Traditionally speaking, Windows computers have been a staple of gaming for as long as I can remember. I still have some fond memories of typing away on my dad’s old Windows Vista with our very unreliable internet connection, playing old flash games, and sometimes Starcraft when our dial-up connection actually stayed online for more than 10 minutes at a time. Fast forward to over a decade later, and I still personally enjoy gaming from time to time.
As an adult who does work and goes to a university, I just bought myself a shiny new Macbook last week, and if I’m being honest, it’s my first experience with it. Now now, before you boo me out of this site, hear me out. It’s a capable performer, and sometimes life just throws you a curveball. I never in my life expected myself to use a Macbook, and that surprise extends to my actually enjoying it. But this article isn’t about that at all.
If you’re like me, or are a Windows user planning to jump ship to the Apple camp for whatever reason, then you may be wondering and asking yourself the burning question that led you to this very article in the first place. Can you play League of Legends on a Macbook Pro?
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As timeless as a polished MOBA game League of Legends is, even I must admit it’s getting up in years. It was around when I was in high school, and I still play it to this day. So it’s no surprise League of Legends runs on almost anything short of potato these days. But as the saying goes, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” So how does that translate to us Macbook users? Let me give you the short answer: pretty well, whether you’d like to believe it or not.
Before we proceed, let’s get something out of the way. There are a lot of variations of the Macbook Pro, and we’re going to have to establish the current as well as the previous lineups, as well as address their hardware and software limitations.
Anything older than the previous generation of their lineups will still run it, but may or may not run into some problems, be it software support from Apple itself, SSD read and write errors, storage, or even just the battery.
Identifying and looking at these factors will help us understand why the Macbook Pro is actually a decent performer – well, for a game of League of Legends, that is – you won’t be playing AAA titles from this year on this machine, regardless of what the price tag implies.
The M1 Chip and Rosetta
At the time of this writing, Macbook Pros basically run on Apple’s proprietary M1 chip, which is the same across the board for their base models of the Macbook Air and Mac Mini (even this year’s iPad Air 5 runs on the M1 Chip, so is it possible for us to see some Mac-compatible games on iPads soon? Please, Apple).
So why does that matter, you ask? Well, basically, Apple ditched Intel chips and basically made their own. Now, on the upside, they are able to optimize both the hardware and software on their laptops. The downside?
Well, apps aren’t really optimized for Apple’s in-house silicon chips. In fact, at the time of this writing, few apps – including League of Legends – outside of the official App Store officially support it.
There are workarounds, though, and thankfully the heavy lifting is done with Apple’s own software. Without being unnecessarily complicated, Rosetta 2 is basically a translator that converts the program mumbo jumbo into Apple’s own native language, and let me tell you right now… It works beautifully.
The Macbook Pro has built-in fans, so that combined with the power from the M1 really delivers a great gaming experience. It’s so good that at medium settings, the M1 Macbook Pros deliver over 100FPS on average across the board, regardless of screen size and RAM configuration. Yes, that includes the models with 8GB of RAM.
This is even more impressive when you take into account that League of Legends is actually meant for Intel, which means they are achieving these speeds and stability while using a translator, almost effectively in real-time as far as the end-user is concerned.
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Quick Note: The Budget Options
Now that we’ve established these M1 Macbook Pros are definitely more than capable of handling League of Legends properly, I just want to address the elephant in the room: the Macbook Air M1 and the Mac Mini M1.
In reality, the target demographic for League of Legends who happen to be Apple users will more likely be rocking these instead of their pricier older brother. And yes, both run League of Legends almost as well, but the Macbook Air in particular does not come with a fan. What does this mean?
Well, Macs in general were never meant for gaming, and while the M1 is certainly efficient for keeping cool to the touch without a fan during CPU-intensive tasks, the same cannot be said about games and GPU-related tasks. Yes, it can handle them well, but the lack of a fan will likely cause thermal throttling (basically lowering the performance by force in an attempt to lower the internal temperature) during extended sessions.
That being said, even the most affordable base model of the Macbook Air can run it at 60fps at the very least with high to max settings. The Mac Mini, while cheaper, does not suffer from this problem, and shouldn’t have the aforementioned throttling issues.
What About the Intel Macbook Pro?
Unfurrow your brows, because right now I’m going to tell you it runs really well on the Intel-based Macbook Pro. League of Legends was designed for this, and without Rosetta 2, it should run even better… at least, on paper.
In real life, depending on the configuration, you shouldn’t see much of a difference. If triple-A titles and hardcore, story-rich, graphically intensive games are your thing, you may want to look elsewhere. However, for League of Legends, you shouldn’t run into any problems at all.
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To sum it all up: yes, it runs very well on the new and previous generation of Macs across the board, which includes even the Intel-based Macbook Air, and will run reasonably well for even older devices, depending on the compatibility software-wise. Once more, I have to reiterate that Macs were never meant for gaming.
They are, however, excellent devices for general purposes things like school, work, some processing, or simply because you are locked into Apple’s ecosystem. For fans of League of Legends, you can rest easy knowing that League of Legends will not just run on it, but run at respectable speeds.