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Macworld delves into gaming on the MacBook

David Chartier

While the performance line between Apple's high and low end mid-range portable notebooks has lost some serious girth with the introduction of the MacBook, anyone hoping to snag a portable Mac for gaming has some tough decisions to make. The Pro machine packs a a high-end dedicated 3D card that can chomp through today's most demanding games without breaking a sweat, but the MacBook has an integrated Intel graphics chipset, borrowing RAM from your main system stash and dragging down performance. But how much of a drag is that Intel GMA 950 graphics chip, really? What games can it run, and where is the line actually drawn?

If you've been searching for answers to questions like these, I think Rob Griffiths over at Macworld might have cut your googling short with MacBook gaming: A graphics concern? Rob investigated this whole 'integrated graphics card' issue and found that the MacBook can perform surprisingly well, as long as you max it out with as much RAM as you can afford. Testing an unofficial Universal version of Quake 3 (while old, it is fairly 3D-intensive), the MacBook cranked out 52 fps with 512 MB of RAM (which is already a great stat), but once he maxed the machine to 2 GB, Quake 3 offered up 98 fps.

Rob explores gaming performance on the MacBook with a wide variety of other games, both in and out of Rosetta, and even lays out two separate 'what can/can't you play' sections to get down to specifics. Check out the full story if you're still biting your nails on deciding just how much you'll need to pony up to get your mobile Mac game on (also: stop biting your nails. It's a nasty habit).

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