oy vey with the gaming
December 31, 2012 6:42 PM   Subscribe

If I buy a newfangled Chrome netbook will my kid be able to use it to play Minecraft?

I understand virtually nothing regarding gaming and computer hardware. So please forgive me if this is a really dumb question. My kid wants to be able to play Minecraft. I'd like him not to be doing it on the desktop Mac that I use for work. So I'm looking for the cheapest possible solution.

I know there is the single-player version that he can play on the iPad (which we have). However he prefers to play on a multi-player server and for that he needs a computer. (At least that's my understanding.)
posted by BlahLaLa to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The desktop version of Minecraft requires a Java plugin that you won't be able to use with a Chromebook.

Google support page
Minecraft system requirements
posted by dobi at 6:48 PM on December 31, 2012

Best answer: Short answer: while theoretically possible with a comparatively enormous amount of work and technical skills, it's not worth it. Just buy the cheapest Windows laptop you can find.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:52 PM on December 31, 2012

wait, you can't partition and dual-boot a Chromebook?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:02 PM on December 31, 2012

For the benefit of posterity, here's the complicated 3-but-more-like-8-or-9-step process that a future masochist might consider.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 7:02 PM on December 31, 2012

Response by poster: Okay, I appreciate the answers. Any suggestions for a specific cheapest possible Windows laptop?
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:03 PM on December 31, 2012

wait, you can't partition and dual-boot a Chromebook?

From the look of things it's difficult and you'd have to add storage anyway. Not heard of anyone doing it with Windows.
posted by Artw at 7:04 PM on December 31, 2012

The Raspberry Pi will apparently be able to play Minecraft in multiplayer, but I don't know if it will be compatible with normal Minecraft. Cheap though.
posted by the dief at 7:29 PM on December 31, 2012

Check woot.com for laptops. They have pretty good deals on reasonably-powered refurbs and even some brand new ones. Anything with an i3 or i5 processor will do what you want.
posted by fireoyster at 7:29 PM on December 31, 2012

Or just go to newegg. Get a cheap samsung or whatever.

Or Dell for refurbs/returns.
posted by notyou at 7:38 PM on December 31, 2012

You can install Ubuntu 12.04 on the $199 Acer Chromebook C7...
posted by thewalrus at 8:55 PM on December 31, 2012

Seconding Dell Outlet. The machines are as good as new - and most are not with Win8 just yet, which is a good thing
posted by nostrada at 11:22 PM on December 31, 2012

It might be worth keeping an eye on the "Bye Bye Netbook" thread, where people are discussing the current start of inexpensive, relatively low-powered computers, which would probably top out at Minecraft in gaming terms. The Lenovo IdeaPad S206 is $349 or so new (ticket price, so realistically less) and I think meets the minimum spec for Minecraft (2GB RAM in that standard configuration, and the E1-1200 AMD processor is comparable with the K7 desktop processor stated).

Or the HP Pavilion DM1, which is a step up in cost for the latest version. Dell Outlet is often a good place to look, also, as mentioned, although it means having to cope with Dell customer service if anything goes wrong.

(That's assuming you _want_ a roughly Chromebook-sized device, of course - the Toshiba 15.6" laptop mentioned above has about the same spec - AMD E-450 processor, 1366x768 pixels, 4GB RAM...)

One worthwhile expense, for Minecraft and other applications, would be getting something with 4GB RAM rather than 2GB - especially with laptops which draw from the main RAM for graphics processing (i.e. at this price point all of them).
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:39 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

hp business outlet has some good deals:


HP 6565b W7P-64 AMD A4 3310MX 2.1GHz 320GB 4GB No-Optical 15.6HD WLAN AMD HD 6480G Rmkt NB PC

for about $300.

for cheap solutions the AMD 'A' laptops are probably your best bet. they are slower than comparable intel machines, but have much better graphics processors and arent as slow as the 'E' series.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:09 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

(Oops - forgot the thread link.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:25 AM on January 1, 2013

Best answer: which would probably top out at Minecraft in gaming terms.

Minecraft is actually a fairly resource-intensive game. It shouldn't be, but it is. The "minimum requirements" stated on Mojang's site are likely to provide a barely playable (and probably not terribly enjoyable) experience.
posted by toomuchpete at 1:08 PM on January 1, 2013

Best answer: 2nd'ing toomuchpete. I have a very capable 2 year old business laptop (core i5). It gets crushed by minecraft -- the game is playable, but only if I keep the render distance less than I'd prefer, and the machine still heats up, and the battery still drains like a sieve.

So, look for a gaming-oriented laptop (with better graphics processing, I'd assume this is what dictates much of the minecraft performance) or at least avoid a super low-end machine.
posted by genug at 1:30 PM on January 1, 2013

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