Review 195: 16.07.2021 at 08:00 pm
We’ve recently been making reviews and news discussing how Apple’s M1X Macs will dominate the market due to some unique technological advantages, even despite many windows chip and laptop makers including Intel themselves rushing in to make ARM and RISC-V based chips of their own to compete with Apple.
But there’s one question left unanswered that I think is on the mind of many people out there, How will these upcoming M1X chips affect the gaming segment of the PC Market?
And that’s exactly what I’m gonna answer in this review with a bunch of various perspectives and pieces of evidence that basically shows that gaming on the Mac is only going uphill from here on out, so your coffee and let’s get started!☕
As all of you guys know, Apple’s M1 Macs are amazing, especially the M1 MacBook Air which is an incredible value for only $899 on Amazon, giving you premium build quality, best-in-class battery life, great performance, reliability, cooling, awesome speakers and more.
The only issue is that gaming isn’t that great, with two major downsides being limited graphics performance and limited game selection. But even despite that, many Windows laptop users have actually been switching to M1 Macs and absolutely loving them.
And even with limited gaming support, we’ve been able to play games like World of warcraft with great performance, and even Windows games like grand theft auto 5 and the Witcher 3 using methods like crossover and Parallels 16, but of course with the settings turned down.
So imagine what will happen when Apple fixes gaming with the new M1X MacBook Pros, it’s basically gonna be a laptop revolution! But before I explain how Apple is gonna do that, let me quickly discuss how gaming was on Macs before the M1 chip was released.
Way back in June of 2020, we got our hands on the 16” MacBook Pro with the brand new 5600M GPU from AMD, which was a very expensive $800 upgrade compared to the base model, but it drastically improved graphics performance, being twice as powerful as the base 5300M model.
We were even able to use bootcamp to install Windows and play games like Fortnite and Call of duty Warzone at an average of around 144FPS with decent settings, which meant you could hook it up to an actual 144hz gaming monitor and have an awesome gaming setup.
This level of gaming performance was something we’ve never seen on a MacBook before! The only issue was that you’d have to spend at least $3200 on this model, and that’s while keeping the base 6-core CPU, the base 16GB of RAM and the base 512GB of storage.
But now, we’re expecting the M1X MacBook Pros, and the crazy thing is that they’re gonna destroy that 5600M model in terms of performance, for a much lower price. In terms of CPU performance, the M1 chip already outperforms the best 16” Intel i9 chip in everything from Single-core performance to multi-core performance, which is a bit crazy to believe.
But with the 10-core M1X chip that’ll be packing 8 high performance cores and two efficiency cores, we’re expecting multi-core performance to jump up to over 14,000, almost as good as the current 16-core Mac Pro. And in terms of graphics performance, it gets even better.
According to Mark Gurman, the most reliable Apple leaker out there, the M1X chip will come with either 16 or 32 graphics cores depending on the price.
And based on my own performance calculations, the 16-core GPU base model for $2400 will actually outperform the crazy $800 5600M graphics option, which is hard to believe, but it’s most likely gonna happen. But to make it even crazier, you need to keep in mind that the M1X’s GPU is still gonna be integrated into the same package, which means that it’s also gonna get the massive advantage of being able to use the unified memory architecture.
So instead of data having to travel back and forth between the CPU and the discrete GPU, everything happens within the same chip, being
much more efficient and greatly reducing latency, which will further improve performance and make everything more reliable, so there will be no more AMD graphics driver issues to worry about.
And on top of that, I personally believe that Apple will be adding hardware ray tracing to the M1X chip, and here’s why that makes sense.
First off, Apple’s been working on ray tracing since their 2019 WWDC event, and they’ve been improving on it every year since then, especially at least month’s WWDC where Apple made some groundbreaking changes like allowing single-pass rendering, hybrid rendering, using tile functions on Apple Silicon, extending the limits of data size when ray tracing, and supporting motion blur in ray tracing to make motion look more natural.
And the second reason why I think hardware ray tracing is coming is because this is the first Apple Silicon chip that’ll be powerful enough to actually run games with ray tracing enabled. But to make everything even better, everything I just mentioned applies to the 16-core GPU, we haven’t even gotten into the upgraded 32-core version of the M1X.
Based on my calculations, it should be getting around 80 to 90,000 points in the Geekbench 5 metal test, which is close to as good as the Vega 2 GPU in the Mac Pro, which was able to hit 60FPS while gaming at 6K resolution which is mind blowing.
That level of performance has never been seen before on a MacBook, and even that 32-core GPU should only be around 300 to $400 to upgrade to, so likely a total of $2700 to $2800 compared to the current 5600M GPU which is $3200.
But then when we consider the 16-core M1X model, it’s gonna have similar performance to the 5600M, but for $800 less, and that 16-core will likely also be available on the 14” MacBook Pro for around $2200 total.
So what I’m trying to say is that for the first time ever, consumers will be getting AAA-gaming levels of graphics performance on a Mac for a really good price. On top of that, the M1X MacBook Pros are expected to come with an HDMI port, which will likely be HDMI 2.1, which is now the most popular port for gaming monitors and modern TVs, so this could be a hint that Apple wants to take gaming seriously.
On top of that, the laptop market has been quickly expanding recently because of the massive GPU shortages, which has basically forced users to buy gaming laptops instead of custom desktop CPUs.
So if Apple can give us great gaming performance while also giving us a premium and reliable laptop for everyday use with best-in-class battery life, Apple will dominate the laptop and gaming space.
And Apple themselves are expecting this to happen, since they’re adding an extra Mini-LED Display supplier to keep up with the high demand for these M1X MacBook Pros.
The only issue that remains is having support for decent games, with the biggest problem being the fact that Bootcamp just doesn’t work with Apple Silicon Macs so you can’t play the wide-variety of Windows games out there.
And on top of that, there’s the issue of games with hardware DRM-level anti-cheat systems not running at all, so let’s discuss the solutions to those.
Apple Silicon Macs are fully capable of running the ARM version of Windows. It’s simply up to Microsoft to license it and then M1 Macs will literally be able to run Windows using bootcamp.
And the good news about that is that Microsoft has been putting a ton of work into the brand new Windows 11 on ARM. They’re recently announced ARM64EC, which is basically the Rosetta 2 for Windows, automatically translating and running code with native performance on ARM chips.
That took a ton of work to pull off, and if you’re wondering why they would do that, it’s because Microsoft themselves are rumored to be working on their own ARM-based chip designs for their Surface line of PCs to compete with Apple’s M1 Macs.
So if they’re gonna have their own ARM-based computers, they need Windows 11 on ARM to be as good as possible, so I fully expect Apple Silicon Macs to gain Bootcamp support in the near future.
And now discussing the issue of games with anti-cheat software not running on M1 Macs, that’s obviously gonna change very soon because the entire industry is headed toward using ARM and RISC-based chips, including Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, AMD, and even Nvidia’s rumored ARM gaming laptop.
So if those laptops will be able to play games with anti-cheat systems, Apple’s Macs will as well, so I fully expect that issue to get resolved within the next year or two.
And finally, there’s been a good amount of evidence that Apple themselves are investing and preparing for a huge gaming push in terms of marketing, so I think there’s a chance that they’ll in some shape or form be marketing these M1X MacBook Pros as gaming laptops.
I dug through a bunch of the WWDC 2021 developer videos to see what gaming improvements they made, and I found that they’ve redesigned and optimized the game center to make it work better, they’ve made huge advancements in terms of game controller support, including supporting the PS5 and Xbox controllers, they’ve added a 15-second buffering in-game recording feature and much more like ray tracing improvements.
And on top of all of that, there have been rumors that Apple is preparing a special event this fall that will be focused on gaming, with a new gaming console and a new gaming controller being released.
They’ve also been rumored to be working with well-known gaming companies to bring AAA games to Apple devices, which will obviously run great on the M1X MacBook Pros. One of my twitter followers also mentioned Sarah Rogers who is hiring for Apple’s GPU Software team, specifically focused on creating the biggest gaming platform in the world, so this shows that Apple’s own employees are excited about gaming.
So to wrap up this entire review guys, Apple’s M1X Macs will come with more than enough performance to handle both macOS and Windows games very well right off the bat using methods like Crossover and Parallels 16. But on top of that, it won’t be long until we get official Windows 11 on ARM support using bootcamp, as well as the ability to play multiplayer online games that use DRM anti-cheat systems that will soon be re-written to support ARM-based chips.
So basically, buying an M1X MacBook Pro is gonna be a no brainer because you’ll be getting essentially the best laptop ever made when you combine the premium build quality, the features like great speakers, the performance, the battery life, the reliability and the great gaming performance as well.
So hopefully you guys enjoyed this review article, my coffee is over, we’ll see you in the next one!👋🤡