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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Portal and Team Fortress 2 on
Three Fast Macs

Originally posted Friday, May 14th, 2010, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated Friday, June 11th, 2010, with GeForce GTX285 results

Steam has been a game service exclusively for PC users since it was launched it in 2004. But on May 12th, 2010, Valve launched Steam for the Mac platform. We used recordings of actual game sessions to benchmark two of the games Valve offers to Mac users.

Portal -- Set in the mysterious Aperture Science Laboratories, Portal introduces players to new ways of moving through the game world that challenges their perspective and flexes their spatial awareness. Prepare yourself for uniquely puzzling gameplay and dark, sharp-witted humor. Go to the Steam site to see a demo video of the game and information on trying the demo version or purchasing it. You might also want to read GameSpot's review of Portal (they rated it a 9 of of 10).

Team Fortress 2 -- With an art style that makes you smile and plenty of first person shooter fun, TM2 is the sequel to the game that put class-based, multiplayer team warfare on the map. Rated an 8.5 (out of 10) by GameSpot, I encourage you to read their review.

We tested two scenarios. The first is High Quality which includes the following:
Full Screen, 16:10 Aspect Ratio, 1920x1200
Model Detail = High, Texture Detail = Very High, Shader Detail = High
Water Detail = Reflect All, Shadow Detail = High, Color Correction = Enabled
Antialiasing Mode = 4X MSAA, Filtering Mode = Anisotropic 4X, Vertical Sync = Disabled
Motion Blur = Enabled

The second scenario was Medium Quality which includes:
Full Screen, 16:10 Aspect Ratio, 1920x1200
Model Detail = High, Texture Detail = Medium, Shader Detail = High
Water Detail = Reflect All, Shadow Detail = Medium, Color Correction = Enabled
Antialiasing Mode = 2X MSAA, Filtering Mode = Anisotropic 2X, Vertical Sync = Disabled
Motion Blur = Enabled

MP Neh GTX285 = Mac Pro Nehalem 2.93GHz with GeForce GTX285
MP Neh R4870 = Mac Pro Nehalem 2.93GHz with Radeon HD 4870
iMac i7 = iMac Core i7 2.8GHz with Radeon HD 4850
MBP i7 = MacBook Pro Core i7 2.66GHz with GeForce GT 330M

1. As with other 3D games we tested, the Mac Pro 8-core Nehalem with the optional GPU blows the doors off of all other Macs. I make no apology for including it for perspective and as a prediction of how the Mac Pro will perform when running graphics intensive professional 3D apps or apps like Photoshop CS5 that have certain 3D elements.
2. The GeForce GTX285 PCIe graphics card clearly beat the Radeon HD 4870.
3. The "fastest MacBook Pro ever made" with its mobile Core i7 2.66GHz and "mid range" mobile GPU (GeForce GT 330M) gets beat by the iMac Core i7 and beat badly by the Mac Pro with the optional GPUs.

Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute a large number of games and related media entirely over the Internet, from small independent efforts to larger, more popular games. Steam is set apart from similar services primarily by its community features, completely automated game update process, and its use of in-game functionality.

There are over 1,100 games available through Steam, and in January 2010 Valve announced that it had surpassed 25 million active user accounts. It regularly services in excess of two million concurrent users. Although Valve never releases sales figures, Steam is considered by its competitors and clients to be the market leader, controlling an estimated 70% of the digital distribution market.

Many major publishers have catalogues on Steam, including Electronic Arts, Activision, 2K Games, Ubisoft, THQ, Sega, Codemasters, id Software, LucasArts, Capcom, and Bethesda Softworks.

(The above three paragraphs are from the beginning of Wikipedia's article on Steam.)

Steam has been a service exclusively for PC users since it was launched it in 2004. But on May 12th, 2010, Valve launched Steam for the Mac platform. The game, Portal, in addition to supporting Steam Play, will be the first of Valve's Source engine based games available on the Mac. Native OS/X support for the Source engine is also available immediately to licensees for use in their games. And for everybody, Portal is free from today until the 24th.

Additional collections of Mac titles will become available soon, each designed to highlight specific functionalities of Steam on the Mac. The first collection of Mac titles will demonstrate "Steam Play," which allows customers to purchase a game once and play it on all Steam supported platforms.

In addition to bringing the online functionality of Steam to the Mac, Valve will also make its Steamworks suite of publishing and development tools available on the Mac platform. These include product key authentication, copy protection, auto-updating, social networking, matchmaking, anti-cheat technology, and more. The features and services available in Steamworks are offered free of charge and may be used for both electronic and tangible versions of games.

If you want to give Steam a try, go to this SUPPORT PAGE with information for new users.

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copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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