Mac Gaming

My main computer has been a mid-2009 Mac Book Pro. It’s fine for most everything I do, except for a few games. Plants vs. Zombies is fine. Even Civilization 5 is tolerable. MMOs, not so much. It stutters playing the intro EVE video. It is far below the recommended minimum for LoTRO and GW2. For those games, and other Windows-only ones, I have another computer, an early-2010 Sager notebook, recently upgraded with an SSD and Windows 8. The Sager works well enough for me, except for graphics issues which I think might be related to overheating (which seems to manifest during GW2 quite a bit).

Anyway, I decided to treat myself to a computer upgrade, since my trusty MBP was approaching 4 years old. I bought a Mac Mini, upgraded with a fusion drive and to a core i7. And I added my own 16 GB since Apple charges way too much for memory.

As a result, I am now playing a few games on the Mac Mini instead of the Windows box. EVE Online is one, LoTRO another, GW2 yet another. I downloaded the League of Legends OSX, but have yet to make an account or play. I tried installing the DDO OSX client, but I can’t seem to get a non-corrupted copy. I also play other games on my Mac from time to time: FTL and Hoard – both of which run better on the Mac than Windows, but I suspect the Windows 8 issue is with mouse drivers. The Mac Mini also runs Space Chem just fine, as well as Borderlands 2, Torchlight and various other misc games.

Yes, I hear you Windows purists gnashing your teeth. The Intel HD4000 integrated graphics vs. a dedicated nVidia GeForce or AMD Radeon? Outrageous! Barbaric!! However, I think the games look just fine on the Mac Mini, especially since one of them (GW2) was nearly unplayable on my Windows notebook due to graphics driver resets (possible driver issue, possible overheating; ultimately I got tired of dealing with it). Some games, like bleeding edge first person shooters, undoubtedly won’t play as well too, but I play very few games of that genre.

I do notice some upgraded graphics. In EVE, I see lightning flashes on storm planets, gas clouds on gas planets, weather effect on temperate planets, etc. I never saw those on the Windows notebook, but it is a 3 year old machine with a GeForce GTX 285M, so perhaps it is also on the low side for modern games.

I uninstalled a few games from my Windows gamebox in order to make room for others, for example, The Secret World. I thought a 256 GB SSD would be roomy enough when I bought it, but we all know how this hobby eats disk space. 🙂

Of course, all is not perfect. For example, EVE Online… right now, the launcher doesn’t start the game. I click “play” and it just exits. *sigh*. I’ve tried various troubleshooting steps, but nothing has worked. I’m sure it will be sorted soon.

One thought on “Mac Gaming”

  1. I do my gaming on my main computer (2011 iMac Base Model). I play a hell of a lot of Guild Wars 2, LoL and a bit of Diablo III too. The way I see it, I’m a Mac user. I prefer the Mac OSX in general over any Windows OS. So playing games on my preferred OS is a no brainer. I’d rather play on a Mac with a slight performance drop than go near a Windows PC again. Even better news for us now that developers are starting to create native clients too (LoL being the most recent example).

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