can mac m4 run games? gaming on m4 mac

Can Mac M4 run games?

A while ago, we published an article titled “Can Mac M3 run games?“. Apple has been busy at work since then; just recently, they’ve introduced a new M4 chip. Naturally, we decided to cover it as well. Although the chip is available only for iPad at the moment, it will perform, generally, in the same way when installed in a Mac or a MacBook. So we already have a rough understanding of its gaming performance. Let’s dive into it!

Can Mac M4 run games?

Rather obviously, M4 is better than its predecessor, M3, in every capacity. Apple wouldn’t bother releasing a new chip if it wasn’t an improvement! However, not all of these improvements are important for gaming.
Apple claims that M4 is 50% better when it comes to CPU performance compared to M2. A comparison with M3 was not provided, but we can calculate it ourselves. M4 should be about 30% better than M3 CPU-wise, according to these calculations. It’s a decent improvement, but CPU power is generally not the deciding factor in gaming.
When it comes to the GPU, the performance is likely to be similar to its M3 counterpart. Although features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading are new to the iPad, they were already present in Apple’s desktops and laptops with the M3 chip. However, we should expect it to be at least somewhat more powerful; a 10 to 20 percent increase in GPU performance seems like a reasonable estimate.
M4 chip also has better memory bandwidth: 120 GB/s as opposed to M3’s 100 GB/s. Although most people, gamers included, don’t pay much attention to this metric, RAM that is 20% faster may also improve FPS in some games.


Overall, M4 seems substantially better than M2, but only marginally better than M3. Therefore, buying a new M4 MacBook Pro the second it comes out will not be a wise investment if you already have a M3 machine. But if you have an M2, M1, or an Intel Mac, such an upgrade may be worthwhile. Obviously, however, it still depends on your circumstances; if you don’t feel any real need to upgrade, there’s no point in chasing higher numbers.
Mac M4 will improve gaming performance slightly, but it will not solve the biggest problem with gaming on Mac. You know what we’re talking about; it’s the lack of games to play. Apple made an effort to make its platform better in this regard, but it’s unlikely that we will see an influx of new macOS games anytime soon.
Therefore, the best way to utilize Apple Silicon hardware for gaming is to use it to run Windows games. Several easy methods are listed below.

Several ways to play Windows games on M4 Mac

Use Parallels Desktop

use parallels desktop to run windows games on m3 mac

Parallels Desktop is a virtualization program, which essentially means that it lets you install other operating systems on your Mac. It is extremely easy to use – you will be able to install Windows with just a couple of clicks. As a result, you will also be able to install Windows versions of Steam and Epic Games Store, and play most games in their libraries.
There are some limitations: for example, Parallels cannot run DirectX12 games, and may trip some anti-cheating software. But it is generally a very capable tool when it comes to playing Windows games on Mac. Since it comes with a 14-day free trial, there’s no reason not to give it a try.

Download Parallels Desktop

Use CrossOver

use crossover to run windows games on m3 mac

CrossOver, developed by CodeWeavers, is a Windows compatibility layer, which means it can run many Windows-based applications without virtualization. Though compatibility layers can be tricky to work with, CrossOver in particular includes user-friendly configuration tools and automated installation scripts. As such, it is a relatively easy way to run Windows games on M3 Mac. Though CrossOver doesn’t support DirectX12 games, there is an unofficial tool that adds this functionality. Unfortunately, it also has issues with anti-cheating toolkits. But most Windows games run just fine. Go ahead and check it out; conveniently, it also comes with a 14-day free trial.

Download CrossOver

Use other methods

Other ways to run Windows games on M3 Macs include Apple’s Game Porting Toolkit, VMWare Fusion, as well as cloud gaming services like Boosteroid and AirGPU. These methods are generally less useful than the ones listed above. Game Porting Toolkit and VMWare Fusion are pretty difficult to set up, while cloud gaming services charge a monthly subscription and require a fast internet connection.

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