MBP 2018 Gaming

mattjackson

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 11, 2014
180
23
Apologies if this is in the wrong place but was my best guess!

I have a 2018 13" MBP with the max specs at the time (2.7GHz i7, 16GB ram). I want to start playing games on my computer rather than PS4, and realise that realistically that means Windows (e.g. Call Of Duty is Windows only), and also that I don't have sufficient graphics card.

So in my head, I figured that means installing Windows via Bootcamp (i.e. not just using Parallels) and probably buying an eGPU. Will that work? Any tips/recommendations etc? I don't know where to start! Lol.
 

oscarzeta2222

macrumors newbie
Sep 30, 2018
7
2
I’m also thinking of Windows for my 2017 MacBook Pro, but there are a lot of games you can play without Windows as well. Take a look at https://www.aspyr.com/search?utf8=✓&search_term=&platform[]=Mac&view_option=Grid_View and https://www.feralinteractive.com/en/mac-games/alphabetical/ for a start. Most of these are on Steam.

I’ve been playing Borderlands series, Batman and the first Tomb Raider without issues. There are a few COD games as well. The page for each game will tell you what the requirements are for your Mac and I’ve found that my dual core MacBook Pro meets most of them. Some of the pages will tell you specifically which MacBooks are supported for the game. I’m getting about 50-60 FPS for the most part.

I’m not sure on the egpu though I’m hopeful someone else will reply with an answer.
 

maflynn

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Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Will that work? Any tips/recommendations etc? I don't know where to start! Lol.
Yes, but you might still be better off getting a gaming machine (desktop or laptop.).

An eGPU is going to be a must, but its not a pancea for all issues related to gaming on a mac. You'll still be better off using a maching with an dGPU over an eGPU.

Macs have never been know to play games well, and macOS has a dearth of titles, so that does mean windows. Couple that with the fact that your Mac only has an iGPU, and you'll be laying out lots of money for an eGPU, why not instead invest in a gaming rig that will perform better.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,247
4,757
Depends on what you want to play. Games that Iris Plus can comfortably run (simulations and strategies) are often available for Mac as well. If you want to play competitive shooters though, an 13" might be a stretch, even if you manage to get an eGPU to work. From what I'm reading, eGPUs on Windows (especially with Bootcamp) are still not always plug&play.

The 15" + Vega Pro 20 on the other hand is great for gaming, but that is also a different price category...
 

CLS727

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2018
254
372
I have a MacBook Pro for work, and an XBox One X for games. Works just fine.
 

nerowolfe19

macrumors member
Aug 16, 2018
93
34
Gaming desktop all day, every day. Its performance/compatibility/value proposition trumps going the eGPU route. Your laptop running hot and loud while gaming is another reason I'd forgo that option.

You can still game on your mac if you buy a card like the 2060 (for the gaming desktop) and use Moonlight App. You get the best of both worlds, MacOS stability and gaming desktop performance, without all the negatives like eating up batteries or scorching your lap, not to mention having to keep your Macbook plugged in to an external box all the time.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,754
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Pretty much as the others have already noted, probably not worth it. By the time you pay for the windows license and eGPU/ enclosure, you're probably not far off a low end Windows gaming laptop anyway. Additionally, installing all this will eat great chunks of your SSD space in your MacBook (Bare minimum I would say you need to have a 512Gb MacBook, and 1TB would still be preferable). The cooling in the MBP isn't really designed to be run flat out continuously either, it's designed to ramp up and down to follow peaks and troughs in demand. A gaming laptop's cooling will be designed specifically to run up for sustained 2-3+ hour sessions.

Overall you'll probably be able to find a competent Windows gaming laptop (1050Ti or 1060 GPU) for not much more than $1000. It will also come with a Quad/Hex core 45W TDP H series chip, not a Quad 28W TDP U series chip. Windows 10 home costs $119, A GPU enclosure like the razer core is almost $500, and a 1060 GPU will run you a good $200 as well (more if you want a more powerful 1070 or 1080).
 

mattjackson

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 11, 2014
180
23
OK thanks for the replies guys. I'm perhaps going to look into a separate gaming PC setup then.

Ideally would like it to be a laptop that I can dock and use as my work machine too, if anyone's got any suggestions I'd be appreciative.
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,168
832
I built a gaming PC over the summer with my son for around $800 all in. That same machine would cost significantly less now because the GPU market has come back down to Earth. You would be able to build a far more capable desktop and then get a multi input monitor and USB switch to have it double as dock for your MacBook Pro. This is what I do and it is great!
 

_Kiki_

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2017
845
253
Pretty much as the others have already noted, probably not worth it. By the time you pay for the windows license and eGPU/ enclosure, you're probably not far off a low end Windows gaming laptop anyway. Additionally, installing all this will eat great chunks of your SSD space in your MacBook (Bare minimum I would say you need to have a 512Gb MacBook, and 1TB would still be preferable). The cooling in the MBP isn't really designed to be run flat out continuously either, it's designed to ramp up and down to follow peaks and troughs in demand. A gaming laptop's cooling will be designed specifically to run up for sustained 2-3+ hour sessions.

Overall you'll probably be able to find a competent Windows gaming laptop (1050Ti or 1060 GPU) for not much more than $1000. It will also come with a Quad/Hex core 45W TDP H series chip, not a Quad 28W TDP U series chip. Windows 10 home costs $119, A GPU enclosure like the razer core is almost $500, and a 1060 GPU will run you a good $200 as well (more if you want a more powerful 1070 or 1080).
wow, $119 it's a lot for Windows 10 Home, I paid half of this price on Amazon for retail box edition (with usb drive) but it was about 2 years ago, also you can put cheaper version OEM for new computers, something like this https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Windows-10-Pro-64-Bit-OEM-Pack-COA-License-DVD-Brand-New-Sealed/173266514980?hash=item28577d3424:g:gUUAAOSw-mdblYQg:rk:40:pf:0
 
Last edited:

Acronyc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
716
228
I’m curious how many of the above replies are from those with actual experience with eGPUs and Macs. I feel like I see a lot of people posting about them without any experience and just the same lines - buy a gaming PC.

Of course a desktop gaming PC will be cheaper and give you better performance than going the Mac plus eGPU route. If gaming is your main purpose this is the most recommended option.

But if you don’t want to manage a separate computer and specifically want a Mac, or if you already have a Mac, and if price isn’t the biggest concern, a Mac and eGPU is a viable option. You lose some speed but it isn’t far off from what you get if the GPU were internal. If portability isn’t a concern a new Mac mini plus an eGPU is a cost effective (for a Mac) option.

eGPUs still have a ways to go but they have improved significantly over the years. I’ve been working with eGPUs for about three years now and in macOS they are just plug and play (AMD cards only for Mojave). Windows on a Mac with an eGPU is more finicky, but it is a lot easier to get them running than it used to be. I have a Windows partition on an external SSD running on my Mac with an eGPU just fine.

Lastly, as a lifelong gamer and Mac user for the past 10 years I’d just like to make an observation about the many repetitive posts stating that Macs are worthless for gaming and there are no games for Macs. I have nearly 400 games in my Steam library that run natively on macOS that says otherwise.

No, not all of the brand new AAA FPS titles are there. But there are some such titles and there are also lots of great indie, strategy, adventure, and other games available.

Macs will never have as many games as Windows and PC hardware will always be the better choice if gaming is your primary computing focus. But there are still a lot of great, recent games available for the Mac that work just fine and work even better with an eGPU. Macs can be great for gaming depending on your gaming needs.

Check out eGPU.io if you want to see some more detailed info on eGPUs.
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,168
832
I’m curious how many of the above replies are from those with actual experience with eGPUs and Macs. I feel like I see a lot of people posting about them without any experience and just the same lines - buy a gaming PC.

Of course a desktop gaming PC will be cheaper and give you better performance than going the Mac plus eGPU route. If gaming is your main purpose this is the most recommended option.

But if you don’t want to manage a separate computer and specifically want a Mac, or if you already have a Mac, and if price isn’t the biggest concern, a Mac and eGPU is a viable option. You lose some speed but it isn’t far off from what you get if the GPU were internal. If portability isn’t a concern a new Mac mini plus an eGPU is a cost effective (for a Mac) option.

eGPUs still have a ways to go but they have improved significantly over the years. I’ve been working with eGPUs for about three years now and in macOS they are just plug and play (AMD cards only for Mojave). Windows on a Mac with an eGPU is more finicky, but it is a lot easier to get them running than it used to be. I have a Windows partition on an external SSD running on my Mac with an eGPU just fine.

Lastly, as a lifelong gamer and Mac user for the past 10 years I’d just like to make an observation about the many repetitive posts stating that Macs are worthless for gaming and there are no games for Macs. I have nearly 400 games in my Steam library that run natively on macOS that says otherwise.

No, not all of the brand new AAA FPS titles are there. But there are some such titles and there are also lots of great indie, strategy, adventure, and other games available.

Macs will never have as many games as Windows and PC hardware will always be the better choice if gaming is your primary computing focus. But there are still a lot of great, recent games available for the Mac that work just fine and work even better with an eGPU. Macs can be great for gaming depending on your gaming needs.

Check out eGPU.io if you want to see some more detailed info on eGPUs.
I get what you are saying, but I still would not recommend going the eGPU route if your main purpose is gaming on Windows (the OP mentioned Windows games). I guess it really comes down to how seriously you want to game and what games you want to play. If you want AAA titles when they are released then I would say build a gaming PC. If you are just casually playing once in a while and are not necessarily interested in graphically demanding games or the latest games, then an eGPU could make sense, although even then a cheaper gaming PC still may be better.
 
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Acronyc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
716
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I get what you are saying, but I still would not recommend going the eGPU route if your main purpose is gaming on Windows (the OP mentioned Windows games). I guess it really comes down to how seriously you want to game and what games you want to play. If you want AAA titles when they are released then I would say build a gaming PC. If you are just casually playing once in a while and are not necessarily interested in graphically demanding games or the latest games, then an eGPU could make sense, although even then a cheaper gaming PC still may be better.
I totally agree and I believe I said as much in my post. If your primary computing purpose is Windows gaming then a gaming PC is the more cost-effective and reliable option (eGPUs in Windows on Macs is not always plug and play). It all really depends on your gaming needs.

I used to be a big gamer and built gaming PCs, had gaming laptops and had no interest in Macs. But I don't really have the time for much gaming anymore and can only get in a few hours per week at the most. I also came to prefer macOS and don't want to deal with a hackintosh. So for me, a Mac plus an eGPU is a perfect solution. I can enjoy the portability of my 13 inch MBP when traveling and have access to a powerful GPU at home for those occasions I can game or am doing any photo/video editing.

eGPUs are still a niche and are not a good solution for everyone, but they do meet the needs of some Mac users.
 
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fokmik

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Oct 28, 2016
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OK thanks for the replies guys. I'm perhaps going to look into a separate gaming PC setup then.

Ideally would like it to be a laptop that I can dock and use as my work machine too, if anyone's got any suggestions I'd be appreciative.
if you already have a 13" MBP...than buy an eGPU with Vega..it will be a better perfomance than a dedicated gaming laptop...since you need an Nvidia 1070 at least inside to overcome that Vega...so you are looking at around extra 800-1000$ instead of around 1500-2000$ for a dedicated gaming laptop with 1070 or 1080
And remember thanks to the eGPU your laptop will sustain the heat only from cpu....the gpu heat is supported separately so, your laptop will live longer than any windows laptop
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
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if you already have a 13" MBP...than buy an eGPU with Vega..it will be a better perfomance than a dedicated gaming laptop...since you need an Nvidia 1070 at least inside to overcome that Vega...so you are looking at around extra 800-1000$ instead of around 1500-2000$ for a dedicated gaming laptop with 1070 or 1080
And remember thanks to the eGPU your laptop will sustain the heat only from cpu....the gpu heat is supported separately so, your laptop will live longer than any windows laptop
Yeah I agree with this I think. Gaming laptops are not great values, and definitely not terribly portable.
 

MakeTheMostOfLife

macrumors newbie
Jul 27, 2018
24
14
I have MacBook Pro 2018 Razer Core X and AMD Vega 64 using internal screen.

After getting all that yes the performance is insanely improved... Can get around 30fps+ on max settings and native res for most games, and it would be improved further with an external screen.

The kicker is (last I looked into it) for 2018 MacBook Pro AMD, gfx cards don't work in bootcamp without external screen and Nvidia GPU doesn't run natively on Mac. Also Mac optimisation for games completely sucks.

It's been amazing to use and I can play all this titles I couldn't play before, but it just made me hungry for more. I've seen on another machine a game running on 4k screen with 80+fps and my jaw dropped as the difference. The Vega 64 should be able to do this for 1920 x180 but Mac crappy optimisation and it being an egpu doesn't let it get anywhere as close. As someone who is prepared to spend the cash, I will now buy a gaming desktop, but I should have done this in the first place.
 

_Kiki_

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2017
845
253
if you already have a 13" MBP...than buy an eGPU with Vega..it will be a better perfomance than a dedicated gaming laptop...since you need an Nvidia 1070 at least inside to overcome that Vega...so you are looking at around extra 800-1000$ instead of around 1500-2000$ for a dedicated gaming laptop with 1070 or 1080
And remember thanks to the eGPU your laptop will sustain the heat only from cpu....the gpu heat is supported separately so, your laptop will live longer than any windows laptop
using external GPU you have to expect about 30% performance drop using internal screen and about 20% using external screen, that's significant, so performance external GPU with Vega will be similar to gaming laptop with 1070 (used for about $1000), so it's a not a big difference in price and you can put laptop to the backpack and have mobile gaming workstation, also for $1000 you can build good gaming desktop PC