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Boot Camp vs. OnMac.Net:  3D performance on Mac Mini Duo
Boot Camp vs. OnMac.Net: 3D performance on Mac Mini Duo
Published by javester
04-07-2006
Conclusion


Conclusion
Comparing a hack with Boot Camp beta, we pretty much got performance that was par for the course.

Suprisingly, the hacked driver outperformed the Boot Camp driver at the very high detail setting. Still, its a good baseline for BC version 1 and we look forward to increased performance in future versions.

Kudos to the onmac.net folks too on being able to shoehorn the Dell and Intel drivers to work on the Mini, and even edging out the Boot Camp drivers to boot! (pardon the pun )

Can the Mini run 3d games? The verdict? A qualified yes.

Yup. We feel that the Mac Mini can do Windows DirectX games. When buying games though, you should pay attention to its specs and treat the Mini as you would a Windows business laptop with an integrated video card and 64mb video memory.

It does a decent job running games that are not too demanding of the graphics subsystem. You should be OK with turn-based games like Civilization and 3d classics like Half Life and Quake II. As the frame rates attest, 30fps gaming is indeed possible with the Mini Duo so even more recent gaming titles should perform decently, albeit, at very low resolution levels.

Apple’s decision to use integrated video also handicapped the Mini from the start. Some will point out that the Mini line is at the bottom of the Apple’s product stack, and higher-end offerings do have dedicated graphic cards that are bound to perform better. In addition, since the Mini is BYODKM (Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard and Mouse), the assumption is the “other” computer is most probably a game-ready Windows machine, anyway.

Still, if the target market for the Mini are Windows fence-sitters, Apple should consider a higher-end Mini to plug the graphics gap. Remember when Apple was endlessly derided for having one-button mice for the longest time? Even though Macs had native support for two-button USB mice since OS 9 seven years ago, this criticism was only put to rest when Apple came out with the Mighty Mouse last year. Maybe with the next Mini refresh, the higher-end Mini Duo could have a dedicated graphics system - one less excuse for the gaming crowd to cross over.

A New Dawn for Gaming on the Mac
And if the Mini is baseline for Windows 3D gaming on MacTels, then the future is very bright indeed. The ATI Radeons on the higher-end MacTels are several times faster than the Intel 945GM, and preliminary benchmarks at other sites have been promising.

For the hard-core gamer, the forthcoming Intel PowerMacs have even faster graphics cards still. And with the PowerMac’s PCI-Express expansion slots, even more powerful options from graphics powerhouses NVIDIA and ATI are also available.

It ain't all roses though. Boot Camp, IMHO, is the death knell of gaming on OS X. I can only imagine how panicked Aspyr must be now that their whole raison d'etre has been thrown out the window.

Unless Apple pulls another one from the hat, that is... a killer game that takes advantage of CoreImage, CoreAudio and the built-in iSight - Duke Nuke ‘Em Forever on OS X, anyone?


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  #1 (permalink)  
dyanismith on 04-08-2006, 09:46 AM
Great article javester!!!!

Looking forward to more stuff from your new website.

BTW, I see a lot of articles on the Mini Duo, what about the iMacs and Macbooks?

More power to MTC!
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  #2 (permalink)  
javester on 04-10-2006, 02:17 PM
Thanks dyanismith!

As you may have guessed, we have a preponderance of Mini articles coz that is what we have at the moment.

And no worries, we just got a MacBook Pro. We'll put it thru its paces and we'll be posting articles in the website soon!
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