Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Gaming on a Mac?

Anyone out there raid on a Mac?

I think my current PC's motherboard is dying. Today I had to turn it off and on multiple times before it would "catch" and boot up. And when the motherboard goes, that's pretty much it for the machine, in my experience.

I was thinking about maybe indulging myself and getting a Macbook Pro, but I wonder if it will handle raiding okay, especially if the graphics are turned up enough to actually see the fire.

I used to have a Mac a few years ago, and WoW played decently enough back then, if I recall correctly. But then my apartment got broken into, and the Mac stolen, so I brought a relatively cheap PC to replace it.

The big disadvantage of Macs when it comes to gaming, of course, is that so few game companies actually make Mac versions of their games.

In any case, if anyone has recent experience on gaming with Macs, I'd love to hear from you.

33 comments:

EmptyRepublic said...

In some ways a Mac is the best PC laptop you can have. Dual boot it with a licensed copy of Windows and you'll be good to go. I know several people who have done that with good results. Granted you have to reboot to switch between OSes.

M said...

Look at the movies from me, made on Mac. Although I must say, I do have a large screen attached to the Mac while playing.

I normally have no problems with the Mac, but it is as you said, not many other games play on it.

Elin said...

I raid on a 3 year old iMac and it works fine, but of course I have to set the graphics to a minimum, but I mostly blame that on my computers old age. The iMac has a bit more oumph in it than the MacPro, but the performane on a brand new pro should still be better then my old iMac.

So my guess is that it should work fine. If you are okay with setting the graphics low. (I only have to minimize the graphics during raid, not when questing and such.)

Protonk said...

The new 15" MBPs should be fine for gaming. The 13" have integrated GPUs and despite Intel's promise that Sandy Bridge made integrated GPUs decent I doubt it will be enough to run a demanding game at full rez for that laptop.

I used to play wow on a 2006 MBP, 2008 Unibody and a late 2010 iMac. As you can imagine they worked progressively well but all worked fine. Specifically the 2008 unibody worked wonderfully as a dual boot machine.

Rohan said...

You know, I completely forgot about the Bootcamp/dual-boot system.

Anonymous said...

I was running a 2009 Unibody macbook pro. and while it ran ok for $2200. I added on a $400 PC and it runs far better than the MBP.

The mac is a great computer, but in laptop form you are paying far more for the portability than the performance.

Anonymous said...

I'm playing on my girfriends 6 years old Mac, that doesn't even meet the requirements for the game. Works good enough for me, only problem is with the distances - it slows down when flying around, so I turned that feature to minimum. All the shiny things, spells, fires etc. is put on max.

But'I don't know, how does it work in raids, especially 25-man with a lot of lots of particles used. But it's 6 years old, so a new one would be OK, I suppose.

Gina said...

I LOVED loved loved my macbookpro when I first got it several years ago. It was the reason I switched from Guild Wars to WoW lol but it didnt' take long to burn out the gx card unfortunately (with all settings down also). It may be different now with a new model, but I had bad luck and eventually bought a desktop gaming rig instead as my fps dropped so low in the 10s and my screen randomly turned black at random times. I also tried dual boot but didnt really enjoy it at all. If I compared the price per benefit.... hmmm

Now my macbookpro is happily living on my coffee table as a media center, running all my other mac devises in the house and my appletv and I'm stoked with my desktop dell gaming rig with upgraded power supply and graphics card :)

Inquisitor said...

Played WoW on mac laptops almost all of my WoW career (started early '05).

Can't honestly say I'd consider you get full value out of the 'mac premium' if you do nothing but game on it, but I've found them generally solid platforms.

Biggest problem for me was actually the way most gaming peripherals have limited mac support - but Logitech do full support, so if you're okay with their stuff, even that's sorted.

Redbeard said...

Looks like the Razer Naga will work with a Mac, not sure about the new Epic, tho.

Ardent Defender said...

Well every since i started playing WoW pver 5 years ago I started playing on a Mac.

At that time I started playing on my fairly new Mac G5 desktop at the time which had a power pc chip i bought in 2003 and ran WoW like a champ. Then few years ago apple changed to Intel chips and at some point no longer made Mac's with the old chips though they still updated the software some.

So I continued to play on my Mac G5 Desktop that played WoW just fine since Blizzard still supported it. That continued all the way to Cataclysm when Blizzard no longer supported the old mac power pc platform. Which meant that my PC couldnt't run cataclysm. Though it played WoW just fine and did allot of other stuff just fine for a 8 year old PC.

When Blizzard rolled out Cataclysm I had upgraded a few months before and had bought a Mac Book Pro and though I still had my G5 Mac Desktop that also still worked fine for doing stuff though a little slower after 8 years.

So yeah I've always played WoW on a Mac. The first Mac lasted forever and its still in use and runs ok. Just now use the Mac Pro for more up to date gaming. For windows based games, well i just play them in bootcamp mode if their is no Mac version. Though i very much prefer a mac version vs having to run stuff in Windows bootcamp mode.

A Mac Pro is a very solid PC and a Mac can play just fine. Some people like to say no one plays game on Mac's but i think there is allot of people that actually plays games on Mac's. Percentage wise its no where close to PC users which does make it seem like no one does. But there are allot of Mac users and lovers that love and prefer to play on their Macs which runs solidly smooth.

Panther said...

My wife plays on the very lowest iMac from late 2010 (ATI Radeon HD 4670) and it works very well on "high" quality. It seems to get a little skippy on ultra. If http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/ is to be trusted, the current $2200 15" laptop should handily outperform her desktop.

Anonymous said...

I raid on my MacBook Pro (previous revision) with no problems at all. I don't remember at the moment what my graphic settings are, but they're decently up there. The latest version of MacBook Pros will do even better. Steam is now available on Mac now, while it doesn't have most of the stuff available on the PC, it's definitely an improvement. You can get all the Valve games Half-Life 2, Portal, Team Fortress, Counter Strike, etc. Plus other stuff (Civ 5). Of course, you can always use bootcamp and run windows natively. I have windows 7 on my machine, but honestly barely ever do that unless I want to fire up Dragon Age or something. I never go into windows to play wow.

Anyways, hope that helps.

Kirby said...

I play WoW on my Macbook Pro, no problems with raiding. Like any computer, more memory is the best upgrade you can buy.

The wisdom about Macs not being good for gaming is decreasingly true. The hardware is just fine these days (since 2008 when they ditched integrated Intel graphic cards for nVidia). Dragon Age 2 just shipped this week with both PC and Mac versions on the same disc. (And my Mac version hasn't crashed once yet.)

All blizzard games come out simultaneously on mac/pc. Valve tends to have a release delay, but they come out. Civ and Sims games have same-day release on mac. You don't get every game, and sometimes there's a wait. This is a problem for hardcore gamers. This is not a big problem for people who like to play games, especially if they're a WoW primary that occasionally wants to do something else. You can find a recent first-rate title in any genre with a Mac version.

Anonymous said...

As others have noted, it's not a good use of your money to buy a MBP explicitly for gaming. But if you otherwise want the all around portable goodness that is the MBP, then the combination of Mac available games and dual booting to Windows will serve you fine.

The Asylum Wall said...

I play WoW just fine on a Mac, and not even a very good/new one at that. Then again, I don't play any other games, so YMMV.

Anonymous said...

I play on a late 2008 macbook (unibody) with the integrated graphics and have no problems raiding. Yes I can see the fire, no the frame rate isn't above 60 fps, but it's smooth enough. So the newer MBP's, especially the 15" and above, will do great. I'm also willing to bet that the new MacBook Air will also perform admirably.

mystic said...

that sounds more like your power supply than the motherboard. gaming rigs tend to draw a lot of power, cheepy or failing PSUs are the source of probably 90%+ of "computer dying" type issues. they're a pain to diagnose and usually get checked last for that reason

have you added anything new recently like a graphics card or a hard drive that could have tipped it over the edge?

can you unplug the graphics card and use the onbaord graphics? if it then boots it's almost certainally a dead PSU

can you borrow one from somewhere to swap it out?

remember not all PSUs are equal, if you've got a cheap one it almost certainally wont be able to consistently supply the power needed to run WOW, it'll eventually start to burn out and reduce the power it can supply giving the kind of symptoms you describe.

don't go apple.... steve jobs is evil. :)

enlynn said...

I played WoW on my MB for 3 years. I did have some problems with 25 man raids, however, I was (and still am) at the minimum standards for gameplay. It can be done, though, and I'm sure a new one would work far better than my old one (mine's about to celebrate its 6th birthday, I've only had to replace the charger).

My biggest complaint is the monitor size and brightness. I don't notice it for other programs, but for games I just can't my screen bright enough, the colors are so dull. I also made my UI elements tiny so I could see the fights.

That being said, if you need a laptop instead of a desktop, the MB is a good choice. I've never had a computer last this long, and I haul it around with me everywhere.

Angharad said...

I've been raiding and playing on a 13" Macbook Pro for months now and it's been great. The graphics are set pretty high and the game runs smoothly. Since portability is my #1 concern, this setup is absolutely ideal. I can multi-task under the game and switch between programs without a problem. The game has (fingers crossed) never frozen up on me as it did fairly often on my PC.

As a [former] hardcore PC fan, I'm consistently surprised at how much I love my Mac. Even when I use my husband's souped-up PC (he plays Rift and raids on WoW on it), I find myself missing the Mac.

The fact that I can't play Rift on it, though, is disappointing. =/ It's a trade-off, certainly.

BamaTank Inc. said...

Depending on how old your computer is, and how computer savvy you are, most motherboard manufacturers actually have excellent warranties (3-5 year full replacement or repair). The only downside is that you have no computer for a few weeks.
Alternatively, you can buy a nice CPU/mobo/ram bundle from ~$250 on up if you wanted to simply upgrade your machine.
Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

get the warranty unless you plan to sell/replace it in two years.

my MBP runs WoW well, can't compare it to a desktop of course, but it's convenient, and I can tank using the track pad.

I'd also get one of those 20-30$ laptop cooling fans (I like the ones that come with a USB hub since Apple apparently hates USB.) I don't see a performance benefit, but it keeps the laptop from getting too hot and even when raiding the laptop fan doesn't turn on anymore.

Lightbeam said...

I have gamed on a mac (OSX) since BC and this past month I upgraded to a Quad Core i5 imac. I boot into Windows 7 through bootcamp (you can buy a System Builder pack from Amazon for $99) and it works like a charm with everything on Highest settings. (OMG THE WATER!!!)

OSX just isn't designed to run games. It's sad, but I don't ever see this changing.

old wow bastard said...

I own a MAC and a PC currently; the PC is about 4 years old but has an upgraded video card and RAM, the Mac is about a year old, with a Core i5.

Basically it's almost identical between the two, the only real issue with the Mac being the slightly different keybindings. The game runs better on my MacBook Pro, with the standard chip, than on my PC with a GT9600. Both systems have 4 gb of RAM.

The short answer is, if you're comfortable re-learning a few keybindings, then a Mac is fine or BETTER than a PC for Wow.

Anonymous said...

Another happy Mac raider with a 15" 2009 unibody.

joeego said...

Early 2009 quad MacPro. Current iMacs are comparable. I'm not sure how the laptops compare. I've had occasional issues with view distance turned all the way up. I've had no problems in 25 man raids with effects. The worst problems I've encountered are the built-in Quicktime capture halts sometimes when it gets too busy, though that hasn't happened in a while so they may have tuned it more. Meanwhile, gameplay remains unaffected when video capture chokes.

I've been able to use an N52 and I currently play with a Naga every day.

Musashi said...

I raid on my Mac Pro, never slow down in game unless major lag is hitting the network, I can get through raids with no slow down from visuals or addons even at maxed out settings, the only issue with it is that sometimes in ventrilo I sound like Darth Vader.

Brique! said...

You'll have no problem raiding on a Mac made anytime in the last 3 years, totally smooth. I don't really play much besides WoW, Starcraft, and TF2, and all those run natively so I'm like totallysuperhappy with using a Mac. If I ever get the urge I'd update my OS X version to get ahold of Bootcamp and dig out my old Windows install or shell out for Parallels or something.

Anonymous said...

I use a MacBook Pro, but it is a few years old ( I hear they have improved them since I bought mine) and fairly beaten up. I can run WoW fine except for 25mans and the fact I have to set my video setting to minimum. I can still see fire and things okay, for specific effects it may be worth turning up spell effects, but as long as projected textures is on I am okay.

I used to do 25mans on this same computer. I don't really know what it was that killed my ability to raid 25s. Around the time Ulduar came out I noticed that my frame rate dropped dramatically. this may have been due to a number of things, not the least of which was slipping on some ice and denting the casing. Oddly, the dent didn't sem to effect anything else, so it may have been a combination of things.

Anyway tl;dr, I can't raid 25s on my MacBook Pro but its kinda beaten up and is an oler model. Otherwise Macs are fine.

Anonymous said...

I raid in 25 mans with a 2009 iMac and 13" MacBook no problem. I keep my video setting middle road and have no issues. Only problems I ever get are if I am playing and my wifi has some major shielding between us. I also am planning to upgrade to a 17" MacBook pro this year and the new ones have been specifically upgraded for gaming.

Anonymous said...

I use a 15" MacBook Pro for raiding. However, I needed a highly portable solution and this just happened to meet a performance breakpoint for me. If you don't actually need to move your machine around, a laptop (and Macs in general) are a terrible idea.

You'll also need an external mouse since the trackpad is terrible on Macbooks and you definitely don't want to submit it to the abuse of gaming.

The pros:
1. Keyboard is excellent for gaming since the function keys are nicely compact up against the numeric keys.
2. OSX makes remapping Caps Lock to something useful far easier than in Windows.
3. Integrated video easily handles WoW at the resolutions you'll being be running.

Note that if you plan on tethering so you can play anywhere, you'll need to be careful with your plan so you don't run into extreme overage charges.

Stripes said...

I have a 2009MBP in wraith it did raids fine. In cata I had to bump some settings down to do 10 mans. I expect the current model would run fine as it has a much beefed graphics "card".

I also have an older iMac maybe a 21" it plays great. My wife has a 27" iMac (early 2010 mid line, there were faster then and for sure there are faster now). She has to tweak down the settings a little but she does play full Rez and that is a lot of pixels.

Again a more modern iMac will likely run better then what we have.

This is all under MacOS, if you boot camp to windows you might get better performance because most companies spend more time on making the windows version fast (and until the number of Mac gamers outnumber windows gamers that will likely continue). However that means you need to keep a windows system healthy and for me that is the hassle I got a Mac to avoid. For other people it may be worth the effort.

Stef said...

For the same price, a PC can deliver so much more than a MAC... Just consider for example a 100$ SSD to replace a casual hardrive... The lastest SSDs feature crazy throughput (tech details: 15000 IOPS - lol). Where is that on a MAC?

Windows 7 is not very hard to master, also (ok, the wifi settings can be annoying, but what else?)