MacBooks Really Are Gaming Machines Now

By Rick Gonzales | 6 months ago


When Apple first introduced its M1 Pro and M1 Max processors in their new MacBook Pro, the initial thought by gamers was the same that they have had ever since the MacBook first came to be. They are not meant for gaming. Apple has proven this fact time and time again by not offering high-end games for the Mac, thusly not embracing the gamer in us.

Apple’s advent of the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors was intended for artists rendering video as well as the many other professional tasks a MacBook can perform. Thought was given to a game or two, but it wasn’t their end goal. Now, though, based on the new MacBook Pro tests, it seems that these new processors translate quite well for gaming. In fact, by many tests their gaming performance is excellent.

PCMag decided to test out the strength and performance of the new MacBooks Pro’s that have both the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. They used a 14-inch MacBook Pro running the M1 Pro processor with a 16-core GPU. They also tested out a 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max processor and a 32-core GPU. They compared both of these models with a “state of the art high-end Windows gaming laptop”, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced. It came equipped with a Core i7 processor and the impressive GeForce RTX 3070 GPU.

Rise of the Tomb Raider was booted up and set to Very High graphic detail. Razer Blade 15 Advanced was able to generate 114 fps (frames per second). The Macbook with the M1 Pro processor averaged only 79 fps but was well above 60 fps. The surprise, though, came from the M1 Max processor, which cranked out an astounding 116 fps on average.

They then decided to test the three out on another game, Hitman. The Razer Blade rolled out at 103 fps, while both Macbooks with the M1s again surprised. The M1 Pro averaged 104 fps while the M1 Max took it with a 106 fps average.

To be fair, those weren’t the only two games PCMag tested with the three processors. Also, it should be well noted that the new Apple chips inside the Macbooks didn’t win every battle. When Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested, for example, the Razer Blade Core i7 was by far the clear winner.

But winning or losing wasn’t necessarily the end goal in this test. What was the goal was finding out if both the new M1 chips could hold their own when it came to playing games at a high level, ones that gamers expect.

PCMag’s Tom Brant looked at the results and summed it up this way via Cult Of Mac: “The answer to whether or not the M1 Pro and M1 Max are good for gaming is: ‘It depends on the game.’ That’s a significant triumph for Mac silicon since it’s essentially the same answer to whether or not an Nvidia or AMD GPU in a Windows gaming laptop is good for gaming.”

When PCMag decided to test the new Apple chips, their test was designed to focus on the processors and not the MacBook Pro displays, buttons, or trackpads. Still, the test doesn’t reconcile Apple’s bigger issue as it pertains to gamers. That being the lack of games.

The games tested by PCMag were chosen because there are very few graphically intensive games produced for the macOS. Instead, the bulk of gamers (i.e., all) use either consoles or PCs. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if Apple’s newest chips have the graphic power of Sony’s PlayStation 5, Sony has the games to back it up while Apple definitely does not.

It remains to be seen if Apple will appease gamers and begin to produce more high-end games for their MacBook Pro and the new M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. Heck, if you have the power, you may as well use it. You might even get a few more people to purchase the notoriously overpriced laptops.

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