Mac OS X Steam Performance: Half Life 2 Episode 2, Still Slower than Windowsby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 4, 2010 2:04 PM EST
The simple fact that Valve ported the Source engine to the Mac platform is enough to give the developers some leniency in improving performance. If Valve is truly committed to bringing all new releases on Steam to OS X than I doubt that Mac enthusiasts will be too bothered by the fact that performance is lower than under Windows, at least for a short while.
The Steam application itself is also slower under OS X. Launching games and the Steam application takes longer than under Windows.
|Half Life 2 Episode 2 Load Time|
|Nehalem Mac Pro||Mac OS X 10.6.3||Windows 7 x64|
|Time from Launch to Menu||48.7 seconds||35.5 seconds|
Eventually performance and image quality parity will be necessary. Make no mistake, Apple is in the business of selling luxury computers. You can often get the same specs for less from Dell or HP, but the styling, attention to detail, ability to legitimately run OS X and user experience are all things Apple’s customers are willing to pay a premium for. A performance deficit rarely goes over well in these sorts of situations. It doesn't have to offer greater performance, but you shouldn't have to sacrifice so much just to play under OS X.
To Valve’s credit, at least on current generation Macs, Source engine games are absolutely playable. It supports Apple’s whole “it just works” mantra. You’re just better off running them in Windows if you have the option. Although I will admit that the convenience of not having to reboot is sometimes worth the frame rate penalty, at least for shorter gaming sessions. If I’m going to be playing for more than 20 minutes, then a reboot is more than worth it.