Can you Use M1 Macbook to Live Stream on Twitch?

If you’re an aspiring Twitch streamer and don’t want to use Windows PC to play your game, you need to know first whether the New Apple M1 CPU is capable enough to play a video game and stream it on Twitch at the same time

Macbook Pro Streaming Dota 2

Not all gamers are Windows PC users. After Apple introduced the Apple M1 CPU on the new MacBook Air, many MacBook users wondered, can you play a game by using MacBook Air? And while you play a video game, can streaming software like OBS live stream it on Twitch?

After researching and testing playing popular video games on MacBook Air M1 with 8GB Ram, we have an answer to your question

Is Apple M1 CPU Good Enough for Twitch Live Streaming?

You can use MacBook Air with Apple M1 CPU to Live Stream on Twitch, but some caveats came with it. Apple M1 CPU only let you stream light competitive game like Fortnite and League of Legends.  You need a more expensive MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max CPU to play graphically demanding games and stream them on Twitch

After our test using a base model M1 Macbook Air with 8Gb RAM, we found no issue playing video game streaming while live-streaming it on Twitch.

Here is the Specification of MacBook Air we use for our Test

MacBook Air used for gaming test
  • Apple M1 Chip with 8-core CPU
  • 8 Core GPU
  • 8GB DDR4 Unified Memory
  • 512GB SSD Storage
  • macOS Monterey 12.1

We Test our MacBook by Playing These Game and Streaming it on Twitch using OBS. We run the game at Medium Quality and 1080p resolution.

Here is the result of our test without streaming the games using OBS:

League Of Legends: 120-150 fps

Dota 2: 65-80 fps

CS: GO: 70-90 fps

Hearthstone: 100-120 fps

Fortnite: 80-100 fps

After Streaming on Twitch using OBS at 720p@60 fps with 6000 bitrates, the FPS number on the game we played dropped substantially, but at an acceptable range

League Of Legends: 100-110 fps

Dota 2: ~ 60 fps

CS: GO: 60-75 fps

Hearthstone: 80-90 fps

Fortnite: 60-70 fps

Even though the framerate is dropped after using OBS, we believe it’s not an issue since MacBook Air Display is capped at 60 Hz, so no matter how much FPS you get from the game, the maximum you will get will always be 60 fps.

Not just competitive online games, we also play popular offline games and stream on Twitch to test whether the M1 MacBook is suitable for the average Gamer and Twitch Streamer.

Divinity Original Sin 2: 45-60 fps

Dirt Rally: 80-100 fps

Shadow of Tomb Raider: 60-70 fps

Civilization 6 (iOS version): ~70 fps

Apple M1 CPU on MacBook Air M1 is not a chip created for heavy demanding tasks. Yes, you can play the game and live stream it on Twitch, but you need to set the graphic quality to low or medium first.

And since most developer doesn’t natively support Apple M1, you will play the game with Rosetta 2 emulation, which can result in a performance penalty

If you still want to continue to use MacBook for your gaming and Twitch streaming purposes, then the best solution is to buy MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max Chip which provide more CPU Cores, GPU Cores, Memories Bandwidth, and RAM, which result in higher gaming and streaming performance

MacBook Air vs. Macbook Pro for Twitch, Which Better?

MacBook Pro is better because you will get more CPU and GPU cores than Macbook Air. On MacBook Pro, you can stream graphic demanding games easily. MacBook Pro is also equipped with fans that let you stream games on Twitch for a longer duration of time than Macbook Air.

Even though it is capable of Twitch Live Streaming, MacBook Air will be crippled by the fanless design and lower RAM availability compared to Macbook Pro. Not only that, Macbook Pro have thicker build quality which can improve air circulation and reduce heat when you stream games on Twitch

Let’s Compare the difference between Apple M1 Chip to M1 Pro Chip and M1 Max Chip for Gaming and Twitch Streaming according to Apple

Apple M1 Macbook Air
Apple M1 Pro  Macbook Pro 14Apple M1 Max Macbook Pro 16
CPU Cores88 or 1010
CPU Performance Cores46 or 88
CPU Efficiency Cores422
GPU Cores7 or 814 or 1624 or 32
Unified Memory/ RAM8GB,
Power Consumption9-30 Watt25-100 Watt30-120 Watt (High Power Mode)
Media EngineVideo decode engine,
Video encode engine
ProRes encode and decode engine
Video decode engine,
2 Video encode engines
2 ProRes encode and decode engines

MacBook Pro will double the GPU core amount, letting you stream video games on Twitch at a higher framerate than MacBook Air. More CPU Performance Cores can let you get a higher frame rate when you stream CPU intensive games like Dota 2 and CS: GO

MacBook Pro allows you to get a higher unified memory capacity on your MacBook. System memory capacity and GPU memory are integrated on Apple M1 Chip. This means that your system RAM is shared with GPU Memory

Higher unified memory capacity lets you play a more demanding game like Fortnite (Yes, Fortnite is demanding if you don’t want to set your graphic low)

You will get a better display on MacBook Pro compared to MacBook Air. Apple Promotion display on MacBook Pro lets you play the game at a maximum of 120 fps, instead of the usual 60 fps on most laptop

The benefit of MacOS as your streaming laptop compared to Windows laptop

Even though Windows PC is better at gaming, using MacBook as your streaming gear allows you to easily edit your stream into short videos using Final Cut Pro. You can upload the videos to YouTube to promote your Twitch channel

Remember that it’s your gaming and social skill that matters on Twitch, not what gears you use for streaming

Even though a disadvantage, using MacBook also allows you to train the skill that actually matters on Twitch instead of 4k 120hz gaming. Many Twitch streamers quickly became a Twitch affiliate using MacBook, so if they can do it, so do you

Is MacBook Air M1 Good Enough to Stream Games on Twitch?

If you only plan to stream light games like League of Legends, Hearthstone, or Among Us, MacBook Air M1 is good enough for stream games on Twitch. Overall our experience using MacBook Air to stream games on Twitch is surprisingly good, and we recommend Mac Fans to consider MacBook Air if they’re a Twitch streamer

We don’t face any significant problems when testing our MacBook Air to stream games on Twitch. Rarely framerate drops do happen. Even though MacBook Air M1 has a fanless design, our framerate stays consistent, proving that Macbook Air doesn’t throttle due to heat generated from the chip. 

While our experience is primarily positive, don’t expect too much if you plan to use Macbook with MacOS to live stream your games on Twitch. It’s important to note that most games are made for the x86 platform (Intel and AMD Chip) instead of built natively for Apple M1

Even though Rosetta 2 can emulate x86 in an ARM environment, you will get a lower frame rate and more likely encounter bugs when you play the game. Luckily, there is a workaround to solve this issue

If your game is not supported on Mac, consider installing apps like  Crossover, Wine, or Parallel, which let you run Windows optimized games on macOS

Gaming is still a limitation on Mac. It’s not a Windows PC with a flexible capability that is more suitable for gaming than Mac. But the result still surprises us. It can handle Twitch streaming like a champ

If you don’t need the extra power on Macbook Pro, Macbook Air is a good choice for beginner Twitch streamers. You can upgrade to Macbook Pro (or build your own Windows PC) later when you gain success on Twitch

How much RAM is Needed to Livestream on Twitch using a MacBook?

If you want to stream your games on Twitch without any hiccup, then make sure to have at least 16 GB RAM or unified memory on your MacBook. Based on our test, 8 GB of unified memory is actually sufficient for gaming on MacBook, but it’s better to get more unified memory if you want to futureproof your streaming laptop

From our test result, we face no issue with using MacBook Air with 8GB Ram for streaming games on Twitch. But we only choose to play light and popular games for our test. 

If you choose to stream League of Legend, Dota 2, Hearthstone, or other popular competitive games which playable on a non-gaming PC, then MacBook Air with 8GB unified memory is enough for you

Will OBS work on the M1 Macbook?

OBS will work on the Apple M1 device by using Rosetta emulation. There is no native M1 chip support yet on OBS, but this is not a big problem since M1 Macbook has 8 CPU cores for gaming and live streaming purposes. Expect that some bug will persist until OBS add native Apple M1 support and optimization

We predict that by how good Apple M1 is on supporting video decode and encoding engine, OBS will add native M1 support on future OBSv28. So this is not a big problem for MacBook user

Categories FAQ
Philip Maynan is a hobbyist streamer and digital artist. What he loves most are writing, gaming, and drawing. Currently, he focuses on blogging and learning digital art.

Leave a Comment