Gaming on 16 inch MacBook pro

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,954
4,355
I think before you can make use of the additional 4GB you’ll run into the performance limit of the GPU.
If it has performance in the region of the GTX 1060 it's worth noting that card usually comes with 6GB VRAM so I assume there is a use case for >4GB in games at this performance level. Having said that, probably more so if gaming at 1440p+ than at 1080p - which you probably wouldn't generally be doing on a 1060 system?
 
  • Like
Reactions: venom600

Sp0rck

macrumors newbie
Nov 22, 2019
15
3
Many thanks for the quick answers! I tried the newest red bootcampdrivers and the settings spybyscript suggested, but no difference :( The only thing I didn't tried was to control the fans. What program I need for that?

And Sp0rck, where can I change the Open GL triple buffer settings?
Its in the advanced settings options in the driver menu.
 

mar3k

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2020
3
0
Hi folks,

I'm running i9 2,4GHz, 5500M 8GB, 32GB of memory and I tried both Blue and Red drivers (same fps for me in all the cases), I'm also using MacFansControl to boost fans to the maximum and the thing is that the CPU stays at around 3,0-3,4 with acceptable 70 degrees Celsius (no throttling), but GPU hits 98%+ of load and its overclocking hard, and I'm getting these huge frame drops that in "competitive" gameplay are totally unacceptable...

To give you a nice example I'm running CS:GO at 1440p/low/4xAA/16xAnisotropic (external 144Hz monitor, lit open - but no display on build-in screen over a TB3 dock) with no "action" it's giving me 250-600 fps on most maps, except new Cache, in action this is dropping to still acceptable 120-150 frames (but still with that CPU and GPU should be much more), but in a heave load frams are dropping every few seconds.

I took Afterburner to monitor everything, since I thought is due to CPU (since I saw same issues on MBP 15,6 with i9 and Vega20), but to my surprise it was GPU which was not doing well... do you guys think this is a thing with bootcamp drivers or just thermal limitation of 5500M 8GB itself?

Have anyone of you found a sweet spot with setting up drivers, throttlestop or whatsoever?


PS.

Can you test CS:GO on the same setting and play one MatchMaking 5v5 game to check if this is my machine, wrong settings or just 5500M limitations, CS:GO is a pretty old game and one that loves CPUs so it should run much better, buthout these terrible drops (which I've seen also under other games, like NFS Heat)
 

Marzel

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2018
223
457
Hi folks,

I'm running i9 2,4GHz, 5500M 8GB, 32GB of memory and I tried both Blue and Red drivers (same fps for me in all the cases), I'm also using MacFansControl to boost fans to the maximum and the thing is that the CPU stays at around 3,0-3,4 with acceptable 70 degrees Celsius (no throttling), but GPU hits 98%+ of load and its overclocking hard, and I'm getting these huge frame drops that in "competitive" gameplay are totally unacceptable...

To give you a nice example I'm running CS:GO at 1440p/low/4xAA/16xAnisotropic (external 144Hz monitor, lit open - but no display on build-in screen over a TB3 dock) with no "action" it's giving me 250-600 fps on most maps, except new Cache, in action this is dropping to still acceptable 120-150 frames (but still with that CPU and GPU should be much more), but in a heave load frams are dropping every few seconds.

I took Afterburner to monitor everything, since I thought is due to CPU (since I saw same issues on MBP 15,6 with i9 and Vega20), but to my surprise it was GPU which was not doing well... do you guys think this is a thing with bootcamp drivers or just thermal limitation of 5500M 8GB itself?

Have anyone of you found a sweet spot with setting up drivers, throttlestop or whatsoever?


PS.

Can you test CS:GO on the same setting and play one MatchMaking 5v5 game to check if this is my machine, wrong settings or just 5500M limitations, CS:GO is a pretty old game and one that loves CPUs so it should run much better, buthout these terrible drops (which I've seen also under other games, like NFS Heat)
I've been using the Blue drivers and I've been having a pretty positive experience. I'm not playing competitively on PC and I can't comment on specific values but while playing Gears 5 (which is a pretty graphically intensive title), after an initial drop in frames (which I guess is to be expected due to throttling) it stabilises. So I haven't experienced any random drops in frames.

The CPU should be more than capable for gaming even under stress and even if clocks drop considerably. Maybe you should try capping frame rate to your monitors maximum so that you aren't stressing the GPU more than needed. It could improve throttling...
 

mar3k

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2020
3
0
I did try to set the cap to 120, but it didn't help, same drops, same issues. In competitive gaming, at least in cs:go it's always better to keep frames uncaped - I can't explain why, but this is something that you can "feel". The other thins is that my monitor works normally at 144Hz, but I can not set it to work at 144Hz. When I made a "custom res" in the drivers, screen goes dark with 144, but on 120 works just fine. At first I thought this a problem of my Elagato TB3 dock, but others are reporting that 1440p 144Hz works just fine for them on that Dock - another driver issue?
 

kodama23

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2020
1
0
Hi folks,

I'm running i9 2,4GHz, 5500M 8GB, 32GB of memory and I tried both Blue and Red drivers (same fps for me in all the cases), I'm also using MacFansControl to boost fans to the maximum and the thing is that the CPU stays at around 3,0-3,4 with acceptable 70 degrees Celsius (no throttling), but GPU hits 98%+ of load and its overclocking hard, and I'm getting these huge frame drops that in "competitive" gameplay are totally unacceptable...

To give you a nice example I'm running CS:GO at 1440p/low/4xAA/16xAnisotropic (external 144Hz monitor, lit open - but no display on build-in screen over a TB3 dock) with no "action" it's giving me 250-600 fps on most maps, except new Cache, in action this is dropping to still acceptable 120-150 frames (but still with that CPU and GPU should be much more), but in a heave load frams are dropping every few seconds.

I took Afterburner to monitor everything, since I thought is due to CPU (since I saw same issues on MBP 15,6 with i9 and Vega20), but to my surprise it was GPU which was not doing well... do you guys think this is a thing with bootcamp drivers or just thermal limitation of 5500M 8GB itself?

Have anyone of you found a sweet spot with setting up drivers, throttlestop or whatsoever?


PS.

Can you test CS:GO on the same setting and play one MatchMaking 5v5 game to check if this is my machine, wrong settings or just 5500M limitations, CS:GO is a pretty old game and one that loves CPUs so it should run much better, buthout these terrible drops (which I've seen also under other games, like NFS Heat)
I have the the i9, 2,3GHz, 5500M 4 GB. I've installed the latest blue drivers. Appart from MacFansControl, what did really the trick is ThrottleStop. In fact I've followed the really good video above (Tech with Sean) for setting up both tools and for games settings.

I don't have CS:GO , I cannot tell for this particular game but I have seen a huge improvement from stock drivers for other games (as well as a much quieter experience) with smoother framerate, without theses kind of stuttering.

For example :

- Forza Horizon 4 , 2560 x 1600, high+ () : I get 60 FPS from the benchmark
- Gears 5, 1920 x 1200, medium+ : 57-58 FPS in benchmark
- A plague Tale Innocence, 1920 x 1200, high : 30 - 45 FPS

Are you using ThrottleStop?
 

mar3k

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2020
3
0
I have the the i9, 2,3GHz, 5500M 4 GB. I've installed the latest blue drivers. Appart from MacFansControl, what did really the trick is ThrottleStop. In fact I've followed the really good video above (Tech with Sean) for setting up both tools and for games settings.

I don't have CS:GO , I cannot tell for this particular game but I have seen a huge improvement from stock drivers for other games (as well as a much quieter experience) with smoother framerate, without theses kind of stuttering.

For example :

- Forza Horizon 4 , 2560 x 1600, high+ () : I get 60 FPS from the benchmark
- Gears 5, 1920 x 1200, medium+ : 57-58 FPS in benchmark
- A plague Tale Innocence, 1920 x 1200, high : 30 - 45 FPS

Are you using ThrottleStop?
I did, but from what I've seen it didn't give me any kind of better results, CPU I not throttling for me, the issue with GPU, I wish I could underclock it to 900-1000mHz. I noticed that when my frames are uncaped the GPU goes to 1200mHz+ and than throttles to 300-400, but when I limit frames GPU stays on lover frequencies and just works fine.
 

soundsystem00

macrumors member
Dec 15, 2016
64
6
I was thinking about getting a high spec macbook pro 16 to replace my MSI gs65, but I am thinking that it might be cheaper to just get an entry level macbook pro and keep the MSI for games. Trying to get bootcamp running correctly can sometimes be a hassle, not to mention a waist of SSD space.

That being said, I really do not see myself with two laptops. I already have a surface pro and an MSI stealth and it is sometimes a little bit irritating to have everything spread out across two laptops. It is hard to sell this MSI without losing a bunch of money since I bought it three months ago for $1500 and added $500 for upgrades. I now have a really fast Samsung M.2 SSD in it that is 1TB and 32GB of Samsung ram. It is going lightening fast. I have some complaints about the build quality of this laptop though and it is not really something I want to take around everywhere with me like I did the macbook pro.

I am an artist and a musician before I am a gamer. The only games I play are GTA 5 and Red Dead 2, and that is still pretty rare. I mostly use macbooks to run adobe software, browse the web, and run DJ podcasts and hunt/arrange playlists. It was so perfect for that, especially with the magnificent trackpad. The trackpad on this MSI, I hate to admit, sucks.

I guess my favorite way to use this MSI has been to hook it up to a 4k monitor, mouse, keyboard, and speaker. Oh yeah, the laptop speakers on this thing are horrible. The keyboard though is brilliant. I love how I can change all of the colors, and the travel is great.

I don't know, what would you guys do? Just get the entry level macbook and keep both?

Or spec it out and try to sell the MSI somehow?

My favorite thing about gaming laptops is that I can lay in bed and play games. But this MSI gets so hot that I have to also get a cooling pad in between me and laptop. Any idea if I will have to do that with the macbook pro as well?

Thanks
 

sbarton

macrumors regular
May 4, 2001
236
40
I'm glad to see that someone else has this dilemma. I really have the same needs/concerns. I owned a 2013 mbp 15 and it was really not able to game much at all. My primary machine is a 2013 mac pro which i bootcamp for some light gaming. It is getting a bit slow for gaming but still does pretty well, but my primary use for that computer is Lightroom and photography and it will serve that need for quite a bit longer i think.

So i decided to upgrade my mbp to a windows laptop that i could game on. First laptop i ended up with was a razer blade stealth 15 but had to return it due to a noisy fan. I waited awhile and then pulled the trigger on a Dell XPS 15 with OLED screen. I had a 1tb nvme already and the system came with 16gb ram which is enough for me. This system is on par with the new 16mbp for windows gaming and the build quality, trackpad, and keyboard are equivalent to my 2013 mbp imo. However, it is not as powerful as the laptop you mentioned you have, nor the razer blade 15 that i returned. 1440p gaming is beyond it's capability IMO but it's brilliant at 1080p med/high on the internal screen.

If you want good gaming on an external monitor at 1440p and a step up in build quality than your MSI, then i would recommend the razer blade 15 with 2070 max q. Just make sure to buy it somewhere you can return if you get a dud. Keyboard is good but not great.

And yes, mbp and all of the laptops with discrete graphics cards like you are looking at will get very hot under the bottom when gaming. Highly recommend you invest in a lap desk.
 
Last edited:

thedocbwarren

macrumors newbie
Nov 10, 2017
14
1
San Francisco, CA
Not sure what you're referring to but I do this all the time with my 16. the 5500m is stellar in performance on a lot of modern games. In fact some of the games can run at 4K. Now my average is 1080p ultra with 60 frames on things like Skyrim SE, ESO, Dues Ex, HR and MD.


Bootcamp can't run any modern 3D games. Modern meaning 2008-Present.

Run = anything above 5fps lol of course itll load and run if you want to watch slideshows
 

thedocbwarren

macrumors newbie
Nov 10, 2017
14
1
San Francisco, CA
It was mentioned with bootcamp. It works well and I don't see 5fps as stated. MacBook Pros are not gaming laptops nor is Apple in that market so that's not even an arguement, however to say it's not possible is silly. I agree gaming on MmacOS is not a thing. If someone is buying the MacBook Pro for gaming they may be in the wrong place but it's a professtional laptop with high end performece for those tasks. It also can game in windows.

As stated, wrong platform, wrong hardware. Apple barely pays "lip service" to the Mac these days. As for gaming on the Mac is akin to pissing into the wind...

Q-6
 

soulreaver99

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2010
2,811
2,210
Southern California
Not sure what you're referring to but I do this all the time with my 16. the 5500m is stellar in performance on a lot of modern games. In fact some of the games can run at 4K. Now my average is 1080p ultra with 60 frames on things like Skyrim SE, ESO, Dues Ex, HR and MD.
I'm borrowing a friend's MacBook Pro 16 with 5500m 8GB and I don't know if I am impressed or surprised at the gaming performance because I had low expectations.

I tried out Overwatch, Nier Automata, and Tomb Raider all in using the bootcampdrivers.com Adrenaline RED version, and am easily getting 45-60+ fps on High Settings on a 3440x1440 100hz display (using TAA or AA OFF). The detail on Nier and Tomb Raider unfortunately isn't as good as it is on my GS65 with an RTX 2060 card but I believe that's mainly because those games were optimized for the NVIDIA graphics cards and there is a bit of tearing but the games are definitely more than playable and better than what you can get from a console. Overwatch on the other hand, just flies in ultra.

Also the system runs really hot even with Turboboost turned off and being undervolted so the fans will be on the whole time when playing a game. Not too different from any other laptop so it would be a good idea to have this on a cooling pad because the temps get up into the 90s easily.

As for if this is worth it as a gaming laptop, definitely not. At the configuration of an i9, 32GB, 2TB and Radeon 5500 8GB, you can buy 2 Razer Blade 15s and they will be way better for gaming. But as a high end Mac that can edit complicated 4K videos with ease in Final Cut Pro, and function as a mid-tier gaming laptop, it's something to think about.

Things to consider...
  • If you want a pretty laptop for gaming, get a Razer Blade
  • if you want the best PC gaming experience, build a PC or get a high end gaming laptop if you want to go mobile
  • If you want a Mac to do productivity work, love sending iMessages from laptop and want to game on the side... get a MacBook Air and build yourself a kickass gaming PC... or get a MacBook Air and a Razer Blade 15 and use the leftover money for games on Steam
  • If you want want a Mac to do productivity work, are one of those types that wear a tin foil hat thinking PCs will get viruses because you clicked on a link that you thought was porn, get a MacBook Air or the Base Model MacBook Pro and every console out there and it will still come out less...
  • If you need laptop for Mac software that squeezes out every bit of hardware (whether you are a pro, hobbyist, or enthusiast), and like the idea of being able to play PC games all in one device... this MacBook Pro is for you.
  • If you have a lot of money, want the absolute best, are a geek that wants to run PC games on a Mac just to say that you did... a spec'd out MacBook Pro 16 is definitely for you. And while you're at it, build a kickass gaming PC, buy every console out there, gaming laptop, Tesla, camera, and all those toys that your favorite influencer has, and pat yourself on the back because you made it in life! Congratulations!
 
Last edited:

thedocbwarren

macrumors newbie
Nov 10, 2017
14
1
San Francisco, CA
So I did so because I need a high-end dev machine that can crank cores, VMs, and lots of power. I also edit vidoes and record. It's perfect for me. I play a few games I like, it kills it (high spec'ed mine.) I'm happy as can be. I'll probably buy an eGPU for the experiment and through a powerfiul card in it. WHy a laptop and not the Mac Pro? Simple, I hackathon a lot and I need to take this thing with me. Also for talking to VCs and others to show what I'm building. Yes I also use cloud, but I prefer local dev. I'll get a Mac Pro in the future as well I believe.

Anyway this is a solidly nice laptop if you don't mind the expense.

Yes I did look at Razer as well for using as a learning box. When NVIDIA went out of style I decided against one. I'm very versed in hackintoshing, but it has it's limits.

Anyway, you described it well and for the right reasons. thumbs up.

I'm borrowing a friend's MacBook Pro 16 with 5500m 8GB and I don't know if I am impressed or surprised at the gaming performance because I had low expectations.

I tried out Overwatch, Nier Automata, and Tomb Raider all in using the bootcampdrivers.com Adrenaline RED version, and am easily getting 45-60+ fps on High Settings on a 3440x1440 100hz display (using TAA or AA OFF). The detail on Nier and Tomb Raider unfortunately isn't as good as it is on my GS65 with an RTX 2060 card but I believe that's mainly because those games were optimized for the NVIDIA graphics cards and there is a bit of tearing but the games are definitely more than playable and better than what you can get from a console. Overwatch on the other hand, just flies in ultra.

Also the system runs really hot even with Turboboost turned off and being undervolted do the fans will be on the whole time when playing a game. Not too different from any other laptop so it would be a good idea to have this on a cooling pad because the temps get up into the 90s easily.

As for if this is worth it as a gaming laptop, definitely not. At the configuration of an i9, 32GB, 2TB and Radeon 5500 8GB, you can buy 2 Razer Blade 15s and they will be way better for gaming. But as a high end Mac that can edit complicated 4K videos with ease in Final Cut Pro, and function as a mid-tier gaming laptop, it's something to think about.

Things to consider...
  • If you want a pretty laptop for gaming, get a Razer Blade
  • if you want the best PC gaming experience, build a PC or get a high end gaming laptop if you want to go mobile
  • If you want a Mac to do productivity work, love sending iMessages from laptop and want to game on the side... get a MacBook Air and build yourself a kickass gaming PC... or get a MacBook Air and a Razer Blade 15 and use the leftover money for games on Steam
  • If you want want a Mac to do productivity work are one of those types that wear a tin foil hat thinking PCs will get viruses because you clicked on a link that you thought was porn, get a MacBook Air or the Base Model MacBook Pro and every console out there and it will still come out less...
  • If you need laptop for Mac software that squeezes out every bit of hardware (whether you are a pro, hobbyist, or enthusiast), and like the idea of being able to play PC games all in one device... this MacBook Pro is for you.
  • If you have a lot of money, want the absolute best, are a geek that wants to run PC games on a Mac just to say that you did... a spec'd out MacBook Pro 16 is definitely for you. And while you're at it, build a kickass gaming PC, buy every console out there, gaming laptop, Tesla, camera, and all those toys that your favorite influencer has, and pat yourself on the back because you made it in life! Congratulations!
 
  • Like
Reactions: soulreaver99

soulreaver99

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2010
2,811
2,210
Southern California
I have an eGPU with a Radeon RX580 that I use with my 13-inch MacBook Pro for Final Cut. Going to borrow an Nvidia RTX 2060 Super off a friend's gaming PC to see how well games perform with the eGPU connected to the 16-inch Mac just for the shiggles and I'll report back my findings. Let this sink in for a bit for anyone who is seriously considering doing this:
  • $2399 for base MacBook Pro - > $2799 for higher spec - > $3899 for the BTO model with i9/32GB RAM you can buy at the Apple Store
  • $299 for a Razer Core or TB3 eGPU enclosure
  • $399 for an RTX 2060 Super 8GB video card
  • Total cost for setup: $3097 - $4597+ o_O
 
  • Like
Reactions: simonmet

Ray111

macrumors newbie
Jul 1, 2013
22
3
My fully loaded 16 inch barely pulls 55-60 FPS on low settings@ 1080 playing BF V. I’m using the 2020 January Red Gaming Edition driver.. is this normal? Haven’t tried any other games yet. Also I’m using tweaks mentioned in the Tech With Sean video posted above
 

soulreaver99

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2010
2,811
2,210
Southern California
My fully loaded 16 inch barely pulls 55-60 FPS on low settings@ 1080 playing BF V. I’m using the 2020 January Red Gaming Edition driver.. is this normal? Haven’t tried any other games yet. Also I’m using tweaks mentioned in the Tech With Sean video posted above
I haven't looked at the video (30 minutes, yikes) and haven't tried BFV. Try this:
  • Run MSCONFIG
  • Goto Boot -> Advanced Options
  • Check the Number of Processors Box, set to 12.
  • Restart
  • In your games, turn off AA or set to TAA if the option is available.
That should help your FPS.
 

soulreaver99

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2010
2,811
2,210
Southern California
Some benchmarks so far using Shadow of Tomb Raider on my 35 inch 3440x1440 display in native res. I’ll update this post for 1080 for HD peasants.

On 35 inch 3440x1440 Resolution
Radeon 5500 GPU
- Medium 34 FPS
- High: 32 FPS
- Highest: 26 FPS

GeForce RTX 2060 Super eGPU
- High: 57 FPS
- Highest: 51 FPS

On 1080 Resolution
- High: 61 FPS
- Highest: 51 FPS
 
Last edited:

Luba

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2009
1,227
179
Other than the GPU not being optimized for Windows, are there any other performance hits using Bootcamp? I thought using Bootcamp is like running Windows on Windows PC, the performance solely dependent on the hardware specs.

I can't decide to either Bootcamp and having a wider selection of games to play, or just play whatever Steam games that work on macOS.
 

soulreaver99

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2010
2,811
2,210
Southern California
Other than the GPU not being optimized for Windows, are there any other performance hits using Bootcamp? I thought using Bootcamp is like running Windows on Windows PC, the performance solely dependent on the hardware specs.

I can't decide to either Bootcamp and having a wider selection of games to play, or just play whatever Steam games that work on macOS.
It does run as good as a Windows PC, however when gaming in Bootcamp, it runs really hot and it is mainly because of the GPU. When I plugged in an eGPU playing games on Windows, it ran cooler than when I was in MacOS editing with Final Cut Pro.

Oh if anyone is wondering, yes it does run Crysis.
/thread
 

impulse462

macrumors 68000
Jun 3, 2009
1,899
2,478
won't the macbook pro have better resale value after a few years?
why would you buy a new laptop and factor in resale value? i don't get why this is used as a reason to justify some obscene prices

the 16" prices are /better/ and honestly mine runs pretty great but @faust is 100% correct that apple has made a huge mistake not including nvidia GPUs on their computer. not even from a power perspective. I can't even write code which can use CUDA (usually in matlab/numpy).

my university has a partnership with nvidia and I can' teven make use of this (unless i VNC of course) and its a real shame. now i have to write code connected to a server and submit batch jobs. as a grad student, who just wants to test code, its quite annoying for me to run my "experiemental"/test code on a server rather than on my $3.5k laptop...i mean why did i even bother with this, if i'm just gonna vnc all the time. this is a slight exaggeration, there are other things of this computer I really like, but an nvidia gpu would drastically make my life easier.

and don't give me this crap about openCL. apple has already abandoned it with with Metal and now I'm supposed to become a software developer stack engineer in addition to conducting research if I want to make use of the GPU in my laptop
 
  • Like
Reactions: Loki.Mephisto