The Sluggish Mac

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by form, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. form macrumors regular


    Jun 14, 2003
    in a country
    Good evening, everyone. I have a short story to tell, for those who are interested.

    I just recently visited a compusa near me, mostly in the interest of seeing what's new, interesting and wonderful (wasteful, overcomplicated, nonsensical, dumb, ergonomic, retarded, f***ed up and lame) in a few of our modern technology sectors, particularly digital cameras and mac products.

    I only briefly examined the digicams. Smaller, Cuter, and defective by design. That is, in a few especially overt instances like the Canon Digital Rebel, they are purposefully limited in performance, not by the capacity of the design itself, but by the company's (and most other companies in the world) unflagging desire to give less than one's money's worth.

    Anyway. This is really about the mac. The power mac g5, dual 2ghz system, currently the mid-level with 512mb of ram and the GEforceFX5200 64mb graphics card, on a new metallic apple monitor.

    After looking casually around most of the apple area, I finally stopped and checked this comp out. The first thing I noticed was...why did the mouse cursor seem to move with such rough motion? It was as if it was only capable of refreshing about 10 or 20 times per second. I was noticing huge skips, and the overall feeling was, to me, quite slow. Was this the monitor, the resolution (it was on the highest available, somewhere around 1600pixels on the wide) or some other aspect of the graphics card?

    I discovered a Homeworld 2 app in the Dock. I'd never seen it before, and I was curious what it was like, and especially, how it performed on the second best mac available. So I opened it, and immediately I checked the options for the video. Every single setting was off or low, except for one, the bottom right selector in the video options menu, was on. The first thing this made me wonder was, why would it be like that? Did someone do this purposefully to make the computer seem to perform better? Is it possible this (supposedly) extremely fast system would have a hard time with extra features? Or maybe it was just the default setting. I wanted to believe the latter.

    Just for curiosity's sake, I turn on and max all of the features except the check-box in the top middle of the video menu. I click apply, and I start a single player game. I've never played this game before, so I have no idea how to control anything, of course. However, I noticed something before I got to that point: The cursor was moving like the wc3 cursor in the menu section when running on my Yosemite g3 400mhz! That's somewhere between 4 and 8 frames per second. I looked, but I was in doubt. Any other programs running? I checked. No! Nothing else running. Odd.

    I didn't know how to go back to the options menu without quitting the application, so I did that. Esc is handy. At that point, I wonder if the game would perform better at a lower screen resolution, so i decide to check out the other options for that in monitors. I go to the 800xsomeodd resolution for widescreen displays, and when the screen shows up again, all the text and many other objects seem..almost as if they've been painted in watercolor. There's something called Eagle-SAI mode in a few things like old game emulators; it closely resembles that effect. But this is by no means high quality.

    So I switch to the next resolution up. Same thing. I continue all the way back up to the original, highest resolution available. Well, everything looks nice and sharp and clear again, but still that mouse is slow. Anyway, might as well just leave it this way and check Homeworld 2 with all those settings off instead.

    So I go change the settings back to minimums again, and when I play Single Player Game, the cursor movement and camera scroll is much more smooth. But this still disturbs me. Why should I have to have minimum settings on such a fast computer?

    I have read in some places like XLR8yourmac, that many mac games are CPU-Bound. Is this possible in the case of a dual 2ghz g5? If so, that would truly be sad. A modern, near top-of-the-line system still has to have bare minimum settings on a modern game in order to run it very well. But they still cost $2,499, with no monitor.

    Is mac not supposed to be capable of handling games? If they aren't, then why are games being released for mac at all? This entire experience was disturbing, and disillusioning. Any consideration I had of buying a new g5 went straight out the window by this poor performance. The graphics card may have been unable to handle the high resolutions, but the apple flat panel was unable to make the low resolutions tolerable. The happy medium turned out to be settling for low quality one way or another. That's not right for such a highly touted, high-price product.

    But at least it was neat checking out those cute little digicams in person.
  2. A Mac Gamer macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2004
    I think that there is a driver problem for the nvidia 5200. I think some people had the same problems on the new imac G5's or any computer with that card. It should be fixed with the next update 10.3.6.
  3. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    Two things.

    1. Nicely written. A very accurate assessment.
    2. The Geforce5200 is the LOW END card of Nvidia's PREVIOUS generation. The 5200 isn't fast is ANY machine. Why Apple continues to hobble their systems with such a substandard video card is beyond me.

    Unfortunately, there are others here that won't agree with you or I so you better put on your flame suit.
  4. realityisterror macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2003
    Snellville, GA
    in a word, no not really...

    for the people who think gaming consoles are worthless...

    try it with any lcd, they all have one resolution that even remotely looks good... it's called the native resolution...

    and don't get me wrong, i agree... mac gaming sucks... but computers are for work, not games...

  5. musicpyrite macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Cape Cod
    You should have checked in the Activity Monitor to see if anything was taking up system resources. I've heard of several instances where kids at my school install applications that limit how much the processor can be used; so all the other kids think Macs suck.

    I remove the applications, then bring a CD full of virii, spyware, and malware and put it on the Windoze computers :D
  6. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    512 MB of RAM and the GeForce FX5200 aren't enough. 2 MB in that machine would probably have improved performance considerably. Why Apple continues to spec machines so poorly is confounding.

    There are a handful of games that would probably have worked decently with 512 MB of RAM (Pangea/Ambrosia) but most people don't want to play them.

    However, has anyone found Homeworld 2 to work well at all, even on a well-equipped Macintosh?
  7. javabear90 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Several things.... The processor was probably being used up by somthing else.... It could have been turned down in the system preferences, or the drivers might be right. I can run homeworld just fine on my PB w ati 9700. However that is a lot better graphics card. Try Unreal 2004 demo. That should be better.
  8. TLRedhawke macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2004
    The bottleneck is always somewhere, and in this case, it's the video card. For gaming purposes, it is without a doubt substandard. However, Apple does not build their machines for gaming. They realized long ago that they would lose marketshare consistently if that was their strategy. The G5s are workhorses, and Apple describes them as such. You want to have 80 Photoshop documents open simultaneously, and work on them all? You want to drag and drop Motion files straight into Final Cut Pro, and DVD Studio Pro, while importing data from a DV camera? G5s do all of this, and they kick the **** out of any PC for such a job. Do they let Master Chief kill the Covenant with an extra 10 frames per second? No. In all honesty, if I had to choose between productivity and gaming as the ends for which a computer is designed, I'd say productivity any day. I can build a PC for $1000 to play games. To be as productive as a $3500 G5, I'd have to spend $5000 on a PC. Sounds like a saving to me.
  9. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    The Mac is just not a gaming system. The 5200 has been debated and ripped apart in dozens of threads here. That being said....

    Surprised nobody has mentioned the fact that you were using a display model that is, no doubt, not properly taken care of. I'd bet the OS is out of date. When was the last time it was re-booted? had permissions repaired? run cron jobs? And who knows what abuse that machine has probably taken. Have you ever watched people and what they do to floor models?
  10. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    There is a horrible bug in Homeworld that make the G5 with fx5200 run like crap..

    The employees have to know what the are installing on their machines..
  11. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    How does the 5200 perform in PCs?
    Anyone find benchmarks between the GeForce 5200, ATi 9800 and GeForce 6800? (or something similar...)

    Barefeats does have some benchmarks, and the 5200 really seems pretty bad. Even Motion performs WORSE on a G5 with GeForce 5200 than on a G4 with Radeon 9700.
    I have absolutely no idea why Apple like to downgrade the G5s, iMacs included. Its like Apple wants to discourage gaming.... :rolleyes:
  12. neilrobinson macrumors 6502

    Aug 21, 2004
    Perth, WA, Australia
    pc 5200 are ok i have 128meg ultra (belive it has a faster clock speed??? :confused: maybe?) you can pickup a better card but, they are cheapish. like $49 at most,

    btw does anybody know where you can flash pc ones to mac, i just want to muck and with it in my mac for a week and then put it back, my rage 128 is fine most of the time.

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