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  1. #1
    Smile Gaming - Macbook Air 11' mid-2013 vs Macbook Pro 13' Retina late-2013
    Hi,

    Currently I have a Macbook Air 11' mid-2013 model (i5 1.3Ghz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, HD5000 1024MB).
    I was a gamer and had a Windows desktop but ever since I switched I really like using OS X. However I still like to play a few games here and there.
    The games I play are games like Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Dota 2, StarCraft 2.
    They are not too graphic intensive however they don't run that smoothly on my Macbook Air for some reason.
    Currently I am running them on OS X (No parallels or bootcamp) through OS X versions.
    I've only had the Macbook Air for a few months (Since August 2013) and I've been thinking of upgrading this will not satisfy me in terms of gaming.

    I have taken a look at the mid range Macbook Pro Retina 13' (i5 2.4Ghz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel Iris (5100)). Looked at a few videos online and it seems like the Intel Iris has quite the punch.
    This seems quite attractive to me right now however I have 2 questions that I want to ask on this forum to have a better understanding:

    1. Is the difference between HD5000 vs Intel Iris (5100) really that big? A lot of the reviews I've found online about the Intel Iris, compares with the HD4000 instead.

    2. If I were to buy the MBP, should I wait a bit (After February) just incase Apple releases a newer model?

    If you can provide your answer to those 2 questions it would be fantastic! Otherwise I am still interested in your opinion on my current situation.

    I am new to the Apple Macbook world so I am not familiar with the release dates of Macbooks etc.
    I have done some research however it seems that they release either in February, June or October however sometimes they skip so I am not too sure when the next release will be.

  2. #2
    Gaming - Macbook Air 11' mid-2013 vs Macbook Pro 13' Retina late-2013
    cwa107's Avatar
    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuanyu24 View Post
    Hi,

    Currently I have a Macbook Air 11' mid-2013 model (i5 1.3Ghz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, HD5000 1024MB).
    I was a gamer and had a Windows desktop but ever since I switched I really like using OS X. However I still like to play a few games here and there.
    The games I play are games like Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Dota 2, StarCraft 2.
    They are not too graphic intensive however they don't run that smoothly on my Macbook Air for some reason.
    Currently I am running them on OS X (No parallels or bootcamp) through OS X versions.
    I've only had the Macbook Air for a few months (Since August 2013) and I've been thinking of upgrading this will not satisfy me in terms of gaming.
    The main problem you're experiencing is that your MacBook Air is equipped with integrated graphics, as opposed to a discrete, dedicated GPU. Most games, even older ones, do not play as well as they can on integrated graphics, period.

    Mac laptops are pretty expensive to be used as gaming boxes. For what it's worth, personally, I maintain a Windows desktop for gaming purposes and use my Mac laptop for just about everything else. Gaming sucks on a laptop anyway, so I find this gives me the best of both worlds.

    I have taken a look at the mid range Macbook Pro Retina 13' (i5 2.4Ghz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel Iris (5100)). Looked at a few videos online and it seems like the Intel Iris has quite the punch.
    This seems quite attractive to me right now however I have 2 questions that I want to ask on this forum to have a better understanding:

    1. Is the difference between HD5000 vs Intel Iris (5100) really that big? A lot of the reviews I've found online about the Intel Iris, compares with the HD4000 instead.
    To put it simply, for your application, not really. The Iris was specifically designed to be better than the integrated graphics chipsets that preceded it, but that's like saying a Fiesta is better than a Yugo for drag racing.

    2. If I were to buy the MBP, should I wait a bit (After February) just incase Apple releases a newer model?
    If you're going to buy a MBP, make sure you go with the 15" so that you can get a discrete GPU. That said, you might be better served to take the $2300 you're likely to spend on it, and either build or buy yourself a top of the line gaming desktop. Just my opinion.

    Honestly though, Apple is one of the most secretive companies in the world in terms of their release schedule, so anything you read here is merely rumor or speculation. Regardless, I don't expect to see any major shifts in these platforms in terms of GPU any time soon.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

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  3. #3
    Thumbs up
    @cwa107
    Thank you for your prompt reply.

    I understand gaming is better on a desktop, I used to have one (About 6 months ago), I was running GTX470 3-way SLI for the GPU so you can imagine the massive downgrade in terms of GPU performance when I picked up the MBA. However the reason why I swapped (Sold my desktop) is because I was spending too much time on it gaming, I used to spend all weekend or free time on the computer which isn't good for what I want to achieve. That said, jumping off gaming like a flip of a switch is not easy either which is why, 6 month into it I'm getting this urge to want to play a few games of CS GO or StarCraft. It was more of an addiction in the past, so now I want to be able to play 1 - 2 hours or so a week.

    This is also largely why I am not thinking of getting the 15 inch MBP which has dedicated GPUs as that might be a bit of an overkill but thats based on current prices. If I can find a MBP with dedicated GPU for a decent price, I will definitely go with that.

    Your suggestion/opinion is still valuable to me as it further re-enforces my belief that I still cannot trust onboard GPUs
    I will still be searching around.

  4. #4
    Gaming - Macbook Air 11' mid-2013 vs Macbook Pro 13' Retina late-2013
    Algus's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 14, 2014
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    Arizona
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    Integrated chips provide acceptable performance for gaming but you will have to cut somewhere - reduce settings, lower resolution, etc. I am happy gaming on my Mac Mini with an i5 and HD4000 but the settings I run on anything newer than 2008 or so are always dropped to low end. This is the price you will pay for trying to game without a dedicated graphics card.

    Integrated chips "leech" system RAM to use as VRAM. Unfortunately, Apple BIOS does not allow you to dedicate how much system RAM will be pulled by the graphics chip, rather the number is based on the total RAM you have installed. You will get significantly improved performance by maxing the available RAM in your system as the chip will then be able to pull as much as it can for VRAM. This is 768 MB for the HD4000/5000 IIRC and the Iris chip can pull a full GB.

    At 4GB system RAM, your HD5000 is not using a full GB of memory for VRAM. Probably only around 256 MB which is not much. My Mini for instance struggles to run Dawn of War II. The Air's i5 is probably also a deterrent if you are playing games that need to render a lot of things. I have issues in SWTOR because of this.

    I wouldn't worry about waiting to buy a new MBP but like I said you will want to consider maxing RAM and Apple overcharges a bit for RAM so this will not be the most cost-efficient way to have a capable gaming device.
    Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt

  5. #5
    Gaming - Macbook Air 11' mid-2013 vs Macbook Pro 13' Retina late-2013
    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuanyu24 View Post
    If I can find a MBP with dedicated GPU for a decent price, I will definitely go with that.
    I'm assuming you're talking used. Used is going to be the way to go to get something like this.

    - Nick
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  6. #6
    @Algus
    Fair enough, it seems like I will have troubles with my current MBA as the RAM is not upgradable (as it's soldered on).

    @pigoo3
    Yes either used or refurbished. In Australia we have a site called Gumtree (Free listing site) and the people on there are selling their 2nd hand MBP for the same price as the certified refurbished ones from Apple Store so from that I will most likely be buying a refurbished one.

  7. #7
    Gaming - Macbook Air 11' mid-2013 vs Macbook Pro 13' Retina late-2013
    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Nov 28, 2007
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    Whatever the site folk do over-appreciate the value of second hand good, computers in particular. Whilst have purchased a Dual Core G5 via Gumtree, tend to avoid Gumtree sellers.
    Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

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