Apple has just revealed its new MacBook Pros with M1 Pro and M1 Max custom M1 Pro chips. While I am impressed by Apple's performance claims, many people are wondering if the new MacBook Pros will be good gaming laptops. Although we have not yet used the Pros, I think the answer is yes.
M1 Pro and M1 Ma x have new 10-core CPUs. The Pro has a 16-core GPU, while the Max has a 32-core GPU. This allows for better performance and energy efficiency. Apple's new chips have the added benefit of sharing up to 32GB on Pro and 64GB on Max of unified memories between their CPUs and GPU. This allows for faster memory bandwidths up to 200 GB/s (Pro) and 400 GB/s(Max).
Apple claims that the new MacBook Pros' performance doesn't suffer when they are powered by battery alone. This means that you will get the same lightning fast performance no matter where you are. This is a big improvement over many Windows laptops, which automatically fall to a lower performance profile when unplugged.
Apple claims that the M1 Pro's CPU performance is 1.7x higher than the 8-core processor chip at the same power level, while using 70% less energy. The M1 Pro's GPU is also up to 7x faster than the 8-core integrated graphics and consumes 70% less power than a discrete GPU for notebooks.
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All those performance claims sound amazing until you read the fine print. The footnote at Apple's press release states that 1.7 times faster CPU performance claims are measured against an MSI GP66 Leopard. This is a 10-generation-old Intel chip and will be two generations old when Intel introduces new Alder Lake chips later in the year.
The Nvidia 3050T from a Lenovo Legion 5, which Apple lists in its footnotes as a comparison model for graphics is the most powerful discrete GPU for notebooks PCs (82JW0012US). While I don't mean to be critical of the 3050 Ti it is not what I see when I think of powerful notebook GPUs. Gaming enthusiasts will want at least an RTX3060 or equivalent AMD GPU.
The MacBook Pro Apple uses as its benchmark system is a preproduction 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip with 16-core GPU, 32GB RAM and a 32GB RAM. It costs $3,100, compared to $1,050 for the Lenovo Legacy 5. These performance numbers are impressive but not comparable to the Lenovo Legion 5.
I don't want to minimize the performance of Apples M1 Pro and M1 Max chip, but it is impressive what Apple has done with its custom ARM silicon, especially when you consider energy efficiency in portable workstation-level computers. These devices are definitely not cheap, as they come at a price that is $1,999 for the most expensive MacBook Pro.
Another problem is that resource-hungry AAA AAA games don't run on Macs. Take a look at upcoming PC games such as Far Cry 6, Deathloop and New World. None of them are compatible w ith m acOS. If you don't want to play World of Warcraft or any other game that runs on M1 Macs then youre out of luck. Bootcamp won't work on M1 Macs, so don't even consider installing Windows on a new M1 MacBook Pro.
Apple doesn't call the new MacBook Pros gaming laptops. However, the company did present a variety of assets from gaming during its presentation. Additionally, it brought out several developers who were impressed by the performance of Apple's new silicon and laptops. Apple is proud to say that some of the comparison benchmarks were done using a Razer Blade Advanced 15. Although the chart is showing Apple's advantage in power efficiency (which I think is very important), actual performance is quite close.
The new M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros may be great machines for developing and building games, but they might not be as good at actually playing them due to OS limitations.
For those who dream of playing AAA games on MacBooks there is hope. Developers may be more inclined to develop games for Macs and macOS thanks to Apple's new, more powerful silicon. Although it will be difficult to break Windows' grip on PC gaming, Apple's new powerful processors are an important step towards making MacBooks more competitive.