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Veteran Member - Level 12
Strong opinions cut both ways. When you eat your words, everybody remembers.
I never liked Macs. They were the overpriced machine of choice for computer-illiterate non-gamers. Nobody smart bought a Mac. Those were for Apple-loving idiots with too much money to spend.
Then I had to to buy a new laptop. My beloved HP Envy 14, which had held up so well, began breaking down. Lugging around a heavy computer with a massive extra battery when said computer was already breaking down was too much. After two years, I was ready for something else. Something easier on my shoulders. Something... almost like a Mac.
Normally this kind of purchase would be unthinkable for me. Windows gets all the PC games. Macs get Steam's dregs. Nobody serious about PC gaming would buy a Mac.
Shopping around for high end laptops taught me what stereotypes were true and which ones weren't. First of all, Windows gets a bad rap. I read review after review, and a common trend emerged. If you put some cash into a laptop and don't just buy the first cheapo $400 Walmart laptop you see, there excellent Windows machines out there.
Despite my previous inclinations, I gave in and bought a new 2013 MacBook Air. The price was comparable to other high-end Windows laptops. Additionally, Macs seem to be one of the few laptop series that get everything right- keyboard, touchpad, screen, and battery life. Every other laptop messed up one thing.
This laptop offered great hardware but only a few hours of battery. That Asus laptop features fantastic performance brought down by an awkward touchpad. This Samsung model can do everything, but it costs more than $1,500.
Apple got me when they announced that the new Airs would get up to 11 hours of battery with the new Haswell chips. That is not an exaggeration. This laptop goes all day. It amazes me with its stamina.
There's just one catch. Gaming.
The MacBook Air I bought just isn't good for playing the latest PC titles. There's no way around it. I try to stay brutally realistic about the merits of my devices, and this computer is not a gaming machine.
For one, it's a Mac. You know who makes games for Mac? Nobody, that's who. Or that's what it feels like. OS X gets major games a year late (if ever) and indie games. Throw in some technical issues inherent to the operating system like a lack of DirectX and you've got an OS not built for gaming.
Plus, the MacBook Air lacks the hardware for running intensive games. It uses an integrated graphics card- good for saving battery, but little else. I also got stiffed on the storage. My computer only has 128 GB of storage. It's fine for my normal work/school needs, but things get crowded when you start juggling multiple 20 GB games.
I guess Apple figures that anybody who buys a MacBook Air isn't really looking to game. It's not all bad, though. Macs get a lot of quality indie games. There are Mac ports for Minecraft, The Stanley Parable, Bastion, The Walking Dead, and Spelunky. Do they run as well as they do on Windows? No. Do they run well enough? Yes.
The biggest saving grace of trying to game on a Mac laptop is that you can use Apple's Bootcamp software to partition the hard drive and dual-boot Windows. With a quick restart, you get access to the PC's entire catalogue of games. Dual-booting is awkward, but it works.
Being pushed toward indie games isn't that bad, either. I've tried a lot of strange, different games in the past few months, and a few of them are really good. Spelunky in particular has impressed me with its depth and addictive challenge.
All in all, gaming on a Mac isn't bad. I can play everything I want to, so no complaints. I just wish I hadn't made fun of them SDI much before buying one. My friends made sure I remembered my old opinions.
What do you think? Do you own a Mac? If not, why not? Tell me I'm not the only person on GI who's got one.