TF2 Poor Performance on 2010 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by waiwai, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. waiwai macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2009
    Good morning all,

    Just got my 2010 Mac Pro Quad on the weekend. The specs are as follows:

    2.8 Quad
    6GB RAM
    5870 1GB GPU
    120GB OCZ Vertex2 SSD (steam runs on here)
    1TB Stock WD Caviar Black HD (TF2 runs off here as my home folder was relocated to the HD)

    Running 1080P resolution in TF2, I set my fps_max value to 101 in the hopes of stabilizing my fps (default is 300). Everything maxed out as far as details, but no v-sync, or AA. Those were set to off.

    No enemies = 100 FPS stable
    More than 2 enemies = fluctuation between 50-100 fps

    So after experiencing the huge fluctuations online, I decided to test different settings (I also tweaked my online rates "rate, cl_updaterate, etc"... I turned down each detail down a notch... So eg. my settings were set to High... would lower it to Medium. Still same performance... noticing the same fluctuations... Repeated... Same thing... So now I've resorted to downgrading the resolution... tested each Resolution... from 1080p down to 1600x whatever... SAME experience... So very odd... I went all the way down to 1028 x 768... and O M G... what do ya know... same fps fluctuations. At this point I've given up... I even went as far as capping my fps_max at 60 just to see whats up... and even then it would fluctuate from 40-60 online... So I've come to the conclusion they still havent optimized the darned game... Am I missing anything? My OS is fully up to date... My Mac Pro actually shipped with the latest GPU update that just came out recently.

    Probably should have expected this... gotta wait for another update I guess before they get this fixed...
  2. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    you seem to know a lot about turning things on and off and not so much about how games work.

    no offense, but really.

    You're getting the same fps regardless of the resolution or graphics quality settings, which should tell you that it has NOTHING to do with the graphics card. You're on a Mac and getting over 50fps, be happy. Two weeks ago that was basically impossible except in an empty map with the resolution knocked down several notches.

    Believe it or not, it's your processor that's causing the slow-down.

    The thing is, TF2 isn't using all your cores, and since your cores are running at 2.8ghz, you're running into a CPU bottleneck, or some other sub-system bottleneck, such as (unlikely) RAM or FSB speeds.

    The Mac Pro is a workstation. A base-model iMac will probably run TF2 about the same speed. That same iMac will take 4x-10x longer to encode an HD video, though. If you bought a Mac Pro for gaming, take it back. if you bought a Mac Pro for work, and want to game on it sometimes, then suck it up an accept 50-100 fps.

    You're not going to get a lot of sympathy here with numbers like that, because most of us have been waiting the better part of a decade for ANY games we could play on OS X, much less "current" ones with an active community, and now we have more options than WoW for the first time ever. I was getting 10 FPS on StarCraft on my Mac Pro until the graphics update came out a couple weeks ago, and less than 30 in a window at 1024x768 in TF2 and HL2:E2. 50 fps is beyond playable, and it's also more than fast enough to allow you to be competitive in TF2.

    Anyway, your graphics card is fine. No future updates will have too much of a dramatic impact on your issue. A dual-core processor with that turbo boost feature (pushing it up around 4ghz) will be faster than your MacPro when playing games.
  3. elmateo487 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2008
    Try it in bootcamp, OS X drivers are not as optimized as windows extensive time in the game.

    As for the previous comment I do not necessarily agree with what he has said. I believe it is an OS X issue, rather than the hardware. BUT I do have a Mac Pro 1,1 a Radeon 4890 (which is the closest thing to your card), bootcamp and TF2 so I will let you know what frame rates I get at what resolutions.
  4. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    He nailed it on the head.

    Games are very difficult to develop, let alone develop to take advantage of multiple cores. You have a ton of power for heavy tasks like video encoding, music, things like that that will take advantage of the multiple cores, but for gaming, the rig is average compared to what is available for gaming in the windows world. Windows has long had the upper hand for gaming.

    Now for work though your machine definitely has the upper hand. I had a $7,000 HP workstation at work that couldn't touch the Macbook Pro (yes, the Macbook Pro not the Mac Pro) in my signature. I'd bring my MBP to work and work off of it.
  5. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    Don't know if it's available on the Mac version, but make sure "multicore rendering" is enabled in the video options menu.
  6. rbarris macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2003
    Irvine CA
    The Mac Source engine uses the multi-threaded GL driver in OS X, so essentially multicore rendering is always on.

    A large chunk of the traditional performance gap between OS X and Windows got filled in by the recent Snow Leopard Graphics Update. But I think there is still some work to do, so if you have a timedemo recorded of a scene that you think runs much faster in Windows than in OS X, please send it to me so I can check it out in detail.
  7. waiwai thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2009
    i can record a demo in OSX but I do not currently have bootcamp installed... I don't plan on doing bootcamp anytime soon either... What I could do is record demo of different resolutions with same settings to show the consistency of dropped frames across resolutions... not sure if that is what you are looking for though. please elaborate if possible.

  8. rbarris macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2003
    Irvine CA
    Well, as another poster put it, 50 fps is not a bug. It's just less than 100.
  9. Jadz macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2009
    I have MBP 2010 Also (dual core 4gb ram)

    Hey, Keep up the diligence... If I might offer some experience... I have tried both the OSX and a bootcamp version of XP with TF2 and really any other game. To be honest (as much as I don't want to admit it) XP runs a lot better. I am going to be updating to windows 7 in the next few weeks hopefully.

    I wouldn't attempt to have TF2 perform well on OSX... There is just way too much going on in the background.

    I usually get around 60-70 fps, which is more than playable. XP does have its bad errors. SO my advice, shoot for BC windows 7 and just be thankful your laptop can run it well... As for me, I am going to be putting together a gaming rig just for this purpose.

    Lastly, do yourself a favor and grab SMC_fancontrol for OSX and Lobos fan controller for XP and 7. These can crank up your fans to cool your GPU and CPU and the rest of your computer... BE CAREFUL, do not leave them running high at all times. Turn down the fans when not gaming. I find that keeping your comp cool makes all the difference.

    Not much help, but I hope this helps some.
  10. spoonerist macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2009
    I play TF2 on an early 2010 27" iMac i5 with 6GB RAM. My Windows 7 partition plays it significantly better than my Mac OS X partition, but even then the difference in FPS in numerical terms isn't that great.

    Windows 7 FPS is usually around 80 or so.
    Mac OS X is always less than 60.

    That's with Windows 7 settings on high and Mac OS X settings on medium/low. I think maybe you're hoping for too much. And it's even worse for L4D and L4D2 on Mac. You can't play those games properly at all unless every setting is on low.
  11. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    I really hope you're not serious, because L4D/2 both run excellently for me under OS X - perfectly smooth with all options maxed out. TF2 is the same way.
  12. spoonerist macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2009
    What FPS are you getting, Mackilroy? Anything under 60 is unplayable for me.

    I can play TF2, L4D, L4D2 on max settings, but it's just not responsive enough if I actually want to kill things or not be killed by things. It's better to lower the settings to get better FPS and responsiveness.
  13. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    I don't know how to check under OS X, sorry. I'll give you my system specs as a baseline for now, though:

    Core i7-930 2.8 GHz
    6 GB DDR3
    HD 4890 1 GB
    20" @ 1680x1050

    So I have more power available pushing far fewer pixels – assuming you're running at the native resolution of your iMac.
  14. spoonerist macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2009
    In console, type 'net_graph 3'. That will enable a FPS/ping chart in the bottom right hand corner. To turn it off, type 'net_graph 0' in console. You can use this command in any Valve game.

    And yeah, I'm running at native resolution 2560 x 1440. I have played at 1920 x 1200 and it worked much, much better, but I love having that high resolution!
  15. jeanlain macrumors 65816

    Mar 14, 2009
    Enter the option mat_queuemode 2 (in the console) and it should run faster on the next map.
    This options forces multicore rendering on the Mac (beyond multithreaded openGL). It's not as effective as on Windows, but it should improve performance by 20 to 30%.
  16. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    Ahh cool. Thanks. Just ran it, and it rarely dropped below 50 FPS, spending most of the time at 60. I did see 30 at one point, but that was with an enormous amount of action onscreen.
  17. jeanlain macrumors 65816

    Mar 14, 2009
    This benchmark shows quite a big gap between OS X and Windows. The test was ran at low graphics settings, so CPU optimization may explain the difference. (Windows is in blue. The other bars are various OS X versions)

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