display. Both have a resolution of 1680 x 1050 which shouldn't tax the 8600M GT too heavily.

The Samsung has more vivid color and a better response time, and the ACD has more accurate color and a wider viewing angle. It depends on your needs. I have both and use them for exactly that, though: the Samsung 244T on my gaming rig, and the 23" ACD on my MacBook Pro.

Alternatively, buy a stand for your MacBook pro to elevate it to the height of a regular monitor. This isn't necessary if you're using the keyboard and trackpad, but like I said, an external + no elevation is awkward. I've heard good things about the Elevator.

Sadly, being a technology pundit is truly never having to say you’re sorry. You can be wrong for years and never lose your job.—The Macalope

Last edited by Kraetos : 2007-08-03 at 14:19.
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Windowsrookie
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2007-08-03, 14:10

The New Macbook Pros are great for gaming. My 128mb X1600 iMac can run Halo at 1440*900 with all settings on high.
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Capella
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2007-08-03, 14:19

So an external keyboard would probably make it easier? What about the heat, how hot is it going to get? Noticibly?
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Kraetos
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2007-08-03, 14:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capella View Post
So an external keyboard would probably make it easier? What about the heat, how hot is it going to get? Noticibly?
Absolutely. The onboard keyboard is great for everything but gaming. As for heat, It'll get somewhere between warm and hot... maybe 50-70˚ C, but what'll really tick you off is the fan noise. You might wanna invest in some external speakers to drown it out.

Even when the MBP is crankin, it's still softer than my gaming rig at half speed. When it's not crankin, its totally silent. When my gaming rig is going all out and the fans are on max, it's a fucking windtunnel. Such is the price I pay for having a colossal GPU. The Elevator has the added advantage of letting the heat out on the bottom.

Edit: are you actually a girl like your icon says, or are you pulling a turbyfurby?

Sadly, being a technology pundit is truly never having to say you’re sorry. You can be wrong for years and never lose your job.—The Macalope
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PB PM
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2007-08-03, 14:28

I find the MBP keyboard to be just fine for gaming, actually. Sure an external keyboard is better, but for the most part it is fine. An external monitor would be nice. Personally, I've not been able to get my external monitor to work in boot camp though so that may not be an option (Windows sees the monitor, but there is no image on screen).
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Windowsrookie
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2007-08-03, 14:31

1. Right-click the desktop, and then click Properties.

2. In the DisplayProperties dialog box, click the Settings tab.

3. Click the Display list and select your external monitor. If you do not see multiple monitors listed, your computer hardware may not support Dualview. You can still use MaxiVista to configure a second computer as an additional display, however.

4. Select the Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor option. Click Apply or OK.


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Kraetos
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2007-08-03, 14:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windowsrookie View Post
1. Right-click the desktop, and then click Properties.

2. In the DisplayProperties dialog box, click the Settings tab.

3. Click the Display list and select your external monitor. If you do not see multiple monitors listed, your computer hardware may not support Dualview. You can still use MaxiVista to configure a second computer as an additional display, however.

4. Select the Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor option. Click Apply or OK.
The nVidia drivers actually handle DualView pretty well, so if you have the 8600M GT, you should be all set. Not sure about the X1600 though.
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PB PM
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2007-08-03, 14:34

Yeah I do that, still no picture... believe me, I've tried just about everything to get it to work. I'm sure the x1600 supports dual view in windows since it does in OSX. Looking at the display settings, it is listed as such anyway (it shows a second monitor even if I don't have one hooked up).
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Windowsrookie
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2007-08-03, 14:36

Windows doesn't like your monitor then.
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chucker
 
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2007-08-03, 14:36

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraetos View Post
Edit: are you actually a girl like your icon says, or are you pulling a turbyfurby?
Is it such a crime of me to recruit female friends to AN?
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Kraetos
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2007-08-03, 14:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Is it such a crime of me to recruit female friends to AN?
Not at all, in fact, I think we need more women around here! It's just hard to find women who game!

EDIT: chucker you almost have 10,000 posts. This calls for a party.

Sadly, being a technology pundit is truly never having to say you’re sorry. You can be wrong for years and never lose your job.—The Macalope
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PB PM
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2007-08-03, 14:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windowsrookie View Post
Windows doesn't like your monitor then.
Guess we are both wrong, because its actually working now... wonder what I did differently... oh well... it works thats good enough for me. I haven't tried it since the last bootcamp update so maybe that changed something? Errr that didn't last long, now it gives Input Not Supported. Bummer, teaches me not to mess around with things when they work.

Edit, now its working again, in extended desktop, no idea why it works sometimes and not others though...

Last edited by PB PM : 2007-08-03 at 14:49. Reason: Fixed again...
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Kraetos
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2007-08-03, 14:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
What do you know, its actually working now... wonder what I did differently... oh well... it works thats good enough for me. I haven't tried it since the last bootcamp update so maybe that changed something?
Entirely possible. Boot camp updates have lots of driver updates in them.
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chucker
 
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2007-08-03, 14:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraetos View Post
Not at all, in fact, I think we need more women around here! It's just hard to find women who game!

EDIT: chucker you almost have 10,000 posts. This calls for a party.
I actually crossed 1,000 reputation points a few days ago (and the winner is? turbulentfurball), too, heh.
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Kraetos
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2007-08-03, 14:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
I actually crossed 1,000 reputation points a few days ago (and the winner is? turbulentfurball), too, heh.
Geez, and I thought I had a lot of rep points.
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Windowsrookie
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2007-08-03, 14:53

Brad brought me from +100 to -100 last month.
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PB PM
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2007-08-03, 14:55

So how about getting back to gaming on the MBP?
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Windowsrookie
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2007-08-03, 14:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
So how about getting back to gaming on the MBP?
We already did that.
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alcimedes
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2007-08-03, 14:56

Actually in my experience the external mouse is a much bigger deal than the keyboard. I can play with the keyboard decently (in non-FPS games) but a real mouse is a necessity.

Google is your frenemy.
Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
I tend to interpret things in the way that's most hilarious to me
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PB PM
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2007-08-03, 14:57

Agreed, as long as I have a two button mouse, gaming is fine. I tried gaming once with the trackpad (back when I had an iBook), yikes, never again. I have even used the MBP keyboard extremely well in FPS, like COD2.
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Windowsrookie
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2007-08-03, 14:58

There's also a driver for the 360 Remote. It works out pretty well.
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rampancy
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2007-08-03, 14:59

What Kraetos said earlier. Quake 4 performs really well, but Doom 3 oddly seems to lag somewhat.

Oh, and my advice to you would be to get as much RAM for it as you can afford.

"The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice."
- Mahatma Gandhi
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rasmits
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2007-08-03, 15:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by rampancy View Post
Oh, and my advice to you would be to get as much RAM for it as you can afford.
Not from Apple though, of course. Because 'as much as you can afford' when buying RAM from Apple is about 1/3 as much as you can afford from newegg.

You had me at asl
.......
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Windowsrookie
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2007-08-03, 15:05

Actually, the new MacBook Pros come with 2GB, which is fine until leopard comes out.
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PB PM
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2007-08-03, 15:08

Something tells me a machine wont slow to a crawl with Leopard, with such as "small" amount of RAM.
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Capella
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2007-08-03, 15:15

I know what laptop gaming's like from serious Jedi Academy sessions on a 12" PowerBook. Trackpad plus keyboard plus lack of function keys behaving without holding down fn makes 4 hour JA sessions entertaining to say the least. Plus the laptop being super hot and burning my lap

It sounds like everyone is in agreement that a MPB will definitely work as a gaming machine. I'd rather not go for an external monitor just yet until I see how it goes- I can always stack it on books or something for a temporary solution, plus the MBP is going to set me back a massive chunk of money. This is all on my college refund check. >.> I have an external mouse and an old Apple USB keyboard, so I'm good on those counts.

And yes, I am female. chucker and I knew each other already, and he pointed me over here.
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PB PM
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2007-08-03, 15:21

I wouldn't put the MBP on a book, it's likely to start a fire...
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Kraetos
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2007-08-03, 15:31

Quote:
Originally Posted by rampancy View Post
What Kraetos said earlier. Quake 4 performs really well, but Doom 3 oddly seems to lag somewhat.

Oh, and my advice to you would be to get as much RAM for it as you can afford.
Doom was crippled on ATi cards at nVidias request. Gamers cried bloody murder, and nVidia responded: Q4 and Prey work fine on ATi cards.

And yeah, RAM is key.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rasmits View Post
Not from Apple though, of course. Because 'as much as you can afford' when buying RAM from Apple is about 1/3 as much as you can afford from newegg.
Two of these bad boys and you're all set.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capella View Post
I know what laptop gaming's like from serious Jedi Academy sessions on a 12" PowerBook. Trackpad plus keyboard plus lack of function keys behaving without holding down fn makes 4 hour JA sessions entertaining to say the least. Plus the laptop being super hot and burning my lap

It sounds like everyone is in agreement that a MPB will definitely work as a gaming machine. I'd rather not go for an external monitor just yet until I see how it goes- I can always stack it on books or something for a temporary solution, plus the MBP is going to set me back a massive chunk of money. This is all on my college refund check. >.> I have an external mouse and an old Apple USB keyboard, so I'm good on those counts.

And yes, I am female. chucker and I knew each other already, and he pointed me over here.
Mmmm... Jedi Academy. Holding off on the external is totally fine, but I would definitely go for the Elevator stand for airflow purposes. Mouse (two button?) and keyboard sound good.

And, oh yeah: welcome aboard! ANs a neat place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
I wouldn't put the MBP on a book, it's likely to start a fire...
Heh. Wouldn't be surprised.

Sadly, being a technology pundit is truly never having to say you’re sorry. You can be wrong for years and never lose your job.—The Macalope
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rampancy
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2007-08-03, 21:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capella View Post
I know what laptop gaming's like from serious Jedi Academy sessions on a 12" PowerBook. Trackpad plus keyboard plus lack of function keys behaving without holding down fn makes 4 hour JA sessions entertaining to say the least. Plus the laptop being super hot and burning my lap

It sounds like everyone is in agreement that a MPB will definitely work as a gaming machine. I'd rather not go for an external monitor just yet until I see how it goes- I can always stack it on books or something for a temporary solution, plus the MBP is going to set me back a massive chunk of money. This is all on my college refund check. >.> I have an external mouse and an old Apple USB keyboard, so I'm good on those counts.
Heh, I had some nice all-night sessions featuring Marathon Rubicon, TA, FutureCop: LAPD and StarCraft, among others, and only then did I really appreciate how horrible laptop keyboards (or even the original Apple USB keyboards) are for gaming. So (IMO of course) so be prepared to shell out for a decent keyboard and mouse.

One extra which I strongly recommend however for an MBP owner is an active laptop cooler (i.e. one with fans, as opposed to just a stand which promotes air circulation underneath). If you don't mind the blow to portability, an large aluminum-based one would be ideal, though (just be careful not to get one which blocks the optical drive!). CoolerMaster makes a portable aluminum cooler, the Notepal P1, but I've read reviews that it doesn't do as good a job as it should due to the way the fans are placed.

Disclaimer: I use Vantec's LapCool 4, which is pretty decent, except that it's plastic, so it has a somewhat flimsy feel. That and the integrated 4-port USB 2 hub is a little iffy at times. The upshot is that it folds neatly in half, has built in storage compartments for cables, and can come with an optional card reader.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraetos View Post
Doom was crippled on ATi cards at nVidias request. Gamers cried bloody murder, and nVidia responded: Q4 and Prey work fine on ATi cards.
What?! You've got to be freaking kidding me! I was scratching my head at how no matter what I did, Doom 3 lagged when even a few imps teleported in, while Quake 4 ran smoothly at even the higher settings. I guess that explains it.

"The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice."
- Mahatma Gandhi
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