Update: Mac OS X Portal Performance

by Ryan Smith on 5/13/2010 7:56 AM EST


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  • gamerk2 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    "even with just a GTX 258"

    I hope that was supposed to be a GTX 285...
  • heffeque - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I just tried Portal and... the performance is underwhelming.
    HL2 plays perfectly under Windows XP Bootcamp (MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz, 8600GT, 4GB of RAM) yet Portal plays like crap on Leopard 10.5 even when lowering the resolution to the lowest possible.

    Very disappointed :-/

    Hope 10.6 with newer drivers work better than this :-|

    Guess I'll have to continue playing on Bootcamp mode for now.
  • B3an - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Or you could just get rid of OSX and put a real OS on there. Problem solved. Reply
  • heffeque - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    I'm more than fine with OS X and I'm also more than fine gaming on Windows, thanks ;-)
    As for my home server running Openfiler (linux)... I'm also more than fine with it (^_^)
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - link

    Soo.... when is Apple going to release an OS for men? :P Reply
  • jingojingo - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    You mean those men to whom playing games at bleeding edge speed is more important than having a computer that works more reliably so that they can get on with doing some proper work? Are you SURE you meant men, and not boys who haven't grown up yet? Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - link

    "a computer that works more reliably so that they can get on with doing some proper work"

    OK, work, that's defintely PC, because Mac's are 99% useless at "work". Not that they arent capable, but enterprise software isnt written for that platform and are not used for work purposes.

    As far as reliable Lenovo has the top honors there, followed by Asus, Apple is 3rd. IF you just meant the OS/software part of reliablilty then you need to update your facts . WinXP is 10 years old now. Win7 has been out for 2 years and is awesome.

    Check your facts man.
  • Spengbab - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    St a thought. Isn't it against apple's EULA to run OS X on non-mac hardware? I also wished they ran these on the cards current macs have. Reply
  • ufon68 - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    Yes it is, so what. Not like it's against the law or something. Reply
  • michal1980 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Jobs 3:16

    For Jobs so loved the world that he gave his one and only Mac, that whoever believes in him shall not think but have eternal faith.
  • ahkey - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    To all the Apple fanatics who've dropped 3-4 times as much on a "superior" system for half the games performance:

    How do you like *them* apples?

    Now I'm sure that performance will improve over time with optimizations, but it's great having such a simple chart to kill that smug sneer, even if just for a few seconds..
  • LaughingTarget - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    That would never happen. It's part of the Apple EULA. Users are required to be smug about their inanimate objects, to project a culture around their inanimate objects, or Apple will disable your products. Reply
  • deanx0r - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Is there a reason why you have to act so arrogantly? I never understood the hate PC users have towards Macs. Getting into Mac isn't just about performance or bang for the buck. What you are buying with a Mac is the experience, something most Mac detractors fail to see. Reply
  • Sahrin - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Yes, and according to Apple part of that experience is 'great performance.' Obviously not the case.

    What I like is that Ryan tries to make it sound like the quality of the port is the fault of Valve - with no mention whatsoever about the quality of the platform provided by Apple (vis a vi OGL).

    Maybe you missed the "I'm a Mac" ads that were widely hailed by Apple and Apple Zealots. They presented falsehoods to the global community, which were largely (as I noted) accepted by the mainstream press and lauded by Apple fans. This is where the 'hate' (I would say 'frustration' comes from).

    More broadly, the frustration comes from the complete inability of any Apple user ever to present a cohesive argument as to why a platform that costs as much as 3x more than a PC is genuinely superior. On top of that, the company and its supporters (because they are certainly not customers) take a patronizing attitude ("gentlemen, start your copiers" or suing HTC) to anyone who dares produce something superior.

    As someone who has a healthy respect for the truth, I find Apple to be a cancer in society. Not because of their products - companies that overcharge for their products are a dime a dozen. It's the falehood they perpetrate (and is swallowed whole). Perhaps it's no conincidence that the only market they thave significant position in is America - a country that is so often mocked for its intellectual ineptitude.
  • Kaihekoa - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    This is a wonderfully eloquent summation of many consumers' dislike towards Apple. Bravo! Reply
  • deanx0r - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I have seen the Mac and Microsoft ads. Do you really think they are representative of the community? How gullible you must be if you were so easily trolled by some commercials. Apple marketing was probably even more successful with Microsoft responding to their ads. For what is worth, I am mostly a Windows guy, but I know many Mac owners and have to work with them on a daily basis, and none of them has ever given me some condescending attitude about it. If anything, I see a reverse trend with many PC users looking down on Mac users, and the response to this articles is the eloquent proof of that.

    I am not saying there aren't any bad apples in either camps, but some of you guys are really quick at generalizing and putting up labels.
  • afkrotch - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I always love when PCs vs Mac arguements always turn for the worst for a Mac user. Cause every single arguement on the web about such, will turn into "it's for the experience" or "it's for the UI." Never anything that is quantifiable. Reply
  • deanx0r - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    It's almost laughable to see Mac detractors react so vitriolically over such petty issue that is hardware preferences. I have yet to see a Mac user being smug about it, in contrast many Windows users are sulking over this issue as if they were to justify their purchase decision. Reply
  • windywoo - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    I have seen many many smug as fuck Mac users. Reply
  • terath - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    The reasons why many prefer Macs have no doubt been outlined to you numerous times in the past and you choose to ignore them. But despite that, I'll post them *yet again*.

    First thing, lets get this myth of 3x more expensive out of the conversation. It's been debunked many times. At release, Mac hardware is pretty on par with other brand name hardware such as Sony or Lenovo. The value decreases afterwards. It is never as bad as 3x. It is never even 2x.

    Second, it is the experience yes, and system design. No other computer is as well integrated as a Mac. Perhaps Windows 7 can come close now, but as a package, Macs are very nice. Sadly, their towers are overkill for the majority of people and priced accordingly.

    Third, Macs have nearly taken over computer science. Why? Because Mac OS is a unix. And computer science work revolves around unix. This is because the tools are well suited to the job. No, the command line is not user friendly in the least.

    Performance wise, there is not a huge difference, at least for serious computations. The differences in portal could be due to numerous things: perhaps the hackintosh drivers are not optimized (highly likely), perhaps OpenGL is just not as good as DirectX, perhaps the port isn't optimized yet. It's a game, it'd be nice if it was on par, but people don't buy macs for games. They buy them for work or an easy home computing experience.

    As for getting all upset over software and hardware, you really need to get over it. Most people just want to get things done and no doubt find the zealous ignorance portrayed by "OS fans" hilarious.
  • Griswold - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    //Third, Macs have nearly taken over computer science. Why? Because Mac OS is a unix. And computer science work revolves around unix. This is because the tools are well suited to the job. No, the command line is not user friendly in the least.//

    Oh is that so? I must have missed that. But perhaps you've only seen them in the movies and TV - on par with Dell.
  • talozin - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    I can only speak for my own experience, which is that his statement is an exaggeration, but that OS X is indeed more popular than you might think in the scientific research community.

    Of course, Linux is even more popular, because it's also Unix, and it works on a lot more server-grade hardware than OS X does; it doesn't make much sense to buy a lot of Mac Pros for people to do development for a Linux cluster on. Apple laptops are much more popular than Windows, though; it's not unusual for me to go to a meeting and see the operations people, the programmers, and the scientists all using Macs. Usually, the only people with Windows are the managers. :)
  • croc - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    MAC OS X is not 'unix. It is a bastardized version of BSD 32. MAC used to be a true 64 bit OS, before IBM decided that there just wasn't enough dosh in making PPC's just for Apple anymore...

    And any REAL unix user thinks that CLI is the REAL interface, a GUI just gets in the way...
  • jasperjones - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    Of course Mac OS X is a real UNIX. OS X meets the "Single Unix specification" and has been granted a UNIX license from The Open Group. Reply
  • anon1337 - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    Your first point is blatantly false. I just purchased a Sony Vaio last month for $679. The Macbook with almost identical specs (though it does have a 2.5" smaller screen than mine) is $1499, and doesn't have an HDMI port, which my VAIO does. How's that for myth? Reply
  • Setsunayaki - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    Sorry, but Apple has not "taken over" computer science.

    I never had to use a MAC in Computer Sciences for any reason. In fact I used a pure Unix System and also used Linux. Also when I tested MAC vs MANY Open Source Linux builds optimized to the maximum of their abilities on the same hardware.....MAC was the SECOND WORSE PERFORMING MACHINE....

    Computer Science and IT still has the majority of servers serve on a Linux/Unix based OS and most people still develop on Linux/Unix Machines, because they are easy to set up, they do not cost as much and since the majority can get the performance needed on any entry level computer today to do basic and some advanced web programming....The only people I see buy MACs..

    ...are the many artists in ART school who have APPLE donate tons of money, so they name a building after them and push a MAC to the students. I know enough people who by peer pressure bought a MAC Laptop and bought Windows. These are the same people who feel intimidated by the way the educational system is to the point they Dare not say they do their work on a PC, but when they go home and turn on their desktops, they primarily work on PCs...I have many friends who use and bought MACs because they felt out of discrimination they would get one lower grade in a course or assignment for not using a MAC since Education in the US is not about teaching people, but about surviving a semester in a school against some know-it-all autocracy.

    Just because an OS like MAC OS X is Unix/Linux Based does not mean it is used a lot in "Computer Sciences." Being a MAC System Administrator is a nightmare btw when it comes to server development and maintanance....

    I make a business from computers and the largest complaint I see coming out from MAC SYSTEM administrators and those IT firms that use MACs is that they consume too much power and their settings are too restrictive to the owner who wishes to develop on them. They also complain that they are too expensive...

    People like me are hired to order parts to build comps for buildings....assemble them and put a Linux system for server, maintanance and programming needs. I program on Windows when it comes to gaming, but use a Linux based system for practically every other form of programming.
  • sunderkeenin - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    But Linux is Unix based as well, and can run all of your favorite Windows applications via WINE. Reply
  • AreaMang - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    Why do you care if someone prefers Mac over Windows? Who's holding a gun to your head and making the choice for you?

    Competition is a good thing. A completely homogenized computer industry would be stagnant. Windows has borrowed many features from OSX, and vice versa. Not to mention hardware manufacturers. They all keep each other on their toes. They all keep each other innovating.

    I'm sorry if Steve Jobs broke into your house and smacked your mother around, because that's the only reason I can think that you would have such venom. It amuses me that some PC enthusiasts deride the Mac user's love of an inanimate object, but they have no problem spewing their hatred of one. Seriously. Get a grip.

    I use Mac and Windows. Final Cut Pro is what drove me to buy a Mac in the first place. When I am working on my films, I tend to be in love with my Mac. When I'm between projects and doing a little gaming, I tend to be in love with my Windows system. I swing both ways. There you have it. I'm Bi-Computational. Big freaking deal.

    In summary: Please get over yourself.
  • ufon68 - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    Man, are you really trying to sell us the idea, that a comparison of an openGL game with a DirectX title on the same HW somehow proves one platform's superiority over the other ? If anything, this proves the directx version of the same game runs better than the opengl version of the same, you don't even have to throw in the operating system because it probably plays very small role. You are either stupid, ignorant, or uninformed. Take your pick. Reply
  • v12v12 - Thursday, May 20, 2010 - link

    Wow I also agree; what a great, succinct post... So tired of getting into illogical, emo-zealotry-fueled "debates," which are merely a mask for asinine fanaticism. Apple's aren't merely that; it's strictly an OS now; the HARDWARE is INTEL, with a few extra (control freak) ICs added... I digress. Reply
  • SoCalBoomer - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    It's a reaction to the often extreme arrogance that Mac fanatics tend to have - spouting performance until performance is shown to be more expensive and less on a Mac, and then they resort to "experience" - which is not quantifiable and thus they can remain supreme.

    My "experience" with my Mac is that it sits on a corner of my desk while I do 99% of my work on my much less expensive, more capable, better experience Windows 7 machine (quad monitor).
  • sublifer - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I don't mean this as derogatory (well, maybe) but that experience you and the mac fans (not that you are one) speak about is PC for dummies.

    Plug it in, it works. Put an installation disk in, drag one icon to the next, and its installed. The only way they can keep it so simple is by keeping the software and hardware ecosphere tiny and well behind modern technology.

    They have to test and incorporate drivers for everything (to make it simple for the mac user who can't be bothered to do anything more than plug it in or drag an icon)

    Not that Windows is the greatest (I'd prefer Linux if I could get CS4 and my games to run without WINE) but the way things work in Windows, the hardware and software developers just have to make their product conform to a certain framework that plugs into the correct API's, etc... because of the freedom that Microsoft provides with the API's and frameworks, its up to the manufacturer or developer to make it work and support it (not MS) and those developers/mfg's rely on the user/installer to provide approval and direction on how and where things are installed.

    So yes, it takes a bit more thought and intelligence to do these things in the Windows world and its not as simple as Mac. But for that we get cutting edge technology (Blu-ray, etc) and software and we don't have to go down to the mac store to make it work or get it fixed. We also don't get made fun of for being that ignorant of how and why things work.

    You want the mac (simple) experience, fine have at it. You will be made fun of by more knowledgeable computer users and you will be stuck with "approved" software and hardware that is not cutting edge.
  • mathias_mm - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Right, so let me get this straight:

    What you're basically saying is that Macs are successful because all their users are stupid and cannot handle the full Wintel experience?
    I mean, you COULD argue that if it can be done in an easier way MS fails. I personally believe Apple does things easier, a lot of things are like _I_ believe they should be. On the other hand, Apple fails too, because they have not reached perfection. In the end though, at least it feels like they're trying. Anyway, that's the whole "experience" thing everyone wants to quantify, but no one can. Since when do we need to justify liking stuff anyway?
    I'm a long time PC user who got a job working with Macs. At first i loathed it, everything was different, wrong. But it grew on me, and I'd say now I'm a Mac user who happens to be quite adept with a PC. I can probably do more with Windows than OS X, but I'd much rather work in OS X.

    You actually list quite a lot of reasons for this as pro-ms arguments in your post:

    "Plug it in, it works. Put an installation disk in, drag one icon to the next, and its installed. The only way they can keep it so simple is by keeping the software and hardware ecosphere tiny and well behind modern technology."

    I fail to see how this is bad. Plugging something in, and then having it work is how it should be. It's fun to tinker with hardware and all that, but in the end a computer is a tool i use to get stuff done. I want it to work when i plug it in, not after I've reset the bios, reinstalled Windows or whatever it is that you feel i should have to.
    As for installing software, again, i fail to see why installers are better than the packages used in OS X. The packages are copied to their destination, and they stay there. All files live inside the application package, except for some config files that are in a single folder for these kinds of files. So when i want to remove an application, i remove it. I don't need to bother with uninstallers or files left wherever the application installed some file it needs. There is no registry database either. If an app is not running, the OS is oblivious to it's existence. To me, it's a lot simpler, and on top of that i have more control over where files go and so on.
    I do agree that some of the simplicity stems from Apple controlling the hardware base, but claiming that hardware base is "well behind modern technology" is absurd. There is the Core i7 MBP with automatically switching graphics. It's not the fastest there is, especially in the graphics department, but i don't think it has to be. Until now gaming on the Mac was basically a dud, and the 8600M in my current MBP has served me very well.

    "They have to test and incorporate drivers for everything (to make it simple for the mac user who can't be bothered to do anything more than plug it in or drag an icon)"

    Not that Windows is the greatest (I'd prefer Linux if I could get CS4 and my games to run without WINE) but the way things work in Windows, the hardware and software developers just have to make their product conform to a certain framework that plugs into the correct API's, etc... because of the freedom that Microsoft provides with the API's and frameworks, its up to the manufacturer or developer to make it work and support it (not MS) and those developers/mfg's rely on the user/installer to provide approval and direction on how and where things are installed.

    So yes, it takes a bit more thought and intelligence to do these things in the Windows world and its not as simple as Mac. But for that we get cutting edge technology (Blu-ray, etc) and software and we don't have to go down to the mac store to make it work or get it fixed. We also don't get made fun of for being that ignorant of how and why things work.

    You want the mac (simple) experience, fine have at it. You will be made fun of by more knowledgeable computer users and you will be stuck with "approved" software and hardware that is not cutting edge.
  • mathias_mm - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    That did not go very well :) I'll try to keep it brief, as i see it's quite long already. Anyways, it got posted short, so here comes th ending:

    "They have to test and incorporate drivers for everything (to make it simple for the mac user who can't be bothered to do anything more than plug it in or drag an icon)"

    This is just not true. Apple does not sign drivers or anything. Oftentimes hardware vendors do not make drivers, and this leaves customers without a driver, but it's not really that different from Microsoft, except OS X does not complain about WHDL certificates and stuff. But there is a lack of drivers for lots of things.

    In regards to API's and applications, OS X can run CS4 and now a lot of games. And it really does have a lot of fine API's that devs can tap into, and use as they please. As you may know there's also not an approval process for Mac apps, so Apple does not control it at all to be honest. Again, this is not different from Windows, except for the fact that there usually is no installer to scatter files all over the place, it's up to the user to decide where the files go.

    "So yes, it takes a bit more thought and intelligence to do these things in the Windows world and its not as simple as Mac. But for that we get cutting edge technology (Blu-ray, etc) and software and we don't have to go down to the mac store to make it work or get it fixed. We also don't get made fun of for being that ignorant of how and why things work."

    This is just silly. To believe that you are "better" or more intelligent than other people because you can master a different OS. What's the point? I can use Windows, OS X and Linux quite well, and i happen to prefer OS X. I wouldn't say that says anything about my intelligence. Actually, I'd say that you making a statement about it speaks more of yours.
    I will give you that Blu-ray is missing, and that Apple is quite far from cutting-edge here. Other hardware, not so much, and software, not at all.

    "You want the mac (simple) experience, fine have at it. You will be made fun of by more knowledgeable computer users and you will be stuck with "approved" software and hardware that is not cutting edge."

    Again, my software is not approved, nor does it need to be. As i stated, if you feel the need to feel more intelligent than me because of my choice of OS, that tells me more about you than about me.

    I'd recommend this article, written by Anand himself for further reading: http://www.anandtech.com/show/1500

    And could we all maybe stop calling each other names? It's really getting old, no one likes a fanboy...
  • pyrosity - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Here here. Wonderful thoughts here. Reply
  • terath - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Your pathetic lack of understanding of software and hardware is funny, you know. Reply
  • Calin - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    "You want the mac (simple) experience, fine have at it"

    Maybe the mac (simple) experience is what the user wants. One could buy mouse with 9 buttons (or maybe more) - but I didn't use any non-standard buttons even when I had them on the mouse. If the simple Mac experience is enough, who are you to argue with them?
    As a side note, why would you argue with someone's else choice on driving an automatic? The simpler experience is good enough (and usually better for them).
    There are plenty of other examples when people choose to use a simpler, less capable object - for the reason that it's simpler.
  • Griswold - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    You wonder why? Havent you seen apple ads the last couple of years? Or Jobs arrogant and blatant lies when comparing a mac to a windows machine on every possible occasion (the most famous one would be his claim that PPC macs run with the fastest processors on earth. A couple months later apple moved to Intel and suddenly those were the fastest processors on earth), replicated by a good deal of his most loyal fans? Thats why.

    Of course, one could stand above that childish behaviour and not answer it with more childish behaviour. But sometimes its just too much fun to resist.
  • artemicion - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I don't own a Mac but I know plenty of people who do. None of them are smug about it. Honestly, at least in my social circle, there are approximately 999 billion more significant things to talk about than the manufacturer of one's computer. The only people I know that are fixated on Macs vs. PCs are PC techies who have an unusual affection for pointing out other people's ignorance. In this case, ignorance of the relative value of computer hardware. And it's the Mac users that are smug?

    And honestly, being a slickdeals ADDICT, if I cared enough, I could probably call my friends out on DOZENS of products/services that they have overpaid for. There are plenty I can think of that are worse deals than buying a Mac.
  • splatter85 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Apple doesn't give the option to "build your own computer". You would have to compare it to dell for an apples to apples comparison. Also homebrewed PCs don't give you the option to install OSX (minus the hacintosh experience). I built a PC for gaming, and I bought a Mac for work. If you dont have the cash, sit down and shut up! Reply
  • afkrotch - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Cash is hardly ever the issue. Plenty of PC users have the cash to get a Mac. It's the thought of paying more for less, that most ppl are not onboard with. Reply
  • B3an - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    The current PC i'm on i've built myself, it has better and faster hardware than any Mac for sale, literally every single component is faster and of higher quality. Yet it still costs slightly less than the highest priced Mac, which is not just slower but less capable.

    I also use my PC for design work, and get a lot more done than some of my Mac using friends. Macs being better for design work is just a myth. How can something thats slower and less capable possibly be better, especially when using a good and stable OS on a PC like Win7.
  • CharonPDX - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    3-4 "TIMES" as much?

    Now, the single-core Mac Pros are severely overpriced, no quibbling there.

    But "only" by a factor of 2, not 3-4.

    Yeah, 2x the $ for 0.5x the FPS still sucks, but don't oversell it.
  • fuglett - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    MacOS is absolutely wonderful for laptops. the conservative drivers and power management mean slower performance, but at the benefit of double battery life and cooler temps. less so impressive, but equally of note is MacOS' reliability even if only with apple approved products.

    I am a 100% convert for Apple Portables, but I will always have a gaming PC.

    my point: some of the smugness is valid
  • Steve_0 - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    You're right, it does sound petty.

    Where do you get 3 to 4 times as much? Yes Apple products charge a premium, but not nearly as much as you make it out to be. It's funny, anyone that can afford and own a Mac, doesn't complain about the price. I realise that my Mac's price offsets Apple's Research and Development in other area's and that it pays for OS X, but considering I enjoy other Apple products like the iPhone, and that I find OS X to be significantly superior and much more productive than Windows, I don't mind one bit. Look at the data, there's a reason why Apple is constantly top of the charts in consumer satisfaction. Apple innovates. Try showing me a laptop of similar size, weight and performance of the MacBook Pro. Now try find one with anywhere near the build quality. Now add to that backlit keyboards, superior trackpads, battery life, accelerometers, ambient lighting sensors and magnetic latches and connectors.

    Apple's products are in a class of their own, and cannot be compared against. Traditionally, an Apple laptop will retain it's value far longer than a competitor, and thus I feel the need to upgrade less often. Now consider the top class consumer support, and that's not even arguing about the various merits of OS X, of which is the main selling point for me. Yes I pay more on my new laptop every few years, but then my new OS costs me $30. How much does a copy of 64bit Windows 7 Ultimate go for again? Argue all you like about the OS, it is subjective. But realise that as I can run Windows or Linux via many legal means. I can run software that you can't, simple as that.
    I'll end with this:
    "Macs aren't for everyone, but for those who can afford the best, it's silly to settle for less." —PC World September 2009
  • Steve_0 - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    Let me just reiterate.
    Today I unplugged my MacBook Pro and slipped it in a sleeve, not bothering to shut it down, and took it to a class. At class I pulled it out , opened the lid, and instantly it was awake from sleep. I sat whilst my peers searched for their respective cables and chargers, looking for a plug, and listened to the echoes of Windows XP, Vista and 7 surround me while students tried to hush the tones.
    In class I did not need to use a mouse, as the trackpad works brilliantly. I have yet to see a windows trackpad that was anywhere near as useful.
    Although not today, when running an experiment I am able to simply plug in the data loggers and run Logger Pro. My Windows peers without XP are unable to do so as the drivers do not work with 7 or vista for the current hardware, and have to share a single workstation.
    When I needed to use Excel, I simply started VMWare Fusion, and woke a state of Windows 7 with Excel already open, in less than 30 seconds. I could use Microsoft's Office for Mac, but I dislike the interface, and have the option to run windows software. Its worth pointing out that when checking data from my peers' document, I simply plugged in the flash, highlighted the file and tapped the spacebar to quickly check the contents, without any compatibility issues.
    My Aunt later today wanted to upload her pictures from a party over the weekend. I plugged in her DSLR, and Aperture opened up without a beep, a messy dialog or any other intrusive box to tell me that I had plugged something in. I imported the pictures, edited a few for contrast and colour, and printed wirelessly without a hassle.
    I also use Logic studio fairly often, to record and edit music as a hobby more than anything else. Its powerful software that I find best in its class, and only on Mac.
    At home, I surf a bit wirelessly, the power goes out (common occurrence in Africa, sorry not America), and my screen dims and my keyboard lights up automatically so I may continue without missing a beat. The system wide spell-checker ensures that I don't sound like an idiot on the forums.

    I haven't had to defrag, run anti-virus or perform any other maintenance. Hell, I check my iStat widget with a simple gesture on my trackpad right now to check and see that I haven't even shut down my laptop in over a week, relying on closing the lid and allowing it to sleep rather. Even whilst using intensive apps such as Logic, Aperture, CS4, Fusion, (now) Steam/Portal and more my laptop's never skipped a beat, never warned me of RAM constraints or an unresponsive app (other than Steam).

    My friend from class IM's me a message asking for assistance on an assignment. Rather than go to a browser and email him the work, I simply drag the file to an icon in my menubar, shaped like a cloud. I drop it, watch a tiny bar fill and with a satisfactory ting my file has been uploaded to an external server, and the link has been automatically copied so that I may simply paste it to my friend, who offers thanks.
    When I need to do serious work at home, I place my laptop on the desk, connect my monitor and within seconds I have a dual screen setup without any input required. I click on my wireless Mighty Mouse and its connected instantly. Having left my charger at home the whole day, everyday, I simply align the magnetic connector with my port and it connects itself. Keep in mind that today I've never plugged in, and yet my battery meter shows 50% and 3 hours 20 minutes remaining.
    When I need to print something, it works. When I need to upload photo's it works. When I connect some obscure data logger, it works. Networking couldn't be easier, computers in my network pop up in the sidebar and a simple drag and drop shares files. I can screen share my aunt's Macbook to help her with something from across the house.

    Adium, iGetter, Kinemac, Logger Pro, Pages, Keynote, Aperture, Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, Pixelmator, Mainstage, Motion, DropBox, Cloud, Exposé, Spaces, Quick Look, XCode and many more. These are apps and services on my Mac that I use mostly on a daily basis, and all at least once a week. They're are all applications that I consider to be superior to their respective Windows' counterparts. I'm able to trigger Exposé with a swipe across my trackpad and switch between apps and desktops much quicker than on Windows. Simply put, I'm more productive, and output work of better quality because of it. And I'm able to do it all with a laptop thinner and lighter than any other of its class, with a great screen, seamless unibody aluminium exterior minus any annoying stickers, and I can do it all 6 to 7 ours between charges, without even having to shut down my laptop.

    This is just some of what Mac users mean when we cite Experience as a factor. If none of the above seems at all important to you, then I concede that either a Mac simply does not service your needs or that you are likely one of my Windows peers in the classroom, struggling to simultaneously mute and plug your laptop in while I am ready to work.

    There's so much more that I can say. It's preference, and if you prefer something else then I am in no position to suggest that a Mac is superior. But for me, for the work that I do, and I believe for the majority of users, a Mac tends to lend to a better experience on a day to day basis. To me, that's easily worth any "premium" I paid for this machine, especially when considering customer support, and cheap OS upgrades without any DRM activation that hassles legit users more than pirates.
  • tmhale13 - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    That would be assuming that those Apple "fanatics" dropped that much coin to have a gaming machine. Well, that is generally not the case. I myself went the Apple route to enjoy working with photos, videos and music when Windows was woefully inadequate at doing such things. Much like gamers went the Windows route. Each platform has it's strong and weak points. I rarely game on my computer. I prefer console gaming personally.

    Point being, you spend the cash on the system that best suites your specific needs. If you buy a tricked out (I don't know gaming machines, so no flaming) AlienWare system just to surf the web and Facebook, you just wasted a bunch of money.
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I can tell you right now that most Mac users are not running a GTX 285. This article offers a near pointless comparison. If you wanted to make the "I-Built-my-own-computer" geeks happy you accomplished your mission. As for a real-world mainstream comparison, you failed miserably. Reply
  • mcnabney - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Your right. The average Mac user would not be able to play the game with all setting maxed and at a high resolution. Probably will be stuck with the lowest resolution tested, No AA, No AF, and graphical settings at medium. Which is truely sad when using modern hardware to run such an old game.

    /The Cake is a Lie
  • Steve_0 - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    On my MacBook Pro, with *only* a 9600m gt, I can run Portal at native 1400x900 resolution, all details textures, shaders on high, with 2x anti aliasing, smooth as butter with vsync. Hardly a beast, but with all the driver issues and considering that Macs "can't play games" I'm pretty happy with the performance. Unless we talk about different resolutions, you're not really gonna see much of a difference, except for anti-aliasing, and at 2x Portal looks great anyway. I'm looking forward to playing HL2 on here, maybe not on the highest of settings, but it'll run just fine. Reply
  • botrytis - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    What is it saying is that Apple is not giving their users the best of the best. I have a Radeon 5770 1 GB in my system (~150.00 dollars for a PC clone - which is mid-level) that would do better than the GTX 285. Any other cards on the MAC system would be slower that that and may get to unplayable.

    This game is very easy in the system to as far as resources, so the graphic intense might as well NOT be ported to the MAC until Apple decides to improve their system for gaming.
  • Penti - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    It won't be unplayable god damn it, stop that bullshit. This is benchmarks with 2560x1600 with 4xAA/16xAF. With drivers 54% slower (at max res) then the Windows version, a HD4870 will be faster if it's drivers are more to par on with the Windows driver performance. iMac users might turn off MSAA and AF and run fine on their 27" iMacs with high details. They are not going create a game that won't run on Macs. The god damn point of the article isn't to disprove OS X / Macs as a gaming platform. The Mac system requirements are just X1600, 8600M or up. I.e. any mac with discrete graphics. (Counting out 7300GT though.). Just stop your nonsense. Reply
  • cknobman - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link


    Simma down buddy. Pills are good, pills are goooooooood.

    Take your meds, get our your ipad, and go back to chilling watching webcasts of reverend Jobs and his faithful teachings.
  • danielromero - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Louis: Pipipipipipipipipills here!

    You should have done it Left4Dead style.
  • SoCalBoomer - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    That wasn't the point. . . the point is that the game tends to run HALF the speed and with lower image quality than on an equivalent Windows machine - BECAUSE Apple is behind on their hardware and their drivers.

    And while Windows users could blame poor performance, previously, on the manufacturers' sucky drivers, Apple owners have only Apple to blame. Microsoft made DirectX specifically for gaming while Apple relies on OpenGL and is behind the curve on that too . . .

    You only hate it when the comparison is Apples to "apples".
  • Penti - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    cknobman, SoCalBoomer etc

    Sorry I'm not a Apple user, but he had already came with this bullshit already in another comment. It's simply not as HE describes it. I know the point is not that, but I was just reacting to the point he tried to push several times.

    More to the point to the post I'm replying to here, Apple doesn't have the full responsibility it's mostly nVidia and ATI that has that, it's always up to the graphics vendors to implement OGL and they aren't dependent on whatever Apple does, the framework makes it fully possible to implement the newest features and any extensions they want and the performance is all in the graphics vendors hands, they can even release drivers on their own and do occasionally. Of course Apple makes a point to include the drivers just as any OEM would and the platform itself has drawbacks but consoles for example are way behind even Apple in this front at this point in time. It's not Apple that develops the drivers. But of course the platform doesn't encourage monthly drivers updates. Apple have embraced Open GL and Open CL and is definitively not just lagging behind. Apple is an OEM and many of them are as bad with regards to hardware. IQ and speed is a combination of Valve, nVidia and Apple, it's only behind Windows performance because of nVidia. But as this is a new port/engine which uses different infrastructure it's not a comparison between the gameability of the platforms or performance in general. I know very well that the drivers themselves are of less quality especially when it comes to speed. And that Apple won't put as big effort into gaming. That's not what I was reacting to. It's not Apple that wrote the game engine, and I don't think Valve failed here either.

    botrytis views was fully unsubstantiated FUD. I know Portal works good on the macs out there like the new 15" MBP with 330M. So it fully fills it's purpose. No need to spread more nonsense like he did. Open GL is designed for gaming PS3 does fine with about the equal features of OGL 2.0. A game like Portal don't need the latest OGL 3.2 features or DX11.

    Valves customer base aren't Mac Pro users with after market GTX 285's. Point of the article is of curse different from botrytis point, but I wasn't replying to the article there.
  • AssBall - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Mac Gamer???

    Pardon me, but WTF is that?
  • gaspard - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    I suggest the article could have used a few mid to high level macs, which would have provided a much better picture of the performance, as a hackintosh with a GTX 285 is not really a good example..

    Case in point: according to my personal experience, and many members in the steam forums, ATI performance is not on par with NVidia performance in levels with water (green sludge?)
    For example: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.p...

    Also the colour correction option reduces performance considerably.
    Currently (as at 2010-05-13) the latest patch for Portal has broken the transparent portals, unless you start the game in windowed mode.

    I've just tested Portal on my Win 7 machine and discovered that the VSYNC option uses triple buffering, whereas on the mac it's only double buffered or page-flipped, so frame rates between 30 and 60 are locked to 30 FPS on the mac...

    so to summarize, Anandtech, please test using typical mac gaming machines, such at the iMac, and maybe a MacBook Pro... etc
    I tested Portal on the iMac (Late 2009, 3.06Ghz C2D E7600, ATI Radeon HD 4670 GPU)
    I could get a nice 60FPS all the time, but had to run at 1280x720 with no AA and colour correction off, so performance is quite bad... It can be played at 1920x1080 but is very sluggish, unless you basically turn almost everything off...
  • hallstein - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Portal is currently giving some mac users a white screen of death, but happily in the fraction of a second of gameplay I am able to snatch before that, the framerate looks playable.
    (Problem exhibiting here on a Core Duo MBP w/ ATI x1600.)
  • t0njohn - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    This is a known issue:

    Some users have reported disabling color correction or setting "mat_bloomscale 0"
  • Penti - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I have to agree, GTX 285, which is only available as a user add-on upgrade for Mac Pro isn't a real comparison. People would be more interested to know how it performs with HD4670, HD4850 iMacs or GF GT 330M MacBook Pros. Like how it would handle native res on an 27" iMac or 15" MBP. I'm waiting to see how it will fair with does setups anyway. But this was an interesting article none the less.

    Even if your gonna game on a Mac Pro you don't really need a mac version graphics card to do that. In bootcamp. They would likely been bought with HD4870 then any how. Any way it would be interesting to see any performance from an ATI driver too.
  • Penti - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    On the other hand regarding the "tax" if you bought a 27" iMac Core i5/7 quad-core you're gonna get a HD4850 anyways, which should be enough for games like these (and all the other titles that will pop up in Steam, Source or no Source). It's not like you could get anything like that from a PC OEM, not with a high quality IPS-screen and so on.

    Sure you don't buy one for gaming, you'd buy a gaming pc for that if your much of a PC gamer, but not everyone are. But they still enjoy games such as Starcraft 2 or Portal. But not enough to ditch mac or buy a second PC. It's still a fairly large gaming platform. It's still a platform that's ahead of the consoles technically. They still equal DX9 and OGL2. You will have OpenCL, gpu accelerated with every machine from the past few years that has discrete graphics. Drivers are good enough to run games today, even though they are slower. There will be customers. Certainly has the power to be revolutionary in that the market truly will become multi-platform with support for up to five platforms for some games. That the engine itself supports the platform certainly helps getting games there. So they don't have to wait for third party ports. Unreal, idtech etc hopefully follows and give as much support for the platform. But of course the true revolution will only happen if third parties begins using Source for large titles. Point is however that not all would have bothered to bootcamp into windows to run the games. There's also a platform to sell the games now. And the ports are good nowdays, just look how terrible they where in the 90's. Looks better then ever before.
  • dgz - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    id Software's RAGE will be released simultaneously on PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PS3. Blizzard is also supporting Mac with their huge, huge titles. Electronic Arts is doing a pretty good job too.

    The platform is getting really popular lately and gaming studios / publishers would be stupid to ignore it.
  • Penti - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Yes, that's why it looks better, much better now. Reply
  • SquattingDog - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Just thought I'd add here that the 4850 and other cards offered on the iMac are the notebook versions, NOT the desktop equivalents. There is a HUGE performance difference between to the two, despite the same naming scheme. The notebook 4850 is roughly equivalent to the desktop 4670 if that. Performance currently will tank with lower quality settings and lower overall image quality (as displayed in the article) on OSX for now. Drivers should be able to improve this moving forwards, and it is nice that they have finally added Steam support (well, are adding it) to OSX.

    I do not use OSX at all (unless resolving Mac issues for clients), but there are certain industries who do use it solely (graphic designers etc). It is excellent for what it is used for, and many people like the "seamless" experience it offers - and are perfectly happy with the comparatively limited approach Apple has taken to things.
  • Penti - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    I know but HD4670 performance is still better then a lot of OEM PCs people are sitting on out there. It's better then the 330M which runs Portal fine on the MBP. It's good enough on Windows for Left 4 Dead at high, so it's gameable too with 330M. With AA off it should run fine on most Macs even at native res. Especially since HDR doesn't seem to be there.

    Any ways a native cross platform engine is always better and more promising then some third party port. But most computers now days are laptops any way. Gameable laptops aren't really cheap wherever you look. When they are they lack other things. Apple is a OEM and should be judge as one. Of course their own effort can be criticized but they didn't have a drive to do anything on the gaming side before. So it's interesting to see if they or at least ATI/Nvidia will take it serious. Valve still has some way to go too of course. It's not like we really can expect comparative performance and quality yet. But soon that should be demanded. But really you can't demand the same quality on PS3 as a PC either, that platform still does fine. Mac can easily surpass that if they want too. I'm sure most Mac users will be happy with the Valve games. They don't tend to play a lot of Windows games but many are old gamers, which will be happy with the more casual approach and have grown tired of DIY built machines and does enough hacking on Windows at work to satisfy them. I'm sure Valve will also test the games pretty good. When the engines, sdks etc is ported and brought to a good quality it's easier to maintain and develop them. If they design future engines with both platforms in mind I'm sure they will be more comparative. OEMs has flaws, OS X has flaws, Nvidia has flaws, ATI has flaws, OS X has flaws even Windows has flaws. Some of them you will probably accept.
  • gaspard - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link


    I would like to agree that in theory (and under Windows), the HD 48xx series has enough horsepower for most games at native res, but with the lax performance of the Source port so far, it seems that this card is not sufficient, with a number of 48xx users reporting bad performance under Portal...

    So far it seems the combination of Apple's drivers, and the OGL to DX9 conversion layer are not proving very performant, for example: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.p...

    Personally I've got the iMac Late 2009 (with HD 4670) and while that card is not super-fast, it's performance under Windows is frankly impressive, but so far under OS X it's been pretty slow.
  • Penti - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    As expected a lot of problems.

    But what I see there is, "Mac Pro 2009 2.26Ghx Octcore 12GB ram 4870 512MB 10.6.3 Resolution: 2560x1600 Running at 2560x1600 i get around 90FPS-110 with 4AA 16AF Everything on High (rest on very high) cant use 8X AA ATI Drivers crash on portal, OS stays as it should. i havent expericed any problem, other than not working with 8AA"

    That's definitively better ATI graphics drivers performance then the odd fellow GTX 285. If that's true it's not that bad. However ATI/Apple/Steam should work so it works flawlessly on even the lower end cards.
  • botrytis - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    A 4870 is a lesser GPU than the 285. So, the gaming would be worse on the 4870 and may even be unplayable. The jist of the article was even with the best of the best Apple is selling to users, only expect this level of performance. Others will have less. Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Depends on the driver quality. Reply
  • Scali - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Driver quality is in favour of nVidia aswell. Reply
  • SoCalBoomer - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Penti - which is crappy. Reply
  • afkrotch - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Did you just say unplayable? Sure, at the settings they have it at. Nothing would stop the user from dropping the resolution down or moving to medium quality settings. Sure, the game isn't going to look as good, but it'll be playable.

    For a game this old, it's pretty sad though.
  • bob_5 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I think a website that makes money based on the PC user based should stop using MACs... Anand himself said that he uses a MAC as a main system. i find that he is slapping all the PC users in the face Reply
  • SLCentral - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    This could be the dumbest comment I've read on the internet in a significant period of time. Reply
  • fuglett - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    agreed Reply
  • andreasg - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Uh, what? You're talking like there's some kind of war going on. Get over yourself. I don't whine when there's articles about hardware I'm not interested in. I skip the article. What's wrong with you? Reply
  • botrytis - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    it is not a slap - use what you will. I think with a foot in both camps, makes Anandtech more reliable for information from both camps. Reply
  • Josh7289 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    They're not even "camps". They're just operating systems. Come on, people. Reply
  • nycromes - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    And yet, without them being camps, these comments just keep coming on article after article. Lets face it, there are camps. Oh, and what system a review prefers to use as a main rig is totally irrelevant. Dumbest comment I have read all day. Reply
  • Makaveli - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Bob 5 please put down the keyboard delete your account from this site and go back to your geek squad job.

    I second that is the dumbest comment I've heard this week on the internet.

    I swear they should have ID scanners on these forums it should be 18+
  • qwertymac93 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Surprisingly(to me), I like the look of the mac screen shots better. I can clearly see the edges of geometry are being smoothed much better then on the pc. its kind of like going from 2x box aa to 6x wide tent...overall its blurrier but smoother at the same time. with the pc version, you can see were one object and another meet, there is a jagged edge(like they dont quite line up), the mac version looks like its one big piece. glass is also SEMI-transparent in the mac version, instead of completely transparent in the pc version.

    If i didn't know any better, id say the pc version isn't applying all the filters/effects it should be(at first, i got confused and thought the pc shots were the mac shots). the "jaggies" are so bad on the pc version, i have doubts its actually applying AA at all. i remember when i played mass effect and i forced AA, the frame rate would be cut dramatically and the jaggies were still there(accept on cutscenes/conversations, then it would be smooth). perhaps the same thing is happening with your portal shots. could you maybe take some screens of the pc and mac versions with AA/AF off completely, and compare them to the maxed out versions here? if the pc version is "cheating", it would help explain the massive performance difference. ati(4850?) testing would be nice too, but i know your busy.

    the mac version looks more like the portal trailers, the ones with all the cool motion blur and more washed out colors. if you look at the bottom of the screens you featured, it looks like the "glow" from the concrete is going over the metal area too, while on the pc the bloom just stops right at the concrete, very unrealistic and i think the openGL version of the source engine is closer to the one they use for all their trailers and promos, I.E. tuned for quality and not speed.
  • asphix - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Are you viewing the images at full resolution? I'm not seeing these jaggies in the PC version.. I do see edges which are more crisp and better contrast ratios.

    I am also baffled at your thought that the PC might not be applying some filters. Look at the glass on the left... in the PC there is a flare of light that is obviously missing on the mac. Also, right behind that there is some environmental lighting that is missing in the mac. Textures are night and day between mac and pc (pc being better).

    I can understand you saying you like the mac better.. that's personal preference and completely understandable. However, your reasoning is flawed. If you like blurry images because you cant run it at a resolution that minimizes jaggies.. thats fine. If you prefer the gears of war style, everything is muted and dull.. that's fine too. But to say that the PC image is not rendering as accurate (the glass is transparent.. not frosted... there's lighting effects completely MISSING from the mac version) is just crazy.
  • bji - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    It's not crazy. He has a good point. I'm not going to say that one version is better than the other, they are just different. One place where the Mac version just looks better is along the top edge of the office window to the left. On the PC screen shot you can clearly see a jagged staircase pattern all the way across where the glass meets the metal. On the Mac version, it's very well smoothed.

    The rivet up the left side of the screen on the green metal are softer on the Mac too, noticeably so. I don't know which effect is better - the PC sharpness or the Mac softness - but I wouldn't say that one is definitely better than the other; that's just preference I guess.

    I'm not trying to say that the Mac version is overall better or that the apparent lack of smoothing in many places in the PC image is the cause for its better performance; what I am trying to say is that it's much more complicated than you seem to want to believe, and that the original poster had some good points that ought not to be so readily dismissed.
  • t0njohn - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    A fix for "fuzziness" should be shipping in the near future. Reply
  • CptTripps - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Mac lacks certain lighting elements which make it look bland and... that is not AA at work, the mac is just plain blurry. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Almost looks like the Mac version is applying SSAA on the whole scene as opposed to MSAA. It also looks like the Mac version is using console game textures in place of high res texturing. Seriously, that Mac image looks horrible to me. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I actually had considered that, but the GTX 285 would never be able to do SSAA at 2560 like that. If it is doing SSAA for some reason, it's not the whole screen. Reply
  • beelsebob - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    You're testing on a machine with a graphics card that no mac has *ever* had in it. No mac has even ever had a graphics card from the same series. You're lucky the driver for this card even exists, and the fact that it's not very optimised at all really isn't a big surprise. I'd love to see you repeat this either with a GeForce 3 series, or radeon 4 series. Reply
  • Inkjammer - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link


    Anandtech reviewed the GeForce 285 Mac edition. There were Mac editions of that card produced.
  • CaptainChunk - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    EVGA makes a Mac version of the 285. It costs more than a GTX 470 does, but it exists. :P Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    First thing I read " Now some of this can be explained away due to gamma, since Mac OS X and Windows have different default gamma levels, "

    Nope. Since Snow Leopard, I'm pretty sure windows and mac have the same gamma levels
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    First thing I read " Now some of this can be explained away due to gamma, since Mac OS X and Windows have different default gamma levels, "

    Nope. Since Snow Leopard, I'm pretty sure windows and mac have the same gamma levels
  • Pinski - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    You would be correct, http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3712, default level is now 2.2 on 10.6 and beyond. Reply
  • Scali - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I noticed that especially the brighter areas in the Windows screenshots look very bland in the Mac version.
    Almost as if there is no HDR/bloom at all... or at least not working as well as the Windows version.
    Is there an option to turn HDR/bloom on at all, in the Mac version, and if so, was it turned on for these screenshots?

    At any rate... ironically enough these OpenGL ports actually make a good case for Windows/D3D as a gaming platform, despite a lot of people claiming otherwise...
  • destrobig - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    This article is garbage. Why even bother posting it if the tests weren't run from a real Mac? You should have saved yourself the time of building a hackintosh by simply putting an Apple sticker on a Windows computer.

    How would this help anybody who owns a Mac and is thinking about playing Portal? Silly me for trusting Anandtech to create articles that have actual merit. I guess this is the drivel to expect when Anand is on vacation.
  • Scali - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    What does it matter?
    It uses the exact same CPU and chipset as a high-end iMac.
    I don't see how there could be a performance difference if you use the same hardware, just without the Apple logo on the case.
  • StraightPipe - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    it does matter.

    I'd say it would be much more accurate to benchmark an actual mac, and then again bootcamped to windows.

    (I already have a gaming Pc, and I know it kicks the ass of all the apples on the market)

    What is interesting is to know the actual frame rates you get on an actual mac. and then show the mac users the performance difference they get using the port vs using bootcamp + windows.
  • Scali - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Show me some proof that it matters then...
    Give me some performance benchmarks on a real Mac, vs a PC with the same specs, running as a Hackintosh. Show me that the real Mac is faster.
    I see no reason to believe that there is a difference. I think the people at Anandtech wouldn't have used a Hackintosh if there was a difference (Anand is a Mac user himself, he should know).
  • afkrotch - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I would have to go with those who want it done on a Mac. Thermalpaste, heatsinks, cooling, etc can play a difference on performance. It's highly possible the performance should be worse. Reply
  • Scali - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Possible, but not likely.
    Firstly, there aren't any thermal issues, since they used the same PC in Windows and OS X.
    If it had thermal issues, it couldn't have performed flawlessly in Windows either (the posted figures are perfectly normal for Windows).

    Secondly, I posted some benchmarks of a Hackintosh vs some real Macs elsewhere in this thread, and they showed nothing unusual. The Hackintosh performed just fine, and actually outperformed the real Macs in some areas (because better parts were used).

    So I see no reason to doubt these figures.
  • ochentay4 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I think that a Hackintosh is the LAST thing I would use as a Test Base. Unsupported hacks, drivers and whoknowswhat software on a Hackintosh WILL NOT be in the same league as a real Mac. Period. This test should include ONLY Macs, and Hardware certified by Apple for useon Macs. This test should have

    -A MacBook
    -A MacBook Pro with a good video card
    -An iMac
    -An iMac with a good video card.
    -And a Mac Mini just lo laugh.

    Anything below this is unimportant.
  • EarthwormJim - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Why wasn't this run on an actual Mac, with the actual hardware that ships with a Mac?

    It would be nice to see if the roughly 50% performance drop is across all hardware levels, including integrated graphics on Macbooks.
  • t0njohn - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I would love to see more thorough benchmarks across the range of supported hardware and software (OSX 10.5.8 vs 10.6.3 on the same hw would be interesting). Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I don't have a Mac suitable to run Portal (it's a G4) and otherwise it's Anand that's our resident Mac-head. If he was here, then yeah, we likely would have done some testing on a variety of real Macs. In the mean time though, we still have an opportunity to look at the performance of the Source engine under Mac OS X. Reply
  • EarthwormJim - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Ah ok you didn't have a Mac on hand.

    I have no problem with the hackintosh approach, just GTX285's are rare in Macs.

    Do you have some low level GPUs that are comparable to the ones in Macbooks or iMacs?
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Unfortunately not. Hackintosh GPU compatibility is fairly limited and it won't take most of my low-end GPUs. Reply
  • takumsawsherman - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    One piece of analysis that I noticed was lacking is that this software for the Mac is new and presumably not as optimized as the version for the PC. Of course, hardware drivers are going to have a significant effect, but I think that putting it all on the drivers/OS is avoiding the elephant in the room. Reply
  • PartEleven - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I'm getting increasing annoyed by comments about how horrible articles are because they don't provide "real life" comparisons using the exact configuration they have at home. That's completely missing the point of this article. From what I can see, this article is trying to answer the question: Does Portal perform the same on a Mac versus the PC? Using such high end hardware allows a performance comparison across multiple resolution/quality settings, more so than if they used "realistic" mid-range hardware. It also gives you an idea of what the absolute maximum performance you'll see out of the Mac, and revealed that the Mac is still GPU bound at extreme settings even with the best hardware. This article is NOT meant to tell you if your Macbook can run Portal, and what kind of fps you should expect.

    And what if they did use a more "realistic" test Mac? How much more would you learn from it? Chances are they won't be using your exact hardware configuration, so you will still be guessing at what kind of performance you'll be seeing. And why not just try Portal and benchmark it yourself on your Mac? It's being offered FREE on Steam, and I'm willing to bet most people interested in playing it on Mac ALREADY HAS A MAC. It'snot like you this article will help you decide which Mac to get.
  • beelsebob - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    The point is that the article *doesn't* provide any kind of guide for how a high end system compares. Mac OS does not support the graphics card used *at all*, it just happens that the driver for an nVidia card in *a different generation* manages to run it... ish.

    Given that much of the results from the article are based on the quality of the drivers available on Mac OS, and no decent driver has ever been provided for this card, it's flawed, badly.
  • Scali - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    What are you talking about?
    GeForce 285 cards are sold by Apple themselves:

    No, they don't come stock in any machine, but they are available as official upgrades from Apple. It's not like PC users are the only ones who can upgrade their graphics cards.
  • Scali - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Heck I even found a review of the card on Anandtech:
  • CptTripps - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    See, this is what I love. You are defending underpowered and overrated (let alone overpriced) computers but don't even have your facts straight. Reply
  • Spazztech - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    So just like every other OEM, MAC doesnt run games well....and cost 2 to 3 times more than a PC OEM ,and has extremely limited compatible hardware. And an extremely limited software library. Reply
  • blwest1978 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I know this is a good first look on OS X software, but lets see some numbers and image quality on a real mac. To my knowledge, hackintosh systems use community drivers, not apple shipping drivers.

    I played portal on my Mac last night and it worked perfectly. In the end I don't see a big difference between 60 fps and 120 fps.
  • afkrotch - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Yes, you'll use community drivers for hardware that's not officially supported by Apple. If Apple happens to support the hardware, you can use the Apple drivers. Reply
  • Scali - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    They used an Intel Core i7 processor, an Intel X58 chipset and a GeForce 285 card.
    All three are used in products sold by Apple, and as such have official Apple drivers available. So there is no case of community drivers here.
  • notATroll - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    I lost my glasses, can you help me find them? Reply
  • eman7613 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    This was a little hasty of an article, I think you missed some important points in comparison that should be aired out so people can stop fanboy crying/yelling in both camps. However the biggest and easiet to fix is comparing opengl performance on both platforms.

    PC by default uses direct X and Mac uses open gl, right now its just a comparison of Direct X and Open GL, turn on opengl rendering on the PC (see http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Command_Li... )
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    That's an interesting reply, thank you. I had been looking for a way to force OpenGL on Windows and I never came across anything. If I get the time, I'm going to give that a shot. Reply
  • t0njohn - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    OpenGL is not supported on the PC in Source engine games. The OpenGL code is only part of the Mac build. Feel free to look up quotes from Valve engineer Rob Barris (rbarris on forums.steampowered.com). Reply
  • JSt0rm01 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    So a hacked install of osx doesnt play the game as well as the windows 7 install?

    Was that a fair comparison? I dont think so...

    If you look at xbench results for hackintosh computers they do stellar in cpu performance but when you get into the lower level tests they come up short. Reason? I don't know. Hate mac all you want but if you take this anecdotal as proof these computers and os are bad you do yourself a disservice.

    Why don't they pull out anand's macpro and put that up against a comparable pc if they really want to see?

    I own both btw and I game on my pc and work on my mac.
  • Scali - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    These tests don't show any problems with Hackintosh performance:

    The Mac Pro is only faster in the threading test, which is no surprise as it is a dual CPU system and the Hackintosh is single CPU.
    Other than that, the Hackintosh keeps up just fine with the real Macs.
  • marraco - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    OSX gives a generation lower performance... and if you buy a mac instead of a hackintosh, you have another generation slower hardware.

    And that with lower quality graphics
  • SoneeOO7 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

  • t0njohn - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    You are wrong, plain and simple. Reply
  • Mad1723 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Hey there Anandtech,

    There was a patch released for Portal today. In the bugs fixed, there was a mention of screen "fuzziness", which sounds like the image quality issue you had during your tests! Maybe you should try again to see if it's fixed now :D



  • Ryan Smith - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Thanks, I'll have to look in to that.

    Also, to whomever responded to the parent, I accidentally deleted your post when trying to copy your link. Sorry about that.
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Despite the fact that Microsoft and Windows are a laughing stock in tech forums, practically they do very well. It's probably not just OpenGL that makes Portal port on Mac slower, but its just way better optimized on Windows.

    Aside from some retarded implementations(ME and *cough* Vista), Windows is generally very well optimized for productivity and gaming.

    Take for example the so-called "thread-bouncing" that occurs in Windows. Think that's merely MS's evil schemes to screw you up?
  • Scali - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Well, in Vista's defense... gaming performance is just fine in Vista. Granted, it wasn't that great initially, but after a few Windows updates and nVidia/AMD getting the hang of the new driver model, it's just fine now. Hardly any difference with Windows 7.

    Aside from that... yes I very much agree with your point. People always claim that Windows is slow and crappy, and that linux/OS X/whatever other esoteric OS is so much more efficient. Likewise they always hail OpenGL as a drop-in replacement for Direct3D.

    Well, those claims are easy to sustain when there simply aren't any games to make direct comparisons... but now there is such a game, and we can all see what the results are.

    I'd like to add that this isn't even a very new game, or a graphically complex one. It's a DirectX 9 game, and not even using all that much eyecandy, and there isn't a whole lot going on inside the game. It's not an action game, so there aren't lots of characters and vehicles moving around on screen.

    I wonder what the OpenGL version of the engine would do on Windows. It would give an indication of how much of the performance is related to the OS itself, and how much is related just to OpenGL vs Direct3D.

    Being a developer of both OpenGL and D3D code myself, I've seen similar things. I haven't used a Mac though (although my code is open source, and should compile on a Mac as-is, you could try the sample program from here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/bhmfileformat/)... But in general the OpenGL version of the code is not as fast as the exact same code in D3D... and running the OpenGL code on linux or FreeBSD is way slower than the same code on Windows. I wonder where OS X fits in there. My guess is somewhere between linux and Windows.
  • sxr7171 - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Right to the point. I guess this is just step1 for Macs and gaming. Reply
  • Zweben - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    The Mac screenshot is inaccurate. There's no way it's running in 2560x1600. I could tell right away, because, although it was unplayable, I tried Portal at the same res on my Mac and it looked completely different. So I went to the exact spot where the screenshots here were taken and made my own.

    The screenshot was taken with all the settings on the highest quality on a Mac Pro with an Nvidia 8800 GT. While the lighting is indeed duller on the Mac, the sharpness is the same as on the PC in my screenshot. Completely different than the Mac screenshot provided in the article.

    Here's the screenshot: http://bayimg.com/image/eamojaack.jpg

    Also, this site ought to have contact info up to send in corrections like this.
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    They have finished writing our About page yet, but I can be reached at ryan.smith@anandtech.com. The same goes for the rest of the staff members.

    Anyhow, I can certainly understand your skepticism, but the screenshots I uploaded are the originals. It was absolutely running at 2560x1600. Someone else posted that Valve pushed an update out today for Portal, and you may be seeing the effects of that update.
  • Zweben - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    I don't doubt that the resolution was *set* to 2560x1600, I was just saying that it didn't look like it was *rendering* at 2560x1600. Changing the resolution setting in Portal doesn't change the monitor resolution, it just changes the resolution at which it's rendering, and stretches it to your display's res. Because of this, screenshots always match the display resolution. So even if the game wasn't rendering at the res it was supposed to be, it would output a 2560x1600 screenshot. Reply
  • khoonirobo - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    I refer all of you to


    I myself would identify as a Linux fanboy.
  • PaperTiger - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    And thats what they've done today. I've bought more games for my mac in the last 24 hours than I have in the last 24 months. And I'm having a pretty good time of it. I'm not much of a gamer, and when I do play games I usually play on my PS3 (which only cranks out 60fps IIRC) I honestly don't even know how to figure out my frame rate on a game, and really don't care. If the game plays smooth I don't think I could see the difference between 60fps and 200fps. But thats just me. If you can, you probably should use the computer that best fits your needs. I don't think you'll ever run into a Mac user that will say he bought his computer to game on. It's kinda like fat chicks and The Wii. Everyone knows they're inferior, but people love to play on them.

    BTW... OS X is Linux (Darwin Kernel + BSD + Aqua UI)

    Good night now!!!
  • killerclick - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    I don't ride fat chicks and neither should you. Same goes for the Wii Reply
  • 0roo0roo - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Just wondering how actual macs perform.. Reply
  • star-affinity - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    I agree that the looks of Portal on the Mac is blurry compared to the Windows version. The funny thing I noticed is that on the ”main screen” (where one get when starting the game) all textures and edges look sharp, but once the game is launched things look a bit blurry, as if not running in native resolution even if one is. Anyway, I saw there was an update released, will see how it looks when I get home.

    Also the performance for Portal is *much* worse on the Mac version – you can feel it when playing the game and I have an i7 processor and an ATI 4890 graphics.

    What makes me wonder: if how Portal performs is only a matter of bad drivers, why are there other games that run well on Mac OS X?

    Call of Duty 4 for example.
    While a little different (less reflective on wet ground for example) overall It looks as good in Mac OS X as in Windows on my setup. The same goes for frame rate – I would say it runs just as well in Mac OS X as in WIndows.

    World of Warcraft is another example – according to my simple tests I even got a few frames per second *more* in Mac OS X compared to Windows.

    Torchlight is also released for Mac on Steam and that is sharp and smooth as silk in Mac OS X (on my setup).
    Is Torchlight a much less demanding game than Portal?

    How do you explain all this if how a game performs is *only* about Apple's OpenGL drivers?
  • ShandyPants - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Disable color correction in the settings and the blurriness will disappear, this setting seems to be broken at the moment.

    Portal performs well on my i7 iMac, it's still VERY early days and I think they've got off to a good start.
  • ltcommanderdata - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link


    It's probably a driver issue. These results are kind of old now, but Call of Duty 4 sees fairly comparable performance between the Windows and OS X versions on ATI GPUs like the HD 3870, but not nVidia GPUs. So OS X gaming performance doesn't have to be significantly less than Windows and it doesn't seem to be Apple's OpenGL implementation necessarily being slower. It's likely a matter of GPU driver optimization, particularly for nVidia GPUs which seem to be more inconsistent lately on OS X, Bioshock also had teething performance problems on nVidia GPUs in Snow Leopard until 10.6.2, and more optimization of the OpenGL code path in the Source Engine. It'd be great if you could compare Windows and OS X performance on an ATI GPU like the HD4870 to see if the results are different.

    I have a feeling GTX 285 drivers in particular may be less optimized than even other nVidia GPUs given the low user base since Apple doesn't actually ship it themselves as a BTO option. Perhaps Anand could try a comparison on his older MacBook Pro with a 9600M GT which should be mature now. The newer MacBook Pros probably use a special build of 10.6.3 and the 330M won't be supported by mainline OS X releases until 10.6.4 so probably won't be a good comparison platform since the drivers are probably immature as well.
  • Finally - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Updates to Portal have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:

    Fixed screen "fuzziness" caused by color correction operation
  • zalves - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    As soon as I started to play portal on my Mac, I understood that the low performance couldn't be real. Directx is far more powerful and better suited for games, but just that. On a Mac the experience I had with steam was that I could still use spaces, exposé, and even the dashboard while playing with absolutely no delay! Reply
  • B3an - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Congratulations. I've been doing that on Windows for atleast 5 years. Any half decent machine would.

    When someone plays a game though, they tend to .. you know... play the game, and not use the computer for other things at the same time. Mac is poor for this and always will be.
  • star-affinity - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    So, how one game (Portal) performs on the Mac can let us conclude things about the general performance of Macs?

    If you read my post above there are Mac version of games (much newer and supposedly more demanding than Portal) that run just as good as the Windows version.

    People are very quick at making conclusions – many times on very weak grounds.
    And humanity is supposed to be a clever species? Give me a break... :p
  • B3an - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    I will bet you that all source games released by Valve will run considerably slower.

    And games are always faster on PC. For a start you get the latest hardware, and the latest drivers. With Apple you will have to wait for them even for drivers. Plus if you have a massive glitch or crashing in a game then your're screwed.
    And OpenGL just isn't as good as DirectX is these days, or the DX dev tools. Dev's use DX over OpenGL for a reason, even John Carmack who is IMO the best programmer around, has switched to DX and said this himself.
  • Zanfib - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Valve updated Portal last night and one of the release notes mentioned a fix to correct "screen fuzziness". That might fix up your IQ issues....the performance is probably a more long-term, gradual fix, if it can be done at all. Reply
  • ShandyPants - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Let's see… how many years experience have had Valve with the Windows/Direct3D platform? How many years of optimisation? How big a task is it to port the entire Source engine over to OpenGL? Lots and huge would be the answers. How long has Portal/Source and Steam been on the Mac/OpenGL platform? A few days, months at most.

    The Mac platform is poor for gaming because virtually nobody develops games for it, nobody develops games for it because it's a poor platform for gaming. Notice the circle? Never mind because Valve have noticed that it and that it's complete nonsense and unnecessary.

    With Macs being largely closed systems they could, within a few years experience from developers, easily match that of the higher end off-the-shelf Win systems (no point comparing to a self-built rig). Valve are working with known hardware configurations when it comes to Macs, you don't have this with Windows PCs since you can mix and match configs infinitely. This "known" situation will only aid performance (so long as graphics card devs and Apple get on board with optimisation).

    In my view the Portal results are an impressive start, 60FPS at 2560*1200 is nothing to complain about.

    As for the quality, again see above… but AnandTech should disable color correction because it's broken and turns things blurry.
  • B3an - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    "With Macs being largely closed systems they could, within a few years experience from developers, easily match that of the higher end off-the-shelf Win systems "

    No they couldn't. And i've said most of this already but...

    No DirectX, which is overall better, and has better dev tools. This is why dev's choose to use it over OpenGL. As i mentioned above, even John Carmack of ID Software has now moved to DX because of this. No major games companies use OpenGL now if they have a choice to choose.

    Drivers: Most Macs run very out of data drivers, and you have to wait for Apple on this.

    PC's can also easily be overclocked, and there is tons of tweaking tools for PC gaming.

    OS: I could also argue that Windows is better suited for gaming aswell.

    Hardware: forget getting the latest GFX cards for mac. It's time "think different" and pay more for last years hardware.
  • B3an - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    Oh heres another important factor: OSX does not support OpenGL 3.0, let alone 4.0 (latest version).
    OSX is two full revisions behind. OpenGL 2.0 is probably roughly equal to DirectX 9 at best.
  • Penti - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    Last time I checked id Tech 5 or the Rage engine is still OpenGL with a DX9 equivalent code path for Xbox 360.

    95% of the OpenGL 3.0 features are included in the ATI drivers, both nVidia and ATi drivers fully supports OpenGL 2.1 with any card newer then X1600/X1900 which is more then the consoles do, you have Cg support on OS X, Cuda, and OpenCL on top of ARB, GLSL and other shading based techniques which build on that. The vendors are fully freely to release their own implementations, implement things faster, or even faster then Apple and fully free to release their own drivers, they don't need to be signed or anything the GTX 285 is for example and example of a aftermarket card which for they released their own drivers straight from nVidias web site and together with the card without waiting for a system update to support it, CUDA is another example of a features fully released outside and working outside of Apples channels. Elementals video encoding is another. The card was released by EVGA with them supporting it. Every card dedicated card from HD2400/7300+ or integrated nVidia supports OpenGL 2.1 fully and GLSL1.2 in OS X 10.6.3, and they all support GLSL1.2 back to 10.4.11 with discrete cards, at most they need to fall back to Open GL 2.0 which is roughly what the PS3 uses, and it surpasses or is equivalent to DX9 and Xbox 360's APIs. Of course if they really want to ATI and Nvidia can release updated drivers for 10.5.8 for better performance or even to implement some of the features which might help the performance. The game don't support anything lower anyway. Steam is a DX9 engine anyway it doesn't need anything more then OGL 2.0 which is equivalent to do all the same things. The console ports won't be more advanced then DX9 / OGL2 class any way.

    None optimized drivers would be a problem though even if they would use a DX API instead, but we can expect Apple, Nvidia and ATI to continue work with that together with Valve and others. It has already happened in so many ways. But there's no problem to acquire the drivers outside of apples system update channels, if nvidia and ATI wants to provide them. Suggesting anything else is just disingenuous. Cards like FX 4800 or GTX 285 wouldn't be supported when hardware was released, if they couldn't extend features, CUDA and Elementals wouldn't be supported. But they all where.

    Game studios develops their own tools mostly and with Cg etc available and the ability to port the tools, it's pretty good if they want it to be. You don't need to rewrite all your shader code if it's already in Cg and it can be used on most platforms. So the tools is there. You can convert HLSL shader code to GLSL by machine and so on. Reimplementing the rendering stage is what you do for the console builds any way. It's not worse then that. You use the same maps, models, data, textures etc. It's not that much different. Of course game code is not dependent on the underlaying rendering API's it's different things and game engines are already abstracted and somewhat multi-platform and porting SDKs and level editors is doable. Of course being the first to support OpenCL you can't say that they are that much behind when they are actually driving that process. And OpenCL and OpenGL go hand in hand together. The problem there is that they are so much further along then the consoles which will get updated APIs first when the next gen consoles arrive in a good couple of years. If they want too they could probably be a platform for developing those next gen games by then. Depending where Sony and others wants to put their resources. It's not like nothing will happen. Next gen engines like Rage/id Tech 5 will get mac builds too. Not just old ones. It's not really bleak it's a great platform if you build the tools there. Instead of just relying on third party ports and not moving the development environment and tools there.
  • Setsunayaki - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    I am just trying to help out for consistency.

    Remember how it was stated that the image quality was worse on MAC OS X? For the purposes of Experimentation, since the image quality is lower, it also means that it takes less effort to produce the image itself. The OS X version of Steam/Source obviously has certain elements it can not duplicate well along with the video drivers.

    The windows version gets its framerate under full Quality on how the image should appear. The blurriness in the MAC version asks for certain questions:

    1) As MACs tend to be built for image quality in professional photography along with their monitors....it begs to ask on what is the source of the blurriness.

    Is it just the video driver itself or the implementation of Steam/Source Engine?

    2) How does the Slowdown of the game and its framerate on a video card affect the wear on the video card? Obviously if both cards on both machines are trying to work just as hard, but limited by what the engine and driver can bring to the table, then Obviously you are going to see similar temperatures...

    3) Have you looked at any situations in which sections of the rendering by accident use more of the libraries linked to software Rendering in Conjuction with OpenGL and tested such intensity or severity?

    Im asking these questions because now that Steam exists on MAC OS X and the Operating System is something completely different and being a derivative of unix/linux that has been heavily modified and changed....That one game really is your gateway to a series of rendering tests...The kind of tests that Nvidia could use to make better drivers..

    You might as well test the hell out of the platform in every possible conceivable method. I am sure you will find something interesting. ^_^...I wonder if I should handle all the testing on my end as I have a lot of different OSes here I like to test out along with enough time to do it.

    Well, Good Luck and thanks for the Article
  • B3an - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    "1) As MACs tend to be built for image quality in professional photography along with their monitors....it begs to ask on what is the source of the blurriness."

    ...What? people still think this? Macs are not magically better for image quality. Macs being better for photography and design is an old myth that needs to die already.

    ALL components in Macs these days are just PC components. No difference at all. You can also buy better monitors than what apple sells. They will cost more as they are truly high-end professional displays, but the money you save from getting a PC will make the overall cost (PC + Pro monitor) be about the same as getting an inferior Mac system.
  • B3an - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    By the way the "fuzziness" issue on the Mac seems to have been fixed with an update. But it will never look any better on a Mac than on a PC with a good IPS monitor as mentioned above. Reply
  • star-affinity - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    Maybe you should stop saying ”will never happen” when you can't be sure. :P Reply
  • star-affinity - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    Maybe he's not talking about the hardware, but the software? Reply
  • robco - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    I have the last gen MacBook Pro (2.66GHz, 9600M GT, 256) and Portal runs fine at 1440x900. I can't say if it's as fast as Windows, but the image quality is good. I can't use the ~ to bring up the console and get the fps, but I never experienced any issues. I imagine an iMac would handle it just fine. Even looking at the benchmarks from the article, the performance on the Mac isn't as fast as it is on WIndows, but it's not completely unacceptable either.

    As for the Mac, it's interesting that every Mac that now ships has at least a somewhat capable GPU. Can't say the same for all Windows boxes. As for why I chose it and paid more, the MBP is still one of the thinnest and lightest fully featured laptops available. It's incredibly sturdy. The LED backlit display is great, as is the backlit keyboard. Battery life isn't an exaggeration, it's great. Little touches like MagSafe are icing on the cake. I considered Lenovo and Dell, but by the time I added the features I wanted, the price difference started to shrink. You only have to check this site for positive reviews of Apple's laptops.

    My gaming needs are minor, it's not my primary use for my computer. I wanted something that would run WoW and SC2 and it does. For gamers, a Windows PC is always the better choice. But the Mac has plenty of things going for it, especially when it comes to laptops.
  • botrytis - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    Yes - your battery life is great because your system IS NOT using your high-powered GPU. It is using the Intel on-borad video. Also your CPU is trottled down quite a bit by the Apple OS. If you trottle up your OS and switch to your high powered GPU - your battery life will be the same as PC clone.

    OS X looks nice but the underpinningsare 2 generations old. If Apple wanted to be so up to date, then they should update the underpinnings and OS just like MS does.
  • robco - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    Where to begin... Mine doesn't have an Intel integrated GPU, the new ones do. I get over 5 hours with the 9600, over 6 easily with the 9400. The C2D throttles itself back when needed. The larger, built-in battery is part of the reason for the better battery life, it's also a smarter battery. OS X is also much better at power management than Windows, this is a good thing.

    As for the underpinnings, Apple is relatively current wrt BSD. They've released several OS updates in the eternity it took MS to release WIndows Vista (still on the NT 5 kernel btw and that's with many features tossed out to make the ship date and even then few people upgraded) and now finally Windows 7. Even WIn 7 is missing a few features (WinFS anyone?).
  • mojohacker2010 - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    I have a similar MBP and I know for a fact you don't get 5-6 hours of battery life. The older 9600 actually drains a lot more power. Apple doesn't somehow defy the law of physics and create more energy out of nowhere. It's fine to be loyal to a company but please don't spew ignorance or pull random numbers out of your ass. Reply
  • robco - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    Not pulling any numbers out of my ass. Check the battery tests in the Mac section of this site and you'll see you can get Apple's stated numbers easily. I rarely use the optical drive and keep the display brightness around 1/3 as well as the keyboard backlight. Other than that, I can work for five hours easily, longer if I switch over to the 9400M.

    Now if you're doing something like gaming, the battery won't last that long. But for basic productivity tasks, I can get those numbers easily. In any case, the MBP has excellent battery life compared to most other laptops in its class. And back to my original point, there are many reasons, at least when it comes to laptops, to choose a Mac.
  • KoolAidMan1 - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    Both of you are wrong, NONE of the Macs have had Intel graphics for the last two years. This is why the new 13" MBPs use faster Core 2 Duos instead of i3 or i5 CPUs, because it was the only way to get an integrated GPU that didn't suck. It was either use the crummy IGP on an i3 or i5 Arrandales or use a faster C2D with an nvidia 320GT. Discreet GPUs like you'd get in a 15" or 17" Macbook Pros wasn't an option simply because space is so limited inside that little 13" enclosure.

    Given how much the OS X desktop leans on the GPU, it was an obvious choice not to downgrade from the prior 9400M to Intel graphics.
  • Scali - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    The i3/i5 GPUs aren't all that bad.
    They can keep up with the AMD IGPs quite well, and in some cases even outperform the nVidia ones:
  • hsew - Saturday, May 15, 2010 - link

    Hackintoshes, at least from my experience, do not run as fast as a mac, period. This is due to the fact that several key files are altered/added in the hackintosh OS.

    Even if you do not agree with that, I think the test should be redone using an actual macbook...
  • KoolAidMan1 - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    Finally got around to installing Portal on my iMac, i7 860 CPU and ATI 4850 GPU, a slower machine than my home built Windows 7 PC with i7 860 CPU and GTX 285 GPU outputting to a 24" LCD.

    Gotta say, running Portal on my iMac at native 2560x1440 with AA off, I am super happy with its performance and the way everything looks. I got a consistent 60-75fps with vsync off, with occasional dips to the mid-40s if I was doing some crazy portal viewing. With vsync on it was pinned at 60fps for pretty much the whole time in the maps I looked at.

    It performed way better than I expected, given the 4850 that has to push so many pixels. I was ready to drop down to 1920x1080 but I didn't need to. It looks awesome at such a high resolution and on such a gorgeous display, people with higher end iMacs (I can't imagine the 4670 in the baseline iMac doing so well) and pretty much any Macbook Pro will be very happy.

    I did not compare Windows performance since I don't have it installed on my iMac, and I did not compare anything on my 2008 Macbook Pro since I nuked Win7 on that machine last week (awesome timing to sell it; I'd totally have kept and benchmarked it had I known Steam was dropping this week). I'd love to see the site run benchmarks on actual iMacs and MBPs instead of hackintoshes, hopefully soon!
  • smartalco - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    Maybe this wouldn't make that big of a difference to performance (although I've always been under the impression that AA causes a huge performance hit), but is it possible that some of the performance hit is because the AA is so much different between the Win and OS X versions? Specifically, to my eye, the OS X version looks like it has nearly double the AA applied, I've linked to an image that shows some of the more obvious areas blown up to double the size so you can see for yourself. Could you possibly run through all the AA options on both platforms, and see if the comparable modes are actually different between versions? (ie: find if 8x AA on Win looks closer to 4x AA on OS X?)

  • GTVic - Sunday, May 16, 2010 - link

    Quote: "This fixed the blurriness issue ... Texture and geometry quality is now as sharp as it is under Windows ... there is still an image quality difference ... due to ... a general degree of fogginess"

    That does not make much sense, apparently they fixed the blurriness so it is just as sharp as a PC but it is still foggy. Huh?

    The one thing that is obvious is that the Mac version does not support HDR as you can see all the intensely bright areas are at normal illumination on the Mac.
  • afkrotch - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    My friend tried this on his Macbook. The model before they came out with the solid aluminium design with non-user replaceable battery. He says the game plays, but he can't see into the portal. Reply
  • star-affinity - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    That ”portal being black” issue should be fixed in the latest update.
    Relaunch Steam and it should automatically download it.
  • Ninjahedge - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    Um, I would like to say "amazing" but this isn't. Just a few posts into this thing and everyone is going on an AppleTirade/Windows War.

    This is about the port of the game, not the cost of an Apple, or teh commercials, or computer science majors, or Linux....

    The only thing that seems to come through here is that Apple machines are limited because they were not developed with gaming in mind. Ironic when they had the best games back when I was gong through college (Fools Quest and Sim Earth? TETRIS??!?!?). They seemed to have realized that they could not compete with the latest and greatest while still maintaining hardware control and compatibility, so they dropped the gaming engines and concentrated more on visual presentation and linear OS management.

    And it worked. Even with their small market share, they are able to charge much more for their product, to HAPPY CONSUMERS, than any other company. SONY and M$ are jealous of that and wish they could do the same, but they have not been able to squiggle their way in (or back in as is the case with SONY) the semi-literarte ArTechs out there that feel intimidated with setups and other procedures.

    Back to topic, what does this do? It makes them slower on games. Is that a killer? No, but suffice to say it is not a selling point either. Apple simply needs to opsn up a bit more if they want to succeed here, but in doing so it will make it hard to keep control of their hardware lock that earns them their money now.

    Bottom line? Install windows on the Mac to play games, or just get a 2 year old machine that will play it better for 1/4 the cost!!!! ;)
  • ptman - Monday, May 17, 2010 - link

    I may not like Apple but honestly this is just an example of Valve being terribly lazy. If John Carmack can make ID Tech 5 (Rage) run on a Mac then Valve should be able to port a six year old engine properly to the platform. Reply
  • botrytis - Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - link

    It is not Valve - it is the Open GL drivers that are the issue. Apple has just went to Open GL 3.0 (Apple was only using Open GL 2.0 for the longest time) and the newest version is Open GL 4.0. Blame Apple and the driver writers for this, not Valve. Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - link

    It's not the god damn version that's at fault. Rage and id Tech 5 is essentially still a DX9 class engine as it will have a Xbox 360 path.

    No games or other software uses OGL4 yet and it's just a iteration of OGL3, ones they have implemented 3.3 they virtually has implemented 4.0 as 3.3 is a backport of many 4.0 features. 3.3 is for previous generation cards and 4.0 for new can be said about it, older cards won't support 4.0 so how would it even be important? There's no Macs which support OpenGL 4.0. Rage won't be a 4.0 only engine.

    Valve certainly aren't lazy, they are fixing bugs and performance problems, it's not a finalized port by any means, hell the SDK aren't even released yet and that says some. nVidia and ATi are lazy on the other hand, because they can be. They haven't had any pressure to optimize and support applications like this. Apple certainly isn't slower then the vendors, but they only do the software renderer which is hardly useful to even mention in questions like this. The infrastructure is there for the vendors to move faster. But any way Windows is at OpenGL 3.2 for these cards as of now, no games use it, the drivers hardly are prefect there either as they usually put out fixes for games.

    Even the new 330M just supports OpenGL 3.2 in Windows, the hardware don't support 4.0. As in they are yet to release OpenGL 3.3 drivers in the wild. Only Fermi based GPUs from nVidia will support OpenGL 4.0 when it comes to nVidia, and of course AMD supports it from the 5000-series. What we are waiting for on the Apple platform is GLSL1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 3.3 not the extensions and other new features. Valve hardly needs the more advanced shader features. It's not a DX11 class engine or heavily dependent on shaders or any compute features. It's just six more features to be implemented in order to support OpenGL 3.2 on OS X for ATI anyway. Not 20 or 40. As long as they stick to GLSL1.20 they can use all the new features and extensions of OpenGL 3.0.

    But as said 4.0 isn't needed or possible when they are just using DX10.1 compatible hardware. Ones they move the engines to 4.0 they still need to support at least OpenGL 3.3 (DX10.X hardware) and possibly even as far back as 2.1. Shipping drivers in Windows for 330M supports 3.2 at most. You can install the developer drivers though and get 3.3 support. OGL 2.1 support is found in 10.6 with the newer cards, 3.0 was released on July 11, 2008 with drivers coming out in dec 2008 (nVidia) mind you, not years ago. You got OpenCL support, all the extensions (ATI) for 3.0 supported and only the GLSL version update missing on OS X. It's not as if were stuck with ~2004 era OpenGL 2.0. (Still equivalent to DX 9.0c and SM3.). But it's not like Vavle needs more either. Just better quality drivers, which would be helpful. But 4.0 isn't on the table before hardware is found in newer Macs. And in order to support any current machine you still need to support OGL2.0. And you don't find any fermis in laptops yet. The software renderer from Apple supported OpenGL 2.1 in OS X 10.5. The driver implementations lapsed behind. Totally unnecessary as OpenGL is extendable and implemented in the driver. OpenGL 3.2 vs 3.0? You can't really make that argument yet as they are so alike and nothing uses much of it. Features can always be brought as extensions to earlier versions and that is often what happens. Any 3.2 software will be able to use 3.0 through its fallbacks and it's just a few features that's added to 3.2 so it would do fine with 3.0. However there's no reason why we should wait for 3.2 and not expecting it to come virtually the same time we get complete 3.0 support. That's what happened on Windows pretty much.

    Of course nVidia would hardly care about the GTX 285 drivers for a lonely aftermarket card, we can expect much more performance and fixes for other drivers/cards. Valve has made enhancements since this article too. The Apple platform is any way a few features behind, not years and years. Basically GLSL1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and a total of fourteen (ATI) extensions including the GLSL support or 11 excluding that and you have all the support. Not a massive undertaking, (it's already done on Windows and Linux) it should be there soon. It's not a excuse for a ~2.1 (2.0 compatible) engine not to work properly. And Valve is by no means finished on their side. Just listen to their developers. And OGL 3.2 Vs 4.0 isn't like DX 9 Vs 11, it's not like your missing OpenCL in even 3.0. Much of the updates is just to streamline stuff. Not to add stuff that weren't possible before. Most of the extensions are already added to older versions of the API.
  • Scali - Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - link

    "Rage and id Tech 5 is essentially still a DX9 class engine as it will have a Xbox 360 path."

    Just because it will have an XBox 360 path doesn't mean that it can't scale to higher hardware aswell.
    A fine example of a scalable engine is the CryEngine.
    CryEngine 2 already supported both a DX9 and a DX10 path. CryEngine 3 will add XBox 360 and PS3 to that... and the PC path will be upgraded to DX11.
    Having said that, I don't think Rage will get such cutting-edge graphics as Crysis on the PC.
  • Penti - Thursday, May 20, 2010 - link

    Doesn't mean it can't scale to lower either, no Mac has a DX11 or OpenGL 4.0 capable graphics card any way as said.

    Of course the engines can scale and that's my whole point, a DX11 game will have a DX10 path, even a DX9 one.

    Current macs don't benefit from getting OpenGL 4.0 support, current games doesn't, future will probably support OGL 3.0/3.1/3.2/3.3 fine. DX11
  • Penti - Thursday, May 20, 2010 - link

    ah sorry happen to post unfinished.

    DX11 runs on DX10 hardware mostly so it's not really the same thing as OpenGL 4.0 either, granted you don't get access to SM5 and hardware tessellation then, so it's becoming more like OpenGL 3.3 on older hardware.

    Of course a PS3 port is equivalent to no more then OpenGL 2.0, so there's no reason for Mac ports to be any worse. I don't see it as a big problem that it doesn't support something the hardware doesn't support, Apple's vendors supports the API on Windows and Linux. So it's not like it won't never happen.

    Even if future engines like Rage make use heavily of OpenGL 4.0 it will still retain support back to probably OpenGL 2.0. However current macs will probably have to do with 3.3. And the engine will be native OpenGL on both Windows and OS X. So it should work very similar on both. Shaders will be optimized for GLSL and OpenCL will be there.

    Also as OpenGL is extendable you can add hardware tessellation to even OpenGL 2.0/2.1, AMD already did. So up to date drivers are much more important then the latest API which the hardware doesn't support. When a game developer need a feature he doesn't need to wait for a new complete API or update to the API itself he can just convince the graphics vendors to release an extension for it. The version is as said not that important it is what you do with the available features. Stuff don't get useless because they don't have OpenGL 4.0 support, something Consoles might get in ~ 2012-14 any way :) If you have the extensions your needing you won't miss OGL4. My point is the graphics doesn't need to be any worse even if your graphics card just have drivers supporting OpenGL 3.0 or even 2.1. If the features are there it's there, you got what you need, it's not a static target if you don't want it to be. Blaming Apple to not support something the hardware aren't capable of is kinda silly. You can at least wait till there's graphics cards in macs that supports it and software that definitively need the new hardware features. Most features are backported to 3.3, most stuff can be used from extensions even on 2.1. It's not that definite like some like to believe. You don't need DX11 feature parity before you have hardware to support it :) It's not the API the macs will fall on if new engines need new hardware it's the hardware. A mac port can easily surpass the Xbox 360 and PS3 port any way. And you won't design an engine which doesn't work on those, so why wouldn't it work on Mac? It's just bullocks. Valves problems stem from an unfinished port and unoptimized drivers which doesn't have all those fixes the windows version has. They don't benefit from DX11 hardware.
  • Scali - Saturday, May 22, 2010 - link

    I'm still not too sure what your point is, really.
    Yes, engines can scale to lower features...
    But isn't the issue here that the game looks less than the PC version of a few years ago, which was 'only' a DX9 game to begin with?
    So yes, it looks like it is scaled down for the Mac... but why?

    I agree that it shouldn't be the API's fault, because OpenGL supports extensions. I don't know the exact situation on OS X, but I would expect that AMD and nVidia have driver extensions for everything they support, just like in Windows and linux. So even if the API is officially only 2.1, you can still access the other features. There have been ARB extensions for them for years.

    So why would you scale it down?
    And the other obvious issue is performance: why is it so much slower than the PC version, despite being scaled down?
  • newrigel - Sunday, June 20, 2010 - link

    And use OSX to get work done! Try that on your PC!!! Gaming has NEVER been the strength of OSX and it never will because people make $$ with OSX doing media and music... no big deal. Reply

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