Vega 20 MacBook Pro (2018) gaming review

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Apple MacBook Pro is no longer restricted to rendering videos or editing photos as it can now play big games. 

If you now have a Vega 20 MacBook Pro and you want to play some games on your machine, then you have come to the right place. We are going to find out if your shiny MacBook Pro can run the latest gaming titles on the market.

First, can a Mac play games well?

Native gaming on Apple Mac is not great, as you may experience crashes or lags. To boost your gaming experience, I recommend you run Windows 10 using BootCamp or run an external GPU.

In reality, the GPUs that Apple has included in recent Mac devices are a small upgrade from their previous generations. Indeed, the Radeon Pro 560X graphics card found inside the standard 2018 MacBook Pro is still based on Polaris, like its previous generations, but clocked a little bit faster.

average FPS

In recent years, Apple has added the Vega GPU options to its MacBook Pro and iMac for superior performance. Indeed, you can configure your MacBook Pro with a Vega 20 GPU, but it’s a $350 upgrade. In reality, I got better performance when it comes to gaming, but it’s not massive.

performance

Some intense-graphics games like The Witcher 3, Destiny 2, Black Ops 4, or Rise of the Tomb Raider are barely playable at the highest settings at 1880p on the Radeon 560X. When it brought everything down to a medium at 1080, I got around 48 frames per second. Of course, you will a better gaming experience on an iMac with Vega 48 GPU.

Fortnite

Fortnite is insanely popular out there with over 250 million players worldwide. Basically, Fortnite includes a battle royal mode where 10 players fight to be the last person standing. In reality, Fortnite is now available on macOS, but I recommend you run it under Windows 10 for better performance.

I ran some tests with different settings and the results surprised me. At 1880p with everything maxed out, I got around 22 fps. Meanwhile, the game ran smoothly (up to 93 fps) at 1200p with medium presets.

test

I also tested the game on the Vega 48 iMac with maxed-out configurations. At 5K with epic settings, I got around 17 fps while the game ran at 48 fps at medium settings. At 1440p with high presets, I got a consistent 60 fps. There is a huge fps boost on the iMac with Vega 48 GPU, but the game still runs smoothly on the Vega 20 with proper settings.

Battlefield 5

Battlefield 5, which is set in the World War II era, is the next version in the franchise. The game retains what we have always loved about the series while adding a slew of new things, like new Airborne mode, more weapon customization, or Firestorm.

Battlefield 5

I tested the game on my 2019 5K Vega 48 iMac at 1440p with ultra presets and I got around 48 fps, which is pretty good. With high presets, the game ran at around 55 fps. At lowest settings, the game ran at around 86 fps, which is pretty impressive.

Battlefield 5

Vega 20 MacBook Pro (2018)

5k Core i9 Vega 48 iMac (2019)
1440p, everything maxed-out

≈ 15

≈ 45 fps
1440p, high settings

≈25

≈55 fps

1440p, lowest settings

≈35

≈90

1080p, high texture quality with medium settings

≈65 fps

Not tested

1080p, texture quality: Ultra with medium settings

≈57

Not tested

1080p, lighting quality: Ultra, Texture quality: Ultra

≈50

Not tested

I also tried playing Battlefield 5 on the Vega 20 MacBook Pro and the game ran smoothly at 1080p. Specifically, the game was played at 1080p with everything set to medium and Motion Blur now enabled, and I got around 64 frames per second.

In short, if you want to play Battlefield 5 on your MacBook Pro or iMac, then you are good to go. Keep in mind that Battlefield 5 uses EA’s Frostbite engine, which is highly optimized for gaming on both high-end and budget machines.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Black Ops 4 is the latest title in the Call of Duty franchise, building on what we have loved about the series with a lot of changes. What’s new about this game is that it does not have a single-play campaign. It, instead, focuses on competitive multiplayer and battle royal.

Call of Duty:Black ops 4

Black Ops 4 is not available on macOS, so make sure you run Windows 10 using Boot Camp. I tried playing the game on the Vega 20 MacBook Pro and here is how Apple’s Pro laptop performed.

Call of Duty Black Ops 4

Vega 20 MacBook Pro (2018

1200p, high texture quality, medium special effects quality, and motion blur disabled Between 45 and 65 frames per second  (Icebreaker Map)
1200p, medium presets Around 60 frames per second (all maps)
1080p, medium settings, and Very High texture quality Around 90 frames per second (all maps)

In short, the game runs smoothly on the Vega 20 MacBook Pro. I hardly got lags during my gaming session, which is pretty cool. At 1080p, the game ran at a consistent 60 frames per second, which is impressive for a decent gaming setup.

Verdict

If you are in the market for a MacBook that can play some new games at medium settings, then grab the MacBook Pro with Vega 20. In reality, the Vega 20 really makes a difference when it comes to gaming as it helps to boost frame rates, but it’s not massive. If you want to enjoy games at higher resolution and better frame rates, then get the Vega 48 iMac.

Got any questions? Let us know in the comments below.

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