OS X 10.6.2 vs 10.6.0 vs 10.5.8:
How Fast Do 3D Apps Run on Each?
Posted Friday, November 13th, 2009, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
We didn't post any 3D results for the intial release of OS X "Snow Leopard," but when we learned there were graphics driver updates in release 10.6.2, we decided to compare how well the GeForce GTX 285 and Radeon HD 4870 handle some 3D apps compared to the same apps under 10.6.0 and 10.5.8. We used the highest settings and 2560x1600 resolution.
OpenGL Extensions Viewer has a Test tab. We chose Standard Framebuffer, 4X Multisampling, 8X Anisotropy, Fog, Benchmark, and Transparency. The graph below shows the framerates of the OpenGL 2.0 Extension. (Graph numbers are "frames per second.")
Using a flight of the X-15 being dropped from a bomber, we recorded a one-minute test. We ran the X-Plane benchmark in Terminal and averaged the three frame rates posted by the "grep" command. (Graph numbers are "frames per second.")
Call of Duty 4's settings were all maxed out plus we set Anti-aliasing to 4X. We used a demo file called "mac_pipeline." (Graph numbers are "frames per second.")
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars' advanced settings were all maxed out plus we set Multisamples to 4X. We used our recorded demo file which we call "BF." (Graph numbers are "frames per second.")
Macsoft Halo (Universal Binary Version) was set to best settings with anti-alasing set to 4X. (Graph numbers are "frames per second.")
LEGEND OF GRAPHS
RED means fastest
GTX285 = NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 (1G GDDR3)
R4870 = ATI/AMD Radeon HD 4870 (512M GDDR5)
Snow 10.6.2 = OS X "Snow Leopard" release 10.6.2
Snow 10.6.0 = OS X "Snow Leopard" release 10.6.0
Leo 10.5.8 = OS X "Leopard" release 10.5.8
Test "Mule" was the Nehalem Mac Pro 8-core running at 2.93GHz (12G of RAM).
The results were mixed. The latest version of "Snow Leopard" was only faster in one instance for each GPU. In most cases, the 3D apps ran faster under "Leopard" 10.5.8 or the initial release of "Snow Leopard" 10.6.0. We expect the "Snow Leopard" drivers will continue to "evolve" as time passes.
The GeForce GTX 285 was faster than the Radeon HD 4870 in all but one case.
WHERE TO BUY MAC PRO GRAPHICS CARDS
Other World Computing has the GeForce GTX 285 with 1 day shipping for $459.
ClubMac has the ATI Radeon HD 4870 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro listed for $329. Compare that to the Apple Store USA price of $349.
ClubMac has the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 For Mac 1.5GB DDR3 PCIe Graphics Card listed for $1460. Other World Computing also has it listed on their site with same day shipping.
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