If you plan to buy a laptop for gaming, scratch MacBook out of the list. Even though it is a premium laptop, MacBooks are not designed for gaming. These laptops are built for professionals, not gamers.
While a MacBook Pro can offer somewhat decent gaming performance, it gets only worse with MacBook Air. It’s not that you can’t play games on this laptop as it is equipped with decent hardware. But in order to play the latest games, you need to select the lowest settings.
You can satisfy occasional or casual gaming cravings with MacBook Air, but it is not suitable for high-end games. There are many reasons why MacBook Air is not suitable for gaming.
If you want to know more about it, continue reading this article. We are going to highlight the core points why a MacBook Air is not good for gaming.
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About MacBook Air
Developed and manufactured by Apple Inc., MacBook Air is a notebook computer built for professional use. It is one of the most affordable laptops offered by Apple under the Mac product line. This laptop is made of an aluminum case and is equipped with a full-size Magic Keyboard. It is thin, lightweight, and ultraportable.
The MacBook Air features a powerful silicon chip, M1, that balances power efficiency with silent performance. The “big-little” layout allows for an eight-core CPU with a power-saving mode and performance cores to kick in when required. The efficiency cores are better than the Intel Core-i3 processor. The M1 chip is also the most powerful chipset ever built.
The new MacBook Air is slim, weighing just over two pounds. Its aluminum body makes it lightweight and durable, and the angled silhouette adds to its sleek look. The Air comes with a built-in microphone and speakers, as well as Bluetooth wireless technology and an iSight camera. The sleek design makes it easy to use while traveling or to sit at your desk. This model is ideal for business travelers and artists who want to be more productive while on the go.
The screen on the MacBook Air is a bit low-res with a 13-inch size and Retina Display with True Tone. It is equipped with a 7-core or 8-core GPU along with 16-core Neural Engine. In terms of storage, you can either choose 256GB or 512GB SSD storage. The best thing about this laptop is that it comes with 2 Thunderbolts and 4 USB ports for connectivity.
Gaming on MacBook Air
The Apple MacBook Air 2020 M1 is a step forward in gaming for the Mac. The new in-house processor is capable of running games at 30 frames per second in high resolutions like 1920×1200. Apple showed off the gaming performance of the M1 chip running Shadow of the Tomb Raider at a 1080p resolution at 30fps. While it is still not quite as powerful as a high-end gaming rig, it is an improvement over previous Macs.
Although the MacBook Air lacks a serious graphics setup, the new model has an 8-core GPU and an 80% improvement in graphics performance. While not gaming-optimized, the visuals look great on the Retina display. This means that you can play AAA games on the MacBook Air 2020. The GPU’s power efficiency isn’t as high as a high-end gaming PC, but it’s still very playable. However, it is only suitable for occasional gaming. If you want a true gaming laptop, MacBook Air is not the best option.
While the M1 chip may not have the power to run AAA games, Apple has released several games that work on this model. These include the Apple Arcade games. These games are designed for touchscreen devices and are optimized for the M1 chip. However, MacBook Air lacks a touchscreen feature. Also, big AAA games may not be compatible with this chip.
Games Where MacBook Delivers Average Performance
For the most part, the MacBook Air does a decent job with gaming. It has plenty of power to handle older titles, but the performance of most games will suffer. Here are some games where MacBook Air delivers average performance. At low settings, the quality is so degraded that there is no point in playing these games.
- League of Legends: If you play this game at 2560×1600 resolution, the FPS will be around 65 to 70. You will also experience frequent drops. However, at low settings, you will get 90 FPS.
- Civilization 6: In order to play this game, you need at least 30 FPS. However, on MacBook Air, you will not be able to go beyond 27 to 29 FPS, no matter what settings you choose.
- Counter-Strike: Go: You can play this game on low settings; however, there will be few drops and stutters. However, you will hardly get around 50 FPS at this setting. If you opt for the medium setting, the laptops will run extremely hot, and the game will experience a frequent glitches.
- Fortnite: This game is not optimized for Mac, but you can enjoy 70 to 60 FPS at low settings. However, there will be many slips, so if you can manage that, then it is suitable for Fortnite.
However, this does not mean that you can’t play any games on a Macbook. Games are generally designed for x86 platforms, so they don’t optimize for the new setup. Despite the novel fanless interiors, the MacBooks are still capable of running the majority of popular games at medium or low settings.
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Games Where MacBook Air Delivers Decent Performance
There are some games that you can play on MacBook Air without making any compromises with the settings and graphics. These are nothing but games optimized for an M1 processor. You can play Apple’s Arcade Games on this laptop.
Some of the most popular games you can play are,
- Oceanhorn 2
- Mini Motorways
If you’re looking for games that won’t tax your computer, try one of the many Arcade Games. They will run seamlessly on MacBook Air as they are optimized for silicon processors. However, apart from these games, you have to choose low settings to play other latest games.
Is MacBook Air Good for Gaming?
Considering all the factors, MacBook Air is not good for gaming. You can play most modern games, but demanding ones may be beyond their capabilities.
While you can run most of the games on this laptop, the graphics and processor are not strong enough to hand AAA game titles. You either have to lower the settings to choose silicon optimized games to enjoy gaming on Apple MacBook Air.
Another thing to consider before playing games is the temperature. Gaming can generate excessive heat, which can harm certain components in the laptop. High-end games require higher graphics settings, which can cause the MacBook Air to overheat. Make sure you check the recommended settings before installing the game.
Lastly, remember that Apple’s MacBooks weren’t designed for gaming, and as such, their graphics performance is limited. This means that if you want to play high-end games, you’re better off using a gaming PC. You can, however, play some casual games on a MacBook Air and enjoy its high-end performance. But it’s unlikely that you’ll have as much fun as you would on a PC.
Reasons Why MacBook Air Is Not Good for Gaming
The Apple MacBook is aimed at professionals and is not designed for gamers. Rather, it is built with program optimization in mind and not hardware vigor. So if you are looking for a gaming laptop, MacBook Air is not for you. Here is some reason why this laptop is not good for gaming.
Although fan-less designs on Apple MacBook Air are appealing to those who hate the noise of fan-driven PCs, they are not good for gamers. The new 2020 MacBook Air has a fanless design. It doesn’t come with a built-in fan, as Apple claims the silicon setup doesn’t overheat. Instead of a traditional fan, the MacBook Air uses a heat-spreader made of aluminum.
This enables Apple to maximize battery life while minimizing heating issues. However, you can never be too sure when playing intensive games. In short, the MacBook Air is a good choice for everyday users who don’t need a powerful gaming PC.
No Discreet GPU
For high-end gaming, you need a laptop with a discrete graphics card (GPU). Usually, this is available in higher-end models that cost more. Apple MacBook Air is an exception to the rule. These laptops are not as expensive as their Pro counterparts. They come with an 8-core GPU which helps to significantly improve the graphics performance, but it is not a dedicated graphics card. While it is good for other graphics-intensive work, it is not suitable for gaming.
Gaming and non-gaming keyboards can greatly enhance your day-to-day computing experience. Although laptop keyboards have come a long way in the past decade, there are still some differences between them. MacBook Air comes with a Magic Keyboard, but it is not meant for gaming. The travel distance between keys is quite less, and they are chiclet. They feature scissor mechanism keyboards which are not good for gaming.
Lack of Silicon-Optimized Games on M1 Mac Platform
MacBook Air mostly supports silicon-optimized games. However, most of the games available on Macs are optimized for x86 and x64 platforms. There are very few silicon-optimized games that leave a pretty narrow choice for gamers. Even though most of the games are coming to silicon platforms, they are not fully compatible with the laptop.
Buying a MacBook Air with limited storage is not a good idea if you plan to do a lot of high-end gaming. While the basic model has 256GB of storage, it is no longer enough for modern gamers. Apple has increased the storage capacity of the MacBook Air base model to 256GB and 512GB, but it is still not enough for competitive gaming.
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Will MacBook Air 2022 Be Good for Gaming?
The new MacBook Air 2020 has a powerful processor and a fast SSD, but it is not good for gaming due to its fanless design and lack of discreet GPU. It also has other drawbacks, including a lack of key travel and an unrefined chiclet keyboard. This could change in the 2022 model, as it could feature a refined M1 chip and an improved M2 processor. Still, the MacBook Air isn’t the ideal laptop for gaming, and you’ll need a dedicated graphics card or a multicore processor to get the most out of the computer.
So it is clear that MacBook Air is not good for gaming as it lacks core gaming hardware specifications. While you can use this laptop for silicon-optimized games, i.e., Apple’s Arcade Games, it is not suitable for AAA game titles. While you can still play most games at low settings, it will not deliver the ultimate gaming performance. So if you are looking for a gaming laptop, it is best to choose a different mode.