Total War: Warhammer on Mac: Can you run it?
Total War games are famous for the scale of their battles. Hundreds of soldiers on a single battlefield is certainly impressive.
Add to that a deep gameplay that requires smart tactics and strategies and you get some of the best Strategy games for Mac. Warhammer is all that plus orcs, heroes, and other fantasy creatures.
Plus, Total War: Warhammer's Mac version is the newest Total War game available on MacOS.
But all those units and great graphics must require a powerful Mac to run right? No need to jump to conclusions, we are here to figure it out together.
Ready? Let's see if your Mac has what it takes.
First things first, is the game any good?
Yes, we want games that run smoothly, but more importantly than that, we want good games that are well made and fun.
Released for Mac almost a year ago, there are more than enough reviews to give us an idea of the quality of this game.
With an impressive 86 Metascore (weighted average of scores given by critics), Warhammer can be considered a great game:
Reading what the big guns had to say, it certainly seems like this is a fun, satisfying and well-made game.
IGN, for example, gave it an 8.6/10 score and said:
Total War: Warhammer brims with exciting ideas, awesome characters, and delightful units and faction mechanics.
Gamespot gave it a 9/10 entirely and praised the way the Warhammer Universe meshes naturally with Total War's gameplay, it's massive AI improvements and stellar audio design.
On the other hand (like it's often the case) gamers were far more challenging than professional critics. The game has 75% positive reviews from over 21,000 total users. By Steam reviews standards, that's a good score too.
Total War games are usually not for everyone. They feature campaigns full of accurate historical elements and battles that require a lot of thinking and strategy.
But with the introduction of a fantasy universe and monsters and griffons, Warhammer is a better Total War with more appeal to casual gamers.
If you're remotely interested in strategy games, you need to check it out.
I can confidently tell you this is a good game. But can your Mac run it? We went ahead and tested the game on the following Mac models:
MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
3.1 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, Intel Radeon Pro 560 (4GB)
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 have the:
- New high-end Macs (the 2017 MacBook Pro).
- Older high-end Macs (the 2014 iMac).
- New, but basic Macs (the 2016 MacBook Pro).
- Older and basic Macs (the Mac Mini and 2012 MacBook Pro).
Hopefully, your setup will closely match one of these.
Notice neither the 2012 MacBook Pro nor the 2014 Mac Mini are officially supported.
These are the settings we used to run the game's internal benchmark :
- 1280x800 (or equivalent 1344x756) resolution
- Medium Preset
- Anti Aliasing: OFF
Why 1280x800 and not more? Because most Mac users have slightly old MacBook Pros. 1280x800 is a little better than basic High Definition (720p), but still low enough to give MacBook Pros a chance...
It goes without saying that this great looking game requires power to render those beautiful and chaotic battles.
We expected this game would be demanding. And we were not wrong:
Keeping in mind that we aim for 30 frames per second (FPS) or more, these results are discouraging for anyone but those with very powerful Macs.
Unlike turn-based games such as Civilization 6, Total War: Warhammer on Mac really shines during its huge real-time battles. Are 10-15 FPS enough to enjoy them?
We'll have to take our tests a little further to answer that question. And the answer will obviously depend on your setup.
Do you have a high-end Mac?
This one's easy. If you have a high-end Mac (or a Mac with a dedicated graphics card and 2GB of Video RAM or more), TW: Warhammer will run beautifully on your machine.
In fact, you can confidently play the game at higher settings and resolutions and still have over 30FPS of smooth gameplay.
Do you have a new, but basic Mac?
This is where it gets tricky. Looking only at the results, I'd be inclined to say you should not get this game. 15 FPS is much too low to enjoy a game.
But what if you're prepared to compromise and play the game at lower settings?
Testing the game at the same resolution as before (1280x800), but using the Minimum settings, we got 23.0 FPS running the in-game benchmark.
Still low, but barely enough to enjoy it.
But before you run out to purchase a copy, keep in mind that compromises are needed. If you need to play your games at 60 FPS and 4K, don't bother.
If you want to enjoy the game at lower settings but decent performance, you can go ahead and buy it.
Do you have an older and basic Mac?
If you have anything older than our 2016 MacBook Pro with integrated graphics, I advise you pass on this game. Unfortunately, performance will be too low.
If you're still on the fence, I recommend you run the free Unigine Heaven Benchmark using the Basic Preset and compare your result with ours. That should give you a decent idea of what to expect from Warhammer.
Or you can use this form to estimate the frames per second your Mac should get from the game using the same settings and resolution as we did (the form uses the average ratio of all of our Warhammer results compared with our Heaven results):
Keep in mind that this is an estimate and far from exact. If you are too borderline here, don't risk it.
Bottom line: If you get anything lower than 12 FPS (like the 2016 MacBook Pro we tested), I wouldn't recommend it
Always check those system requirements
Remember, if you don't pay attention to the system requirements, you risk buying a game you won't be able to play!
These are Warhammer's minimum system requirements:
- OS: Mac OS X 10.12.4
- Processor: Intel 2.0 GHz
- RAM: 8GB
- Hard Disk: 37GB
- Graphics: 1.5GB
The game is supported on the following graphics cards:
- All AMD graphics cards released from 2014 onwards
- All Nvidia cards with 2GB+ VRAM released from 2012 onwards
- Intel Iris Graphics 540 & 550 cards released from 2016 onwards
The following graphics cards are capable of running the game, but do not consistently meet the standards required for official support:
- All Nvidia cards with 1 GB VRAM released from 2012 onwards
- All Intel Iris and Iris Pro cards released from 2013 onwards
If you don't have one of these, I'm afraid this game isn't for you...
Given the scope of Warhammer's battles, results were fair:
Requirements cover a wide range of Macs
The use of Metal certainly helps
Those with older Macs are left behind