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Old Mar 12, 2014, 12:35 PM   #1
Moonraker
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ESO Beta - Initial Mac & PC Graphics Benchmarking

Looking at the other thread with initial OSO beta performance comments here, I thought it may be useful to post my results from comparative Mac & PC clients (via Bootcamp) These are part of ongoing Mac testing from beta into launch of the Elder Scrolls Online.

The tests were undertaken on the same iMac 27" (late 2013) with the ESO PC beta client tested via Bootcamp with Windows 7 Home Premium Edition fully updated with the latest Nvidia GTX 780M beta drivers installed. Full details of the test, setup and additional test data are also included further down for reference.

System: iMac 27-inch, Late 2013/ 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5/ 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3/ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB/ OS X 10.9.2

To set a general Mac OS X v PC Windows 7 via Bootcamp benchmark several benchmarks were ran with Unigine 'Heaven' 4.0 which allows for cross platform benchmarks.



What is clear from these results is that at least on the high end iMac and Nvidia 780M, there are no big differences in graphic performance overall. I included the DX9 results which are naturally higher as they have a more limited graphics support in testing.

They are pretty much as expected with the PC DirectX11 support was ahead by about 20% or 4 FPS at higher resolutions and OS X ahead in OpenGL though again the margin is not great.

Next are the initial benchmark results from initial comparative graphics testing from the last Elder Scrolls Online (Beta) closed beta weekend (28/02 -03/03/14) stress test.

The main points to bear in mind in these results is that they were undertaken in as close to equal situations as possible, were taken during a stress test though the quiet location was chosen to reduce impact of other players etc., and they compare different graphical API as the Mac OpenGL is around version '2.5' (as defined by the developer on this forum post) and DirectX 11. They are also from a single high end iMac and one tester.

Resolution: 2560 x 1440 ALL Highest/ ON Settings except Vsync OFF for Testing (see General Notes) View Distance set to 100. Settings Toggled Individually from the test default above. Test details provided below results. Default Benchmark for Mac is 47.9 FPS, PC is 41.1 FPS.



Separate Shadow Quality Test - Detail
Note: Tree leaf shadow on road. The images show smoother edges than in live video. PC results in brackets ()

Quote:
Shadow Quality: Off 73.7 (62.0)
Shadow Quality: Low 65.8 (64.5)
Shadow Quality: Medium 67.0 (61.8)
Shadow Quality: High 59.0 (54.3)
Shadow Quality: Ultra 55.0 (50.1)
Graphic Quality - Default Settings
Note: Vertical Sync is On by default. Switched Off for testing to avoid capping. 100 FPS appears game hard cap TBC GQ selection does not change Vsync setting. Mac beta ESO client only.

Quote:
Graphics Quality: Minimum 100
Graphics Quality: Low 100
Graphics Quality: Medium 100
Graphics Quality: High 64.0 (Vsync OFF)
Graphics Quality: Ultra 50.3
Although the OpenGL 2.5 v DX11 is not a fair comparison it does reflect the current options available in-game and the screenshot comparisons showed little obvious difference visually.

I was surprised by the Mac OpenGL performance which is in nearly every setting ahead of the Windows DX11 and shows a consistent variation. This could be down to the additional extensions in the DX11 or optimisations not yet in place in the PC client. Also, there is some suggestion that the CPU is a bottleneck from the German ESO beta benchmarking article here. The next testing will be to compare the OpenGL support in Windows.

It also is at 2560 x 1440 native resolution where the differences between the two OS are narrower from the Unigine testing. At lower resolutions and older Macs I expect a wider difference.

With an updated version of the beta client in place for next weekends last beta test this could all change and will over time. This is chiefly to set down a benchmark at a fixed point during ESO beta testing.

Summary:
Although the initial ESO beta test results show the Mac ahead I expect that things will change over time to reflect the general Unigine tests. The iMac is a good gaming computer with the Nvidia GTX 780M 4GB but only the Mac Pro will be able to compete with custom built gaming PCs. However it does show that the perceived differences are not reflected in comparable testing where they are more marginal than earth shattering. I would say that this is reflects as much the quality of the native Mac ESO client development which is really optimising the available performance. This is also true of PC performance generally also from forum comments.

This is still beta and we have fixes in the new beta version and more to come over time. Development to OpenGL 3.0 and 4.0 is a real possibility with the choice of OS X 10.7 as a minimum as is a 64-bit client. All of which will help to push the native Mac ESO client forward in the future.

Details:
Date: Beta stress test weekend of 28 Feb - 03 Mar 2014
Background: Mac ESO Beta client graphics testing during beta test weekend
Game Location: Bridge southern entrance over river to Dawnbreak, Auridon.
Platform: Mac (Beta version 1.0.0)
Display: Fullscreen
Resolution: 2560 x 1440 (native)
Images: PNG format screenshots direct from in-game. (approx. 5MB)
Post production: None
ESO Version: Beta - eso.live.1.0.0.779986

Elder Scrolls Online (Beta) - SETTINGS

ALL Highest/ ON Settings except Vsync OFF for Testing (see General Notes) View Distance set to 100.

Quote:
Video - Display
Display Mode: Fullscreen
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Vertical Sync: OFF (Default is ON)
Anti-Aliasing: ON
Gamma Adjustment: N/A

Video - Graphics

Graphics Quality: Custom

Texture Quality: High
SubSampling: High
Shadow Quality: Ultra
Water Reflection Quality: High
Particle Density: Ultra
View Distance: 100
Ambient Occlusion: ON
Bloom: ON
Depth of Field: ON
Distortion: ON
Sunlight Rays: ON
Grass: ON
Testing Notes
For testing Vsync was switch off due to staggered capping with all other settings available set to the highest possible setting or On.

Each setting in turn was toggled from highest setting to lowest (see exceptions below) for comparison to the test base setting. Then toggled back for the next setting test and repeated for all.

For some settings (Shadow Quality, Water Reflection Quality & Draw Distance) additional settings were recorded where that setting had greater impact, for greater precision.

Additional separate tests are included for the preset Graphic Quality settings and a more detailed analysis of Shadow Quality of a shaded area.

Testing was undertaken during a stress test weekend with the additional loads on the server and network that entails. The location chosen was fairly remote with few other players present to avoid inconsistencies as far as possible.

This is testing of the Mac ESO beta client version 1.0.0, so the first version in public testing, unlike the PC Beta client which has been in in a much longer beta test/ iteration process. It does not include fixes and changes already included on the internal PTS test server version or other optimisations yet to enter testing.

Finally, this is only one sample from one players Mac so should not be taken as reflecting the performance on other computers. They are provided as an early, provisional reference point only.

General Notes:
Some small variation in FPS between images
likely due to water movement, weather, day/night cycle and normal operating variations.

Vertical Sync: ON = 30 (Vsync capped)
No Triple buffering? In PC version no such stepped capping suggest their is triple buffering implemented. Has only a relatively low impact of FPS.

SubSampling greatly degrades image quality on lower settings. More than any other setting.

Water appears quite dark which tends to negate the water reflection effects, especially when compared to the PC client. This is just a subjective opinion.
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Last edited by Moonraker; Apr 3, 2014 at 07:44 AM.
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Old Mar 12, 2014, 02:04 PM   #2
doh123
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Really good info here... But I've heard people claiming they are only getting half the performance on OS X. I wonder if they tested or just guessed/assumed.
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Old Mar 12, 2014, 02:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doh123 View Post
Really good info here... But I've heard people claiming they are only getting half the performance on OS X. I wonder if they tested or just guessed/assumed.
Thanks.

Pretty much why I spent the time to bench test the general differences and then in-game to get some data to compare.

Like I said, different computers will have different results especially older, lower specs ones. it would all get blown away by a custom built gaming PC even with this top end mobile GPU which is underclocked to reduce heat etc. And not possible to overclock the iMac directly (at least not easily). Also, this is a static test in a quiet location. Other scenarios will no doubt impact results especially PvP.

One of the points I want to get across is that we have a new Mac native game client which, even though it is limited in the API support as a consequence of backwards compatibility (five years ZOS stated), is actually capable of performing around that of a comparable PC. Even though it is still at Beta v. 1. There's a lot to be excited about here.

Their goal was to compete with the polish and performance of Blizzard and this is an encouraging step towards that.
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Old Mar 12, 2014, 02:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doh123 View Post
Really good info here... But I've heard people claiming they are only getting half the performance on OS X. I wonder if they tested or just guessed/assumed.
I did get almost half the performance on my iMac 750m. Under windows using the latest Nvidia drivers I was getting 70-80fps running everything on medium/high (Shadows, AA OFF), on OSX I was getting 40-50.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonraker View Post
Fantastic benchmark....
I'd like to thank you for a great benchmark of mac vs bootcamp. I too am thinking about running ESO on windows on my Retina with 650m 1gb VRAM. This benchmark is definitely making me re-think.

Thanks moonraker!
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:10 PM   #6
doh123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marddin View Post
I'd like to thank you for a great benchmark of mac vs bootcamp. I too am thinking about running ESO on windows on my Retina with 650m 1gb VRAM. This benchmark is definitely making me re-think.

Thanks moonraker!
I've been using the Beta on my Retina with 650m 1gb.... the game runs great, no need to run Windows.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marddin View Post
I'd like to thank you for a great benchmark of mac vs bootcamp. I too am thinking about running ESO on windows on my Retina with 650m 1gb VRAM. This benchmark is definitely making me re-think.

Thanks moonraker!
Happy to share the data with fellow Mac gamers.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 04:37 PM   #8
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Well, I have a GTX 760 in a Mac Pro 1,1 with stock the 2.6 xeons and I see a HUGE different between OS X and Windows. I can't get Heaven to run over much over 30 fps, even at low quality, tessellation off, and the lowest resolution possible. CPU runs at 117%.

Heck, I can't even get HL2 Ep2 to run at a constant 60 in some places, no matter how low the settings are.

Direct X just must use less CPU power to run. Would be fantastic if Mantle or the lower level access in OpenGL come to Mac, the biggest benefit of those is supposed to be far less CPU overhead.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 05:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrNeroCF View Post
Well, I have a GTX 760 in a Mac Pro 1,1 with stock the 2.6 xeons and I see a HUGE different between OS X and Windows. I can't get Heaven to run over much over 30 fps, even at low quality, tessellation off, and the lowest resolution possible. CPU runs at 117%.

Heck, I can't even get HL2 Ep2 to run at a constant 60 in some places, no matter how low the settings are.

Direct X just must use less CPU power to run. Would be fantastic if Mantle or the lower level access in OpenGL come to Mac, the biggest benefit of those is supposed to be far less CPU overhead.
Most probably it can't utilise your two 2.66 GHz dual core Intel Xeon 5150 processors. Why it doesn't work in ESO via Mac (or PC?)

It's hard to gauge the issues for an eight year old Mac.

On Mantle looks like we will have similar progress within OpenGL from the posted GDC seminar (also for other platforms)

Approaching Zero Driver Overhead in OpenGL

Quote:
In this unprecedented sponsored session, Graham Sellers (AMD), Tim Foley (Intel), Cass Everitt (NVIDIA) and John McDonald (NVIDIA) will present high-level concepts available in today's OpenGL implementations that radically reduce driver overhead by up to 10x or more. The techniques presented will apply to all major vendors and are suitable for use across multiple platforms. Additionally, presenters will demo practical applications of the techniques in an extensible, open source comparison framework.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 06:05 PM   #10
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what do you guys use to monitor FPS on OSX?
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 06:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by milthon View Post
what do you guys use to monitor FPS on OSX?
I have iStat Menus which shows FPS from the menu bar which is useful.

In game on ESO you use /fps in the chat window to show FPS in top left of screen.

There is also an add-on which will do it without needing to use the command (though it's not a huge effort) called framerate. Nice and simple.
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Old Mar 15, 2014, 06:03 AM   #12
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I'm pretty sure game is CPU limited.
I'm running at 5040x1050 res (3 screen surround) and GPU is usually not more than 60-80% load. I'm getting anywhere form 45-100 FPS, where in areas with fewer people GPU usage goes up and FPS too.
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Old Mar 18, 2014, 12:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cluthz View Post
I'm pretty sure game is CPU limited.
I'm running at 5040x1050 res (3 screen surround) and GPU is usually not more than 60-80% load. I'm getting anywhere form 45-100 FPS, where in areas with fewer people GPU usage goes up and FPS too.
Yes, some reports suggest that for higher spec computers especially in PvP. I have yet to test this myself but plan to.

There is an initial benchmarking article on a German site which says as much. I use Google translate and also refer to some posts referring to it to confirm the CPU bottlenecking.

From testing over the beta weekend I did not see my CPU threads getting even close to maxing during performance testing with Ultra-High at 2560 x 1440 with fps around 40-50 so not sure quite what is occurring or how it impacts the Mac.
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