or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Games on MacBook?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Games on MacBook?

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hello,
I have just bought an Apple MacBook (2GH with 4MB cache, 1GB DDR2 RAM, intel integrated graphics with the 950 chipset). Can anybody tell me what kind of games (i.e. nfs most wanted?) can be played on this machine? Many say that playing games that require accelarated graphics on a MacBook (NOT a MacBook Pro) is impossible or just a bad experience. Are they right? And can somebody please tell me if it is easy to expand the shared memory of the intel chipset to let's say 128MB just as is written in the www.intel.com site?

Thanks in advance,
kon_liapis
post #2 of 50
The Search Forums button is an extrordinary tool...
"If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete (Rose), I'd wear a dress." - Mickey Mantle
Reply
"If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete (Rose), I'd wear a dress." - Mickey Mantle
Reply
post #3 of 50
I think the shared memory expands when it needs it.

As for games, I've had decent success. A couple of games have graphical glitches due to the GMA lacking hardware transform and lighting but it will work fine in software for most games.

- Deus Ex Invisible War crashes at the loading bar even with the affinity fix.
+ Fahrenheit plays very well at highest quality - good game for adults (nudity, sex, violence swearing), I wish they'd make more games like this.
+ Doom 3 is playable on the lowest settings, Quake 4 not so much because it has outdoor scenes.
+ Pitfall Harry plays well at highest quality, some minor jitter on the snow levels.
+/- Half Life 2 played quite well but on lower graphical quality so no fancy reflections. It even held up during the bits where you have to use a rocket launcher to shoot down space ships and creatures that look like the ones from War of the Worlds.
edit: Under Bootcamp, Half-Life 2 crashes trying to save.
+/- episode 1 plays but it crashes a lot at certain points. mainly explosions and things.
+/- CounterStrike Source: In Bootcamp, the framerate I get is very low and not playable even with low settings. In Crossover however, it plays quite well on low settings.

edit: I'd say if you want to play the Steam games above, using Crossover is a good idea. I don't know if maybe there are settings that speed the games up under Windows but they didn't work well at all for me and I tried all sorts of options like dxlevel 70 etc. Crossover isn't great either btw. Sometimes the games will just hang up for no reason like walking into a puddle and hearing a splash will just make the game go into a stuttering loop. It happens at random too. Also you can't register games via Crossover, you have to use Parallels or Bootcamp. The load times are also slow. That's why I use +/-. The games are playable but it's not a painless experience.

In term of quality, I'd put it close to a PS2 but the lack of hardware T&L is a pain because it messes up compatibility for absolutely no reason. Fortunately Intel's new X3000 chip will have it.

I think it would be good to have a sticky in the applications forum about what games are playable on what machines. This may help people see that Macs can be used for gaming machines. Would it be worthwhile having a separate forum section for games?
post #4 of 50
you can expand the memory? this is new to me
post #5 of 50
update:

+ Hitman 2: Silent Assassin works at maximum detail.
- Prince Of persia: The Sands of Time crashes while loading. 3D Analyzer doesn't help.
post #6 of 50
update:

- Hitman: Blood Money runs but not well enough to be playable even at low. Glitchy polygons everywhere, probably due to lack of hardware T&L.
+ Star Wars: Jedi Outcast
+ Star Wars: Jedi Academy
+ Star Wars: Episode 1 the Phantom Menace
+ Ade's Odyssee
+ Abe's Exoddus
+ Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
+ Star Wars: Battlefront 1
+ Star Wars: Dark Force 2
+ Star Wars: Mysteries of the Sith
+ Star Wars: Rebel Assault 2
post #7 of 50
Why would you buy a MacBook if you're big into gaming?
MacBook Pro, 3rd Gen iPhone
Reply
MacBook Pro, 3rd Gen iPhone
Reply
post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremiah2911 View Post

Why would you buy a MacBook if you're big into gaming?

It's more the case that some people buy the machine based on price and then want to know what it can do, while not really caring one way or the other. It's nice to know the information before buying a game to see if the GMA can handle it. For example, there would be little point in the original poster buying nfs most wanted if the GMA can't play it.

edit: further update
+NFS Most Wanted actually plays on a GMA. The quality has to be pretty low down and there is some slowdown on high action scenes but overall still playable with special effects on + rain. Even the Nitro blurring effect works fine.
-NFS: Carbon won't launch.
post #9 of 50
My experience with running some 3D games on the MacBook have been mixed like everyone else. Some cool games like GridWars and Nexuiz run decently on the MacBook but they make my fan work on overdrive constantly. The loud noise and constant whirring bugs me too much to enjoy those games. And I'm sure it's not great for the longevity of the laptop.

I mostly got the MacBook for practical and iLife reasons but it's nice to play a game every once in awhile because it is my main computer at home. For now I'll stick to older games and emulators (DOSBox runs well) on the MacBook.
post #10 of 50
More games:

+ NFS Underground plays quite well on medium quality. I think it's the best NFS game too.
+ Juiced also plays very well and actually runs smoother than NFS Underground.
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

More games:

+ NFS Underground plays quite well on medium quality. I think it's the best NFS game too.
+ Juiced also plays very well and actually runs smoother than NFS Underground.

Just to make sure, you're talking about the Mac versions of these games with Universal binaries or are you referring to PC games run through Boot Camp? Just asking before I look into buying some more games.
post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenie View Post

Just to make sure, you're talking about the Mac versions of these games with Universal binaries or are you referring to PC games run through Boot Camp? Just asking before I look into buying some more games.

Practically none of the games are Mac ones besides Doom 3. There's not much point in building a small collection of badly ported expensive games so I just get Windows games - Mac versions of most of them are either very difficult to find or they don't exist. The older PC games are dirt cheap and all my PC buddies are fed up playing theirs so they let me play them. A lot of the games available on the PC I played on the PS2 but I had forgotten how much fun NFS: Underground was. OS X has absolutely no decent racing games.
post #13 of 50
Thanks for the details, I wasn't sure because I haven't bought a Mac game in a few years. I think Quake 3 and the Sims were the last ones
post #14 of 50
What i want to know is this:

Is a MacBook with GMA950 going to play things worse than my 5-1/2 year old 867MHz tower with the stock GeForce 2MX (32MB VRAM).

I wasn't expecting much when I loaded World of Warcraft on my computer over the winter break. It even warned me that my system was below the minimum requirements. But the thing plays like a dream. Better than I could have possibly hoped. Better than my friend's 2 year old ~2 GHz Dell. I only get some slowdown and dropped frames in busy city environments, whereas even a sparsely populated city brings my friend's computer to a crawl.

I'd hate to encourage others to get a MacBook or low-end iMac or mini and get worse performance than I do.
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCQ View Post

What i want to know is this:

Is a MacBook with GMA950 going to play things worse than my 5-1/2 year old 867MHz tower with the stock GeForce 2MX (32MB VRAM).

I wasn't expecting much when I loaded World of Warcraft on my computer over the winter break. It even warned me that my system was below the minimum requirements. But the thing plays like a dream. Better than I could have possibly hoped. Better than my friend's 2 year old ~2 GHz Dell. I only get some slowdown and dropped frames in busy city environments, whereas even a sparsely populated city brings my friend's computer to a crawl.

I'd hate to encourage others to get a MacBook or low-end iMac or mini and get worse performance than I do.

Nope, I'd expect their performance to be quite a bit better than what you get on an 867MHz G4. It's true the GMA isn't the best chip in the world but the memory bandwidth of the new machines greatly improves its performance. Some games I'm quite amazed at the quality the GMA can achieve. I didn't even think it would run Need For Speed but it looks almost as good as it does on the PS2 - overall, that's the quality I'd say my Mini can get. I think the Mac version of WoW was one of those games that got an update to take advantage of multi-threaded OpenGL, which can double the framerate in some cases - this isn't available on PPC yet.
post #16 of 50
i have a integrated 64 mb card with 512 mb ram and a 2.80 ghz pentium 4 processer. if i was to get the mac book in my sig, i would experiance better game play am i correct?
MacBook Pro
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
120GB Serial ATA Drive@5400rpm
SuperDrive 8x
15" Glossy Widescreen Display

with a wireless Apple keyboard

and

iPod Touch
8GB
Reply
MacBook Pro
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
120GB Serial ATA Drive@5400rpm
SuperDrive 8x
15" Glossy Widescreen Display

with a wireless Apple keyboard

and

iPod Touch
8GB
Reply
post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich-Myster View Post

i have a integrated 64 mb card with 512 mb ram and a 2.80 ghz pentium 4 processer. if i was to get the mac book in my sig, i would experiance better game play am i correct?

It depends on the integrated chipset but I would expect it to be better but get 1GB Ram at least. I've heard that Pentium 4 machines are quite sluggish systems and I even used an overclocked 3GHz+ one and I honestly thought I was using a sub 1GHz machine.
post #18 of 50
i'm getting a 2gb mac book with a duo 2 2.0ghz processer
edit: unless of course there are updates made to the macbook before leopard comes out.
MacBook Pro
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
120GB Serial ATA Drive@5400rpm
SuperDrive 8x
15" Glossy Widescreen Display

with a wireless Apple keyboard

and

iPod Touch
8GB
Reply
MacBook Pro
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
120GB Serial ATA Drive@5400rpm
SuperDrive 8x
15" Glossy Widescreen Display

with a wireless Apple keyboard

and

iPod Touch
8GB
Reply
post #19 of 50
update:

- Cold Fear. This is quite graphics intensive and from Ubisoft who don't like supporting older hardware.
+ Psi-ops the Mindgate Conspiracy. Very cool game.
+ Need For Speed Underground 2. This actually plays on maximum quality bizarrely with motion blurring, glow effects, rain effects and everything. They must have optimized it since NFSU1. It is a bit of a buggy game though and likes to hang up when loading now and again - it seems to save well enough for it to not be much of an issue.
+ Silent Hill 4. You need to use 3DAnalyzer though to force emulation of certain hardware features as it crashes otherwise.
+ Max Payne 2.
+ Abe's Odyssee and Exoddus
+ Midnight Club 2. I liked it at one time but it's nothing compared to NFSU.
+ GTR2. Another racer but more realistic like Gran Tourismo. It's not much fun IMO.
+ Stolen. Kind of a rubbish version of a Splinter Cell game.
post #20 of 50
update:

- Bloodrayne 2. Crashes with a DirectX error.
+ Tomb Raider:Legend. Plays very well with reflections and all but it needs a 10GB installation!
post #21 of 50
update:

+ Splinter Cell (the first one)
+ Beyond Good and Evil

Both these games need to be run using only one processor as they are incompatible with dual core CPUs. It's easily done by setting the affinity using imagecfg, setaffin, winxplauncher or the process viewer.

This has to be done for Prince of Persia too if you are getting stuttering while moving. This game doesn't work with the GMA card but you have to do this on say an iMac.
post #22 of 50
Update:

Splinter Cell plays but it has no pixel shaders so it is actually missing some effects, the worst of which is no heat vision. Turning it on crashes the game. This makes avoiding mines and detecting keypad presses very difficult. You have to tab out the game to see the codes in a walkthrough. Night vision just over saturates the colors and doesn't look very good. Still playable but you lose a lot of nice effects. I won't be trying to play any of the other Splinter Cell games until I get a better GPU because I feel I'm missing out. Due to lack of hardware T&L, you get some glitches on the oil-rig level too.

- Legacy of Kain Defiance doesn't play. I tried everything, disabling two cores, using 3Danalyze and it just runs very very choppy. I strongly suspect a lack of hardware T&L is the issue here yet again and it's very annoying because people are saying that even a Geforce 2 MX runs this game. That's pathetic that the GMA can't run games that a Geforce 2 can. Bring on the X3000 or those nice Geforce go 7400s in the Apple TVs I say. The latter are around the same performance as the Radeon X1400s but have the added benefit of being able to run the Nvidia gelato rendering software.
post #23 of 50
I thought about this as well & wanted to know the limitations of my Macbook Pro, (Intel Core Duo,2.16 GHz, Cache 2 MB, Memory 1 GB, 667 MHz) I have UT2004 but it seems to put a lot stress on the video card, I don't want to burn the book up so I don't play it as much also I thought MBP have cooling issues, they were never really intended for hard core gaming.
You are coming to a sad realization, cancel or allow?
Reply
You are coming to a sad realization, cancel or allow?
Reply
post #24 of 50
I guess this would be the best thread to pose this question....

How would the GMA950 or x3000 in a MacBook compare to the Radeon 7500 that I have in my 667MHz PowerBook? (I realize that the x3000 isn't out yet, but I'm just asking for an estimate in peoples' opinion.)
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by WJHMH View Post

I thought about this as well & wanted to know the limitations of my Macbook Pro, (Intel Core Duo,2.16 GHz, Cache 2 MB, Memory 1 GB, 667 MHz) I have UT2004 but it seems to put a lot stress on the video card, I don't want to burn the book up so I don't play it as much also I thought MBP have cooling issues, they were never really intended for hard core gaming.

It should be fine to run games. Don't worry about damaging it. You paid extra to get one of that spec so don't avoid using the extra capability it has.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pyr3

How would the GMA950 or x3000 in a MacBook compare to the Radeon 7500 that I have in my 667MHz PowerBook? (I realize that the x3000 isn't out yet, but I'm just asking for an estimate in peoples' opinion.)

It depends what you do. Features-wise the GMA is actually worse. For example, Maya's hardware rendering supports the Radeon 7500 but does not support the GMA. For raw performance though in supported software, the GMA in the Intel will be quite a bit faster than the 7500 in the G4. The faster system bus and dual processors really help.

If you are considering getting a new Macbook, you're probably better hanging off for two months as the new chipsets have faster system buses and the X3000.

Of course, you could buy now and then wait maybe 6 months before upgrading to a newer laptop when you will get leopard with it. The current Macbooks will still be much faster than a 667 G4.

update:

- battlefield 2
+/- battlefield 1942 - it doesn't work on my Mini but it seems to work for other people so experience may vary.
- Call of Duty 2 (Windows version)
+ Call of Duty 2 (Mac version)
+ Far Cry - only on low but it works
+ GT Legends
- Splinter cell Pandora Tomorrow
+/- Quake 4 (runs about the same as the Mac version at 10-15 fps). If you don't mind the game being choppy, it is still playable, though I recommend god mode to prevent frustration.
post #26 of 50
I have a G4 iBook with a 1.33 GHz processor and I used to play World of Warcraft and BF1942. Then again, those aren't even that graphically great.
alldaydrive.com
.rock.
Reply
alldaydrive.com
.rock.
Reply
post #27 of 50
How much is the x3000 supposed to improve upon the GMA950? I know that it's just added some extra stuff into hardware implementation instead of software, but how much is that going to improve actual performance?
post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by pyr3 View Post

How much is the x3000 supposed to improve upon the GMA950? I know that it's just added some extra stuff into hardware implementation instead of software, but how much is that going to improve actual performance?

Preliminary benchmarks suggest 2-3 times faster but the speed increase is not required so much as features like pixels shaders and hardware Transform and Lighting, which should resolve a number of compatibility issues.
post #29 of 50
update:

+ Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon
post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

update:

+ Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon

does cs 1.6 work well?
MacBook Pro
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
120GB Serial ATA Drive@5400rpm
SuperDrive 8x
15" Glossy Widescreen Display

with a wireless Apple keyboard

and

iPod Touch
8GB
Reply
MacBook Pro
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
120GB Serial ATA Drive@5400rpm
SuperDrive 8x
15" Glossy Widescreen Display

with a wireless Apple keyboard

and

iPod Touch
8GB
Reply
post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich-Myster View Post

does cs 1.6 work well?

I can't play Counter Strike 1.6. I got the Half-Life 2 DVD with Half-Life Source but it says it needs Half-Life to play. It must be a different version. I have played CounterStrike Source but only under Crossover. When I free up some space, I'll test Half-Life 2 and CounterStrike Source in Bootcamp.
post #32 of 50
On the issue of Couterstrike 1.6, since it's based on the Half-Life 1 engine, I imagine it plays very well. Half-Life 1 itself plays very quickly at maximum.

update:
Thanks to silentnight for testing these Mac games:
+ Close Combat First to Fight
+ Halo, works well at normal settings.
+ Ghost Recon Desert Seige
+ Unreal Tournament 2004, normal settings
+ Call of Duty 2, normal
+ Medal of Honor Allied Assault
+ Star Trek: Elite Force 2

Some that I've just tested under Windows:
+/- Broken Sword 4, it runs but you have to use 3danalyzer to get round the lack of hardware T&L error but it is quite choppy.
+ Colin Mcrae Rally 2003 & 2005, these play at maximum
+ Still Life, plays at full with the exception of anti-aliasing
+ Simpsons Hit and Run, plays at maximum
+ The Thing, plays at maximum
- Spy Hunter, glitchy polygons everywhere. It performs fast but very glitchy. I've heard from some developers saying it's caused by not having hardware T&L and I've seen it in other games. Mildly in Half-Life 2 episode 1.
+ Post Mortem, plays at full. This is the prequel to Still Life.
post #33 of 50
update:

+ Sheep Dog 'n Wolf works great but you need to apply the affinity fix again because of incompatibility with the dual-core CPUs.
post #34 of 50
does anyone know if Fable: The Lost Chapters or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City work on the macbook in any shape or form.

Thanks
post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by timesquad View Post

does anyone know if Fable: The Lost Chapters or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City work on the macbook in any shape or form.

Thanks

Vice City works very well, options at maximum - gameplay is very smooth. The graphics in that game are fairly old so I expected it to work quite well.

The graphics in Fable look fairly old too but it says it requires hardware pixel and vertex shaders, I don't know if that would be an issue - some of the screenshots look Prince of Persia style and those games don't play. Some games you have to use 3D analyzer to get past system checks and after that the game often runs fine.

Post 20 here suggests Fable does play, you just have to turn some of the graphics down a bit:

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=68241

There is a Mac version of Fable from Feral I think but I don't know if it's a universal binary.
post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There is a Mac version of Fable from Feral I think but I don't know if it's a universal binary.

supposedly so I've looked for it but all I can find is announcements that it will be coming and preorder-lists so I thought it wasnt availeble yet, seeing that amazon tends to stay up to date. thanks again for the intel.
post #37 of 50
I downloaded and am currently playing the WOW trial on my macbook no problem. I don't see why people say you can't?Are people saying that causes the graphics don't look as good or that the framerates drop? I'm as noob as they come (level 5) so I don't see anything wrong with it. Maybe I'll try the trail for Burning Crusade and see if I see anything wrong with that. I don't need the best graphics in the world to be entertained with the game. I DO have a maxed out macbook but people have told me even that won't work.
post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4metta View Post

I downloaded and am currently playing the WOW trial on my macbook no problem. I don't see why people say you can't?

Everyone in this thread who mentioned WoW has said that it plays very well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4metta View Post

Maybe I'll try the trail for Burning Crusade and see if I see anything wrong with that.

Great, please report back how it goes. Also note whether it's Windows or Mac versions and if it's part of a series e.g Medal of Honor: Allied Assualt, Rising Sun etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4metta View Post

I DO have a maxed out macbook but people have told me even that won't work.

The graphics chips in all the Macbooks are the same so increasing the Ram and what not won't affect it much. Apple really need to start offering better chips as BTO like their PC couterparts do.
post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Everyone in this thread who mentioned WoW has said that it plays very well.



Great, please report back how it goes. Also note whether it's Windows or Mac versions and if it's part of a series e.g Medal of Honor: Allied Assualt, Rising Sun etc.



The graphics chips in all the Macbooks are the same so increasing the Ram and what not won't affect it much. Apple really need to start offering better chips as BTO like their PC couterparts do.



Oh I meant everybody in the gaming community is saying you can't play WOW on a macbook, not here. I should have clarified that. They are even saying that in the official WOW forums but that could just be the anti mac people. I think the gaming community misunderstands gaming on a mac in general, especially now with the intel chips.

I will probably be downloading Burning Crusade unless I get scared of being so addicted to a game and delete WOW. No wonder they give people a free 10 day trial.

If I notice that it starts to act up I'll be sure to post an update but I am really enjoying myself with the game thus far

Oh and I am using the Mac version of the game...I'm not into installing Windows on my mac if I can help it.
post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlas View Post

I have a G4 iBook with a 1.33 GHz processor and I used to play World of Warcraft and BF1942. Then again, those aren't even that graphically great.

I'm playing WoW on a 1.2GHz iBook. It's a rather awful experience no matter what way you look at it. You can mostly forget playing vs other players. Go into a tight spot in a battleground, or worse, a raid, and things turn into slideshow or the game crashes. I'm talking 5 seconds between a drawn frame. I also frequently lose sound for a second or two. The game's minimum requirements are low, which is commendable, but it was written without much concern for those with a computer towards the minimum. Unlike in almost any game I've seen, input handling is not prioritized before graphics. In WoW your runspeed actually drops when your graphics lag, seriously hurting your internal lag compensation. In FPS's where in my experience there is a 1:1 mapping between your inputs and your avatar's actions in all situations, even though others still have an edge I can have fun and even win occasionally because it's more predictable. Additional funkiness comes from the WoW client doing its own checks about whether an action is allowed - and lagging, so that the server and a properly functioning client would allow you to make a certain input at time X but a laggy client won't till time X+1. I have a nagging feeling that the client might just plain ol' drop some inputs in addition to that, but am not certain.

I don't need beautiful graphics at all, and of course I have everything turned down, but I absolutely hate getting beat in situations I know I would win on even footing. Worse still, the lag blocks out many quite crucial strategies and exchanges, so it's not really the same game but slightly different, playing which does not allow me to develop into a better player of the "real" game.

Macbook's massively better but I doubt I'd be really happy with it either. I'd know for sure after playing up to level 20 and dropping in battlegrounds for a match or two.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Current Mac Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Games on MacBook?