Are Macbooks Good For Gaming?


Macbooks are among the most popular laptops in the world, known for their innovative features, great software, and simple user interface.

However, Macbooks are not known for their gaming capabilities, which brings up the question are Macbooks good for gaming?

MacBooks are not good for gaming since they lack powerful GPUs. However, Macbooks can be used to play less hardware-intensive games, in which they can perform quite well.

Let’s now take a look at what Macbooks can handle in terms of gaming as well as a few things you should be aware of before purchasing a Mac for gaming.

Are Macbooks Good For Gaming?

There are two main limitations when it comes to gaming on a MacBook, these are GPU’s & game compatibility.

Starting with the GPU’s, Macbooks lack the powerful GPU’s needed to operate most high-end popular games. Gaming is hardware-focused specifically graphics card focused.

A GPU’s job is to effectively & efficiently render your game on the screen, every component of the game you see on your screen is being processed by the GPU. GPU intensive games such as Metro Exodus feature elaborate graphics that require powerful GPU’s to process, which Macbooks lack.

The second limitation Macbooks have when it comes to gaming is game compatibility. Most popular games on the market are only compatible with windows, this limits the number of games you will be able to play on your Mac. Here is a list of Mac compatible games on steam.

However, there are two ways in which you can play windows games on your Mac. The first is to install windows on your Macbook through Bootcamp software. The second is to play your games on the cloud through a cloud streaming service like Geforce now.

Now let’s take a look at a few tests we’ve done on different types of Macbooks to see how each Mac performed with a large selection of games.

Gaming On A Macbook

To complete this experiment we have tested a large selection of games on the Macbook Pro as well as the Macbook Air, since the Macbook pro is the best Macbook for gaming in terms of its specs we tested on both the 13 & 16-inch versions of the Macbook Pro.

Since most of the popular games on the market are windows only games, we tested these games by installing windows through Bootcamp.

GameMacbook Pro 13″Macbook Pro 16″
Shadow Of the Tombraider30 fps on low performance settings55 FPS on medium performance settings
Overwatch60 fps on medium performance settings151 FPS on high performance settings
nails ex mankind game60 FPS on low performances settings60 FPS on high performance settings
Fortnight60 FPS on low performance settings75 FPS on High performance settings
Counter Strike Go60 FPS on high performance settings75 FPS on high performance settings
Starcraft II60 FPS on medium performance settings60 FPS on High Performance Settings
Civilation V30 FPS on medium performance settings40-60 FPS on medium performance settings
Battlefield 540 FPS on low performance settings35 FPS on Highh Performance settings

Macbook Air:

GameMacbook Air
Counter-Strike Go35 FPS on low-performance settings
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor18 FPS on medium performance settings
24 FPS on low-performance settings
Fortnite45 FPS on low-performance settings
StarCraft II60 FPS on medium performance settings
Civilization VI25 FPS on low-performance settings

As you can see some games performed quite well on the Macbook Pro especially on medium performance settings while some games needed to be lower to the minimum performance settings to be played.

The Macbook Air’s performance was quite low but it did manage to run some games on low-performance settings and be quite playable.

The Macbook Pro not surprisingly performed much better than the MacBook Air for gaming, & managed to perform quite decently on some games but not great especially compared to hardcore gaming laptops.

How To Play GPU intensive Games On Macbook

So we established that Macbooks on their own don’t have the GPU to handle hardware intensive games. However, it is possible to play some serious games on the Macbook & that is through the cloud streaming services.

It may seem far-fetched but it is possible to play some serious games on a Macbook with top performance, this is all thanks to cloud streaming services such as Geforce now.

Geforce Now utilizes Nvidia hardware on the cloud which will drastically improve performance & provide you with the processing power required for serious gaming. Another benefit to using a cloud streaming service such as Geforce Now is that you would be able to play Windows exclusive games without having to install Windows on your Macbook.

However, if you do decide to go to the cloud streaming route it’s important to note that you will require a high-speed internet connection of at least 15 MBPS for maximum performance.

Here’s a quick look at a few capabilities of Geforce Now on a Macbook:

Related Questions:

Can An External GPU Enhance MY MacBook’s Gaming Performance?

Yes, however the issue with using an external GPU on the Macbook is that you won’t be able to run Windows on it, this means that you will not be able to play most of the popular games in the market which defeats the purpose of using an external GPU.

are mac pc’s good for gaming?

No, just like Macbook’s Mac Pc’s lack powerful GPU’s and therefore will not be able to run hardware intensive games effectively or efficiently.

can gaming damage my Macbook?

No gaming on its own will not damage your Macbook. However, what can cause damage to your laptop is overheating. This can be caused by gaming as well as by leaving multiple tabs & applications open making your laptop work harder than it should. If you notice your laptop overheating rapidly or if you’re playing a game that demands a lot of resources which causes your laptop to overheat then it’s time to give your laptop a rest to prevent it from overheating & causing internal damage.

Final Thoughts

Macbooks are great laptops when it comes to software, customization & user interface; however, since Macbooks lack powerful GPU’s they aren’t ideal for gaming. Macbooks can perform quite well on less hardware-intensive games however there are multiple gaming laptops at a much lower price point to Macbooks which provide greater GPU’s & will perform much better for gaming.

With Macbook’s current price point it makes more sense to opt for a gaming laptop if you’re primary use for the laptop is gaming, since gaming laptops are in a similar price range as most Macbooks.

If your primary reason for buying a Macbook isn’t for gaming, however, you want to occasionally play some games on it then a good option is to subscribe to a cloud streaming service such as Geforce Now as mentioned above these types of cloud streaming services increase performance drastically by utilizing an Nvidia GPU in a Macbook.

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