The new MacBook features a stunning Retina display with over 4 million pixels. The graphics are so clear and sharp, that every image and video is incredibly vivid and lifelike. And with the increased pixel density, you can see even more details and textures.
Graphics Muxes (GMUX) are Apples signature design feature of the MacBook Pro 15 and 17 models from 2010 through 2012. Apples operating system, OSX, uses graphics mux (GMUX) to switch between the integrated Intel graphics chips and the custom AMD graphics chips at will.
To do graphics work, Apples OSX calls a graphics driver, and then the driver calls routines (machine code) stored on a BIOS chip. To display graphics on the screen, your Mac uses a graphics card, usually called the graphics processor unit (or GPU), which may be integrated in your Mac, or located in a separate card.
Thanks to the powerful software inside your Mac, macOS is capable of sensing when your computer needs more graphics power, and can seamlessly switch to the higher-power discrete graphics card if you are doing something graphics-intensive, like gaming. Depending on which model of MacBook Pro you own, you may physically have a choice to choose whether your computer uses a high-power discrete graphics card for better performance, or a lower-power integrated graphics chip for better battery life, using an option known as automatic graphics switching. Depending on how you use your MacBook Pro day-to-day, you may or may not have to take advantage of the Automatic Graphics Switching setting. If you disable this feature, then you just made your Mac capable of using the higher-power discrete graphics card 100% of the time instead of using integrated graphics with Power Sipping.
Another thing to keep in mind is if you are using MacBook, then you need to ensure the eGPU box has sufficient power supply capacity to both power the graphics card and also charge the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. You can charge the MacBook Pro when using an eGPU, though you need to make sure the case that you are using to hold the graphics card is strong enough to handle it. There are no special requirements to hook up the Mac Mini or MacBook Pros to an eGPU, so you can rest assured that all of the graphics enclosures and graphics cards reviewed here will work just fine with them. Most of my tests focused around using Razers Core X Chroma with the Mac, and you will have to stick to Intel GPUs for this purpose as Apple does not support Nvidia graphics cards natively on the Apple.
To see how much Apples new-to-Apple chips enhance graphics and gaming for Mac, we turned to our own benchmark tests. According to Apple, Apples new in-house chip packs 25% more graphics performance than the original M1 while using the same power.
Regardless, Apples new-in-house chip falls short again compared with the M1 Pro and M1 Max, making the older CPUs better choices for workstation-style graphics performance. The added GPU cores means a lot more muscle dedicated to graphics performance, but the chips other improvements should also help, like the increased throughput and a more power-efficient design.
The conclusion is that, even in graphics, the field in which Apples new-homegrown chip promises the biggest advancements from the original M1, it is not yet designed to rival the M1 Pro or the M1 Max. While the M1 Max may be Apples largest chip ever, it is still building graphics inside of the System-on-Chip (SoC) architecture, as opposed to a separate, dedicated RTX 3080 card. While Apple has sold some EGPs outright, and supports Intel graphics cards natively, with no fancy driver gymnastics required, EGPs are still mostly a niche category.
Apple seems to believe that it can offer similar performance to a high-end discrete graphics card, with much lower power consumption. The chip is expected to offer better graphics performance than you will find in any other MacBook laptop, though how that stacks up against Nvidias RTX chips is not clear. That should result in smoother, faster performance on games and other graphics-intensive apps for everyone using either the first laptop to have this, or a MacBook Air.
The new M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros provide an early look at just how far its first M1 chip can scale, offering raw performance rivaling discrete graphics cards that we usually find inside Windows-powered laptops. While Windows-powered laptops have looked more appealing to the Mac crowd for the last five years, Apples new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips change that equation, especially when it comes to the GPU. Apples gaming prospects were always complicated, with few macOS games in comparison with the amount of available Windows titles, and Apples shift away from Intel has made matters worse, since MacBooks no longer share the same CPU architecture and graphics engines as gaming rigs on Windows.
If Apple is serious about games on the Mac OS, Apples going to have to bring in more developers to optimize for macOS games. On a positive note, it is the first time Apple has used the Apple M1 CPU, and that experience will only improve if and when developers are optimized for the Mac OS. The good news is Apple M1 CPU gaming performance is better than I expected, especially considering that Apples first laptop is powered solely by Apples own in-house silicon.
AMD is currently shipping Radeon Pro GPUs within Apples existing Mac Pro models, and if Apples core counts and performance are capable of scaling well GPU-wise, it is easy to see how Apples in-house GPUs can outperform AMDs Radeon PRO W6000X cards. That would bring the maximum CPU cores to 40, with a maximum GPU core count to 128, in a really high-end Mac Pro model, and would really be the test of Apples ability to scale the advantages Apple has with M1.
The good news is you can keep upgrading and replacing those graphics cards to give your Mac an even bigger boost when graphics technology gets better. Mac computers typically run on very basic graphics cards, which can be disappointing if you are looking to play a new computer game.
Aside from gaming, an E GPU makes a big difference if you are using demanding applications like graphics design software, CAD programs, or doing lots of 4K video editing on a Mac, particularly in rendering images and videos. Unless you own one of the newest M1 Macs with Apple silicon, or one of the iMac Pros, an eGPU is a great investment for improving the graphics-processing capabilities of your Mac. The external Thunderbolt 3 graphics card housing of the Razor Core X is actually optimized for NVIDIA notebooks, but the Razor Core X works smoothly with Macs.
Does MacBook have graphics?
Numerous fifteen-inch MacBook Pro notebooks contain both an inbuilt and a separate graphics processing unit (GPU). The separate GPU utilizes more power yet offers strong graphics functionality. By consuming lesser energy, the embedded GPU maximizes battery capacity.
Is MacBook Pro good for graphics?
Macbooks are indeed excellent for art and design. We just discussed how the capability for PostScript and Pagemaker made the early Macs excellent. Even in the present, Macs remain a fantastic option for any graphic artist. On the Mac, there really are numerous excellent graphic design applications.
How do I get better graphics on my MacBook Pro?
Select Apple menu > System Options, select Battery, choose the Battery tab, then disable the automatic graphics swapping checkbox if you wish to always utilize the greater dedicated graphics chip. This option is located in the Energy Saver settings in macOS Catalina versions 10.15 and before.