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Old Jul 19, 2013, 10:53 PM   #76
Dirtyharry50
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Originally Posted by saturnotaku View Post
Not for OS X. The Steam client is still lousy and their ports are sub par. I can run Portal 2 on the Boot Camp side of my MBP fully maxed at native resolution. In OS X the same game requires I lower the resolution and details to even get close to the same performance.
Steam client works great here.
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 01:37 AM   #77
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Not for OS X. The Steam client is still lousy and their ports are sub par. I can run Portal 2 on the Boot Camp side of my MBP fully maxed at native resolution. In OS X the same game requires I lower the resolution and details to even get close to the same performance.
All I can say is that it works great on my Mac-side. I only use Bootcamp for non-valve games on Steam, and I can hardly tell a difference.
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 06:47 AM   #78
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Outdated, unoptimized drivers, use of OpenGL instead of the updated and constantly improving Dirext X , poor hardware compared to the PC versions (apple uses OEM custom Bios on its video hardware, which also tends to have half the Ram or less of the PC equivalent of the same card, also, Apples cards tend to be under-clocked to reduce heat and power consumption , the Use of laptop grade GPUs in desktops (not always the rule with iMacs,depends on the generation)

Badly optimized code from developers who don't want to spend the time optimizing the mac code for the few extra sales it brings

And

Badly Ported games, the ones that are stuck in wrappers instead of actually natively ported (Dragon Age is an example off the top of my head)


For an example of HOW to port a game to the Mac, See the Lego-series or Borderlands 2
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 10:47 AM   #79
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which also tends to have half the Ram or less of the PC equivalent of the same card
That's much less true than it once was. 2011 and later MacBook Pros could be equipped with graphics hardware equivalent to their Windows counterparts. While you could get some non-Mac notebooks with a 2 GB Radeon 6770M, that much vRAM is overkill for the performance it delivers.
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 10:55 AM   #80
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That's much less true than it once was. 2011 and later MacBook Pros could be equipped with graphics hardware equivalent to their Windows counterparts. While you could get some non-Mac notebooks with a 2 GB Radeon 6770M, that much vRAM is overkill for the performance it delivers.
I have to disagree slightly the Apple Retina MBP only has 1GB of VRAM is limiting given the huge resolution on that laptop. Some ultra options are not possible on most Mac's as you need 2GB of VRAM to run those modes due to high quality textures taking up a lot of space.

Overall you are correct the Mac / PC delta is not as big as it was but comparing PC Gaming level machines to default Mac specs then you notice the difference. If you compare things like the 27" iMac with the 2GB NV680 the gap is much smaller

Edwin
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 11:02 AM   #81
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Outdated, unoptimized drivers
Yes, although 10.9 should resolve much of this from the system side.

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Originally Posted by Nightarchaon View Post
use of OpenGL instead of the updated and constantly improving Dirext X
While it is true that Apple uses OpenGL instead of Directx, your characterization of OGL as not updated and not constantly improving is incorrect. With their newest versions, both OpenGL and Directx are largely at feature parity. The problem has been with Apple's historically slow-to-update implementation of OpenGL. Now at 3.2, while the latest OGL version is at 4.4 as of this month. Mavericks will ship in a month or two with at least 4.1 functionality, eliminating much of the concerns about feature deficit in OSX.
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 11:06 AM   #82
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I have to disagree slightly the Apple Retina MBP only has 1GB of VRAM is limiting given the huge resolution on that laptop. Some ultra options are not possible on most Mac's as you need 2GB of VRAM to run those modes due to high quality textures taking up a lot of space.

Overall you are correct the Mac / PC delta is not as big as it was but comparing PC Gaming level machines to default Mac specs then you notice the difference. If you compare things like the 27" iMac with the 2GB NV680 the gap is much smaller

Edwin
Given that ive just ordered, for 1983.77 , a PC, that has Dual 4gb Nvidia 770s (8gb video ram total) and is Haswell, SSD and more easily upgraded, along with a 27" 3D monitor and will STOMP all over the iMac with 2gVram, for 908 less than the top of the line iMac.

for another 400 i could have had dual 3GB 780s but i went for the 770s and extra Ram because i eventually want to run 3 of those screens, all in 3D

But that will be my "games console" my iMac is my productivity machine, and doesn't need performance 3D gaming, i bought mac for the OS, nothing else
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 11:19 AM   #83
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Yes, although 10.9 should resolve much of this from the system side.



While it is true that Apple uses OpenGL instead of Directx, your characterization of OGL as not updated and not constantly improving is incorrect. With their newest versions, both OpenGL and Directx are largely at feature parity. The problem has been with Apple's historically slow-to-update implementation of OpenGL. Now at 3.2, while the latest OGL version is at 4.4 as of this month. Mavericks will ship in a month or two with at least 4.1 functionality, eliminating much of the concerns about feature deficit in OSX.
I did mean that the Apple build of OpenGL is not updated, only when the Display drivers are in OSX usually, and that is infrequent at best (usually taking an OS update). im sure Mavericks will bring a welcome performance boost to the current and future apple devices, the old devices, probably not so much
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 11:31 AM   #84
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Given that ive just ordered, for 1983.77 ... for 908 less than the top of the line iMac.
You did not mention the exact spec of the PC but according to your maths that means a top of the line iMac costs 2891!

27" High end model (delivered including tax) with no BTO costs 1699.

If you upgrade the CPU to 3.9Ghz and the graphics to the 680 2GB card it costs 1,978.99. If you add the SSD "Fusion drive" option it will jump by 200.

Nobody ever buys RAM from Apple as you can just buy that from crucial for half the price so I am not including that.

This gives a total of 2,179.00 for the following spec.

3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
1TB Fusion Drive
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5

I know it's not "maxed out" compared to all the options but the only way you can get the number you quoted is by maxing out things that don't really matter which I don't think is really a fair comparison. The PC is still has better hardware in part (I don't know about RAM or CPU etc) but the iMac is suddenly not looking as bad value.

For the 3000 pound price you mentioned you are better placed investing in a new MacPro which although more price should blow the PC you mentioned out the water with 12 cores and 6GB of VRAM using SLI AMD fire cards.

Yes I know that is not fair either but that's kinda my point if you want you can make the Mac look like poor valve or good value depending on how you spec up the machine and what you want it to do. The Mac will never be a "hardcore gamer" machine but neither is it poor value.

Edwin
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 11:46 AM   #85
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Some ultra options are not possible on most Mac's as you need 2GB of VRAM to run those modes due to high quality textures taking up a lot of space.
Which is a point more relevant to a GPU such as the 680MX, which is fast enough to be able to render those ultra textures at a decent clip. Not so much with the 650M.

Here is a direct comparison of the desktop AMD Radeon 6950 1 GB and 2 GB parts. As you can see, they're both within the margin of error in terms of performance and will be much more powerful than a mobile part.
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 12:06 PM   #86
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im sure Mavericks will bring a welcome performance boost to the current and future apple devices, the old devices, probably not so much
The same could be said for newest versions of DX.
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 12:19 PM   #87
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The same could be said for newest versions of DX.
True enough, but Windows Drivers tend to get 3 or 4 or more release a year, and tend to include support for 3 or 4 previous generations of devices if not more, Apple tends to support and update last years model, this years model, and nothing else.

----------

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Originally Posted by edddeduck View Post
You did not mention the exact spec of the PC but according to your maths that means a top of the line iMac costs 2891!

27" High end model (delivered including tax) with no BTO costs 1699.

If you upgrade the CPU to 3.9Ghz and the graphics to the 680 2GB card it costs 1,978.99. If you add the SSD "Fusion drive" option it will jump by 200.

Nobody ever buys RAM from Apple as you can just buy that from crucial for half the price so I am not including that.

This gives a total of 2,179.00 for the following spec.

3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
1TB Fusion Drive
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5

I know it's not "maxed out" compared to all the options but the only way you can get the number you quoted is by maxing out things that don't really matter which I don't think is really a fair comparison. The PC is still has better hardware in part (I don't know about RAM or CPU etc) but the iMac is suddenly not looking as bad value.

For the 3000 pound price you mentioned you are better placed investing in a new MacPro which although more price should blow the PC you mentioned out the water with 12 cores and 6GB of VRAM using SLI AMD fire cards.

Yes I know that is not fair either but that's kinda my point if you want you can make the Mac look like poor valve or good value depending on how you spec up the machine and what you want it to do. The Mac will never be a "hardcore gamer" machine but neither is it poor value.

Edwin
Dont know where your looking but the nearest BTO option to the spec i want on apples site is 2,903.00 and that's copy and pasted from the site

The mac is a "Poor Value" machine, if your viewing it through a gaming lens, so i think we are agreeing on the concept, but from opposite ends

I think the iMac is a supurb productivity machine, i wouldn't dream of having it as anything but my main workstation, but for gaming beyond FTL or a few other simplistic games, then its the custom built gaming PC.

Its the people who complain about gaming performance on the mac that get me, the mac is not as robust a gaming platform as windows which has spent years developing DX specifically for gaming, nor is it as well supported Drivers wise as apple control them.

Also i WOULD LOVE a mac pro, but i cant order them in the UK, don't fancy a 2nd hand one, and don't like the new one at all
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 12:43 PM   #88
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Which is a point more relevant to a GPU such as the 680MX, which is fast enough to be able to render those ultra textures at a decent clip. Not so much with the 650M.

Here is a direct comparison of the desktop AMD Radeon 6950 1 GB and 2 GB parts. As you can see, they're both within the margin of error in terms of performance and will be much more powerful than a mobile part.
Video memory starving is an issue on the 650 Retina at retina resolutions and also other 27" machines with 1GB or 512MB cards (I know as we spent loads of time looking into Ultra texture quality in recent months with games like Tropico 4 and Napoleon). If the card has 2GB of VRAM you could run higher quality textures than you can on the 1GB version of the same card.

Those tests you linked to will not bring up the issue as they are not testing the memory usage on the card but the GPU power, you need to have a specific test that uses more GPU VRAM to see the performance delta between cards.

It's like a cliff, they are like those results (pretty much the same) then suddenly when you hit the VRAM limit of the smaller VRAM card the frame rate falls off a cliff.

F1 2012 on the Mac mini with the 256VRAM card compared to a 512 VRAM card of a much older generation shows up the delta very well as 256VRAM is not enough to fit everything into the graphics card memory so you are constantly streaming data causing fps drops.

Edwin

----------

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Originally Posted by Nightarchaon View Post
Dont know where your looking but the nearest BTO option to the spec i want on apples site is 2,903.00 and that's copy and pasted from the site
All the figures are direct from the UK Apple store and are valid when I checked then 5 mins ago.

But I think we more or less agree that a Mac is not poor value unless you specifically build a BTO option that makes it a poor value option like selecting every pricy extra feature for example

Edwin
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Old Jul 23, 2013, 01:02 PM   #89
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If the card has 2GB of VRAM you could run higher quality textures than you can on the 1GB version of the same card.
While you could technically run ultra textures on a 2 GB 650M, its performance is still going to be poor because the GPU itself is not fast enough for that extra vRAM to matter.
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Old Jul 24, 2013, 04:49 AM   #90
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While you could technically run ultra textures on a 2 GB 650M, its performance is still going to be poor because the GPU itself is not fast enough for that extra vRAM to matter.
I know from profiling the cards when they are running games and talking to graphics engineers much more skilled in GPU manipulation then me that the amount of VRAM on some of the cards does cause performance drops that could be avoided on the same hardware if you had increased VRAM.

As I mentioned above it depends on the scenario, your examples are where the test is maximising the GPU load so as long as you have enough VRAM any extra does not aid performance.

However if you have ultra textures for example the biggest issue is not GPU load but space to store all the textures etc without requiring to stream new textures to the card each new frame. If you profile in this situation you will see the GPU is actually waiting on the texture (or shader) upload and it is idling (doing nothing) until the data arrives. If you can fit all the shaders and textures needed into memory this streaming stops the idling during the frame cycle and you get better/smoother performance.

If you get pluses and stutters coming round corners in games part of the issue could very well be VRAM size, your card cannot store all the shaders and textures so when you get draw something with lots of new textures the card has to request them from main memory as they were purged from the card to fit something else. It's not the only reason but it is one of the options.

Granted you have a point that once you hit the GPU limit no amount of VRAM will speed the card up but if the GPU is not performance bound but data starved VRAM makes a big difference. Hence my example of F1 2012 and the 256VRAM mini. That card can run the game smoothly on smaller tracks but loading a bigger track (which means more shaders and textures) the game will have pulsing and stutters as the upload/streaming kicks in.

VRAM starvation is something that exists and I have seen effect plenty of games I have worked on It's not always the cause but it is a factor.

Edwin
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Old Jul 24, 2013, 03:28 PM   #91
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I believe most of the problems come from the ports.

Take for example the intel HD3000. It's a crappy integrated chipset, but somehow developers have been able to get a lot of juice out of it on OS X.

I've got a 13" MBP early 2011.

Trough steam it is possible to play Borderlands 2 with a decent amount of FPS with everything in low on the mac side. Nonetheless trying to do so on windows is nigh impossible. Even taking everything to the lowest settings you don't get a consistent gameplay.

I'm quite sure that is due to Aspyr's optimisation of the HD3000. That doesn't happen on windows where what you are trying to achieve is better graphics, and don't care about performance since it is fairly cheap to get a decent dedicated GPU. Think about Metro 2033, it was hard even on the top-notch GPUs of the time.

Nonetheless truth remains the same. If you want to play games on your computer, you're better off building your own rig.
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Old Jul 24, 2013, 06:41 PM   #92
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mac00l: Apple & Intel have actually delivered a better GL stack on Mac OS X than Intel provide on Windows. Apparently Intel's HD3000/4000 Linux drivers are faster still, but not so dramatically. It is very dependent on the game's particular demands of course, so YMMV between games/apps. Regardless, it sounds like Aspyr did a nice job for those GPUs with Borderlands 2 which is generally a good sign as they are difficult target hardware.

saturnotaku's actually makes a valid point. Giving the NV 650M more VRAM won't necessarily make it faster - if the GPU becomes texture-fetch bound then adding more memory and using even bigger textures sure won't help. A GPU is texture-fetch bound when it spends time waiting for texture sampling to complete rather than computing the pixel shader result. That can happen if it makes a lot of texture samples or if the hardware isn't very good at sampling from the bound textures as some GPUs are much slower sampling very large textures than others.
That isn't the typical case though as eddeduck points out. His example of exceeding VRAM is frighteningly common with GL these days and because GL works so hard to hide this from the developer it is quite tricky to deal with, unlike consoles which force the developer to ensure it can't. Fixed, un-abstracted hardware has its advantages .

Irishman: Only if they supply GL Compute as an extension - otherwise it'll still be a royal pain to port games from D3D11. Admittedly GL 4.1 is only 3 years behind the curve - which is less than the 4-5 years behind Apple were back in 05/06. Nightarchaon's point is that Apple are always trailing the spec. by a number of years and while they have closed the gap recently it is still much too large for best-possible D3D->GL porting on OS X. When the IGP's binary drivers for Linux offer more features and greater performance it should come as no surprise when the Linux version runs faster than OS X.
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Old Jul 24, 2013, 07:34 PM   #93
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...
oss graphics is an incredibly interesting thing to watch at the moment.
directx is quite simply the best framework their is (for a games developer) and to be honest, I think oss developers might as well use this instead of following khronos. opengl might as well be proprietary judging by their inconsistent and undocumented releases (ish )
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 06:38 AM   #94
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VRAM starvation is something that exists and I have seen effect plenty of games I have worked on It's not always the cause but it is a factor.
Again, you keep bringing up the 256 MB scenario. No one is going to deny that this is an adequate amount of vRAM for any quasi-modern game. I fully understand and sympathize having to work within such a confined space because that part of the hardware has never been up to the job. Only in the last 2 years has Apple decided to imbue its products with anything resembling decent graphics hardware.

Slapping an extra GB of vRAM onto the 650M might reduce stuttering on uber high settings, but it doesn't matter a whole lot when performance will be low anyway because the GPU doesn't have the horsepower to begin with. While I'm sure there are folks who would be fine with low framerates as long as they're consistent, there are not very many of them, particularly in the tiny subset of Mac gamers.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 07:17 AM   #95
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While I'm sure there are folks who would be fine with low framerates as long as they're consistent, there are not very many of them, particularly in the tiny subset of Mac gamers.
Actually I have found it the other way round if you look at all Mac gamers in general instead of just forum/internet postings.

I have found it tends to be that your average Mac gamer is OK with slightly lower fps if the game experience is consistent. However on forums you get a much higher percentage of PC/Mac gamers who demand higher fps.

I found it weird as well when I moved from being a gamer to being a game maker but it's true. The "higher fps" people shout louder than everyone else but they are in the minority (or at least not a massive majority).

Negative comment or problems usually prompt people to post but if the game runs fine they have no need to post this effect skews everything from reviews on stores to internet posts. If you look at the number of players based on sales figures vs the complaints on performance this theory is born out. It does not just effect games it effects any product, people are more likely to post if they have an issue than if everything is fine.

That said more speed is always the aim

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Old Jul 27, 2013, 10:05 AM   #96
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Actually I have found it the other way round if you look at all Mac gamers in general instead of just forum/internet postings.

I have found it tends to be that your average Mac gamer is OK with slightly lower fps if the game experience is consistent. However on forums you get a much higher percentage of PC/Mac gamers who demand higher fps.
This is also my impression. I consider myself a typical gamer and usually I've been happy with around an average of 40 fps and this is well below max ranges. Anything above that is cake.
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Old Jul 28, 2013, 10:44 AM   #97
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A few rumors have suggested the PS4 is likely to be using native Open GL for it's primary Graphics Tech. Assuming this is true, you'd now have similar architectures (x86) and Graphics Libraries to what's used in OS X. Considering that, how easy would that make porting titles over to OS X (assuming that you decided to use the PS4 code)? Would it be something that would take days (in most cases)? Would performance greatly improve (again; in most cases)?

Just curious as it would be great for the Mac platform.
I believe this is where game development is heading. It makes pushing out games to other systems easier, and Valve is really pushing for it too. I think one of two things will happen in the next 5 years:

Either Microsoft ports DirectX to other operating systems
or
OpenGL continues to gain support due to its universal nature and increasing market shares of non-Windows OS's.
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Old Jul 28, 2013, 01:52 PM   #98
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I believe this is where game development is heading. It makes pushing out games to other systems easier, and Valve is really pushing for it too. I think one of two things will happen in the next 5 years:

Either Microsoft ports DirectX to other operating systems
or
OpenGL continues to gain support due to its universal nature and increasing market shares of non-Windows OS's.
Microsoft will keep DirectX proprietary. I find it hard to imagine them doing otherwise.

I just noticed the MacRumors Users Steam group in your sig. I joined but nobody seems to post anything there for years. There is a lot of members though.
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