World of Warcraft on a 13″ Retina Macbook Pro

I stopped playing WoW in 2008, and since I didn’t need Windows for gaming, I ended up putting Fedora (and ultimately Ubuntu) on my old Core 2 Duo desktop. After years of fighting with slow computers, I recently bit the bullet and bought the 13″ Retina Macbook Pro (MGX82LL/A). Even though I hadn’t played WoW in years – or any other PC games, for that matter – the gamer in me was still reluctant to go with a computer with no dedicated video card. I’d read up extensively on the Intel Iris 5100 chipset in the Macbook but I couldn’t find anything about its performance in WoW, which was the least-taxing game I could think of.

Well, as fate would have it, Blizzard recently announced they’d be purging the names of characters who hadn’t logged in for 5+ years. Since I had a new computer and I didn’t want to lose my beloved Undead Rogue it seemed like a good time to rejoin. After a couple days of playing, I figured I’d write this post as a service to any other would-be Macbook Pro purchasers curious about its performance in WoW.

This isn’t a detailed benchmarking post – I’m not Anandtech. The short version is that the performance of WoW on the MGX82LL/A is very good. I get 30-60 frames per second basically everywhere, though with settings only set to “fair.” The main thing I wanted to report here is heat. The laptop gets HOT when playing WoW. I installed iStat Menus to get the sensor data – see below.

WoW Settings
WoW Settings
MGX82LL/A CPU temperature - Baseline
MGX82LL/A CPU temperature – Baseline
MGX82LL/A temperature in WoW
MGX82LL/A temperature in WoW

The CPU sensors show temperature increases of over 100ºF. That’s pretty darn hot. I’ll play with the settings to see if I can get the temperature to something more reasonable.

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