Valve Reports Mac Game Performance Gains with Latest Mac OSX Update

By Brian Leahy, Aug 18, 2010 1:40pm PDT Since the launch of Steam for the Mac and the release of Valve's back-catalog of Source-engine titles, Valve has been "working with Apple and their GPU vendors to close the performance gap with Windows." It has paid off!

The latest Mac OSX update, released yesterday for Snow Leopard implemented changes that led Valve to see, "depending on the game, video settings and the hardware.. measured frame rate improvements from 15% to 120%."

Valve does warn, however, that the performance improvements are being seen "on iMac (Late 2009 and Mid 2010), Mac mini (Early 2009 and Mid 2010), Mac Pro (Early 2009), MacBook (Early 2009 and Mid 2010) and MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010) and MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2010) models," while older systems are "already operating at the limits of the hardware."

A full (technical) explanation of the types of benefits Valve is seeing can be found on the Steam website. It includes fun buzzwords like "occlusion queries" and "floating point validation."

That same OSX update also included a fix for Blizzard's StarCraft 2 to remedy some unexpected crashing. Either way, Mac gamers will want to grab the latest OSX update if they are running Snow Leopard. If not, go get Snow Leopard first!

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  • For someone who has played all of Valves games on my iMac for the past few years through bootcamp & Windows XP, I am glad to see the move to OSX. Performance issues have never been an issue on the actual hardware of a Mac, but just on the operating system settings. Pretty impressive they are able to pull that much of a turn around in the gaming experience on the OSX platform from a few tweaks in code & not recommendations of getting more horsepower in hardware replacements. Would be interesting to see what additional games come out of this on the OSX platform.