Final Words

The simple fact that Valve ported the Source engine to the Mac platform is enough to give the developers some leniency in improving performance. If Valve is truly committed to bringing all new releases on Steam to OS X than I doubt that Mac enthusiasts will be too bothered by the fact that performance is lower than under Windows, at least for a short while.

The Steam application itself is also slower under OS X. Launching games and the Steam application takes longer than under Windows.

Half Life 2 Episode 2 Load Time
Nehalem Mac Pro Mac OS X 10.6.3 Windows 7 x64
Time from Launch to Menu 48.7 seconds 35.5 seconds

Eventually performance and image quality parity will be necessary. Make no mistake, Apple is in the business of selling luxury computers. You can often get the same specs for less from Dell or HP, but the styling, attention to detail, ability to legitimately run OS X and user experience are all things Apple’s customers are willing to pay a premium for. A performance deficit rarely goes over well in these sorts of situations. It doesn't have to offer greater performance, but you shouldn't have to sacrifice so much just to play under OS X.

To Valve’s credit, at least on current generation Macs, Source engine games are absolutely playable. It supports Apple’s whole “it just works” mantra. You’re just better off running them in Windows if you have the option. Although I will admit that the convenience of not having to reboot is sometimes worth the frame rate penalty, at least for shorter gaming sessions. If I’m going to be playing for more than 20 minutes, then a reboot is more than worth it.

Image Quality: Still Foggy
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  • Flunk - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Yes, everyone knows that Mac OS X is based on OpenStep.

    Well, actually a lot of people don't know that. You don't need to be a jerk about it.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    openstep is an API, OSX is built on a Mach BSD kernel, and not on the microkernel version of it. Reply
  • overzealot - Sunday, June 06, 2010 - link

    You're both correct, and in no way contradicting each other. Can't we all just get along? Reply
  • vol7ron - Sunday, June 06, 2010 - link

    You did not read what I wrote. I said "like any linux-based OS", I did not say it was, but I do not deny that it's roots have Linux/Unix foundations, afterall OS X is POSIX compliant. This article was about gaming performance. The point I was making was that Windows and Apple both have their strengths and client base, but when it comes to gaming, Windows is still the preferred platform for the majority of gamers. Regarding the advocation statement that you made, I don't care about the OS argument. I'm non-biased, so long as it is secure and does what I need it to do. If your OS makes you happy, that's good. If you can persuade me to switch, or use one over another, I'll thank you. I make use of VMWare and what I can say is I like competition. I urge the many vendors to put out a competitive, high-quality product. vol7ron Reply
  • Scali - Sunday, June 06, 2010 - link

    If you want a UNIX shell on Windows, there's various options, such as Cygwin and msys. Reply
  • thomaslangston - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    I'll get my UNIX shell via Putty. Reply
  • muhahaaha - Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - link

    get your ugly face off my browser screen douche Reply
  • Scali - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Not the same thing, is it?
    You'd get a shell on the UNIX machine, not on your Windows machine.
    Which doesn't do you much good if it's the Windows machine you want to be running commands on.
    Reply
  • SSSnail - Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - link

    three words: PuTTy.

    Try to justify moar harder pls. LoL.
    Reply
  • Phynaz - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Fell better now?

    I know I shouldn't be, but I'm still amazed by people that have such low self esteem as to be threatened by the existence of a Macintosh computer.
    Reply

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