Best Mac for Games

The Best Mac for Gaming

Enjoy your favorite 3D Games on macOS Sierra

Many have come to believe that Mac computers were not developed for games, but are designed for completely different purposes. Windows meanwhile conquers the top of gaming Olympus, preventing Mac from entering the world of the gaming industry. But it is more an overrated joke than the truth. Macs have already overtaken Windows PCs – Apple developers started using the same Intel processors and other components as their main competitors, as well as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Besides, over the past few years, the number of sales of Mac computers significantly increased, especially among gamers. It is not surprising: now users of their OS X or macOS Sierra can enjoy the most popular and coolest games. Among them are World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, Batman: Arkham City, The Witcher 2, Tomb Raider, and others.

Another step Apple made to bring their computers closer to the game world was the invention of the Metal API – an interface that improves game performance on iOS and on MacOS. Of course, Mac is still far from their strong competitor Windows, which has in its pocket many new AAA games, for example, Skyrim, GTA V, or Dragon Age: Inquisition. Nevertheless, such a variety of interactive entertainment and constant Apple improvements are the reasons to discover whether there is the best Mac for gaming.

To select the right computer for games, each buyer should pay attention to the most important characteristics – the processor’s power, the capabilities of the video card, and the presence of a fast hard drive. The newest games place more and more demands on computers regarding graphics and processor performance. Will Mac computers meet all requirements and satisfy modern gamers? Let’s find it out.

The Right GPU for Your Gaming Mac

So, we’ll start with the most important element of a good gaming computer – a powerful graphics processor (GPU), or simply a ‘graphics card’. Its value is really huge if you intend to play modern 3D games such as Battlefield 1, or others. Those games are graphically intense, take up a lot of hard disk space, and can put a lot of strain on your computer. It seems that only a fast processor (CPU) can handle this task, like, for example, a dual-core Intel Core i5 or Core i7. But even such a powerful processor will not be able to withstand the modern 3D games with their best graphics. For this, the manufacturers of modern computers place a bet on high-quality GPU.

There are two types of GPUs for today: integrated and discrete graphic processors. What is the difference between them? Well, the graphics cards of the first type are built onto the main CPU or the motherboard of your Mac. The main advantage of such video cards is their low price. But integrated graphics cards are not completely reliable, they are less productive, they take Mac’s main memory (RAM), and in case of their breakdown, you will need to change the processor itself too. In addition, even though such video cards are popular, gamers should switch to discrete ones to enjoy modern 3D games with their detailed 3D graphics.

The second type of video cards, discrete or separate graphics processors, are specially created for 3D graphics. A discrete video card has its own graphics processor. Such GPUs have a personal video memory (something similar to RAM) and are located on a separate board. An important advantage of a discrete video card is its built-in coolers to improve the GPUs cooling and performance at all.

Choose the Best Graphics Card for Your Mac in 2017

To date, Apple uses both types of graphics processors in its Macs. Below, you will see a list of both integrated and discrete GPUs currently used in Macs, arranged in an ascending order of their power:

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1. Intel Integrated Graphics:

Intel HD Graphics 515 (1.1- & 1.2GHz MacBook)

Intel HD Graphics 6000 (MacBook Air, 21.5-inch iMac/1.6GHz)

Intel HD Graphics 5000 (1.4GHz Mac Mini)

Intel Iris Graphics 540 (13in 2.0GHz MacBook Pro)

Intel Iris Pro 6200 (21.5-inch iMac/2.8GHz, 21.5-inch Retina iMac)

Intel Iris Graphics (2.6GHz/2.8GHz Mac Mini)

2. Discrete Graphics:

Radeon Pro 450/2GB VRAM with Intel Iris Graphics 530 (15in 2.6GHz MacBook Pro) and +£180 for Pro 460/4GB VRAM

Radeon Pro 455/2GB VRAM with Intel Iris Graphics 530 (15in 2.7GHz MacBook Pro) and +£180 for Pro 460/4GB VRAM

AMD Radeon R9 M380/2GB VRAM (27-inch iMac/3.2GHz)

AMD Radeon R9 M395/2GB VRAM (27-inch iMac/3.3GHz) and AMD Radeon R9 M395X/4GB VRAM

Dual AMD FirePro D300/2x2GB VRAM (Quad-Core MacPro) and Dual AMD FirePro D500/3GB VRAM

Dual AMD FirePro D500/2x3GB VRAM (Six-Core MacPro) and Dual AMD FirePro D700/6GB VRAM

Now Apple has a tendency to use only integrated graphics cards, such as the ‘Intel HD Graphics’ or new Iris models. Unfortunately, in many respects, they are not sufficiently tight in quality and performance to discrete graphics processors. So, 3D games lovers will either have to endure or make an effort to play at maximum speed and with better graphics.

Although, the new models of the Iris Pro are a very good alternative to discrete graphics cards. They have an additional memory for their own use and have higher gaming performance than their predecessor, the standard Intel Iris. So, to play the latest demanding games, it is worth looking for a Mac, equipped with at least an Intel Iris Pro or AMD.

Apple Macs

Find a Good Hard Drive for Mac

Well, we have already discovered the most important component of the gaming computer, now it’s time to find a suitable hard disk. If you happen to find a fast hard drive for your macOS Sierra, consider you improved the performance of all games on the computer.

The best option is to opt for an external high-speed solid-state drive for your Mac. With it, you will be able to install games on an external SSD drive and load them two times faster than with conventional hard drives.

What Gaming Display Does Apple Use in Macs?


Apple has recently used high-resolution Retina displays on its Macs so that they look great when launching your favorite games. But obviously, they have high pixel density and other demands, which require the use of a super-power processor. For example, the high-res display of MacBook is supported by excellent integrated graphics Intel HD 515. But it is unfortunately not enough for Macs to bear all-new 3D games.

The Best Mac for Gaming: What Is It?

MacBook Pro

In conclusion, there is no plenty of Mac gaming options for you to choose. Apple refused to use discrete graphics cards in the iMac, MacBook and Mac Mini models and generally reduced all chances of buying and delivering a discrete GPU on your Mac. Nevertheless, you can choose a MacBook Pro with its AMD Radeon Pro 450 graphics card, but you will have to pay a lot for it.

Some other Macs for gaming are a 21.5-inch iMac with Iris Pro 6200, any 27-inch iMac with AMD Radeon graphics, or Mac Pro with its twin FirePro GPUs. The cheapest Mac for playing 3D games for you will be a 13-inch MacBook Pro model with an Iris 6100 integrated GPU.