Game performance on Mac OS X

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by sanzar, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. sanzar macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2010
    Hi everyone,

    I'm relatively new to mac and was wondering if anyone could explain why my iMac 24" 2.66 Intel Core Duo, NVIDIA GeForce 9400 (bought mid last year) seems to have such a hard time running an old game like Command and Conquer 3?
    I haven't actually played any games for a while now, but I had C&C 3 on my last PC when it first came out a few years ago and it ran better on that machine (which had significantly inferior specs to my iMac) on higher settings than my iMac can produce on settings that are about medium...
    I went and dug up the old gamespot performance comparisons for PC hardware and it looks as though my iMac should easily handle the game without breaking a sweat on ultra high.

    Is there something I should do to make it run better? I've heard that games can run on Mac, but generally perform better with the windows partition through bootcamp. Is this true?

    Thanks anyone for the advice.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    It's probably because (like most games that get ported to the Mac) whatever company did the port did a poor job.

    Not necessarily...
  3. sanzar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2010
    So perhaps it's just C&C3 that sucks on mac then?
    The company's name appears to be Cider looking at the box. Are they any good?
    If anyone can tell me how well it runs through bootcamp I'd be most appreciative.
  4. NGL macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2010
    If it's a Cider port, then that explains the poor performance. Cider is essentially a "wrapper" that lets OS X run the game (provided the computer has an intel processor). It's not a true native port, it's a quick slapjob that "works" but suffers in terms of performance.
    The games I can think of that are guaranteed to have the same performance under Windows and OS X are Blizzard games.

  5. sanzar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2010
    That explains it then I guess. Oh well, looks like I'll be installing windows and trading the game in for the PC copy I guess.
    At least I won't have to worry about running windows for the upcoming StarCraft games : ) ... though my iMac will probably barely run those considering they'll be pretty cutting edge I'd imagine.
  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Well, Blizzard usually lowers the bar quite a lot to allow their current games to run on old hardware. You won't be able to put the settings up to "Ultra," but you should be able to run them no problem.
  7. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
    dont assume that your PC specs were that much lower... the 9400M is good for an integrated GPU, but still very inferior to most graphics cards.
    what CPU and GPU did your old machine have.
  8. sanzar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2010
    Well it was a good PC for back in 2005. AMD Athlon 3200 processor with 1 gig of ram and an nVidia Geforce 6800GT dedicated graphics card. But still, that was a 32 bit processor, while my current intel core duo 2 is 64 bit, and I have vastly more ram.
  9. Jason Beck macrumors 68000

    Jason Beck

    Oct 19, 2009
    Cedar City, Utah
    +1 what he said.

    ahaha :D
  10. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
    Cider and Wine can actually runs games (depending on the game and how well people took the time to get it to work) around 85% to 95% the speed it would run native on Windows on the same machine...

    a Geforce 6800 and 6800 ultra, while very old cards, are both faster than a 9400M. a 9400M wasn't designed for speed, it was designed for being built into a chipset to save space, and use very low power and make very little heat... it smokes 6800s on that front, but the 6800 is slightly faster still.

    64 bit makes no difference at all since your running a 32 bit game.
  11. sanzar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2010
    Yes of course, but the intel core duo 2 processor is significantly faster on the mac than an AMD Athlon 3200 as far as I can understand, and my ram was 1 gig and DDR2 where as now it's DDR3 and 4 gigs.
    Are you saying that it's really all the graphics card? Is the integrated 9400 THAT much weaker than the old 6800 GT in terms of performance capacity?
    Also, I remember giving the game to my brother on his Dell Desktop, which was decent in 2007, but by no means as good as my custom built computer and it ran the game pretty well too. I'm pretty sure that was an integrated graphics card as well.
  12. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
    it depends what 6800 based card you had... they are all (even the mobiles) faster than a 9400... some faster than others.

    your running a Cider game, which.. I haven't played it, might already have about a 10 or 15% performance penalty, on a graphics card that is slower than your old one... so yes, its likely it will not run as good.

    When it comes to gaming, the GPU is usually more important than the CPU. A super fast CPU is great, but if its sitting there just waiting around most of the time, its not helping.

    I have not ran that exact game... and we don't have all the details about your machine. i run a lot of games through Wine and Cider and they usually run very well, almost as fast as they run natively in Windows on the same machine. Theres thousands of things that could be causing yours to run poorly, its not easy to diagnose over a forum.

    I know that that game is supposed to run well under Wine, so I doubt Cider would be that much worse, though it could be. Thats why I port games myself and don't use Cider :p I like something open source I can modify.
  13. sanzar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2010
    Yeah fair enough. I had an nVidia Geforce 6800GT with 256 mg of onboard ram on the old computer and that was a great card when it came out.

    Just in terms of the trouble it has running higher settings though, one thing I've noticed is the game itself actually runs pretty well on high, it's simply the controls that lag... For instance my troops will react and move about relatively quickly, but the control always seems to be a step behind.

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