I have reached an empass

Rodan52

macrumors regular
Original poster
After decades of dedicated Mac gaming I have reached a point of indecision. I am currently running a 2015 MBP 13" 500Gb laptop on macOS 10.15 and I can no longer find any FPS that I consider worth playing.
Beginning years ago i cut my teeth on such games as Halo, the Marathon Series and early versions of Wolfenstein and Doom. As time passed I graduated to the final versions of Quake and Doom followed by the Bioshock trilogy, Deus EX, Metro, Rage, Borderlands, Prey etc,etc.
Now I am stuck, my choices are to invest a large amount of money in a dedicated Windows gaming PC or upgrade my current Mac laptop and instal a virtual machine or similar to run Windows games.
Either is a large investment and I'm really at a loss to know which way to go.
The cheap alternative would be to install Parallels on this device but I'm not sure how effective that would be for the type of games i like to play.
Any suggestions welcome.
 

a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
472
306
Start to put some money away. You will need about 2k to get into a decent starter gaming PC. Forget Apple, they are way behind even minimum gaming graphics.

I too am nearing this decision point and have been researching for a long time. I see no easy out. a2.
 

TopherMan12

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2019
500
458
Atlanta, GA
Virtual machines for any graphically intensive games are not going to work. You are going to be limited to small indie games at this point.

This video does a really good job covering various methods of gaming on Mac including virtual.

I'm afraid you are probably going to come to the same conclusion I did when I was at the same impasse as you. Gaming on Mac is far too limiting. A dedicated Windows gaming PC is your best option.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,626
31,759
Boston
my choices are to invest a large amount of money in a dedicated Windows gaming PC or upgrade my current Mac laptop and instal a virtual machine or similar to run Windows games.
A couple of thoughts,
First, most gaming machines are not that expensive, and if go build your own route, you can get a very capable gaming rig for short money.

Secondly, you will never get any sort of acceptable performance from playing AAA games within a virtualized environment.

Your current machines lacks thunderbolt 3 and such an egpu isn't a viable option, which I would normally recommend. Buying a newer MBP and egpu drives the price well above what would be acceptable just to play games imo.
 
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GoldfishRT

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2014
527
302
Somewhere
You will need about 2k to get into a decent starter gaming PC
I would not consider this an accurate statement - even considering ridiculous prebuilt machines. Maybe if you include some super nice accessories to go with but even then I think that would hardly qualify as a 'starter' gaming PC.

A super solid gaming tower shouldn't run more than $900. Obviously, you might have to budget for monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc if you don't have those things already but even considering that I see no reason why you'd need to spend more than $1500 on a total desk set up in total. I think coming from any Mac, the gaming performance you can get on the cheap with a desktop Windows PC will probably blow you away. Whether or not it's worth it depends entirely on how much you want to spend on this hobby. For the record, I built a pretty nice ITX build for High Settings at 4K 60 and the machine itself still came in under $1100, and my dumb limited run case was $250 of that.

If you know of games on Windows that would run on your current MacBook in a manner that would satisfy you, just download a copy of Windows and make a Bootcamp partition. Heres a pro tip if all you care about is gaming, there's no reason to activate Windows unless you really want your own wallpaper and to be rid of a watermark. The copy of Windows I use on my Mac is unregistered and there's no issue with using it for web browsing and running Steam games. This is how I was getting my PC gaming fix on my Mac until I built my current desktop.

I'm an old-school FPS lover myself. If you go the PC route, you really got to try the new Doom reboot. It's awesome. Don't think it would run great on your MacBook though, my 2018 struggled with it.
 

Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,224
6,850
New Hampshire, USA
After decades of dedicated Mac gaming I have reached a point of indecision. I am currently running a 2015 MBP 13" 500Gb laptop on macOS 10.15 and I can no longer find any FPS that I consider worth playing.
Beginning years ago i cut my teeth on such games as Halo, the Marathon Series and early versions of Wolfenstein and Doom. As time passed I graduated to the final versions of Quake and Doom followed by the Bioshock trilogy, Deus EX, Metro, Rage, Borderlands, Prey etc,etc.
Now I am stuck, my choices are to invest a large amount of money in a dedicated Windows gaming PC or upgrade my current Mac laptop and instal a virtual machine or similar to run Windows games.
Either is a large investment and I'm really at a loss to know which way to go.
The cheap alternative would be to install Parallels on this device but I'm not sure how effective that would be for the type of games i like to play.
Any suggestions welcome.
CS:GO should run well on your MBP.

If you look around or build one yourself, you probably can find a PC within your budget..
 

a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
472
306
Very good. What machines do you guys like that are in the 1k buck range. ?

Don't want to build my own, looking for turn key. a2
 

GoldfishRT

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2014
527
302
Somewhere
Very good. What machines do you guys like that are in the 1k buck range. ?

Don't want to build my own, looking for turn key. a2
You're going to be paying about 15% or so more because you don't want to spend that half hour, just as an FYI. Typically prebuilt PCs have some nonsense that make them a pain to try and upgrade down the line too unless you go for a smaller boutique manufacturer. With that said, I've only ever owned one pre-built from CyberPower PC and they were pretty good with support and parts selection and the ability to actually work in them since they're just off the shelf parts most of the time.

So as long as you're fine with all of that, I'm just going to pull some good options from them off the BestBuy website for a few ideas. These are both a bit above and a bit below.

This one can do 4K 60 or 1440P High Refresh Rate. This is shockingly similar to the ITX build I did, I have a worse CPU, only a large SSD instead of two drives, and small form factor PCs command a premium, but this is about what I paid to game at this level. If you have the space, good option at $150 off:


-

This one is solidly in the midrange and is good for 1440p/60 gaming. Has a larger SSD and older CPU but frankly, for the price, it's a good build. This is probably what I'd buy if I walked into a store and just wanted to dip my toes in:

 
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compwiz1202

macrumors 6502a
May 20, 2010
783
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You're going to be paying about 15% or so more because you don't want to spend that half hour, just as an FYI. Typically prebuilt PCs have some nonsense that make them a pain to try and upgrade down the line too unless you go for a smaller boutique manufacturer. With that said, I've only ever owned one pre-built from CyberPower PC and they were pretty good with support and parts selection and the ability to actually work in them since they're just off the shelf parts most of the time.

So as long as you're fine with all of that, I'm just going to pull some good options from them off the BestBuy website for a few ideas. These are both a bit above and a bit below.

This one can do 4K 60 or 1440P High Refresh Rate. This is shockingly similar to the ITX build I did, I have a worse CPU, only a large SSD instead of two drives, and small form factor PCs command a premium, but this is about what I paid to game at this level. If you have the space, good option at $150 off:


-

This one is solidly in the midrange and is good for 1440p/60 gaming. Has a larger SSD and older CPU but frankly, for the price, it's a good build. This is probably what I'd buy if I walked into a store and just wanted to dip my toes in:

Couldn't believe this nonsense when my dad got a PC and there was no way to add a second drive! Before I started using a laptop, desktops were by far the easier to upgrade. Most laptops were the issue other than the rare ones with the access panels.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,626
31,759
Boston
Very good. What machines do you guys like that are in the 1k buck range. ?

Don't want to build my own, looking for turn key. a2
I quickly saw that Alienware Machines start off in the 700 dollar range this is just one example
D392F9EA-0B29-413B-B0A5-D923BEF1B646.jpeg
 
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a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
472
306
Thanks for the good replies. Went up on those sites, and now I think I would prefer a Nvidia Graphics card rather than the AMD's

I don't mind starting out with say a 1070 card as long as I can move up to 2080 later. Looks like the Mid level 'Aurora' is best so far. I will want at least an 800 watt PS for future expansion.

Still a bit hazy on how much CPU and Cores to buy, but it looks like I've moved way past entry level. a2
 
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TopherMan12

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2019
500
458
Atlanta, GA
Thanks for the good replies. Went up on those sites, and now I think I would prefer a Nvidia Graphics card rather than the AMD's

I don't mind starting out with say a 1070 card as long as I can move up to 2080 later. Looks like the Mid level 'Aurora' is best so far. I will want at least an 800 watt PS for future expansion.

Still a bit hazy on how much CPU and Cores to buy, but it looks like I've moved way past entry level. a2
You are probably going to find better deals with a 2060 vs 1070 at this point.

Asus has a pretty good deal at best buy for a gaming desktop right now:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-gaming-desktop-intel-core-i7-9700f-16gb-memory-nvidia-geforce-rtx-2060-1tb-hard-drive-256gb-solid-state-drive-iron-gray/6363858.p?skuId=6363858

Little over $1000, but you've got a SSD for your OS partition, very good GPU, and a pretty good CPU as well.
 
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Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
18,018
18,312
The Misty Mountains
After decades of dedicated Mac gaming I have reached a point of indecision. I am currently running a 2015 MBP 13" 500Gb laptop on macOS 10.15 and I can no longer find any FPS that I consider worth playing.
Beginning years ago i cut my teeth on such games as Halo, the Marathon Series and early versions of Wolfenstein and Doom. As time passed I graduated to the final versions of Quake and Doom followed by the Bioshock trilogy, Deus EX, Metro, Rage, Borderlands, Prey etc,etc.
Now I am stuck, my choices are to invest a large amount of money in a dedicated Windows gaming PC or upgrade my current Mac laptop and instal a virtual machine or similar to run Windows games.
Either is a large investment and I'm really at a loss to know which way to go.
The cheap alternative would be to install Parallels on this device but I'm not sure how effective that would be for the type of games i like to play.
Any suggestions welcome.
I have no clue how you would upgrade your current Mac Laptop in a meaningful way without buying a new one.

For myself, I'm completely vested in my MBP and MacOS for doing computer stuff, everything except gaming, which I bailed on (gaming on my Mac) in 2016 the last time I purchased a MBP for $2000. If I had wanted to get some low-mid level of gaming out of it, I would have spent $3000 for a MBP with a dedicated graphics card, but I no longer travel for work, so I have no need to play games on the road.

You have 2 choices:
  1. Do you want to keep your Mac? For myself, a no brainer, yes, keep it. I'm fully vested in the Apple Ecosystem.
  2. Get a console ($300-400), or a mid level PC which will cost about $1100-1400 if you have to include a monitor and keyboard. For a gage, check out Digital Storm: https://www.digitalstorm.com/desktops.asp. When I build my PC in 2013 it cost me about $1000 (already had a monitor and keyboard) and when I checked the price of a comparable Digital Storm computer it was only about $150 more.
Good luck on your decision! :)
- - Post merged: - -

Very good. What machines do you guys like that are in the 1k buck range. ?

Don't want to build my own, looking for turn key. a2
Check out post 15. :)
 
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a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
472
306
That Asus looks Good, but I do not know them.

Is Asus a bottom level machine like ,say, Acer ? I have owned 2-3 Dell machines, and after cleaning out all the junk Dell-Ware, they proved to be top quality, and long lastin.

A bit shy here on Asus. Anyone here used these machines ? a2
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,710
1,263
Georgia
You're going to be paying about 15% or so more because you don't want to spend that half hour, just as an FYI. Typically prebuilt PCs have some nonsense that make them a pain to try and upgrade down the line too unless you go for a smaller boutique manufacturer. With that said, I've only ever owned one pre-built from CyberPower PC and they were pretty good with support and parts selection and the ability to actually work in them since they're just off the shelf parts most of the time.

So as long as you're fine with all of that, I'm just going to pull some good options from them off the BestBuy website for a few ideas. These are both a bit above and a bit below.

This one can do 4K 60 or 1440P High Refresh Rate. This is shockingly similar to the ITX build I did, I have a worse CPU, only a large SSD instead of two drives, and small form factor PCs command a premium, but this is about what I paid to game at this level. If you have the space, good option at $150 off:


-

This one is solidly in the midrange and is good for 1440p/60 gaming. Has a larger SSD and older CPU but frankly, for the price, it's a good build. This is probably what I'd buy if I walked into a store and just wanted to dip my toes in:

Unless their standards have changed. I wouldn't get an off the shelf Cyberpower, iBuypower, &c. To keep costs down they typically use the cheapest motherboard, PSU, heatsink, RAM, &c. They can get away with. To list the most impressive specs they can for the price. Since most people just focus on the CPU, GPU, amount of storage and amount of RAM.

That's not to say they can't build good computers. If you want a good option. You go to their websites for a BTO machine. That way you can choose specific makes and models of components. To get a high quality build. Without having to go DIY. I like CyberpowerPC the best. As they typically offer more name brand options than the other boutique brands. Who hide too many parts behind their own name.

That Asus looks Good, but I do not know them.

Is Asus a bottom level machine like ,say, Acer ? I have owned 2-3 Dell machines, and after cleaning out all the junk Dell-Ware, they proved to be top quality, and long lastin.

A bit shy here on Asus. Anyone here used these machines ? a2
They're like any of the others including Dell. Cheap motherboard and PSU on most machines. Although I'm not aware of them using proprietary layouts. Which Dell and HP frequently love to do. Making it difficult to use aftermarket PSU or case.

Besides the custom builds mentioned above. You can also pick and choose all your parts at Microcenter and have them build it for you. Not sure what fee they charge. But you'll have more selection than CyberpowerPC provides. Plus on mid to high end builds. It'll probably be cheaper. As CyberpowerPC charges a hefty premium on many parts.
 
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LeeW

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2017
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1,473
Glasgow, Scotland
I know its not your chosen route but building a PC is not that hard and will save you quite a bit. And then as someone has already mentioned, pre-builts are often designed in a way they are difficult to upgrade. Time invested now will mean you can build a unit that can easily be upgraded in the future.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
18,018
18,312
The Misty Mountains
I know its not your chosen route but building a PC is not that hard and will save you quite a bit. And then as someone has already mentioned, pre-builts are often designed in a way they are difficult to upgrade. Time invested now will mean you can build a unit that can easily be upgraded in the future.
I think it depends on if you buy through someone like Dell versus Digital Storm. I remember Dells being harder to upgrade. It would be worth a call to Digital Storm and ask them if they are using off the shelf parts or proprietary parts. I don't know.
 

UmarOMC

macrumors member
Apr 16, 2010
41
10
NYC
Building a PC is so easy I walked my 8 and 9 year old kids through building my Hackintosh.

FWIW, I'm going to get another drive for that computer and see how Linux goes…there's no way I'm going Windows, even if I have to use Proton.
 
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a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
472
306
Would love to do the build, but reality is I no longer sport the eyesight, nor manual dexterity to pull it off. Getting old. LOL

After reading the replies here, I whole-heartily agree , buying a ready made machine is a dumb move. Therefore I will...

1. Choose Box, PS, Mother board, PCi set up, etc, individuality.
2. Make up a bid sheet and send it out to my local builders.

Luckily, we live in a high tech area, and there are many local builders advertising custom builds on Craigs List. I won't choose just for lowest bid.

Open for all ideas on bid sheet. What individual components are best to include here ?

Thanks. a2
 
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cocky jeremy

macrumors 601
Jul 12, 2008
4,232
1,820
Columbus, OH
Just bite the bullet and get a gaming PC. Well worth it. I haven't had a Windows machine since 2007 or 2008 and got a gaming PC in June. Gaming is so much more for on PC than on Mac/console.
 

retta283

macrumors 68000
Jun 8, 2018
1,547
1,261
Kingman, AZ
Build a tower. Gaming laptops are not worth the investment IMO, and are much more expensive. Build a solid tower, look for deals on your parts and you'll get out alright.

The 2015 13" MBP is not going to run many modern games, let alone at high settings. If you do attempt it though, Bootcamp is the only realistic option.
 

richmlow

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2002
144
41
Hello Rodan52,


I would agree with what most people on this thread are saying. It's a good idea to get a dedicated Windows machine for your gaming needs.

Not too long ago, I was in the same situation as you are in now. After weighing the pros/cons of getting a dedicated Windows machine vs. Bootcamp on macOS, along with an Egpu, I decided to go the Windows route. I don't regret my decision for the following reasons:

1. For a modest sum of money, I now have a very nice gaming machine which will be expandable for many years to come.

2. Graphics drivers are constantly updated by AMD (or Nvidia, should you choose their GPU).

Previously, I tried Bootcamp (on macOS X) to play Windows games. Invariably, the games don't run as well as on a native Windows machine. Playing games on Bootcamp always felt like "forcing a square peg into a round hole."

Don't get me wrong....I'm a die-hard Mac user! For all mission-critical and serious work, I always use my Mac. For playing games, I use the Windows machine.


richmlow


After decades of dedicated Mac gaming I have reached a point of indecision. I am currently running a 2015 MBP 13" 500Gb laptop on macOS 10.15 and I can no longer find any FPS that I consider worth playing.
Beginning years ago i cut my teeth on such games as Halo, the Marathon Series and early versions of Wolfenstein and Doom. As time passed I graduated to the final versions of Quake and Doom followed by the Bioshock trilogy, Deus EX, Metro, Rage, Borderlands, Prey etc,etc.
Now I am stuck, my choices are to invest a large amount of money in a dedicated Windows gaming PC or upgrade my current Mac laptop and instal a virtual machine or similar to run Windows games.
Either is a large investment and I'm really at a loss to know which way to go.
The cheap alternative would be to install Parallels on this device but I'm not sure how effective that would be for the type of games i like to play.
Any suggestions welcome.