Gaming Tweaks for my G5?

Discussion in 'Games' started by esotu, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. esotu macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #1
    ello Macnn members. Thanks for looking at this thread.

    I am pretty "n00bish" when it comes to computers. I've never tinkered inside one before, never known what system bus does, how memory works, etc. So, please bear with me. I'm a mac user, have been all my life, but mainly use my mac for games. Yes, a true mac gamer. I know PCs are much more qualified for games, but I can't support Pentium or Windows - it's just not right. I've been going to LAN parties with all my PC friends, and, well, as you can guess, am constantly made fun of

    I'm always the slowest computer there, with the worst FPS and choppiest game play.

    Now I know Macs aren't meant for games really, but when you can get a PC for $800 that easily outperforms my G5 that costs $1300, it's discouraging. I just have a feeling that I'm really just not allowing my G5 to perform at it's maximum potential.

    So here's my question. I want to know ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, whether it's hardware, software, tweaking, etc. that will make my computer faster. Is there anyway to totally tweak my machine out for gaming?

    Any advice or words of wisdom would be MUCH APPRECIATED! Thanks again for taking a look.


    And if this belongs in another category of the forums, please move it! Sorry for any inconvenience.
     
  2. ChronoIMG macrumors regular

    ChronoIMG

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    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #2
    I hear you about the $800 PC vs the $1300 G5, it's no contest when it comes to gaming. I've seen the dual 2.5 G5 with a nVidia 6800 Ultra do fairly well in gaming but that's $3000. Again, PC wins hands down.

    So, what do you do with the G5 you have now? First thing first, buy RAM. Have at least 1GB of RAM.

    Second, buy a new video card. If you got the stock model and for $1300 you did even with an edu discount, upgrade that card to at least the 9800 Pro/256MB model. If you can afford an extra $600 get the nVidia 6800 Ultra. Best card on the market for any G5.

    Other than that, I don't know. I myself could not afford a G5 for gaming so I switched to a gaming PC. :(
     
  3. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

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    #3
    First, i would disable all non-essential system services. Then make sure you've closed all other apps. Make sure you're on a fresh reboot too. Next, if you were smart enough to upgrade the vcard in the G5 when you ordered it to at least an ATI card, you can overclock the sucker. It helps a little. And if you are serious about this, do the following...
    • Drop 500 bucks on a 2gig memory upgrade (i prefer Kingston KTA-G5400/2G)
    • Drop $450 (edu price) on a 6800 GT
    • Drop $80-200 bucks on a harddrive just like the one you've got, but stripe them (RAID 0)
    • Then go compete on an EQUAL leve.

    I hate to say it, but it just takes money for games. If it makes you feel any better, just realize that a Mac is not specifically designed for games... it's designed to be good at everything. My dual 1.8 beats my 3.0 P4 like a Kentucky Redneck beats his wife. It makes me grin... But that's at calculating programs. I write these programs at school, and their designed to be fast, efficient, and slick. The last program i wrote was single threaded and processed 2GB worth of data. My P4 ran the algorithm in 2.78 minutes. The G5 you ask? *****in 0.397 minutes! And i know **** about altivec... Macs can crunch the data dude; they can cut the film (in realtime); they can make you jizz your pants (oh yea); and if you drop the cash, you can play a decent number of games. If you really wanted to show off what a G5 can do, just borrow someones 30" and then they will cry and drop to all fours worshiping the glory of apple & nvidia synergetically feasting upon UT2004. Enough jabber, cheers.
     
  4. vraxtus macrumors 65816

    vraxtus

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #4
    It would be nice to know what kind of Mac you have... if you have one... sorry I didn't really read your whole post.

    EDIT: Yes I'm slow. Anyways WHICH G5 do you have? It's going to make a big difference in terms of game performance given which system setup you have.
     
  5. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    #5
    note that most of those suggestions will cost you more than the average "pretty great" gaming PC.

    If you bought a 1300 dollar G5 then you probably got a single 1.6 with edu discount, so you probably aren't looking to spend 600 dollars on a graphics card when an entire machine in the PC world costs less than that.

    The best thing you can do is get more RAM if you have the stock amount.

    and that won't help games a lot, but it will help your overall performance in OS X. You aren't going to be able to afford making your Mac a fun gaming machine for MODERN games, so don't bother with a 600 dollar graphics card (I can't believe you guys are telling him to buy a 6800!) or any of that.

    doing a RAID 0 helps overall system performace a lot, and a G5 with less than 1 GB of RAM is underperforming no matter what, but those two things can potentially cost you well under 300 dollars total. You'll have to wipe your current HDD, but it's worth it. Remember to get the exact same drive that came with your machine.

    If you want to game, buy/build a PC, or get an xbox or PS2, or play old games. UT (first one) and Q3 and some of the games that are 2-3 years old on the PC side of the fence are all quite fun and playable on a low-spec G5.

    But don't expect Doom 3 to be worth playing short of a 9800 Pro or a 6800.
    If it ever comes out.

    it's sad, but on our side of things, it's the truth.
     
  6. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

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    Hell@HighAltitude
    #6
    Hey, the GT with educational discount is only 475 (only $75 more than 9800pro se and over 2.5 times faster)...

    Sure that's alot of money, but a PC 6800GT is around the same cost... Plus this will help him tremendously. It's not like the X800 will cost less than that either... and it's not even out yet.

    I agree that a PC would be more economical, and my PC w/9800pro runs everything just fine, so you can buy a cheap gaming PC... but he doesn't want to do that because his friends will rub it in his face... "told you so!" type crap. In a way, it's a lose-lose situation (if he has no money).

    But the point is: a faster video card would HELP this poor dude from getting fragged constantly by cocky pc tweakers. I know everyone keeps telling me that UT2004 if CPU bound only, but i know it's got to help some to have a good video card in there.
     
  7. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    #7
    sure, it would help, but if the guy could only afford a 1300 dollar Mac, then he can't afford a 475 dollar graphics card in the first place.

    It is like telling a guy who buys a mustang V6 that he needs to buy a supercharger.

    if he could have afforded a supercharger, he would have ordered the V8 up front instead.
     
  8. esotu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #8
    .

    Sorry about the vague information. It's a 1.6GHz G5 that I got off of eBay.

    How do I disable system services? And what is involved in overclocking a graphics card?

    Thanks for the replies!
     
  9. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

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    #9
    To disable system services, make sure that in your system control[panel?] settings [under 'Sharing'] there are no running services... ie, remote login, web sharing, FTP, AFP (aka appletalk), all that stuff. Or if you'd like to jack with it manually, edit /etc/hostconfig and all those other settings files in /etc. But before you go jacking with everything that way, make sure you are familiar with the terminal and making backups of your originals.

    Often times, i like to just watch the 'activity monitor' monitor all the processes and kill random ones to see if it does anything. Often it doesn't change anything, but sometimes it will kill some feature or lock up my computer. Just look ALL the processes in the activity monitor and try killing the ones that eat CPU and don't crash your computer when you force-quit/terminate/kill/whatever the process.

    What's involved in overclocking? Well, for casual overclockers, it's nothing more than a software download -> install/flash

    To download the video card overclocking utility for ONLY an ATI card, click HERE

    To download an overclocking utility for some other lowend card, you can check the compatibility list HERE

    Oh, and remember that overclocking can jack up your hardware if you push it too much. Use those at your own risk. It's not as risky/dangerous as everyone thinks, and i've had my ati 9600pro overclocked 14%GPU/5%MEM for a couple months now with absolutely no artifacts and no crashes/abnormalities [halo is jacked sometimes though... but i think that's just halo].
     
  10. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    #10
    well, actually, if you have the nvidia 5200 card that came standard in that 1.6 G5, then you might not want to even bother with overclocking...especially on a mac, where it's not as easy or as reliable to do.

    the PC 9600 Pro is a pretty good overclocker, in general.

    I ran mine 480/330 for months without any problems at all. It was good for almost 1500 more points in 3DMark01. It didn't really seem to change my gaming experience, though, because the only game that I own that doesn't run as fast as i want it to run is Doom 3, and what would make that change isn't an 80mhz clock, 30mhz(60ddr) memory speed bump, but rather 128 more MB of RAM.

    So I set it back to stock and I'm happy with it for now.

    the 5200, though, isn't exactly a great performer, no matter how it's clocked.
     
  11. neonart macrumors 65816

    neonart

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2002
    Location:
    Near a Mac since 1993.
    #11
    Lets get some facts straigh before we begin...

    What system do you have exactly:

    G5 1.6 Ghz
    RAM?
    Video Card?
    OS version?

    How much money do you have to spend, if any?

    We can go from there. :)
     
  12. vraxtus macrumors 65816

    vraxtus

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    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #12
    I should add that I've actually never really seen much of a performance hit from various system processes being on... so I really don't think this is something that important to really worry about turning off.
     
  13. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #13
    I always have remote login on (behind a router / firewall :) ), so that I can monitor my Mac while playing games. It's fun to notice the RAM consumption, CPU time etc. once Nascar 2003 is running.
    You can learn if you really need more RAM....
     
  14. esotu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #14
    ..

    G5 1.6 Ghz
    768MB RAM
    GeForce FX 5200
    OS X 10.3.5

    I am going to put anything I need on my christmas list, so money is not really a concern. Thanks for all the input! I really appreciate it. Keep in mind, I'm mainly going to be playing World of Warcraft, so please let me know what would be most important for increasing the performance of that game.

    Thanks!
     
  15. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

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    Hell@HighAltitude
    #15
    If you've got the bank, then go for another gig of ram (in the first pair of slots, then you're 512 in the next pair, and the 256 in the next pair) and the 6800GT. Booya... that computer should play WOW wonderfully.

    And if you really mean money isn't an issue, just buy a new powermac. dual 2.5, etc...

    Wish i had you're parents at christmas time :p
     
  16. bigdz68 macrumors member

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    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    Bay YAYrea
    #16
    Does it matter if u install the higher modules of RAM first. I believe I have 256 in each and in the last I have 1GB. Should I switch it to the 1GB of RAM in the first slot??
     
  17. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

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    #17
    You're computer uses the ram in pairs to achieve 400mhz data transfer rates. Many PC motherboards allow for a single module installation, but it cannot achive a 400mhz transfer rate(rather only 200mhz) with only 1 memory module, because the bus is designed to achieve that rate only with 2 modules. But anyway, back on topic...

    I make the following assumption (and I'm not a computer engineer, although i have taken numerous classes on computer architecture/digital design)...

    In order to achive the optimal 400mhz DDR transfer rate, the data bus must be fetching data at a continuous location in memory, and it must be sending data to a continuous location in memory. Since the memory is DDR, it can be accessed by the data bus at the begining and end of every clock cycle... the first half is the fetch, the second is the write. So in one clock cycle, you've both read/wrote data, doubling the data thoroughput. Break up the data continue-um or the transfer to and froe, and the rate goes down.

    I make the assumption that if your continuous data is striped accross multiple slot id numbers, then it effectively chops your data into different chunks...puting them into the respective slot id numbers. Since it's no longer continuous, the rate drops.

    So say you've got 256 in the first slots of both banks (each slot with a 126mb module, and the next two slots of both banks containing a total of 1gb ram (each slot with 512mb modules). You load the OS, which takes 128mb ram. Then you load some huge 300mb file into ram for manipulation or whatever. That huge file is striped accross 2 different banks (this is a good thing) but it is also striped accross two modules in each bank, increasing the number of nessessary commands (very low level machine code here) in order to retrieve the continuous data (which is not really continuous now, is it).

    So if you put the large memory modules in first, the memory bus doesn't have juggle as much where to get/put stuff. But that's just my opinion. What do i know?

    I base my theory off of the fact that the MAR would contain less information on a data sequence if it was located in a single slot pair... at the least it would help you to better achieve the maximum thouroughput of 400mhz(which is nearly impossible to achieve anyway).

    Will it increase performance? probably not noticably, but if you're box is already cracked, why not?

    Damn these macs memory module slots are a bitchTO install memory into though... for some reason, mine were very unfriendly.
     
  18. neonart macrumors 65816

    neonart

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2002
    Location:
    Near a Mac since 1993.
    #18
    1) Upgrade the OS to the latest (10.3.6 for now).
    2) Make sure no other Apps are running when playing.
    3) Turn off all services in the "Sharing" control panel.
    4) Set Processor performance to Highest in the "Energy Saver" control panel under the options tab.
    5) Run "Permissions repair" in Disk Utility, found in your Utilities folder inside the Applications Folder.
    6) Upgrade the RAM to 1GB, 1.5GB, or 2GB if possible. Newegg.com has the exact RAM that apple ships with their machines for very little. It's Samsung DDR ram. DDR400(PC3200) or 333(PC2700) is ok in your machine. Here is a Link:

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-147-110&depa=0
    2 of these would take your machine to 1GB for $96 total.

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-147-142&depa=0
    2 of these would take you to 1.5GB for $180 and 4 would give you 2GB for $360.

    DDR400 is about the same price and would be nice if you later upgrade to a faster G5, since only the 1.6 has the DDR333.

    7) On the Video Card, without spending a fortune, I would put a 128MB 9600XT from someone who has upgraded. Ebay is the best source and those are selling in the $150 to $180 range. Here is a Sample: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=25449&item=5136999030&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

    7) If you do go with a Radeon card then download the ATIccelerator to overclock your card between 7 and 10% safely. Link:

    http://mapage.noos.fr/campahunta/software/ATIccelerator.html

    So for as little as $250 you can have a 1.6Ghz G5 with 1GB of RAM and a Radeon 9600XT (128MB) Overclocked, Running OS 10.3.6 leaned out and purring like a kitten.

    This is an economical, sound way to use your Machine wisely. Putting a $600 video card in a 1.6 G5 is like putting a 16,000 pound winch on 2WD Jeep. Not going to do much with it.
     
  19. esotu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #19
    Wow. Thank you all so much for your suggestions. It's giving me much to work with!

    I have two final (hopefully) questions.

    1) Would a Radeon 9800 Pro be a noticeable improvement over the 9600XT, and can it also be overlclocked?

    2) I've been hearing a lot about these Raptor drives. How beneficial are they, are they internal or external, and can I install it myself?

    Thank you very much for all the help that you've provided so far.
     
  20. neonart macrumors 65816

    neonart

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    Location:
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    #20

    1) Marketing says yes. I would guess in your case a slight difference may be noticed, but not anything that would double framerates. Just a hunch. And yes, the 9800 can be overclocked, but I've had weird results even at mild OC's- not sure what others have experienced.

    2) The 10,000RPM drives will help load data faster. But once loaded there is no difference in how the CPU and GPU use it. It makes transitions in games smoother (Halo for example). I love my Raptor, but It's not a true necessity for gaming.
     
  21. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #21
    Adding more RAM (> 1 MB) should be a priority for games and really just for running OS X well. If you can afford a Radeon 9800 card (or 128MB+ 9600 card) that's the best bang for your buck as far as improving your gaming goes, strictly in terms of 3D framerates. Your G5 is a great CPU for games but the Nvidea 5200 GPU is barely adequate.

    But I agree with benpatient, trying to run the latest, greatest games on that machine is going to be an exercise in futility and a huge money pit. If you haven't played some of the slightly older games, I would go with those. You can spend a long time going through them all and there's some really great ones out there that should run well on your system. I recommend:

    Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (+ Spearhead and Breakthough exp.)
    Call of Duty
    Return to Castle Wolfenstein
    Star Wars: Jedi Outcast
    Star Wars: Jedi Academy
    Diablo 2 (+ Lord of Destruction exp.)
    Warcraft III (+ Frozen Throne exp.)
    No One Lives Forever 2
    Ghost Recon
    Dungeon Siege
    Neverwinter Nights

    And there are lots of others. I think World of Warcraft will run fine for you, the requirements are not all that high, although a faster graphics card with more VRAM will certainly help. I've heard some negative reports from beta testers with WoW+5200 (then again, these may be people who think everyone should be running 400 fps at 2,048 pixels with all effects on).
     

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