Games on MacBook?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    The Search Forums button is an extrordinary tool...
  • Reply 2 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 49
    sthiedesthiede Posts: 307member
    you can expand the memory? this is new to me
  • Reply 4 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    update:



    + Hitman 2: Silent Assassin works at maximum detail.

    - Prince Of persia: The Sands of Time crashes while loading. 3D Analyzer doesn't help.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    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
  • Reply 6 of 49
    Why would you buy a MacBook if you're big into gaming?
  • Reply 7 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 49
    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
  • Reply 13 of 49
    dcqdcq Posts: 349member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 49
    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?
  • Reply 16 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    update:



    - Bloodrayne 2. Crashes with a DirectX error.

    + Tomb Raider:Legend. Plays very well with reflections and all but it needs a 10GB installation!
  • Reply 20 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,480moderator
    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.
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