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View Full Version : SubPar Performance from Mobility 9700!!


Rathen
Jul 10, 2004, 05:25 AM
I got myself a shiny sexy new 15" Powerbook and it is absolutely perfect except for one tiny problem.

Now my only difficulty seems to be with game performance. I recently installed the UT2004 demo, it was almost playable but only when I turned most graphic features off. I assume since the game is so recent it may require more than a portable could handle.
Now I understand my system ram is a bit low and most people would prefer 128mb video, However my previous system used a Geforce 4 MX with 64mb and that was able to handle UT2004 fine.

Ive seen in these forums that mobility Radeon 9700 is comparable to a Desktop 9600, and I know a 9600 is superior to a Geforce 4 MX.

My only clue is that in UT, it only offers me the options of RAVE or Software.
Now I understand RAVE is the rage 128 driver right?
I ran the mac updates so I have no idea why this driver would be in my system. and I can not find the proper drivers available for download anywhere on the net.

Any ideas? Thanks a lot!!!

New Mac user /Greg

yamabushi
Jul 10, 2004, 05:41 AM
This is a known issue with the demo version. The retail version is faster. Having 1GB or more of RAM can also help a lot. The Ati9700 isn't the problem - it is plenty powerful enough for a laptop. The 128MB version would provide slightly better frame rates. A 5400RPM drive will help a little. Also, disabling sound in UT2k4 will give dramatically better perfomance in any single processor Mac if the game still isn't playable.

ddtlm
Jul 10, 2004, 05:44 AM
yamabushi:

Having 1GB or more of RAM can also help a lot.
Yeah some maps/mods really pig down the RAM. I was really surprised how badly it ran on "only" 512MB. :rolleyes:

Rathen
Jul 10, 2004, 06:43 AM
Thanks Ill try a memory upgrade and see what it can do!
Maybe bite the bullet and buy the full version game too.

bousozoku
Jul 10, 2004, 11:06 AM
...
Ive seen in these forums that mobility Radeon 9700 is comparable to a Desktop 9600, and I know a 9600 is superior to a Geforce 4 MX.
...


Remember that nVidia logo at the start of UT2004? It means that you don't get the best performance from ATI video hardware. If you search, you'll find that someone was disappointed with the results from a Radeon 9800 card after having used a GeForce 4MX. It wasn't as spectacular as he thought it would be, although it was more amazing on other games.

yamabushi
Jul 10, 2004, 11:24 AM
Yeah Nvidia cards are supposed to be a little better. I bet the 6800 (and a dual 2.5 G5) makes this game scream even at max quality and full resolution.

Maxx Power
Jul 10, 2004, 12:11 PM
Thanks Ill try a memory upgrade and see what it can do!
Maybe bite the bullet and buy the full version game too.

A friend of a friend of a friend of a previous friend of mine told me this game is downloadable at www.suprnova.org using bit torrent, this along with a few other games. They apparently sprout up sporadically, so check once in a while.

invaLPsion
Jul 10, 2004, 12:15 PM
Thanks Ill try a memory upgrade and see what it can do!
Maybe bite the bullet and buy the full version game too.

The full version of the game runs much faster. A barefeats article showed frame rate increases of 30 - 40 percent. Extra ram also helps a lot!

Maxx Power
Jul 10, 2004, 12:19 PM
Remember that nVidia logo at the start of UT2004? It means that you don't get the best performance from ATI video hardware. If you search, you'll find that someone was disappointed with the results from a Radeon 9800 card after having used a GeForce 4MX. It wasn't as spectacular as he thought it would be, although it was more amazing on other games.

I got a PC with a ATI Radeon 8500, it runs this game with everything set to the absolute max at 11xx by 8xx resolution, and it runs very smooth. Of course, in the same room here, I got a G5 1.6 Ghz, that has a superior ATI Radeon 9600 Pro that runs this game at only 1024 x 768 with a lot of hiccups, frame rates never jump above 20. If you disabled the sound on the G5, the frame rate shoots into the low 50s on the same map. No Macs have hardware accelerated sound support up to date, all sound calculations and mixing is done in software via the CPU for a lot of fps games, this means either suck it up(and get standard stereo sound) or get a PC to play games.

And regarding to the Nvidia optimized game thing you said. Read around the web for a while at the review sites tells us at ATI products consistently outperform Nvidia products in the same market segment in UT2004, image quality and/or speed wise. See http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/ut2004_9.html
The Nvidia optimized game thing as far as i'm concerned is just having washed out textures and non-functional trilinear filtering.

osprey76
Jul 10, 2004, 12:25 PM
No Macs have hardware accelerated sound support up to date, all sound calculations and mixing is done in software via the CPU for a lot of fps games, this means either suck it up(and get standard stereo sound) or get a PC to play games.

The sound issue is well-known with the UT engine. I read they were working on some fixes, but I'm not sure if they were released in the latest update or not. Dual processor Macs don't see the hit because the inefficient sound code is handled by the second processor.

Maxx Power
Jul 10, 2004, 12:40 PM
The sound issue is well-known with the UT engine. I read they were working on some fixes, but I'm not sure if they were released in the latest update or not. Dual processor Macs don't see the hit because the inefficient sound code is handled by the second processor.

Yeah, but i don't know if the sound code is "inefficient". On my PC, the sound allows for 5.1 or 6.1 Eax mode hardware 3d sound. At the least, it allows for 3d hardware sound or software sound. Switching to software sound mode, it's still plenty fast, with negligible loss of speed, due to the fact its using directsound anyway which is a hardware accelerated API in windows. As far as i'm concerned, the Macs have only audio codecs but no actual DSP to process any sound streams, even mixing and volume control (hardware). It would be nice if they allowed for some kind of 3d positional sound on the Mac, if it was possible. Dualies are nice, but shouldn't be required to play a game to enjoy graphics AND sound at the same time. Logic indicates that if i spend several thousand dollars on a semi-professional grade computer, I can expect mostly the best, but alas, one of the major communication routes of the computer to the humans - "Sound" is not quite up to par.

bousozoku
Jul 10, 2004, 02:52 PM
...
And regarding to the Nvidia optimized game thing you said. Read around the web for a while at the review sites tells us at ATI products consistently outperform Nvidia products in the same market segment in UT2004, image quality and/or speed wise. See http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/ut2004_9.html
The Nvidia optimized game thing as far as i'm concerned is just having washed out textures and non-functional trilinear filtering.

I know that ATI products are better, I'm not disputing that. However, for UT2003/UT2004, nVidia seems to work better.

ddtlm
Jul 10, 2004, 03:19 PM
Maxx Power:

I got a PC with a ATI Radeon 8500, it runs this game with everything set to the absolute max at 11xx by 8xx resolution, and it runs very smooth.
Huh? Must be on small maps or something, my friend's ~2ghz 512k Athlon and GF4-4200 is sort marginal at those settings (on large maps), and I've put the hurt on my own ~2ghz 256k Athlon and Rad-9600 playing at 1024x768 or less.

7on
Jul 10, 2004, 04:05 PM
I kinda wish that Apple would go with someone like Creative to make their sound cards.

zakee00
Jul 10, 2004, 05:13 PM
i have a 1.25GHz powerbook with the mobility radeon 9600 pro. that has 64mb of vram, and i have 512mb of system ram. ut2004 works ALRIGHT, on like medium settings. do you think that if i uped the ram to 768mb or even 1gb that i would see better proformance? how much better do you think?
both my ram slots are filled, so i would have to sell a 256mb stick on ebay or something and replace it with a 512 mb stick.

Maxx Power
Jul 10, 2004, 07:40 PM
Maxx Power:


Huh? Must be on small maps or something, my friend's ~2ghz 512k Athlon and GF4-4200 is sort marginal at those settings (on large maps), and I've put the hurt on my own ~2ghz 256k Athlon and Rad-9600 playing at 1024x768 or less.

I got a 2.2 Ghz 512K athlon, ATI Radeon All In Wonder 8500 with 128 MB low latency BGA ram. ! gig system ram ECC running at 400MHZ dual channel. Nforce 2 based mobo.

Maxx Power
Jul 10, 2004, 10:59 PM
i have a 1.25GHz powerbook with the mobility radeon 9600 pro. that has 64mb of vram, and i have 512mb of system ram. ut2004 works ALRIGHT, on like medium settings. do you think that if i uped the ram to 768mb or even 1gb that i would see better proformance? how much better do you think?
both my ram slots are filled, so i would have to sell a 256mb stick on ebay or something and replace it with a 512 mb stick.

Marginal performance increase. UT2004 on my computer uses about 400 megs of ram and harddisk swap in total (i have disabled hard disk swap since i have too much ram). If you got some low latency ram that would help since G4 if bottle necked by the memory bus. It can't take advantage of the DDR, so it's effectively SDR. Reducing the number of channels of sound processed in UT2004 by editing the .ini files in system directory helps, as well as turning off dopler sound, and other forms of pseudo surround sound.

yamabushi
Jul 11, 2004, 07:26 AM
I believe hardware sound is available. The Creative Audigy2 was released a long time ago but never got drivers that worked properly as far as I know so don't buy it. However the M-Audio (http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.main&ID=0ed0405324041d8025a955aa6ae2db1c) Revolution 7.1 Surround sound card is supposed to be in the same class and has received many excellent reviews. It even works fine in OSX and in all G4 and G5 PowerMacs. You can also buy it from the Apple online store but you need to do a search for "revolution" in order to find it.

There are also some external USB versions you can use with your Powerbook but I'm not sure if they would help or not since there would probably be be some cpu overhead. The Sonica Theater 7.1 (http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.main&ID=eee876ef2e6cbb4ac377f83c406e8885) is one such option and appears to be a portable version of the Revolution chipset.

If you buy one of these let us know if it improves your frame rates. :cool:

WALoeIII
Jul 12, 2004, 01:05 AM
A friend of a friend of a friend of a previous friend of mine told me this game is downloadable at www.suprnova.org using bit torrent, this along with a few other games. They apparently sprout up sporadically, so check once in a while.

Don't condone warez retard.

yamabushi
Jul 12, 2004, 02:28 AM
Both discussion of warez and personal attacks such as name-calling are banned on these boards.

titaniumducky
Jul 12, 2004, 07:00 AM
I got myself a shiny sexy new 15" Powerbook and it is absolutely perfect except for one tiny problem.

Now my only difficulty seems to be with game performance. I recently installed the UT2004 demo, it was almost playable but only when I turned most graphic features off. I assume since the game is so recent it may require more than a portable could handle.
Now I understand my system ram is a bit low and most people would prefer 128mb video, However my previous system used a Geforce 4 MX with 64mb and that was able to handle UT2004 fine.

Ive seen in these forums that mobility Radeon 9700 is comparable to a Desktop 9600, and I know a 9600 is superior to a Geforce 4 MX.

My only clue is that in UT, it only offers me the options of RAVE or Software.
Now I understand RAVE is the rage 128 driver right?
I ran the mac updates so I have no idea why this driver would be in my system. and I can not find the proper drivers available for download anywhere on the net.

Any ideas? Thanks a lot!!!

New Mac user /Greg

Before releasing the final version, they did some serious optimization. However, they never updated the demo. Also, there was a bug with sound and single processors; I don't think they fixed it in the demo.

yamabushi
Jul 12, 2004, 09:53 AM
Another hardware sound option is the Echo Indigo (http://www.echoaudio.com/Products/Indigo/index.php) series of PC Cards. Here is a review of the basic model at xlr8yourmac (http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/audio/echo_indigo_review/indigo.html). These cards appear to be great for those who use headphones or external speakers.

Musicians might prefer a more professional solution with lots of connections in an external box such as the RME Hammerfall DSP (http://www.rme-audio.com/english/hdsp/cardpci.htm).

For playing games, watching movies, and listening to music the Echo card is probably better since it doesn't require an external power supply and is much less expensive. However, the RME card claims to have zero cpu load which would be nice.

Maxx Power
Jul 16, 2004, 07:12 AM
Don't condone warez retard.

Don't do name calling, retard.

Maxx Power
Jul 16, 2004, 07:15 AM
Another hardware sound option is the Echo Indigo (http://www.echoaudio.com/Products/Indigo/index.php) series of PC Cards. Here is a review of the basic model at xlr8yourmac (http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/audio/echo_indigo_review/indigo.html). These cards appear to be great for those who use headphones or external speakers.

Musicians might prefer a more professional solution with lots of connections in an external box such as the RME Hammerfall DSP (http://www.rme-audio.com/english/hdsp/cardpci.htm).

For playing games, watching movies, and listening to music the Echo card is probably better since it doesn't require an external power supply and is much less expensive. However, the RME card claims to have zero cpu load which would be nice.

And HOW i ask, are you going to be able to take advantage of this so called HARDWARE sound card ? Does Unreal 2004 uses a sound API that supports hardware acceleration ? NO. Does mac have a API that uses hardware sound acceleration ? NO. NO hardware sound solution exists for the MAC because of the fact there is no standardized API that supports hardware sound for the MAC.

yamabushi
Jul 17, 2004, 04:59 AM
And HOW i ask, are you going to be able to take advantage of this so called HARDWARE sound card ? Does Unreal 2004 uses a sound API that supports hardware acceleration ? NO. Does mac have a API that uses hardware sound acceleration ? NO. NO hardware sound solution exists for the MAC because of the fact there is no standardized API that supports hardware sound for the MAC.

What is your exact defintion of sound acceleration? Most of these cards I mentioned are designed for both platforms and include the same hardware capabilities as similar cards that you may have used with Windows. In fact, in some ways they may exceed them. Yes, the sound is routed a bit differently than under Windows and you are stuck with stereo unless you use some kind of additional sound processing hardware such as those I mentioned. Using Core Audio and by changing output devices it is possible to produce superior sound on a Mac. There are many different ways this could be accomplished, actually. Just ask professional musicians who use Macs. Whether or not a game supports this under Mac versions is a matter to take up with the game developers. Some do, while others have problems with such setups. I don't know which category U2k4 falls in as I haven't tried it with this particular game.

Nermal
Jul 17, 2004, 06:53 AM
A friend of a friend of a friend of a previous friend of mine told me this game is downloadable at www.suprnova.org using bit torrent, this along with a few other games. They apparently sprout up sporadically, so check once in a while.

It'd make more sense to go to a Mac-specific BitTorrent site, rather than a Windows-centric one. But we're not supposed to talk about that sort of thing, so I'll say no more.

Maxx Power
Jul 17, 2004, 01:09 PM
What is your exact defintion of sound acceleration? Most of these cards I mentioned are designed for both platforms and include the same hardware capabilities as similar cards that you may have used with Windows. In fact, in some ways they may exceed them. Yes, the sound is routed a bit differently than under Windows and you are stuck with stereo unless you use some kind of additional sound processing hardware such as those I mentioned. Using Core Audio and by changing output devices it is possible to produce superior sound on a Mac. There are many different ways this could be accomplished, actually. Just ask professional musicians who use Macs. Whether or not a game supports this under Mac versions is a matter to take up with the game developers. Some do, while others have problems with such setups. I don't know which category U2k4 falls in as I haven't tried it with this particular game.

You obviously didn't read what CoreAudio does that makes it supposedly better than windows alternatives. CoreAudio has one potential advantage, which is storing samples as 32bit floating point formats. This is needed, since all calculations and mixing and normalizing, and all subsequent operations are done by the CPU using software, a 32bit sample reserve a lot of accuracy when you manipulate your fourier transforms and reverse transforms. CoreAudio lacks the ability to communicate directly to any DSP, which is designed to do the above list of things in real time or faster than real time in hardware, THAT is hardware accelerated audio. Just think about hardware graphics, your computational horsepower comes from the GPU not the CPU, which frees up the CPU to do more general tasks such as AI. Typical products that support both windows and mac os may include a DSP in the mac version, but unless they include application specific drivers such as CakeWalk Sonar or in this case, UT2004, you won't benefit from using that hardware DSP. This is one of the many reasons why the OS9 and prior audio mode is being phased out, developers had to develop a driver for every software the client wanted to have hardware acceleration in, and this was a big hassle. With OS X, OpenAL (which is used in ut, ut2004, halo, and in the future, most games for mac), is still not hardware accelerated, although since now the audio subsystem is changed in the OS X, it may be a lot easier for Mac to push for a unified standard with hardware acceleration with OpenAL for an API. Only big problem with that is that only two major consumer manufacturors today support the Mac graphics, how many do you think will jump on the Sound card for mac market, which is a lot less lucrative.

Mac_Max
Jul 17, 2004, 06:55 PM
And HOW i ask, are you going to be able to take advantage of this so called HARDWARE sound card ? Does Unreal 2004 uses a sound API that supports hardware acceleration ? NO. Does mac have a API that uses hardware sound acceleration ? NO. NO hardware sound solution exists for the MAC because of the fact there is no standardized API that supports hardware sound for the MAC.

The G5 has a hardware accelerated surround sound IC. UT2K4 will take advantage of it. What are your settings & what are your expectations of the game? Try running it at 800x600. I run most of my games at that resolution & I have no problem what so ever even on antiquated hardware like mine (Overclocked 867MHz G3, Radeon 9100 card in a PCI slot). You can't notice a difference between two frame rates higher than 60-80FPS anyway. If you can then I'd also like to see you walk on water ;).

Maxx Power
Jul 18, 2004, 11:58 AM
The G5 has a hardware accelerated surround sound IC. UT2K4 will take advantage of it. What are your settings & what are your expectations of the game? Try running it at 800x600. I run most of my games at that resolution & I have no problem what so ever even on antiquated hardware like mine (Overclocked 867MHz G3, Radeon 9100 card in a PCI slot). You can't notice a difference between two frame rates higher than 60-80FPS anyway. If you can then I'd also like to see you walk on water ;).
My expectations of the game is high considering this computer costed me 3000 bucks. And regarding to the IC, UT2K4 will not take advantage of it. Refer to an article at barefeats for their tests on dual vs. single and sound on vs. sound off, you'll see that the dual gets the same frame rate as the single with the sound off. This means the processing is done entirely in software. If you go to your OpenAL audio section of the preferences in ut2004.ini (or .int, forgot which one), it clearly has audio channels and other capabilities set to a minimum compared to a hardware audio equipped PC. And at any rate, just to show you what i mean, the GPU isn't holding the system back, when i ran the game at 1280 by 1024, i see minimal performance drop with everything turned to the max, same occurs at 1024 x 768, all the way down to 640 by 480, with a abyssmal frame rate of around 20 on a medium map, there is NO way for this G5 1.6 to get frame rate higher than that unless you turn off the sound, where the frame rate suddenly shoots into the high 50's and occasionally the 70's. The so-called hardware IC is not a DSP, and doesn't support game audio, maybe it supports dolby digital out via the optical, but in UT2004, with the latest patch, there is no surround options avaliable other than just the stereo, on my PC however, I have two different surround modes, but I like stereo anyway.

alxths
Jul 18, 2004, 07:00 PM
Don't condone warez, retard.

wrldwzrd89
Jul 18, 2004, 07:22 PM
The sound issue is well-known with the UT engine. I read they were working on some fixes, but I'm not sure if they were released in the latest update or not. Dual processor Macs don't see the hit because the inefficient sound code is handled by the second processor.
That sound issue's been fixed in the latest update. I don't know about the demo, and a Google search turned up nothing Mac-specific.

jeffbax
Jul 18, 2004, 08:59 PM
Its not the video card, the Mobility 9700 is the best mobile card you can get PC or Mac, its just a fact that the Mac Port isn't as efficient as the PC version and its CPU limited.

I have just about given up in my hopes to get a Mac laptop that can game UT2004 or World of Warcraft. Its simply not there yet, maybe in a newer PB with a better CPU than the G4, I'm not sure.

The fact that Mac is sound handicapped doesn't help either.

As for nVidia being > ATi, that thing in the beginning of UT is nothing but $$$ spent by nVidia. ATi plays just as well, often better than nVidia. Its the Mac platform that is the root of the problems, unfortunately.

I wish apple would get it together and start courting game companies and gamers more, because that is really the only thing Windows has going for it.... but its not a good sign when the game that Steve Jobs shows off at the dev conference is freaking Myst 4. Myst 4, give me a break, nobody wants to see that game! Oh, its so breath-taking... yeah.. because there is nothing going on at all that requires any power.

Sorry, I'm just frustrated that I can't get a PB because of gaming :(

Turning off sound, is just rediculous, as is saying to get a game console.

And you can tell 60 and 80 FPS apart. That "The eye can only see..." is a bunch of bollocks. It is easy to see framerate differences until you hit about 120.

yamabushi
Jul 26, 2004, 06:16 AM
I really wish they would release an updated demo that fixed the performance bug. The retail version is much faster since it includes the patch but most people don't realize this. That means most PC to Mac comparisons are really unfair since they usually only compare the demo. It also hurts sales of the Mac version of the game since many people try out the demo first to see if it is really playable on their hardware.