HIGH QUALITY GAMING:
MacBook 2.2GHz "Rosa"
with GMA X3100
versus 2 rival Mac laptops
Originally posted November 8th, 2007, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
In addition to the "Santa Rosa" chipset, the newest MacBook sports the GMA X3100 integrated graphics chip. It's superior to the GMA 950 used in previous models of MacBook in that it supports hardware transform and lighting. It also supports vertex and pixel shader model 3.0 at 32 bit floating point per vector. And don't forget Anisotropic filtering of up to 16 samples.
But will it run my 3D accelerated games at "playable" speeds when high quality settings are used?
MacBook Pro 2.2 = MacBook Pro C2D "Rosa" 2.2GHz with GeForce 8600M (128M)
MacBook 2.2 = MacBook C2D "Rosa" 2.2GHz with GMA X3100
MacBook 2.16 = MacBook C2D 2.16GHz with GMA 950
(All three systems had 2GB of RAM (two matching 1GB SODIMMs)
As you can see, the new MacBook with the GMA X3100 is no "barn stormer" when it comes to gaming at high quality and native resolution (1280x800). You are better off buying a used or factory refurbished 15" MacBook Pro CD or C2D if you are heavy into laptop gaming.
APPLE ADMITS THERE IS A PROBLEM
"The use of intensive 3D graphics in some advanced gaming applications may have difficulty running correctly on this MacBook's Intel i965 chipset, exhibiting issues with shading, textures, and performance." They state they are actively working on the issue, so hopefully things will improve with driver tweaks.
WHAT IF I PLAY GAMES AT LOW QUALITY?
Some of you have emailed me about testing the MacBook running 3D accelerated games at lower resolution and lower quality settings. So we re-ran the tests at "easier" settings. (Take a look.)
WHAT ABOUT NON-GAMES?
What about "serious" pro graphics apps? See our "pro" test page).
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