Starcraft II on Mac, vs Windows – performance

3 minutes

O Starcraft II, the brainchild of Blizzard Entertainment, why doest thou suffer so under Mac OSX? I tried cajoling, I tried upgrades, and I tried updates, all to no avail.

Mac fanatics and die-hards at Mac oriented forums will castigate me for this, but it is true, Mac OSX is simply not conducive to gaming, even for games written FOR the platform. Case in point Starcraft II. The latest and the best in strategy games from Blizzard. Eagerly awaited, I was amongst the first to rejoice when I found out that it would play natively on OSX – sans Steam, and sans emulators. What I didn’t account for, was the performance. And man does it suffer under OSX.

Here are the specs of my rig:

Core i7 860 @ Stock speeds – 2.8GHz
8 GB of matched DDR3 XMS3 RAM @ 1600 MHz
Samsung Spinpoint F3 7200RPM 1TB HDD
Running Snow Leopard 10.6.4 with all updates (including the GFX update & CUDA from nVIDIA)

Not the best of systems, but certainly no slouch. The graphics card is a bit old – about a year, and it is well over the minimum specifications for Mac OSX from Blizzard.

So I purchased a license and fired up the game on my Mac, and to my chagrin, all the default recommendations were at “Medium” or “Low”. I tried overriding the same, and set them to “High” to painfully watch the frame-rate drop to 2-5 FPS. UGLY. I tolerated the game at “Medium” and a couple of “Low”, though the game is still gorgeous at these settings.

I was curious though, how the game would play on a Windows install, so I decided to compare the performance by installing Windows 7 on another HDD on my system (specs above). I went through the motions, updated the game, and booted it up. I stood bewildered: the recommendations for all graphics options were “Ultra”, and the game rarely drops a frame, with everything set to “Ultra”. Boasting of smooth transitions, breathtaking videos, perfect gameplay, Windows version of SC2, just simply blows the Mac version out of reckoning. Why ever would anyone choose to play any game on OSX?


4 thoughts on “Starcraft II on Mac, vs Windows – performance

  1. How fast were the frames per second on Windows while running the game on high settings? You mentioned that you were able to get 2-5 FPS on the Mac OS X. I would like to compare the two :)

  2. It would help to know the specs of your mac. Though yes with my hackintosh, SC2 runs about 20fps faster and probably looks better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.