Hardware, BootCamp and gaming performance

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Birkovic, May 25, 2013.

  1. Birkovic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #1
    Hi

    As a relatively new mac os x user but a long time windows and linux user I have a few questions about boot camp and the hardware of modern apple computers. This is probably really basic, but still...

    What is the basic function provided by boot camp really all about? Is it essentially a pack of drivers so that windows can run properly and a boot loader or does it do more?

    When playing games on my iMac people tell me to expect a significant performance drop playing under windows through boot camp compared to windows installed natively on a PC, or for that matter playing the same game installed in OS X (if it has such a client). I gather that this may be slightly complex, but why should I expect this loss in performance? Given that boot camp is simply a boot loader (but then again maybe its not) what is it that makes the hardware of my computer not live up to its potential? I understand that there are differences in gaming natively in OS X compared to Windows due to opengl vs directx issues, but should there be any difference between the boot camp windows and native PC windows?

    I think what Im asking is some basic information on what boot camp really is. What started this discussion was the fact that my brother uses a PC with near identical specs as my iMac and runs Star Wars The Old Republic much better then I do. I have medium settings and roughly 30 fps, while he as very high settings and around 50 fps. My screen is higher resolution but even if I turn it down Im not at all on par with him.

    Happy for some basic input or reeding tips.

    /Birkovic
     
  2. Brenster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #2
    Boot Camp = A utility in OSX that will create a second partition + Windows drivers & Control Panel applet + an EFI 'boot option' to allow the option to boot into Windows or OSX

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5639

    In my own experience the loss in performance is generally down to the Boot Camp graphics drivers not being terribly well optimised. I've found Windows graphics performance to equal or exceed that in OSX by installing the 'latest' Nvidia or AMD Catalyst drivers.

    I've had to use modified drivers for my current system (late 2011 MacBook Pro). The notebook has two graphics cards. An integrated Intel 3000HD that OSX uses during regular/light graphics use and a Radeon 6750m that it can dynamically switch to when under load (serious graphics & video applications, StarCraft 2 etc).

    When trying to install the latest AMD Catalyst drivers for the 6750m under Windows, the drivers fail to install as the installer cannot detect the card properly (likely some quirk of how the cards are addressed hardware wise). I've wound up installing modified drivers that skip the card detection part of the installation and 'brute force' installs the drivers. The drivers then recognise the 6750m ok and Windows disregards the integrated card. Works very well with Win8 Pro 64bit.

    The rest of the Windows drivers in the Boot Camp installation work fine - trackpad, screen brightness, backlit keyboard, audio, hardware ports etc.

    If you're already running Windows+Boot Camp then the culprit is likely graphics drivers. Try the latest, regular Nvidia or AMD Catalyst drivers for whatever the graphics card is in your iMac. Be sure to create a Restore Point in Windows first in case you need to roll back the change.
     
  3. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #3
    When running Windows from a Boot Camp installation, the integrated Intel GPU is not visible to the system at all. The only time it is is if you've attempted a Windows installation via EFI (aka, NOT using Boot Camp Assistant). However, the iGPU still doesn't work correctly. People have been trying for years to get fully functional graphic switching on a Mac with Windows with no success.

    The standard AMD Catalyst Mobility drivers install just fine on a Mac. You simply need to have the full installation file. This is not what AMD provides on its website and is what causes the errors you described. The complete driver set is downloadable from AMD's server via 3rd-party websites such as Guru3D.
     
  4. Brenster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #4
    I stand corrected - will give the full Catalyst driver set a try on my Win 8 partition. Thanks for the info and the link.
     

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