Is Mac Mini Good for Gaming?

Mac Mini is not a dedicated gaming machine. It does not support most games. But, you can still play games similar to those supported by the Mac thanks to its standard 8GB of memory, which can be expanded.

I’ve been an Apple enthusiast and own a Mac Mini. In this article, I will analyze whether Mac Mini is favorable for games. And if not, then why.

Sit back, and read on with a steaming cup of coffee!

What Makes the Mac mini?

Honestly, Mac desktops or Macbooks have never been the primary choice of gamers. But the latest line of computers from Apple, including the all-new Mac Mini, marks a fresh chapter. The device is equipped with the firm’s first in-house silicon instead of an Intel SoC.

The M1 chip provides a robust set of multi-core hardware even in its base models, as well as the “fastest graphics in a personal computer,” according to Apple, although the jury is still out on that.

This M1 processor is based on the same technology that runs your iPhone and iPad so that you can play iOS games on it.

Performance of Desktop Games on Mac Mini (M1)

Warzone 

Yes, Warzone is compatible with Macs. The procedure for playing the game is reasonably straightforward. Please refer to the guide for details. Modern Warfare’s release time differs according to two scenarios.

GTA

As of this writing, there is no Mac version of GTA5 yet. Therefore, the game must be installed in Windows via Bootcamp. To install this program, you will need to have a 64-bit version of Windows 7, 8, or 10. 

Intel’s Iris 5100 graphics processor powers the graphics on the latest Mac Mini. The Mac Mini does not support the installation of a graphics card.

Minecraft 

You should be able to play vanilla Minecraft at a high enough frame rate, and for the most part, you will not experience any lag. Firstly, I would like to provide an overview of the setup I used for these tests. I used a Mac Mini with 16 GB of RAM.

STEAM Games

One method of getting Windows-only games onto your Mac Mini is boot camp. Even though Macs do not come with Windows, you can install it on your Mac Mini using Boot Camp. As a result, every time you play a Windows PC game, you can reboot your Mac into Windows.

Resource-Intensive games 

It has always been difficult for Mac users to access desktop games. It is still impossible to play games, such as PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG), on macOS. Most of them, at least until developers update their games to support the M1 chip are converted via Rosetta, Apple’s middleware that enables you to use software designed for Intel processors. 

GPU processes generally do not require as much support from third parties as software applications that rely mainly on CPUs, such as a web browser. However, it is good to remember that genuinely compatible apps will always result in better performance. This was not a favorable scenario for the Mac mini.

I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised to discover that several resource-intensive games ran smoothly on my M1 Mac mini. Even with a Bluetooth-enabled PS4 controller, I was able to play titles such as Counter-Strike Global Offensive and Shadow of the Tomb Raider at the highest 1080p settings and averaged 40 frames per second.

Although I did have to lower the graphics to medium and disable finer aspects like shadows, to attain 60 frames per second, in the same way, both Fortnite and Rocket League were playable; however, both of these games have since been discontinued for macOS.

There were times when I experienced stuttering, especially during high-activity situations like the online multiplayer gunfights in CS: GO and Fortnite. Meanwhile, graphics-heavy games that do not require continuous interaction, such as Firewatch, have no problems. 

They can be played on the highest setting. In addition to handling games on the Mac App Store easily, the M1 Mac mini rendered Asphalt 9 much more smoothly than games on other marketplaces or Steam.

The Mac Mini’s GPU also does an excellent job of managing heat, another highlight of the system. Over the course of a week of testing, the device’s temperature barely reached warm levels. 

I attempted to open numerous games simultaneously, including CS: GO and Fortnite, but I could not get the fan to spin.

iOS Games

An advantage of M1’s ARM architecture is that you can run iOS games on your computer in addition to traditional desktop games. Many of these games, including Among Us and Monument Valley 2, have already been updated for M1 chipsets. 

You can play them without any problems. But you will have to use your mouse and keyboard in lieu of a touchscreen, which is a drawback for many games. 

In addition, even those iOS games that are not officially available on the Mac App Store yet, such as Call of Duty: Mobile, run fine on the Mac. It can be played on full screen after the Big Sur 11.1 update.

3 Ways to Play Your Favorite Games on Mac Mini 

Here are a few methods you can use to play your favorite games on your Mac Mini.

Using Virtual Machine

Gaming on a PC has traditionally been associated with Windows. Despite this, games are not limited to Windows only. Many games can be played on a Mac nowadays. In addition, Macs have proven to be faster than Macs at running Windows games. 

This is due to the faster performance of Windows graphics on similar hardware than macOS graphics. The reason for this is the optimization of Windows drivers and the differences in the structure of the different operating systems.

Your Mac Mini may not be capable of playing your favorite Windows game, but you may be able to run the game with Parallels on your Mac Mini. Using this method allows you to play your game without experiencing any hassles, such as streaming or rebooting.

In-home Streaming 

You may opt to stream the game on your Mac Mini if you already have a powerful gaming PC with adequate graphics hardware and processing power. 

Using the in-home streaming feature, your Windows computer allows you to send your favorite game to your Mac Mini from the laptop. With this feature, you can play games on your Mac Mini while your computer does the heavy lifting.

Boot Camp 

Macs are equipped with a feature known as Boot Camp, which allows you to switch between Windows and macOS. 

Your Mac Mini can be configured to run Windows-only games through Boot Camp. Boot Camp can install Windows on your Mac Mini since Macs do not come with Windows.

If you wish to play Windows PC games on your Mac, reboot into Windows. However, you will need to continuously reboot your Mac when you want to play games. 

Final Words

The Mac Mini does not offer an optimal gaming experience by any means. As gaming platforms and stores, such as Steam and Epic Games Installer, have not been optimized for the M1 chip yet, I was frequently forced to force-quit and restart games to begin playing. 

Although you may be able to avoid these inconveniences by using Windows virtual machines; The FPS and graphics will remain inferior. You may be a Mac enthusiast, therefore preferring the Mac experience over the Windows experience. 

This will cause you to miss out on many games that cannot be played on a Macintosh. As long as you do not mind the hassle, you can apply any of the above solutions to play Windows games on an M1 Mac Mini.

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