Is a Macbook Air a decent gaming laptop?

GT98

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I'm currently running a 2007 Macbook Pro 15 inch Laptop and I love how small and light the 13 inch Macbook Air is. However, I'm bit gun-shy about getting it since I'm not sure how well it will perform vs my current Macbook when it comes to Windows Gaming. I've been mostly playing The World of Tanks Beta and I like mostly RTS type games. I've been also been looking at the HP Envy 14 laptops, but I'd rather not give up running the Mac OS since its always good to use/learn something different.

Any suggestions?
 

W.Feather

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roughly the same in games i believe......the 14 is the better choice.....may want to see if youc an get OSX onto the Envy series...thats as far as i go on that bit though.
 

WStokes

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Well the Envy will certainly outperform the Macbook Air in games but its gonna be much bulkier. The new Macbook Air 13 actually has dedicated Nvidia 320M Cards as well as a full core 2 duo processor(not ulv) which should be ok for light gaming. Its actually the same gpu as the Macbook Pro 13, so if im sure it will be almost as good as that if anyone here has one and can chime in? The processor is a little slower but that shouldnt matter that much.
 

Ducman69

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That's literally comparing Apples to err oranges IMO, heh.

Obviously the HP Envy 14 is going to far outshine the Air in any performance comparison. Its twice the weight IIRC, but its still very thin at only around an inch thick w/ a strong magnesium reinforced aluminum chassis and you get over an inch extra screen real-estate, a lot more usable ports, and more to go along with that speed gap.

If you didn't have a very specific niche application for which a W7 equivalent doesn't exist, the Envy is the no-brainer. I've also seen people dual-boot OSX onto one, but if its just a matter of staying in practice I'd throw OSX on a Mini9 or something you can pickup easy for $100 and just use the Envy as your main rig. :)
 

shurcooL

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It is a superb machine for OnLive. In fact, it feels like the two are made for each other. Give it a try if you're somewhere in US/Canada with a 3-5+ mbps connection.
 
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That's a weird one.

The Envy 14 will absolutely out perform the MBA in gaming. It has a decently faster graphics card, as well as a lower resolution screen (1366X768 vs. 1440X900) meaning the graphics card also has to work less.

The Envy has a faster processor, which also helps a lot as well.

But, the Envy is also almost 6 lbs, versus almost 3lbs for a MBA, and on standard battery (internal) the Envy is a smidge (hourish) shy of the MBA for battery life. Compare standard SSD vs. HDD, and the MBA comes out ahead as well.

It boils down to, are you looking for an ultraportable laptop that can game. Or are you looking for a portable gaming laptop.

If the former, the MBA wins hands down, if the latter the Envy 14 wins.


**EDITED IN**

I should also add, that either way the MBA is going to be faster then your MBP. Especially if you upgrade the RAM in it. The 320m is a faster card then the 8600 that your MBP has, and the C2D ULV 1.86 that comes standard is pretty comperable to the older 2.4ghz
 
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100inch

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If you can wait the update to the 13" MBP should be considerable.

Personally, I cannot wait and might get the 13.3" MBA. Envy 14" is a little too big and I like the screen resolution and SSD of the MBA.
 

GT98

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Yeah I know its a weird one...I like using OSX for general web browsing and just using something different besides windows, and I like the overall design of the MacBook Air with it being so light and portable, but I also want a good windows gaming laptop....since I'm spoiled by my desktop system.

If i got the Envy I'd put in a Intel 120GB SSD drive into it, which may or may not make it cheaper then a an optioned out MB Air.
 

WStokes

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I should also add, that either way the MBA is going to be faster then your MBP. Especially if you upgrade the RAM in it. The 320m is a faster card then the 8600 that your MBP has, and the C2D ULV 1.86 that comes standard is pretty comperable to the older 2.4ghz

I believe that the ram is soldered in the new Macbook Air so make sure you go for their $100 dollar 4gb upgrade....total ripoff but im not sure there is much of a choice.
 

GT98

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I believe that the ram is soldered in the new Macbook Air so make sure you go for their $100 dollar 4gb upgrade....total ripoff but im not sure there is much of a choice.

I saw that...

The novelty of using osx will wear off fast

Been using it for nearly 3 years...couple quirks with it, but overall it runs very well IMO
 

Aurelius

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If you can, hold off for that 13-inch MBP update. Even if it uses Intel graphics, that should be okay since the Sandy Bridge architecture actually makes for Intel video you'd want to use.

If not, the 13-inch Air will strictly be acceptable for gaming, but it will handle typical Valve games and World of Warcraft well enough. WOW might actually benefit quite a bit from the SSD, since it depends more on disk activity than raw CPU or graphics power.
 

Ducman69

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If you can wait the update to the 13" MBP should be considerable.

Personally, I cannot wait and might get the 13.3" MBA. Envy 14" is a little too big and I like the screen resolution and SSD of the MBA.
The Envy 14 with its 14.5" diagonal size display is really more a competitor for the Macbook Pro, hence the Apples oranges comment before, and if you look at the dimensions they are nearly identical with the HP actually a tick lighter (5.2 lbs vs the Mac's 5.6lbs).

The Envy 14 used to be available with an optional 1600 x 900 screen as well, if that was a selling point.

OSX also STILL does not have SSD TRIM support, so thats another plus on the Envy if going that route IMO.

So IMO the question really boils down to whether you have to have OSX, and back in the Vista days that would be a serious question, but IMO Windows 7 is a very polished product now with no software I can think of for OSX that doesn't have an equivalent product for W7. For example, FCP is great, but the CS5 suite is by no means lagging (used entirely for the Avatar movie too btw). *shrugs* :)
 

100inch

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envy 14 is closer to size of the 15" macbook, but the 15" macbook starts at 1800.


Envy 14 is a cheaper, bigger, better performing alternative of the MBP 13, and the MBA is a very tempting alternative to the MBP right now. Even disregarding the size the MBA is a decent alternative to MBP right now, considering the SSD and better screen while not getting trounced in the CPU category . Screen resolution and SSD is a huge plus for MBA.

Speaking of updates..... hp needs to update envy 13.
 
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BBG

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I believe that the ram is soldered in the new Macbook Air so make sure you go for their $100 dollar 4gb upgrade....total ripoff but im not sure there is much of a choice.

that's just ridiculous. :mad:
 

Aurelius

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Short answer as to the soldering: if you want to get that thin and small, something's gotta give. I've seen the inside of a new MBA, and it's a feat of engineering in there. The main issue is just not being completely future proof, but 4GB is enough for a long time when combined with an SSD.
 

Vengance_01

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IMO if you want to run os-x then mb air. But if you want to run windows, just get the envy14.
 

shurcooL

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Short answer as to the soldering: if you want to get that thin and small, something's gotta give. I've seen the inside of a new MBA, and it's a feat of engineering in there. The main issue is just not being completely future proof, but 4GB is enough for a long time when combined with an SSD.
How is it more of a feat of engineering than the previous-gen 13" MBA?
 

Aurelius

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How is it more of a feat of engineering than the previous-gen 13" MBA?

Most of the achievement is in the 11-inch model, for sure. But the 13-inch does have a longer-lasting battery, a thinner design than the old model and yet room for more external expansion, so that affects it a bit.
 

Serpico

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So long as you aren't going in with gaming as your number one priority, I think you should be fine. It isn't a powerhouse, but it isn't meant to be, it is meant to be super light and thin with long battery life. Raw performance takes a back seat in that balance.

That said, there are plenty of videos on Youtube of people showing games on both the 11" and 13" MBA. Starcraft 2, Call of Duty, even Crysis (I expect they dialed it WAY down) ran fine from what I've seen. The 320M is as good as it gets for integrated video at the moment.
 

RamonGTP

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I know I'm late to the party but I just bought a 13" MBA and the thing is great for being portable and doing very light gaming. It's got a dedicated GPU but it does not have dedicated RAM for the GPU. OSX is a cool OS, but certainly not as great as some Mac fans may have you believe. I actually prefer W7 overall. The boot up is very fast and the instant-on feature works as advertised. The battery life is amazing and the sleek & thin design has a wow factor that always attracts attention.
 

GT98

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Well I winded up getting a HP Envy 14 right before Christmas and popped in a Intel 120GB SSD in it
 

Ronco

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I know I'm late to the party but I just bought a 13" MBA and the thing is great for being portable and doing very light gaming. It's got a dedicated GPU but it does not have dedicated RAM for the GPU. OSX is a cool OS, but certainly not as great as some Mac fans may have you believe. I actually prefer W7 overall. The boot up is very fast and the instant-on feature works as advertised. The battery life is amazing and the sleek & thin design has a wow factor that always attracts attention.

Is anyone not impressed (~4.5 hour real life use typical runtime. Better than the '09 Air which was a bad joke for the weight) with the runtime? All I hear is 'I'm getting 7+ hours! I love Apple!' and I have to call it as BS.

I bought a '10 to try and given that I still have to carry my Hypermac for all-day use, I'm debating what I should do with the '09's I have. The spec increases are nice and at the moment it appears to overheat less, but I'm not convinced its worth upgrading all my '09's.
 

100inch

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Is anyone not impressed (~4.5 hour real life use typical runtime. Better than the '09 Air which was a bad joke for the weight) with the runtime? All I hear is 'I'm getting 7+ hours! I love Apple!' and I have to call it as BS.

I bought a '10 to try and given that I still have to carry my Hypermac for all-day use, I'm debating what I should do with the '09's I have. The spec increases are nice and at the moment it appears to overheat less, but I'm not convinced its worth upgrading all my '09's.

Lower brightness and use some sort of flash blocker or click to flash.
 

shurcooL

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This is bad, I haven't been using my Z12 in weeks. I just don't need to when I'm staying at home with my desktop. Those poor specs (see in sig) being wasted. :<
 

heelix

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Picked up one of the 11" MBA for my bride. I tried a couple games on it, but for the most part, it woefully underperformed in something like TF2 with the graphics nerfed as much as I could. Don't hold your breath...
 

Ronco

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Lower brightness and use some sort of flash blocker or click to flash.

Brightness is at min. Problem with Apple and the fanboi's (flash block? really? really?) assessments is that unless you really are tying one hand behind your back in terms of constantly monitoring / babying running tasks to preserve power, hovering over the wireless controls, etc - there's no way in hell you'll get anywhere near advertised time. One of the attributes of the perhaps better idle managment in OS X is that when it's actually in use, runtime takes a jump off the Grand Canyon - comparatively speaking.
 

shurcooL

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Picked up one of the 11" MBA for my bride. I tried a couple games on it, but for the most part, it woefully underperformed in something like TF2 with the graphics nerfed as much as I could. Don't hold your breath...
Dude, the thing is meant for OnLive. Try that.
 
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