It’s a big day in the Apple world as the company announced not just the new Macs that will run on its own ARM-based Silicon but also the Silicon itself. Naturally, the company sang the Apple M1’s praises, showing off how it ran circles around even an Intel Core i7. But while those boasts included some graphics performance, Apple conveniently left out the fine detail that might leave a growing number of Mac gamers feeling a little abandoned by the transition to Apple Silicon.
Macs have never really been big on gaming and not just because of the platform differences between macOS and Windows. Although not lacking in processor power and memory, Macs and especially MacBooks have been short on the graphics processing side, even with options for embedded graphics chips from NVIDIA.
That changed last year, thanks to Apple’s switch to Thunderbolt 3 as well as support for external graphics cards or eGPUs. Along with better support for games on macOS, Apple’s computers, even the humble Mac Mini, suddenly become decent gaming devices and graphics workstations.
Unfortunately, that didn’t carry over to the new M1 Macs, something that Apple has been rather silent about. While the new ARM Macs do have Thunderbolt 3 support, they leave out eGPU support which has now become exclusive to what will eventually become legacy hardware running on Intel processors. It isn’t clear if the problem lies in software or deep in the ARM-based M1’s design and it’s even less clear if it is something Apple plans on adding back in the near future.
What is clear, at least based on Apple’s press event, is that gaming isn’t exactly a key concern as it focused more on the other use of graphics processing hardware, namely video editing and rendering, which will appeal more to creatives and multimedia workers that have traditionally been Apple’s biggest customers. The company might not be in a hurry to add eGPU support either as it has its own Apple Arcade, which it can make more money from, and those will most likely run great on these M1 Macs.