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Can You Game On A Macbook?

Updated on January 7, 2016
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If you're a hardcore gamer and want a gaming computer to play the latest and greatest games, the Macbook shouldn't be your first choice. Macbooks are a better choice for people who do photo and video editing on their laptops, not gaming. But what I (and you) want to know is, can you game at all on a Macbook?

The Specs

Take a look at the specs of the latest 2015 Macbook Pro 13" model,

  • Intel Core i7- 5557U
  • Dual Core 3.4 GHz
  • Intel Iris Graphics 6100
  • 16 GB 1866 Mhz LPDDR3 RAM

The 13" Macbook Pro has a pretty solid CPU, but the inbuilt Intel Iris 6100 graphics aren't exactly meant for hardcore gaming.

If, for whatever reason, you do decide to get a Macbook for gaming, the first problem you'll be faced with is finding games. There are a few titles in "Origin" and the Apple Mac App Store, but your choices are very limited.

Luckily, "Steam" is available on Mac and there you'll find a pretty decent collection with quite a few games on your PC library that will work on Mac.

GTA V On The Macbook

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Gaming On A Macbook- GTA V

GTA V is probably the biggest title of this year.

Let's see the gaming performance of the Macbook while playing GTA V.

On A Resolution of 1440 x 900 with the settings set to high, you can expect a frame-rate between 10-15 frames per second.

Scale down to a resolution of 1280 x 800 with the settings set to high, you should get a slightly better frame-rate between 13-22 frames per second.

With a resolution of 1440 x 900 with the settings set to medium, you'll get a frame-rate between 20-24 frames per second.

And with a resolution of 1280 x 800 with the settings set to medium, you should get a frame-rate just shy of 30 frames per second.

With the settings set to low, you should get over 30 frames per second. But trust me, you don't want to play games on low settings, even if it is a game as graphically advanced as GTA V.


Gaming On A Macbook- Crysis 3

Crysis 3 is probably one of the best titles I've come across graphics-wise. But, how does the Macbook fare when you play Crysis 3 on it?

Forget playing Crysis 3 on medium or high settings on the Macbook. Even on low settings with the resolution set to 1440 x 900, the game is pretty much unplayable.

Scale down to 1280 x 800 and the game has slightly better frame-rates but it's still almost unplayable.

Tomb Raider On The Macbook

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Gaming On A Macbook- Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is one of the newer titles to come out this year.

It's almost playable at 720p but there are quite significant frame-rate drops in graphic- intensive areas.

New Way to Game On A Mac!

Even though gaming is quite horrifying on the Macbook, there is an alternative way for you to get better performance.

And it is...Bootcamp!

For those of you who don't know, Bootcamp basically allows you to install a copy of Windows on your Macbook. By installing Windows, you will have access to a wider variety of games. And the best part is, you'll get better performance!

When I played Tomb Raider on the Macbook, I was averaging about 17 frames per second. But when I played Tomb Raider on the same Macbook with Windows, I was averaging close to 45 frames per second. That is more than double the performance!

But wait, what is the point of owning a Macbook if you end up installing Windows on it?

Staple Games

So the Macbook doesn't handle graphic- intensive games very well. But, how does it handle mainstream games?

Almost everyone has played Minecraft at-least once, right? Well, the Macbook handles Minecraft very well at 1080p, but you will have to knock down the render distance a bit.

The Macbook handles League of Legends fairly well too.

Final Verdict

So, is the Mac a good gaming PC?

No, not even close.

But if you have your heart set on a Macbook, and want to play the occasional game on it, you can totally do so.

Install Windows through Bootcamp, and you'll be able to play more demanding titles as well (on low settings).

Well, the final verdict is,

A PC is for gamers and a Mac is for businessmen and video- editors.

It's just the rule of life...

Your Opinion

Would You Game On The Macbook?

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    • davidlivermore profile image

      David Livermore 18 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      I used to love gaming on my Mac when I owned one. The screen, the feel, etc. Always had a better feeling than on the PC.

    • Ayman Nadaf profile image
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      Ayman Nadaf 18 months ago from India

      I agree. But the performance of Macs are just not as good as PCs. Unless of course, you go for the higher end Mac which costs boatloads of money!

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