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MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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14,693
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With the launch of Steam for the Mac, a lot of attention has been focused on the relative performance of Mac gaming. Early benchmarks have shown that the same Steam games run at a significantly slower framerate under Mac OS X than under Windows.

The reason for the discrepancy has been described as due to relatively immaturity of drivers on the OS X side as well as other slowdowns. Some modest improvements may be seen with the upcoming release of Mac OS X 10.6.4, but more dramatic improvements remain in the pipeline.

Responding to concerns about performance on some Mac Steam games, Valve employee rbarris provides some reassurance that further performance updates will be coming:
Performance is going to improve as drivers are updated. I would expect modest improvements in short term and larger ones in longer term. No, I can't put dates on them. We are making a lot of progress is identifying specific issues that need work inside the game and inside OpenGL and drivers. Apple, ATI and NVIDIA are all involved.
Steam is said to be working with Apple, ATI and NVIDIA on these optimizations for improved gaming performance. Driver-level features should arrive over time with future Mac OS X updates.

Article Link: Apple, ATI, NVIDIA Actively Working on Improving Mac Gaming Performance
 

joshjoshlol

macrumors member
Nov 8, 2009
48
0
Hopefully they don't leave us people who felt Snow Leopard wasn't worth the upgrade stranded without a firmware release...
 
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The JTizzle

macrumors 6502
Jun 14, 2009
316
39
Maine
Not a big PC/Mac gamer anymore, but glad to see they are putting some solid effort behind improving it.
 
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Joe The Dragon

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2006
756
188
Still needs better hardware the mini is a little better but it should have 4gb ram and a lower price.
 
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Pechente

macrumors member
Another message rbarris sent. To my question:

Will Source Games on OS X ever perform as well as they do on Windows?

He responded:

Predictions are hard. I know we and Apple are motivated to keep improving these titles for many months to years. Now that we have Portal out and more people can look at it in depth, it will get easier to pinpoint where more elbow grease is needed. It's just engineering, it takes time. I used to work on Mac WoW, it also took a few iterations to get things really humming.

It's not a statement that's as clear as the one in the article but maybe it'll get some people excited anyway :)
 
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Little Endian

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2003
680
31
Honolulu
What's New!! GPU drivers under OSX have been lagging for the past decade or so. In the past people used to blame the PowerPC for the poor gaming performance under OSX. In hindsight we can now clearly see that even after almost 5 years since the switch to Intel we are still lagging behind in gaming performance. OSX and its implementation of OpenGl, as well as drivers from Nvidia and ATI/AMD are the main culprits for poor performance.
 
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jamone13

macrumors regular
Apr 20, 2010
115
0
Hopefully they don't leave us people who felt Snow Leopard wasn't worth the upgrade stranded without a firmware release...

Why should they keep updating an older os with non security fixes? SL has been out a while now, price isn't an issue, if you still don't want to upgrade fine but don't keep expecting Apple or any software company to keep providing additional features, or performance improvements to software that is a version behind. About all you can expect is fixing of large security holes and even that in my opinion is unnecessary once a newer version is out.
 
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LagunaSol

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2003
4,798
0
Unfortunately Apple has never taken video processing as seriously as they should. GPUs in their new machines are always a step or two behind the PC world, and the software could use some serious help too. Hopefully OpenGL will start getting some real love with the ascent of iPhone, Mac and Android. But Apple needs to wake up and get more cutting-edge with the GPUs it chooses to offer in its machines.

I remember the good old days of flashing a cheap Voodoo card to work in my Mac to give me PC-parity. I miss those days. :(
 
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IlluminatedSage

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2000
1,474
184
Unfortunately Apple has never taken video processing as seriously as they should. GPUs in their new machines are always a step or two behind the PC world, and the software could use some serious help too. Hopefully OpenGL will start getting some real love with the ascent of iPhone, Mac and Android. But Apple needs to wake up and get more cutting-edge with the GPUs it chooses to offer in its machines.

I remember the good old days of flashing a cheap Voodoo card to work in my Mac to give me PC-parity. I miss those days. :(

I agree, Apple to really succeed in this needs to offer a Mid-Sized tower, which is more powerful than your imac and upgradable. But not as over powered and priced as a Mac Pro Tower.

On a different note, i really would like to say this is a long time coming. About time Apple shifts even modest resources to support gaming on the OS and Driver level. They had all but ignored gaming for the last decade.

If Apple is going to do well here... they need to get rid of all the system and drivers that make gaming hard. ie... playing ETQW and getting system slowdowns every few minutes which act like a lag spike, but are probably connected to the Mac Pro doing other things. even when this is the only program i am running.
 
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iBug2

macrumors 601
Jun 12, 2005
4,236
490
Unfortunately Apple has never taken video processing as seriously as they should. GPUs in their new machines are always a step or two behind the PC world, and the software could use some serious help too. Hopefully OpenGL will start getting some real love with the ascent of iPhone, Mac and Android. But Apple needs to wake up and get more cutting-edge with the GPUs it chooses to offer in its machines.

I remember the good old days of flashing a cheap Voodoo card to work in my Mac to give me PC-parity. I miss those days. :(

Up until couple months ago, the fastest single core GPU, GTX285, was available for mac. I don't think macs are lagging way behind anymore. We lag like 6 months behind nowadays, which is a big improvement over the past.

But since OS X does not support SLI or crossfire yet, don't expect multicore GPU's soon.
 
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HiVolt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 29, 2008
894
3,364
Toronto, Canada
What bothers me the most, that there is never any independent driver releases. Always in the OS updates, which take months in between.

Why can't Apple allow nVidia or ATI to release them independently as they identify issues, as is done on the PC?
 
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kstswe

macrumors newbie
Jan 24, 2008
24
0
Thank you Valve for bringing this to the surface.

I have faith in ATI and NVIDIA to improve, just not so sure about Apple half hearted efforts in this area...
 
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Ed91

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2007
267
1
Hopefully they don't leave us people who felt Snow Leopard wasn't worth the upgrade stranded without a firmware release...

Would that finally make it worth the upgrade to you? You want better performance, but for you, Snow Leopard, a mostly performance-related release, wasn't worth the $29 to upgrade.

Geez.
 
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benpatient

macrumors 68000
Nov 4, 2003
1,870
0
oh yeah, I wish we could go back to quake 2 graphics. that would be just swell.

you do remind me of how much time i spent laughing at the people who did q3 arena FPS tests 6-7 years after the game came out, trying to show that macs were good for gaming because q3a would run 300 fps on a powermac g5.

meanwhile pc gamers were playing through HL2 and UT2004 at "only" 100 fps.

as an aside, i want to point out that (so far) this is the first front page entry i've ever seen with ZERO negative votes.

at this writing it is 44 positive, 0 negative.

I'm impressed, macrumors!

of course now i'm tempted to "negative" it just because.

also, because it's sad that it took steam coming to mac for apple to give two butt nuggets about their 3d drivers.
 
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brendu

Cancelled
Apr 23, 2009
2,472
2,703
maybe, just maybe this will be one of the big new features of OSX10.7 next year... optimized gaming performance on par with windows... and maybe, just maybe they will release a gaming version of the mac pro with hardware tailor made for gamers...


...ah who am I kidding.. apple thinks iOS is their gaming platform... and serious gamers will never waste their time with OSX ...
 
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nightcrawler

macrumors newbie
Jul 9, 2008
5
0
What I've always wondered was why no company ever made it possible for the rest of the OS to give way to the gaming application - a gaming "shell" so as to speak, such that every ounce of computing power is available for the gaming application. Chip for chip, personal computers certainly aren't inferior to their console counterparts.
 
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niuniu

macrumors 68020
Thank you Steam!

Steam's bold move has gotten the ball rolling! I have no problem using bootcamp and am sincerely grateful for it - but the dream is to game on Mac OS X.. on all games, and with excellent performance!

Wait and see what happens in the next 3 to 5 years - lots of studios planning Mac releases earlier on, it will only snowball from there on.

Another big plus is that in the long term, Apple may in time consider making a laptop aimed at gamers. Something really hardcore, heavier and fatter, but really loaded.
 
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Bokito

macrumors regular
May 29, 2007
226
616
Netherlands
We all know Steve Jobs doesn't like games even though Mac OS X 10.0 was introduced as a steady game platform, but Apple never worked on game performance in contrast to Microsoft. Apple could be way bigger now if they improved support for games back in time when games on the computer were way more popular then on the console. Apple promised again Mac OS X would be your big gaming dream when EA came on board. EA largely ditched the Mac because their Cider-games didn't sell (mostly because illegal cracked Cider versions performed way better than the official versions). Apple didn't take the opportunity to help EA develop native Mac OS X games. OpenGL is in some ways superior to DirectX and sometimes DirectX is better, but overall a DirectX game rewritten in OpenGL on OS X doesn't need to perform much worse in OS X than it does on Windows.

Apple is promising from time to time they improve game performance. Snow Leopard already does quite better than Leopard, and 10.6.3 added a little performance boost in some areas as well, but it's not close near what Windows is doing even though it's possible.

Apple should start with putting higher end graphics cards in their Mac as well, since there is a big gap too. Most budget PCs have better graphics cards than Mac Pros and iMacs.
 
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rlmccormick

macrumors regular
Jun 7, 2008
120
5
WoW performance

On my unibody MBP, WoW runs at 2.5x the frame rate in Windows vs Snow Leopard. It's one of the big reasons I use bootcamp.
 
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pineapple216

macrumors member
Apr 12, 2010
50
0
@ niuniu:

Indeed, good to see that Steam seems to have woken up Apple, and that they start improving drivers.

I strongly doubt if Apple will put more powerful graphics chips in her notebooks. Because they generally consume more power, and generate more heat.

I don't think they can still make those flat, and lightweight designs, with more powerful graphics, because I see a lot of people complaining on macrumors, as well on other forums, that their MBP's get too hot. But we'll see, only time will tell...
 
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joshjoshlol

macrumors member
Nov 8, 2009
48
0
Why should they keep updating an older os with non security fixes? SL has been out a while now, price isn't an issue, if you still don't want to upgrade fine but don't keep expecting Apple or any software company to keep providing additional features, or performance improvements to software that is a version behind. About all you can expect is fixing of large security holes and even that in my opinion is unnecessary once a newer version is out.

Not worth the upgrade? It was $29!

Thez are willing to pay thousands for faster Macs (through newer hardware) but they are not willing to pay 29 Bucks for faster Macs (through newer software). I don't get it. OSX is the single most valuable Apple product and they almost sell it for free. Utter no-brainer to upgrade imho...

Would that finally make it worth the upgrade to you? You want better performance, but for you, Snow Leopard, a mostly performance-related release, wasn't worth the $29 to upgrade.

Geez.

Unlike the vast majority of people that buy Apple these days, I actually use my machine primarily for art and design related applications. Snow Leopard had more issues with CS4 than Leopard at the time of upgrade, and thus my decision was made. Please consider both spectrums of the Apple consumer base before you haphazardly stumble into the notion that status symbol seekers sum up the more important market share.
 
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