Steam users on mac osx, how is it compared to running it on windows?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by dsprimal, May 26, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 27, 2010
    Hey everyone who has steam installed on mac os x. how is it? does the gameplay and graphics perform/look as good as if you played on windows via bootcamp? just wondering before i decide to make a move. if playing games on a windows partition is better, then i'll just stick to that route.

    anyone played on both? how do they compare to one another?

  2. macrumors 603

    Sep 19, 2003
    Games are slower, sometimes dramatically so;* the Steam client is faster, especially when launching. I'm on a 2008 iMac, your mileage may vary.

    *Though the Valve games (HL2 and Portal) are running excellently, almost everything on high.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2006
    Leeds, UK
    There's nothing to lose by trying it out in osX, you can even copy over most of your steamapps data to avoid having to download much.. :)

    I've used it pretty extensively in osX now and it depends greatly on the game and the Mac you're running on. Killing Floor and the Source games run very well for me here on my MBP and 8800 iMac, I've deleted them in Bootcamp, the convenience > a few lost FPS for me.

    A couple of odd graphical artefacts in killing floor but nothing major. No doubt it'll all be fixed anyway, and performance is only likely to get better.
  4. macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Darkplace Hospital
    Steam itself runs faster on OSX and there are fewer freezes. 3D games don't run as well. 2D games run at their max on my ancient iMac under Mac or Windows.
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 27, 2010
    looks like ill be using windows 7 instead. ive heard that steam on mac doesn't even allow you to play majority of the best games, except for like hl2, css, and portal. which are good games don't get me wrong but i rather play all of duty: MW 2, and some other recent games.
  6. macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens

    Do you know why that is? Because they are porting them over, slowly.

    So, if you want to play MW2 by all means stay with Win7. But it IS probably coming...maybe. ;)
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002
    all i will say is buy games on the mac side play games on the mac side. the more people developers see using the mac the more games there will be and the more optimized they will be come.

    it's a new day for mac gamers. it time to support them.
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 27, 2010
    +1 guys, very true. mac must grow in the gaming community! :apple:
  9. macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    The problem isn't optimisation. It is far easier to optimise a game for Mac than it is for Windows because there are a lot less possible combinations of hardware and software around.

    However, it is the software support provided by Apple that is poor. Video drivers are rarely - if ever - updated and are always a long way behind Windows in 3D performance. There is no DirectX for OS X (which is another reason why so few games are available) and Apple's implementation of OpenGL (an alternative that can be implemented but only with significant investment of time and money) is very poor indeed.

    Once again, it's Apple holding things back on their own platform. While many will cry out that it is in the interests of stability to do this, providing users with no option whatsoever to increase their 3D performance is going to be the thing that prevents Steam and every other Mac from taking off.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002

    they are working on it.

  11. macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2003
    Irvine CA
    If I take this at face value, it would imply that the odds of seeing graphics driver updates in two or three SU's in a row would be.... very low ?
  12. macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Cuidad de México
    Wonky and sluggish under OS X. I've had to Force Quit it far too often.
  13. macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2009
    Near Philly
    Runs decent. But my graphic card crapped out on my imac and awaiting to get it fixed! It is at the shop now...:(
  14. VoR
    macrumors 6502a

    Sep 8, 2008
    How do the source fps games handle osx' mouse acceleration?
    Is it possible to turn it off (or is it by default?) and play 'properly'?
  15. macrumors 68020


    Sep 8, 2003
    Problem is that Apple can't implement DirectX without negotiating something with Microsoft. It's their API, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are legal issues involved, rather than simply technical or laziness on the part of Apple. Who knows if Microsoft would even allow this to come to pass in this sort of climate where OS X is gaining steam in a traditionally Windows-centric market.

    And if Apple's OpenGL implementation was really that terrible, the OS wouldn't be rendering everything on the screen through it. However, that sort of optimization and focus comes at a cost, a cost that Apple seems happy to pay even if it is at the expense of game performance as a result (hint, your VRAM is being used to store window surfaces, and OS X's OpenGL is actually doing some expensive tricks to allow things like windowed mode in an environment where that window gets re-composited with the rest of the surfaces on the screen).

    There are probably things that can be done to improve game performance, but the architecture was never designed around game performance, it has been performance of the window server, which is sometimes at odds with game performance and optimizations.
  16. macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2008
    Steam client is buggy but I'm hoping them to fix it in near future.

    Overall, I'm pleased with the performance of Half Life.
  17. macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    Very Buggy too, i have had to force quit multiple times. But it eventually works, which is very annoying.
  18. macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2008
    I have played the HL2 series twice before, once on a gaming PC with Win Vista and also on a MBPro early 2008 with Win XP. I am now playing the Steam Mac version on a MBPro i7 2010 with 10.6.3 and other than much better graphics I can not tell any difference in performance. What I love best is not having to screw around with Anti-Viral crap when you are online. Having Bootcamp gives me the best combination for playing FPS games.

    FYI the console commands (ie cheats) from the PC also work perfectly on the Steam Mac Version. You first have to enable the console by starting the game and then selecting options from the main menu. In the keyboard section click advanced at the bottom of the pane. Then click on both the fast weapon switch and enable developer console boxes. Be sure to click apply before closing the pane. Now go to Google add search for Half life 2 cheats PC and feast on the results. The console commands also work with all the episodes.

    Thank you Valve for a wonderful service.
  19. macrumors member


    Apr 29, 2010
    I just own my MBP 15'' i5 2.4G GF330 256MB.

    I tried HL2 on both Mac and Bootcamp Win7.

    I have to say, I am unhappy with the HL2 performance on Mac, it is slow, jumping frames, look not as good as in Win7. (all in recommended setting, which is about middle to high).

    In Win7 steam, it is completely different world! I run it in ALL MAXIMUM setting, and the game still SUPER FAST and SMOOTH! No frame jumped at all. just like playing on a high end desktop.

    Valve still need to do more hard work.
  20. macrumors 603

    Sep 19, 2003
    What are your settings? Try turning AA, motion blur, filtering, Vsync and color correction off. I've got all my settings on max except for those and it's smooth as butter. My graphics card is crap compared to yours( Radeon 2600 pro)
  21. macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2008
    It is likely you have a software problem on your machine not related to Steam. Be sure there are no background applications active as some games are quite sensitive to this. Here is a url to a recent discussion of this topic from MacFixIt titled "Tips, steps for increasing OS X app performance". Go read it and try some of the recommendations.;title

Share This Page