Bet there are Windows fans reading this who are thinking ‘you can’t play games on a Mac’. These people are wrong – in fact, its never been easier to get into gaming on a Mac than now.
Now, that statement comes with a little bit of an asterisk, because most Apple products don’t ship with a graphics card included that will be capable of running 3d games – but that isn’t a problem thanks to the existence of external GPUs.
An external GPU is exactly what it says on the tin – a graphics card powered and ran externally to your MacBook or iMac that provides graphical processing power to your device despite not actually being housed within the machine itself. Think of an external hard drive, translate it to being a graphics card, and that’s basically what we are talking about.
Pretty much every external GPU runs to the machine it’s working with via a Thunderbolt 3 cable – so the first thing you will need to do is make sure you have one of them handy, and that you are going to be running a machine capable of supporting that cable – don’t worry, any recommendation I make in this section will have that compatibility built right in.
The second thing you will need to be aware of is that most Apple products only support certain types of graphics cards, rather than the myriad that PC allows. So, if you are committed to playing games on your Apple machine then be aware you will need an AMD based graphics card. It’s not a big issue – the Radeon range is great and is going to offer brilliant gaming potential, but be aware just so that you don’t go off half-cocked and buy a Nvidia graphics card because its what all the cool internet kids say you need for gaming – it won’t work.
Check out the Razer Core X for your actual external GPU – it’s a solid product that plays well with Apple product, and offers a roomy housing for whichever graphics card you end up choosing.
Having said all that, let’s talk about the actual Mac product you want to choose for gaming. Again, your choice comes down to two options, and these are desktop or laptop. If you want to go for a laptop to play games on then we would recommend the 2019 MacBook Pro with the 16-inch screen. This is mainly thanks to its 9th generation i7 processor from Intel, which is a gamer favorite across brands, as well as its 16gb of DDR4 RAM, Thunderbolt 3 port and its larger display.
Sure, this MacBook Pro comes equipped with a Radeon Pro 5300M discrete graphics option – but ignore that and plug in the external GPU and you are going to be good to go – making this the best MacBook for gaming you can choose.
Otherwise, if you are interested in fixed location desktop gaming then its probably better for you to go for the iMac – it’s got eight and ninth gen processors built-in together, which are capable of handling gaming, spacious hard drives, but its biggest selling point is its display; with its true to life colors and general…bigness. Plus it can connect to that external GPU, so you are going to be good to go when it comes to upping the onboard graphics.
So, depending on what you are looking for from your machine, you should really be choosing between the MacBook Pro and the iMac. If you want better display options then go for the iMac, but if you want a portable machine you can use outside of gaming then go for the MacBook Pro.
Or if you want a more versatile gaming machine, go for a PC. I’m not saying that as some kind of weird brand-fanboy loyalty, but a matter of practicality. A Pc offers more versatility and customization when it comes to putting together a PC build specifically for gaming, and you are going to find that Windows-based OS games are much more plentiful than Apple ones.