Has Bare Feats helped you? How about donating to Bare Feats?

BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

The Five 'Top' 2011 Macs

Originally posted Friday, September 16th, 2011, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

The 2011 Mac mini has a dedicated graphics processor. I wanted to see how well it ran Portal 2 and World of Warcraft compared to four other 2011 Macs. For this page, the resolution used was 1280x800 or 1344x756, depending on what was supported by a particular Mac. The goal was to use the lowest common denominator since I was dealing with low rez 13" screens in some cases.

Settings were fullscreen, laptop power savings disabled, anti-aliasing 4X, filtering mode anisotropic 4X, vertical sync disabled, multicore rendering enabled, shader detail high, effect detail high, model/texture detail high. The RED bar represents the fastest frames-per-second.

Settings were fullscreen, multisampling 1X, graphics preset = "HIGH." The test was our GPU intensive Narache Village totem-to-tree-to-totem run. Average frame rates were computed by Titan Performance Addon. The
RED bar represents the fastest frames-per-second.

imac 3.4 i7 = 2011 iMac 3.4GHz Quad-Core i7 with Radeon HD 6970M GPU
mbp 2.3 i7
= 2011 MacBook Pro (17") 2.3GHz Quad-Core i7 with Radeon HD 6750M GPU
mini 2.7 i7
= 2011 Mac mini 2.7GHz Dual-Core i7 with Radeon HD 6630M GPU
mbp 2.7 i7 = 2011 MacBook Pro (13") 2.7GHz Dual-Core i7 with Intel HD 3000 integrated GPU
mba 1.8 i7 = 2011 MacBook Air (13") 1.8GHz Dual-Core i7 with Intel HD 3000 integrated GPU

The Mac mini with the dedicated Radeon HD 6630M is twice as fast as the two laptops with the integrated Intel HD 3000 GPU. But the "top" MacBook Pro beats it handily. And the "top" iMac blows it away. So, the question for gamers becomes, "How much speed do you need and how much are you willing to pay for it?"

The fans in the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air were "huffing and puffing" while running Portal 2 and WoW. The iMac and mini were barely "breathing." So the fan noise could be a factor in your buying decision.

I plan to connect a 27" LED Cinema display to each of the "suspects" to push them even harder. And I just received a copy of Feral Interactive's Dirt 2 for Mac whose results I'll be adding to this page and the subsequent gaming page.

To be notified of additional test results, subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter@barefeats. If you have a question, comment, or want to volunteer to do testing on your Mac, .

WHERE TO BUY A MAC mini and other Apple Products
Click on our Apple Store USA text links or display ads when you order a MacBook Air. It's a great way to support Bare Feats since we earn a commission on each click-through that results in a sale.

Order directly from Adobe USA. Don't live in USA? Try these links to Adobe France, Adobe Germany, Adobe Sweden, or Adobe UK. (Clicking our links helps us earn a commission.)

Has Bare Feats helped you? How about helping Bare Feats?

copyright 2011 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster