Powerbook G4 VS. Random comparable PC laptop?

Discussion in 'Games' started by Muzukun, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. Muzukun macrumors regular

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    #1
    Hey,

    I've been looking around for some benchmarks that would show a powerbook vs. a pc laptop for a current game but I can't find anything. I don't play games much but I would like to know that it would be taken care of in the situation in which I do play a game, can anyone point me to a review or two? Thanks! ^-^
     
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    May 19, 2002
    #2
    Based on the usual comparison, the majority of the PCs beat consumer Macs for gameplay.

    And the PowerBooks are based on the same chipset as the consumer Macs, the only real significant differences for gameplay benchmarks are the GPUs between all the machines running this chipset.
     
  3. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    #3
    Actually, on a G5 1.6 GHZ, you get 20 fps on average at 1280x1024 with a radeon 9600 pro. On a PC, expect to triple or quadruple that. Reason being, Macs don't have, and never had, hardware accelerated sound, or ethernet. When you are playing these games, the graphics is hardware accelerated by the GPU, the sound is mixed, doppler shifted, positioned and resampled, etc by the CPU. The ethernet traffic is also handled in the same way. On a dual 1.8, with the same graphics card, UT2004 automatically allocates all the sound work to the second GPU, (otherwise, UT2004 isn't multiple cpu aware), and you easily more than double the fps. Or you can also try this yourself with the sound turned on, and off, you'll get a boost around twice the 20 mark on a G5 1.6. Laptops fair much much worse. Did you read the design notes on the powerbooks ? For example, to cut down on the size, bluetooth as well as modems are USB port based instead of being natively PCI. As well, the CD roms on two out of the three models of the current powerbooks only run on a EIDE bus, with no DMA support. Goodluck playing CD based games.

    Games aside, powerbooks are good machines for everything else.
     
  4. Muzukun thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    *eye twitches* ... THAT'S HORRIBLE!!!!

    I can understand sacrificing all that for the size and what not but why?! THAT'S the reason their so small because they castrate your gaming experience? Is there any stupid little loophole around that like... putting in an external soundcard to handle all that crap? (sound wise) but I guess since everything runs off CPU that wouldn't work... ... urg that's just horrible >.< so how badly do games like black and white and morrowind run on the mac? >.<
     
  5. FasterSoonerNow macrumors member

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    Jun 14, 2004
    #5
    Christ. The guy above you exaggerated horribly.

    Look around this forum.

    Tons of people attest to games like Unreal Tournament 2004, Call of Duty, America's Army, etc. working just fine on Powerbooks.
     
  6. Muzukun thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    will it work magically better if I get like a firewire sound system or something? would that bypass the CPU working on sound... stuff?
     
  7. Dr. Dastardly macrumors 65816

    Dr. Dastardly

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    #7
    Why would you wan't a laptop for gaming? Wouldn't a desktop be much better for that sort of thing? I understand the occasional game now and then on a laptop, but are you buying it primarily for games?

    I'm confused. :confused:
     
  8. Muzukun thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    it's not so much wanting it for gaming, it's wanting to know the capacity to do so is still there. Right now my xbox has easily taken over all my gaming, and if the mac can't handle a game of starcraft I'll just laugh till I die.

    I still have my PC, and I'm happy with it, course it is in the need of a good upgrade sometime if I ever want to play games like B&W2 if I care enough... I dunno... just the idea that the mac can't handle gaming with grace just bothers me =p

    If I did put a firewire sound card/box/whatever into it would it improve performance in gaming though?
     
  9. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    #9
    Let me reiterate

    There is no driver standard at the API level for accelerated sound support on a Mac. The only thing I know that is being used by most new games on a Mac is the OpenAL, and there do not exist a hardware implementation and hence drivers for OpenAL to be accelerated in hardware.

    I didn't exaggerate in the above post, I posted ACTUAL numbers from the G5 1.6 in my very living room. If you think buying a 2500 dollar machine (after monitor), and it it still not able to handle a game that is a few months old now with most features turned on, and resolution at a reasonable level as i stated above, then you see partially why Apple has such a small market share. They put a FX5200 in a 2000 dollar machine for crying out loud, the only company who is willing to do that clearly wants only 1% of the market. Afterall, if you see the sales of last years computers, you see that only about less than 10% of the general public opted for 2000 dollar plus machines.

    Seriously though, my Radeon 8500 AIW on my Athlon running most games smokes the Radeon 9600 Pro on my G5 1.6, hands down, no comparisons. And the radeon 8500 is a few years old, from the Geforce 3 era.
     
  10. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    #10
    Working fine does not equal playing good. A software's operatibility has nothing to do with its performance. If you want to know more details of what I am saying, go to http://www.barefeats.com/ut2004.html

    And i quote "A "remote mad scientist" on the InsideMacGames forum pointed out that the only thing helped by dual processors is SOUND processing. He said, if you edit the "UT2004.ini" file in Application Support, and set "UseSound=False" in the "Engine.GameEngine" parameter list, the frame rate of the single processor Macs should increase dramatically. I quickly verified this on a PowerBook G4/800. With UseSound=False, the frame rate jumped from 16 to 30fps for "Medium 800x600""

    And also from the same website, a NEW brand spanking new 1.5 GHZ g4 based Al-Book with 128 MB of ram on the Radeon 9700 only gets 24 fps at 1024x768, even before anti aliasing or aniso. Now, i don't want to start any PC vs. Mac debates, but let me remind you that a 2000 dollar PC notebook these days offer anywhere from 2 to 3 times the fps the new Al-books can, partially because they use faster processors with a real double data rate bus, or sometimes quad data rate, and they have Hardware sound processing, AND hardware ethernet (in the case of most intel and Via and sis chipsets).
     
  11. Muzukun thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    urg...

    it's kind of bothersome to hear about that... I'll end up sinking roughly 3,000 into a computer and if I'm paying that kind of money I'd at least like to see it be able to act as a 3,000 dollar computer on all levels, and usually games is a good place to actually show off what a computer can do.

    The idea that even if I throw some sort of external sound hardware at it, it wont do any good just seems horrible as well... I mean... seriously just why? =P Maybe I should look more towards the PC instead of the mac -.- it's not like games are all that matters but I mean come on... 3,000 for 15 frames a second? >.<
     
  12. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    #12
    I think they probably are working on hardware accelerated coreaudio

    Call it a hunch, but i got a feeling they are working on this, they had OpenGL standardized with revisions of OS X (not with quartz, with games i mean, I have the older UT for mac os 9, running that i realized os 9 didn't have native drivers fo OpenGL, so UT specifically wrote in the ReadMe's specifying if i want to download drivers and use them, there is a small folder on the CD where i can find the script for OpenGL configuration), I don't see why they don't plan on making audio hardware as well. These are some things that Apple have to catch up to the rest of the world. While I hope other companies don't make their operating systems as cutsie/pinky as OS X. How superficial do you have to be ?
     
  13. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    #13
    By the way, there are external audio solutions, but they all act just as a DAC (digital to analog converter), the DSP doesn't do any mixing unless you use a program that is specifically written to take advantage it meaning the hardware audio is not standardized through API's. Windows equivalent of this would be DirectSound/DirectSound3D for games and with additional hardware capability A3D, Sensaura, EAX (which i hate for killing A3D (backed by marketing funds of creative), a much better 3d audio API). Someday, mac users would experience hardware accelerated sound...
     
  14. Muzukun thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    well... if you were in the same scenario what would you do? Spend 3k on the best powerbook and hope that eventually mac will work harder towards gaming or go off to someplace like dell, get something that's 2/3 the cost and presumably does wonderfully on games with all the horsepower it has?

    Games aren't everything for me but... they are still something. How happy are you with your mac for gaming? What framerate is it giving you? Or do you just have a comp or something sitting to the side for whenever you need to play a computer game? Is it a big hassle or is it livable?
     
  15. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    #15
    Well, I would definitely NOT get a DELL. Get DELL go to H*LL. DELL has a very very bad environmental record. They dumped used machines with lead and mecury into third world countries using prision labour, where imagine a small local community with rivers clogged with jagged computer components and lead in every water stream. I can't help people who would treat others this way. THis is what i tell everyone as a standard introduction sentence when they ask about Dell. Apple is having a hardtime right now, and has had for a while since their stock was in the single digits to find a unique niche, a critical thing that is different about Macs. It used to be the platform of choice for video editing or picture rendering, but now with other companies dumping billions into processors, Macs nolonger hold the edge in any of those criterias. Even adobe is sick of dealing with apple. A while back they posted on their website the processor of choice for their photoshop is a P4, and with a picture showing how much faster the P4 is. And they have stopped making Premier for Macs, because when Adobe was just a small starting company, Apple put tremendous pressure on them to optimize and stick with the mac platform, and Adobe is finally now comparable in size and revenue with Apple, they nolonger have to succumb to the pressure, they can market their products anyway they wish. However, since few products are optimized to such high degrees for the Altivec instructions, you find apple still uses Photoshop as a meterstick of performance, even though most people care not about how fast they can zip through filters in a particular picture editing program.

    Back to the topic

    If you want to spend 3k on something, and it absolutely has to be a notebook, spend it on the 17 inch Al-Book, get it with the 128 MB of ram. It doesn't sound like you play a lot of games, then this should be fine with you. If you do though, the 17 inch display is problematic as you can't run your games at native 1440x900 resolutions and have to resize or stay in a smaller area, either way, it looks ugly because the ratio of resize is not close to 1. For everything else, the display is decent. But make sure you don't buy it through apple stores online or offline, or you'll be stuck with the applecare-not situation. Get it from a third party apple dealer like FutureShop or BestBuy (donno if they have powerbooks though), or your local mac merchant, a lot of them can give you store warrenty for exchange or repair. The reason I'm suggesting the Al-Book is that I have not seen another company with a notebook out in the PC department that looks promising, most of the powerful ones are based on the P4 CPU, a chip I absolutely despise, because it sucks so much gas and provides so little horsepower (the New G5 chips are power suckers too). If you can find a nice laptop based on the Pentium M core, that is also good, but most of them looks poorly constructed.

    As for gaming, I play usually on my PC, 2.2 GHZ athlon xp mobile edition, with my all-time favourate ATI Radeon 8500 AIW card. I usually play with a friend though, so he'd take the Mac, and I'd take the PC. The mac is a lot slower at loading games, for example in UT2004 than my PC, even when he hosts the games, this I don't know why. To switch back and forth between computers is hassle-some. If i were you, and can wait for a few months, I'd wait out the few months. The price on the Al-Books is bound to drop toward the winter, and new things just might sprout up in the PC department with the low voltage AMD64 chips and Dothans.
     
  16. javabear90 macrumors 6502a

    javabear90

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    Houston, TX
    #16
    most games run decently on my 17" pb @1ghz. UT2k4 runs at 10 -30 fps. And Warcraft runs great. Quake and Halo run great, ummm.... thats about it. O also UT3k3 is good also.
     
  17. Muzukun thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    guess that would make a good deal of sense... Mine is a 1800+ after that our specs are pretty much the same. Just the game performance still irks me to some degree, yet I've heard starcraft and warcraft run fairly nicely... how's the sims work on the mac? Essentially those would be the games I'd waste the most of my time on it, however I do have the occasional UT binge which would be nice to feed now and then.

    Can you customize your apple if you go with those other companies though? Is there really a big difference between it all? I wanted to get the faster HD and the more ram towards the videocard and I thought you can only do that with apple. What's the difference between buying from apple and buying from company X?
     
  18. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    #18
    Welll, I know some local dealers in my area carries the 17 incher with 128 and 64, those are custom to order options, any dealer should in principle be able to do it for you. Just make sure you don't get all the ram from apple directly or indirectly, their ram is expensive. They use Spectek, at least in the G5 i got. That's cheap cheap ram. Just get the book with as little ram as possible and swap it out for two sticks of 512's or 1gig's later on. I'm not sure about the new sims, the old ones should run fine. Ut2004 though, is probably the most taxing game for Macs at this point of time. Occassional gaming at first person shooter the 17 is probably good, but I checked the developer notes the 15 incher has a new and updated sound system with internal 24bit accuracy (via DAC), that's good news for audio fans. I'd go with the 15 incher with 128 mb's video ram and load the thing with ram (a gig is nice).
     
  19. Toreador93 macrumors regular

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    Sep 14, 2003
    #19
    Here are some good PC laptops:

    Hypersonic PC

    Voodoo PC

    Hypersonic is cheaper, and has a nice LCD guarantee. They both use the same base models, but add their own things.
     
  20. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    #20
    Oh yes, the gaming companies make some good laptops, the likes of alienware, voodoo, and so on. But they use performance desktop processors mostly and they suck power dry real fast, not good for portable use, but terrific for gaming.

    If you do buy one of these, go with Voodoo, they are canadian i think, and i'm canadian!
     
  21. mouchoir macrumors 6502a

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    London, UK
    #21
    Get a PC. There is so much more to appreciate with a PB than playing games.

    Games are a good thing to show off what a computer is like for playing games.

    The PB still plays dvds beautifully. It is more than good enough for professional graphic design apps (my use for it). And it is great for film editing in FCP (a colleagues use).

    If games are your main concern buy a PS2 for $100 or whatever they cost now. Or a gameboy – that way you'll still have your portability...
     
  22. Muzukun thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    I think I'll probably quit my bitchin and get a mac anyways... seeing as in oh like two years from now the idea of playing a game on a computer would spell a F in all my classes... None the less how does black and white run on macs? I know it'll give my comp a hard time now and then yet it does look pretty cool and it's a stress test (at least in my oppinion)

    Thanks for all the replies though :)
     
  23. MentalFabric macrumors 6502

    MentalFabric

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    Mar 10, 2004
    #23
    I used to play B&W on my powerbook 800, and it ran fine, though i don't know about B&W2.
     
  24. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

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    May 20, 2004
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    Lawrence, KS
    #24
    Bottom line:
    If you're getting a computer for gaming, you're not getting a Mac.

    From what it sounds like though, you should be fine.

    Current Blizzard games will be just fine on your PB. They are not the most demanding apps, which Blizzard has a knack for doing.
    The Sim will likely be fine, as it's not terribly demanding either.

    If you want to run the latest FPSs, then you're buying the wrong computer. Those require the latest PC hardware, hands down. But as long as you're looking at a casual gaming experience, you'll be fine.
     
  25. iwantanewmac macrumors 6502

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    Oct 24, 2001
    #25
    There was an article a few weeks ago wich mentioned Apple for doing the same thing. So..........
     

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