Why the New MacBook Pro Won’t Be a Great Gaming Laptop

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Why the New MacBook Pro Won’t Be a Great Gaming Laptop
Apple's new MacBook Pros
Image: Apple

Apple just took the wraps off its redesigned MacBook Pros featuring new custom M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. And while I can’t help but be impressed by Apple’s lofty performance claims, folks are now wondering if this means the new MacBook Pros are suddenly good gaming laptops now. We haven’t used the new Pros so it’s too soon to tell, but I would venture to say the answer is no, not really.

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The new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips have 10-core CPUs, with the Pro sporting a 16-core GPU and the Max a 32-core GPU integrated into the same SoC (system on a chip), allowing for increased performance and better energy efficiency. And on top of the increased core counts, Apple’s new chips also have the benefit of being able to share up to 32GB on the Pro or 64GB on the M1 Max of unified memory between its CPU and GPU—something that allows for speedy memory bandwidths of up to 200 GB/s (Pro) or 400 GB/s (Max).

And thanks to these changes in architecture, Apple says the performance of its new MacBook Pros doesn’t take a hit when running solely on battery, so you’ll get the same blazing performance regardless of where you are. That’s really nice, especially coming from a lot of Windows laptops that automatically drop down to a more conservative performance profile when operating unplugged.

When compared to the latest 8-core PC laptop chip, Apple says the M1 Pro provides 1.7 times the CPU performance at the same power level while using 70% less power, and the M1 Pro’s GPU is up to 7 times faster than the same 8-core PC laptop’s integrated graphics, and delivers more performance using 70% less power compared to a discrete GPU for PC notebooks.