Resolved What is better? WoW on OS X or W7 bootcamp?

Akarin

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 16, 2011
290
17
Nyon, Switzerland
Hi all,

I was wondering... Until now, I was playing WoW on a PC, Win 7, 16GB RAM, i7, NVidia GTX 580. All settings on Ultra, at max res and was around 60-70 FPS in the most crowded areas (so, I blocked the framerate manually at 35).

Now, I have a Mac mini i5, 8GB RAM, Radeon 6630M (mid-2011) which became my main machine but is obviously not a gaming machine. Still, I installed the Mac version of WoW and on High settings, I'm around 20 FPS, which is not too bad. Still, many times, I experience hangs and visual lag when rotating the camera.

I was wondering if I would benefit from installing a Win 7 on Bootcamp and play from there instead of from Mac OS (note that I have a Win 7 32 bits license so it wouldn't see more than 4 GB RAM)?

Thanks for your time.
 
Last edited:

Mr.C

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2011
4,500
603
London, UK.
I've played WOW on the Mac Mini in my signature under OSX but not under Windows using Bootcamp. I can't speak from experience my observation of Blizzard games in general is that they optimised for both Windows and OSX and it shouldn't make any difference which OS you play it on when using the same computer. The performance should be the same. Blizzard is one of a handful of companies that actually supports the Mac platform to the same extent as Windows. Hopefully someone else can chime in with some more specific opinions.
 

Akarin

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 16, 2011
290
17
Nyon, Switzerland
I've played WOW on the Mac Mini in my signature under OSX
Okay... you have the i7 but a lesser graphic card. What settings are you running on? How many fps do you achieve in capital cities or places like Deepholm? Do you have occasional glitches?

I'm wondering if running the game on DirectX would smooth things up.
 

Entopia7

macrumors regular
Feb 4, 2008
128
17
You might see a small fps bump playing in windows 7, but really... It is not going to make the difference between playable and not playable. All the Macs I have owned in the past 3-4 years have played Warcraft in OSX admirably.

WoW is much more enjoyable when you are playing in the OS you live in. If I had to reboot to play 20 minutes of WoW, probably wouldn't play at all.
 

Akarin

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 16, 2011
290
17
Nyon, Switzerland
WoW is much more enjoyable when you are playing in the OS you live in.
I agree... But I have been playing for the past 6 years and always on very high-end machines (used to work in game dev) and now, on the Mac mini, these hangs and rubberbanding effects are driving me nuts.
 

QuantumLo0p

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2006
989
30
U.S.A.
You worked in game dev but don't know how to adjust WoW graphic settings??? Hmm.

I agree with Entopia7; the issue is more your iMac is but lower on the gaming hardware totem pole rather than differences between Win7 and OS-X. If you want high frame rates you probably need to back off some settings. Not what you wanted to hear but take solace that WoW doesn't have stellar graphics to begin with and it simply won't look like some other games that look like high-def movies. (God I wish they were, though. The scenery would be spectacular.)

You probably know all the settings but in case you don't, the ones that can really drop the frame rates are water, sun shafts, particle density and view distance. I turn down the water and sun shaft effects all the way but particle density and distance I tend to keep in the middle. Can't turn those down too much, especially particle density because if it's too low then you won't see much of the effects that you have to interact with or avoid.

I wish I could find the article to link but it was by one of the big game companies and it had to do with platform performance and stability. They found that Windows had a little better performance; not a huge margin by and means but a bit better none the less. However, OS-X got the nod for stability. They found games on OS-X to be generally more stable than on Windows. So, take your pick.

One thing for sure, I am having some graphics issues running WoW on Lion. Frame rates are fine but I have experienced the Flicker-O-Death about five times in the two weeks I have been running Lion. Thats probably as much as I have experienced it during my entire time on WoW before Lion, which included a ton of time playing on my old dual proc 2.7 G5 LC PowerMac. I have heard Lion drivers have performed somewhat poorly on some games. This isn't the norm so I hope Apple gets an update out soon.
 

Akarin

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 16, 2011
290
17
Nyon, Switzerland
You worked in game dev but don't know how to adjust WoW graphic settings??? Hmm.
Oh believe me, I do... and it was not my question anyway. As I don't know the intricacies of Mac OS X, I was wondering if anybody who installed WoW on bootcamp AND OS X on the same machine experienced different performances. You may not know it but on W7, it uses a different graphic engine. As for my question regarding the hangs and visual lag, they are not related to graphic settings as even on low everything, I experience them. That is an OS (background process most likely) issue.

But... as I couldn't find any answer on the subject, I did test and the result is that under Windows, on the same machine (and with a 32 bits edition, so not using the 8 GB RAM fully), I get 10-15 fps more and NO RUBBERBANDING, yay...

So, I investigated further and found the root cause: the Spotlight indexing. I turned it off by adding my whole disk under privacy settings and both the occasional hangs and rubberbanding effects disappeared. Still about 10 fps below W7 but that's not a big deal (and easy to explain as the W7 install is just a vanilla one, with nothing else than WoW).
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
I'm not so sure since the mini runs a mobile GPU, but there's usually more updated drivers on the Windows side that also bumps gaming performance in favor of Windows vs. OSX.

On my ancient MacBook (with Intel GMA 950 graphics) I can't even run Portal or Torchlight in OSX, but can run quite well on my WinXP Bootcamp partition.
 

Dr. McKay

macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2010
659
44
Belgium, Europe
I have played Wow on both. To be honest, WoW is one game that runs practically just as fast on OS X than on Win7.
When you start the game, and you click on recommended settings, it seems that in Win7, you're getting a better deal (recommended in Win7 is Good, in OS X it's Fair).
However, I've found that I had to turn down the 'Good' settings in Win7 to Fair anyway because I wasn't getting the same frame rates. The OS X client has the recommended settings on Fair from the start ; I have to turn some things down as well, but the OS X client seems less optimistic than the Win7 one.

In a nutshell, I DO get some more frames per second in Win7 compared to OS X with the same settings, but it's negligible. Moreover, I find that the game looks a lot nicer in OS X than when I play it in Bootcamp.

Other games, though, fare better in Win7. But I only play older games (Half life 2, Civ4, etc.) so I can't speak for newer games.
 
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