We tried playing PC games on an M1 Max MacBook Pro — it was a disaster

Oct 31, 2021
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You are not just running Windows inside a virtual machine to do this. The only versions of Windows that will run on Apple Silicon are the Arm64 beta versions of Windows, which include an x86 to ARM interpreter for legacy Windows x86 software, which is a further roadblock to the games running well.

This isn't an indictment of gaming on Apple Silicon, as it would pose a similar issue to gaming on Windows 10 or 11 equipped computers that are equipped with ARM processors like Snapdragons, or even the Microsoft Surface Pro X with Microsoft's SQ1 or SQ2 processors (both use ARM instruction sets).

It would be nice for developers to move their development processes forward to start to handle the future of computing beyond phones and tablets - ARM will soon be in most laptops and desktops because the instruction set allows for a lot better thermal performance in a given configuration, and is showing to be able to scale to high-compute intensiveness.
 
Oct 26, 2021
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You are not just running Windows inside a virtual machine to do this. The only versions of Windows that will run on Apple Silicon are the Arm64 beta versions of Windows, which include an x86 to ARM interpreter for legacy Windows x86 software, which is a further roadblock to the games running well.

This isn't an indictment of gaming on Apple Silicon, as it would pose a similar issue to gaming on Windows 10 or 11 equipped computers that are equipped with ARM processors like Snapdragons, or even the Microsoft Surface Pro X with Microsoft's SQ1 or SQ2 processors (both use ARM instruction sets).

It would be nice for developers to move their development processes forward to start to handle the future of computing beyond phones and tablets - ARM will soon be in most laptops and desktops because the instruction set allows for a lot better thermal performance in a given configuration, and is showing to be able to scale to high-compute intensiveness.
Absolutely true. These game tests are bogus. They are x86 Mac games (often poor ports) being emulated by the Rosetta translation layer becuase they don't run natively on Apple Silicon (ARM). It really says nothing about the power of the GPU.
 
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Oct 31, 2021
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We tested a variety of PC games on the MacBook Pro 16-inch via Parallels — here's what happened.

We tried playing PC games on an M1 Max MacBook Pro — it was a disaster : Read more
What a long way to go to waste time on and find fault in an Apple product jumping through SO many 3rd party hoops to do so.

There is SO much middleware here. Emulators/interpreters, beta OS on ARM architecture, virtual machine software that is really not designed for serious gaming. Do you really think gamers are going to go through all this just to play a game on an Apple Silicon Mac? Heck no, they will wait for top tier game to be released that can be played natively.

It was an interesting perspective on what could be used to do this, I just feel like it is disingenuous.
 
Oct 31, 2021
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This is actually an important information for prospect buyers.

Regardless of whose fault it is, the bottom line is one just shouldn't expect to be able to run serious games on these Macbook pros. I don't care if this is not Apple's fault.
 
Oct 31, 2021
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Windows x86 emulation on Windows ARM is notorious poor, hence the reason it’s still in beta. Unlike Mac application which for most users is seamless running non M1 optimized software. To be a fair and unbiased review you should identify how much of the performance issue is actually associated with the Windows software translation.
 
Nov 1, 2021
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most of the test stuff didnt even run yet you didnt even bother to try alternatives like crossover lol
 
Nov 2, 2021
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What a joke.

you tried to run games in a virtual machine. Obviously it’s going to run like crap.

there’s an entire YouTube channel dedicated to m1 gaming.

you need to use crossover (made by the people who built valve proton).

the performance through crossover is phenomenal.
 
Nov 1, 2021
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What a long way to go to waste time on and find fault in an Apple product jumping through SO many 3rd party hoops to do so.

There is SO much middleware here. Emulators/interpreters, beta OS on ARM architecture, virtual machine software that is really not designed for serious gaming. Do you really think gamers are going to go through all this just to play a game on an Apple Silicon Mac? Heck no, they will wait for top tier game to be released that can be played natively.

It was an interesting perspective on what could be used to do this, I just feel like it is disingenuous.
Thanks for the comment.

It wasn't our intention to find fault in the M1 Max chip. In fact, we specifically say the main issue is that publishers have not properly optimized their games to run on mac OS. We believe both the M1 Pro and M1 Max GPUs are capable of delivering quality gaming experiences. But as things stand, they don't (unless games are optimized for macOS).

We received a comment in a previous post saying that you can play PC games on Mac via Parallels without a problem. We tested this ourselves and posted the results. Again, we aren't here to find fault in Apple's new chips. We wanted to post the results of our test as we felt it would be interesting to our readers.
 
Nov 7, 2021
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This is disingenuous to the point of absurdity. On top of the fact that you would need to be running an ARM version of Windows and the fact that everything you do is through an emulation and translation layer, Parallels itself can only allocate a maximum of 2GB of VRAM, and it doesn't handle graphics APIs particularly well (try playing anything using Vulkan through Parallels, I dare you!).

You have absolutely no idea what proportion of your tests are the results of Apple Silicon issues or Parallels issues, but you certainly don't let that stop you! Your 'article' as woefully ill-equipped to convey any useful information at all, considering how myopic the conclusions reached are.
 
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Nov 6, 2021
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This is disingenuous to the point of absurdity.
The idea of reporting on how well well Windows games perform on the M1 Macs isn’t absurd in and of itself.

What’s absurd is the failure to do even the most elementary bit of research into the topic. I thought the people at tom’s guide were supposed to be professional journalists?

Andrew Tsai, the founder of the PC and Apple gaming wikis has a series of very informative videos on YouTube detailing how many games can perform adequately or even very well on M1 macs , including several that are written off here as unplayable. There is lots more detailed info on the aforementioned wiki.

Whilst a few simple configuration changes could have resulted in a dramatically better experience using Parallels for the authors of this article, they also fail to make any mention of Crossover, an alternative to Parallels that offers close to native performance for some games.

If someone at Toms guide had thought to put “m1 Mac gaming” Into Google before they they started to type this article, all this info would have been at their fingertips.
 
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Nov 19, 2021
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I agree with the other poster, this is disingenuous to the point of absurdity. What an embarrassment for tom's guide journalists. No gamer would play through parallels, its intended purpose is convenience for lightweight non-native apps.

All gamers would have simply installed windows on the MacBook Pro on a second partition, that's how its always been done. You purposefully hindered the performance of your tests with a uncommon and inappropriate configuration. When none of them worked maybe you should have thought "this can't be right, we shouldn't publish a whole article that says GaMeS dOnT WoRk On MaCbOoK" because they obviously do if you watch any gaming review on youtube of the new M1 chip.
 
Nov 6, 2021
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All gamers would have simply installed windows on the MacBook Pro on a second partition, that's how its always been done.
Unfortunately that isn't currently possible on the new M1 macs. Parallels or Crossover/Wine are the only way to play Windows games. The arm version of Windows 11 is only licensed by Microsoft for native installation on systems with a Qualcomm CPU. Until that changes, boot camp on M1 Macs won't be an option. Even when the exclusivity deal expires (and it could well be another couple of years) proper boot camp support would require Apple to release a Windows driver for the M1 GPU, which isn't at all guaranteed, especially as most WIndows apps apart from games run just fine in a VM.
 
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