Is MacBook good for gaming?

Is MacBook good for gaming

The debate over whether or not Macbooks are good for gaming has been around for years. Some people swear that they are the best gaming laptops available, while others say that they are terrible for gaming and that you should never purchase one if you want to play any games. So, which is it? Are Macbooks good for gaming or not? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of using a Macbook for gaming to see if it’s the right choice for you.

It’s no secret that Macs aren’t typically thought of as gaming rigs. However, there are a number of games out there that can be played on them. Macbook Gaming has come a long way in recent years. While they may not be able to compete with high-end gaming laptops, there are now several games that can be played on a Macbook without any problems.

Macbooks are great computers, but they aren’t quite as powerful as similarly priced laptops with upgradeable graphics cards. However, if you mostly play MOBAs which require moderate computing power to run well, it will be more than enough for that. The only downside is that since macs don’t run Windows natively, you won’t be able to play your PC games without having to go through some workarounds which aren’t worth it unless you play these games a lot.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of which Macbooks are good for gaming, let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t use a Macbook when it comes to playing games.

One of the biggest reasons that gamers choose PC rigs – mostly custom built PCs over Macs is due to GPU performance. To be able to properly play any sort of advanced games on a Macbook, an external GPU will need to be added to provide graphics support beyond what the integrated Intel card can handle. Although this isn’t typically very expensive, it adds another step and cost to your gaming system.

The better option here would be a Windows-based notebook instead of a Mac. The same concept applies to how most notebooks are built, though. For example, they will often come with the default integrated Intel GPU which is not strong enough for most gamers to properly play games on. However, if you know what you are doing and feel like building a PC laptop yourself, it can be done! It’s just an added cost that Macbook users don’t have to worry about since they buy their notebooks pre-built by Apple.

External GPU

Another option for Mac owners would be to purchase an external GPU enclosure. The Thunderbolt 3 eGPUs are currently trending at this time so any of those would work fine so long as your Mac has Thunderbolt 3 ports. However, if you go this route you will need to ensure your notebook supports charging through USB Type C Power Delivery (PD).

For this article, I will be using PC parts since they are more universally compatible. However, nothing is stopping you from doing it with Mac hardware. The only difference would be in how you connect your monitor to your GPU’s DisplayPort or HDMI port. Instead of an adapter like HDMI to VGA that isn’t needed for PC, you’ll need an active (powered) Mini DisplayPort to HDMI converter.

I would recommend pairing one of NVIDIA’s GTX 1050 Ti cards with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM. This combination should give you smooth gameplay at 1080p on high graphics settings on most games since the 1050 Ti is comparable to a GTX 960.

The only downside of this is that it doesn’t leave much room for upgrades. If you want to be able to upgrade your computer more easily, I would recommend the NVIDIA GTX 1060 or 1050 instead. However, you will lose some of the ability to play on high-ultra settings at 1080p because they’re not as powerful as a GTX 960/1050 Ti.

I would also recommend using an external GPU case with an AMD RX 480 or Nvidia GeForce 1070 if you have the extra money to spend and don’t mind having a slightly thicker laptop due to needing more cooling power for a desktop card.

Not the best for all games

Macbooks aren’t known as being gaming laptops but some people say they are good enough. I would recommend them for playing things like DOTA 2 and some other MOBAs, but not for the newest AAA games.

I would recommend opting for a more expensive graphics card if you plan to play newer games with higher graphical settings because the MacBook’s integrated Intel HD graphics definitely won’t cut it even on medium settings. I have been able to get more than 60 FPS in most MOBAs though, so it might be good enough for that.

The only thing is you won’t be able to play any of your Steam or Origin PC games without going through some workarounds, which probably isn’t worth the effort just for a laptop at this price. Despite being a great value, they’re still pretty cheap when with their Windows counterparts and there are much better options to choose from.

Still, if you are keen on a laptop with an operating system other than Windows, the Macbook is a great option and is perfectly suited to most regular home and work use.


Macbooks are great computers, but they aren’t the best for gaming. They have a powerful enough CPU and GPU to handle most games at playable frame rates, but their lack of an upgradeable graphics card means that you’ll be able to play a lot of them on higher quality settings than you would on similarly priced laptops with upgradable GPUs. An exception is if you’re planning on playing MOBAs which only require moderate computing power to get more than 60 FPS. In this case, it might be good enough for that.

The only downside is that since Macs don’t run Windows natively, you won’t be able to play any of your Steam or Origin PC games without going through some workarounds which aren’t worth it unless you plan on playing those games very often.

If you’d like to build a custom build rig that could play most games and at a budget price, our technicians are just a phone call away.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...