Can You Game on a Mac? (2018)


– Hey guys, this is Austin. Over the years we’ve done a lot of videos exploring whether or not
you can game on a Mac. Spoiler alert, usually the answer is yes, but not all that well. However, it’s 2018 and some
things have recently changed. Now the last time we did this video we were trying it on a $200 MacBook. And as you imagine for
something that is so old, the results weren’t all that impressive. But today, we have a
2016 15 inch MacBook Pro in front of us as well
as a whole host of toys that are fresh and ready to go. Sounds like I’m describing a pizza. I’m describing gaming computers. Because, um. Hi. Now the simplest way to game on a Mac is going to be to use a streaming service such as Nvidia’s GeForce NOW. Now this is actually something
that was able to work all the way onto the $200 laptop. And personally, as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the better
ways of gaming here, as long as you have a
decent internet connection. The way the streaming service
like GeForce NOW works is that instead of running
it on your computer, which could be a problem
if you’re running a Mac and therefore can’t play a lot of games, is that instead it’s going to be streaming it from the cloud. Now the main thing to keep in mind here is that you do need to have
a good internet connection. So especially when you’re playing like high intensity games
such as Fortnite for example, having a good internet connection is going to be hugely vital. Alright, we’re in the game. So there’s a couple things
you are going to notice with a setup like this. First of all, there’s going to be latency. There’s always going to be some latency. So, for this it’s, I don’t
know, it’s hard to tell just based on looking at it. I’d say maybe it’s like a
quarter of a second or so. It doesn’t seem to be too bad. But something else that’s
going to be noticeable is the reduction in image quality. Because you’re essentially just looking at a video feed as opposed
to playing the game natively. Depending on your connection,
you will see some artifacts. Although, to be honest,
this looks pretty close to a native set up right now. As long as you have a
good internet connection, I really feel like GeForce
NOW is worth a shot. Now the only thing you should keep in mind is that while it is free, it’s going to be in beta right now. And so unless you’ve actually
signed up in the past, there is going to be a wait list, so it might be a little
while before you can actually get your hands on the service. But for free, especially if you wanna be able to play games on the
go on something like a Mac, it really actually does
make a lot of sense. Also as a side note,
GeForce NOW is available on PC as well. So if you guys want more
information on how it works, and especially on the PC side of things, I did do a full video at CES this year that you guys can go check out. Continuing on the streaming
train, we have OneCast. So if you guys are familiar with Xbox One streaming on a Windows PC, it’s really straightforward. So basically as long as you have your Xbox and your Windows computer
on the same network, you can stream games from
your Xbox to your PC. And generally speaking, when you’re over a very short distance, say, you know, a local network, latency’s not going to be too bad. And with OneCast, that brings
that same functionality to the Mac. I actually haven’t tried this
yet, so let’s give it a try. The app is pretty straightforward, you just need to install the drivers for your Xbox One controller. Which you’re going to need. And then once you log
in to your Xbox account, we hit connect, it should
get us on to our Xbox. Yeah, there we go. So, if I try to scroll through here, it seems to be just like I’m
playing on a normal Xbox. Alright, we’re in the game. The first thing I’ll say is that the video quality is kind of so-so. Looks like there’s more compression than there was with GeForce NOW. Yeah, it does seem like
there’s a little bit more lag than there was with GeForce NOW. The image quality is
definitely not as nice. Now to be fair, you should
always expect some latency. But considering that instead
of running on a server, who knows how many miles away, I’m running on an Xbox,
that’s only a few feet away. That’s a little bit annoying. Yeah, I mean it’s a $20 program, which is definitely not going to be cheap. Luckily there is going to be a free trial, so you can give it a try and if it sucks you can bail on it. But, I’ve gotta say I’m
actually kinda disappointed. I think, think we can do better. Now as with any computer,
whether it be PC or Mac, the GPU matters when it comes to gaming. Now higher end Macs such as the iMac, as well as the MacBook Pro
15 inch that I have here, actually do have somewhat
decent GPUs inside. However when it comes to lower end stuff, such as the 13 inch MacBook Pro, the 12 inch MacBook, as well as the MacBook Air, they’re all going to
have integrated graphics and are going to have a
lot more trouble gaming. At least right out of the box. Now external Thunderbolt
enclosures are nothing new. But they have gotten a lot better and they’ve gotten a
lot more well supported. You can see, something like an RX 580 can fit in a nice small package. But on top of that, this
also will work on Windows. All you need is a Thunderbolt 3 port, and it should be good to go. Just keep in mind that you
should connect your display to the actual graphics card,
as opposed to your computer. It will definitely help alleviate any kind of bottlenecks in the actual Thunderbolt 3 interface, but once you hook it up, it should be a very seamless setup. So to start out with,
we’re going to be using the MacBook Pro 15 inch with
it’s standard graphics card. And we’re going to be using a little game called Rocket League. So using my Xbox One controller, I’m curious to see what
kind of performance we’re gonna get here. I was able to actually crank the graphics pretty much all the way up. And it actually is not
going to be too bad. So as some of you guys are probably aware, Steam is supported on the Mac. And if you buy a game
on Steam for Windows, you are going to be able
to play it on the Mac, provided that there is another version. This is actually not bad at all. We’re getting 68 frames
per second or so here, 67, wow this is totally playable. Next up, let’s try to see what we can do with the actual gaming box connected. So like I was saying earlier, the setup is going to be
really straightforward. We’ve got Thunderbolt 3 into the box, and then we’ve got the
box going to DisplayPort, into the monitor. This is pretty nice and smooth. Although I’ve gotta say, the frame rate actually is not going
to be a huge difference. So as opposed to being in the mid 60s, instead we’re somewhere in the 80s. Oh, there we go, alright. I will say one thing, even though this is not making a massive difference, Rocket League is
surprisingly playable on Mac. I honestly really can’t
see any major differences. And especially with a nice
high refresh rate monitor. The performance is really
not going to be too bad. So to put this whole setup to
the test a little bit more, we have Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Now this is a game that is
well known to be very taxing. But it’s also an interesting title because it does support Metal. Essentially the macOS
version of something like DirectX 12 or Vulkan. So for some context, we’re
running this right now at 1080p very high settings,
on the MacBook GPU. As you can see, performance
isn’t exactly great. We’re getting somewhere
in the neighborhood of well, exactly 14 frames per second. So move over to the Gigabyte Gaming Box with the RX 580 inside, and we get to see something
that’s a lot more cinematic. With a whopping 24 or actually
25 frames per second now. Keep in mind, this is
obviously not going to be an ideal scenario, we would really wanna probably turn the graphic
settings down a little bit. But this does show that
we’re getting somewhere in the neighborhood of
about double the performance by plugging in an external GPU. Next up, we have DiRT Rally. And this is a game that has
some slight issues on Mac. Most notably when you have dual monitors. So I had to bust out
the keyboard and close the MacBook display,
so we’re only running on one monitor. But, here running at
1080p on ultra settings on the MacBook’s GPU, we’re getting somewhere
in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 frames per second. Definitely playable, but it’s not going to be the smoothest
experience in the world. Now if we plug in the Gaming Box, what we’re seeing is there is going to be a little bit of a performance difference, but it’s actually not
going to be that big. So for certain scenes when
you’ve got the full car in view, it’s going to be only a few
frames per second higher. And right now, we’re a
little bit more in the 40s, Although even here, look,
it’s dipping to like 38, 39. It’s a little unusual, I’m not sure if DiRT needs an update to fully support it, or something’s going on here, but it’s a little bit
better, not by a lot though. Moving right along, we have Fortnite, for what feels like the
18th time in this video. So this is running on the MacBook, and right now we’re actually running it at pretty decent settings. This is going to be 1080p on high. And at least in the sky
here, it’s not too bad. And when it starts jumping
out and it starts tanking, and ooh, wow, that’s, okay. Spoke too soon. ‘Kay. Nothing like a whole lotta
four frames per second… Ah, there we go, that’s better. So it seems like we are hovering around the 30 to 40 frames per second mark, but man that stuttering is not good. But I actually do wanna get a good sense of what the MacBook can
do on the same settings as what we’re going to be able to run with the RX 580. Woo, that’s a, oh yeah, that’s stuttery. So with our RX 580, what
we’re seeing here is, immediately a much higher frame rate. We’re getting somewhere
in the neighborhood of 40 to 50 but weirdly we’re still seeing that same stuttering issue. I’m not really sure what that is. I mean it doesn’t feel like it’s going to be a network thing. It’s not like a latency sort of issue. Because I mean, I even get it some times when I’m just sort of
scrolling around here. It’s interesting, generally speaking, Fortnite is a very well optimized game on everything from Windows PCs to iOS, but here on Mac, it seems like it’s got some issues. Okay so now that we’ve actually spawned, everything seems to be
smoothed out a little bit. It’s a weird issue, ’cause it doesn’t seem to be related to sort of the power. I mean right now, this
is totally playable. I’m getting a solid 50 frames per second, 1080p high, I don’t have any complaints. Oh, but there we go, we start stuttering. Oh, then, that’s brutal. So as you guys can see,
gaming on a Mac has evolved. The idea that you can use an external GPU really does make a big difference. Especially to lower end Macs. However, the software
support is definitely not fully there yet. So I’m curious, what do you guys think about gaming on a Mac? Is it something you would ever try? Or is it something that’s best left to trained professionals? Let me know in the comments below. And I will catch you in the next one.

100 thoughts on “Can You Game on a Mac? (2018)

  1. I signed up like over a year ago for GeForce now and have been waiting on the waiting list and still no then.. update I decided To check email and searched ge force now and it was there! Date recieved was on febuary 2018 😁😄😃😅🙂😔😣😖😫😩😢😭😤

  2. playing video games on the MacBook Air is so hard at like 49% battery when I'm playing Roblox it justs shuts down. I wish Apple will make gaming laptops.

  3. I have tried with Steam, but it just did not work…The only thing, I use my Mac for is Watching Movies.

    Still have to connect everything via ITunes

    But anyone who knows how to Build a Computer, can construct a Built with better specs that probably runs smoother.

  4. Gaming on Mac😂😂😂
    The whole laptop will blast and apple will claim that it's their new ''Bomb'' feature..

  5. Split your drive on your MacBook and use boot camp and then install geforce now, you will get 120-160 FPS with low-medium settings on Fortnite

  6. Hi guys, how It work with thunderbolt2 ?, if i want Buy this egpu , will be works on my imac 27 5k model 2015 with thunderbolt 2 + adaptér thunderbolt3 to thunderbolt2 ? Is It good fór thunderbolt 2 – 20gb/s ?, thank you 🙂

  7. I have an old ass Mac that’s like 10:10 and I can’t use steam lol. Btw I can’t upgrade to El Capitan for some reason.

  8. GeForce now is amazing to play with!!! I do recommend you play connected to Ethernet it takes away any latency but that also depends on isp

  9. Linux has actually surpassed Mac in being a better gaming system now a days. Since steam has integrated Steam Proton in Linux Steam, over 5000 windows-only games has been reported fully working on Linux, while Mac hasn't even gotten a Steam Proton yet.

  10. Hi Can you help me choose laptop? I am stuck between Macbook 2018 and Dell XPS 2019. Preferences are – Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, After effects, Premiere Pro and FL studio with some gaming like Call of Duty.

  11. Uhh it’s 2019 and google stadia has been announced. for Mac users who want to game then well get this

    Edit: well yes but actually no. If it fails then no

  12. Austin. What GPU Enclosure Did you Use, Is It Cheap, And what video card did you use, Thanks, I'm not sure If I can use This On My Yoga 530 (Pentium Gold) As It Only HAs USB-C Not Thunderbolt 3? However, This Is My Current Gaming Setup. Thanks Again.

  13. Sadly this is what i gotta use until dec 2019 thsts when i get a pc but for now im using my sis macbook air as and pro

  14. Fun fac using geforce now means your technically not using a Mac and Instead using a cloud based windows computer meant for gaming so basically this challenge was all powered by windows and not the Mac what so over and a little help from the internet. Lastly we all know macs are trash at gaming.

  15. Playing fortnite with the mac and the studering is the cpu btw i have that problem all the time with my system
    But i dont play on a mac my cpu just sucks but thats your problem oh and btw your vids are amazing!!!!

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