8800GT and Games: Bad drivers or bad game porting?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by TheSpaz, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. TheSpaz macrumors 604


    Jun 20, 2005
    Okay, so I have a Quad-Core Mac Pro 2.66GHz and an 8800GT (512MB). I've been playing Call of Duty 4 on it and overall it's not too bad. However, I have to turn all the special settings off (like shadows, specular map, depth of field and anti-aliasing) to get the game to perform decently. I have Vertical Sync turned on (because I hate horizontal tearing) and I get 45-60fps in most maps (with all that extra stuff turned off). It even goes down to 30fps in some areas.

    Here's the thing. Yesterday, for the fun of it, I installed Windows Vista in Boot Camp and downloaded the Call of Duty 4 Demo and compared it to the Mac game. I was able to get 55-60fps CONSTANT in the demo with shadows, specular map and depth of field turned on! In the same spot on the Mac version with the same settings, I get 20fps. This is extremely disappointing to me. Are the Mac video drivers THAT bad or is it a crappy port by Asypr?

    My question is... will Apple update the video drivers for the 8800GT to unlock the speed that Vista is giving me or will I have to get an even higher end graphics card? To think, here I was thinking the game ran fine in OS X... until I saw how it runs in Vista. This is terrible. Now there's one more thing the PC folks can brag about to us Mac users. :mad:

    Edit: When I was comparing the PC Demo to the Mac full game, I made sure I was in the same level and area in the game.
  2. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    My understanding it is a bad port...

    Check Barefeats article on Early 2008 Mac Pro gaming:


    I have a stock 2.8 X 2 Early 08 Mac Pro with an 8800GT and I don't get anywhere near those frames on for WoW (I get around 55-60), but I have only 2GB of RAM right now.

    And your issues are documented here as well:
  3. TheSpaz thread starter macrumors 604


    Jun 20, 2005
    Thanks for the links! That 3870 looks cool! Should I get the 3870 or just wait for the 4870 to be compatible with the first generation Mac Pro?

    What do you think is the best gaming card for the first gen Mac Pro?
  4. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    Both. But in the case of CoD4 I think it's more a bad port.

    But Barefeats has an improved driver and hopefully we'll get that in 10.5.7.

    You'll still get better framerates with most games in Windows, that's just how it is. The 8800GT is better for that than the 3870 (but if you can get a 4870, that's definitely fastest).
  5. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    I don't know if it's Cider or Nvidia or EAgames, but I have seen horrific performance in battlefield 2142 with the 8800 card.

    I started with a 2007 mac pro with ATI x1900 card. Ran the game GREAT with no problems. I upgrade to the 8800 card and it was majorly slower (WTF it's a much faster card hardware-wise!). I returned it and got the ATI3870 and it was back to full speed and my other apps ran faster than the x1900 did.

    I then got a new 2008 mac pro and it came with, you guessed it, the 8800 card again. Even though it's a faster octocore machine with 16gb of ram, it runs the game like crap.

    I've been waiting on the 4870 to be released now since it was announced and I'm gettng really pissed off waiting for it to arrive.

    I dont know whether to blame EA games, or Apple, or Nvidia, but it is horrible how nobody will fix a problem that has been identified now for well over a YEAR. I for one will not buy ANY nvidia cards in the future, ATI seems to be much faster in OSX.

    Disclaimer: I don't bootcamp, nor do I wish to.
    You can find lots more on this in the apple games forum, BTW.
  6. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    From everything I've heard and read, it breaks down like this, in terms of reasons for poor performance:

    1. Bad drivers. Nvidia drivers have been lagging behind ATI drivers on macs for a while now - though admittedly most of the tests demonstrating this relate to Core Image. Still the Nvidia cards in use should be performing better.

    2. Graphics APIs. Most of this stuff is originally coded for DirectX/3D, and I think there's always a performance hit in converting it for OpenGL unless you're really, really good - and most companies are not all that adept in OpenGL. Interestingly enough, a similar effect can be seen with the Xbox 360 (uses DirectX) and PS3 (OpenGL) in games that are ported from the Xbox 360 to the PS3.

    3. Bad porting. Though I'm not sure how much of this is the porting companies' faults, given the above facts.

    My advice, wait for the 4870, or flash one for your own use. If you don't want to do that, the 3870 is probably the way to go.

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