Games on PC faster than on Mac. Why?

Discussion in 'Games' started by darkcurse, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. darkcurse macrumors 6502a

    darkcurse

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    Nov 5, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #1
    Hi, well I'm new to the world of Macs and am on my way to getting a 15" PowerBook. I've used PC's all my life and was just wondering the reason why games run that much slower on Macs than on PC's. I mean even with games like Quake 3 using comparable graphics cards, benchmarks prove that it is slower on Macs. Why?

    The few reasons I could think of is:
    1. Games are more optimized for the Intel architecture vs. G4/G5
    2. It is an inherent "feature" of Mac OS X. I heard that in terms of single application use XP is "snappier"/more responsive then OS X because of the fundamental way in which they handle resources. I think that XP gives priority to the window in focus thats why its multitasking capabilities is lacking whereas OSX gives equal priority to every application thus multitasking is excellent. But games are predominantly single application so maybe thats why its not so fast on Macs.
    3. Direct X vs. Open GL. Could it be that of all the things MS came up with, this could actually be a good thing?

    Well, these are the only few reasons I could think of. Maybe some of you more experienced Mac users could shed some light on why this is so. Now, please I don't want a XP vs. OSX debate because I already know the benefits of Mac OSX but I just want to know why.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    Firstly, welcome to Macs. :)

    Now, I'm not going to claim to be a gaming expert or even a gamer but I'll give an attempt at your questions all the same.



    Nearly. I'd say they're better optimised for Windows than OSX rather than the specific chip that underpins either OS. In other words, the switch to Intel next year probably won't result in immediate gaming benefits other than the fact we may be able to run Windows on our Macs at native speed.



    I actually thought it was the other way around. I thought Windows kept drawing all windows and giving apps not in focus resources whereas OSX prioritised only what you needed. In other words, if you have a window minimised in either OS, it'll use more resources in Windows than it would in OSX. I could be wrong though. :eek:



    Well, because of the popularity of Windows, DirectX is the format that everyone writes for. I'd say this is the single biggest reason games on OSX aren't as fast nor as bountiful. There's just not a large enough user-base to justify having to port everything across and the ones that are ported are generally done so half heatedly. Of course, this isn't the rule and there are exceptions.

    Now, that's just the opinion of a Mac fan, but not a gamer. Take it with a pinch of salt as you lay back and enjoy the many benefits of your switch. Enjoy. :)
     
  3. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #3
    Glenda Adams who ports games from PC to Mac for a living, has this to say:
    It's from http://curmudgeongamer.com/article.php?story=20040113210031434.

    I know one concrete example. On x86 you can make float to int conversion effortlessly, but on PowerPC it will be a performance bottleneck. If you program for the PowerPC to begin with, you would notice that problem straight away and could in most cases easily avoid those conversions.
     
  4. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #4
    Actually, the correct reason would simply be that:

    Windows games are optimized for x86 processors, programmed on the Win32 API and designed for DirectX.

    Because x86 processors don't have features like AltiVec and are generally single-processor systems, the ported games don't get to use the fancy features such as those. Because Windows games are written for DirectX then PORTED to OpenGL, the finalized code is somewhat sloppy because it isn't designed for the ground up for OpenGL.

    And nobody makes a game for Mac OS X first and ports it to Windows.

    OS X actually IS quite good at games and 3D stuff. It's just that since Windows has the greater installed user base, games are made for Windows then sloppily ported (by a third party no less, not the guys who actually made the game, but some people that have to read code written by someone else and then port it based on that). Very few games are actually ported by the original creators (Blizzard is an exception, as they create Mac and Windows versions of every game they release and put them on the same CD). Thus, the ports have bad performance.


    I've seen very good benchmarks involving Halo (if you don't know, Halo was actually a game built ground-up for Mac OS X until Microsoft bought Bungie and made them port it to XBox and Windows).



    Basicly, Macs don't run games as well simply because of sloppy ports/difficulty of porting properly. They don't take advantage of the special features of PowerPC processors and the way the code is written drags it down.
     
  5. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a

    GorillaPaws

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    Oct 26, 2003
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #5
    Yeah... From everything I've read its mostly a porting issue. You see it with many games that were designed for the pc and then ported over to a console and vice-versa. The games that really shine are the ones that were designed for multiple platforms from the start. I'm pretty sure Blizzard (Warcraft games) is one of the only developers that does this for both Mac and PC, but I definetly could be wrong, feel free to correct me.
     
  6. angelneo macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Actually, there's a number of small software company who make mac games and later port it to windows. I have tried this EV Nova. A pretty cool game. Surprising, it ran faster on my powerbook 1.33 than my PC (P4 2.8). Although all other games like UT2004 on my PC ran faster than my powerbook.
     
  7. Soulstorm macrumors 68000

    Soulstorm

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    #7
    I have to agree with all of the above. And I would like to add that games that are designed firstly for mac and then to PC, run fast in both platforms.

    I know this because we have many proud examples of shareware and freeware ports, and also, some programs like Photoshop.

    Mac is a great platform for games, because it has many capabilities. But tthe developers do not have the time, nor the money to do a port that takes advantage of all the Mac platform features.
     
  8. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    Jan 18, 2005
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    #8
    I dont know about you but Doom 3 runs terrible on my Windows laptop compared to my PowerBook which has a weaker video card and half the CPU speed. CPU speed i can understand, MHz myth and all that. but the video card thing surprises me. the laptop has double the Video Ram too!
     
  9. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    #9
    Anything over a certain amount of VRAM, and it's just pointless (atm, it's about 64MB if only 1 screen is being used). On occaision, lots of VRAM on a slow card can actually slow the card down, because it's having to manage all this memory even if it isn't using any of it
     
  10. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

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    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #10
    That is wrong. VRAM is needed when you're playing texture-intensive games, like Doom 3. If there was a 7800GTX with 64 MB VRAM, even it would play Doom 3 horribly because more VRAM is necessary.
     
  11. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

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    Aug 5, 2005
    #11
    Well, yes, but the point is that more VRAM ? more performance
     
  12. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

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    #12
    assuming that was a "not equal to" symbol (shows up as a ? on my winb0x), that's not really true. if my x800 had 128mb of vram as opposed to the 256 it does it wouldn't perform as well because it wouldn't have the ability to hold as many textures in vram, and several other things. a 6200 with 512mb of vram (someone makes one) isn't going to perform better than a 6600 with 256vram though.
    by the way, how'd you get a raptor in your cube? :confused:
     
  13. Laser47 macrumors 6502a

    Laser47

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    Maryland
    #13
    I played DOOM 3 on a gForce 4 with 64megs and it fan fine in medium with 1024x768, then i got a 5700ultra with 128. It was a athlon xp 2800+ with 512 ram.
     
  14. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

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    Jul 23, 2003
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    #14
    I meant to compare a 7800GTX with 64 MB VRAM (if they made one) to a 7800GTX with 512 MB RAM. I apologize; I wasn't very clear about that.
     
  15. TheMonarch macrumors 65816

    TheMonarch

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    May 6, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #15
    While a lot of what has been said is true. Lets not forget that OS X simply has more overhead than windows. OS X will tax the video card, even if you aren't doing anything at all. Its just the way it works. Windows only taxes the CPU for all the windows it draws and such.
     
  16. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #16

    I've always wondered, is that relevant if you play full screen?
     
  17. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

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    Apr 28, 2004
    #17
    doubtful because it has to draw the OS if you minimize a full screen window.

    games are faster on a PC because they are 9/10 times designed for Direct X and then ported to open GL. or designed in open GL and then ported to Power PC architecture . if you had a game designed for the Mac and then ported to Windows, it would obviously run faster on the mac. welcome to porting and emulation.
     
  18. darkcurse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    darkcurse

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    Nov 5, 2005
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    Sydney
    #18
    Hmm.... I see, but then what about games that were originally created in OpenGL? Like say Quake III and Doom III... Shouldn't they have an easier time being ported over than say a game coded specifically for DirectX? Why then does Doom III perform more poorly on Mac than on PC? Does it then also mean that when Apple switches to the x86 platform, we'll be able to get game titles faster and their performance will be similar to windows since the main API being programmed for is the same i.e. OpenGL?
     
  19. Soulstorm macrumors 68000

    Soulstorm

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    Feb 1, 2005
    #19
    Note that Quake 3 is one of the few ports (if not the only one) which runs FASTER in Macs that PC's! It is one of the best ports out there.

    Doom 3 is a strange game. Although low-end macs will play faster Doom 3 than low-end PC's, High end Macs cannot reach the performance of high-end PC's.

    Doom 3 requires CPU power in addition to a strong Video card. If you had read the above answers, you would see that x86 architecture is much less difficult to program for. So, while in many occasions in x86 processors, you can leave some point of memory unprotected and get away with it, in PPC you can't do that. PPC checks memory allocation, and that takes time.

    For instance, while in x86 you can change float to int almost effortlessly, in PPC is painful, and when the computer has to do that thousands of times in a second, that is a significant bottleneck.

    Apple and IBM decided to sacrifice speed in those occasions in favor of stability.

    Have you ever run doom 3 in low end PC's? It will probably crash the system. In Mac, Doom 3 NEVER crashes. I personally prefer the OS X version.

    Also, guys, the thing about doom 3 is just a myth. I play doom 3 in my G5 (see sig) with a video card that is far less than good. And I play it in 1024x768, in High quality, with every advanced option enabled, except FSAA. I don't think a PC would ever handle doom 3 with an ATI 9600 XT as good as I do (I get 15-30 fps, and this 15 fps is when the imp shows fireballs).

    Also, I believe that if companies had more time on their hands, and the money to take advantage of that time, we would see far better ports for OS X.
     
  20. harveypooka macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    #20
    MacOSRumors had a small piece on Apple's 'game teams' which are apparently geared toward porting or setting up routes for games companies to port over
    popular console and PC games...only time will tell. I can't wait till this time next year! Let's hope MOSR are right as they've been a bit shaky on the rumour front recently. Mind you, they've got some great random rumours out there...
     

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