new laptop + Minecraft. trying to avoid heartbreak. your experience could be helpful.
April 13, 2011 1:07 PM   Subscribe

new laptop + Minecraft. trying to avoid heartbreak. your experience could be helpful.

a smooth Minecraft experience is somewhat difficult to predict, it seems. i've done some research and come up with some basics (avoid Intel Integrated video cards, for example) but it's hard to make a solid decision as many folks have reported laptops which seem underpowered outperforming significantly more powerful hardware. now i'm trying to come up with a list of known-goods.

do you have a laptop running some flavor of Windows? do you play Minecraft? are you getting 30+ FPS consistently at max draw distance, even during chunk generation? you've got the info i need! what are the specs on that machine?

what CPU / video card / RAM / version of Windows OS / hard drive speed are you using?

for the purposes of this question let's just assume that the only goal is silky-smooth Minecraft performance with maximum draw distance and fancy lighting and whatnot.

as a side note, Minecraft seems to be fairly hard-disk intensive. would throwing some money towards an SSD make a significant difference in performance (where the OS and Minecraft would be installed on the SSD, and other installed programs, media storage, etc, would happen through an external/secondary drive)?
posted by radiosilents to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Just a note to confirm your suspicion - avoid Intel integrated. I've got a brand spanking new Toshiba Satellite with Intel integrated and Minecraft runs like crap - basically unplayable under Windows 7. Runs much better in Ubuntu, though!
posted by charred husk at 1:34 PM on April 13, 2011

Oh, and that's with an intel core i3 processor and 4gb of RAM.
posted by charred husk at 1:35 PM on April 13, 2011

I installed this mod the other day: OptiFog

And have since noticed my framerates soaring---I think the big thing is to use the "experimental" pack because it only draws blocks you can see, instead of all of them.

I've got no other insight. I've got an 3.6GHz a core quadcore with 12gb of ram and an ATI 5750 oc'd video card, and minecraft will run for about 8 minutes before a random crash. I've updated all drives, wiped drivers and reinstalled, wiped java and reinstalled, wiped mc and reinstalled, and done all the rest. Epic suckage.

At work I've got a 3.0GHz dual core, and it runs great right up until it disappears---which may be minutes or hours. (shh...hours on minecraft at work. That's bad,mmmkay?) On my netbook and/or this dual core hp laptop, it runs fine, even with its intel integrated graphx.
posted by TomMelee at 1:51 PM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

You should also check out Optimine (NOTE: this version of the mod won't work with games running past 1.4; there is an "unofficial" update here).

I'm on a 6-year-old laptop with a hole in the chassis and a broken CD drive, so I'm pretty much on the lowest specs possible. Before I installed Optimine I was running at 2 or 3 FPS (ick) on my multiplayer server. Now I can get up to 11 or 12! It's a whole different game.
posted by fight or flight at 2:00 PM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

One thing to consider: most of the reports you're hearing are really, really bad in terms of their value for decision making because they're not based on any sort of standard.

As a general rule, better hardware = better performance. It's not as sticky a morass of gotchas as you seem to think.

The reason anything is better than intel integrated video is because intel integrated video is utter crap.

Get a real (mobile) graphics card, make sure you have 4GB of RAM (2 would probably be fine if you're running very little else). Your hard drive is going to impact the speed the world loads and saves, and that includes if you travel quickly somewhere (with minecarts or waterfalls) but has very, very little to do with game performance over short distances.

The faster your processor, the better you are, and that goes double for multiplayer, where a huge percentage of the client's time is spent sending and receiving packets.

Looking for a "known good" is dangerous, though, because some of this is also predicated by the world you're in -- certain kinds of blocks (like flowing water) are much more chatty and require a lot more processor attention, so someone who has a very basic world might say "Oh, such-and-such laptop is just super", but you could load up your favorite world or server and find that something is causing really low frame-rates.
posted by toomuchpete at 2:53 PM on April 13, 2011

I play a lot of Minecraft, and about 99% of the time, I'm playing it from a laptop. If I don't use the option to limit the frame rate, I get around 90 fps in most areas of the server I play on. It does get a little choppy (10-15 fps) after teleporting to very complicated areas while the chunks are all loading, but after that those areas are pretty smooth too.

This laptop has a Core i5 M540 CPU, 4 gigs of RAM, Windows 7 64-bit. And probably the key thing is an ATI Mobility Radeon HD5650 graphics chip.

I don't play in single-player mode very much, but the few times I have, it has been similarly smooth.
posted by FishBike at 3:34 PM on April 13, 2011

I was under the impression that the most recent Intel integrated graphics were much better than before: here's a link.
posted by alexei at 5:46 PM on April 13, 2011

I have this laptop and I definitely can't run Minecraft on it at max draw distance under Windows 7. It became completely unplayable even on Tiny when I hoed all the grass on my smallish home island. It ran so much better when I moved my world over to Ubuntu. Max draw distance can lag occasionally but Normal is a safe bet 99% of the time. My world is probably fairly average complexity; I do a lot of terraforming (inc. running water), farming, and building, but nothing like you'd see from some of the Minecraft forum posters.
posted by purplecrackers at 7:36 PM on April 15, 2011

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