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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Dirt 2 and Xplane on
The Five 'Top' 2011 Macs

Originally posted Friday, October 28th, 2011, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

One of the newest games for Mac OS X is Feral Interactive's Dirt 2. We ran it on five top 2011 Macs plus the 2010 hex-core Mac Pro. We connected all test units to a 27" LED Cinema display since the laptop screens vary in available resolutions. This enabled us to run all test units at 1344x756 as well as 2560x1440. And by request, we included the latest version of X-Plane.

Feral Interactive's Dirt 2 for Mac at 1344x756 "Low Quality"
Settings were fullscreen, multisampling OFF, graphics detail MEDIUM, shadows OFF, groundcover clutter OFF, water update OFF, skidmarks OFF. We used the built-in benchmark. The RED bar represents the fastest in frames-per-second.

Dirt 2 for Mac at 2560x1440 "High Quality"
Settings were fullscreen, multisampling OFF, graphics detail HIGH, shadows ON, groundcover clutter ON, water update ON, skidmarks ON. The RED bar represents the fastest in frames-per-second.

Laminar Research X-Plane 9.70 at 2560x1440 "High Quality"
Settings were fullscreen, multisampling 2X, anisotropy 4X, dynamic shadows ON, complex textures ON. For benchmarking, we used a recorded landing of the Space Shuttle. The RED bar represents the fastest in frames-per-second.

GRAPH LEGEND
mp 3.3 6c = 2010 Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core Westmere with Radeon HD 5870 GPU
imac 3.4 i7 = 2011 iMac 3.4GHz Quad-Core i7 with Radeon HD 6970M GPU
mbp 2.3 i7
= 2011 MacBook Pro (17") 2.3GHz Quad-Core i7 with Radeon HD 6750M GPU
mini 2.7 i7
= 2011 Mac mini 2.7GHz Dual-Core i7 with Radeon HD 6630M GPU
mbp 2.7 i7 = 2011 MacBook Pro (13") 2.7GHz Dual-Core i7 with Intel HD 3000 integrated GPU
mba 1.8 i7 = 2011 MacBook Air (13") 1.8GHz Dual-Core i7 with Intel HD 3000 integrated GPU

INSIGHTS
The Macs with integrated GPUs (like the MacBook Air and 13" MacBook Pro) are at a big disadvantage when it comes to gaming. The Mac mini with a dedicated GPU generates enough FPS to make games playable -- at least at lower quality settings (in the case of Dirt 2). However, serious gamers will want a high-end Mac Pro, iMac or MacBook Pro.

MORE TO COME
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copyright 2011 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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