DOOM 3 on a 2x1.8Ghz G5...personal review by me

Discussion in 'Games' started by Lacero, Mar 26, 2005.

  1. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    I've noticed a lack of personal reviews on specific hardware for macs, specifically the stock rev. B Dual 1.8 Ghz G5 with the FX5200 video card. I was inspired by my desire for a balance between game performance/image quality running on the above hardware. This thread will not touch on the game play or multiplayer aspects.

    Ok, so just to be specific, this thread is really only useful for Doomers who have similar hardware to mine and really want to find the best settings to play DOOM 3. The hardware specs are as follows:

    PowerMac Dual 1.8 GHz G5, Rev. B with 4 DIMM slots
    1.25 GB RAM (Upgraded up from 256MB)
    Nvidia GeForce FX5200 64MB RAM
    Mac OSX Panther 10.3.8
    DOOM 3 for Mac. ver.1.1

    Here are the results of various image quality and fps performance benchmarks. All advanced options on, including shadows. FSAA and v.sync off by default. (FPS results based on a second run of "timedemo demo1")

    640x480 Resolution
    - 22.2 FPS High Quality
    - 27.1 FPS Medium Quality
    - 39.1 FPS Medium Quality, (shadows OFF)
    - 26.9 FPS Low Quality

    800x600 Resolution
    - 19.8 FPS High Quality
    - 22.3 FPS Medium Quality
    - 31.5 FPS Medium Quality, (shadows OFF)
    - 22.2 FPS Low Quality

    1024x768 Resolution
    - 13.7 FPS High Quality
    - 15.0 FPS Medium Quality
    - 22.0 FPS Medium Quality, (shadows OFF)
    - 15.0 FPS Low Quality

    Conclusion: From the frame rates posted, image quality set at MEDIUM has no negative impact on game performance compared to LOW. Setting at medium quality does not tax the video card's memory. If you set to High Quality, you will definitely experience A LOT of stuttering as the video card has to dump memory to fill in the new textures.

    The best setting to play DOOM 3 is 800x600 Medium Quality with Shadows turned OFF. This provides average 30 fps and 15 fps during intense firefights. If you *need* shadows, the best setting to play DOOM 3 is 640x480 Medium Quality. If ultimate FPS performance is required, 640x480 Medium Quality with shadows turned off will provide +40 FPS.

    Still, DOOM3 is very playable on the above hardware (especially on a $15 video chip) and switching to an X800 or NV6800 should provide at least a 1.5x-3x performance increase. How much more is the question. shows a scant 10+ fps on a Radeon 9800SE, and 24+ fps on a X800 but that's with a Dual 2.5 GHz G5. This tells me that Apple's OpenGL implementation and video drivers need a massive update. Until that happens, upgrading to top-tier video cards seems out of the question at the moment. If anyone owns a Dual G5 1.8 Ghz and a X800 or GE6800, please report your findings.

    So theres my small review. Feel free to ask any questions. :)
  2. tom.96 Suspended

    Jun 13, 2003
    Nice review- you have a lot of ram installed, I wonder how much that helps as opposed to just having 512mb. I would imagine it would speed things up a fair bit.

    Its going to be interesting how the performance of the game improves on your machine as the software gets better, especially with updated drivers and Tiger when it is out.

    I'm also interested in seeing what the requirements will be for games based on the Doom 3 engine, I imagine they could be higher than doom 3 but i wonder how optimisations will help.

  3. mus0r macrumors regular


    Mar 27, 2005
    Having lurked here for a couple of years, I've decided my first post will be about Doom 3. :D

    I liked your review, and I have the same spec. G5 as you do with the same memory. I find the game very playable, and wonder what all the fuss is about? Ok, so it hiccups occasionally...big deal. I'm going to try installing it on my friend's 1.5 Powerbook and see what happens on that. My 1Ghz PB is currently undergoing a surface scan on the HDD :mad:


    Here are some of my numbers. I'm listing anything near or over 30 FPS

    640x480 Medium w/Shadows = 28.3
    640x480 Low w/Shadows = 28.7

    640x480 Low NO Shadows = 37.8
    640x480 Medium NO Shadows = 37.7

    800x600 Low NO Shadows = 30.7
    800x600 Medium NO Shadows = 30.6

    Again, no difference between Low and Medium settings. Personally, I think the game looks amazing on the lowest possible settings, so I will be playing on those to get the higher frame rates. I imagine with OS updates and game patches D3 will be way better in terms of performance by summer of this year.
  4. TheGimp macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2004
    anywhere, usa
    Not exactly a "review" since you mentioned nothing specific about the game, but I agree that the Nvidia 5200 gives satisfactory playability and decent visuals on a dual 1.8 (mine is Rev A 2GB). After playing several days with the 5200, I went out and bought a 256MB Radeon 9800SE, which I will probably return w/i 30 days anyway since no game is worth the $240 (bought it on clearance at Microcenter). While the 9800SE may have only brought a "modest" ~10fps average improvement, that is subjectively a phenomenal improvement when you consider that a given intense fighting scenario that normally would drop to 10fps is now dropping to only 20fps. The new card has enabled me to play at 800x600 high, everything on except FSAA and get timedemo results in the upper 20's for that setting. 1024x768 medium gets about the same timedemo result.

    Now that I'm almost halfway through the game, it is clear that battles intensify to the point where an average fps of at least 30 is needed just to ensure that I can *aim* when the big bosses start filling the screen, etc.
    The best compromise I've found between image quality and fluidity is at 800x600 medium, all advanced except FSAA on, and ATI override to enable 4x anisotropic filtering (normally off in medium quality). Timedemo for this setting is in the mid 30's. I find both the dynamic shadows and anistropic filtering to be vital to the visual experience, the latter (defaults to 8x in "high quality") contributing to the virtual photorealism, such as that encountered in the form of rusty boiler assemblages encircled by gun-metal railings.
  5. rubytuesday macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2005
    Overclock your 5200 for better fps.

    Hi, new here. You guys have good Doom 3 info. I mod at a site where we have worked out how to overclock the FX5200. It seems it comes from Apple set at 300 GPU 275 RAM. At least one OEM owner has set his to 350/350 and gotten significantly better framerates.

    FInal version of software is being worked on by Thomas Perrier, author of "ATIccelerator". We have also worked out clocks on GF3. The Ti4600 is getting close, and I will be personally figuring out GF2 & GF4 MX if nobody else does it.

    For a chance to "Beta" the 5200 overclock, come chat with us at Did I mention 3 of us got the X800 working in a G4? My 933 Mhz QS does 24 fps in Doom 3 at 1280x1024 High Res. Shadows, anti-aliasing, and V-Sync, all OFF. X800 in a G4, gotta love it.
  6. Santaduck macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2003
    As outlined in our performance followup piece, RAM will make no difference in the highest attainable benchmark values. However, benchmarks are not the same as actual in-game playability: you will see noticeable lag in game which makes it completely unplayable at 256M, and largely resolved at 1G. You'll also notice a large difference in load times. From our piece:
    RubyTuesday: you have some very interesting stuff! I still don't understand the dogs =) If you have specific overclock vs. stock comparisons on an FX5200 using our settings for Doom3, I'd be happy to post it in our article with a link to you.
  7. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands

    I've read about it here ,tnx to MacBytes.

    Very cool! :cool:
  8. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    Something else...

    I run DOOM 3 in my iMac g4 (see specs below)

    640x480, all options on except vertical sync and anti-aliasing.

    The port is remarkbly stable. I got an average of 4-5 fps.

    It puts me thinking... Although we complain about doom 3 perfromance when compared to the pc, I don't think that doom 3 would even run on a PC 1GHz with an nVidia GeForce4MX installed!!
  9. jamdr macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Bingo. I think Carmack is just a crap programmer who doesn't know what he's doing.
  10. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000


    May 18, 2003
    Apple definitely needs video card driver help... my Radeon 9800 Pro on my 1.8 runs usually at sub 20 fps at 640x480 on medium settings. The game is playable, but not enjoyable.
  11. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    I don't understand... The fact that in a 1 GHz PC the game doesn't run doesn't mean that this is carmack's fault. It's noone's fault. It is the mac architexture that allows low-end machines to run games like this.
  12. A Mac Gamer macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2004

    Hahaha. Your post makes me laugh. Crap programmer that doesn't know what he is doing? Heh. Have you ever read one of his blogs? Probably not. He goes into so much detail about what he is talking about, he obviously understands what he is doing. I mean he dropped out of college because it was too easy! He is one of the smartest people I know, he gives over 2 hour long speeches about programming and computers today with no notes, or anything, all off the top of his head!

    So please next time you accuse someone of being stupid, don't, it will just make you look stupid.
  13. TheGimp macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2004
    anywhere, usa
    If your Radeon 9800 pro is neither the built-to-order (OEM) version nor the special edition (256mb) one, then it is only AGP 4X vs. 8x for those two. For a game like Doom 3 that could be a big bottleneck. I mention this because I have a 1.8 w/ radeon 9800 special edition which gives me over 30fps at 800x600 medium, shadows off, or upper 20's with shadows on at those same settings. 640x480 medium (what you mentioned) gives me around 40fps timedemo. According to the most reliable info, neither second processor nor the 2GB ram should make much of a difference, so that supports my argument that your card is the problem.

    Even so, you should be getting higher than "sub 20 fps" at the settings you're using. Hopefully Tiger will come through for us.
  14. jamdr macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I know exactly what I'm talking about. Carmark is way overrated by people like you. He pretends to know a lot more than he does and he often makes mistakes when he starts talking about things he doesn't know anything about (he does this often in his blog, which I read when I can stomach his bs). No offense, but you quite obviously don't know what you're talking about, either, because few people who do take him seriously. I'm actually inclined to think your post is a joke--"too smart" for college? Are you serious? Maybe if he had actually gotten a degree he would have a better grasp of a wider range of topics. No doubt he is very good at certain things, though, like creating slow, unoptimized FPS engines. For a good engine check out HL2, which will run on a lot lower-end hardware than Doom. Oh, and it's actually a good game, too.
  15. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    Maybe you are a bit harsh for this man... Well I won't say that I know him, or his work. But I would like you to tell me how can you make assumptions for a thing that you didn't get involved into during programming such as doom 3? I mean, I don't say that carmack is a good programmer, but taking into account ONLY doom 3 performance to conclude that he is a bad programmer is a big mistake.

    We do not know the difficulties of making a game like doom 3. For example, we sometimes yell at aspyr for doom 3 performance in macs. Glenda adams said that during porting they encountered a bunch of silly problems, like integer conversion in macs not being the same as pc's (or something like that) that forced them to rewrite a lot of their code.

    S*** always happens, and maybe john carmack and his team encountered similar problems during development of doom 3, and the fact that they solved them, may be evidence that we should admire him, not blame him.

    Bu, of course I am not him, I don't know what kind of programming he did.

    However, if I don't see the source code he wrote, I cannot jump to conclusions about his expertise.

    EDIT: John carmack was involved in quake 3, right? If that's true then that makes him an expert. The way he pushed quake 3 performance and took advantage of both processors in a mac is remarkable...
  16. Santaduck macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2003
    wasn't that Graeme Devine? I'm too lazy to google.
  17. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    I'm not sure... EDIT: Yes, this was graeme devine. My mistake, sorry.
  18. 36183 Guest

    Jun 24, 2004
    these frame rates are shocking for top end systems, i dont think this is just bad drivers from apple, because UT2004 runes fine on my powerbook and that has got a 9700 with only 64mb of ram.

    is there any word on a performance patch comming out for doom 3 anytime soon?
  19. broken_keyboard macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2004
    Secret Moon base
    I have been playing it on a dual 2.0 + Nvidia 6800. 1024 x 768 medium detail, no shadows. I don't know what the FPS is but it is fun and enjoyable and well worth the money.
  20. Lacero thread starter macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    Type "com_showfps 1" in the console. Anything above 40+ fps is a Good Thing.™
  21. Devie macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Doom 3 is WAY to hardware intensive for what you get out of it, the egine is just not efficient and is just a fricken massive hog. Half Life 2's engine offers you graphics that can display large, outdoor area's with many things going on and look a hell of a lot better on a slower machine than what Doom 3 can.
  22. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    they have a lot different graphic engines and they both concentrate on different graphic aspects so we can't tell what the matter really is...

    Anyway, I am not a programmer. I cannot tell what could be done with doom 3 engine to increase performance...
  23. mus0r macrumors regular


    Mar 27, 2005
    I don't understand what the big deal is...

    I've been playing D3 in windowed mode so I can watch Activity Monitor on my second display and I've been playing with com_showfps on to see that:

    1) D3 only takes a minor hit on CPU

    2) Never takes more than 512 RAM (and if you have a G5 you should have more than that anyway :D )

    3) And even on a crap card like the 5200, on medium settings it stays above 30 FPS at least 90% of the time. Exceptions being large firefights and Hell, which seems to require quite a bit of power to run all of the fire/lava amination. Through average maps the FPS stays between 40 and 60 (yes, I said 60) frames when there are no enemies and only dips slightly for Imps and Zombies.

    I think all this controversy is terrible; people are going to get scared away from the game when it really is quite playable on midrange systems. I'm sure even the single 1.8 G5 would handle this game fairly well, and that's a similar spec. as the iMac.
  24. Tech^salvager macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2005
    Portland, TX
    Well I don't have a GF 4MX I have a Geforce FX 5600xt 128mb.

    Anyways I got about 14FPS tops and arouunds 8FPS in firefights of anykinds never saw it drop below 6fps.
    MY computer specs
    1Ghz AMD athlon
    512mb SDR SDram
    20 GB HDD
    30 GB HDD
    windows 2k
    5.1 sound card
    5600xt 128mb I think it uses the 64bit memory bus though :/ I need to check on that.

    I'd bet I probably get better performance with a GF ti4200 or ti4400
    I was averaging I'd say 8-9FPS with tops of 14 and lows of 6.
  25. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    Missing the point?

    I think we all seem to have forgotten - I don't care about FPS or any of that, is the game any good?
    Personally, I'm over simple FPS's, and most reviews I've heard that's just what it is.
    I own an Xbox, and since then I've never really cared about FPS, graphics chips etc etc. The time I used to spend worrying about these things (when i was a PC user some 4 years ago) I now spend actually on my Xbox playing generally great games, like Brothers In Arms, Halo 2, GTA, Mercenaries, Fable and others.
    I think, so what if the fps occasionally goes down to 15, the graphics look great, the sound is awesome, i don't have to worry about crashes or changing resolution, worring about setup etc etc. I think gaming is all about the enjoying, and that is now just what i do.
    Guys, you didn't seriously buy top-end Macs to play games did you? please say no...
    Admit it, the Mac format only really has one dveloper - Aspyr! Not going to be the best gaming platform is it!
    Celebrate your mac for what it is: a beautiful, simple, massively productive tool. If you really want a games machine, shell out 3k on a PC and bite your lip!

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