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Old 04-14-2008, 09:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need help for a mild-gaming laptop... with an apple twist...

Background
So I have a pretty nice desktop for gaming, but I want to upgrade to a new (keeping the desktop, just getting rid of old laptop) laptop so it can run PC games. It's a basic Mac powerbook G4. I really appreciate the Mac line for laptops, so I'd like to stick with them. I had a Macbook Pro for a few months before trading it to my wife because it was just too large to be lugging around all day. As a result, I'm looking to the Macbook (the new ones can run bootcamp). The mac book air seems impractical for gaming (no ethernet, though it does have an adaptor... same for CD drive). Anyone here have a macbook air and play games on it? It also has a weaker processor, which is somewhat of a concern. So I'm looking between these two lines.


Needs
I am not talking about running Halo 2, bioshock, or anything super demanding on a video card/processor. I am talking about RTS (starcraft 2 when it comes, dawn of war, etc) along with some tame FPS (maybe some counterstrike, red orchestra, etc). But it NEEDS to be able to run Star craft 2 when it comes, dawn or war, etc.

Questions

1. Will a Macbook or Macbook Air be capable of smoothly playing the above games using bootcamp? I am mainly worried about the video card.

2. What is the outlook like for compatibility and meeting requirements on games for the next few years?

3. Macbook air: does anyone have gaming experience on this? I realize it is a "profile" computer, but do the USB adaptors for ethernet, cd, etc, kill speed, produce lag, lag spikes, etc?

General thoughts?


Proposed comp 1: Macbook (black)
Apple - MacBook - Technical Specifications

Ram
2GB (two 1GB) of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300); supports up to 4GB

Video
Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

Processor
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo



Proposed comp 2: Macbook Air
Apple - MacBook Air - Technical Specifications

The same stats as above, except processor is 1.6.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help for a mild-gaming laptop... with an apple twist...

It will probably run on the mac book air but only at lowest settings, so you'll have paid like 2 grand for a laptop that plays like crap. The Air is entirely hype, if you want a laptop that thin Sony and Toshiba make them and they're quite a bit nicer imo.

For laptop gaming it's all about the gpu you've got and that Intel gma x3100 isn't very good. Only suitable for basic games, really. If you've got to go for a mac you're pretty much limited to the 8600gt (for current ones anyway) and from what I've seen those start at about 2k. So something like this would be good:

Newegg.com - Apple MacBook Pro MB133LL/A Intel Core 2 Duo 2.40GHz 15.4" WXGA+ 2GB DDR2 667 200GB 5400rpm DVD±R/RW NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard - Apple Laptops

Lots more expensive than a similar pc notebook would go for. You could cut that price about in half. If you've got to go mac, though, I suppose you were prepared to pay for it.
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help for a mild-gaming laptop... with an apple twist...

Yeah, I'm really worried about that GMA. I'd def agree on the hype via macbook air.

Any good leads on decent sonys/toshiba?
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help for a mild-gaming laptop... with an apple twist...

Or any other gaming laptops for that matter? 1000-2000 range, 1500ish preferably. .
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help for a mild-gaming laptop... with an apple twist...

I actually generally prefer Asus or MSI builds for gaming notebooks. High quality and note too expensive. They're designed specifically for gamers which is different from, say, Sony and Toshiba. They design for trendy average users and then offer the option to slap on a faster gpu. Sony is real spendy, too, for more gaming oriented notebooks. I'll show you one that I like:

CUSTOM NOTEBOOK, Compal FL92 Core™2 Duo Performance Notebook, 15.4" WSXGA+/WSXGA/WXGA TFT Glossy LCD, NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT 512MB Graphics. Based on Compal FL92 notebook barebone this custom notebook is designed to provide powerful energy-efficie
Fully equipped with a C2D 8100 and 4gb of ram, 8600gt grafix for under $1150, very nice build. Customize it to your liking--Avadirect is a top-rated company to buy from. One of the best, dealt with them a lot, check them out in Compare Prices, Store Reviews and Ratings by Real People or BBB. Quite a few models to customize on their sit,e too, depending on what screen size or w/e you want.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help for a mild-gaming laptop... with an apple twist...

I currently own an HP Pavillion dv9334us. It has a c2d, 3 GB of RAM (after I upgraded it to 3) and a 7600 Go with 512 dedicated card memory. It will not play bioshock or BF 2142 on full graphics but it can handle any RTS I deem that I want to play without worries.

There is a very nice 17" Gateway at Best buy that has an 8800 GTS mobile card in it with 3 GB of ram for around 1349.99 very nice laptop if I do say so myself.

Anyways, have a great day and good luck on the laptop hunt.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help for a mild-gaming laptop... with an apple twist...

Oh sorry, I also forgot to mention, I would be careful with the 64 bit operating system of vista at the moment, not alot of programs or games will run on it currently so expect some downtime while you wait for games and programs to catch up.
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