Why Macbooks Have No Game

I’ve recently been considering buying a high-end laptop with full gaming capabilities. Shopping around online, I soon realize that there are a ton of makers of “gaming” laptops. Any veteran gamers out there will know that laptops just can’t compare to desktops when it comes to things like gaming (at least in similar prices ranges). However, with prices and performance improving, the offerings are becoming more and more tempting.

The immediate players that come into mind when in the market for higher end laptops are Macbooks (by Apple), Alienware (by Dell), and Qosmio (by Toshiba). At least this is what I got when I asked the sales representative.

Macbooks are very popular and everyone feels like they NEED one. However, when it comes to gaming, Macbooks come up short time and time again. The main factor to consider is that Macbooks use the GT335M graphics card. In comparison, most gaming laptops have cards that double the capabilities of the 335M.

On top of that, Macbooks are selling at a price that is comparable or even higher than most other manufacturers. The 15 inch Pro is already $1800 and the 17 inch is $2300. Alienware offers their premium M17x with a HD5870 card for $2000 and Toshiba offers their Qosmio with an 18.4 inch screen and a GTX460M for $2200. These two laptops will vastly outperform the Macbook Pro. Notebookreviews has performance of the HD5870/ GTX460M at 45% higher than the GT335M.

All these laptops are certainly luxury items. Alienware comes will face recognition and customizable colour schemes while the Qosmio has a full Harmon Kardon sound system (subwoofer built-in). The Macbook Pro is …. expensive.

The hardware simply does not justify the pricing (even premium pricing). The only reason why anyone should consider a Macbook over another system is for the use of OSX. Considering a laptop with similar performance to a Macbook can be bought for half the price, the premium paid for using OSX seems awfully high. To be fair, Apple does not market its series of laptops as “gaming”. However, there are many out there that purchase Macbooks for games.

Fortunately, Apple will be updating their laptops with new Sandy Bridge processors and hopefully a new video card later in the year. This will seriously boost gaming capabilities of their entire line of Macbooks. However, one can only assume that other makers (Dell, Toshiba etc.) are going to do the same and stay one step ahead of Apple.

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  1. Gaming on Mac OSX has been a lot better in the last few years, especially with support from Steam/Valve. I know its not close to where PC gaming is but its starting to be a more viable platform to have for gaming.

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