Terrible framerates for games on OS X

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by nathaniel515, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. nathaniel515 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 17, 2015
    #1
    There seems to be a major problem with gaming on OS X on El Capitan on my mid 2012 Retina Macbook Pro (with NVIDIA Geforce GT 650M). In Windows (Bootcamp), I can play games just fine. Team Fortress 2 runs at ~60 fps on high settings at 2880x1800. However, on OS X, TF2 runs at about 5-10 fps (unplayable) on medium/low settings at 1440x900 (half the resolution!). Games like Portal 2, Civ 5, etc. have the same problem. I understand that Windows has DirectX, and Apple's OpenGL implementation is not that great. But it seems like there shouldn't be this much of a disparity. I have tried resetting the SMC and NVRAM, as well as disabling Automatic Graphics Switching, neither of which made any difference.

    The weird thing is that the laptop doesn't get very hot at all when playing under OS X, and the fan remains barely audible, almost as if OS X is throttling the graphics performance to an extreme level. I didn't have this problem before El Capitan. Does anyone know if there is a solution for this?
     
  2. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    Mar 14, 2009
    #2
    The games may be running on the intel GPU for some reason. The disparity with Windows shouldn't be that big. You typically lose 30% fps at most.
     
  3. nathaniel515 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 17, 2015
    #3
    That's the way it was on earlier versions of OS X. I'm quite sure it's not using the Intel GPU- whenever I play games, the discrete (NVIDIA) GPU is listed on "About this Mac", and I have tried disabling automatic graphics switching.
     
  4. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #4
    Apple seem not to care a hoot for our gaming on iMacs. Conversely, they long for a world in which every citizen walks the streets playing a crappy Frogger clone game on an overexpensive crApple telephone.
     
  5. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

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    #5
    Personally, I find it pathetic and insulting that crApple forces buyers of their laptops to be subjected to Intel's piss-weak only-for-office-work GPU attempts. There should be a class action and all consumers given a refund of at least half the amount paid in order to cover moral damages, frustrations caused as well as the aforementioned pathetic insult of being subjected to use an Intel GPU attempt.
     
  6. kaioshade macrumors regular

    kaioshade

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    Nov 24, 2010
    #6
    While Apple using underpowered GPUs for their machines may be a valid point of grief and criticism, these suggestions do very little to help the OP.

    That being said OP, Apple does not position their machines as gaming machines. If you have Automatic graphics switching off, then your machine should be using the Nvidia chip. Also, if you have not done so, try to download the Official Nvidia drivers from their web site: http://www.nvidia.com/download/driverResults.aspx/93555/en-us. They are still considered experimental, but most users (myself included) have reported some fps gains with these installed. It wont turn your mac into a gaming powerhouse, but it couldnt hurt.

    Hopefully this helps.
     
  7. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

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    The Netherlands
    #7
    Somehow it feels like the implementation of Metal is in the way somehow.
    I wonder if some GUI artefacts are rendered using Metal which might confuse the OS which 3D renderer is running: OpenGL or Metal.
    I am no expert on this, but oddities like the OP has mentioned and some OpenGL games which stutter abnormally when changing the audio volume, thus showing the (Metal-rendered..?) audio volume-intercace, makes me consider the OpenGL <> Metal issue.

    Some have positive results regarding the nVidia web drivers, but YMMV.
     
  8. cerote macrumors 6502a

    cerote

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    Mar 2, 2009
    #8

    If my card is not in the series 6 list would it still work? I have the iMac model listed but when looking products it only has 680 in series 6.
     
  9. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #9
    Do you have a 650M? I do, and yes, it works brilliantly! I have a late 2012 21.5" iMac i5 with the aforementioned nVidia GT 650M 512MB.
     
  10. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #10
    My experience has been the opposite of yours. My iMac is of the same vintage as yours, same GPU, although I don't play Windows Bootcamped games on my Mac. I have found nVidia's web drivers to be of an immense help in my game performance. For me, the poster child for OS X games which have responded favorably to it are the Metro Redux games. I knew my Mac wasn't meeting even the minimum requirements when I bought them (50% off on Steam for an introduction deal)-

    • MINIMUM:
      • OS: OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks or newer
      • Processor: 3.2 GHz Intel Core i5
      • Memory: 8 GB RAM
      • Graphics: Radeon HD7950 3GB / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750M 1GB
    At first, using OS X's GL drivers in Yosemite, I literally saw performance of 5 seconds per frame! After upgrading to the web drivers, I saw that increased to a crawling 10-15 fps! This past web driver update has given me incredible performance compared to what I was seeing. The games are joys to play now. I'm routinely seeing between 40-60 fps, with some scenes showing 80+ FPS. The slowest I'm seeing is some heavy combat scenes dip down to 20-15 FPS.

    Also, Tomb Raider 2013 and my Borderlands games (2 and the pre-sequel) have seen gains, but nowhere nearly as dramatic as the Metro Redux games.
     
  11. cerote macrumors 6502a

    cerote

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    #11
    27" with 660M
     
  12. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #12
    Well, what are you waiting for? Go get it! :)
     
  13. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

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    #13
    Holy crap, that is some minimum..!

    Strange that the after market AMD 7950 is mentioned specifically. I don't' expect many Mac owners having that card or better.
    Is the aftermarket nVidia GeForce GTX 680 for the Mac Pro good enough..?

    I wonder how many Macs can run this game.
    ... And how many Macs run this game well.
     
  14. nathaniel515 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 17, 2015
    #14
    Unfortunately the web drivers actually made matters worse for me, which is surprising given the performance gains you said you've gotten on the same GPU. TF2 was no different, Portal 2 was significantly worse (and the mouse stopped working in game!), and Flightgear went from 25 to 18 fps. In any case, I've narrowed down the issue with TF2 to when audio is playing from the server. While audio is playing, I get terrible choppiness and framerate drops, while the rest of the time it is playable on medium settings. So I think MacsRGr8 is potentially on to something with the whole audio/Metal/OpenGL integration. Portal 2 is still a major problem, with bad performance on low settings. I don't know if that has anything to do with audio.

    Overall, it seems like there are some big problems either with the ways that many games are made for OS X, or with the way Apple implements OpenGL. The 30% drop in framerates from Windows seems more realistic for what you would get using OpenGL on Windows. On OS X it seems like I'm getting at least a 50% drop, and that's on games that work well.
     
  15. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #15
    Have you tried deleting and re-installing Steam?
     
  16. nathaniel515 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 17, 2015
    #16
    Why would that help?
     
  17. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    #17
    It might be a little difficult to establish that Apple is responsible for forcing buyers to purchase the computers they choose. It is not Apple's fault when someone buy's a computer from them that does not meet their needs fully.
     
  18. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    #18
    OpenGL and Metal are entirely separate from one another.
     
  19. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #19
    Unless something has changed recently, the Nvidia web driver is specifically for certain Mac Pro models/Nvidia GPUs and is beta status for a limited number of iMacs with Nvidia GPUs. They list this information where the driver is available. So this may explain why you are not getting the desired results on a MacBook.

    You should not typically be seeing a 50% reduction in frame rate performance between OS X and Windows/bootcamp on the same system. Something else is not right there if that is consistently true. While on average we take a hit playing on OS X it does vary and not every single game is perceptibly slower. It varies by the game and how it is made, ported, etc. This same kind of thing is seen sometimes with console ports to Windows as well where a given game runs great on its original native platform and terribly in Windows. Rockstar anyone?

    In any event, depending on what Mac you have with what GPU you have, etc. you may be able to play a decent number of titles with acceptable performance but for anything demanding you are probably going to be better off running Windows. This is a very subjective thing though. Not everyone runs FPS counters worrying about what the frame rate is. A lot of people just play something and make adjustments to settings until it runs optimally on their system. I know Feral and probably Aspyr too query the hardware and setup suggested settings for a particular Mac for an optimal experience on the hardware. These can be a little on the conservative side sometimes but that's in the interest of ensuring that throughout the game it runs well.
     
  20. kaioshade macrumors regular

    kaioshade

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    Nov 24, 2010
    #20
    One more thing i can think of. Try to eliminate variables from the equation. Is there any way you could do a clean install of Yosemite on a USB drive and boot from there and test your performance? You definitely should not have the framerates you are getting, and it may be a hardware issue.
     
  21. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

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    #21
    I know.
    The question I have is what happens when the two are called on both at once, i.e an Open GL game but another render requires Metal (like: a system-animation is shown "powered" by Metal, during an OpenGL "powered" game).
     
  22. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #22
    I have the same rMBP and I find the graphics performance awful, not for gaming but for Lightroom. Try viewing a 20MP photo at 1:1 and scrolling around - it jerks like a $2 whore. I can understand Apple not giving a hoot about games but as a design focused company they should care about performance of 'pro' apps.

    I also have a nMP with D700's and again the graphics are nothing to write home about. Not many apps use the 2nd GPU for offloading CPU workloads (Lightroom crashed in previous versions when this was turned on, not tried it since).

    I've tried gaming in bootcamp on the nMP and while some others have claimed 'great performance' in their games I've yet to see it in the games I've played - Fallout 3, Skyrim. Even native ports (X3, Bioshock Infinity) seem slower than they do on a half-decent Windows PC (i7-3770k GTX 780).

    I think the message is very clear from apple, they want you to game on iPad's, iPhones and Apple TV, not computers. If you want to game on a computer, then get a PC. Apple have always been lacking on GPU performance across their entire product range.
     
  23. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    Jul 4, 2015
    #23
    That's the price you pay for OSX. Graphics are slower on OSX in everything compared to Windows, not just games. Video playback and rendering in Premiere, panning and zooming in Photoshop, etc User friendliness but slow APIs, partially implemented and immature drivers, interface rendering taking some resources away. It has always been this way. Even OpenCL rendering is faster in Windows and that's an Apple API.
     
  24. jeanlain, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015

    jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Regardless, TF2 shouldn't be 6 times less fluid on OS X.
    Something's wrong.

    As for Adobe apps. Well they've shown some big progress with Metal (WWDC demos), so I'm not sure what APIs they currently use for their UI on OS X. Adobe apps don't feel native at all.
     
  25. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #25
    I'm trying to think of things that would be less disruptive than re-installing OS X. That would be a last resort, of course.

    My thought process here is that if your problem isn't the hardware, then it's gotta be somewhere in your software installs, a conflict between something and something else.

    Other things to keep an eye and ear out for are if you're noticing graphic problems in anything other than games.
     

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