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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

Multi-Threaded OpenGL
in World of Warcraft

Originally posted October 27th, 2006 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Blizzard has added multi-threaded OpenGL code to the new version of World of Warcraft ("Burning Crusade"). Using a console command (GLFaster x), we were able to turn MT OpenGL "on" or "off" on our Mac Pro 3.0GHz tower with a Radeon X1900 XT (Mac OS X 10.4.8).

GLFaster = 0 means that multi-threaded OpenGL is disabled
GLFaster = 1 means multi-threaded OpenGL is enabled, but frame rate slightly throttled back to reduce mouse lag
GLFaster = 2 means multi-threaded OpenGL is enabled with no frame rate limiting. (You may see mouse lag sometimes due to too many queued frames in the pipe.)
World of Warcraft - Burning Crusade beta test settings:
24 bit color with 1X fsaa; all quality settings at max; all shaders turned on; vertical sync off
Test scene: Our human character is standing still facing West at the entrance of Goldshire in the Elwynn Forest. We observed frame rates and averaged them.

Big gains are to be had with multi-threaded OpenGL enabled in lower resolutions (full screen) or in windowed mode.

Though we saw gains on the Mac Pro with the Radeon X1900 XT, we saw no gains on our MacBook Pro 17" Core Duo with the X1600 Mobility.

We've just begun our testing. Not only do we plan to test scenes with more activity and scenes where we move around, but we will test different Macs with different GPU configurations. So stay tuned.

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2006-2008 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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