Dirt Rally Mac Review: Can you run it?

by | Apr 12, 2019 | Racing

Thinking about getting a new game for your Mac? Perhaps you have your eyes set on DiRT Rally, one of the best racing games for Mac currently available.

But is it good enough to spend $50+ on it? Will you like it? With the sheer amount of reviews, lets plays and podcasts available, you can easily make an educated guess regarding the game’s quality.

But will your machine be able to run it? And if it does, will it run well enough to be enjoyable?

That, unfortunately, is a much tougher question to answer. As not a single one of the hundreds of reviews and videos have taken the time to answer that question, we will.

Welcome to our first Performance review, the place where we’ll help you figure out whether your machine can or cannot run a game or not.

And today, we’ll dive deep into Dirt Rally’s Mac version.

Dirt Rally Mac art
86 Metascore
The best-reviewed DiRT game in years, you can't go wrong with DiRT Rally. It both looks great and runs great on most Macs, including MacBooks!

First things first, is the game any good?

Many experienced reviewers already tackled this question, so let’s hear what they have to say.

Released for Mac just a few weeks ago, DiRT Rally is a safe bet.

PC Gamer gave it an 80/100 claiming “it’s not a sim, but it’s the best rally game in years”. IGN pretty much agrees, giving it an outstanding 8.9/10 and concluding their review with:

Dirt Rally is a brilliant sim that looks, feels, and sounds absolutely outstanding, but it won’t tolerate the timid.

And in case you’re wondering about the rest of the reviews out there, I can tell you they’re all favorable. The game has an impressive 86/100 Metascore (which is an aggregation of tens of reviews from major outlets).

And what about normal gamers like you and me? As of today, DiRT Rally has 11,280 Steam user reviews all giving it very positive reviews (90%)!

Dirt Rally Mac gameplay

So there you have it. DiRT Rally is the real deal and if you like racing games, you will probably love it.

My take?

DiRT Rally for Mac is an extremely solid game and one of the top racing games out there, be it on Windows or consoles.

DiRT Rally Mac requirements

Sometimes a Mac below the minimum system requirements will be able to run the game, but that would go against the developers’ recommendations and you’d be on your own in case there’s a problem.

These are DiRT Rally’s Mac system requirements:

  • 1.8GHz Intel Core i3 processor
  • macOS 10.13
  • 8GB RAM
  • 1GB Nvidia 650 / 2GB AMD Radeon M290 / Intel HD 4000 graphics card or better

The game is supported on these Macs:

  • All 13” MacBook Pros released since mid-2012
  • All 15” MacBook Pros released since mid-2012 with a 1GB graphics card or better
  • All Mac Minis released since late 2012
  • All 21.5” iMacs released since late 2013
  • All 27” iMacs released since late 2012 with a 1GB graphics card or better
  • All Mac Pros released since Mid 2010 with an AMD 7950 (Mac Edition)

Finally, all MacBooks released since 2016 will be capable of running the game, but may not deliver the best out of it in terms of performance, graphics, and stability.

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The Test: Can you play DiRT Rally on Mac?

To give you a real flavor of how demanding this game is, we went ahead and tested it on as many different models as possible.

  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016): 2.0 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris Graphics 540 (1.5GB)
  • iMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2014): 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M290X (2GB)
  • Mac Mini (Late 2014): 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, Intel Iris 5100 (1.5GB)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012): 5.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000 (1.5GB)

As you can see, the purpose is to go wide and cover Macs that are as different from each other as possible. In this case, we three different setups:

  • High-end (the 2014 iMac).
  • New, but basic (the 2016 MacBook Pro).
  • Older and basic (the Mac Mini and 2012 MacBook Pro).

Hopefully, yours will closely match one of these.

Be aware that the Mid-2012 MacBook Pro is not supported and the 2016 MacBook Pro is partially supported.

Dirt Rally Mac tests

These are the settings we used:

  • 1280×800 (or equivalent 1344×756) resolution
  • Medium Preset
  • V-Sync and MSA off

Why 1280×800 and not more? Because 1280×800 is a better than basic High Definition (720p), but still low enough to give older Macs a chance…

Dirt Rally Mac benchmark settings

The Results: The perfect Mac port

This has to be said, this is one fine port.

Dirt Rally results

As a reminder, this is how we describe the different levels of performance:

  • Below 20 FPS: Unplayable: Laggy gameplay, full of stutters and slowdowns.
  • 20-30 FPS: Borderline: Can be OK in slow-paced games. Still, not optimal.
  • 30-45 FPS: Playable: Acceptable for most (most gaming consoles do this).
  • 45-60 FPS: Smooth: Fluid gameplay, with no perceivable stutters.
  • 60+ FPS: Very Smooth: For hardcore and professional players, a luxury for most.

We usually aim for at least 30 FPS.

Can my Mac run DiRT Rally?

As expected, the iMac with its powerful graphics card (by macOS standards) did great and can easily run it at the highest settings. And by the way, at this level, the game looks gorgeous.

But what about the other Macs? They all have integrated graphics. Is that enough to run DiRT Rally?

Can you play DiRT Rally on a MacBook Pro?

As a reminder, we’re going for at least 30 frames per second (FPS). For reference, the Nintendo Switch runs many games at 900p resolution and 30 FPS. So anything that runs at that level can be considered good.

My 2016 MacBook Pro is pretty recent and you expect a new computer to be fast. But remember, games are so graphics intensive, they not only need recent hardware to run properly, they need a powerful graphics card.

Both the 2016 MacBook Pro and Mac Mini have integrated graphics cards, which aren’t ideal for gaming. Still, DiRT Rally squeezes all the power it can to run at acceptable frame rates (over 30 FPS).

Do you have an older and basic Mac?

Unfortunately, the 2012 MacBook Pro didn’t have what it takes. That model is very far from the system requirements and its old integrated graphics explains the poor result. The fact the game ran at all is impressive. You can’t blame Feral here, they can’t do miracles…

But we couldn’t give up so easily, we had to see how far that 2012 MacBook Pro could be pushed. We went ahead and lowered all the settings to lowest and kept our resolution to 1280×800 and perform another test.

Dirt Rally Mac test 2012 MacBook Pro

Running on average at 37 frames per second, you can enjoy DiRT Rally on an this 2012 MacBook Pro. You’ll have to compromise and give up on all the bells and whistles, but it’s definitely doable.

Remember, anything over 30 frames per second is acceptable, meaning the 37 frames per second this MacBook Pro managed to squeeze out is good enough.

For the record, the experience won’t be ideal and the game may crash, but if your stuck with an older Mac and still want to have fun, you can.

Bottom line: If you get anything lower than 12 FPS (like the 2016 MacBook Pro we tested), I wouldn’t recommend it

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Download DiRT Rally for Mac

DiRT Rally can be downloaded from any of the major digital stores, including Steam and our favorite, Humble Bundle:

Dirt Rally Mac art
86 Metascore
The best-reviewed DiRT game in years, you can't go wrong with DiRT Rally. It both looks great and runs great on most Macs, including MacBooks!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission (this is how we pay the bills). This commission comes at no additional cost to you

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  1. Adrian

    Just FYI 2012 Macbook Pro’s are supported. However the 13inch doesn’t have a dedicated video card. The Nvidia 650M that is included as a minimum requirement for the game. Is included in mid 2012 Macbook Pro 15inch models.

    • Ric Molina

      Makes sense, the difference between integrate and dedicated is huge. Will make sure to be more specific on that next time. Thanks man.

  2. Nick La-maison

    My 27″ 5K iMac late 2015 meets all the requirements but before I purchase I would like to know if the game will run smoothly on Mac OS Sierra v10.12.6 or do I definitely need 10.13?

    • Ric Molina

      Hey, sorry for the late reply. It’s impossible to know exactly without actually trying BUT (otherwise this would be the worst answer in the world), I didn’t see any noticeable improvements when moving to 10.13 and from all the reports I saw, no one else did.
      So it’s safe to say that performance between your OS version and the one we used will be consistent.

  3. john

    hey bro can u do one for intel iris 540 for deus ex mankind divided for Mac

  4. MacCrash

    My Dirt Rally benchmark on Ultra settings .Lowest FPS 56 highest FPS 63 .getting 100+ FPS on medium….My specs are Mid 2010 3.33ghz 6 core Mac Pro with Sapphire RX 580 Pulse 8gb/PCiE SSD .I use the G920 wheel and have had zero problems.It runs brilliantly and is a truly immersive game..Find the right g920 wheel settings and car set ups and I can highly recommend this game. Hope specs can give you some help as to where you should be when running it.It takes lots of hours to start getting good times and beat the AI cars….

    • Ric Molina

      Thanks a lot! Sharing your results is priceless for the other readers. In fact, I’m thinking of adding a dedicated section to the review where we share results from the readers
      If you ever do the same test as we did, I’ll gladly add it to review 😉

      • MacCrash

        Hi Ric , here are my medium settings bench at resolution 1440 same as above

        Total Frames… 18,414
        Average FPS …89.66
        Minimum FPS .. 70.25
        Maximum FPS …. 118.37

        • Ric Molina

          Exellent, thanks! I’m sure these will be helpful for other readers!

    • Roberto

      Hello. How is the experience with the G920 wheel in your mac? It works perfect? The force feedback works well? Please, help me. I’m looking the same wheel, but i read a lot of information about the compatibility and the functions, that i’m confused now. I need the advice of an expert. Thanks! Regards.

  5. Vermonster

    I was able to get it to load a few times, but never actually play, and now it crashes as soon as I open it, can’t even get to the opening splash screen. I have a maxed out 2018 MacbookPro. Any ideas?

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