www.xlr8yourmac.com

Reviews and Daily News with a  Difference!
Select a Topic Area To See a List of Related Reviews & Articles
Systems  | CPU Upgrades  | SCSI | IDE | Firewire  | Video  | Audio  | Games  | Misc/OS  | Archives  | Search
Nvidia GeForce3 vs. Nvidia GeForce2 MX vs. an ATI Radeon Retail
Quake3 Tests in Mac OS 9.1 and Mac OS X
(G4/533 Dual Processor System)
By Oliver
Published: 06/15/2001
Updated: 6/19/2001 for OS X Quake 1.29f Beta Results
Updated: 6/22/2001 for OS X Quake 1.29f-2 Results & Mac OS 9.1 1.29f Results

Test Computer:

    PowerMac G4 533 dual (4X AGP system)
    Plenty of RAM (384MB or 512MB)
    IBM 75GXP HD
    AGP Graphics Card, either Nvidia GeForce2 MX (OEM) or ATI Radeon (Retail)

    For Geforce2 MX and Radeon tests:
    OS X 10.0.1 (unofficial update build 4L5 noted in the 3/28/2001 www.xlr8yourmac.com news), Drivers for each card were the latest available (1.1.1) and the G4 system 4.1.8 firmware update was applied. [Note: OS 9's Nvidia drivers are now at v2.1 and are unified (for both GF3 and MX cards) - however the current OS X Nvidia drivers were developed for the MX card and not optimized for the GeForce3. Later OS X updates should included GeForce3 optimized drivers-Mike]

    For Geforce3 tests:
    OS X 10.0.3, Drivers were the ones delivered with the card (version 2.1).

Mac OS 9.1 with Sound (s_initsound "1")

Quake 3 117, Demo001

 Sound ON
GeForce2 MX AGP
Radeon Retail AGP
Geforce3 AGP
 
16bit
32bit
16bit
32bit
16bit
32bit
640x480
66.7
67.1
60.5
61.0
59.7
59.6
800x600
66.5
65.5
59.7
59.6
59.5
60.1
1024x768
64.6
55.1
56.1
55.8
59.0
58.3
1280x1024
54
33.4
45.5
44.1
58.7
58.3
1600x1200
not tested
not tested
not tested
not tested
50.0
56.9
locki's config @ 640x480
116.3
 
109.3
 
109.2
 109.2
above + s_mixahead 0.11
131.9
 
119.6
 
123.9
 123.6

Mac OS 9.1 without Sound (s_initsound "0")

Quake 3 117, Demo001

[Update 06/16/2001: I corrected the Radeon 32bit scores. I accidentally wrote the sound ON scores in there first. -Oliver]

 Sound OFF
GeForce2 MX AGP
Radeon Retail AGP
Geforce3 AGP
 
16bit
32bit
16bit
32bit
16bit
32bit
640x480
77.7
76.6
78.1
77.9
74.1
74.2
800x600
77.5
73.5
74.4
74.0
73.1
73.0
1024x768
72.6
57.5
65.6
64.4
72.7
72.5
1280x1024
43.3
34.8
47.0
44.8
70.1
71.0
1600x1200
36.6
21.5
not tested
not tested
62.9
66.9
locki's config @ 640x480
not tested
 not tested
135.5
not tested
155.9
156.9

Mac OS X Final (s_initsound "0")

All OS X tests were run in 32bit mode (screen/texture settings).

Quake 3 117 (port by Omnigroup), Demo001

  Sound OFF
GeForce2 MX
Radeon (Retail)
GeForce3
 
r_smp 0
r_smp 1
r_smp 0
r_smp 1
r_smp 0
r_smp 1
640x480
69.6
110.1
74.3
116.5
70.4
121.5
800x600
66.5
79.2
70
81.8
69.9
119.5
1024x768
49.7
49.8
53.2
53.4
67.9
102.6
1280x1024
30
30
34.1
34.1
60.7
64.2
1600x1200
    not tested not tested
42.3
42.3
locki (32bit color & textures) @ 640x480
 143.5  114.7
144.6
116.1
143.9
163.2
above + cg_draw3dicons 1 + r_finish 0
   
136.2
169.2
 137.0
 256.9
above + r_fastsky 0 + cg_simpleitems 0
   
 
 
 134.5
 247.4
above + cg_forcemodel 0 + r_picmip 1
   
 
  
 133.6
 246.7
above + r_subdivisions 12 + r_lodbias 1
      
 
 132.0
 240.4
above config @ 800x600
      
 
 131.0
 225.5
above config @ 1024x768
      
 
 127.9
 150.2
above config @ 1280x1024
      
 
 89.4
 89.2
above config @ 1600x1200
      
 
 57.8
 54.2

Mac OS X PreRelease - Build 4K17 (s_initsound "1")

All OS X tests were run in 32bit mode (screen/texture settings).

Quake 3 117 (port by Omnigroup), Demo001

  Sound ON
Radeon
 Radeon
 
r_smp 0
r_smp 1
640x480
73.1
116.7
800x600
69.4
82
1024x768
53.1
53.4
1280x1024
36.9
36.5
locki @ 640
147.6
121.3

* Quake3 for Mac OS X used was Omnigroup's port of quake3 117 for Mac OS X Public Beta, which only runs with sound off (seta s_initsound "0") in Mac OS X final (build 4K78 and later), whereas in Mac OS X build 4k17 it ran with sound on. [Note: Sound off boosts FPS rates significantly in MacOS also-Mike] I have no idea how different build 4k17 and 4k78 really are, but i was very impressed when i saw the numbers, since there seems to be almost no fps-loss when enabling sound.

Another interesting note: enabling 3Dicons made the game run faster (only with r_smp 1). I suspect drawing the 3Dicons is a thread of its own.
Note the tests with the modified locki config was done with pretty good image quality (basicly locki's config with 32bit color and textures, 3dicons on, simple items off, medium geometric detail, hq sky on, forced models off and textures one notch from max) and was still very fast: 240fps at 640x480 and still 150fps at 1024x738. Impressive! Too bad i couln't take a screenshot (actually i did take several screenshots, but they were garbled.)

Locki's config is available here: http://guides.barrysworld.com/quake3/Configs&Bindings/Locki-1.3.zip
The config for Mac OS X i used to achieve 256fps is available here (at's pretty ugly and has screen flickering): 256fastandugly_config.cfg
The config for Mac OS X i used to achive 240fps is available here (looks pretty nice but is still fast): 240fastnotbad_config.cfg

Many thanks to Mike from xlr8yourmac.com for his excellent service to all macusers!
- Oliver


Update - Quake3 Pointrelease 1.29f for Mac OS X and 9

Notes:
- All tests below with GeForce3 only
- Resolution switching is slower now, it's kind of the same as it in Mac OS 9 (Omnigroups build was faster)
- The q3config.file is no longer in a hidden directory ~/.q3a/baseq3/ – it's in ~/Library/Application Support/Quake3/baseq3/
- r_smp is ENABLED by default (r_smp 1)
- Physics!!! Circlejumps (for example the 25-health to 25-health jump in the "core" of q3tourney4) are now possible on your own Mac-listen server – I've never been able to do it on my own server until now, only when I was connected to a Wintel PC or Linux Box. I love that!
- With the new network code comes a new demo-format: there's a new demo called four.dm_66, which is the one i tested below.
- Update 06/22/2001: I replaced the scores with newer ones from the second release of Quake3 1.29f for Mac OS X, from now on called 1.29f-2.
- Update 06/22/2001: Only sound ON tests were repeated as sound OFF results were pretty much the same.

Mac OS X – Q3 129f beta – Default Config (32bit):

By deleting an existing q3config.cfg Quake3 is forced to create a new config with default values.
That's what I did here. After forcing a new config I changed color and textures to 32bit (r_colorbits 32 and r_texturebits 32).

four.dm_66
Sound ON (default)
Sound OFF
Sound ON (s_mixahead 0.04)
 
r_smp 1
r_smp 0
r_smp 1
r_smp 0
r_smp 1
r_smp 0
640x480
67.5
44.8
121.7
68.1
98.3
58.1
800x600
66.7
44.7
121.1
68.1
97.5
57.4
1024x768
65.1
44.6
110.7
69.1
95.0
57.2
1280x1024
60.2
44.0
72.6
66.0
71.7
55.8
1600x1200
46.4
42.0
48.3
48.4
(45.0)
(47.2)

As you see, sound is extremely "processor-intensive", with sound disabled I get more than twice the framerates (with r_smp enabled and at resolutions up to 1024x768).
That's why I changed the s_mixahead value (which basically says how far in time should sound-prediction look ahead and preload sounds in ram – or something like this). Its default value is 0.2. "s_mixahead 0.03" is the lowest value at which sounds were playing normally (at 640x480!). Going to 0.02 or below produced stuttering or distorted sound. At higher resolutions or with higher quality settings the value needs to be higher. The lowest possible value is different for each setup, so try it out for yours.
Values between parentheses mean that sound was stuttering there, so s_mixahead should have been higher.

Mac OS X – Q3 129f beta – Modified Locki's config (32bit):

I loaded locki's config (link above) and then I changed color and textures to 32bit (r_colorbits 32 and r_texturebits 32).

four.dm_66
Sound ON
Sound OFF
 
r_smp 1
r_smp 0
r_smp 1
r_smp 0
Basic 32bit Locki's @ 640x480
106.0
74.3
174.1
158.4
above + r_fastsky 0 + r_finish 0
108.1
75.0
188.3
159.6
above + s_mixahead 0.03
166.9
117.8
not needed
not needed
above + cg_draw3dicons 1
181.8
110.3
267.9
149.1
above config @ 800x600
177.9
110.3
249.8
147.8
above config @ 1024x768
154.8
110.1
174.1
146.5
above config @ 1280x1024
98.2
99.5
103.2
103.8
above config @ 1600x1200
64.7
(67.2)
67.0
67.3

r_fastsky had to be changed to 0 because otherwise the picture was flickering wildly. r_finish was changed to 0 so the fps could go above my screen's refresh rate (which is 160hz at 640x480, i believe – so i'm not sure what that 174fps value is doing up there). And finally cg_draw3dicons 1 has proven to be quite a speed boost when smp was enabled (see above).

When I saw the basic-locki-scores I was pretty disappointed. Only 14fps faster than with default config?! Anyway, with modifying the s_mixahead value one can squeeze almost 3 times more fps out of Quake3. Again, values between parentheses mean that sound was stuttering there, so s_mixahead should have been higher.
Update 06/22/2001: The scores with basic-locki are not as bad with 1.29f-2.
The graph below shows only the values with the modified config – not with the basic locki.

Now finally it leaves me wondering why the 1.29f beta pointrelease has so much of an fps hit if sound is enabled when Omnigroup's build seemed not to have one at all...
Update 06/22/2001: The slow sound issue was much improved in 1.29f-2.

Mac OS 9.1 – Q3 129f beta:

All Tests below were done with 32bit color & textures(r_colorbits 32 and r_texturebits 32) only.

 
Sound ON
Sound OFF
s_mixahead 0.11
Locki Sound ON
Locki Sound OFF
640x480
44.6
73.2
51.6
93.4
180.6
800x600
45.3
75.6
50.4
93.1
179.5
1024x768
44.3
75.1
51.1
93.7
175.3
1280x1024
x
x
x
x
x
1600x1200
x
x
x
x
x

At 32bit color and textures i was not able to switch resolutions to 1280x1024 or 1600x1200. If I selected to change resolution to 1280x1024 or 1600x1200, it would do exactly as it would when really switching resolution, only that afterward the resolution is still at 1024x768 (easily visible because of the size of the console-text). I had the same problem before back when I was using a Geforce2MX and Q3 1.27h. Changing to 16bit usually enabled me to switch to resolutions higher than 1024x768.

As you can see, there is still quite a difference between sound ON and OFF, especially at lower detail settings like Locki's config. I guess that leaves room for improvement. Especially when you compare the results to those from version 1.17 (at the top of this page) you'll see that sound ON scores with the new 1.29 version are quite a bit slower, whereas sound OFF scores are nearly the same – even though the timedemo sequence is entirely different!

- Oliver


Quake3 1.29f Beta Info:

ID's Quake3Arena page lists a 1.29f Beta version release including one for OS X. [Note - that page should list the F-2 OS X updated beta w/sound fix and the Classic beta 1.29 update now.] Changes comments from ID are:

    The list of changes in this release is just massive!
    In a nutshell...
  • New pro maps
  • New network code
  • New auto-update system
  • New rail, rocket, plasma, and lightning gun effects
  • New cheating counter measures

    This release will update any previous installation of Quake III Arena

Other Quake3 1.29 beta Tests: Reader Ben Boffee sent results of his tests of the 1.29 beta Classic Quake3 update on his Voodoo5 equipped Beige G3 w/466MHz CPU upgrade. 

For other Graphics card tests of the GeForce3 vs Radeon in a 2xAGP G4/500 and G4/733, see this previous article. Other Video card reviews and tests are on the Video articles page.


 
= back to www.XLR8YOURMAC.com =


= Other Site Topic Areas =
Mac Mods/Upgrades | CPU Upgrades | Storage | Video | Audio/HT | Misc/Software | Search | Recent


Copyright © , 1997-2014. All Rights Reserved
All brand or product names mentioned are properties of their respective companies.

Legal: Site Privacy and terms/conditions of use.