Which Macbook Pro Is Best For Gaming

Which Macbook Pro Is Best For Gaming – The editors independently select and review articles. If you buy from a joint venture, we may receive a profit, which helps support our testing.

Apple has used third-party processors in many of its laptops and desktops for decades, from the humble Nvidia GeForce 9400M in early MacBooks to the beefy AMD Radeon Pro 5700 XT in the latest 27-inch iMac.

Which Macbook Pro Is Best For Gaming

On the other hand, the latest MacBook Pro laptops, Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max, use custom SoCs that integrate CPU and GPU functions and memory, to resolve graphics output and speed. When we reviewed the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, seeing how well they performed in CPU-intensive workflows got us thinking: Are these new processors just as powerful when it comes to running graphics? AAA games?

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This is a loaded question. Apple explains that its MacBook Pro laptops are good for creating heavy content,

Activity and most game developers have ignored macOS as a major gaming platform, focusing on consoles and Windows. This chicken-and-egg problem means that even though the GPU parts of the M1 Pro and M1 Max are theoretically capable of (or better than) the AMD Radeon or integrated Intel silicon they replaced in previous MacBooks, you can still do that. . There is no substitute for taking advantage of many games.

However, a player can dream. So we’ve released a handful of image-searching games (and some unwanted titles) over the years on both the M1 Pro-equipped 14-inch MacBook Pro and the M1 Max-equipped 16-inch MacBook Pro. They are capable.

Many AAA titles are compatible with Macs from British developer Feral Interactive (opens in new window), which works with the studio to bring their creations to platforms other than Windows. Among the most graphics-intensive Mac titles in our benchmark series is the Tomb Raider series, from which we have built-in benchmarks in Rise of the Tomb Raider (opens in a new window) and Image Shadow of the Tomb Raider (opens in ‘A’). new window). These are old games, sure.

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We also tested Total War: Warhammer II (opens a new window), the Hitman reboot from 2016 (opens a new window) and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI (opens a new window). The latter game is less demanding on PC graphics than the rest of the lot, so we use its design to simulate how long the AI ​​takes to complete the game. All games run at Full HD-equivalent resolution (1,920 by 1,200 pixels) because the two new MacBook Pros have different native resolutions. (Evaluating each laptop’s native resolution will result in inconsistent scores.)

We also ran three graphics simulations: the latest 3DMark (specifically the Wild Life (opens in a new window) graphics simulation, which was recently released and is compatible with macOS and Windows) and GFXBench Pro (opens in a new window opens in a new window), as well as the old Unigine Valley ( Opens a new window) test. It renders a view of highly detailed game-style graphics as a way to compare relative performance between devices with different operating systems. GFXBench renders scenes off-screen, and 3DMark keeps them in a window, automatically accounting for the different resolutions when we run the Valley test at the same 1,920 by 1,200 pixels we run the game.

We also ran a portion of this game and synthetic tests on the GeForce RTX 3070-equipped gaming laptop we’re reviewing: the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition. This Core i7-based system represents a modern high-end Windows gaming laptop in comparison. Note that since 1,920 by 1,200 resolution isn’t available on this Windows machine, we ran the game at the equivalent 1080p (1,920 by 1,080). The fewer pixels printed on the Razer machine (the Apple machine prints about 11% more at 1,920 by 1,200) will make it more useful.

Before we get to the results, a few words about the actual hardware in the new MacBook Pro laptops. Both the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors have high-end and low-end configurations and this affects the number of GPU cores. Some labs have them

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Configuration of each CPU. The M1 Pro in a 14-inch laptop has 16 graphics cores and 32 GB of shared memory between the CPU and GPU, while the M1 Max in a 16-inch MacBook Pro has 32 graphics cores and 64 GB of shared memory.

With double the number of graphics cores and memory in our model M1 Max machine, the M1 Max will be far better than these two chips when it comes to delivering games. As it turns out, this is not always the case.

Without further ado, here are our test results. Use the drop-down menu to browse all games and simulations as we explain them. Let’s start with real world games…

First time: Hitman 2016 edition. From the get-go, it’s clear that the new MacBook Pro is both theoretically capable of entertainment, even while running actual games. Sure, Hitman is an older title, but there aren’t many non-gaming laptops in 2021 that can average more than 100 frames per second (fps) on its in-action benchmarks, much less controllable performance when you turn. The process extends to Ultra. Surprisingly, Macs run neck-and-neck at the Razer RTX 3070 System Ultra!

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The Hitman results also show that GPU power is something other than limited performance, as the M1 Pro and M1 Max have vastly different GPU capabilities but do so within a few frames of each other in games and indeed graphics presets. Setting it to low does not increase the value much.

The next title, Rise of the Tomb Raider, is even more in demand than Hitman. Unlike Hitman, this Lara Croft epic shows the difference between the performance of the M1 Pro and the M1 Max, which has been released at a much higher level. AAA games performance always varies from title to title, even on Windows laptops, but the M1 chips have a few extra wild cards to play with. For one thing, they are so new that programmers of these older games may not keep their features and weaknesses in mind while coding. They also needed an emulation layer called Rosetta 2 to handle the CPU portion of the game’s needs. These games are designed to run on Intel CPUs, not the ARM architecture of the M1 Pro or M1 Max. The RTX 3070 is almost tied with the M1 Max at the top, again a good result for the 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro.

The big difference between the M1 Pro and the M1 Max is still when you run the more demanding Shadow of the Tomb Raider. In the case of this new game, the 14-inch MacBook Pro equipped with the M1 Pro falls below the 60fps floor that many gamers expect at maximum settings. However, the M1 Max still exceeds that at 84 fps. (Note, these are averages, and the lowest values ​​sometimes fall into the 30fps range.) The RTX 3070 is clear in the system, but the M1 Max MacBook Pro keeps up with the game.

Our next game, Total War: Warhammer II, is a bit more demanding than our previous game. It also seems efficient in harnessing the power of M1 silicon. At lower settings, the M1 Max managed to deliver an average of 176fps compared to just 107fps for the M1 Pro. It is clear that the extra cores are useful here.

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The last name, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, is shorthand for the performance Mac gamers can expect when the game doesn’t require everything, rather than using the CPU for best results. Here we see how long the processor takes to complete a turn when playing against the in-game AI computer. This is a CPU-intensive task, and with the same CPU core count, the M1 Pro and M1 Max (each has a total of 10 CPU cores) have similar performance.

Now if you can’t tell whether the M1 Pro and M1 Max are good for gaming, the answer is: “It depends on the game.” This is an important win for Mac Silicon, as it is essentially the only answer to whether an Nvidia or AMD GPU in a Windows gaming laptop is better for gaming. But that still doesn’t mean you should rush out to buy a $4,000 M1 Max laptop as your main gaming device.

The most obvious reason isn’t (besides the lack of games available to play) that Apple’s silicon is so new that most games can’t use it to its full potential. A good example of this is the difference between GFXBench and Valley simulation results. Let’s take one

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