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View Full Version : Portal Performance is Bad Because Apple Hardware is Bad


ilovecomputers
05-13-2010, 09:10 PM
I fall under the camp that Apple software is ahead in the market, but hardware falters behind and this article states my case: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3726/quick-look-mac-os-x-portal-performance

...you’re looking at 2008 performance for Portal even with the best hardware you can get today for a Mac.

FuzzyPuffin
05-13-2010, 09:23 PM
Apple's graphics cards aren't the best, but it's really the drivers that are the issue. Play any game on the Mac and then play it in Windows on the same machine and there will almost always be a sizable increase in framerate. 10.6.4 is supposed to come with graphics improvements, so let's hope its magical.

RUSBoris
05-13-2010, 09:30 PM
Apple's graphics cards aren't the best, but it's really the drivers that are the issue. Play any game on the Mac and then play it in Windows on the same machine and there will almost always be a sizable increase in framerate. 10.6.4 is supposed to come with graphics improvements, so let's hope its magical.

The same thing was said about 10.6 and 10.6.3

Don't hold your breath

thedreadedgman
05-13-2010, 09:42 PM
really?

I read that article, and what I gleaned was that the software/driver/rendering engine stack meant that the port was about half as quick as the original windows version... ON THE SAME HARDWARE...

FuzzyPuffin
05-13-2010, 09:43 PM
The same thing was said about 10.6 and 10.6.3

Don't hold your breath

I'm not, but rbarris said on MacRumors that there is a "doozy" improvement coming soon.

drunkugly
05-13-2010, 10:07 PM
from my own experience, portal runs better in bootcamp than in OSX. but i'm one of the few that is having an issue. it runs great except when i look at water. it seems to be an ATI problem. but other than that, the performance is almost exactly the same. it really is a driver issue.

d10sfan
05-13-2010, 10:09 PM
Its not because the hardware is bad, the drivers are pretty bad. I can run portal with high everything basically and get really good framerate. On OS X, Portal runs with high/medium at 50 fps. That needs to be fixed.

nixcamic
05-13-2010, 10:27 PM
Basically, you have it completely backwards; Apple hardware is fairly average to above average, although perhaps not top of the line from a gaming perspective. The software (drivers) are the problem, and the source of all steam slowness.

victori
05-13-2010, 10:41 PM
Here is the post that was referenced on macrumors:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=9874259&highlight=#post9874259

ilovecomputers
05-13-2010, 10:42 PM
Let's just say it's certain parts of OSX that I take liking to: http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2009/08/mac-os-x-10-6.ars

Well then, I made a mistake in thought. I was blinded by my rage of being damned with an old ATI card.

Bolteh
05-13-2010, 11:44 PM
OP is right. Portal in OSX pretty much gives the exact same performance as under Vista on the same settings for me. So bad performance isn't Valve's or the OS' fault, but Apple's fault for holding back on hardware.

This is run on native resolution (2560*1440) with all settings maxed and 3x portal depth, AA is turned off. In OSX, I'm getting 85-110 fps pretty much all the time, with drops to 55-60 when I'm looking at a lot of water (read: waste) and/or repeating portals (the portal depth thing). In Vista, this is 90-115 and 60-65.

I'm pleasantly surprised by how optimized and smooth Portal and Steam is. I expected a bumpier launch.

exscape
05-14-2010, 12:10 AM
I fall under the camp that Apple software is ahead in the market, but hardware falters behind and this article states my case: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3726/quick-look-mac-os-x-portal-performance

Did you even READ the article?!
It has A SINGLE GRAPH on its ONLY page, and that graph compares Windows performance to OS X performance on the same hardware.
... I'm a bit at a loss for words. The article clearly shows that Portal on Windows outperforms Portal on OS X by 50-80% on the same hardware, so please explain how this artile is at all relevant to your topic title...

Dispenser Down!
05-14-2010, 12:58 AM
I hate to side with exscape, who seems to have fallen out of the wrong side of bed, but he's right. The article compares performance across OS's on the same hardware.

So the issue is not hardware, but drivers. I know this for a fact, because I can run Source games very well in Bootcamp Windows XP. My MBP has an old nvidia 8600m GT with only 128mb of memory! But the games run well on medium/high at native resolution. I actually had to use unsupported drivers too, because there are no nvidia drivers for this card!

Under 10.6.3, so far the impression has been very poor. Portal chugs along okay windowed with everything medium/low/off. It's unplayable at native res, even with everything low. Every Mac port I've had the displeasure of accidentally paying for in the past has performed pretty badly though. This is not a problem with the games, or software, OR HARDWARE. Apple needs to sort out it's drivers, to maxmimise their cards' handle on gaming.

Finally, they have a real excuse to do it! If the drivers in Snow Leopard matched the unofficial drivers I had for XP, I'd expect as good performance if not better, because Source OS X uses Open GL *and* the OS has a smaller footprint. I'm intrigued as to whether 10.6.4 will bring improvements. It may well do, but I'm worried my old card will be forgotten. :(

Time will tell.

EDIT: 100 posts! And it's only taken me a year! :D

Tasty Uberwich
05-14-2010, 01:04 AM
I agree with your thread title.

lucasdnd
05-14-2010, 01:56 AM
DId the OP actually read the article? It compares the performance on the SAME hardware, only different OS. So it's not a hardware issue, it's a software issue (drivers and optimization of Portal's Mac version).

LordJuanlo
05-14-2010, 02:10 AM
If hardware is the same, then either drivers or OS are to blame

jeanlain
05-14-2010, 02:21 AM
Yeah, the OP assertion is not supporter by the results.

2befine
05-14-2010, 03:31 AM
NVIDIA did a lot of drivers for win32 Source Games
for example "now Left 4 Dead performance increased in 40%" etc. when l4d out it was (on my machine) 20-40fps at max setting, atm it running 70-90fps, so we need just graphic driver update.
So wait, maybe Valve+Apple+nVidia will make some updates for us too now when we also have the games.

EDIT: also I think to increases fps Valve need make a FullScreen mode , not windowed-maximalized, exactly Fullscreen mode! in WoW it increases fps in 30% I think. Valve you hear me ? :P

ikir
05-14-2010, 03:37 AM
Apple hardware is awesome. Graphics card are good, OSX is ultra fast. The problem are graphics driver, not apple fault at all.
And BTW Portal runs very good on my MacBook Pro 13.

OmniAtlas
05-14-2010, 03:40 AM
Get a hackintosh, solution solved.

OSX rocks.

Pair it up with a good Video card and you'll be gaming in no time.

FrostGiant
05-14-2010, 04:11 AM
I still consider the Mac Steam client to be in beta, even after it's launch on Wednesday. You guys should stop getting all upset over something that can be temporarily fixed by turning your graphics settings down a bit. Boo hoo.

Grow up and wait for an update.

jeanlain
05-14-2010, 04:51 AM
Get a hackintosh, solution solved.

How is this supposed to solve the issue of bad OS X drivers? :confused:

TheSomian
05-14-2010, 06:30 AM
if the drivers give you only 50% of the performance the hardware can give you just get hardware that is 200% of what you need and it will be ok :D

remover
05-14-2010, 07:47 AM
This thread serves no purpose but to incite flames (is there an emoticon for a lighter?)

The information provided does not have a scientific basis and the problems being experienced are mostly related to optimization both code & user side.

Even if OPs intentions were innocent, "because apple hardware is bad" couldn't possibly serve an innocent purpose without a fanboys vs fanboys of a different mother free-for-all.


Thread should be locked.

Chucko815
05-14-2010, 09:06 AM
I dunno about the OP, but portal runs perfectly for me.

Mikealcl
05-14-2010, 09:22 AM
really?

I read that article, and what I gleaned was that the software/driver/rendering engine stack meant that the port was about half as quick as the original windows version... ON THE SAME HARDWARE...

That's true. It has to do with drivers but some of the blame falls on OS X.

FuzzyPuffin
05-14-2010, 09:28 AM
How is this supposed to solve the issue of bad OS X drivers? :confused:

Well, you can buy a very good graphics card to compensate for the fact that the drivers suck.

10.6.4 just had a new update today, with one minor issue. We're getting close.

brashmandicoot
05-14-2010, 09:38 AM
"Portal Performance is Bad Because Apple Hardware "

is the OP serious?! How is the nvidia 8600M GT w/512mb in my MBP any different from hardware available on other comparable laptops from the same period??

oh right... IT ISN'T. this was just OP's effort to toss in a quick and easy dig at Apple without having any proper knowledge of what they're talking about

as was said earlier in this thread, that chipset is more than powerful enough to handle Portal in Windows at 1920x1200 with all the settings cranked with ease. It's nvidia's OpenGL drivers for OS X that are most likely the culprit

Tommy B
05-14-2010, 10:00 AM
I don't know what anyone is complaining about. Just finished playing Portal beginning to end and performance was PERFECT. I love the "port," I love the free game, I'm super happy with Steam. I see no signs with Portal or Torchlight of any problem, graphics or otherwise. valve has done an amazing job.

There was rendering bug with Portal which cropped up late in the game (black portals), but Valve posted a fix in one day.

ATI Radeon 4850 graphics card, 3.06 mH CPU, 4 gigs of RAM. There's nothing wrong with my hardware or my drivers.

I see the graphics comparisons, and perhaps Apple's drivers need some improvement, but I really can't complain -- I'm thrilled not to have to run bootcamp or crossover games or paralells, no need to worry about viruses anymore, and I'm super super happy with the way Valve has handled this. Top marks.

JonR356
05-14-2010, 10:04 AM
Apple hardware is awesome. Graphics card are good, OSX is ultra fast. The problem are graphics driver, not apple fault at all.
And BTW Portal runs very good on my MacBook Pro 13.

Some interesting posts on this thread (along with a few provocative ones but that's par for the course ;))

My thoughts on the subject - Apple hardware is awesome in some respects, but not really from a gaming perspective. I'm running a Mac Pro with a GTX285 which is as far as I can go with official Apple hardware. But it doesn't compare to a PC gaming rig for gaming performance.

Apple are usually pretty far behind the times with their graphics card offerings. I know they're offering proprietary systems with components designed to work together from a reliability standpoint which adds some testing time, but they're still a bit 'lazy' in this regard in my opinion. I think the same could be said of their driver optimisation for gaming.

Hopefully the advent of Steam mac gaming (and reading threads like this) will give Apple an incentive to focus on the gaming experience and this growing part of their market, and encourage comparable performance in native OS X to bootcamp with the latest drivers and the same hardware.

As an aside I've heard it said before that part of the performance difference is due to Windows games using Directx and mac equivalents using OpenGL. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can chip in and confirm or refute this?

RUSBoris
05-14-2010, 10:14 AM
As an aside I've heard it said before that part of the performance difference is due to Windows games using Directx and mac equivalents using OpenGL. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can chip in and confirm or refute this?

If you have some time, read this very interesting article: http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/01/Why-you-should-use-OpenGL-and-not-DirectX

API use was shifted in favor of DirectX by Microsoft's two-pronged DirectX campaign around the launch of XBox 360 and Windows Vista, including the spread of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about the future of OpenGL, and wild exaggeration of the merits of DirectX. Ever since then, the network effects have amplified this discrepency until OpenGL has almost disappeared entirely from mainstream PC gaming.

As far as different results in the Mac community... well so far from what I've seen, all the people that say their experience was perfect never provided their average FPS results. Leading me to believe they're most likely getting 15-30 FPS and consider it "smooth". No offense to anyone here in particular but Mac users are some of the least educated and least experienced computer users. To some 10 FPS on all medium @ 800x600 seems perfectly smooth and acceptable until they played all maxxed out at 120 constant FPS on the same hardware (really I'm not trying to insult anyone. Just my experience from here and MacRumors forums)

sonicjam
05-14-2010, 10:18 AM
I believe that mac doesn't have a graphic accelerator equivalent to Direct X. OpenGl to me doesn't seem like its close to Direct X.

Bubo
05-14-2010, 10:35 AM
My last year MacBook ro 15' runs Portal with EVERYTHING setted to max. I think the Problem comes from videocards, so it's Nvidia's hardware not Apple.

Hold on... what is it...
I'm just reading that... Steam version's name... Someone added "BETA" in?
WWHHAATTT??? IT IS A BETA??? O R'LY??? O_o wtf?

OMAGAD ONOZ IT'S A BETA NOOOOO!!!!



EDIT :
OpenGL = Direct3D.
Direct 3D 10 = OpenGL3.0
BETA game = game not ready = no comparaison with Portal on PC.

Thanks to played, please come again.

JonR356
05-14-2010, 10:37 AM
If you have some time, read this very interesting article: http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/01/Why-you-should-use-OpenGL-and-not-DirectX



As far as different results in the Mac community... well so far from what I've seen, all the people that say their experience was perfect never provided their average FPS results. Leading me to believe they're most likely getting 15-30 FPS and consider it "smooth". No offense to anyone here in particular but Mac users are some of the least educated and least experienced computer users. To some 10 FPS on all medium @ 800x600 seems perfectly smooth and acceptable until they played all maxxed out at 120 constant FPS on the same hardware (really I'm not trying to insult anyone. Just my experience from here and MacRumors forums)

Really interesting article, thanks for that.

And no offence taken, but you may well find that many Mac users are uneducated and inexperienced gaming users. I think Steam will bring a fair few people who use their Macs for other purposes (me included) into casual gaming. That's why threads like this are valuable in helping get people up to speed.

ilovecomputers
05-14-2010, 11:29 AM
Now if anyone thoroughly read this thread, they would have noticed I acknowledged my mistake on page 1.

I could change my OP, but I'll leave that there as a exemplar of me taking a small test case and applying it to a generalized opinion. Computer systems are complex, so the article in my OP is only relevant for the small situation it tests and its not really thorough enough to encompass anything but playing Portal on the same hardware, on two different OS.

Again, I shouldn't have mixed that with an irrational opinion, but as I stated before, it derives from my envy of owning a three year old laptop and lack of sleep. Thevenin and Norton equivalent problems are a "female dog" to solve by hand.

Edit: Hacker News had a discussion on that OpenGL v Direct X article before if anyone is interested: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1038889

flipster103
05-14-2010, 12:49 PM
Calm down guys, Apple just pushed out another build of 10.6.4 to developers. Same things are being focused on, mainly graphics cards drivers.

Kenkajin
05-14-2010, 01:04 PM
Calm down guys, Apple just pushed out another build of 10.6.4 to developers. Same things are being focused on, mainly graphics cards drivers.Oh please let there be GeForce 7 series support!

flipster103
05-14-2010, 01:12 PM
Oh please let there be GeForce 7 series support!

I don't know. There probably working on the cards that are supported now and are worrying about making some good drivers. Then, they might add support for the 7 series. I don't see why they couldn't. It has more than enough power to play those games, it just doesn't have the right drivers.

LagExpert
05-14-2010, 01:47 PM
I'm praying for GeForce 7 support also. My GPU in my MAC definitely passes the requirements for TF2, HL2, and Portal.

garyt977
05-14-2010, 02:05 PM
I was all excited to get Portal on my MacBook, but it doesn't run at all. Am I just SOL for Steam games on the MacBook?

flipster103
05-14-2010, 02:23 PM
I was all excited to get Portal on my MacBook, but it doesn't run at all. Am I just SOL for Steam games on the MacBook?

Your concern is useless unless you provide some information about your macbook. If you running a four year old macbook then I suggest you upgrade since those graphics cards are bad.

flipster103
05-14-2010, 02:24 PM
I'm praying for GeForce 7 support also. My GPU in my MAC definitely passes the requirements for TF2, HL2, and Portal.

Yeah, I know that. Like rbarris said it's not their fault it's Apple's fault for not making the right drivers. Apple needs to wake up and realize the opportunity that they have.

LagExpert
05-14-2010, 02:34 PM
I would totally play TF2 on my MAC, if Apple would just release those drivers.

flipster103
05-14-2010, 03:23 PM
I would totally play TF2 on my MAC, if Apple would just release those drivers.

There working on it.

remover
05-14-2010, 03:24 PM
I believe that mac doesn't have a graphic accelerator equivalent to Direct X. OpenGl to me doesn't seem like its close to Direct X.

DirectX = proprietary garbage

dirk0gently
05-14-2010, 03:29 PM
DirectX = proprietary garbage
QFT.

heh

flipster103
05-14-2010, 03:30 PM
DirectX = proprietary garbage

Finally someone who understands that. Open GL is better but the thing is is that direct x took over gaming so thats why so many people use it.