WoW Performance Guide For Macs - WoD Edition

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100 Human Paladin
15555
Post OS X 10.6.5 update, Mid-2010 Mac Pro

First impressions with graphics settings: Setting everything at Ultra slowed fps to the frame-jerk response mode (ie <30 fps flying in Nagrand). Knowing that there are issues still with water and sunshafts, I dialed down the settings to the following:

Display: Samsung T220

Display Mode: Windowed
Resolution: 1680 x 1050
Refresh: 60 Hz

Monitor: SyncMaster
Multisampling: 1x
Vertical Sync: Disabled

Graphics: Custom

Textures:
Texture Resolution: High
Texture Filtering: 4x Anisotropic
Projected Textures: Enabled

Effects:

Shadow Quality: Good
Liquid Detail: Good
Sunshafts: Low
Particle Density: Ultra

Environment:

View Distance: Ultra
Environmental Detail: Good
Ground Clutter: Good

Fps in Outlands over 100 with these settings. In Stormwind ≈ 70 fps.

Turned Particle Density down to Good, and picked up 20 - 30 fps in Stormwind
in front of the Auction House. Noting that Mage Water elementals really eat
fps with particle density on Ultra.

Also: running the Blizzard recommended settings gives >100 fps most places. I have not tested this in Live realms in a raid instance with massive AOE.

Hardware Overview:
Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro5,1
Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 8 MB
Memory: 6 GB
Processor Interconnect Speed: 4.8 GT/s
Boot ROM Version: MP51.007F.B03
SMC Version (system): 1.39f11
SMC Version (processor tray): 1.39f11

System Software Overview:
System Version: Mac OS X 10.6.5 (10H574)
Kernel Version: Darwin 10.5.0
Boot Volume: Macintosh HD
Boot Mode: Normal
Secure Virtual Memory: Not Enabled
64-bit Kernel and Extensions: Yes
Time since boot: 2 days 20:49


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100 Draenei Warrior
19105
Sadly the ATI x2600 Apple used in it’s iMacs was severely underclocked, and performed WORSE than the x1600 card at just about every test I threw at it. I removed the model completely from the list when I couldn’t get it past 15fps in any kind of party or city situation after 4.0.

Follow the GT130 set if you want to, but know that the 2600 won’t perform well no matter how low you set the settings. The GT320 integrated solution actually does almost twice as good.


Stoneblade, I've got the Radeon 2600 in my iMac. The game plays fine at ultra settings (minus water, shadows, and sunshafts, all of which are low or off, and 1x multisampling). Rarely lower than 40fps, usually around 60fps where it's capped. Certain situations kill it (marrowgar steam effects).
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100 Human Paladin
9115
Absolutely awesome guide! I can't thank you enough for this. It's been driving me nuts trying to find a happy medium.

MBP
C2D 2.4GHz
4GB DDR2 800MHz
GeForce 8600GT 256MB
15" 1440x900
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90 Gnome Mage
10765
I still don't understand why I need to set all my graphic settings to "good" to get reasonable performance on my 2009 i7 iMac, when I can run all settings on Ultra in Windows on the same computer using bootcamp. Why is the mac code so much less optimized than the windows code?

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85 Undead Rogue
3260
thanks so much for this.. i moved most sliders up and a few down.. now the game looks better and runs better!
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85 Human Rogue
8680
I still don't understand why I need to set all my graphic settings to "good" to get reasonable performance on my 2009 i7 iMac, when I can run all settings on Ultra in Windows on the same computer using bootcamp. Why is the mac code so much less optimized than the windows code?


Because Windows uses Direct3D and OSX uses OpenGL2.1/3.0 which is 3-4 years behind. Blizzard can only do so much with the inferior drivers supplied by Apple.
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82 Blood Elf Paladin
4745
Awesome guide for those of us who do our WofW gaming on our beloved Macs. I'll be linking to this on my technology blog.
Edited by Rebelord on 11/19/2010 10:16 AM PST
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85 Draenei Shaman
5290
I have a 2009 iMac i5. I followed all the settings posted and I still can't get past 20 fps. I used to be able to get around 50 fps on ultra settings. This happened after updating to 4.0.3. Does anyone else have this problem? It's really annoying with all this choppiness
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90 Tauren Shaman
6220
Thank you for your hard work putting this guide together it's been a great help. I just wanted to point out a minor edit that needs to be made under the "Early 2009 iMac with 256MB or 512MB nVidia GT130 Graphics Cards" the underline formatting is incorrect and is displaying [u[...[/u], which may be confusing to some readers.
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85 Goblin Shaman
7395
This guide seriously needs an update for 2010 MacBook Pro's.
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85 Dwarf Shaman
6315
Sadly the ATI x2600 Apple used in it’s iMacs was severely underclocked, and performed WORSE than the x1600 card at just about every test I threw at it. I removed the model completely from the list when I couldn’t get it past 15fps in any kind of party or city situation after 4.0.

Follow the GT130 set if you want to, but know that the 2600 won’t perform well no matter how low you set the settings. The GT320 integrated solution actually does almost twice as good.


Stoneblade, I've got the Radeon 2600 in my iMac. The game plays fine at ultra settings (minus water, shadows, and sunshafts, all of which are low or off, and 1x multisampling). Rarely lower than 40fps, usually around 60fps where it's capped. Certain situations kill it (marrowgar steam effects).


Really? I have a 2.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with the Radeon 2600 and 4 Gigs of RAM and the slider won't even allow me to go past "Fair". I can get 40-50 fps while standing still with no spell effects going off but during most any boss fight that number will plummet.
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The wife and I just got two Mid 2010 Core i3/i5 iMac with the upgrade to the ATI 5750 Graphics Card. (Happy Winterveil indeed!) I have found that lowering the Shadow Quality to Fair and increasing the View Distance to High is a good tradeoff. The increase in view distance (at least to me) is a more noticeable improvement and the difference between fair and good shadow quality is minimal.

I also enable triple buffering and v-sync, but note you want either both enabled or both off. V-sync without triple buffering will hurt, rather than help. Good article on why Triple Buffering is a good thing: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2794

I also highly recommend setting the max frame rate to 30 and using SMCFanControl to increase the minimum fan speed by about 20%. The result is a much cooler running iMac.
Edited by Wizzle on 12/5/2010 5:26 AM PST
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85 Orc Rogue
6225
11/08/2010 3:32 AMPosted by Stoneblade
Sadly the ATI x2600 Apple used in its iMacs was severely underclocked, and performed WORSE than the x1600 card at just about every test I threw at it. I removed the model completely from the list when I couldnt get it past 15fps in any kind of party or city situation after 4.0.

Follow the GT130 set if you want to, but know that the 2600 wont perform well no matter how low you set the settings. The GT320 integrated solution actually does almost twice as good.


Just for the record....I have an ATI,RadeonHD2600 on a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo iMac with 4 MB of RAM, and I run 30+ FPS just about anywhere on 4.0.3 for questing and battlegrounds. If this is Apple's worse, it's not too bad, really.

Haven't tried a 25-man raid in 4.0.3 yet though. We'll see how it holds up. ;-)

Thank you for the guide. I appreciate the effort you put into it.
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85 Orc Rogue
6225
... oops double post. Can't delete?
Edited by Worriedstiff on 12/5/2010 10:19 AM PST
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80 Tauren Warrior
2355
awesome, now i have to wait till i buy a new computer to run cataclysm, like i though i would, but oh well, hopefully i get tons of work so i can get my car paid off, and get my comp at the same time that happens, then have enough money to move on after the end of next year. right now with the mac i have, i have crappy gameplay, and always have had it, but now that i started playing again, it has gotten worse with the new patches and all that good stuff. i have a late 2006 early 2007 model with 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 1GB of ram (3 is the max it is allowed to upgrade to) ATY,RadeonX1600 graphics. And to top it all off, a couple days ago my computer totally bombed on me, and I had to erase and completely reinstall my OS and i was able to back everything up cause i had my stuff saved on my external hard drive.

if there is a way to help my piece of crap computer so i can at least play until i get my upgrade, that would be helpful, otherwise i will just have to stop playing until i get my upgrade.
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90 Worgen Druid
11910


On a late 2009 iMac i7 (ATI 4850), the sunshaft/water settings you list drastically reduce performance.

Raising the water effects level above fair reduces the frame rate to 15fps, regardless of any other setting.
Turning on sunshafts AT ALL reduces the frame rate to 15fps, regardless of any other setting.

This is on a computer with 4gb of RAM, the above-mentioned processor/graphics setup, and running the fresh and new 10.6.5.


Agree with the sunshaft comment.....they are my iMac killer for the same base machine. The water and shadows can be played with, but it varies depending on location, etc. sun shafts will lock your framerate to 13-15fps.
Edited by Darkgrumble on 12/8/2010 11:45 AM PST
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85 Night Elf Druid
7655
11/24/2010 4:52 PMPosted by Galik
I have a 2009 iMac i5. I followed all the settings posted and I still can't get past 20 fps. I used to be able to get around 50 fps on ultra settings. This happened after updating to 4.0.3. Does anyone else have this problem? It's really annoying with all this choppiness


I have this exact same problem. After 4.0 dropped, my fps hit the tank, just like everyone else it seems running a 2009 iMac w4GB. There was a fix on the old forum on how to turn Open GLL back on by adding a line in the Config file, so I did that and just contented myself with running off the old engine. (Never mind I could never run settings higher than Good even before 4.0). I spent this time scouring the internet and forums for fixes, and tried all kinds of settings and 'try this, it worked for me' things.

I talked to a guildmate who is also running the same mac and she said that after 10.6.5, the issues had been pretty much fixed and as long as you turned water and sunshafts down, you'd be okay. I removed the line from the config file and...

...holy lag, Batman. I was getting 20 FPS on recommended settings (Good), and when I turned it down to fair, I got 11. The game is completely unplayable.

Hindsight being what it is, the type of Mac I got isn't good for gaming. This was my first Mac (I got it because all of my PCs kept dying on me), and I am nothing but disappointed. I paid over $2k for something that is easily outperformed by an $800 PC, and now I'm stuck with this hunk of junk. I can't even upgrade the graphics, and even if I could afford it, I don't want to rebuild all of my data with a PC. Reading through the forums, it seems like the fault lies with Apple and their archaic drivers, not Blizzard.

All of that being said, can someone post the line to add into the config file to get this thing back on GLL/revert to pre 4.0 graphics engine? I can't find it anywhere. It was something like "SET ____ "OpenGLL"

EDIT: Found it: SET gxApi "OpenGL"
Edited by Tecmessa on 12/10/2010 11:11 AM PST
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100 Tauren Warrior
11610
The guide has FINALLY been updated for Cataclysm!

In light of some of the performance complaints mentioned by various posters, I've adjusted the settings on select systems to match their findings. Thank you all for your contributions. This guide wouldn't be what it is without you!
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85 Draenei Shaman
5130
any suggestions for NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT ? Mac OS X 10.4.11 anything would help. Thank you. Update I have just upgraded to Mac OS X Snow Leopard so now my stats are: Mac OS X 10.6.5 intel core 2 Duo, NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT. any and all suggestions would be helpful thank you
Edited by Gofham on 12/18/2010 2:28 PM PST
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90 Dwarf Hunter
0
The guide has FINALLY been updated for Cataclysm!



In light of some of the performance complaints mentioned by various posters, I've adjusted the settings on select systems to match their findings. Thank you all for your contributions. This guide wouldn't be what it is without you!


Hey there Stoneblade... I wanted to talk with you about SCII. Unfortunately since I haven't purchased it yet, I cannot post this on those forums..

My question is pretty straight forward... "I have a late 2009 MBPro with 9600m GT 256mb Video proc.- Is it worth it for me to purchase SCII", They are offering 10$ off this weekend and I figured now would be the best time to pick it up. However, I couldn't get a good read on the comments of others with my setup weather or not the game will run smoothly on my Mac.

Thanks for your great Performance guides and I am looking forward to your reply... hopefully very soon... Thanks Stoneblade.
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