Is a Macbook Pro a good gaming laptop?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by boomdog, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. boomdog macrumors regular


    Oct 3, 2013
    The most Easterly point of the UK

    I have a late 2013 Macbook Pro with Retina with the following specs.

    2.3GHz Intel Core i7
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3
    512GB SSD
    Intel Iris Pro 1536MB Graphics

    It is setup to dual boot in to OS X Yosemite and also Windows 8. I have steam installed and play games such as Civilization and Command and Conquer but am considering trying some FPS games.

    Does anyone have any experience in playing FPS on their Macbook Pro? Can anyone tell me what kind of gaming PC the Macbook Pro would be comparible to? I am considering investing in a stand alone gaming PC but don't want to purchase one of similar spec to my Macbook as there would be little point.

    I will be using an external monitor, gaming mouse and mechanical keyboard for gaming.

    Any experience?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think its possible to play some games with the MBP, but I think the iGPU is going to hamper you with FPS games, while the Iris Pro is a much better iGPU, its still may not be up to par to drive a FPS game.
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I will assume your one has a GT 750M in it.

    It should work well enough. I played BF4 at a mix of high and ultra, 1680x1050, FXAA and 16xAF and get 47-50 fps on average with the lowest being 35 fps and easily getting 60 fps in quite a number of situations.
  4. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    This is basically how I have my MacBook Pro set up, including the gaming mouse (Logitech G602), mechanical keyboard (WASD Keyboard v2), and monitor (Acer K222HQL). My Mac is set in a TwelveSouth BookArc and runs in clamshell mode in both OS X and Windows.

    While my hardware is pretty outdated for gaming, it serves its purpose well enough. I can play most modern games at 720p resolution and low to medium settings; older titles can be run at 900p or 1080p and a mix of medium and high.

    If your MacBook has the GeForce 750M, most games should run fine at 900p-1080p and medium to high details, depending on what level of performance you find acceptable.

    At the same time, if you have the money and space, and gaming is going to be a priority for your usage, I would still strongly consider building a dedicated desktop for that purpose. For less than half of what you spent on the Mac, you can build rig that will blow it out of the water in terms of performance.
  5. anthdci macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2009
    if you have the dedicated graphics then it is a decent but not brilliant laptop. If you don't then its not that great since your stuck with the integrated iris GPU, whilst decent, its not upto scratch against a dedicated GPU.
  6. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    You can play old FPS games.
    If you get anything like a normal Quad Core of any sort really and anything more than an entry level GPU you are at much better performance. Even a good dual core with the high desktop clock rates will be enough more often than not.
    The notebook even with the 750M is about at the performance level of an entry level AMD R7 250 GPU. Like a sub 100$ GPU.
    If you get anything worthwhile like a 200-300$ midrange GPU.
    Like a Nvidia 960 (desktop version) about 200 and something. You are at around 4 times the performance level. Meaning you get 40 fps where Iris Pro will yield you 8-12 fps.
    If you go into serious high end GPUs obviously there is much more performance still.

    Any half decent desktop will blow away the MacBook Pro in gaming performance. A MacBook Pro is like a really really slow and cheap desktop. Notebooks are thin and overall (with display and everything) may only use as much power as a desktop can use on the GPU alone.
    Like 80W for the 15" and a mid range desktop GPU can be 150W alone and high end 250W+.
  7. boomdog thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 3, 2013
    The most Easterly point of the UK
    Thank you for your response. To be honest, I'm wanting to try PC gaming in the first instance so think I'll stick with a similar setup to what you described. I may look in to external, dedicated GPU.

    Thank you. I'm pretty sure my MBP just has the iris graphics. I have however seen external thunderbolt enclosures for graphics cards. Do you think this is a good path to follow? Would I see huge gains buy using somthing like a NVIDIA 780 ti 3GB GPU?

    As another thought, my previous laptop is a Dell XPS L701X. Core i7 (1.73GHz), SSD, 3GB NVIDIA GT445m graphics, 16BG Ram. Is this likely to out perform my MBP? Its an older gen of i7 but runs pretty quick.


    Thank you both. I will take the plunge, buy BF4 and see how it goes. Do you think the Dell XPS I detailed in the post above would be a better gaming rig?
  8. vbedia macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2014
    That's something to consider definitely. I might think about it next time I buy a MBP, the only inconvenient is that it is expensive right now. There would be no need for a dGPU with one of those external GPU for my needs.
  9. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    No. It is not. Any computer that only has an integrated graphics card is not, by definition, good at gaming. It CAN game, but only with older or not-too-demanding games with low detail and resolution.

    Any half-decent gaming desktop will chew up and spit out a Macbook Pro for breakfast.
  10. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    Actually, no. That laptop's GPU is several generations old, and the Iris Pro is quite a bit better.

    Another option to consider would be one of the new ultra-small-form-factor systems that have come to market recently, such as the Alienware Alpha. It uses a specialized NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, which offers vastly superior performance than the Mac's 750M, even in the base Core i3 model. In terms of space, the Alpha is no larger than a DVD player.
  11. boomdog thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 3, 2013
    The most Easterly point of the UK
    Thank you all for your responses. I think I will look in to selling my Dell XPS, PS3 and put the funds towards building a gaming PC and in the mean time deal with low settings when playing on MBP.

    thanks for all the advise
  12. wombat333 macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2015
    Hey there, I've been looking around the net for opinions about gaming laptops and found this thread..

    I don't wanna spam with a new thread so I'll just ask here..
    I've been thinking about buying a gaming laptop for quite a while now.
    My budget is around $2000. I've looked around and found an interesting model from Asus, but I'm still searching.

    Asus ROF G750JS Core i7
    Intel® Core™ i7 4710HQ Processor
    16GB DDR3L MHz SDRAM, up to 32 GB
    NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX870M 3GB GDDR5
    1.5TB 5400
    256GB SSD

    I realize this might a wrong place to ask, but if any of you had previous experience with gaming laptops I would appreciate your opinions. Also, if you could recommend something in that price range, feel free to suggest.
    Thanks in advance.
  13. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Get a notebook with 965M, 970M or 980M.

    The 870-880M are still kepler and only the 900 series is Maxwell.
    850M-860M are Maxwell. It is a little confusing but that is how it is.
    Get a 970M notebook not a 870M. It will be faster and cooler at the same time.
  14. blooperz macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2013
    It can handle games sure...but as a gaming laptop it's absolutely terrible. Keep in mind that this is in comparison to actual gaming laptops. If your primary interest is in gaming steer clear of macs. Invest in an alien ware/asus/MSI/clevo or something similar. You can get those for way less than a rmbp and get far better performance.
  15. wombat333 macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2015
    I will look into it, thanks.
  16. banies23 macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2015
    I own both a macbook pro retina 15inch(late 2013,intel i7 4850hq with gt 750m 2gb gdr5) as well as a decent gaming laptop (i7 2600k, gtx 770 4gb each 2 way sli). And i would like to say that retina macbooks are worth. But again u can't game on them, as they are not meant to be toys, for example when i fired up mass effect 2 on my mac, the cpu temp reached an astonishing 91c(celcius) mark, which is not good for a laptop i guess. But for work it is worth every penny and i highly recommend macs for studying and doing everything else excluding gaming.

    About 15 inch and 13inch, i can't tell you which would be suited to your need, but 15 inch packs more power as well as can display more pixels on screen making it a bit more beautiful. Macs are extremely lightweight so i guess 15 inch won't give u much headache. I would suggest go for 15 inch if u r not an international celebrity who has to travel a lot. But again choice is yours.
  17. enix macrumors newbie


    Nov 26, 2016
    --- Post Merged, Jul 9, 2017 ---
  18. MRxROBOT macrumors 6502


    Apr 14, 2016
    Probably at 10 fps o_O
  19. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA
    Thread is a couple years old. You may not get a reply. ;)

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