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I'm considering purchasing a MacBook Pro, but a major issue for me is whether or not it has the computing power to support graphics-intensive applications. Specifically, the two most graphically intense applications I'd be doing are Final Cut Pro video editing (approx. 60 min vids) and playing Diablo 3. Since D3 is the more graphically challenging player here, I'll use it as the baseline. My current MacBook Pro (either 2009 or 2010) struggles with this game to be playable, so I'm a bit skeptical to trust the minimum system requirements for D3 since my current machine meets them:

  • Mac OS X 10.6.8, 10.7.x, or newer
  • Intel Core 2 Duo (or better)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600 (or better)
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 12 GB Available Disk Space
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Video Settings reaching minimum resolution of 1024x768

Getting the obvious out of the way, I can see by looking at MacBook Pro specs comparison that I need to have at the very minimum a 15" or 17" model, since the 13" does not have a separate high-performance graphics card. Additionally, I know that the 15" and 17" both have plenty of RAM and CPU power. The problem is, I have no idea where the MacBook's AMD Radeon HD 6750M/6770M stand against the technical specs.

Would the MacBook Pro be able to reasonably support these use cases (Final Cut Pro and Diablo 3)? I define "reasonably" as: no choppy frame rate, responsive interaction, and not having to be set the game at the absolute minimum specs just to play (also, the computer not becoming as hot as the sun would be a bonus, but not a deal-breaker).

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:–) the computer not becoming as hot as the sun would be a bonus :–) –  E1Suave May 23 '12 at 18:51
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Even the most lowly MacBook air exceeds those specifications. Do you have any reviews showing a Mid 2011 GPU isn't up to Diablo 3? Anandtech has decent reviews of the HD 3000. Obviously more VRAM and higher chips will have faster frame rates especially when you enable lots of extra visuals. But to say they won't play seems more like a subjective preference whether the extra $$ is worth it for each buyer. –  bmike May 23 '12 at 18:52
    
@bmike My current laptop (midline macbook circa '09 or '10) is having serious problems handling D3. The frame rate is borderline unplayable. I wasn't sure how far the graphics cards have progressed since then, and since I cannot replace graphic cards on the Pros, I'm stuck with whatever I buy. –  Moses May 23 '12 at 19:11
    
Perfect - you're doing the right thing - you'll get more serious answers if you edit out the hyperbole, though. 100 C is the thermal run temp for the new machines, and when performing, you will know it by the heat. Serious GPU in a small space equals heat - so you might have to choose between cool and performance. I would edit in the frame rates you consider acceptable as well to make your question more precise. I'd bet several readers here will be able to tell you frame rates on their machines if you get that detail on your "ask" here. –  bmike May 23 '12 at 21:00
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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I don't have a recent MBP, but in my experience the applications should run well.

For games, I suggest to look at youtube videos. For example, Diablo 3 Beta Gameplay MacBook Pro.

You can find a good comparison of the graphics chips here: Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro (Late 2011) Review

If you have time, I would wait about one month (until June/July 2012); the chances for new MacBook Pros being released are high.

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+1, new MBPs are rumored to be released in the June/July timeframe. –  JW8 May 23 '12 at 18:52
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There are many, many graphics card benchmark lists. Here's one that shows the Radeon 6750M to be about 2.5 times faster than the GeForce 8600M:

http://novabench.com/gpuchart.php?a=1

Of course every benchmark is different, but you can be assured that the video card in the 15 and 17 inch MBPs will run this game well.

Use google to find other benchmarks if you'd like more points of data:

https://www.google.com/search?q=compare+6750M+8600M

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The current MBP's have similar benchmark scores and performance to my 27" iMac from late 2010. Diablo 3 runs great, with only the shadows turned down a bit.

Bottom line is that if you can wait, it's always worth it to get the next model, assuming it is soon. If you need a computer today, the current MBP's are great. I've got a late 2011 15" MBP at work and it's a workhorse. And since graphics are your big concern, go for the best discrete GPU.

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Which 15" do you run it off of? The 2.2ghz 512MB GDDR5 or the 2.4 1GB GDDR5? –  Moses May 23 '12 at 20:36
    
The best time to buy any Mac could be said to be the two weeks before and after the release of new models. You usually get a discount on what was the "best" and now is functionally still as good or choose to get the "latest" as it will suit your needs better. –  bmike May 23 '12 at 21:03
    
My MBP is a 2.2 GHz model with 512 MB for the GPU. Graphics weren't my biggest needs with this one, so I got the high-res screen and 8GB of RAM. If I do end up installing Diablo 3, I'll post my comparison to my iMac. –  badams May 23 '12 at 21:31
    
Diablo 3 works great with the highest (native) resolution and the graphics set to high on everything except shadows. Hope that helps. –  badams Sep 19 '12 at 22:10
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