POST A COMMENT

95 Comments

Back to Article

  • killerclick - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    So Macs are crap, what else is new? Reply
  • wolrah - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    It's always about what you're looking for in a computer. If you're building or buying a gaming rig, Windows is obviously the way to go for now. You make yourself look like just as much of a tool as the idiots using terms like "windoze" and "M$" when you make comments like that. The hardware is exactly the same and I find the OS fits how I use it better. I get commercial apps and a proper Unix shell in the same OS. Windows does the GUI thing fine, but sucks like a toothless hooker when you need a shell. Powershell is fine for those familiar with the .NET environment, but to someone used to Unix or even the half-ass CLI DOS/cmd.exe provided it's foreign.

    I'm sitting at a Windows 7 machine with my Macbook Pro linked in by Synergy off to one side displaying a bunch of terminals SSHed in to various Linux boxes on it second monitor, so I think I can honestly claim to not be biased in any direction among the big three OSes.
    Reply
  • killerclick - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Yeah, whatever nerdlinger. See that chart up there in the test? Mac = crap. Reply
  • SunSamurai - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Stop trolling asshole. Reply
  • B3an - Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - link

    Macs are not crap. The OS is crap, and dated.

    Valve can do all they want to the Source engine but it will never run as well as on Windows.
    OSX has many dated components. For instance it uses OpenGL 2.1 (or does 10.6.3 have 3.0 finally?)... the latest is 4.0. Which has been available on Windows for some time.
    OpenGL 2.1 is about equal to DirectX 9, at best. You wont get the Windows performance for this alone, and you wont get the graphical eye candy either and things like Tessellation.

    I'm surprised Anand does not mention this, but he does seem bias towards Apple.
    Either way, the issue of performance is atleast as much to do with OSX/apple itself as it is to do with the Source engine on OSX.
    Reply
  • thehomelessguy - Monday, July 05, 2010 - link

    Mac's definitely use openGL 3.0 (they have to to have openCL which is at the core of a lot of snow leopard's improvements). Reply
  • Zombie-Bionic - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    you know, I've lived with mac for at least 4 years now, and I think I can say yes, mac is very crappy. Music eats up space like a mutha bitch so gaming is virtually impossible unless you prefer playing an unintended 8-bit version of half life 2. It's no surprise to me that mac is the worst computer rated on the chart, but this is also on the internet. anything goes so it's really hard to say I can trust these results. So mac will always be crap if you want to just do gaming. It's definitely a leader for those who love itunes and facebook, but if you're not totally about the whole social networking trend get a PC, because not only are they better at games they also accomplish giving the user knowledge about their new shiny device. My knowledge of computers is at the equivalent of a cave man hitting a brick against the wall and getting killed by shrapnel. This is simply because mac does everything for you and is already very easy to "personalize" because of it's ability of hiding every known fact about itself so that when it comes time to fix it you don't know jack squat. Reply
  • xarglaph - Thursday, July 22, 2010 - link

    Zombie, are you retarded?

    Must be trollin'. OSX has so many logs that if you'd bothered to do a couple minutes of research you'd be able to find out exactly what problems you're having. Compare this to the annoying Event Viewer used in windows...

    mac tip

    open terminal,
    type cat /var/log/system.log > ~/FILENAME.txt
    in your home directory will be a nifty txt file full of all kinds of useful information.
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    If all you need a MAC for is shells, why not just get Ubuntu or some other version of Linux?

    If the hardware's the same, as you say, then why pay a premium for Apple?

    Granted, Apple, like any linux-based OS, has many nice features that cater to its customer focus, but your reasons don't support your argument. And as far as this article is concerned Windows still exceeds OSX. I would like Win7 to regain some of the WinXP gaming performance, though. Just like I wanted XP to regain some Win98 performance.

    Cheers,
    vol7ron
    Reply
  • Jkm3141 - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Ahh spoken like a true windows advocate. Mac OSX is not Linux based Reply
  • Flunk - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    three words: PuTTy.

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

    Fell better now?

    I know I shouldn't be, but I'm still amazed by people that have such low self esteem as to be threatened by the existence of a Macintosh computer.
    Reply
  • killerclick - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    I was just summarizing the result of the test. Macs are slower, yet more expensive. What's not crap about that? Reply
  • heffeque - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Basically you're saying that a Mac is slower than itself. That just plain stupid. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Macs aren't slower. OS X is slower because you're comparing a game engine that's spent the last decade being designed and optimized for Windows with a game engine recently ported to OS X. You'd find exactly the same initial performance deficit if Valve ported Source to Linux.

    Saying "Macs are crap" based on the fact that their default OS is slower when running a specific program that hasn't been fully optimized for that OS is so asinine it's mind blowing.
    Reply
  • killerclick - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Mac is what it is, not just the hardware with the Apple logo but also the OS, the 3rd party support and the niche it's carved for itself. If I have you pay more for less performance and a smaller choice of software then yes, I'll say Macs are crap. Reply
  • ibuckyi - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    You have no idea what you are talking about. OpenGL has been the forefront of gaming way before DirectX came in to play. Stop making excuses for Mac and admit the loss. I'm sorry that your 2000 dollar machine can't handle 20 years of gaming. And to think by now Macs would be able to handle what windows has been doing for 20 years. Give up on the excuses, and just admit.. Steve Jobs got you! Reply
  • LaughingTarget - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Uh, OpenGL hasn't been at the forefront of gaming for some time. Once DX9 hit the market, it was pretty much lights out for OGL. Even the last major holdout, id Software, has backed out of OGL development and moved onto DirectX. Moving Steam onto the Mac platform is unlikely going to rekindle any kind of OGL interest since it lacks significant market share to put out any kind of real effort onto the platform short of just hastily porting major titles over. Reply
  • Strunf - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    And yet there have been Doom after Doom using it, and with evrery new one everyone is amazing by its graphical quality!!
    I don't think Id Tech would bet on a dead horse...
    Reply
  • dgz - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    You are wrong. Rage and the new Doom (both id Tech 5 based) render things in Direct3D mode only on Xbox 360. The Windows, Mac OS and PS3 versions render shit in OpenGL mode. Well, PS3 actually uses PSGL, which is Sony's implementation of OpenGL / ES. Anyway, stop making shit up so you can support your silly arguments. Reply
  • sprockkets - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    yes, and the drivers made for windows vs. mac and the respective subsystems used have nothing to do with it either. Reply
  • ArizonaSteve - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    I wouldn't say Macs are crap, but I would equate Apple to Bose and Monster Cable. Reply
  • Hxx - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    The whole idea is that MACs are not for gaming... they never were and they will never be...gaming = windows and thats a fact Reply
  • michael2k - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    That would be true if Anand hadn't actually run Steam on Windows on the same HW...

    So it's not "Mac = Crap", it's "Valve ports = Crap".
    Reply
  • foolsgambit11 - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    You assume it's Valve's port. It's not 100% clear from the review where the fault lies. For instance, perhaps OS X doesn't allow the same level of access to the hardware, or their graphics subsystems aren't optimized as well as Windows. That wouldn't be too surprising since this kind of usage isn't that common on a Mac. Or it could be a fundamental issue with the API. It would take more digging to find out.

    One thing is for certain: if Macs keep growing in market share, eventually game developers will be developing for OS X side by side with Windows. I hope OS X doesn't prove to be the problem here, because the last thing we need is another thing holding back game improvements (along with consoles and integrated graphics, for instance).
    Reply
  • wolrah - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    If the OpenGL version of the Source engine was an option on Windows this could be a more interesting test. I'd like to see what parts of the performance and graphical differences are caused by the OS and drivers versus the different graphics APIs. Reply
  • Exodite - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    The comparison on actual Apple hardware was really the most interesting, thanks for noting that.

    The hackintosh experiment is fun I suppose but I feel it's rather irrelevant as far as a performance comparison goes.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Or at least, it left some areas open for question. Judging by the results here, Ryan's Hackintosh Portal comparison did not generate different results than using real Apple hardware. Reply
  • Exodite - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Ah no, I simply meant that it's not a scenario that's likely to come up a lot in the real world.

    That said it does lend credence to the idea that there's no special sauce gluing MacOSX and Apple hardware together.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    I actually thought that Ryan's choice to use a Hackintosh was brilliant - you can virtually guarantee the exact same hardware platform that way. Without having a Mac Pro or another piece of Apple hardware at the ready, it really does make sense.

    I agree though it's useful to see some numbers on current generation Apple hardware. I know I tried running our timedemo on a mid 2008 MBP and encountered some... issues... It'd be interesting to see if HL2/Portal runs at all passably on a MacBook with integrated intel graphics.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • morphologia - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    No, but seriously...cherry-picking the hardware components is one thing, but their operational parameters are very locked into place on a Mac. For the sake of higher stability and guaranteed hardware intercompatibility, you sacrifice some of the built-in component flexibility present in a PC. Certain software (modern games) shows this more than others. Reply
  • Sahrin - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Your post assumes that you can't have stability and excellent performance. This is patently false, Windows users have been getting this for 7+ years. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Totally agree. Not to mention that the last Mac I owned was a DP Powermac that crashed on me all the time, for no reason. The system would not even be under load and I'd get the black screen kernel panic. Maybe things are better now, but the closed hardware concept didn't do it for me back then.

    I don't mind Macs at all. I might own one again, if it weren't for Apples advertising smugness and lies. The products they make are usually quite good, and could probably stand on their own without the terrible exaggerations.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    Their products are no better quality than anyone else, and they're considerably more expensive to boot. Without their marketing/brainwashing department, they'd be dead by now. Reply
  • adonn78 - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    The drivers really are not there for the Mac platform. In addition the games have to be converted from directX to openGL. I format that has been seldomly used in the past few years for games. not to mention The video cards on apple are at least a generation behind. The newer cards and drivers are not available. And not optimized for the mac platform. Teh mere fact that the games are even playable ont he mac is a promising start. We may see regular driver updates and major performance increases is Steve jobs takes gaming seriously. But its unlikely. Reply
  • heffeque - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Who knows... maybe with 10.7 things will start changing in that direction. Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    i think that it's been said before, but people who are looking for the best performance possible are not going to go out and buy a mac for that purpose.

    if my hunch is correct, then steam on OSX is just a value add for people who are already stuck in the mac ecosystem (willingly or not.)
    if you look at it from that point of view, it's unlikely that playing your games at a lower resolution with a little bit of fuzziness is going to be a deal killer for most folks.

    while i have no doubt that the opengl ports will improve over time, there is very little incentive to make it perfect.
    people who must have "perfect" while they game buy windows machines.
    so i don't think that anyone can look forward to any serious improvement in the mac -steam situation.
    simply because not enough people care.
    Reply
  • heffeque - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Well... actually you pay for one game and you get it in both platforms. I only payed for HL2 once several years ago and I was able to download it "for free" for Mac. It's just a matter of commodity not to have to reboot in Windows to have to play for a while, though I have to admit that, although I do play Portal on Mac, I still play HL2 on Windows because of the better graphics and better frame rate. Reply
  • Lonyo - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    It's nice that you tested some more configurations, but the testing is still really lacking.

    3 different systems. Still no ATI cards.
    Yes, ATI might not be the automatic option, but it's more useful than testing a gazillion NV cards because it might allow some identification of the issues, like is performance driver related or game related. Is image quality driver related or game related.

    Please try and sort out testing something using ATI graphics.
    Reply
  • heffeque - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    It probably has more to do with the DirectX vs OpenGL issue than nVidia vs ATi. Reply
  • Penti - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Driver developers or rather hardware graphics vendors do their own OGL implementation. They are different. Reply
  • Lonyo - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    The OpenGL for which NV Windows XP drivers result in worse performance on a GTX470 than a GTX285?
    http://alienbabeltech.com/main/?p=17550&page=7

    While in Windows 7 the same card can be up to 50% faster
    http://alienbabeltech.com/main/?p=18180&page=5

    NV OpenGL drivers can suck a lot, therefore using only NV cards on a non-gaming OS which NV may not have made decent drivers for (like they haven't made decent WinXP drivers for theGTX470) seems unfair on Valve (as much as I do not in fact like them).

    It would also indicate more whether the problem lies in the drivers being crap, or the OpenGL port being sub-par.
    Reply
  • Scali - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    I wonder if that test was done correctly.
    I know that Doom3 performed quite poorly on my GeForce 8800GTS aswell...
    After experimenting with the driver settings a bit, I found that the problem was in the "Multiple display performance mode" setting.
    Somehow this had no measurable effect on D3D apps, but in Doom3 (and probably most other OpenGL apps), it was much MUCH faster with "Single display performance mode".
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Honestly I think that has more to do with the fact that most of the new apple hardware is using Nvidia before AMD. The exception being the iMac lineup. Reply
  • Setsunayaki - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Personally, I side with common sense.

    I don't care about gaming benchmarks to some 2 year old game, ok? I already was able to play it on Windows upon release and anyone who can blow money on buying a MAC, along with it iPHONES, iPODs, iPADs, (and the subscription fees that go towards some of these devices) definitely has $800 - $1000 to spend on making a gaming PC to enjoy the latest games out there....without having to wait 2 years for their own platform to make a game "playable."

    The largest difference I've seen as a computer scientist and a musician is that Apple Offers programs that are not Professional Programs, but are used by Professionals.

    A lot of professionals get stuck into using those non-professional programs because the professional program user interface on both, MAC and Windows have a high learning curve. On Windows the same program costs a lot less to buy, but still requires a long time to learn.

    Lets not forget the professional is already a professional in his or her own field. Learning a program means they spend more time learning programs and computers and less time working in their fields making a living (until they master a program)...call this "Downtime" for professionals.

    The main difference between Windows, MAC and Linux I have seen is:

    Windows = Professional Programs exist, which are used by professionals on a wide scale, but those programs are not efficient in CPU usage and memory usage, they take longer to learn than MAC versions of the same program but offer more features through free updates and other measures and can be bought at lower prices.

    MAC = Professional Programs exist, but the costs are so high that very few attempt to learn these programs or even buy them. Unfortunately a lot of professionals use non-professional programs in many areas to make things work. It gets them by until they need an extra feature available in the professional program. Not wanting to learn the professional program, they wait for the next version of the non-professional program and pay more for it...

    Linux = Professional Programs exist. Linux users learn to master the command line interface. This is done for speed. But Linux has a philosophy of "One program = One major Function" and this allows for a high level of efficiency. Linux users learn both, the command line interface and also the GUI interface on programs as well. It takes a long time to learn as well, but ultimately in the end they have the best resource management and program efficiency. They wait on features as well like MAC users do, but updates are a lot faster on many of the professional programs out there. The exception comes in server-side programs which are light years ahead of windows or macs since that is what they are built for. Linux suffers in the long-term for availability. It was in the last 5 - 10 years when professional programs emerged while MAC and Windows have had access to professional programs for 10 - 15+ years.

    In the end, rather than fight about it....Its always good to at least own two of the three major OSes and try the one you do not own...not for the sake of argument, but for the sake of reality.

    If you truly love computers...it means you can prove how great you are by learning and trying different Operating Systems. It means anywhere you find a computer, be it Windows, MAC or Linux, you will be able to access it, use it and know what it can and can not do....

    That knowledge goes farther than crucifying one OS in favor for the other.
    Reply
  • toast70 - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Are there ATI drivers for MAC? I have never seen any ( doesn't mean there aren't any i just haven't run into any)
    I would believe that is why it hasn't been tested this way...
    Reply
  • Penti - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Are you joking? You can choose a ATI HD 4870 with the mac pro right in the system builder since Mac Pro 4.1 (March last year) to come installed and delivered with the Mac Pro. More to the point every 27" iMac comes with Mobility HD4850 for the Core iX version and HD4670 or HD4850 (Mobility) with the Core 2 based version. Plenty of people use ATi cards for hackintoshes on top of that. Drivers are in the OS except when the vendors didn't have time to include them. Like when GTX 285 where released.

    Before that you had, HD3870, HD2600, Mobility HD2600, Mobility HD2400, X1950, Mobility X1600 and on G5, G4, G3 etc you've had X800 XT, 9800 Pro, 9700 Pro, 9600 Pro, 9200, 9000, 8500, 7500 and ATI Rage and so on.

    And it's not bad that even Apples integrated graphics handles Valves Source-based games. It makes every Macbook, Macbook Pro 13, Macbook Pro 15 & 17 a gaming machine, although lightweight that. Also every Mac with a dedicated graphics card from the 8600-series and up from nvidia and every ATI card since Apple released Intel-Macs should handle both Valves games and Starcraft 2. Every iMac with a dedicated graphics card should do fine, certainly playable on any 24" and 27" iMac. And they where released when many of the competitors all-in-ones had like X3100 graphics. They certainly targeted the casual or old ex win/dos gamers fine. Of course many primarily game on consoles now days. There's not many exclusive titles. It's confirmed that it runs fine on Core iX 27" iMacs with Mobility HD4850. Certainly doesn't hurt that X1000-series is still supported in 10.6 when official support has been dropped for Windows 7 (I did install Vista drivers). Bugs should still be ironed out though but ones they have been it should run fine for most people. But ATI cards are prevalent.
    Reply
  • setzer - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    One thing that people are ignoring in these Windows vs OSx source engine comparisons, is that although the hardware is the same, the APIs are not, the Windows version of Source runs on DX and the OSx version runs on OGL.
    Those two don't compare in IQ or performance, people keep expecting that an open-source api offers the same visual output/performance of a proprietary one, but I really don't see how you can manage that without code branching, which I suspect that Valve doesn't really want to do beyond the point they are now, they have separated their game logic/engine from the render part.
    If they invest enough time and money on this you might get better performance and on par IQ, but i don't expect OGL performance to surpass DX.

    A valid benchmark of this issue would be to run both systems using the opengl render, which i have no idea if it's possible or not in windows, aside from that, the only other benchmark that i can think of is between the linux client and the osx client.
    Reply
  • bobvodka - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Minor nitpick; OpenGL is NOT Open Source. It is an open standard, the OpenGL driver components are very much closed. Reply
  • CptTripps - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    This benchmark is perfectly valid in one sense. Which one plays it better. Reply
  • Penti - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Haha, many vendor specific extensions, functions and effects where developed on OpenGL. It's purely up to the graphic vendors to backport new features to it even to the older versions of the API and support the API and functions they want, it's just an API an Vendor extensible one of that. Some are mandated, some are vendor specific, some started out as vendor specific but became a normal extension, some are backported from newer versions off OGL. The implementation is proprietary. Features get supported cross and forth between DX and OGL. Many of the most advanced features of DX where just implemented on to off OGL or GLSL originally. If you want to try out utilizing new hardware features it's easiest to implement a demo for that on top of OGL. So don't think nVidia and ATi don't care for OGL.

    You can get equal IQ, you can get equal performance. But obviously you have to work on the engine and get drivers issues sorted out like when games are released on Windows. On Consoles you have to work out the kinks yourself and OS X easily surpasses the capabilities of consoles. OGL isn't a static thing. Even if OGL 2.0 is from 2004 it has been extended since by the vendors and OGL 2.0 as in 2004 is still about equal to both PS3 and Xbox 360. You got OpenGL, GLSL, ARB, Nvidia Cg support, OpenCL and newer hardware then the consoles. There's no reason why the console ports would run worse on OS X then on the intended consoles, it's the same companies that even write the drivers that support the hardware. Lacking HDR of course the picture will look different. HDR itself is supported in OpenGL 2.0. And extensions might be useful to achieve it. It can also be made with vertex and fragment programs (GLSL). It's simply neglected from being implemented, remember this is a new rendering layer, not a translation layer. All the same features are accessible. It's what the API are designed to do, be a way to use the hardware. Remember OpenGL 2.0 is old, it however has access to all the same functions as DX9.0c and most of the functions from DX10, 10.1 and 11 (of the hardware supports it). Nothing more is needed for current generation engines like Source. In both DX and OGL's case it's actually the driver that implements the interface. They are responsible for the pipeline, optimizations and performance. Not some component from Apple or Microsoft.
    Reply
  • Ben90 - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    After reading the first article I hypothesized the same conclusion, that the OpenGL implementation wasn't as optimized as the Direct X version. I did some googling and found this articles results mirrored when comparing only OGL across the Windows/Linux/OSX platforms. Its something else Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, March 02, 2012 - link

    Yeah, the visual differences look similar to cross platform 360 vs ps3 games, the OpenGL render just seems to have a more washed out look. Reply
  • GTVic - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    The Portal comparison seemed to clearly show that the OS X version did not support HDR and I believe the perceived fogginess was actually just a lack of HDR.

    I'm not sure what's going on with this game but it looks like some type of distance related issue. In an outdoor setting, items further away are fogged to simulate a natural environment and items closer to player should be clearer and this is not happening. So that problem plus the lack of HDR results in the muted colours. In an indoor setting like Portal, there is no manipulation for distance so HDR is the only factor.
    Reply
  • smartalco - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    Could you more closely compare AA levels between the two? I noticed in the Portal review that at 4x AA (at least I think that is what it was run at) OS X had better AA quality (I made a comment about that on the last story, but never got a response, I even have an image comparing areas side by side!).
    The screenies you posted I'm not so sure about, because the grenade and hand are about the only things close enough to get a good view of.
    Reply
  • alreadystarted - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    I've never been big on FPS games, but having good games like Portal and HalfLife2 available for my OS of choice is great no matter what the comparison is to the windows versions. I played through Portal and am currently enjoying HL2 and if there are performance or quality issues I don't notice them. I do notice however that they are a lot of fun to play=)

    I'm really glad to have the opportunity to play good games like these for very reasonable prices. Worth every penny IMO.
    Reply
  • Deusfaux - Friday, June 04, 2010 - link

    ..at higher resolutions? Reply
  • mi1stormilst - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    I remember the days when MAC had "superior" hardware...do you? I also remember when that day ended and the shock waves it sent through the MAC community...fun stuff ;-) LOL! The also recently convinced Valve the KING of online gaming distribution to get Steam (8+ years old) working on a MAC...nothing like being cutting edge ehh? ;-) Reply
  • Penti - Sunday, June 06, 2010 - link

    The Source engine in question is used in current generation games from late 2007, 2008, 2009 but will also be used in next generation Valve games, Portal 2 will be release on Mac from the start for example. It's not simply third party ports and I expect them to improve. It gives the Mac the whole engine, SDK, and developing environment which some other parties will also use. As they will continue to work on the engine which powers these games and their upcoming titles it's not simply some port of old stuff. And just look at Starcraft 2. It has great interest and support for the Mac platform. From the start and not through some third party. As it's the current generation engine they port it doesn't warrant the crap you come with. It's the tech Valve will use and build on in the next couple of years. It's still a engine with life in it not some last generation abandoned one. It's not the 6 year old Half-Life 2 engine, it's the Orange Box engine which powers HL2, EP1, EP2, Portal, TF2, and newer meaning Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Future Portal 2 engine. Future HL2: ep3 maybe. Source engine are shared among many games and it's not an old branch of it that's being ported. Allows them to release games for Mac from the start by maintaining a Mac branch of the Engine. An engine that's multi-platform today any way. Reply
  • Penti - Sunday, June 06, 2010 - link

    Besides this has already made other games available to the consumers like Unreal based games now available for the Mac. Like Killing floor from tripwire interactive. Steam is certainly a valuable contribution. Wouldn't have been for Valve in 2003 though. Reply
  • sebmel - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    MAC = Machine Address Code, a unique ID number used to address hardware on networks Mac = short for Macintosh, a different spelling of the McIntosh apple after which the OS was named Reply
  • FXi - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Gaming (and the lack thereof) is the #1 reason Macs are not more popular Reply
  • FXi - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    For being such a popularist and gizmo oriented company Apple has truly killed their own cash cow by not focusing on gaming. There is hope, because they finally did come around to the x86 platform and reaped huge increases in marketshare from that move. Now they need to understand that PC's are purchased to do work, but nearly 80% of the population owning PC's does at least some gaming on them. I'm not talking the 6 hour gaming sessions, but simply that if you have a PC for doing work, or household stuff or connecting to the web, you probably also at least fire up a game every now and then to play on the machine as well.

    Most folks who are OS agnostic, and don't really care whether it's windows or Mac as an operating system, give Mac's a "pass" simply because, without being able to game on the majority of games out there, it is like buying a fancy machine that is incapable of doing a duty that 80% of PC users do at least some of the time. That's a marketing blunder, because it's saying that Apple wants users to come to its view of what a PC should do, and not Apple making what the market wants.

    In gizmos that kind of thinking works, you show off what your machine can do and people come to use it within what it was built for (i.e. Iphone). With tools, like a PC, you instead want to be sure your tool can "do" whatever the market desires it to do, not tell the market what they can do and hope the market wants to do just those things.

    So Apple, much like the conversion to X86, needs to finally come around and understand that if they capture the "market" of gaming, probably by making their machines fast AT gaming and then making them compatible with a wide RANGE of gaming, Apple will finally realize a higher degree of market parity with Windows PC's. X86 was one step. Having Office was another step. Gaming is similar, they "need" to make this market a focus, because it will bring the rest of their machine's abilities and marketshare along for the ride.
    Reply
  • DaveGirard - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    People don't buy Mac Pros for games - they buy them for work. And my 3D rendering work is faster in OS X than it is in Windows:

    http://forums.cgsociety.org/showpost.php?p=6403012...

    That's me benchmarking and since I review graphics cards and Mac systems for Ars Technica, I know how to test things.

    Ever tried to do something in Windows while Maya renders? OS X is better at multitasking so I can run 16 thread renders while playing Halflife 2 without noticing much. That's completely different from Windows, where you have to drop the render priority to low just to have the system be almost usable for other things.

    The performance with Half-life 2 on OS X doesn't reflect much other than what's pretty obvious:

    - Nvidia's drivers are more mature on Windows. That's what you get for years of steep competition in the gaming space on Windows.
    - Half-life 2 is an OpenGL port to another platform. Claiming the PS3 is a crappy system because of how shitty the Orange Box runs on it wouldn't convince the people using PS3 supercomputers that they made a bad decision.
    - Apple writes the OpenGL that both ATI and Nvidia use. This may not be the fastest scheme but it's consistently more stable with pro apps like Maya. You can use gaming cards with Maya on the Mac because it's officially supported - where you have to buy a Quadro on Windows/Linux because of all the corners that are cut for speed with gaming drivers.

    Nevertheless, I hope Nvidia can improve their OS X drivers. ATI's are very good because they have been around longer on the Mac. But clowns trying make this out to be a reflection of the Macs inferiority don't understand the variables and how it would be the exact opposite situation if Macs were what people used for gaming over the last 20 years. It's that simple.

    And I'll take faster Maya rendering and better multitasking over a some more FPS. Back to work...
    Reply
  • mojohacker2010 - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Right...because your own testing and "personal" experience are to be held in a higher light than everyone else's. Do you feel holier than thou now? LOL...your personal experience or test does not negate other people's experiences. For the record, I don't run windows or OSX...but I find OSX fan boys always using their "personal" experience to rebut unfavorable facts that are thrown at them. It's find to be loyal to a company, but when you ignore other people's fair criticisms and facts just to defend OSX, it is no longer just loyalty, it becomes a religion. Reply
  • DaveGirard - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    I've gone out of my way to call out Nvidia on their bad Mac drivers - I have nothing to hide:

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/12/a-second...

    That clearly shows how bad Nvidia's drivers can be with GLSL and Mudbox in OS X. ATI is much better.

    My personal experience is also in those benchmarks where I'm apparently not a fanboy. Nice try though. Why don't you check out my Aperture 1 review - I handed Apple their ass for putting out a bad product and took more crap from Mac fanatics than this article ever will.

    So my point stands - OS X is not a gaming OS for obvious reasons but Apple's OpenGL is more stable so you can use Maya with ATI cards in OS X without issues, while they're notoriously problematic on Windows. Nvidia has work to do on the Mac and Apple's GL does too but don't make this article out to be more than a test of one ported application. It's not a smoking gun showing anything.
    Reply
  • sebmel - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    Valve also pointed out that the Mac version of Steam is, similarly, much more stable than the Windows version. Five times more according to their own crash reports. Reply
  • sebmel - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/05/mac-lags... Valve founder Gabe Newell: "what's sort of surprising is how much more stable our games are on the Mac." Looking at the early data available from the Steam client, "the Mac is five times more stable than Windows" when using the metric of minutes played versus number of crashes." Reply
  • Scali - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    I'm not surprised... at the same time, I don't know how much of that is due to the OS itself.
    I mean, the Windows ecosystem is way different from the Mac ecosystem.
    Mac users buy a complete system where all components are well balanced out. They also get a complete OS and set of drivers.

    With Windows, people build their own PCs, they mod them, they overclock them... they may use poor cooling, underpowered PSUs, and who knows what else, which can impact stability.
    And then there's things like experimenting with beta drivers, or things like malware, rootkits and who knows what else.
    Reply
  • thehomelessguy - Monday, July 05, 2010 - link

    I dunno, even hacintoshes seem quite stable. at least mine is. I love it to i7 2.8 ghz, 12 gigs of dd3, 2x9800GT (got a good price). Reply
  • DaveGirard - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Here is a GTX 285 getting owned by a Radeon 4870 simply because ATI's drivers are better for GLSL on OS X:

    Radeon:
    http://www.vimeo.com/10296801

    Geforce GTX 285:
    http://www.vimeo.com/10325501
    Reply
  • ReaM - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Hi,

    thank you for the article. I saw this article a while a go and that made me decide to buy ATI for my hackintosh. I have it bookmarked.

    Mudbox runs great, but at 7m polygons it is noticeably slow (I have both 4850 and 4890)
    Reply
  • DaveGirard - Sunday, June 06, 2010 - link

    I switched back to ZBrush - I just prefer the sculpting tools and the plug-ins. It's also not dependent on the GPU and is ridiculously multithreaded on my 8-core/16-thread Mac Pro. Reply
  • bingobingo - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    >Mudbox runs great, but at 7m polygons it is noticeably slow (I have both 4850 and 4890) Which version of Mudbox are you using? The initial Mac release was 32 bit. Reply
  • ReaM - Saturday, June 05, 2010 - link

    Hi,

    I ve been using macs for 6 years now and that's a lot of macs through my hands.

    In NO WAY should you compare MAC to PC as they are simply different animals.

    Yes, macs have crappy cooling, inability to overclock, usually slower than Windows machines, break more often than PCs built by users themselves, the price is high and the quality of parts - memory, PSU etc. is not the best.

    But it offers great stability - I turn off my mac maybe once a month, only because I have to go somewhere for a week or so. There are very few errors, computer does not freeze, programs don't quit unexpectedly THAT often as in Windows (but they do, but mostly firefox, not photoshop). OSX is great.

    My personal recommendation: DO NOT PLAY ON MAC! I killed two Macbook Pros, because they have bad cooling! Current iMacs get very hot! My Brothers 27 GPU goes up to 89°C when playing games. With that temperature, expect HDD, PSU, and your beautiful screen to fail. Macs are simply not designed for games and even fan control does not help.

    Macs are great for Photo Video editing, maybe watching movies, if you are a student or don't have a HDTV, but for games, I have a different machine.

    Just be careful, if you play games on mac, he is very likely to overheat and then you will get stains on screen (imac), or the logic board on your macbook will fry.

    Currently I have a i7 860 4200 @ 1.29V hackintosh/PC, MacBook Pro and iMac 20 Alu.
    Reply
  • KaarlisK - Sunday, June 06, 2010 - link

    Um... could we please have some standard Windows benchmarks (3dmark, a couple of games, PCMark) of the Geforce 320M chipset/IGP? (wasntme) :) Reply
  • Cloudie - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    Dear Anand, would it be possible to test other games (eg. WoW, Starcraft II, the Sims, Spore) on both platforms? Reply
  • Steveymoo - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    Yeah, because the performance between these two Operating systems has everything to do with the differences between the way OpenGL and DirectX deal with similar visual effects, and the ability of the graphics card manufacturer to write fully optimised drivers for both OpenGL in Mac OS X, and Direct X in windows 7. Some of it could be down to how well Valve have developed the HL2 engine to work using OpenGL, and actually, least importantly, how well the OS handles CPU instructions (seeing as this is a very CPU-friendly game.) I would be quite interested to see whether using a professional graphics card (optimised for OpenGL, for example, the ATI's FireGL, and Nvidia's Quaddro FX series,) would handle these ported steam titles.

    Seeing as OpenGL is Open Source, and DirectX is designed by a corporation driven by profit, you can imagine which one is probably developed to work better with hardware sold by other corporations, designed primarily to be used to play games on Windows based PCs.
    Reply
  • bingobingo - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    Anand,

    The tone of the article appears to target Valve for the performance issues on the Mac. The performance is a problem with the video drivers and an issue that Apple has not addressed yet.

    In addition, these performance issues affect nVidia hardware more so than AMD hardware. If you were to compare the Radeon 4870 across both platforms you'll find less of a performance difference.
    .
    For an unknown reason, the memory management for vertex buffer objects is not on par with the Windows platform.
    Reply
  • sebmel - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    It's also curious to note that this early version of Steam for Macs turns out to be seriously more stable than the mature Windows version. That might be worth looking into. Valve founder Gabe Newell: "what's sort of surprising is how much more stable our games are on the Mac." Looking at the early data available from the Steam client, "the Mac is five times more stable than Windows" when using the metric of minutes played versus number of crashes." Newell remarked during the podcast that graphics performance is much less of a concern overall compared to finding ways to offer a better user experience, such as the greater stability on the Mac. "I think we're starting to enter a period where graphics performance is sort of a solved problem". Reply
  • thehomelessguy - Monday, July 05, 2010 - link

    ha I actually had it crash on me. But then again I was downloading a ton of games at once. So maybe it was expected. Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    If someone could do a review on the laptop that I currently suspect is the best "bang for your buck" out there. It's made by compal, and available on Cyberpower.com who's machines you've reviewed before. If you'd like it configured like I did, which I think is the best bang for buck, do this: Go to the website. mouse over 15.6" Laptops and click on the $999 Xplorer X6-8500. It has a 1080p screen. (I'm not sure why the people who run this site do this, but even though the other configurations use the same chassis when personalized they come out to cost more than this one; annoying since it makes me configure all 3 or 4 machines built on the same base chassis to figure out which one is cheapest/best for me.) Then I configured it with the Core i7-620M CPU. (to get it over 1K so I can take advantage of the 5% off.) 4GB 0DDR3-1333, hopefully 7-7-7-21, probably not, but hopefully. ATI MR HD5650 1GB GDDR3 320GB 7200rpm HDD (I did this cause I'm gonna take that HDD out and use the Seagate Momentus XT 500GB, thanks for that review!!) Everything else on that page I left untouched. The only thing I did on page 2 was switch to Intel wifi with bluetooth; Though I'm curious if the MSI option is equal/better; 17 bucks isn't nothing. It has HDMI out and a fingerprint reader. This page says 3 USB ports, the specs sheet says 4USB ports; not sure which is true. (I do wish they were USB 3.0 ports, but I was hoping you guys would test some stuff and tell me if that even matters for use with an external hard drive, mechanical disk 7200rpm. Transferring large files like movies and games mostly.) On page 3 I select "none, format only" for the OS. And select "LCD perfect assurance" cause even 1 dead pixel is unacceptable to me. This brings the total to $1008.90 after 5% off, or $992.75 if you get the MSI network card. So yeah, I really hope you guys can get a hold of one of these for review; as a loner or given as a review unit or maybe someone will just buy one and review it cause it's really tempting me right now... like a lot! If you're review is good I'm gonna start saving up and hopefully be able to buy it around Christmas. Thanks guys! A loyal reader. - Brian Reply
  • LobsterDK - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    A little off topic aren't we?

    WTF? Actually, WTF^2. Put down the pipe, you've had enough. Or better yet, pass it over. Stop bogarting that shit.
    Reply
  • JerryNY - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    I'm just curious what timedemo you guys are using? Also both articles were done using NVIDIA GPU's iirc any tests with ATi cards? My general experience is that driver issues are the opposite on Mac/PC and ATi seems to have better drivers on the Mac. On my Mac Pro I can select up to 8xAA using my 4870, the GTX 285 should easily be able to match that except for lousy drivers under OSX. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - link

    My almost 4 year old MacBook Pro laptop plug is still working fine and has been more reliable than any PC laptop I have ever owned. The break away feature has two benefits; it prevents the laptop from doing a back-flip off a conference table, and it protects the plug site from the lateral forces ensuing from a sudden jerk on the power cord. This feature has saved my Mac on at least three occasions. PC laptops still use crappy OLD-SCHOOL power plugs - and will for at least 10 more years - Apple has a patent.

    A couple weeks ago I played Portal on my MacBook Pro. I had never played the gamed on a PC, so I have nothing to compare the experience to. It was fun, and I never really noticed a poor frame-rate or insufficient visual quality. The game was a bit short though.

    So I lost a few FPS in a game - BIG WHOOP! This tiny loss is vastly over-shadowed by the fewer reboots, fewer application crashes, fewer graphic driver updates, fewer registry headaches, and the timely avoidance of the entire Windows Vista debacle.

    If you look at performance from a total-cost-of-ownership perspective - the Mac is a very good platform. While the highs aren't as high, the lows aren't as low either.
    Reply
  • cesthree - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Why waste the time to test 5+ year old games? Can't Mac's play anything newer? Since the Mac was running a GTX285, wait that's the only card *worth* running in a Mac, isn't it?

    It seems Mac users, and Linux users, spend more time talking about what "kernel it's built on", and how it fails in every aspect to performance in games to windows, instead of just using their "PC's".

    It is a PC you know, not some PowerPC or whatever other garbage platform Mac used to use was. It's a PC running Mac OS. Nothing more. The opposite of Linux, to the extreme.

    At least Linux fanbois don't riddle the television with useless, mindless dribble about how their latest fashion accessory bs is going to cost you another arm and a leg, just because it has a picture of an apple on it.
    Reply
  • ckeledjian - Tuesday, July 06, 2010 - link

    The fact here is that Microsoft has more experience than any other company at making operating systems that will perform fast in low end hardware. It has more experience than any other company at making operating systems for games. Microsoft has the best software and driver developing tools in the market, therefore, the best drivers for any hardware are more likely to be for the Windows platform. There is no advertizing, "Mac vs. PC" smearing campaign, etc that can win to the fact that there are no shorcuts to experience. One reason why Apple makes computers so top notch is because they need to, to compensate for an OS (OSX) that would not run sufficiently fast in lesser hardware. Then if you install Windows in a Mac, you notice how much faster it is (with the exception of a few seconds boot time and sleep time, because Windows would use the older BIOS and not the new EFI for these modes). That's why I don't believe marketing myths: I test myself. No OSX nor Linux can beat Windows in hardcore performance, because nobody have had so many years of experience and focus as Microsoft at making cheap hardware run the fastest possible. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now