Can You Play Steam Games on M1 MacBook Pro?

So, is it possible to play Steam games on a MacBook Pro? I was intrigued by this, so I decided to do some research for you, and what I discovered may surprise you a little. The following information will be useful whether you are a new MacBook Pro user or looking to purchase one. Playing Steam games on a MacBook Pro: What You Need to Know

Most people believe that Macs are only suitable for office-related chores and that they are incapable of doing resource-intensive tasks such as video games.

If they are capable of handling games, it is generally for potato games that do not need a lot of processing power, such as 2D platformers, games from a couple of decades ago, and so on.

Even in terms of gaming performance, the M1 integrated GPU is on par with certain PC dedicated graphics cards. When it comes to performance, the new M1 processor is fairly comparable to what you would get with a GTX 1050 graphics card.

Can You Play Steam Games on M1 Macbook Pro?

Yes. Because of this, Steam has been accessible on the Mac operating system since 2010. Installing the Steam programme on your M1 MacBook Pro and downloading a Mac OS-compatible game will allow you to play Steam games on your computer.

Several Steam games will not work on the new M1 MacBook Pro since the chip can only run 64-bit games and is based on the ARM CPU architecture, which is not supported by the M1 chip. Fortunately, there are tools like as Crossover that allow you to run Windows games and applications.

Apple’s brand-new M1 processor is included in the most recent generation of the MacBook Pro. These processors have been built exclusively for macOS, and Apple intends to put them in all of their next products, ultimately replacing all of their Intel CPUs with these new chips.

In spite of the fact that you can play Steam games on an M1 MacBook Pro, most MacBooks lack the power necessary to run triple-A games at 60 or more frames per second on the highest settings.

Things to Consider: 

If you want to play games on your MacBook, you may purchase a USB-C dongle and connect your MacBook to an external display using it.

A controller may be connected through Bluetooth from this point on. Most wireless controllers are compatible with Macs.

What is the M1 Chip?

Apple’s new M1 chip is essentially an all-in-one processor based on the ARM architecture. The M1 chip has a variety of various components, including CPU cores, GPU, RAM, SSD controllers, cache, Neural Engine, encoders, and a variety of additional built-in capabilities, among others.

What distinguishes the M1 chip from earlier designs is that it operates at far quicker speeds than the previous designs, which used all of these components as separate chips on the motherboard. Video processing is expected to be up to 3.9x quicker and picture processing is expected to be 7.1x faster on the M1 processor than on prior generations.

The increased speeds are due to the fact that all of the components can interact more quickly and can all access the same data pool. The M1 processors also have an 8-core CPU as well as an 8-core GPU, which together provide a remarkable level of graphical processing power for the size of their package.

How to Install Steam on macOS:

  • Open Steam’s Website
  • Tap the Install Icon
  • Click on the Downloaded Installation File
  • Wait for the Installation to Complete
  • Open Steam, login, and Download a Game
  • Easy!

Not to mention the fact that Apple’s Mac OS is continually being upgraded in order to increase performance in games and other applications. M1 is a groundbreaking technology that integrates RAM, graphics processing unit (GPU), and other components into a single powerful chip with a completely new architecture.

Apple M1 MacBook Pro Gaming Benchmarks at 1080P:

Remember, even the M1 MacBooks are not gaming machines, and you shouldn’t expect high frame rates. 

  • CS GO – 60 FPS
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider 30 FPS
  • Borderlands 3 – 25 FPS
  • Batman Arkham City – 60 FPS
  • League of Legends – 70 FPS
  • Minecraft – 60+ FPS
  • Fortnite – 70 FPS

Update: The new M1 Max processors have been introduced, and the gaming performance is about twice as good as the previous ones, putting them on a par with full-scale gaming laptops in terms of power consumption.

The M1 Max is equipped with a 32-core GPU that provides outstanding performance. For example, the normal M1 MacBook Pro was able to achieve an average frame rate of 30 frames per second when playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but the new M1 Max can achieve a frame rate of 60 frames per second when playing on High settings. And that is with the use of emulators such as Crossover. Crazy!

As you can see, the M1 MacBook Pro is capable of running the majority of games at a respectable frame rate. I recall the days when I could barely get that framerate on a PC with a dedicated graphics card. It was a frustrating experience.

When you stop and think about it, it’s quite remarkable. Alternatively, cloud streaming services may be used to play games that are not compatible with your system.

Is The M1 Apple Chip Good for Steam Gaming?

Although the M1 Apple Chip is not intended for gaming, it is capable of running most Steam games with a respectable frame rate, ranging from 30 to 60 frames per second on high settings, depending on the game. The performance of this laptop is shockingly good when compared to the results of other laptops’ benchmarks.

For those searching for a gaming computer, of course, a MacBook Pro is not the best option, but those looking for a less demanding game with respectable frame rates will be pleased to hear that it is capable of handling less demanding titles.

Be aware that the native resolution of the 2020 M1 MacBook Pro is 2560 x 1600, and that the vast majority of games will not run properly at that resolution. I recommend that you lower the in-game resolution to at least 1080P in order to get respectable frame rates.

Is Steam Compatible with Apple’s M1 Chip?

Yes, the Steam platform is compatible with Apple’s M1 processor, and the software runs smoothly and without any complications on the platform. When the M1 MacBooks were originally released, Steam didn’t run effectively, causing numerous freezes, crashes, and general poor performance. This has now been resolved.

Those flaws, however, have been resolved as a result of fixes and upgrades to the application. At the moment, Steam runs really well with Apple devices that employ the M1 processor.

Apple M1 Steam Compatibility Issues:

Because the M1 processor only supports 64-bit games, the M1 MacBook Pro is not a good choice for playing Steam games on the go. The majority of Steam games, particularly the older ones that would perform well on this processor, are not 64-bit. In order for the M1 MacBook Pro to work, you must first attempt to launch a 34-bit game, which accounts for a significant number of old-school games.

To put it another way, some Steam games function well, while others are a complete mess, and yet others refuse to open at all. You will most likely encounter a warning stating that the particular game is incompatible with the M1 architecture or that it is operating on 34-bit, which is not compatible with the M1 architecture.

Although game companies are patching and upgrading their games to be compatible with the M1 chip, it will only be a matter of time until older titles are made playable on the M1 chip.

For example, when the M1 MacBooks were originally released, CS GO would not open; but, as of 2021, it seems to be working well, especially on the M1 processor, and it is playable at a frame rate of between 50 and 60 frames per second. Dota 2 is also capable of running at 60 frames per second.

Gaming on a M1 MacBook:

Can You Play Steam Games on M1 MacBook Pro?

There is one significant difference between gaming on an M1 MacBook and gaming on a PC in that you may sometimes need to run games in an emulator such as Crossover or Rosetta.. Although the Steam platform is compatible with the new architecture without the need of an emulator, not every game in the Steam library is compatible with the new architecture.

Fortunately, Rosetta 2 is pre-installed on the Mac operating system and will automatically simulate the games and apps for you. The M1 MacBooks perform an excellent job of running non-native apps using emulators on their internal hard drives. The main difficulty is that certain older games may not function properly, even when running via emulators, since the emulator support for the individual game varies.

MacBook Pro M1 vs Intel MacBook Pro for Gaming?

When compared to the Intel models of the MacBook Pro, the M1’s gaming performance is far superior, and it is likely the highest performance you can get from an integrated GPU on any computer. If you’re looking for a MacBook Pro that provides a substantial gaming edge, the 2020 M1 version is the one to go for.

When playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider on a MacBook Pro M1, the frame rate may be as high as 20-30 frames per second at 1080p on the highest settings. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is playable with an average frame rate of 50-60 frames per second when played on the lowest settings with the M1. For a graphics card that is integrated in, this is rather astounding.

On the Intel version of the MacBook Pro, the same game plays at a slideshow pace of 10-20 frames per second on the lowest settings. When it came to the graphics processing capabilities of the current Apple M1 MacBook Pro, I was pleasantly delighted.

Video Guide

Conclusion:

Of course, I’m not going to purchase a MacBook Pro just to play Steam games, but it’s comforting to know that I won’t lose my mind playing them.

Because of the worldwide lack of PC components, pre-builts are often cheaper than custom builds when it comes to gaming computers.

On top of all of this, I would recommend going with the M1 model over the Intel-based MacBook Pros if you have a significant collection of Steam games.

Yes, I’m a fan of Apple’s goods. To learn more about the Apple Magic wireless keyboard, check out my AirPods review.

Bryan V. Root
Bryan V. Root
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