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Mac OS X Gaming

Having bought a Mac, I sort of stopped playing Counter Strike, in the absence of a mouse etc. I managed to have a crack at TOCA Race Driver 3, which is still by far one of my favorite games (second only to Gran Turismo, for those at home playing along on a PlayStation).

I am quite impressed really, that a notebook can handle gaming as well as this. I have the early-2009 MacBook Pro with 2.93ghz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM and the Nvidia 9600 GPU, so it’s not really a sluggish platform.

A month or two ago I decided to re-ignite this old flame of mine, World of Warcraft, seeing as it was supported natively on the Mac. About 3GB of downloading later, I had it installed, paid my dues, and jumped on. My initial impression was slow… I had to tweak WoW a little to have it running at a decent 40fps during mob scenes, by pushing the quality to around half way/medium, with the resolution set to the MacBook Pro native of 1440×900. It seems to run pretty well…

Having played CounterStrike and Left4Dead a fair bit just before I bought my Mac, I HAD to try run it virtually on the Mac. I initially tried it out on VMWare Fusion. FAIL. I was quite disappointed to be honest. Mind you, it was running under Windows 7 RC1. But still, frame rate and general loading of the system was down right average… Heaven forbid you enter the hybrid Mac/Windows mode (whatever it’s called)….

Moving on, I have recently switched to Parallels Desktop for Mac. This seems to do the job nicely – albeit with the lack of a “transparent” graphics driver… Everything in Parallels seems nicer but. It’s easy to use, it’s quicker, and generally flows nicer. The only think that’s annoying me is the graphics part… One of the programs I use, Haltech’s ECU Manager, specifically says that it does not have a graphics driver loaded for some reason (not even the latest Direct X updates fixed it either)… And CounterStrike/Left 4 Dead fail to let you use half the features of the underlying Mac graphics platform…

My verdict on virtualised gaming on the Mac is therefore significantly siding towards epic fail. On one side of the coin, I have a platform that runs like an absolute dogs breakfast, on the other hand, something that fails to deliver graphics goodness…

I guess I’ll just have to stick with World of Warcraft!!! (unless anyone can suggest something better)

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Jerod Bennett

You should look into Crossover for your mac.

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