50+ Gaming Macs Benchmarked

Is your Mac good for gaming?

By Ric Molina | Published April 10, 2019

You probably got a Mac for reasons completely unrelated to gaming.

Perhaps you needed one for work or school, or perhaps you just couldn’t stand Windows anymore.  Or maybe you fell in love with the increible design Macs are known far.

In any case, if you’re here, it’s because you wonder: Can my Mac run games? Let’s find out.

Getting Started

Step 1: Understanding your setup:

➔ Are you buying a new Mac? We compare the best Macs of 2019 here.

➔ Do you already have a Mac? You’re in the right place. Keep reading!

Step 2: Find the best games for your Mac using our Can my Mac run it tool.

With the help of our Mac gaming community, we benchmarked over 50 different Mac models using Unigine’s Valley benchmarking tool.

The Results

Want to help out? Benchmark your Mac and share your result with us! It’s easy and free. You can read this page for detailed step-by-step instructions.

Understanding these results…

In case you’re a little lost with these FPS (frames per second) results, this is how we interpret them:

< 20

FPS

Poor gaming performance: Unfortunately, your Mac will be limited to games with low requirements (such as retro-looking or older games).

20 – 40

FPS

Average gaming performance: Your Mac should be able to run most games on medium settings and modest resolutions (around 720p).

> 40

FPS

Good gaming performance: Your Mac should be able to run anything you throw at it, including graphically demanding games.

Is your Mac good for gaming?

These results are great to have but they’re only part of the answer. In order to effectively figure out what games your Mac can run, you should:

  1. Download Valley and perform this same test (we explain the entire process in detail here).
  2. Use your result as a comparison point.

Indeed, these Valley results become useful when you use them to interpret other gaming tests.

As an example, we’ve used these 2 machines for every one of our Performance Reviews:

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2013)

2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris 5100 (1.5GB)

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016):

2.0 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris Graphics 540 (1.5GB)

And this is how they run some of the most popular Mac games right now:

Game 2013 MBP 2016 MBP
Valley 9.3 FPS 30 FPS
Fortnite 23.4 FPS 47.1 FPS
Rise of the Tomb Raider 0 FPS 16.5 FPS
DiRT Rally 38.5 FPS 53.9 FPS

Now that you have a Valley result of your own, you can have a more accurate idea of what performance to expect from games.

For example, if your Valley result is 45 FPS, you can expect significantly better performance than our 2016 MBP (which scored 30 FPS). If your Valley result is 20 FPS, you can expect gaming performance somewhere between our two MBPs above.

Do keep in mind that using Valley to extrapolate gaming performance isn’t pure math. Correlation between Valley and games is not linear and will differ from game to game. This method should only be used to give you an educated guess of what to expect from games.

For more accurate results, always compare your Mac with the machine that the most similar Valley result with yours.

Can your Mac run it?

All you need now are games benchmarks performed on other Macs and compared them with yours using Valley as a reference. You can find every single one of our tests here:

Testing Conditons

In an effort to keep these resutls as accurate and “scientific” as possible, we asked every contributor to use the same benchmarking tool under as similar testing conditions as possible:

  • Use Unigine’s Valley basic preset.
  • Close all other open applications while running the test.
  • Maintain machine plugged at all times (low battery affects performance).

While most websites use Geekbench and Cinebench R15, we decided to go with a more specialized tool.

Geekbench is extremely popular and already benefits from a massive database of results but it only focuses on CPU performance and disregards graphics performance, which is critical for gaming.

Cinebench R15 does have a dedicated graphics perfomance benchmark, but it’s so old and outdated, it’s no longer relevant to modern video gaming.

Unigine’s Valley, on the other hand, mainly focuses on stress-testing graphics performance and features:

  • GPU temperature and clock monitoring
  • 64 000 000 square meters of extremely detailed, seamless terrain
  • Procedural content generation and placement
  • User-controlled dynamic weather

Released in 2013, Valley is slighlty old and it’s also a shame it still relies on OpenGL, but after testing several other tools, Valley offers the closest testing conditions to modern games.

Helps make this even better!

Want to help us make this an even more useful resource? Benchmark your Mac and share your results with us! It’s easy and should take less than 10 minutes. You can find our easy to follow how-to page here.

What if you’re looking for a new Mac?

If you’re actually looking for a new Mac to buy and gaming happens to be important for you, you should definitely check out our Best Mac for gaming guide for which we tested two real-world games on every single Mac currently on sale:

Best Mac for Gaming

While it was easy to find the fastest Mac, and hence “best for gaming”, we actually focused on the machines that offered the most value for money. Spoiler alert, it’s the 27-inch iMac (or 15-inch MacBook Pro if you need a laptop).

Wrapping Up

With that, we hope you now have a better idea of what your Mac is capable of.

Granted, Macs aren’t designed with gaming in mind, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still do a great job! We intend to test even more machines in the coming week, therefore, this is a page you might want to bookmark. 😁

Would you like us to test a particular model? Let us know in the comments section.