OS X New Mac Pro undermines the Mac gaming upsurge?

petsounds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
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Now that there will no longer be a Mac which accepts standard PCIe graphics cards (albeit "Made for OS X" versions), will we see ports of graphically-demanding PC games diminish in quantity? The FirePros in the new Mac Pro, AFAIK, are not really geared for games, and the remaining Macs have integrated graphics which can't really keep up with the demands of high-end PC gaming engines.

Unless Apple surprises us with the mythical midsize-tower Mac, why would PC gaming companies bother or even be able to port their graphics-intensive titles to OS X?
 

Nov 28, 2010
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The current iMac and 15" MBPs (with and without) have dedicated GPUs, albeit mobile ones.

Maybe Apple offers a Mac Pro with a gaming GPU?
 

Irishman

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2006
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Now that there will no longer be a Mac which accepts standard PCIe graphics cards (albeit "Made for OS X" versions), will we see ports of graphically-demanding PC games diminish in quantity? The FirePros in the new Mac Pro, AFAIK, are not really geared for games, and the remaining Macs have integrated graphics which can't really keep up with the demands of high-end PC gaming engines.

Unless Apple surprises us with the mythical midsize-tower Mac, why would PC gaming companies bother or even be able to port their graphics-intensive titles to OS X?
Outboard PCIe card chassis that connect to the new MAC PRO via Thunderbolt exist now, I don't see this problem you're concerned about. The cards will still be there. Apple's just moved the interface from internal PCIe to external PCIe to TB.

Am I missing something?
 

NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
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Now that there will no longer be a Mac which accepts standard PCIe graphics cards (albeit "Made for OS X" versions), will we see ports of graphically-demanding PC games diminish in quantity? The FirePros in the new Mac Pro, AFAIK, are not really geared for games, and the remaining Macs have integrated graphics which can't really keep up with the demands of high-end PC gaming engines.

Unless Apple surprises us with the mythical midsize-tower Mac, why would PC gaming companies bother or even be able to port their graphics-intensive titles to OS X?
Mac Pro is a minuscule percentage of Mac sales and is sold primarily to, well, PROS for use in the workplace. I doubt it's a factor in game developers' decisions.
 

petsounds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
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Outboard PCIe card chassis that connect to the new MAC PRO via Thunderbolt exist now,
I didn't know external graphics card enclosures were available for Macs. It's hard to know whether it will be possible with the Mac Pro to use an external card instead of the FirePros, since the FirePro setup seems to be a rather custom affair. But good to know.
 

ScottishCaptain

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2008
872
467
Outboard PCIe card chassis that connect to the new MAC PRO via Thunderbolt exist now, I don't see this problem you're concerned about. The cards will still be there. Apple's just moved the interface from internal PCIe to external PCIe to TB.

Am I missing something?
Yes, you are limited to the bandwidth equivalent of PCI-e 4x.

-SC
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,609
408
Redondo Beach, California
Unless Apple surprises us with the mythical midsize-tower Mac, why would PC gaming companies bother or even be able to port their graphics-intensive titles to OS X?
Game companies don't write for a specific graphic card. They write to a software interface. The new MP is kind of "not cost effective" for games but there will be a huge supply of used MPs on eBay, enough to last a long time. They seem to be selling at about $500. Good deals
 

doh123

macrumors 65816
Dec 28, 2009
1,304
1
Outboard PCIe card chassis that connect to the new MAC PRO via Thunderbolt exist now, I don't see this problem you're concerned about. The cards will still be there. Apple's just moved the interface from internal PCIe to external PCIe to TB.

Am I missing something?
I doubt the Mac Pro was ever a major factor in gaming... other Macs have GPUs too.
 

antonis

macrumors 68020
Jun 10, 2011
2,080
912
Now that there will no longer be a Mac which accepts standard PCIe graphics cards (albeit "Made for OS X" versions), will we see ports of graphically-demanding PC games diminish in quantity? The FirePros in the new Mac Pro, AFAIK, are not really geared for games, and the remaining Macs have integrated graphics which can't really keep up with the demands of high-end PC gaming engines.

Unless Apple surprises us with the mythical midsize-tower Mac, why would PC gaming companies bother or even be able to port their graphics-intensive titles to OS X?
Using Mac Pro for games was a secondary task, anyway. With the new MP it's just not a realistic option.
 

lixuelai

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2008
801
58
The problem with the new Mac Pro is not the performance when it is just released. But that 2 years down the road it may not be upgradable. You can certainly game on a FirePro. The gaming performance is typically equivalent to a bit less than the consumer version. You don't see workstation cards being tested for gaming because it just doesn't make sense from a cost perspective.
 

Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,176
2,172
Outboard PCIe card chassis that connect to the new MAC PRO via Thunderbolt exist now, I don't see this problem you're concerned about. The cards will still be there. Apple's just moved the interface from internal PCIe to external PCIe to TB.

Am I missing something?
And since those exist, any Mac with a Thunderbolt port would be able to use a PC graphics card. Which means OS X should (theoretically) become even more relevant than before when it comes to games, because woah, now even my puny little 11" Air can play Crysis 3 at max settings ;)

As a side effect, that probably means the Mac Pro can stick to being a workstation, while it has less relevance when it comes to being a dedicated pleasure machine...
 

cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
If you look at steam statistics the vast majority of mac users using steam has either Intel HD 3000 or 4000 (20.4 and 18.2%).

If you look at Mac Pro GPUs in use there are 5770 with a 0.5% share, 5870 with 0.31% and 4870 with 0.17%, 8800GT 0.12% and GTX285 has 0.03%..
Other cards for Mac Pro is even less used, and the Mac Pro gaming in total is less than 2%, if you count all cards that are not available in iMac/MacBooks etc.

Does people game on Mac Pros, yes. Are they a significant market share, not really.
 

Michael CM1

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2008
5,676
272
More people will play pretty much any game on MacBook Airs than the new Mac Pro. They're going to cost at least $2,000 sans display. I also think the guts in those things will more than handle any game if it can throw out three 4K displays.

Someone will have to explain to me the upgrade options using TB. Can you really add stuff like a graphics processor? I haven't used a mid-tower in a decade and don't have a Thunderbolt port anywhere. I didn't know TB could be used aside from storage, optical drives and displays.
 

Solomani

macrumors 68040
Sep 25, 2012
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Alberto, Canado
Mac Pro is a minuscule percentage of Mac sales and is sold primarily to, well, PROS for use in the workplace. I doubt it's a factor in game developers' decisions.
I agree. No one buys a multi-thousand-dollar Mac Pro just to primarily play computer games. Well, OK, there may be 2 or 3 nutcases out there..... :D

The Mac Pro is a tiny fraction of overall Macs sold. The iMacs and MacBooks sell gazillions more, and those (iMacs and MacBooks) are where the majority of OSX games/ports are played on.
 

50548

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Apr 17, 2005
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Currently in Switzerland
I agree. No one buys a multi-thousand-dollar Mac Pro just to primarily play computer games. Well, OK, there may be 2 or 3 nutcases out there..... :D

The Mac Pro is a tiny fraction of overall Macs sold. The iMacs and MacBooks sell gazillions more, and those (iMacs and MacBooks) are where the majority of OSX games/ports are played on.
Not to mention that my 2011 iMac plays ANYTHING I throw at it - in fact, most of the modern games I play are at highest settings and resolution and pose no issues at all - this includes Batman Arkham Asylum, CS:GO, TF2, L4D2, Dirt 2 etc.

This whole hoopla about "Macs not being good enough for gaming" is just a bunch of BS spread by kids who only care about a couple more FPS in their ugly beige boxes.
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,403
2,376
Perth, Western Australia
You can do casual gaming on a portable mac these days.

I don't think the Mac Pro is, or has ever been aimed at the gaming market.


I have zero issues running recent games on my 2011 15" 2.2 with 1GB 6750.

Yes, i turn the resolution down occasionally. It still plays well. Its 2 years old....

No, apple don't make an "ideal" gaming machine, and i doubt they ever will. the landscape changes too often.
 

JaguarGod

macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2010
303
28
New Mac Pro won't make any difference. Who on Earth is going to buy a new Mac Pro for games anyway? Even those who do, if they are sane, will game in Windows.

Any-hoot, have a look at Steam Stats:

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey
I understand the basis for your statement as it really does not make financial sense to do so for most Mac users/gamers. While I am in a very small minority, I have purchased Apple's Pro machines (PowerMac, then Mac Pro) since the 90's for gaming. But they have also been work machines. Only once in that span did I actually buy a pro machine for gaming. It was early 2006 and I purchased a pretty well upgraded PowerMac G5 Dual Core 2.3Ghz. The G5 Quad was my work machine at the time. I paid a lot for that 'gaming' machine and yes, I did feel quite insane at the time doing so :eek:

I do not use Steam much but those stats are pretty interesting. Thank you for the link.
 

antonis

macrumors 68020
Jun 10, 2011
2,080
912
I understand the basis for your statement as it really does not make financial sense to do so for most Mac users/gamers. While I am in a very small minority, I have purchased Apple's Pro machines (PowerMac, then Mac Pro) since the 90's for gaming. But they have also been work machines. Only once in that span did I actually buy a pro machine for gaming. It was early 2006 and I purchased a pretty well upgraded PowerMac G5 Dual Core 2.3Ghz. The G5 Quad was my work machine at the time. I paid a lot for that 'gaming' machine and yes, I did feel quite insane at the time doing so :eek:

I do not use Steam much but those stats are pretty interesting. Thank you for the link.
Well, not too insane. I was hoping to buy my first Mac Pro with the coming of the new model but it's not going to happen with this machine. Reasons for changing from iMac to Mac Pro are those 2:

1. iMac 27" resolution is too high for long-term gaming. GPU struggles after 3 years with current modern games, in that resolution. Reducing the resolution is not visually acceptable.

2. iMac 21" is traditionally not very powerful (GPU is always considerably lower than the 27"). Plus, there's no clean ssd-only solution there.

So I wanted a machine where I'll be able to choose my own monitor and upgrade ssd, gpu anytime I like. Previous Mac Pro was a solution but this model ? Not.
 

petsounds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
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496
I understand the basis for your statement as it really does not make financial sense to do so for most Mac users/gamers. While I am in a very small minority, I have purchased Apple's Pro machines (PowerMac, then Mac Pro) since the 90's for gaming. But they have also been work machines.
I agree, I've always used my Pro as primarily a work machine, but also for games (have a 5770 in there right now). But I used to do the same thing for the Windows boxes I built.

I'm not surprised the Steam stats show a heavy emphasis on the Macbooks and their mobile graphics cards; we all know that's the lion's share of Mac sales and I don't debate that. I'd guess that most of them aren't playing very demanding 3D games, either.

But I think many of you are missing my point. Apple will no longer sell a computer that has a powerful gaming card as standard equipment. I don't think most card manufacturers will bother to make a card for people who want to use a Thunderbolt enclosure. That market is just too small.

I think not having top-tier graphics cards available will be a slow-acting poison to Mac gaming. I don't know if not having machines that can run their graphics-intensive games at the highest settings will be a deterrent for game companies looking to port to OS X, but it certainly won't help Mac gamers.
 

Irishman

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2006
2,653
583
I didn't know external graphics card enclosures were available for Macs. It's hard to know whether it will be possible with the Mac Pro to use an external card instead of the FirePros, since the FirePro setup seems to be a rather custom affair. But good to know.
Yes, they are. (Now, right now, I was shopping for one to possibly be able to use with my late 2012 iMac with TB once its onboard graphics card is incapable of performing to my satisfaction with games). The limitation I've seen is that the cards are limited to half-length cards - not really beefy enough to better my onboard Kepler GPU. Sonnet offers one I know of. It retails at about $300-$400, PLUS you have to bring your own card.

With this new Mac Pro having TB expansion as its ONLY real expansion, I expect to see the aftermarket grow tremendously.

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I doubt the Mac Pro was ever a major factor in gaming... other Macs have GPUs too.
True. See my post above responding to Petsounds about this very thing. :)

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And since those exist, any Mac with a Thunderbolt port would be able to use a PC graphics card. Which means OS X should (theoretically) become even more relevant than before when it comes to games, because woah, now even my puny little 11" Air can play Crysis 3 at max settings ;)

As a side effect, that probably means the Mac Pro can stick to being a workstation, while it has less relevance when it comes to being a dedicated pleasure machine...
True. And with Cloud-based gaming like nVidia's GRID coming, even something as modest as the Ouya can play at PS3 /XBox 360 levels over the cloud, because all the heavy lifting is done server-side.
 

cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
TB is quite a bit bandwidth limited.
Cloud gaming is not really an option yet, as latency is way too high still.
 

ElderBrE

macrumors regular
Apr 14, 2004
242
12
Yes, they are. (Now, right now, I was shopping for one to possibly be able to use with my late 2012 iMac with TB once its onboard graphics card is incapable of performing to my satisfaction with games). The limitation I've seen is that the cards are limited to half-length cards - not really beefy enough to better my onboard Kepler GPU. Sonnet offers one I know of. It retails at about $300-$400, PLUS you have to bring your own card.

With this new Mac Pro having TB expansion as its ONLY real expansion, I expect to see the aftermarket grow tremendously.

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True. See my post above responding to Petsounds about this very thing. :)

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True. And with Cloud-based gaming like nVidia's GRID coming, even something as modest as the Ouya can play at PS3 /XBox 360 levels over the cloud, because all the heavy lifting is done server-side.
TB2 cant be used for gaming GPUs, it is limited to 2.5GB bandwidth which is slightly over 4x PCIe 2.0 (we currently use 16x). Performance is greatly affected to the point that even mid range cards suffer the bottleneck. This isn't going to happen for this use.

But it doesn't look like the cards in the Mac Pro are soldered, you just won't have as many options as you do now with all the PC cards you can pop into the current MP and play with.
 

Irishman

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2006
2,653
583
TB2 cant be used for gaming GPUs, it is limited to 2.5GB bandwidth which is slightly over 4x PCIe 2.0 (we currently use 16x). Performance is greatly affected to the point that even mid range cards suffer the bottleneck. This isn't going to happen for this use.

But it doesn't look like the cards in the Mac Pro are soldered, you just won't have as many options as you do now with all the PC cards you can pop into the current MP and play with.
I'm not saying that the throughput for TB is the same as PCIe. But to say that TB can't be used for gaming GPUs is an assertion without evidence, because of course it can be, just with an accompanying performance hit.