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OS X, G5 and Gaming.....questions from a PC gamer! ;-)


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#1 elfer

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 11:26 PM

Hi y'all...!

Well I am the happy user of a Powerbook, and I have downloaded and tried UT2004. IT's a bit sluggish and not as quick as I'd like, compared to my experience with PC gaming. Now, I face a dilemma and would like some input from this experienced crowd.

I have to decide on whether I should continue to upgrade my PC for the purpose of Games (that's all I use it for since I got my PB). Understandably, games still work great on a PC, and I have been very happy with performance.

I "am" looking at the new 2Gig (dual) Powermacs; I don't have any experience with gaming on the OS X or Mac platform so please help me out (unbiased if you can..!).

Looking "foward", meaning UT 2004 and future titles, will they run as fast and look as beautiful as they do on a PC platform? If I buy above PowerMac, will I be happy with it's gaming performance? I play mostly games such as UT, Medal of Honor, Quake, Doom, etc...as you can see my rig would need power!!

What do you think the future holds for Mac gaming? Will titles such as Doom3 come out for the Mac, and will they come out timely, or is there still a considerable wait time between PC and Mac releases? I think that UT2004 coming out in parallel with the PC version is a promising step. Will others follow?

Please give me your objective opinion on which platform will make me happiest "today" and in the "future" as it pertains to 3-d type gaming...

cheers!

elfer

#2 NCG_Mike

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 09:00 AM

If you're worred about frames per second, I can get over 700/second in Quake 3. I've got a dual 2.0Ghz with 1.5GB of RAM and an ATI 9600 in it.

It runs UT2k4 demo fine and Halo is "okay".

If you only play first person shooters, like myself, then the Mac is fine but get a different mouse.

One good thing about the Mac is that you don't get all the poorer PC games but sometimes you miss out on an A-list game, for example HalfLife (*ahem*) and BF1942.

The killer fps games for the PC seem to make it across though. It also seems that since OS X, there're more games turning up on the Mac.

If I were you, I'd hang onto my money for a few months and get the next rev of G5 system. You'll get the speed bump and some of the problems will be ironed out (at least I hope so).

#3 elfer

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 12:37 PM

Thanks a lot! This sounds like great adivce....you said you are getting great framerates on Quake...are you running it at a high resolution or 800x600? Are you running it with all the visual goodies turned on or off? Just curious...

I agree, I should wait for the next rev of G5's to come out. I know there has been no official word on Doom3's release date for PC OR Mac...one can only hope that they will not make us wait very long after the PC title is released.

One more question...are you using an Apple flatpanel display? If so, is it well suited for gaming, or should I hang on to my 19" CRT?

thanks!

elfer

#4 Tetsuya

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 01:45 PM

Doom 3 is confirmed for Mac and PC, and will probably be a hybrid disc release.  

In my experience, the Apple Flat panel displays arent that great for gaming unless you plan to get the 23" HD Cinema display.. that particular model has no ghosting or shadowing.  You could also get an apple flat panel and just run two monitors, one from the ADC port and one from the DVI/VGA port.

edit: also, dont tell me you honestly believe there is some qualitative difference between the 120fps i get in Quake 3 games @ 1280x1024 and 300fps or something... get real.  If you judge your computer on how many fps you can get and that is your only measure, stay with PCs, for while a Mac can perform admirably (120fps is butter smooth eye candy) it will never top the ludicrous, completely un-needed 500+fps of a PC.

#5 twinky

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 01:51 PM

My system:

Dual 1.8GHz G5
1GB Ram
Radeon 9800 Pro (BTO, not retail)
17" ViewSonic LCD (VP171b)

In Q3A, at 1280x1024, all settings cranked, I average about 300 fps. No ghosting, and the VP171 looks flat-out gorgeous. Its contrast ratio, brightness, viewing angle, and response time are all better than Apple's LCDs, though (and it's a little cheaper, too). I experienced some tearing in Summoner, a 3D OS 9 game that I run in Classic, but that is likely attributable to emulation since I don't see it in Giants, Sacrifice, Q3A, or the UT2k4 demo (which runs very smoothly at 1280x1024).

If you're a hardcore gamer and you want to play lots of different games within a certain genre, stick with the PC. You'll get more niche titles and titles from non-mainstream developers. If games are something you play for fun from time to time, then the Mac will probably suit you fine. I haven't touched my GameCube since getting my G5, for instance. However, I probably have less than 10 games on my HD...

EV: Nova
BG2
Summoner
Sacrifice
Giants
Q3A
UT2k4 demo
War3 + Frozen Throne
iConquer (a Risk clone)
Alpha Centauri

Well, okay, exactly 10. I own a bunch of other Mac games (Heroes III, Myth and Myth II, and older ones like Syndicate and War2), but none of those are currently installed.

UT2k4 and Doom 3 will most likely come out on the Mac close to the time they come out on the PC. Blizzard games generally come out at the same time on hybrid discs. For everything else you'll have to wait anywhere from a few months (C&C: Generals) to a year or more (BG2: ToB). So your decision will probably depend on how important gaming is to you. For me it's important, but it isn't the primary function of my machine.

#6 elfer

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 03:04 PM

thanks very much for your great feedback you guys...and I agree that the fps issues is not really that important; I think the human eye cannot detect any difference once we go beyond, what is it 75fps anyway?

You guys are making me feel more comfortable with the G5 as a gaming machine. I do not play daily, mor occasionally, so this may just work out for me!

cheers

elfer

#7 halprin

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 04:44 PM

single 1 Ghz G4 MDD (or something like MDD) FW800
1.256 GB RAM
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro w/ 128 MB VRAM

I play games everyday and I find my comp good.  A little sluggish in Halo and not very good in UT 2k4 demo.  So I think getting a Dual 2.0 Ghz G5 would be great!  Just get a good graphics card and a good amount of RAM and you should be good.

#8 griel

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 04:47 PM

If you are buying/upgrading a system just for games then stick with a pc. It will be cheaper and generally a step ahead of the mac in terms of hardware and game availability. Sure the mac gets most of the great games and skips the "bad" ones but I would rather have the option of deciding for myself which are the great ones and which are the bad ones.

If the machine is for work as well as games then the mac may be a better choice. My guess is the soonest we'll see a speed bump is the end of March so whether you wait or not depends on how badly you need a new machine.

#9 elfer

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 05:21 PM

very good points indeed.

I use my PB for work now (in a Windoze world, you should see the looks I get, LOL). My PC hasn't been turned on for awhile now (at work & at home). I don't really have all that much time to play games, i am currently interested in UT2004 and Doom3, maybe the new MOH when it comes out this year.

Other than that, I would use the G5 as a digital hub, audio, video and photo stuff.

I am wondering if a dualG5 is a bit overkill, it's likely that we will not see a 64 bit OS for awhile and the games cannot really take advantage of two processors, let alone 64 bits, right?

elfer

#10 Robo-X

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 06:53 PM

Well some games take advantage of dual CPUs (Quake 3) and even though the system nor games are optimized for 64bit CPUs the game will still run much faster on a G5 compared to a G4 simply because the faster bus speed and graphic card. If you want you could wait until 3GHz G5s are out. With some luck they could be out this year if you can't wait that long wait until the next speed bump. Should be around March 26.

//Rob

#11 Berhune

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 09:54 PM

Steve-o promised at the World Wide Developers Conference last year speeds at 3Ghz by the same time this year, which at the end of June.  That being said, some people believe that there will be a speed increment before then sporting a newer breed of processor (of the variety seen in the xserves now), and will probably recommend that you wait at least until that.

If you were really hung up on games, then normally I would not consider anything but a PC or a console, but these days the future for Mac-everything looks bright, and that includes our favorite waste of time.

#12 NCG_Mike

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 04:11 AM

Quote

Thanks a lot! This sounds like great adivce....you said you are getting great framerates on Quake...are you running it at a high resolution or 800x600? Are you running it with all the visual goodies turned on or off? Just curious...

I agree, I should wait for the next rev of G5's to come out. I know there has been no official word on Doom3's release date for PC OR Mac...one can only hope that they will not make us wait very long after the PC title is released.  

One more question...are you using an Apple flatpanel display? If so, is it well suited for gaming, or should I hang on to my 19" CRT?  

thanks!

elfer
To get that rate, I used a config which had everything turned off or low (similar to the "boli config"). If you hop on over to the Mac forum on www.quake3world.com and ask about it, someone'll supply it so you can try in on your PC. I also had smp enabled, which does give a boost, and was using the latest G4 (velocity enhanced) build.

I'm using a Formac 1740 display with ADC. It's fine for gaming. I was told to avoid the Apple display because the Formac has a quicker refresh rate. The display looks very similar to the Apple one and has a couple of USB ports on the back, which is handy for the keyboard. Dunno if the Apple ones do, though I'd expect so.

#13 NCG_Mike

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 04:19 AM

Quote

edit: also, dont tell me you honestly believe there is some qualitative difference between the 120fps i get in Quake 3 games @ 1280x1024 and 300fps or something... get real.  If you judge your computer on how many fps you can get and that is your only measure, stay with PCs, for while a Mac can perform admirably (120fps is butter smooth eye candy) it will never top the ludicrous, completely un-needed 500+fps of a PC.
I was making a point about performance (assuming you were refering to my post with fps in it).

Infact, there's some rule about frames per second in Quake 3. If I recall correctly, the physics actually change. It's not a rule of faster is better though but some odd calculation. I think it was on xlr8yourmac.com or similar.

#14 bobbob

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 10:08 AM

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Infact, there's some rule about frames per second in Quake 3.

The physics had a bug in them where floating point rounding errors would increase if the framerate was less than about 120 FPS. It made jumps shorter, for sure, but there were probably other things that it affected as well. Quake 1 and 2 are also affected.

#15 bookman

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 10:35 AM

Seems to me like you'd be real safe with the G5 and the console of your choice - many articles written over the last year or so have suggested that PC gaming in genreral is declining in favor of the consoles. So you can have some of the best computer games with your G5, and lots of choice for new games with the console.

Personally, I find there are more good games out for Mac than I have time to play.
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#16 Mayhem

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 12:20 PM

Quote

Quote

Infact, there's some rule about frames per second in Quake 3.
The physics had a bug in them where floating point rounding errors would increase if the framerate was less than about 120 FPS. It made jumps shorter, for sure, but there were probably other things that it affected as well. Quake 1 and 2 are also affected.
That's only half the truth, I found a real nice explanation here. Based on that link I'd say Quake 2 is probably not affected by this as it uses native DLL's while Quake 1 may or may not be depending on how the original QuakeC handles float to integer conversions (making the assumption that these games' physics are similarly implemented in the first place).
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#17 bobbob

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 01:31 PM

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Based on that link I'd say Quake 2 is probably not affected by this as it uses native DLL's

Well, the very informative link you posted says Q3 DLLs are still affected:

Quote

In a QVM, the rounding is to nearest integer, so errors will tend to cancel out. In a DLL, rounding is always towards 0, so errors always reduce your speed and will always accumulate.

Quote

making the assumption that these games' physics are similarly implemented in the first place).

Well, the source is open for the first two, but I'm not going to look into it right now. I'd bet only large bugs were fixed between revisions, and this got passed up for a long time.

#18 Mayhem

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 02:14 PM

Quote

Quote

Based on that link I'd say Quake 2 is probably not affected by this as it uses native DLL's
Well, the very informative link you posted says Q3 DLLs are still affected:

Quote

In a QVM, the rounding is to nearest integer, so errors will tend to cancel out. In a DLL, rounding is always towards 0, so errors always reduce your speed and will always accumulate.
But that was not what this was about. Q3's physics fluctuate with the framerate because QVM rounds to the nearest integer upon conversion from a float, native DLL's are governed by ANSI C standard which says to always round down. So at least the physics should stay consistent, even if it does result in a sort of penalty. Or something... :razz:

DOOM 3 by the way will run it's physics calculations at a constant framerate, which should be good news for Mac-gamers as this sounds like the code will be multi-thread in a bigger way than before.
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#19 D-M.A.

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 06:44 AM

BS, the more fps you can get out of a current game, the better future games will run of course! So good fps even though it's far beyond what you need right now is good. Also, I get about 5 fps in some areas of Halo on my 2.6 Ghz PC with a Radeon 9600 ;) ... I wouldn't call that ludicrously high...

Conclusion of this totally useless post: Don't get Halo for PC :P


Quote

Doom 3 is confirmed for Mac and PC, and will probably be a hybrid disc release.  

In my experience, the Apple Flat panel displays arent that great for gaming unless you plan to get the 23" HD Cinema display.. that particular model has no ghosting or shadowing.  You could also get an apple flat panel and just run two monitors, one from the ADC port and one from the DVI/VGA port.

edit: also, dont tell me you honestly believe there is some qualitative difference between the 120fps i get in Quake 3 games @ 1280x1024 and 300fps or something... get real.  If you judge your computer on how many fps you can get and that is your only measure, stay with PCs, for while a Mac can perform admirably (120fps is butter smooth eye candy) it will never top the ludicrous, completely un-needed 500+fps of a PC.


#20 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 07:40 AM

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I am wondering if a dualG5 is a bit overkill, it's likely that we will not see a 64 bit OS for awhile and the games cannot really take advantage of two processors, let alone 64 bits, right?

elfer
A dual G5 isnt overkill based on the fact that you get a much nicer over-all experience using it. Since there are two processors to take care of everything, switching between apps are instant, and without delay. And you can run processor-deep applications side by side with other apps, without noticing.

And the 64 bit part is just PR. Dont think about it! ;)

And dont compare a G4 machine and a G5 machine mhz to mhz.. The G5 is a much better machine, due to all the much better hardware components and the fact that the chip is faster mhz to mhz compared to the G4.