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I'm running a (new) 2010 Macbook Pro with:

  • A Core i7 2.66 Ghz Processor
  • 8GB Ram
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M Graphics Card

Is it really possible that it can't handle the "high" graphics settings on Starcraft II? It's particularly confusing since I'm using all the "recommended" graphics settings - the game seems to think my computer can handle it, but then while I"m playing, it'll pop up a message suggesting I turn down the settings or close other programs.

It doesn't appear to just be a bad message - the game does seem to slow a bit right after it pops up.

I've closed everything open in the dock, and disabled time capsule. Is there anything else I should be doing?

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Is this on single player or ladder/custom games? – Raven Dreamer Aug 4 '10 at 0:59
I have the same MBP specs. running it on Win7 Ult on bootcamp, on Medium settings. I'd say that games in general run better on the Windows version than OS X. – spong Aug 4 '10 at 2:55
up vote 12 down vote accepted

The nVidia GT 330M isn't really a gaming graphics card; it definitely has trouble with recent games like Bad Company 2. In-game benchmarks for the 330M show the performance of the chip in a lot of fairly recent games, and you can see for yourself that it doesn't really do well in high settings for most games. The PassMark benchmark for the 330M shows that the 330M isn't competitive on par even with current mid-market graphics cards like the GTX460.

As a comparison, my laptop has an ATI 4670HD (772 PassMark vs the 330M's 479 PassMark), 8GB RAM and a Core2Duo@2.66GHz, and it has trouble handling the game on medium at 1920x1080.

I hate to say it, but you're more or less out of luck trying to get Starcraft 2 to perform on a laptop on high settings unless you've forked out for something that advertises itself as a gaming laptop.

I've also heard that performance of Starcraft 2 under OSX is abysmal; it might be worth your while getting bootcamp running with Windows to see if that gives you a bit of a performance boost.

Summary: settle for lower settings, try installing Windows under Bootcamp.

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+1 agreed. I have the same MBP specs as jaydles, and I have SC2 running on my Win7 Ult bootcamp. It runs rather well, but only on Medium settings (which was recommended). – spong Aug 4 '10 at 2:53
Yep. Switched to medium, which looks fine - I can barely tell the difference, and it runs great now. – Jaydles Aug 12 '10 at 2:33
Shadow calculation and particle effects tend to eat memory like crazy, I've a Radeon integrated chip and I find turning shadows off alone usually solves a ton of issues. – World Engineer Aug 16 '11 at 3:06

My guess is that your graphics card doesn't have enough video ram to support the High settings, particularly the textures.

The 330 M was available in different amounts of ram, but here's the recommended texture settings for each amount of ram:

  • 128 MB Low
  • 256 MB Medium
  • 512 MB High
  • 1024 MB Ultra
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Looks like my 330 M does have 512, which is presumably why it recommends "high", but then something strains it eventually. I gave up, and switched to medium, which actually looks fine, and runs silky-smooth. – Jaydles Aug 12 '10 at 2:32

I have a MacBook Pro with an i5, with the same GPU. Starcraft 2 runs nicely on Mac OS X with medium to high settings at 1440x900. No slowdowns whatsoever.

In case it doesn't switch to Nvidia chip automatically, you can force it in the system settings or, better yet, with this wonderful tool:

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