Is the graphics card model enough to compare a notebook's gaming performance? If a non-Apple gaming notebook that has better external graphics card than MacBook Pro; does it mean that the game performance would be better?

We all know the how useful Mac OS X is as an operating system. But does it have a real impact for gaming performance?

Let me demonstrate my question. Think there are 2 notebooks like the specs defined as:

  • Notebook A: NVidia GeForce GTX 980M, non-Apple notebook
  • Notebook B: NVidia GeForce GTX 880M, Apple notebook

And assume that all the other hardware specs are same. Which notebook provides better gaming performance in terms of Frames Per Second (FPS)?

  • Hypothetical questions don't work so well here. If you can rewrite the question to focus on a real-world problem (which shouldn't be a shopping recommendation though), please do so. – nohillside Oct 13 '15 at 12:04
  • actually I am not looking for a shopping recommendation; instead of that just asking the performance effect of an operating system in terms of facts. If I target getting a shopping advice, I would mention specific notebook models. @patrix – talha06 Oct 13 '15 at 16:17

It Depends

a huge Depends really

TLTR: You can't do it. You have to test both in an real world task, in this Case the Game. It will be always a unfair competition. Some points to think about:

Mac OSX and Metal

Since Apple Introduced Metal it is even harder to compare. In this Case, the game has to use Metal by Apple. If it uses legacy OpenGL, it won't give you a speedup. But if Metal is available and used, the game will run faster than on the same Hardware without Metal.

Macbook and Bootcamp

I hade on some Steam Apps with my Macbook with OS-X better FPS than my Colleague (if i remember correctly a Alienware M14x.R2) with the same Graphic-Card as my Macbook Pro Retina 2012. Then i tried it with Bootcamp and i got 5% less FPS in Average case. So Mac OS (and it's Graphics Driver) is more performant in most tasks (even Games) in my case But you can not say it is 5% better in each task/case.

FPS Comparison

Is alway bad, every benchmark is a test scenario and not a Real-Event. So the best way to find out is to install the Game on each Notebook and run the same Level with same Settings. You may also look at Notebookcecks Benchmarks Sometimes there are even MacBooks tested.

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  • Thanks for sharing your experience @bMalum. These comparisons are useful to compare hardware such as GPU, CPU, HDD, etc. But the one I am looking for is the direct impact of operating system itself. – talha06 Oct 13 '15 at 11:22
  • @talha06 I assumed in this answer all Components are the same. In my experience OSX is a bit more performant, but if you want to compare 2 different Graphic-Cards with 2 different Operating Systems you have to do some tests to get a answer on your Question for the 'Operating System' impact. – bMalum Oct 13 '15 at 11:26
  • similar to the one you mentioned, tests on 2 different operating systems that use same graphics cards can be enough to identify the performance affect of operating system too. – talha06 Oct 13 '15 at 11:31
  • @talha06 definitely, in your Question are 2 different Graphics Cards that confused me now :D - If Metal is enabled Mac OSX wins for sure. With OpenGL it will depend on the Driver and Implementation, but i guess Mac will be a bit faster, but i do not guarantee. – bMalum Oct 13 '15 at 11:34
  • this was just to reveal if the Mac OS X provides a real advantage - even with less capable hardware. If not, I asked if Mac OS X can provide performance with the same hardware. – talha06 Oct 13 '15 at 16:19

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