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Reader Reports/Tips on Mac World of Warcraft Performance
Reports Last Updated: Dec 17, 2007

This page has Mac owner reports (and some tips) on World of Warcraft performance with various Mac (PowerPC and Intel CPU) systems and ATI and Nvidia graphics cards.

Reader Reports: (most recent first)
I welcome other WoW users comments on performance with any Mac system (PowerPC or Intel CPU) and please note your framerates seen typical play - use CTRL-r for FPS rate display. Also note the WoW version, OS version and resolution/game settings used in reports. Thanks! )

FYI on WoW/OS X Leopard, PPC Macs and Nvidia Cards: Here's some links from previous main xlr8yourmac.com news pages last month that I forgot to post here:

  • More Notes/Tips on WoW with Leopard
  • Blizzard forum post "Leopard: PowerPC systems with NV graphics"
  • 10.5.1 notes from G5 owner w/30in Display and Nvidia 6800 card (Nov. 16th, 2007 news - see item 1)

  • A reader reply to the previous Mini owner report from Dec. 11th (regarding only 1GB RAM):

    (added 12/17/2007)
    "I have an Intel iMac, 2.16GHz Core Duo (1st Gen) with the extra 128Mb video ram and 2GB of memory. This summer I had a RAM chip die and I had to run with 1GB RAM for about a month while I waited for a new chip to be sent from the manufacturer. I am a semi regular WoW player and I noticed right away that my performance really tanked with just the 1GB of RAM. I mean REALLY TANKED. Like almost unplayable at the settings I had used the previous week. I had to go to a smaller screen size, and set all of the video settings to their lowest level to be even close to the FPS I was getting. I didn't take actual numbers but you can tell I was in sub 10FPS territory whenever I entered a city or village.

    Once the RAM was restored to 2GB, I was able to get back to my previous settings, almost all of which are max'd out at native screen resolution. My advice is simple, do NOT run a Mac without at least 2GB of ram if you want to game, especially in WoW!
    Hope this helps others,
    -Kim C."

    Especially with RAM so cheap now. If the machine supports it (some older models don't) I'd prefer 4GB at least. I'm not a WoW player but I upgraded my (originally 1GB RAM) refurb AL 24in iMac with a 4GB (2x2GB sodimms) RAM upgrade from sponsor OWC. Working flawlessly. (Prices change over time so check their memory upgrade kits for current prices, but I've seen under $26 for 4GB (2x2GB sodimms) and under $50 for 8GB (two 4GB sodimms) for iMacs, Macbooks/Pros, etc. Typically include a Lifetime warranty. (They also have a page with their MAXram (max usable amount) Testing results by Mac Model covering Intel-based Macs and some PowerPC G3/G4 models.)

    (added 12/11/2007)
    "WoW performance - new Mac Mini
    One of my concerns when I decided to purchase a mini over the MBP while I decided if a mac was for me or not was 3D performance, specifically in WoW.

    I'm running OS X 10.5.1 on a Mini Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz with 1GB of memory here. Starting with the basic settings at a resolution of 1344 x 840 (one of the wide options) and with terrain distance turned down and refresh at 60 Hz I was getting a steady 30 fps tonight over a period of a couple of hours. This included activity in Exodor, SW, IF, several zones, and DM. Very nice visually and highly playable, even coming from a 2.8GHz P4 with 1GB PC2700 and an Asus N6600 with 256MB RAM.

    With the same mini system running at 72 Hz refresh and a bit higher settings on some of the visual settings I was seeing 5 fps in Shat (fairly crowded area) with max of about 12 fps in EOTS BG. This was brutal and I would have sent the box back and bought the MBP if that is all I could have gotten.

    Personally, 30 fps over that period is plenty for me to keep this box and throw some additional memory and an external drive on it. And this box only draws 23W - 110W? And it's this quiet? Consider me a convert.
    -John L."

    (added 1/26/2007)
    "Just wanted to say that this game is by no means unplayable on older hardware. Here's my set up

    G4 MDD dual 1GHz, 2GB RAM. Radeon 9800XT 256MB VRAM (flashed from PC)
    WoW latest version 2.x I think.
    Running at 1152 x 864
    Full Screen Glow = Off (very important for Mac performance apparently)

    With terrain distance set to about half and most other settings turned down I'm getting average 50-60fps in The Barrens etc, dropping to a minimum of about 15fps in busy places like Ogrimmar, but averaging 25fps even there. Indoors back up to 50-60fps.

    I think the game still looks great even with the eye-candy turned off, you just have to accept that you won't get the bells and whistles. It's perfectly playable.
    Looking forward to seeing how it runs on newer hardware when it arrives though.
    -Dominic F. "

    (added 1/24/2007)
    "I wanted to submit my wow performance - moving from a G4/400 (with 1.2GHz processor upgrade) to an iMac 24in 7600GT!
    powermac g4 (1.2GHz, 1.75 gigs ram, 9800 pro 128MB video card)
    wow settings: 1200 x 1028 res, everything on high/max except terrain distance
    FPS: 13 - 24
    Gameplay: playable, but choppy. even if i lower all the settings, fps/smoothness is a little better, but it looks like crap.

    iMac 24" (7600 GT 256 card, 2 gigs ram, 2.16GHz proc, 250 gig drive)
    Wow settings: max res on the 24" 1900 x 1200?, ALL SETTINGS MAXED!
    FPS: 32 - 67
    Gameplay: VERY ENJOYABLE!!! smooth turning and running. even when the FPS dip down to the 30's the game is smooth and solid. I HIGHLY recommend this system to any mac OR PC wow players.

    PS: i played last night, while installing FCP studio, checking email and surfing the web and the gameplay was awesome!
    Thanks again for a great site!
    -Mik B. "

    WoW 2.0.1 Update: (Note - there's been several later updates in Jan 2007, see patch notes page.) The Dec. 5th, 2006 WoW patch notes has a huge list of changes/fixes - here's a copy of the Mac specific ones:

    • Added support for Multi-Threaded OpenGL on Intel Macs running OS X 10.4.8 or higher. Depending on hardware, scene and graphical settings, this can raise frame rates up to a factor of 2X.
    • Improved video hardware detection and default settings, especially with Intel video.
    • Vertex Animation Shaders have been disabled for systems with Intel video.
    • Improved iTunes key-binding feature for smoothness and track name display.
    • Fixed a bug where Tutorial Tips would not be marked as viewed correctly on PowerPC Macs.
    • Fixed a rare crash bug in the audio code.
    • Improved support for Weather Shaders.
    • Added support for changing the mouse sensitivity in WoW.
      Previously, the Mac version ignored the value from the slider in the Interface Options dialog.

    Here's a MacBook user's comments on the update:

    (added 12/6/2006)
    "MacBook Core Duo 2.0GHz with 2GB of RAM
    Okay new patch 2.0.1 is awesome.
    my version on my guild forums has links to the flickr lib, the thumbnail goes somewhere, etc. here's the post:

    okay, first of all: intel Macs can use GLFaster now.
    My MacBook has always been at like, 15 fps running around nowhere, and single-digits outside the bank in Iron Forge.

    Tonight I'm getting a *much* better rate for all rendering. I have my detail settings jacked all the way down, enabled shaders then ticked them all off.
    screencaps of FPS while running around, flying, and sitting in a cart contemplating my talent spec.
    I've never seen anything like this:

    Getting 50+ FPS is completely unheard of on this machine, staring at the wall or no.
    I did drop to like 2 fps at the bank when looking at the sea of people.
    I think in typical use it will be much better. Regardless, this machine is finally playable.

    Another thing, I don't know how to explain it, but when I move to GLFaster 2 instead of GLFaster 1, the movement and UI "feels buttery". That is to say, it seems slippery. It is buffering too many frames and they're all sliiiiiding into place at once. It just has a weird buttery sensation.I wish there was a better adjective.
    But seriously folks, time to check it out on your MacBooks. It has drastically improved. I can only imagine the performance boost the MBPs with real video cards are getting.
    -R. Emory Williamson-Lundberg "

    Increasing Fan Speeds on MacBook Pro:

    (added 10/23/2006)
    " I wanted to add to the Macbook Pro Performance page... I found this pretty interesting:
    It seems like the MBP turns graphics performance down when it gets too hot. (Apple Macbook/MacBook Pros throttle CPU speed depending on temperatures - Apple has a little footnote/disclaimer on speeds on the apple store product page: "1. The MacBook Pro continuously monitors system thermal and power conditions, and may adjust processor speed as needed to maintain optimal system operation.")
    So what I did is get me a program that can set the minimum fan speed (SMC Fan Control) and set that to max before starting WoW.
    I had the problem of getting very low framerates in locations such as Southshore, which is ridiculous at 18-20. I also noticed that sometimes they were much higher. The solution was to cool everything down, and the framerates stayed high.
    -I. "

    A reader also commented on the difference in Fan Control 1.1 vs smc FanControl v1.2, although there's been a 1.2.1 update to SMC fancontrol since then. 17in MBP models were also reported to vary the GPU (ATI X1600) clocks. See previous page on iMac/MacBook Pro X1600 Clock Speeds, Overclocking X1600 (using ATItool in WinXP)

    Mac Pro, ATI X1900 XT Owner: (sent before 10.4.8 was released, but was missing WoW version and resolution info, added now)

    (added 10/2/2006)
    "Mac Pro 2.66GHz, 2GB Ram, OS X 10.4.7 (8K1124)
    Radeon X1900 XT (standard core speed)

    WOW performance 60.x FPS in all settings. (hitting the cap)
    I live only 9 hops from my server so that's probably the reason why the Mac Pro is able to really shine with frame rates.
    (I asked for resolution used and WoW version-Mike)
    1920 X 1200, WoW 1.12.1
    -Oz "

    First feedback from 13in MacBook (2GHz) Owner:

    (added 5/18/2006)
    " Didn't get much time with my 2GHz, 512 MB RAM, 60 GB MacBook as I'll need to return it due to an extremely loud, apparently broken fan, but I got a chance to briefly try out World of Warcraft.
    All I had time to do was run around Gadgetzan for a couple minutes. I put the settings to their lowest point and within the city (average number of players in town) I got 10-15 FPS with frequent dips to about 6 when turning around. Outside of the city in the empty desert I saw about 20 FPS. In the inn I got somewhere in the mid 20s.
    More RAM might help, but I'm tempted to get the MacBook Pro even for casual playing.
    -William M."

    If I wanted it for gaming, I'd prefer the MacBook Pro too. The MacBook Pro's ATI X1600 graphics are definitely higher performance than the onboard Intel GMA950 in the 13in MacBook.

    Reminder on Removing WTB/WTF Folders after Updates:

    (added 4/18/2006)
    " I had some extreme problems with my iMac G5 20" 2GHz running WoW after the big recent update (not sure of the update number, 1.9.3 maybe? It was the one that added weather, etc. My frame rate dropped way down, my character animation were VERY choppy (especially turning), and the performance had just dropped all around.

    I emailed Blizzard technical support, and they recommended that I take out the WTB, WTF, and Interface folders from my WoW folder, restart my iMac, and then launch the game. (FYI - that's an old tip after WoW updates mentioned here last year.-Mike) I kept these files on the desktop in case I needed to replace them, but the game recreates them when it launches. After I did this, the game ran extremely smoothly, and I recommend that anyone try this if they have performance issues.

    I also wanted to ask a question. Can you or anyone recommend to me what my video settings should be at? I have a fast connect, the iMac is maxed out with 2 gigabytes of memory, and I'm running the most recent version of Mac OS X. I'd like to know where I should set the shading, Death Effect (I don't even know what that is), and other options for an optimal gaming experience.
    Love all the comments, thanks so much for the site.
    Best, Kevin"

    I don't own WoW but if anyone that does has a suggestion for Kevin let me know. Thanks.

    2GHz Core Duo iMac World of Warcraft performance w/Win XP vs OS X The latest feedback on performance using an Intel based Mac with a "BootCamp" install of Win XP and OS X:

    (added 4/6/2006)
    " Hey Mike, love the site. I installed Boot Camp last night and did a little test with World of Warcraft to see how a 20" iMac's ATI chip would fare under Win XP compared to OS X.

    System details:
    - 20in 2GHz Core Duo iMac
    - 1.5 GB Ram
    - 256 MB VRam

    One of the great things about WoW is that the settings and AddOns are transportable from system to system, even from Mac to PC. Once I copied over the "WTF" and "Interface" folders from the WoW directory on the OS X partition to the XP partition (formatted FAT32) and launched WoW, everything comes up with the same settings and custom interfaces (which I use extensively). This makes it a balanced test.

    - I was seeing about 25-30 FPS in the Ironforge Auction House area in OS X. With the same settings, I was seeing about 40-45 FPS in the same location with similar crowds in XP.

    - In the open terrain area just outside Ironforge (looking over the cliff just to the left of the entrance), I was seeing about 30 FPS in OS X. In XP at the same location, again about 40-45 FPS.

    I have almost all settings set to their highest level, except Terrain Distance, Terrain Detail Level, and Anisotropic Filtering, which were all set to low. All shader effects and Vertical Sync were off.

    I was able to set everything to its highest level, and turn on all shader effects in XP and still have 30FPS while looking over a complex terrain. This would have choked OS X to about 15 FPS.

    Something else interesting to note is that in XP there are MANY more options for refresh rate and bitdepth/sampling rate.
    Let me know if you want more detailed information!
    -Lars "

    WoW runs under DirectX on Windows and OpenGL on the Mac.

    iMac Intel Core Duo 2GHz (20in), 256MB VRAM:

    (added 3/24/2006)
    "WoW performance on iMac Intel Core Duo 20in, 2GHz, 2GB RAM, 256MB VRAM

    Resolution 1680x1050
    24 bit color 24 bit depth 2x multisample (AA)
    Terrain distance maxed
    Environment detail maxed
    Texture detail maxed
    Anisotropic filtering maxed
    Terrain texture maxed
    Spell effect detail maxed
    All shader effects checked
    (only thing I can think of not enabled is trilinear filtering, not sure why I didn't turn this on....) Basically, everything is on full

    - Indoor about 40 - 100 fps (in a "full" population realm at peak hour I'm sitting on 30+ fps when looking west across the bank- >auction house area, look at a wall and the framerate will max out at 100)

    - Outdoor 25-50fps (normally with full screen glow unchecked)

    - Mouse look is still extremely laggy, but this has been fixed on the PTR running version 1.10. Even with lower framerates the mouse movement is now very smooth on the test realm.

    - Full screen glow is fine to enable in indoor instances but creates too much of a hit to framerates outdoors, ~ in the order of 10fps which is more noticable outdoors.

    - I'll be going on my first MC/BWL runs on the new iMac this weekend, so I should be able to add some more info as to how it performs in the ulimate stress situations in 40 man raids (Raiding, for those who do not know is an area where Macs suffer far more than PCs, this appears to be an interface related issue that Blizzard has acknowledged)

    - In conclusion, this is a fantastic machine, the first all-in-one that Apple has produced that really does have cutting edge technology and can easily run the latest games maxed out (as universal binaries) and older games not yet recompiled run just fine on middling settings.

    Another Intel Core Duo Mac Mini (1GB RAM) report:

    (added 3/23/2006)
    Mac Mini Details:
    1.66GHz Intel Core Duo/1GB RAM/100GB HD/Superdrive/GMA950/Airport/Bluetooth

    Had to set my refresh rate down to 60 Hertz, otherwise I keep getting an Out Of Range error on my monitor, so I just hit escape to quit the game. That's probably not commonly experienced by others. Had to wait to download the patches and agree to the EULA and Terms Of Service several times.

    But after doing all of that, and finally getting into the game, everything seemed to run fine. FPS went from 6 to 30 while in Ogrimmar anyways. I don't know what the performance was like with only 512MB of SDRAM, but with 1GB it seems to run very well for the most part, considering it's a non-nVidia card.

    (I asked what resolution and game settings he was using.-Mike)
    I'm using 1024x768 resolution both in-game and desktop (more a monitor limitation than a hardware limitation), the game runs fine at higher resolutions also, but I have a small monitor (only 17" I think) and didn't want my desktop to be super tiny. Other settings are as follows:
    Refresh Rate: 60Hz
    Multisampling: 24-bit color, 24-bit depth
    Terrain Distance: Low
    Environment Detail: Center
    Anisotropic Filtering: Low
    Terrain Texture: Low
    Texture Detail: Low
    Vertical Sync, Cinematic Subtitles, and Hardware Cursor are all check marked
    Spell Detail Level: High
    Everything else is at defaults for the time being

    A detailed report from a similar Intel CPU Mini is below.

    Intel Core Duo Mac Mini (1GB RAM)

    (added 3/17/2006)
    "Just thought you might like to know that my Core Duo mini arrived a couple of days ago, and I've just run some WoW tests on it.

    MacMini Core Duo 1.66GHz
    1GB RAM (paired 2x512MB SO-DIMM)
    WoW 1.9.4 Universal build 5086 (identified as "Intel GCC" on the login screen)
    Resolution 1024 x 768 (Toshiba HDTV connected with a DVI to HDMI cable)

    The first thing I noticed was that you can't enable most of the graphics options offered on higher-end machines. There's no FSAA options, only 16 or 32-bit color selections. None of the advanced shader effects are available, (Terrain Highlights, Full-Screen Glow, Death Effect), all of the vertex animation shader options are grayed- out and so is trilinear filtering. Obviously, none of these options are supported, either by the GMA950 chipset or Apple's current OpenGL drivers.

    I use the following settings for my test:

    • Terrain Distance: Medium (slider in the middle)
    • Environment Detail: Low (slider at left side)
    • Anisotropic filtering: Low (slider at left side)
    • Terrain Texture: Low (slider at left side)
    • Texture Detail: Low (slider at left side)

    Running through Duskwood from Raven Hill to Darkshire, my FPS was consistent at between 16-20 FPS for the whole run. Entering the Darkshire village, frame rate initially dropped to 6 FPS and then climbed back to around 15 - there were at least 6 other players present at the time, since Stitches was on the loose. Entering the Scarlet Raven Tavern, it jumped to over 30 FPS, even with several other players present.

    Even with all the graphic options turned down, the game still looks good, and the framerate is solidly playable, if not spectacular. As always with WoW, Terrain Distance seems to be critical - raising the slider above about halfway kills the framerate, dropping it below 10 in some areas. Indoor areas are consistently better than outdoor.

    All in all, I was pleasantly surprise by how well the Mini coped with WoW. I wouldn't want to use it as my "everyday" machine, but for the odd game it was more than acceptable.
    (he later wrote with comments on reported vram size which he said remained at 64MB regardless of resolution, etc. - see post below. He also mentioned a higher res test-Mike)

    BTW, WoW gets about 12FPS outdoors (Loch Modan) at 1920 x 1080, although indoor framerate is still in the low 30's. Again, the distance you can see is the critical factor.
    Hope this is of use to people
    -Simon Lawson, UK"

    Below is an earlier Intel Core Duo Mini report with only had 512MB of RAM.

    iMac Intel Core Duo 2GHz/256MB VRAM

    (added 3/17/2006)
    "WoW performance on iMac Intel Core Duo 20in, 2GHz, 1GB RAM, 256MB VRAM
    Resolution 1680x1050
    24 bit color 24 bit depth 1xmultisample (no FSAA)
    Terrain distance 50%
    Environment detail high
    Texture detail high
    Anisotropic filtering off
    Terrain texture high

    Box checked:
    Level of detail
    Enable all shader effects
    Vertex animation shaders

    Indoor about 50 fps
    Outdoor 25-30 fps,
    The picture attached is from a scene with the above settlings. It must be seen on the 20" iMac screen!! (file was 560KB Jpeg, too large to post-Mike)

    Unchecking the "Enable all shader effects" -box, increases FPS to 40-50 in a normal typical outdoor scene and indoor scenes are up to 80-100 fps.
    -GE/Per "

    Intel Core Duo Mac Mini:

    (added 3/15/2006)
    "I have also been wondering how the new Intel Mac Mini will run World of Warcraft. So I decided to give it a try. After 1hr 20min for installation and updates, I can honestly say there is little to no difference between WoW on a Mac Mini Core Duo and a PowerBook G4 12" (which has the Nvidia FX5200):

    - current models with standard shipping configurations
    - up-to-date Mac OS X 10.4
    - default WoW video settings running at 1024x768

    I am sitting in Ironforge right now and getting 6 - 30 fps depending on where I am in town and how many other players are running around me. At Sentinel Hill I am getting anywhere from 10 - 15 fps.

    The game certainly isn't the same as my G5 Dual 2Ghz with ATI Radeon 9800, but it is playable.
    (Just for the record I asked him how much RAM was installed (and if it was matched pairs).-Mike)
    The standard 512MB is installed as a pair of 256MB sticks.

    I wonder if more RAM would have any significant benefit for WoW. (I welcome other Intel Mini owner's WoW performance notes - send them in and include your Mini's details. thanks!)

    Intel Core Duo 2GHz iMac:

    (added 3/15/2006)
    I am running Wow on an Intel Dual Core iMac 20", 2GHz, 1GB RAM, 256MB VRAM. With the 1680x1050 res. Indoor scenes are mostly in 90-100 fps.
    Outdoors are up to 100 fps depending on scenes, activity and settlings but in a "normal" settling it is about 50 fps. Up in the sky is easily up to the 100 fps, however I would be glad to know if you can tell me what settling and scene is approproate to use to have a better comparision, I will then test it and give you my results.
    Thanks. -Per"

    I don't own WoW but maybe some of the past reports here (below) would have some useful notes on areas with the biggest performance hit. (I also asked what game/quality settings he used.)

    Intel Core Duo iMac

    (added 3/15/2006)
    "I'm getting 60-70 fps in all areas (including cities!) with all settings turned up excluding full screen glow, death effect, etc. The game looks beautiful and is making me feel a bit better about the amount of money I've thrown down.

    There is, however, a possible storm coming in over the horizon. It seems my iMac and the keyboard are fighting it out. It's the default kb attached through USB. Quite often the iMac stops taking input from the kb and I have to reset the connection real quick (yeah, yeah... I know you're not supposed to unplug a kb). (actually with USB it shouldn't be a problem-Mike) The odd thing is the mouse works fine when the kb is out of it.

    I haven't used a Mac in years, was in the Windows world until yesterday. Maybe there's a simple fix for my kb.
    -James S. "

    I asked James for more details on his system (CPU speed, OS version, Vram, any 3rd party addons, etc.) and if the keyboard was directly connected to the Mac (not through a hub, etc.). I'd also try a different keyboard and check activity monitor (and maybe the logs too) to see if it showed anything useful. (BTW - Several other new iMac owners replied to his post saying they'd seen the same thing occasionally.)

    Intel Core Duo 2.1GHz iMac report:

    (added 3/9/2006)
    I own a new iMac Intel Core Duo (screen is 20 inches) 2.1Ghz, 512MB RAM, 128MB VRAM, latest update from Wow (1.9.4 as of today) and I have an average FPS of 30 in outdoors.
    I'm running Wow in full screen max resolution (1680x1050 full screen), all graphics details set to maximum, except for filters & vert. Sync that are off.
    I plan to add an extra 1 GB of RAM because I noticed Wow often swaps to disk in big zones

    Dual Core G5/2GHz w/Nvidia 7800GT Card:

    (added 2/23/2006)
    "Hi Mike, I was surprised by the performance posted by Jake B. (see below) on his Intel 20in iMac comparing to my PPC with the spec as follows:
    -Dual Core PPC 2GHz
    - 2GB Ram
    - Nvidia 7800 GT (256MB VRAM)

    I tried to follow Jake B's settings having everything maxed out with Full Screen Grow, Death Effect and VSync all disabled. AF is set to Low, M2Faster is enabled and running at 1280x1024. Outdoor frame rate ranges from 27-45fps and in IF standing outside the AH facing the bank frame rate drops to 15-19 fps!!
    Decreasing the Terrain Distance boosts the frame rate dynamically (especially when in outdoor) and I can get the frame rate somewhere close to Jake B's if TD is set to Low. :-(
    I have to say.. PowerPC with even the best graphic card available still sucks in WOW. I wish I would have a Intel Mac.. :-)
    Thanks, Edmund
    from Hong Kong "

    Latest Intel CPU iMac WoW Reports:

    (added 2/16/2006)
    " Hi Mike, I just unboxed my BTO Intel iMac 20" (256MB VRAM and 1Gig DDR2) and installed WoW and updated to the lastest Universal Binary (1.9.3 probably as 1.9.4 was released after this mail was sent. I asked if he'd tried 1.9.4 and update to OS X 10.4.5.-Mike) and I have to say I'm very impressed with the performance of the machine with what I've seen so far.
    I configured the game settings to max texture details and max draw distance, turned on all graphical features aside from Full Screen Glow (Which Cripples the Game in OpenGL) and it ran pretty steadily between 60-100fps at 1680x1050 No AA/ 16x AF No Vsync (You can override OpenGL Settings with the Downloadable ATI Control Panel). (I wrote to ask him what version of ATI Displays he's using as the current public 4.5.7 version isn't compatible with his system as far as I know - but see below for his reply on that.-Mike)
    The minimum framerate I saw was when I was in front of the Ironforge Auction House, at which time it hit into the 39-47 range.

    The problems with Full Screen Glow, and to a lesser extent the Death Effect, seem to be more related to the Shader implementation used in Apple's version of OpenGL, or maybe even the ATI Drivers. Because when you run a PC with similarly powered hardware using DirectX, these crippling frame drops aren't seen when you turn on these effects. It may be just he nature of DirectX's shaders, but I'm no expert. I think it can only get better from here as the OS Progresses and ATI gets a chance to clean up a the drivers a bit. But, for now, you can't get much better bang for your buck on the Mac Side for gaming.

    Overall I'm very pleased because the complaints I have really don't affect the way the game plays at all, just some whizbangs and eyecandy.
    -Jake B "

    I asked Jake for an update after installing WoW 1.9.4 and OS X 10.4.5 updates and about his ATI Displays version:

    " Yes, I have both 1.9.4 and 10.4.5, and I have the extra command 'set M2Faster "1"' in my config.wts file, (see prev. post on this) and framerates have increased another 10% or so in the larger cities to about 45-50fps. Haven't noticed too much of a difference anywhere else. But all in all, performance has been great.

    (in reply to the question on ATI displays version. Current public version is 4.5.7 and doesn't list this mac/graphics chip.-Mike)
    The ATI Control panel works on my machine. It doesn't recognize the fact that I have an X1600, but I was able to create an application profile for World of Warcraft. I'll do some more homework after work and just play with the in game settings to see if it makes a difference.
    -Jake B "

    Note - a reader replied to this post with a note on ATI Displays and WoW:

    "I read the post from Jake B. using ATI Displays with World of Warcraft. I highly recommend users to not use ATI Displays for WoW on any system (PPC or Intel) and to instead use the built-in functionality or at the very least, avoid using the ATI Displays FSAA override as it can lead to graphic corruption.
    Using WoW's built-in FSAA does not have the same issues. There also seems to be an issue with some of the new Intel iMacs where enabling FSAA for WoW will eventually result in a system freeze. According to some posts in the WoW Mac tech support forum it's been investigated, or as they put it:
    "Top men are working on it - top men." - Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Ciao! -A.J. "

    (added 2/16/2006 - from Feb 14th mail so probably using 10.4.4/WoW 1.9.3)
    "Just got to your web page via GOOGLE. It's nice to know there is a place to share the experience.
    I bought a iMAC (2.0GHz/1GB system RAM/128MB graphic ram) yesterday. With 1600x1050 resolution, mid farsight, mid object detail, low texture detail, and no painting effect (at the down below lefthand side of the video option windown), I could get fps about 30 in the field, and 25 in the crowded place fully packed with players. If I uncheck the "vertical sync", I could get about 4x~5x in the field, however, while moving, the scene unaturally vibrated.
    Hope this provides something...
    Regards, Ventbrumeux "

    (There's one earlier Intel CPU iMac WoW 1.9.3 report from Feb. 8th below.)

    WoW 1.9.4 Patch

    " hi mike, there is a new wow patch/update version 1.9.4.
    it's for general problems but for macs with intel processor it fixes problems with the timing and with the framerate.
    best regards, Torben "

    See updates section above for details from Blizzard's patch page.

    Feedback on Experimental Graphics Tweak (M2Faster) in WoW v1.9.3

    " Mike, you may have already covered this but Blizzard is evaluating new code for improving frame rates in high density areas of the game. The description is found at WoW Mac forum post on Experimental graphics change in 1.9.3.

    I have tried it on both a 20" 1.8GHz iMac with 1GB RAM and GeForce 5200 64 MB and on a dual 2.7GHz PowerMac with 2GB RAM and ATI XT800 256MB card.

    In both cases the frame rates were noticeably higher in IronForge by about 3-5 FPS from rates obtained without the code. I have found no compatibility issues yet.
    -Matthew M "

    PowerPC Mac user reports on WoW 1.9.3 Update: (later reports first)

    (added 2/10/2006)
    "Hi Mike, I spent about 3 hours playing WoW ast night (It's addictive!), and I haven't seen the turning bug mentioned after the 1.9.3 update. Mine is still slow compared to a faster Mac or a decent PC, but no worse than before, maybe a little better.
    My system:
    G4 Sawtooth, OS X 10.3.9
    1.2GHz FastMac proc, 1GB RAM
    64 MB Radeon 8500
    WoW is running off a Maxtor 80 GB FW 400 drive.
    With this I get 11-18fps in most areas, dropping to 3-5 sometimes around a busy auction house (Ironforge/Ogrimmar). Most settings are at minimums, except for Level of Detail, Anisotropic filtering, and terrain distance is up one notch, res is a 1024 x 768. When I'm going to be around an auction house, or the great forge at IF, for a while, I'll switch the res to 800 x 600 just to run at 4-7 fps (It's amazing how much better 7 fps is than 3!). I believe the latest updates (1.9 and up) have improved this somewhat, since I have seen framerates at an AH (1024 x 768) in the 1.3-3fps range!

    By way of comparison, I also have an PC running XP Pro with an AMD Athlon 2400+, 512MB, 128MB Radeon 9700 Pro running WoW, and it usually runs anywhere from 20-30 fps with specular highlights on and most settings in the middle, res at 1024 x 768. There, too, the Auction House kills the framerate, dropping it to 5-12 fps

    Just had an idea-if the player is using UI add-ons, Blizzard's updates often break them. Have they tried disabling them and trying again? I was using Auctioneer for a while, and it slowed things down considerably, until I turned it off. Also, I've noticed that switching from fullscreen to windowed and back again can degrade performance over time.
    Hope this helps!
    -Jeff R. "

    (added 2/10/2006)
    "I installed and ran the 1.9.3 update last night on my MDD 1.4.2 running 10.4.4. I have the 64mb ATI card that came with it. I think it is the RV250.
    I had no performance issues. Frame rates were good 25+ I had no camera issues. I could spin around my character while jumping and moving in the middle of a fight. I was even able to smoothly keep the camera looking at a fixed location on the horizon will running in circles.
    -Shawn "

    (added 2/9/2006)
    "I have not seen any major performance issue with the latest Blizzard patch.
    I am running a Dual G5 2.3GHz/2.5GB RAM, NV GF6600/256MB (10.4.3) and so far - everything is fine. My G4/1.25Ghz (10.3.7) laptop has the patch just prior to 1.9.3 and its still slow, but not any slower, that I've seen.
    -dragon_x "

    (added 2/9/2006)
    " I have a 1.25GHz 15" powerbook, stock video (mobility 9600 with 64 MB i think), a 60gig 7200 rpm drive, and 1.5 Gigs of RAM. I ran WOW (1.9.3) on my 10.4.4 system all night last night with no problems at all. I am not noticing the turning / mouse look problems that some other users have mentioned. Just a heads up as it might not be a PPC specific problem.
    With ATIcellerator i get FPS from 20-35 in most areas other than IF or when in raids when it can drop as low as 10.
    (After an earlier report from a PB G4 owner said the app was still v1.9.2 after the update I asked Eli to check the version-Mike)
    My version on the startup screen is 1.9.3 (5059)
    -Eli "

    (added 2/9/2006)
    " Hi Mike, I have a PowerBook 17" 1.67GHz (1440x900) 1.5GB PC2700/100GB/10.4.4
    I have been running WoW up to 1.9.2 with resolution set to 1440x900, all options turned up except:
    * Terrain distance (2 notches up from bottom)
    * Environment detail 50%
    * Spell detail 50%
    * Death effect turned off
    * Full glow turned off

    I have had VERY good performance at this level of detail, everything looks good and plays sooth in all but the most populated areas.

    After the 1.9.3 update, performance is ALMOST unplayable. As a previous report from Eric R indicated also, the problem is with rotating the camera around players, and causes intermittent massive screen lagging where it appears the frame rate drops off to ridiculously low levels. I have tried completely deleting and reinstalling WoW and tried turning on/off all the settings I can, as well as deleting the WDB and WTF folders, but the performance is not improved. I really cant justify paying money for this application on a monthly basis with this sort of performance. If the issue is in the compiling of the application, why cant Blizzard run two separate Mac versions of WoW, one compiled for Intel and one for PPC? Especially if they know of this performance degradation.
    Cheers, Danny G.
    (he later wrote)
    As a follow up to this, I have been in contact with Rob Barris at Blizzard who is looking into this issue, and I have had a fair bit of correspondence with him. He is certainly on the ball with regards to this issue. "

    (added 2/9/2006)
    " Hi Mike! 1st off, this is a GREAT site, please keep it up forever and ever! :D With regards to WoW v1.9.3, I downloaded it last night, and was playing for over 4 hours... As far as I was concerned, everything was exactly the same as before performance wise.
    Most of that 4 hours was spent running around in Tanaris - Gadgetzen, Abyssal Sands, and Thistleshrub Valley, and in the instance Zal'Farrak itself.
    While most of Tanaris is fairly dismal (its a desert environment), Thistleshrub Valley is FILLED with cacti, and I definitely had no problems turning in the area. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
    Zal'Farrak was also exactly the same as the previous times I'd gone into it solo, no performance hit despite there being 4 other players with me this time. One of the fights in Zal'Farrak involves the 5 of you, + 5 elite NPCs, going up against about 100+ mostly non-elite trolls. They come in waves of 5-10 at a time, and if your specs are turned up high enough (mine were), you can see the rest of the trolls milling around at the base of the pyramid... Even at that point, there was no noticable frame rate drop.
    FPS was mainly between 15-26, which is fairly normal for me.

    I'm using the last model 20" iMac G5 with 1.5GB of RAM... Everything else is stock standard. Personally, I'm pretty happy with my machine. I may get a Mactel Mac Mini when it's released though...
    Regards (and thanks!)
    Jonathan "

    (added 2/9/2006)
    " Mike, After installing the 1.9.3 update on my Mac I've seen no difference in frame rates. Turning does seem choppier for me, but having been through the hell that was playing WoW on 10.4.3 with a Geforce4Ti it doesn't bother me much. As for the person who didn't see a 1.9.3 revision tag on the app, you have to log out/restart before you will see it. It does update the app on all Macs.

    My system:
    Digital Audio Dual G4 533Mhz
    1.25GB RAM
    73GB Ultra160 10000RPM SCSI drive for system and WoW
    -Mike M. "

    (added 2/9/2006)
    " I have a PowerBook 17in 1.67ghz with 512mb RAM and 128mb vram. I also have an iMac 15in at 800mhz with 512mb RAM and 32mb vram. After the update with the Universal Binaries, which I assume it did something because it took a while and made me redo the agreements, I see no real difference in performance. Not that I expected to since these are PPCs. I certainly would have been, um, annoyed if there had been a performance hit on these machines.

    WoW does pretty well on the PowerBook, keeping in the high 20's - low 30's FPS according to the ingame addon Titan. The iMac is playable reporting ingame FPS at about 18 - 22.
    -Chip "

    (added 2/9/2006)
    " I am running a dual 2.5G G5, 2GB RAM, ATI 9600 256MB VRAM, WD Raptor 74GB HD, and Maxtor 300GB HD, and OSX 10.4.4 with dual monitors. So far I can not tell any loss of frame rates. I average about 25FPS but go above 30 and no less than 18. Not great, but playable and no less than before the patch. I can get slitly higher sustained FPS if I disconnect the second monitor. I also generally play in windowed mode, which probably knocks it down a few FPS. Movement does not seem any less smooth than before the patch, or than on the AMD machine that I have also played it on.
    -Neal "

    (added 2/9/2006)
    " I have installed and played the 1.9.3 patch and noticed no difference at all. Everything works great on my system. I have a Duel 1.8ghz G5 with 2.5 gig of ram and the stock nVIDIA FX 5200, 64 meg video card.
    My display settings are:
    resolution: 1344x840
    Refresh: 60Hz
    Multisampling 24-Bit depth 1x multisample
    Windowed Mode and maximized are both checked

    For world appearance sliders I have:
    Terrain Distance: about 20%
    Environmental Detail: 100%
    Anisotropic Filtering: 0%
    Terrain Texture: 0%
    Texture Detail: 0%
    and level of detail is checked
    For brightness I have use desktop gamma checked

    For Shaders I have:
    Enable all shader effects unchecked
    Vertex animation shaders is checked
    and smooth shading is also checked

    For miscellaneous I have everything unchecked except:
    Hardware Cursor is checked
    Spell Detail Level (this must be new I don't remember seeing it before) set to 100%

    I also have music turned off (and loop music is also unchecked) as I listen to iTunes when playing, I have all other sounds enabled.

    In the places where people usually complain about lag I get about 15-20 fps (in orgrimmar by the AH), and in normal game play situations (everywhere else) I get about 25-40 fps. I don't lag in raids or instances at all. I do get frame rate drops in the Alteric Valley Battle Grounds in some areas where there are vast open spaces filled with lots of players, but not bad and it only lasts for a few seconds normally.
    -Hugh J. "

    (added 2/9/2006)
    " I d/l the patch last night. It was one of the easier patches in the last six months (took less than 2 min to d/l and less than 2 min to install).
    Playability actually increased for me. I don't have screen shots since I am responding to a post.
    My system is G5 dual 2.0 GHz w/ 4 GB Ram. I am running 10.4.4 (not clean install) on standard ATA HD for this configuration (I am at work so I cannot recall it by memory). I have upgraded my graphics card to ATI Radeon X800 XT (256MB VRAM). My frame rates are not nearly as high as those mentioned in the forums (approx 13-30 it seems to me). I must not have things configured correctly. Help in that regard would be greatly appreciated.

    One last caveat. I also have a Windows/Intel based system that my son uses for WoW. I recently upgraded that system to 3.0 GHz P4 w/ 1GB RAM. The graphics card is nVidia (128) I cannot recall its designation. I mention this because compared to my G5 the Intel machine runs choppy and slow. I cannot play on that machine without getting so frustrated I have to log off.
    Cheers, Bill M. "

    Not sure what graphics card that is but I think most modern PC users mention better WoW performance than typically seen with PowerPC Macs. Maybe it's an old graphics card - or a lot of Windows background tasks running (like AV utils, etc).

    (added 2/8/2006)
    " A couple notes of interest on the WoW 1.9.3 update.
    First of I am running this on a Powerbook G4 17" 1.33 GHz in Mac OS X 10.4.3.
    I see very little to no difference between this version and the previous one, including no degradation of turning. (that was mentioned by others - see report below) Interestingly enough looking at the WoW application, it still lists it as 1.9.2 and PowerPC architecture, even though the 1.9.3 patch has been applied and there are a number of data and other updates within the folder. I looks like the WoW updater ONLY updated the application itself on Intel Macs.
    (he later wrote)
    Must be a result of how the updater works.
    - Log in screen gives v1.9.3
    - Get info gives v1.9.2 (PowerPC architecture (not universal)) and modified 8 Nov 2005 (finder cached info - see below after a reboot)
    - The version that was released on 8 Nov was version 1.8.3.
    So obviously modification dates don't seem to be being updated and perhaps version numbers aren't either (at least the ones the finder sees).
    I learned about new "features" in the finder today. After reading the other comments on your WoW performance webpage, I restarted my computer and the version now shows as 1.9.3. Why I should have to reboot to have the finder update that is another question, must be a feature. (I think it's just due to cached info in the Finder-Mike) Strangely the modification date is still Nov 2005, another strange Finder feature.
    Still no problems with WoW though.
    -Harold "

    (added 2/8/2006)
    "Dear Mike, While I do not have an Intel Mac, this update to the universal binary has made a very noticeable difference in playability on the PPC side: As in almost UNplayable.

    The problem lies in the mouselook/camera turning. (the first Intel iMac owner report above also mentioned this-Mike) When I'm running, I'm fine, though FPS in general took a hit with this newfangled (and apparently very poorly optimized) universal binary. But as soon as I use the mouse to look, or I turn my character, the FPS drops to a dismal 2-3, and any precision turning is impossible.

    Zones with lots of trees (Duskwood, Stonetalon Mountains) or an already overkilled polygon count (Booty Bay, anybody?) are worse when turning around/mouselooking. It's got me to the point where I have to wonder if anybody even bothered to QA this.

    My mac's specs are below, but up until now this game has very easily been playable for me, except for very large raids. Now, even with only ME in the area, it bogs down on the simple turns. My account expires in one more day, and I'm sorely tempted to just let it go, as the service from Blizzard of late has been horrendous. This unplayabiliy affects the PPC side (I tested on three other PPC macs at friends' houses, and there is another user on the WoW forums with a Quad 2.5 Ghz G5 that has the same exact issues), yet the x86 side isn't seeing this problem. Go Go Blizzard QA! (I won't even get into the major disenchanting bug with cloth items that somehow made it through live either).

    Needless to say, this new update bites. I currently run 10.4.2, and tried both 10.4.3 and 10.4.4 to no avail (thank goodness for Carbon Copy Cloner, which let me revert easily after seeing 10.4.3/10.4.4 didn't help any). The problem stays the same, putting the new client at fault. And to top it off, Blizzard refuses to acknowledge it in either their General or Bug Report forums.

    PowerMac G4 Sawtooth
    1.4 Ghz GigaDesigns CPU (Rated at 1.4GHz, non-OC'd)
    2 GB PC133 RAM (4x512MB)
    2x 120GB WD HD (8 MB Cache)
    Radeon 9800 Pro
    M-Audio Audiophile 2496 (Determined not to be a factor as it was removed for testing)
    Mac OS X 10.4.2 (10.4.3 is problematic with OpenGL, even on ATI cards, and 10.4.4 provided no benefit in speedup)
    - Eric R. (Chibi) "

    I don't play WoW but asked him if the old tip on deleting caches after an update helped - he later said no. (The WoW feedback page here mentioned that in the past as a performance tip after an update.)
    If any other readers have applied the WoW 1.9.3 update, let me know what you think (include system and OS details in reports - thanks.)
    Another reader mentioned a compiler change for the 1.9.3 version:

    " I think one of the main reasons for the poor performance of WoW on the PPC after the universal binary update is that it is being replaced with a binary compiled with GCC 4.0 (hence the reason 10.3.9 is now the min version of OS X it will run on). GCC is a horrible compiler for the PPC. The previous versions of WoW was compiled with the Metrowerks CodeWarrior compiler, which produces much better PPC code and does it in far less time.
    (he later wrote in reply to the one reader's comment that the PowerPC app was still reported as 1.9.3)
    If he must know, enter this command in the terminal:
    lipo -info /Path/to/Wow/Contnets/MacOS/Wow_Exec_Name_Dealie

    It'll say.
    For example:
    lipo -info /Applications/iPhoto.app/Contents/MacOS/iPhoto
    Architectures in the fat file:
    /Applications/iPhoto.app/Contents/MacOS/iPhoto are: i386 ppc

    If he's not running 10.3.9 or higher (a requirement that any C++ containing application compiled with GCC 4.0 has) then it may not offer the update to him.
    -Rosyna "

    He was running 10.4.3 but later PowerPC user reports noted the startup screen said v1.9.3.

    WoW 1.9.3 (Univ. binary) on Intel Core Duo iMac: Here's the first Intel CPU iMac owner feedback on the 1.9.3 Univ. binary update:

    (added 2/8/2006)
    "Hi Mike, WoW 1.9.3 on an iMac Core Duo is fantastic, outclassing previous Mac versions on any PPC Mac shipped to date.
    I have run this game on everything from a Dual G5 (6800 Ultra) to an Athlon X2 running at 2.6GHz with a Geforce 7800 GTX 512MB card, and this is the first time the Mac version is just as enjoyable for me as the PC version.

    My settings have been as follows:
    Everything in-game at maximum except for Fullscreen glow (off) and Anisotropic filtering (off), with Antialiasing set to 2X
    Multisampling, VSync off, and resolution set to the native 20" display of 1680x1050.

    FPS generally ranges from 40-100 FPS, with ~50 being typical even with the demanding settings I have chosen. Crowded areas drop to rates similar to what I experienced on the AMD setup. This is a massive improvement.

    There are still some hitches: Turning is still sometimes not as smooth as on the PC, especially if there are NPC dwellings around. There are a couple of areas (just outside the Mystic Temple area in Ironforge for example) where there is clearly some sort of limit being hit, and framerates plunge from ~60 down to the low teens or below until moving from the spot. This could be a CPU or VRAM limit being hit -- I'll know more when I can visit the same area on my (coming-soon) 256MB VRAM iMac. (He has a 2GHz model with std 128MB VRAM - the 256MB VRAM is a $75 BTO option. I'd spring for it if I were ordering one.-Mike)

    All in all it's a terrific accomplishment by Blizzard, Apple, ATI and Intel, and at the same time a blistering indictment of previous G5- based gaming performance. There is just no comparison.
    here is a link to some screenshots showing framerates and in-game settings:
    cheers, Michael F. "

    If you have an Intel CPU Mac and this update, let me know what you think of the performance and FPS rates seen (use CTRL-r for FPS rate display). Thanks
    See the post below for a report on problems with this update from a PowerPC Mac user.

    (NOTE: reports below were before v1.9.3 was released)

    iMac G5 1.8GHz w/Geforce 5200:

    (added 12/28/2005)
    "yesterday I made a little test which..depressed me.
    I installed WoW on my "old" Athlon 1600+ (1400MHz), 512MB RAM and an "old" GeForce TI4200 128MB RAM VideoCard to test if it would run at all.
    Well, it does. It does VERY well.. Better, MUCH better than on my iMac G5 20inch 1.8GHz with 1GB of RAM and an GeForce 5200 Chip (64MB).

    When I first started WoW on the PC I thought I would be dreaming. The resolution was automatically set to 1024x768, ALL Vertex Shaders (incl. Full Screen Glow) where turned on, Trillinear Filter was on, the Texture Qualities differed from Max to low (turned them all to max manually) and my character stood in Booty Bay. So I walked outside and saw how beautiful Booty Bay CAN be. Due to the Winter Veil there was a goblin machine, surrounded my "flowing snow" (these that turn you into a christmas-gnome). The sun was brightly shining at the horizon and I could see the Goblin Statue on the Island.

    THEN I made the biggest mistake and pushed CTRL-R and saw the a changing number from 27 - 39 FPS. I ran through the whole city, turned around slow and quickly. The least I got was 24FPS. A flight to Stormwind took it to 22 min. In IF the FPS turned down very much, due to the 512MB of RAM i suppose. The Hard-Drive began to work VERY much..

    When I compare the mac to this.. Glowing effect is turned off, Texture Distance is turned to 1/4 to 1/3. Resolution is at natural 1680x1050. The FPS is somewhere between 6-16 FPS. What the heck?? This seems real poor to me..

    Even the SOUND was better. When I entered the Cathedral of Stormwind and talked to one of the NPC's their voice had kind of an echo like it actually IS, when you talk in a building like a big cathedral.

    And now I'm sitting here with a high-end machine of a G5 iMac and my meanwhile low-end PC and the old pal gives me a much better experience than the Computer I always dreamed of.

    I cannot figure out WHY the performance is so poor on the mac. I cannot imagine that it could be the hardware. In theory, the Geforce5200 is better, than the GeForce TI4200 though it has more RAM, I know.. The processor? Come on!! 32BIT with 1.4 GHz against 64BIT with 1.8. WHICH one is better?
    (The iMac G5 is still running 32bit apps though, and the PC side just seems to have faster (more efficient perhaps?) gaming performance. Even relatively low-cost PCs in general are often faster for gaming than most Macs. I'd not trade it for a PC, but my Dual 2GHz G5 delivers about 1/2 the framerate in Doom3 for instance as a homebrew AMD 64 3200 system with a similar spec'd graphics card. I never owned an iMac G5 (yet), but the Nvidia 5200 wasn't a great graphics chip for gaming. (Like most all graphics, on the PC higher performance however is seen than on the Mac OS typically.) On the G5 towers, it was originally the lowest end option. Unfortunately the iMac G5 graphics can't be upgraded.-Mike)

    The only thing is, that I have the mac on the "natural" resolution of 1680x1050 but even when I turn that down to whatever.. 1024x768 for example, the PC is much more powerful. And not just that. Even if I stand still the quality of the picture itself is better on the PC. I have a glowing enchantment on my weapon (well, who doesn't? ;)) and even that looks much better on the PC even with Glowing-Effect turned off.

    Conclusion: I don't know, what is going on there, but I feel something is wrong here. That can't be it, does it? And I do not know if I'm willing to play on my mac which SEEMED to be fine until yesterday or if I buy some extra RAM for the old PC.
    Time will tell.. hope that helps a bit..
    Cheers, Daniel "

    10.4.3 had some GL bugs that affected game performance with some games and graphics chips. Although the FX5200 wasn't mentioned, Blizzard did post a note in the past on 10.4.3 causing a BIG drop with Nvidia GF3 and GF4 cards - see post below.

    Dual G4/867 w/Radeon 9600 Card:

    (added 12/7/2005)
    "Powermac dual 867 2GB RAM
    ATI Radeon 9600 Pro (modified for 4x agp mac)
    10.4.3 with all latest updates
    WOW 1.8 running on 20" Cinema Display native res (1680x1050 IIRC)

    I get no more than 11 fps on a good day with an average of 6-7. I feel I should be getting a lot more than that especially after paying out for the upgraded graphics card.
    Any suggestions to improve the game would be greatly appreciated.
    -Paul "

    that's a very high resolution (if the game is set to that mode) for a Mac like yours to run well IMHO - but did you ever play it in 10.4.2 or older OS? (there's been some reports on bugs in 10.4.3's opengl/drivers)
    Also there's some past notes here in reports on performance tips/settings but not sure how much they would help (also a past note on clearing WoW caches after an update)
    I don't own WoW but saw a note yesterday about a new patch (on a PC site) but not sure they also released a Mac WoW update. (if so did you try the latest version?)
    I'd also try reducing settings, running a lower res, etc. (just to see how much it affected performance0

    New PowerBook G4 (fall 2005)/Radeon Mobility 9700/128MB:

    (added 11/17/2005)
    "Mike, I just got a new 15" PowerBook G4 (1.67GHz) with the 1440X900 display and put WoW on it immediately. It's got 1GB RAM, a 7200RPM drive and runs the game very well.
    Running through Orgrimmar at a busy time gives me frame rates in the tens, in open country it's between 20 and 35 fps, and inside dungeons it's between 35 and 40ish.

    I'm running OX 10.4.3 and version of 1.8.2 of WoW. My settings are all on highest (level of detail etc.) except for terrain distance (which is two up from the lowest), and full screen glow (which is turned off). I have the CT_Raid and fishing buddy add ons installed.
    All in all, it is very playable,and it's a vast improvement over my previous machine (a 1Ghz Tibook), much better than I had expected.
    BTW: I've seen no issues at all with the screen (no lines, no jitter, and no dead pixels) or the airport reception.
    Cheers, Chris "

    Sawtooth G4 w/1GHz CPU Upgrade and Radeon 9000 Pro/128MB:

    (added 11/17/2005)
    "First off let me tell you the specs on my system. I'm running a G4 sawtooth with a 17 inch apple multisync monitor. It is upgraded to a 1Ghz G4 with 2MB L3 cache. It has 512 RAM installed PC100 i think and a 20gig Maxtor HD. I also put in a ATI RADEON 9000 Pro with 128MB VRAM.
    Here are my WoW settings:
      24bit 1X Multisampling
      Vertical Sync = ON
      Hardware Cursor=ON
      Vertex Animation Shader=ON
      All sliders set to LOW

    As far as FPS go, I get about 4-10FPS in the auction house or other super crowded areas of IronForge. In less crowded IronForge areas I get about 18-30FPS. In ArathiBasin (the latest PVP battleground) I get around 8-25FPS.

    I've been playing WoW for about 6 months and I am very confused by other readers performance reports. Readers with dual g5's getting under 30 FPS. I don't understand how this is possible. My computer is bottom line on requirements and I often break the 30fps barrier.
    Thank You, Sam "

    The last G5 report here (below - w/9650 card) noted running a higher res (1280x1024) and said he saw FPS in the "30s and 40's or even 50's depending on the size of the area". I don't own the game but FPS varies a lot depending on the area, settings, etc. And comparing the worst-case (lowest/min) framerates would show the faster system having a big advantage usually.

    Dual 2.7GHz G5/Radeon 9650 card:

    (added 11/16/2005)
    "Computer: Dual Processor 2.7 GHz PowerMac G5
    It's a stock DP 2.7 G5 aside from the extra 2GB of RAM and a second hard drive. WoW is on the boot volume (the stock drive). Spotlight is set to not index the World of Warcraft folder.

    The Radeon 9650 in these machines boasts 256MB of video memory, but the 9650 isn't a spectacular card. I keep most settings on mid to low, terrain distance a notch or two below mid, and most of the fancy effects off. It's running at 1280x1024 with 1x AA. Most everywhere I go, I see frame rates in the 30s (and 40's or even 50's depending on the size of the area). It drops in Ironforge and I have yet to do a raid (still only sub-30th level characters). I'd imagine most raids will perform similarly to Ironforge.

    Overall, though, the game is even playable with frame rates hovering around 15 FPS. The only problem I notice when it gets that low is turning - the camera just isn't smooth. Forward and backward movement is just fine. That said, I can easily turn most of the settings up pretty high and still play the game. When you're as keyboard shortcut friendly as I am, it saves you from any sort of jittery/lagging cursor mishaps when dealing with low framerates. I'd really only consider anything below 10 FPS to be unplayable. 10-15 is cutting it close, but the truly stalwart gamer can endure that.

    Naturally, due to the confined environs, in door areas like caves or towers see much better frame rates. Also, WoW performs better in windowed mode, though I don't know enough about OpenGL and Mac OS X's graphics hardware and code handling to understand why.

    Sadly, the computer isn't mine, making $15 a month to play once or twice a week a pretty questionable practice. That said, I'm not in the market to spend money to put a better GPU in someone else's computer. : ) But, believe me, if I could... I totally would.
    PS: My next step is to possibly turn a 266MHz desktop G3 into a 1.0GHz G4 with a 128MB Radeon 9200. If I do that, it'll be my "new" machine for a while, and should be able to handle WoW, albeit at low graphics settings. It'd still be nice to try it and to have a computer faster than a 400MHz G3 iMac DVse! "

    Mac Mini (OC'd) WoW report

    (added 11/15/2005)
    "I noticed that your Mac WoW performance page is a little sparse with Mac mini information. So here's my contribution.

    WoW is playable on a 1.25GHz Mac mini - but just barely. (Note: the mini reported here has 1GB of RAM.) I've played for several months, and while the game is definitely playable (and quite impressive overall), you will notice significant performance problems in Ironforge and in battlegrounds. You'll need to leave terrain distance and detail at their lowest settings. Frame rates in Ironforge can drop to ~2fps by the auction house. Normally, frame rates are at least 7-10fps. In a battleground, you'll be at a significant disadvantage. Things get so choppy that it's hard to move/react. In most of the game though, for normal questing, the performance is sufficient.

    This past week, I've done a few battleground runs and out of frustration, I decided to overclock the machine. I removed the 3 insanely small resistors as shown at www.fastermini.com and boosted the clock to 1.50GHz. The operation went off without a hitch. Opening the case on a mini is a bit scary/challenging the first time, but I had done it before (to upgrade the memory). The resistors are very-very-very small. I'd recommend a very small chisel-tip soldering iron and try to gently push each resistor to the side. After the operation, I ran Xbench several times. Everything looked fine. Regarding WoW, the performance difference was huge. I was able to increase the detail and distance, each by 1 notch. In Ironforge, frame rates rarely bounced below 6fps. In open areas (not in Ironforge) the frame rates typically ran 15-22. The extra terrain distance really helped game play. The performance in battlegrounds was much better. You'll still be at a disadvantage to someone with a high-end machine, but this is MUCH better.

    Tips on the overclocking upgrade:
    Of course with any overclocking, your mileage may vary! This voids your warranty and you can ruin the machine. Given that disclaimer, I'd recommend trying 1.50GHz first as it involves removing 3 resistors. If there is a problem, you can go down to 1.42 by adding back 2 (1 that was removed and 1 that was initially empty). The best way to restore one of these resistors is by using a conductive pen (I think you can get them at Radio shack). The "resistors" that were removed are zero-ohm resistors (essentially jumpers in a surface-mount resistor package). So you can reconnect with a little solder or a conductive pen. Be careful when removing the resistors as you can damage the pad and that will make it difficult/impossible to reconnect the jumper if necessary. Make sure that you inspect the work with a magnifying glass or jeweler's loupe to look for stray traces of solder after the removal. I would not recommend attempting speeds above 1.50Ghz (unless it's just for fun) as there are lots of reports of failure at higher speeds. Most people report success with 1.50. I haven't seen ANY reports of problems at 1.42.
    Jim B.
    Wireless Packet Tools Development"

    The CPU Upgrade/OC reports database here has several reports from Mac Mini owners on overclocked CPUs - select Apple as the CPU brand and Mac Mini as the mac model to see them. There's also a page here with Mac Mini feedback/upgrade reports and a page of Mac Mini owner reports on Analog Video/Monitors where some (but not all) noted the dim/low-contrast analog (VGA) video issue.

    Notes on WoW performance drop in 10.4.3 with Nvidia Geforce3/Geforce4 Ti cards

    (added 11/3/2005)
    "10.4.3 GeForce3 and 4Ti slow down
    Based on WoW framerates, many folks reported and Blizzard has confirmed an issue with Apple and Nvidia drivers and the OpenGL changes ONLY for users with GeForce3 and GeForce4Ti cards.
    See this Mac WoW tech support forum thread - post number 18 there says:
      "The slowdown of GF3 and GF4Ti cards under 10.4.3 has been reproduced in our lab and the appropriate bug reports have been filed with NVIDIA and Apple.
      We'll keep tinkering with it and see if we can find a workaround. One potentially obvious workaround would be to do an archive&install back to OS X 10.4.0 and then patch back up to 10.4.2 until this is resolved. "

    Blizzard already recreated the problems and has reported it to Apple, so here's hoping for a fast fix. We're talking 30 fps -> 9 fps in the same or lesser settings after 10.4.3 was applied.

    Just figured that might help save some frustration for others who haven't upgraded yet. I'm going to see about reverting to 10.4.2 for a bit.
    -Michael "

    If this is a driver/game issue it won't help, but an old tip here said that after a WoW update, deleting cache files could help boost framerates. Michael later replied:

    " I had already disabled all addons and deleted the WDB and WTF folders, and made sure anything old was outta the way, no go.

    I can get 30 FPS if i stand facing a wall inside an inn. As soon as I turn to even just the innkeeper it's 15fps. Someone walks in, it can drop to 7fps.
    Fun ;) Thanks for letting others know!
    -Michael "

    I welcome other WoW/Game user reports on 10.4.3 (if performance is better or worse).

    iMac G5 2GHz w/Radeon 9600:

    (added 8/25/2005)
    "iMac 2GHz G5 ATI 9600 20in
    I get a low of 20ish FPS in Ironforge. Everywhere else is 40-55 FPS, even during raids and 40 player+ PVP battles in SouthShore.
    My settings are:
    • 1280X800 - 60Hz - 24Bit
    • Terrain Distance: Min
    • Terrain Texture: Min
    • Texture Detail: Min
    • Anisotropic Filtering: Min
    • Environment Detail: Max
    • Level of Detail: ON
    • Enable All Shader Effects: OFF
    • Vertex Animation Shaders: ON
    • Smooth Shading: OFF
    • Trilinear Filtering: OFF
    • Vert Sync: OFF
    • Hardware Cursor: ON
    • Smooth Mouse: ON

    Hope this helps
    -William W."

    Dual 2GHz G5 w/6800 Ultra:

    (added 7/26/2005)
    "Running Wow on a dual 2ghz (10.4.2, geforce 6800 ultra, 2550 x 1600, 2 gig of ram) I'm seeing up to 99 frames per second when I have 2x multi sampling on.
    I tried to bump the multisampling but noticed I really took a hit on performance (I believe ati's drivers are much better for over sampling on the mac). I'm amazed that even at the worst of times in the game I'm still seeing 30fps and I'm running it at insane 2550 x 1600!
    I have Terrain distance at 1/3rd, no glow turned on, but all other effects are at the max.
    Andrew M."

    Dual 2.7GHz G5 w/Radeon 9650:

    (added 7/25/2005)
    "running WOW on a 2.7 Ghz G5 with the Radeon 9650 since the latest patch (i think it was 1.7) blizzard improved the performance on Macs, but the Game still doesn't run perfect;
    of course it runs quite well, no matter how many players are on the screen; I am even able to play with 6x Multisample Anti Aliasing in some areas; but i think the only place I reached 30 fps outdoors was tanaris (a desert where you don't really have much to render)

    So I'm playing this game on the fastest mac out there where I'd expect a perfect performance, nevertheless the game isn't a graphical blockbuster like Doom 3, which runs with the same framerate experience though it isn't a really good port after all....

    but at last, if you've got a 2.7Ghz Machine, the gaming experience overall is wonderful and the Gameplay isn't depending on the fps, I began playing the game on a 733Mhz G4 and also had much fun; the only thing that's buggin me is, that I know that it could run better ...
    -Val "

    There's a past tip below on clearing caches after an update that was said to help performance. (I don't own WoW but in the past the UI also was reported to have a big performance impact - see below for other tips.)

    New iMac G5 w/9600 Radeon Graphics:

    (added 6/13/2005)
    "Hi. I am running WOW version 1.5.0 on a 17 inch iMac G5 (the superdrive model) w/ 526 MB Ram (this is the model with the Radeon 9600 graphics).
    I am running the latest patch 1.5.0 and OS X v 10.4.1. I always do a fresh re-start b4 I play WoW.

    I get about 25-30 fps generaly, sometimes more in small areas. Ironforge is almost unplayable and the machine struggles there. I have not participated in any raids.

    I have everything turned to minimun except textures, which are on high. I use 1440x900. Overall, the game runs well but I wish it were better.
    I hope this is useful.
    R. Romero "

    I asked if he'd tried the tip on deleting caches after a WoW update (see below). I don't own WoW but in the past users noted the HUD/UI also had a big performance hit. Reducing Terrain Distance was also a past performance tip.

    (added 4/12/2005)
    "Performance is good on my both my Mac G4 systems.
    One is a heavily upgraded G4/867 (original) to 1.47 with Radeon 9600 (also have a GF4Ti waiting in the wings) 1.25GB RAM, 10K RPM boot SATA (and WoW is on that drive). This is the main system I play WoW.

    Iron Forge (IF) is always laggy... most my PC player friends see this issue to... or when there is a 'RAID' party.

    My PB 1.25Ghz, 1GB RAM, R9600 (mobility) actually runs things a little better. It runs at native resolution and most things are turned up. I do not play much on this system as its used mostly at work (and I am unable to connect from work :( ) The laptop is handy when we game as a group.

    I think shader support is better on Windows/DX side. Things look slighty better on those displays. Overall this is a good game with few hassles - so far. I have not seen a huge improvement or deprovement with any of the updates. (For the record I asked if he was running v1.3.2 - please include WoW version and OS version used in reports.-Mike)

    Mostly (IMHO) the updates have been for game play. (several readers have also reported improved performance and graphics after updates. Also remember the delete cache tip after updates which reportedly improves performance.-Mike) Warriors finally get a good amount of rage (like mana for casters & healers). While WoW is by no means perfect and it does have some annoying quests - I do think this is one of the best 'roll playing' games around. I really like the options that allow for PVP on or off and for the more serious players - there is the RP option. Blizzard has done an acceptable job of managing server load. There have been some issues - and occasionally my ping times go to red (>500ms or so) but 99% of the time things are trouble free.

    Needless to say the game is highly addictive. My main guy just got his horse, so I've played a little.
    -BB "

    (added 4/12/2005)
    "I run it on a 600MHz ibook G3 :0, i can get 5 fps outside and 20-30 fps inside dungeons, (i did deadmines with my ibook) it's not pleasant but it's playable, the tweaks i did were turning all options down and run at 1024x768 (dont see much if any framerate drop at this performance so i may as well run native) also i used icook to bump my cpu to 700MHz, and i used ATIcellerator (II) to push the GPU up 50% (?) and the vram up 12.5%, and my fan still does not come on (some ATIcellerator II reports here noted GPU clock speed changes really didn't take effect - check your console/log.-Mike) i'm quite amazed, also i run it on my dual 450MHz radeon 7500 cube at 15-20fps in general 30-40 in dungeons.
    (I asked what WoW and OS version he's using)
    yeah WoW wont let you run without the latest patch (1.3.2), and i'm on 10.3.8"

    I ask for WoW version used in reports for the record as over time comments may not relate to later versions and I don't know if someone is writing on an experience with WoW a week ago (when 1.3.1 was the latest) or a month ago, etc. and for the OS version as later OS versions have later graphics drivers.

    First Feedback on 1.3.2 Patch/Update Performance Tip:
    Follow-up from a reader report yesterday:

    (added 4/12/2005)
    Running WoW 1.3.2. I somehow missed the (cache clearing after update) Tip, but last night I dumped those two cache folders and the frame rate jumped considerably on both Macs...
    Believe it or not, I bought the Toshiba laptop for gaming after my P4 desktop system went south. Now my Toshiba has to go back to the factory because IT has completely died as well. I guess I'm lucky that WoW ended up being my new favorite. Thank God for cross-platform.
    -Lou F."

    The reader that reported lower performance w/1.3.1 wrote back after trying the tip on deleting cache after updates.

    (added 4/11/2005)
    " I tried the tips from Rob (i'd be interested in his screen resolution) and they work quite nice. Deleting the WDB and WTF folders made the Sytem search a fine settings choice and initially shot fps to 40+.
    Yesterday we had a Mac only patch 1.3.2 yesterday, which gave me about 3-5 fps. now i use 1440x900, surroundings details high, texture details high, vertex shader on. Everything else is off or minimal. Like this it looks nice and fps is 20-50, which is great. The only thing that hurts is that i had to turn off the full glow effect, because it reduced fps about 8-10, whitch is relevant at the places it goes down to 12, like in open country elwynn. But it still looks way nicer than with the reduced resolution and more effects.
    My system is 10.3.8. (Powerbook G4 17in, 1.6GHz)
    The tip helped me a lot, thanks again.
    Wish u a good weekend, regards,
    Kaspar "

    (added 4/11/2005)
    " Just some notes on performance with WoW... (v1.3.2 he later said - also see his later post above on the Cache clearing tip helping performance after an update - the numbers below were before he did that.-Mike)
    For these tests, video set to defaults, then all shaders on, vertical sync turned off.

    PowerBook G4 1.67GHz/1GB RAM/ Mac OSX 10.3.8
    1280x854 (my normal play mode) 15 - 18 fps
    896x600 - 34 fps

    PowerMac G5 dual 2GHz/1GB RAM/64MB Radeon 9600 (not XT), Mac OSX 10.3.8
    1600x1024 (my normal play mode) 15-18fps
    1280x820 - 23 - 25 fps
    1024x656 - 29 - 35 fps

    Toshiba A75 3.2GHz Pentium 4/1GB Ram/ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 IGP (128MB shared from main memory) Win XP Pro

    I really wanted to make this a fair comparison. I had noticed that gameplay seemed smoother on the PC. But when I booted my Toshiba laptop to get the numbers, it said that windows was unable to boot properly. After about an hour of messing around it looks like I need to re-install Windows XP (and then probably re-install WoW and re-patch it, etc... My observations, however are this:

    On the Toshiba, turning DOES seem smoother. No argument. But I have also been frustrated every so often when my gameplay has been interrupted by Windows Anti-Spyware scans, Norton Antivirus scans, Ad-Aware scans and SpySweeper scans. (And even with all those things running, something STILL managed to kill my Windows XP installation this morning... Damn!) Also the sound of the fans on the Toshiba often overpowers the background sound effects. (My PowerMac's fans kick in once in a while as well, but they don't run almost constantly like the Toshiba.)

    This was not intended to be a one-sided post, it was going to be an honest comparison between my three machines. I was wondering myself about the smoothness issue, because I am not convinced that it is actually a frame rate issue. (19 frames of animation each second should STILL let you turn pretty smoothly...) I am still sending it, because that's what it ended up being. The PC version seems smoother, but I can't play it right now. And that's part of the comparison as well...
    Lou F. "

    (Just for the record, I asked Lou if he was running WoW 1.3.1 or 1.3.2.)

    Tip for Performance Issues after WoW Updates:
    Unlike the first 1.3.1 feedback (below), this reader noted improved performance (as is typical with previous patches) after deleting caches. (I wrote the reader w/performance drop to ask if he'd tried that - he later said it helped.)

    (added 4/8/2005)
    Been playing since launch and from what I have seen every patch has increased performance considerably. Right now I have a maxxed out PB 15" 1.67GHz, 2GB RAM, 128MB Radeon 9700 Mobility.
    After the new patch playing with everything high, EXCEPT Terrain Distance (that always crushes performance) which I put 1 click up, before it only gave you the choice of Low or High and Anisotropic Filtering (Low), I saw a decrease in performance.
    What I forgot to do is to trash the WDB and WTF folders. They are the cache folders. After that, I have seen anywhere from 15(Ironforge) to 45, I mostly average at 33-37FPS.

    First Feedback on 1.3.1 Patch:

    (added 4/8/2005 - updated 4/11/1005)
    "Hi Mike, i've now been able to extensively playing WoW in Version 1.2.3 and 1.3.1 (Euro Versions) on an iBook G4 12in with 768MB Ram (current version), a current 15in Superdrive Powerbook g4 1.67GHz with 1gig Ram, 64MB Ati 9700 and the current g4 17in (1.6GHz I assume-Mike) Powerbook with 1GB ram, 128MB Ati 9700. All other options standard.

    On the iBook G4 I've got, with all settings set to minimal and 800x600 very playable framerates with Wow version 1.2.3 at about 12-22fps. After the update, the Fps dropped to maybe 7-18, which was very much affecting gameplay.

    The 15in PB with version 1.2.3 worked very well, Settings: low Distance sight, the rest in medium settings, 1024x7 pixels. Fps somewhere in the 15-30-ies. With half the Ram, it was stutering terribly though.

    Now the surprise is, that with the new Patch 1.3.1 on the 17in PB Performance got considerably worse. Fps with highest settings and 1440pixels go from 5-20. With 1024 widescreen and medium settings, shaders turned on inkl. glow (exept trilinear filtering, which i never turned on on all three systems), fps varied from 6(gryphon ride) to 14(turning round in Elwynn) to 22 (stormwind) to 22 (redridge) to 32 (inside house). Well playable but not great. Reducing sight to minimum gave about 5 frames more. With everything on minimum setting, 800x600 etc. it looks quite ugly but fps is from 25 - 45, depending on the surrounding.

    A bit frustrating is, that if you tweak down the display below its native 1440 resolution, the picture gets the "blur" effect you always get with this changement on a TFT, but in this game, you loose the whole shiny appearance that makes the game so aestetic. Because with full settings it looks superb, especially the reflection of Moon- and sunlight on Water and grass.

    1) Performance worsened after the (1.3.1) update.
    2) It's possible to play on an iBook G4 1GHz
    3) LCD needs to be played in native resolution
    4) Sight distance is the most important regarding performance

    (I asked if he's running 10.3.8 which has the latest graphics drivers.-Mike)
    always the newest, testing was done with 10.3.8.
    Greetings, Kaspar"

    I wrote Kaspar to ask if he tried deleting the WDB and WTF folders after the update (a tip from a later reader report above) - he later reported it helped.
    Some past reports also noted a big peformance hit by having the user interface visible. (Don't have WoW personally to test.)
    I welcome other feedback on WoW 1.3.1 (please include system/graphics chip/OS version in reports. Thanks.)

    (added 3/7/2005)
    "I thought I'd mention that on my machine (2.5 GHz DP G5, 6800 Ultra, 10.3.8), World of Warcraft (1.2.4) performance is just great. I run the game at 1920x1200 with ALL graphics options on or maxxed out. All of them. I NEVER see frame rates below 20fps, even in the busiest places with the longest views. In tight quarters I can easily get 60+ fps. Typically, just running around I'll see about 35fps.

    The ONLY thing I'd like to see is FSAA. And of course, even better framerates would always be welcome :)

    X800 vs Nvidia FX5200 in World of Warcraft:

    (added 2/17/2005)
    "Just giving a quick review of my new X800 in a Dual 1.8 G5 (2 Gig Ram)
    Had the stock GeForce 5200 in the machine when it first arrived and have been playing World of Warcraft like that for almost 2 months now. Game performance was ok. Nothing spectacular, but good.

    Settings before:
    1024 x 768
    Everything set to low except for Terrain Texture. Vertex Shaders were also enabled, but full screen glow effects were not. I was getting anywhere from 12 - 20 frames per second depending on what and where I was playing.

    After X800:
    Now running at 1600 x 1200
    Everything on high except for terrain distance (this one cripples all cards it seems)
    Still not using full screen glow effects, since the effect doesnÕt do much for the look and drops the FPS down almost 8 - 10. Now getting anywhere from 20 - 45 FPS. Tried using the ATI control panel to override the settings for the game. I currently have FSAA set to Multi on 4x and Anisotropic Filtering on and the textures look wonderful. The only glitch IÕve noticed by doing these overrides is that in Ironforge, I get some screen artefacts every 5 - 10 seconds for one millisecond.

    The difference in not only FPS, but also quality has greatly improved this gaming experience, now everything is more fluid and crisp as well. Textures look great, and smooth.

    From my experience, the biggest obstacle on performance for this game is the terrain distance. If you are having problems with FPS, chance are that itÕs set to high. I have mine set 1/3 of the way right now. Any higher and I loose FPS at a drastic rate.

    A good buy, but quite expensive. That being said, if you spend a fair amount of time playing games on your mac, it would make sense to treat yourself to a nicer visual experience and see things the way they are meant to be played.
    If you need more info, please email me.
    Thanks, Iles :)"

    (Reader FYI - for tests of the X800 vs OEM 9800 Pro and 6800 Ultra in a Dual 2GHz G5 with other games (Call of Duty, UT2004, etc.) see my ATI Radeon X800 XT Mac Edition Review.)

    Note: On Feb. 9th, 2005 apple released OS X 10.3.8 which noted improved WoW performance. Several readers wrote to confirm this. (Another performance note in past reports here (below) was the User Interface - if enabled (visible) there was a significant performance hit. Note one PB G4 17in owner below wrote that "turning off the interface via Option-Z basically doubles the framerate!". Not sure if that's improved w/10.3.8's drivers - I don't have WoW installed.)

    (added 2/10/2005)
    "I installed this (OS X 10.3.8) update and ran World of Warcraft as as soon as I restarted. The game ran much better than before, at least +5FPS in my current system (G4 533Mhz, 512MB of RAM, GeForce4Ti, Revolution 7.1). Shader effects look the same but image quality is better than before. I upped the Texture detail to Max and it runs at least as fast or faster than before at low setting.
    Thats all I've tested for now!
    Good update, I'm happy!
    Ricardo C. "

    (added 2/10/2005)
    "Hey Mike, Just thought I would drop you a line and let you know that myself and a couple other mac users experienced MUCH better performance in WoW with the latest OS update.

    I run a 1.8GHz DP (G5) with 1GB of RAM and nVidia 6800 Ultra...
    Some of the other users run anything from a new iBook to higher-end PowerMac systems...
    Later, Nathan "

    (from 12/29/2004 mail)
    " I have an original PB G4 17" with 1 GB RAM. Previous to latest Apple and Blizzard patches I would get 9-10 FPS with everything set to the lowest settings at 1440x900. After the patches I am getting 15+ FPS in full outdoor settings and 20 FPS running through Orgrimmar. I had to turn off Vertex Animation Shaders as it severely messed up the display where the only thing visible of my character was his eyes! It was cool-looking but unplayable as it also misrendered walls, etc.

    And yes, turning off the interface via Option-Z basically doubles the framerate!
    Cary S.
    "Wighthand" on Terenas server "

    I'm late posting this report, a follow-up from an earlier reader report below (from PC and Mac user)

    (from 12/23 mail to blizzard, cc'd to me)
    "Rob (of Blizzard)
    Here are my latest benchmarks as of the Mac OS 10.3.7 & Warcraft 1.2.1 patches.

    iMac 20" G5, 1.8ghz, 1 gig RAM, nVidia 5200 with 64Megs, "natural" 1680 X 1050 resolution
    IBM ThinkPad T42p, 1.8ghz Pentium M, 1gig RAM, ATI Mobility FireGL T2 with 128 megs "natural" 1600 X 1200 resolution

    The Test:
    For each machine I logged into the same character, guaranteeing identical placement and camera angle. Test took place outside of the Inn in Astranaar. For each setting I would log in and rotate by holding down the right arrow key. I would wait until the fps settled down into a repeating range of fps and pick a median. I chose rotation because it has the biggest performance hit and because is affects the gameplay quite a bit as you try to steer while running.

    I did two sets of tests on each machine. In one set I turned all of the settings to their minimums on both machines (except the shaders, which I left on except for full screen glow) and then ran the test at max terrain distance and then min terrain distance.

    Mac low graphics settings:
    terrain dist min: 12.3
    terrain dist max:4.9

    Win low graphics settings:
    terrain dist min 31.5
    terrain dista max 22.5

    Mac high graphics settings:
    terrain dist min: 11.5
    terrain dist max: 4.5

    Win high graphics settings:
    terrain dist min 14.5
    terrain dist max 9.2

    We can draw several conclusions from this.

    First, the Windows machine absolutely demolishes the Mac. Is this because the FireGL, even in it's low power mobile edition, is really 2-3 times faster than the NVidia? (FX5200) Or is it just the doubled (video) memory? I wish I could deactivate 64megs of it to see. It's pretty amazing that the Windows portable gets 22.5fps with max terrain distance and quality settings compared to the mac's unplayable 4.5fps.

    Second, the terrain distance makes a huge difference on both platforms, but the other graphics settings I changed only made a big difference on the Windows machine. Is that because the NVidia is comparatively really good at those or just that they don't do very much on the mac?

    Thirdly, the highest fps I was able to get the mac to do in this particular test was a choppy 12 fps. The Windows machine at both 22 and 31 plays completely smoothly. There seems to be no way to get the mac to turn smoothly, even at lower screen resolutions.

    The one optimization that would really help things, in my opinion, would be to somehow cut the work of the mac graphics card way down when the character is turning to get rid of the choppiness that makes it so hard to steer. Then when the character starts going straight again fill the detail back in.

    Let me know what other tests might be useful for me to run. I can't belive the much-ballyhooed G5 is faring so poorly in this test compared to a mobile pentium chip. I'm really disappointed.

    What is the problem? DirectX vs. Open GL? Crummy video hardware? Video RAM? Crummy mac drivers?
    Thanks for your attention,

    WoW 1.2.1 Update: I don't own the game but the WoW community site has a Dec. 18th dated patch notes page with a long list of changes/fixes. (See below for initial feedback from mac users)

    More WoW 1.2 patch comments:

    (from 12/22/2004 mail)
    " My average frames per second has climbed from 12 to 16 with 10.3.7, then with the vertex shaders on it has climbed to around 20 with the latest World of Warcraft patch.

    WoW only uses one of my 2 CPU's, and it is half of the recommended speed, fortunately I have plenty of ram, and a GeForce 4 Ti (Dual 450 MHz G4 tower)
    so the recent updates have made a fairly dramatic improvement in performance on my computer.
    Brian M."

    (from 12/22/2004 mail)
    After installing the 10.3.7 update, I did see a significant frame rate jump. My framerate went from about 12 fps to a more acceptable 18-20 fps. Then, with baited breath, I awaited the lated WoW patch. I was able to turn on all the Hardware Shading, crank all the settings to maximum (while retaining the same screen resolution) and got 20-25 fps. The game looks FAR better with hardware shading on.
    - WolF
    (G5 1.8 SP, 1280 x 1024, Radeon 9800 Pro SE) "

    (from 12/21/2004 mail)
    "Hi Mike, ... In my own case (1.25GHz 15" Powerbook G4, Raden 9600 Mobility/64MB) WoW 1.2 "Patch 2" running on 10.3.7, I only get a few more frames-per-second than I did before all of the updates. But the new image quality is STUNNING when I "enable all shaders". The water is especially beautiful! Blizzard and Apple have done a great job with these updates, but they still have a ways to go with performance and there is still no option to turn on Full Screen AntiAliasing....
    (He later wrote)
    I've been doing some reading on the WoW forums. Apparently the combination of WoW 1.2 (1.2.1?) and 10.3.7 has the most dramatic performance and quality improvements on the Radeon 9600, Radeon 9800, and GeForce 6800 AGP cards. The differences are less dramatic, but still there, on the Mobility Radeon 9600 and Mobility Radeon 9700.

    The software update combination should give at least a slight WoW performance increase on all graphics cards and on all CPUs. But the leastimprovement will be seen on the GeForce 4 Ti and the GeForce FX 5200 / Go5200. I was sad to hear this, as the new iMac G5 and the current 12" PowerBook use the FX5200. These two machines still need some major performance boosts. Maybe we'll see them in future updates...
    -Colin "

    First comments on WoW Update:

    (from 12/21/2004 mail)
    "Looks like there's a new patch for World of Warcraft. I tried logging on today, and it had me download a pretty hefty file that seemed to speed up my machine, and enabled a bunch of new video options.
    - Chris "

    I asked if he did any before/after tests and if the UI still causes a big performance hit.

    PB G4/17in (Nvidia GF4 Go) (he later noted he was not running the latest Wow 1.2.1 patch but was running 10.3.7.)

    (from 12/21/2004 mail)
    "Hey Mike,
    I figured it was a good idea to share the type of performance I'm getting out of WoW, as I know I was hesitant to pick this game up for fear of how it may play. I'm running off an oldschool 17" power, G4 1ghz with 1GB Ram and a few dents in her from the skydiving hobby she seems fond of.

    I have tried a various settings to get the best performance out of my machine. I play most often in "Windowed" 1280x720 with all settings set to "min" and viewing distance set to "min." I get in the ball park of 10-14fps. It's important to note, that I find this fps entirely playable.

    If I use the same settings/resolution in Full-Screen mode I can eek out an aditional couple fps on average bringing me to 12-16fps on average.

    I also played full-screen on 1440x900 for a little while. I was getting performance of about 9-12fps. Which I still felt was perferctly acceptable performance in terms of being able to enjoy the game. Interestingly, if I pumped up the all the settings (except for viewing distance) in 1280x720, I would get about the same 9-12fps performance as I would with minimal settings and a higher resolution.

    All that said, I found my best performance is at the 1280x720 with settings turned all the way down. I'm a fan of "Windowed" mode even though it gives me a slight performance hit, as it allows me to be using Adium (chat software) and the like; which reminds me I'm indeed not an Orc, but a real person. And for those who care, I do take a small performance hit when using Adium (MSN/ICQ client), but that performance hit only comes when I'm actually receiving a text message. To leave Adium open with nobody talking to you, there is no noticable effect on performance.

    As a final note, like another reader, I too noticed that the health bar seems to steal 4fps or so from performance. But I can't imagine playing without being able to see the thing, as it is kind of important to know how close to death you are.

    Hope that info helps someone out there! It's a great game, and I'd say it's entirely playable on my hardware setup.
    Cheers, -Dan
    (I asked about the WoW version and if he's using OS X 10.3.7)
    10.3.7 Yes
    Performance Review was based on WoW 1.1.2

    Blizz released an update to 1.2.1 yesterday. I have seen an unexpected performance increase. Some areas I'm still getting the 12-14fps, but I now regularly see 20+fps in outdoor environments, and have seen up to 45fps indoors, though not consistently. I'll need to do some more testing. Is anyone else reporting a performance increase from this patch?

    I've also experienced significant lag when visiting Santa Clause in Ironforge. The number of player characters in the area (30 or so huddled on-screen) ground my performance down to an unplayable 1-2fps. This causes me concern, as I don't think I will be able to partake in the "Battle Grounds" and other PvP features that are planned for the future.
    Cheers,-Dan "

    (Note: reports below were before OS X 10.3.7 and the latest WoW patch/update unless later comments added/noted.)

    Comments on Terrain Distance Setting and Performance:

    (from 12/15/2004 mail)
    "Hey Mike,
    I was reading through Michael's comments about frame rate drops and thought "Surely, it can't be THAT bad..." So I fired up WoW and had a look:

    G5 1.8 SP
    1280 x 1024
    Radeon 9800 Pro SE

    1344 x 1008
    Terrain Distance: Medium (Middle)
    Everything Else: High
    (No shaders available)

    Why? I've discovered it really doesn't matter where the settings are, i get 10-15 fps. However, it makes a HUGE difference where the Terrain Distance is set. The lower it is, the higher the framerate. If I move it up much at all, my fraterate drops to 5-7 fps. Not good.

    So, i went and turned off the HUD. Erm... That was infuriating. 80-90 fps. That's insane and unacceptable.

    This needs to be fixed and soon!
    - WolF "

    See his later report above using the latest WoW patch/update and 10.3.7

    iMac G5 and IBM Thinkpad User:

    (from 12/15/2004 mail)
    "I'm in a pretty good condition to test this as I have two similar machines and 2 accounts, so I run them side by side.

    The machines:
    ThinkPad with 1 gig ram, a pentium mobile 1.8, and an ATI Moblility FireGL T2, 1600 X 1200 resolution
    iMac 20" G5 1.8 ghz with 1 gig ram, nvidia 5200, 1680 X 1050 resolution

    I'll put some numbers at the end, but I think since the machines are so similar and I run them next to each other, the unscientific but all-important "feel" of playing the game is what I'll focus on first.

    Basically the ThinkPad right now just runs more smoothly, and I find this a great disappointment. The ThinkPad has marginally better numbers overall, but in the actual play of the game it does much better. The reason, I think, is that when the frame rates really drop, such as when approaching a city, the mac rates become much lower as a percentage. i.e. The difference between 12 fps and 14 fps isn't a big deal, but the difference between 4fps and 6fps can be.

    Also, I don't fully trust the frame rate meter. I think it averages too much. As an example, if you stand and rotate in a circle in certain places you can see that the frame drops to 1-2fps (you can actually clearly see the individual updates) but the meter is reporting something much higher.

    Another point is that the mac really seems to be sweating. When the frame rates drop really low the music stutters, for example, which doesn't happen on the PC. The rate can get so jerky on the mac when I give it the same high settings as the PC that the game is essentially unplayable. It is impossible to steer as you run toward a city.

    Lastly the shaders that aren't supported yet on the mac look good on the PC and seem to have almost no speed hit. (I did not try full screen glow since others report it to be a big speed hit.)

    All the benchmarks in the world are meaningless next to this fact: when I play this game side by side with someone else, the person using the mac has to use significantly reduced settings compared to the PC (esp terrain distance & resolution) for the game to be playable. I found this depressing since the ThinkPad is a laptop with a laptop video card, and the iMac is not.

    It's particularly ironic given that Apple says this on the imac g5 page:

      "That's a 1.6 or 1.8GHz G5 processor, 533 or 600MHz frontside bus, 256MB DDR SDRAM running at 400MHz and NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra with 64MB graphics memory. So youâll be able to play World of Warcraft, Doom III and other fantastic entertainment."

    (I don't know how much it could help but I asked if he could report back on 10.3.7 w/the latest WoW update/patch-Mike) I really hope Apple, NVidia, and Blizzard can fix this.
    On the plus side, even with the deceased settings the game is a blast to play on the beautiful, huge, bright iMac screen. I sometimes wish I could plug the ThinkPad into the iMac screen and play that way...

    The numbers below are all from the human starting point looking at the same spot or rotating in the same place.

    I turned off anisotropic and shaders on the PC since the mac doesn't support them.

    Everything maxed out Mac except 50% terrain distance: 7.3fps
    Everything maxed out PC except 50% terrain dist: 7.5

    Same, rotating in place mac: 6.2
    Same, rotating in place pc: 7.2

    Running around the woods the numbers were quite comparable ranging from 6-12fps, the mac almost always lower or similar to the PC. Running into new areas causes the biggest slowdown as new textures load, and the mac seems worse at this but, as there is no benchmarking fly-through with this engine I don't know how to measure that sort of activity precisely.
    Tom "

    B&W G3 w/1.1GHz Upgrade/Radeon PCI:

    (from 12/14/2004 mail)
    "Rev. B B/W Power Mac G3, w/1.1GHz G3 (Powerlogix Powerforce ZIF), 640MB PC100 RAM, original Radeon PCI 32MB (PCI Extreme! hack enabled), Mac OS X 10.3.6

    I took a risk and bought WoW, even though my only Mac is pretty aged. I was surprised to find that in most circumstances, performance is pretty tolerable. Of course being used to my geriatric Mac, I have pretty low standards. I've understandably turned down all graphics setting to minimum except for view distance, which is set to medium. 1064x768 resolution. Here's the breakdown-

    • 7-8 fps in wide open areas like The Barrens.
    • 6 fps in graphically complicated areas like Ashenvale.
    • 11-12 fps in confined outdoor regions like the Stonetalon mountains.
    • 11-15 fps in dungeons
    • 2-8 fps in cities depending on how many avatars are running around in my camera vision and how confined the immediate area is.

    (assuming the UI was on)
    With small raid groups the framerate usually drops to 4-5 fps, and with large groups usually 1-3 fps (unplayable at that point).

    So basically, while framerates in any situation are generally low, I find that in most places I can tolerate it and enjoy the game. However, the framerate prevents me from productively participating in any large group event.

    Even though the minimum system requirements for the game stipulate the need for a G4, I don't think the performance problems are with my cpu, as it exceeds the minimum mhz requirement by 166 mhz. Even though the game requirements say that DDR ram is preferable, I also don't think the performance problems are with my ram, as it exceeds the min. ram requirements by 128mb. Therefore, I believe the problem is in my video card. Either the slow 66 mhz PCI bus, the limited vram (32 mb), or the old card architecture (2 rendering pipes) is constricting performance. I seek to remedy this with a Radeon 9200 PCI. If performance remains largely the same after this upgrade, I will have to assume that the PCI bus speed alone is holding back performance.
    -Adrian "

    WoW Screenshots: (I don't own the game but a reader had previously asked how to take them)

    (from 12/14/2004 mail)
    "Hi Mike -- you and a reader asked about taking screenshots in WoW on the mac. F13 does the trick. Screenshots are saved into a "screenshots" folder inside the World of Warcraft folder.
    The standard Mac apple-shift-3 works too, but creates artifacts sometimes.
    Dan "

    (No system/OS/graphics card details given)

    (from 12/14/2004 mail)
    "Unscientific (I don't have actual frame rate numbers), but I've found that disabling/uninstalling Virex (specifically the background scanning programs) improved my WoW performance.

    Also, keep in mind that WoW is not a first-person shooter, so you don't need high framerates for it to be playable. I get a consistent average framerate of around 20 fps, and it's perfectly playable and fun. It only gets bad if it drops below 10 fps. So when you see these low framerates, don't get scared-off, we're not talking about frenetic UT2004 action, were talking about a game with a play pace about 1/10th that.
    -Lee S. "

    Understood - but please also include mac model/graphics card info (just for the record).

    PB G4/1.33GHz w/FX5200:

    (added 12/13/2004)
    "Hello Mike,...
    I wanted to relay some findings on Mac WoW performance issues. I have been examining what appears to be a significant performance bug, relating to healthbars. The short version is that it seems that displaying any healthbar - even just one - causes a loss of over 10 FPS.

    I thought that the reader report about FPS going up if the user hides the interface (with alt-Z/option-Z) was interesting (previous report below from Dec. 10th), and my tests confirmed the same behavior on my powerbook (12", 1.33, 1.5 GB RAM, 64MB GF FX5200). I can get close to or slightly over 30 FPS without the interface (1024x768, CPU set to HIGH, all in-game options at their lowest), but turning the interface back on causes framerates to drop to 15-20.

    Interestingly, though, it turns out that the visibility of a single health bar is enough to cause this massive loss of framerates.

    To test, go to a fairly simple area, with a single NPC visible, and hide the interface (option-Z). Turn on the FPS meter (ctrl-R), and then watch what happens when you toggle healthbars (by hitting V). In my case, I lose over a third of the framerate when the NPC's health bar appears, dropping from over 30 down to about 18. This is with the rest of the interface still hidden.

    I wanted to submit screenshots to Bizzard (two shots would pretty much explain it all), but I don't know the in-game screenshot command on the mac yet, and doesn't seem to be in the manual.
    best regards, Michael "

    Two readers replied to his post today asking how to take screenshots in the game - F13 on an Apple keyboard and command-shift-3 also worked they said. (thanks Lee and Gregory)

    iBook G4/1GHz (12in) w/9200 Mobility:

    (added 12/13/2004)
    "12" G4 iBook, 1.07 Ghz G4 processor
    32 MG ATI (9200) mobile graphics card
    1 GB DDR RAM
    Graphic settings: absolute lowest on every thing. Sad.

    I get frame rates in the low teens (12-15fps) almost everywhere I go. I don't regularly experience a drop in some cities due to the lower draw distance inside. Depends on the city.

    On Apple's website, WoW is listed for the iBook under suggested software. It is "playable" but barely. Definitely not suggested.
    Derek "

    PB G4/867MHz (12in):

    (added 12/13/2004)
    "I'm running WoW on a 12" PBG4 867MHz (I know...) 640MB, 256K L2, GeForce 4MX (Geforce Go 440) 32MB AGP. Lowest texture details, lowest environment distance, highest object distance at 1024x768. I typically get between 7-13 fps when walking around outdoors. Drops to about 1-2fps on a griffin and in certain high-pop areas of town. In tight areas such as dungeons, rates are much better, but I don't have #s at the moment.

    One thing I noticed was that playing at 800x600 didn't help. In fact, it was worse. I figured at first it had to do with "emulating" 800x600 on a native 1024x768 LCD, but I tried 8x6 on an external monitor with the laptop screen disabled, and still got worse performance. Interesting...

    Most people would call my configuration unplayable, but its what i've got and i'll deal with it if I have to to play the game. Saving for something better, but from the sound of it, the only thing that's gonna play it really well is gonna be a PC. That friggin sucks. Here's hoping for some useful updates from blizz & apple & ati & nvidia.
    -jeff "

    PB G4 17in 1.5GHz w/128MB Radeon 9700 Mobility:

    (added 12/10/2004 from 12/9 email)
    "Game settings:
    Draw distance at about 10%
    Environment detail medium
    Terrain texture high
    Texture detail high
    (Messing with the latter three settings does not seem to affect FPS much.)
    On a maxed-out PowerBook G4 17" which was bought a month ago, I get the following.

    7-14 FPS along The Canals on the northwest side of the Trade District in Stormwind
    12-17 FPS in wilderness outside of Goldshire in Elwynn Forest

    Interestingly, I noticed that turning off the user interface elements (ALT-Z) can improve framerate:

    10-35 FPS along The Canals
    14-32 FPS in wilderness outside of Goldshire

    System specs:
    PowerBook G4 17" (1.5GHz/512KB L2/no L3)
    1 GB RAM
    Radeon Mobility 9700, 128 MB
    -Mike H. "

    I asked if he had tried running lower resolutions to see how much it would help FPS rates.

    MDD G4/1.25GHz w/Geforce4 Ti:

    (added 12/8/2004)
    "WoW plays very well on my 1.25 GHz MDD G4, OS 10.3.5, 2GB RAM, NVidia GeForce4 Ti 128MB card.
    FPS low: 22.5, FPS high 33, detail at medium settings. (I asked what resolution was used.-Mike)
    1024 X 768
    Very smooth, without the lagging and skipping some are reporting in towns and such. It does slow down in the bigger towns (Orgrimmar), but even then it is quite playable.

    This game will take your life away and your significant other WILL abandon, play at your own risk! Seriously, one of the best damn games I have ever played on any platform. Blizzard has done it again. $180/year to play is gonna hurt though.
    Great site as always, keep up the great work!
    Scott "

    thanks Scott.

    Dual 2GHz G5 w/6800 Ultra:

    (added 12/7/2004)
    "Just an FYI:
    Contrary to several other posts (earlier reports below), I'm running the full commercial copy of World of Warcraft with great results on my 6800 Ultra. Dual 2 Gig Powermac with 1GB RAM on DSL. Performance is snappy and looks great no matter where I'm at.
    - Chris
    (I asked Chris to please include FPS rates (range seen in play) in reports. Cntl+R shows FPS as noted in red below.)
    30-50 fps consistently, occasionally dropping down to 25 in towns. Very playable and looks great. "

    That's by far the best performance from any 6800 card user so far. I asked him for info on what detail settings he used (i.e. what game resolution and detail settings used.)

    PowerBook G4/1.25GHz, Radeon 9600 Mobility:

    (added 12/7/2004)
    "Like others, WOW really chugs on my PowerBook 15" 1.25 GHz. When I get 16 FPS I'm doing relatively good. This is the first Blizzard game that has ever run poorly on the Mac in it's initial release, I really hope this isn't a new trend. I'm glad to hear that Apple is working with Blizzard, because based on the numbers other readers are reporting for their G5s, it's going to take a lot of operating system, OpenGL, and WOW code changes to finally get up into the 30 - 50 FPS range that PC users are seeing. Colin A. "

    Digital Audio G4 (133MHz bus) w/1.4GHz CPU upgrade/Geforce4MX:

    (added 12/7/2004)
    "G4 Digital Audio, 768MB RAM, Geforce4MX 32MB (AGP), PCI ATi Rage 16MB

    Currently running 800x600, absolute lowest detail settings on the 4MX to keep framerates up during raids. Averaging 15fps, dropping to 10 in worst case scenarios.

    Beeing a geek, tried the ATi for fun. Hardware cursor support doesn't work, you get a white box instead of the icon. Turn that off, and the game runs, and is actually usable. In light situations it'll match what my 4MX does, but bogs down harder in raids. I'll bang on my AGP ATi Rage to see if it shows any improvement.
    Joshua C. "

    I'd not expect much (at all) from the Rage128 PCI card. (it's several generations old now (there's been many Radeon models since then) - you can't squeeze blood from a turnip basically. The GF4MX AGP card also is old now, but it's a better card for gaming than the Rage128 PCI card.

    G4/AGP (133MHz bus) w/1.4GHz CPU and 9800 Pro card:

    (added 12/6/2004)
    "Hey there, just dropping in another reader report on WoW performance. I have virtually the exact same setup as "Nostrat" who states:
    Machine Model: Power Mac G4 (133MHz bus), 1.4GHz CPU upgrade, Mac OS X 10.3.6, 1GB RAM, ATI 9800pro mac edition (ROM Revision: 113-A07525-114)"

    The only difference is that I run at my screens native resolution of 1280x1024 as opposed to his/her 1600x1200.

    I, However, am getting a much lower (but still playable) frame rate of between 11-14 in cities and 15-19 outside them. I have ensured all setting are at their lowest, so this seems rather odd that there would be such a disparity in framerate between our two machines.

    Other than that, 3 cheers for Blizzard and their quick response time in addressing the issue.
    Sincerely, Patrick G "

    Dual 2GHz G5 w/Radeon 9800 Special Edition (256MB)

    (added 12/6/2004)
    "I have a dual 2 GHz G5 with an ATI Radeon 9800 SE card.
    Game performance is good, but not great. I get 20-30 fps for the most part. Slows down when I do a 360 degree turn. I have texture detail set high, distance set at 30% and environment detail set at 50%. On a PC I could probably just ramp it all up, but it slows down pretty noticeably on a Mac. Typical story.

    The game is very playable and enjoyable with my current settings, though. I look forward to improvements in performance on the Mac. With my configuration, the game should perform better, but...
    Keys C. "

    G4/AGP (100MHz bus) w/1.4GHz CPU, GF4MX card:

    (added 12/6/2004)
    "G4 Gigabit Ethernet machine w/ 1.4 Ghz upgrade card, GeForce 4 MX. I have 1 gig ram, running OS 10.3.6. This was originally a dual 450 G4.

    The game performs pretty well for me. I have most of the settings set to low, but the game is still gorgeous. I do of course have slow framerates in high-pop areas.

    Framerate in town: About 10 fps
    Framerate alone in the wilderness: Sometimes achieve 30 fps, usually about 25 fps though.

    Does anyone know if I upgraded to a 128MB Radeon card, such as the Radeon 9000, would this give me much better fps performance? The low framerate I'm getting is tolerable, but it can sometimes be deadly in high-pop dungeons.
    Kent R.
    (he later wrote)
    The only thing I can deduce from these reports is that the game is performing wildly different on different machines. (difference machines often produce different results in many things.) I seem to be getting better performance than some people with $250 video cards. I am sure this current build is the same build used in beta. I played the beta till the end and they never said anything about a new Mac build. "

    I don't know if/how much thhe 9000/128MB would help over your GF4MX, (although the 4MX would be one of my last choices for a gaming card). There's a previous 9000 owner report below but he used the beta/test version. (BTW - the 128MB 9000 has a 250MHz core clock vs 275MHz for the 9000 64MB.)

    G5 1.8GHz (single) w/FX5200:

    (added 12/6/2004)
    "No FPS cap on WOW. Our G5 1.8 SP, with fx5200 and 1GB RAM got same results as an Athlon 2600+ with fx5200 Ultra, so performance seems similar. On both, fps is around 17-25 mark, but when in a town, or in particular, a building, the fps shoots to near 70!! on the G5.
    Alexander C."

    PowerBook G4/1.5GHz (Radeon 9700 Mobility):

    (added 12/3/2004 from 12/2 mail)
    WoW Stats:
    I own a powerbook 15" 1.5 Ghz. The most recent model. Play on 1280x with everything set to low, I get 12-20 when its real busy in town and about 23-26 alone in the wilderness.

    Same settings on my dual 2.5 G5, ATI 9600XT:
    I get 23 when its busy and consistently around 28-30 when just wandering or fighting a few things.

    I have never seen framerates drop AT ALL on the DUAL. On my powerbook, that's another story, not much, but it does happen.
    P.S. CTRL-r people! we need numbers, not your opinion!!!
    (he later wrote)
    To be honest, all versions of warcraft I have played, I never checked the specs out on. Except for WC III and WoW. I really didn't see a cap on either. I have gotten 32-33 FPS on WoW on occasion, so there is no 30 fps cap on it. PC side of game, some people are saying 55-60 fps. They also have a kick ass card.
    (Update from a 12/23 email)

    Okay, after the 10.3.7 update alone:
    Desktop performance (Dual 2.5) stays a constant 25-33 FPS in cities, I have seen it go as high as 50 FPS in the woods. I have not applied the Blizzard patch to this computer yet as I am on vacation.

    HOWEVER, I am on vacation with my laptop, which had some serious problems with Ironforge. Framerates in IF prior to update could be as low as 6 FPS when riding a griffon or walking by the vault. As a matter of fact, after 10.3.7 update, that may have changed to like 9 FPS. This may be a problem with IF itself, I dunno. I still saw about 20-26 fps in battle or out in woods.

    Now, with the new patch from blizzard, I am still getting around 9-15 FPS in IF depending on where I look. HOWEVER, when I leave IF and go outside, I am seeing framerates on this PB as high a 60+FPS at times. I've seen it run from 28 - 48 regularly with some spikes as high as 61 fps. So there has been a large improvement for me with the PB. Which makes me excited to get home and see what my heavyweight can do with this patch.

    The powerbook is playing now at a resolution of 1152 wide with the vertex animation shaders on. While I am typing this I am going to go back to native res of 1280 wide and see what happens. Hah, it just quit on me.

    Okay, I am seeing an avg of 40 fps down to about 15 fps while its loading new terrain. This is in 1280 wide. With some spikes as high as 50 fps. Very happy with performance boost.
    Will update when I get home and try it out on my powermac.
    Joe Sieracki ("MacIntosh") "

    G4/1.4GHz w/9800 Pro:

    (added 12/3/2004 from 12/2 mail)
    "i've been playing WOW for just over a week heres my setup.
    Machine Model: Power Mac G4 (133MHz bus), 1.4GHz CPU upgrade, Mac OS X 10.3.6, 1GB RAM, ATI 9800pro mac edition (ROM Revision: 113-A07525-114)

    Running the game at 1600x1200 terrrain vision low all other settings on high.
    my frame rate is between 20 to 24 fps. all and all it runs great for me.
    hold tight people new drivers/patches will come soon.
    -Nostrat "

    (See Blizzard's comments on updates below.)

    iMac G4/1.25GHz w/FX5200:

    (added 12/3/2004 from 12/2 mail)
    "The game is running pretty nicely on my:
    iMac G4 1.25GHz, 1.25GB RAM, GeForce FX5200, OS X 10.3.6

    I am running at 1280x800 with everything on minimum, except draw distance which I have at about 35-40%.

    I am getting 17-18 fps outdoors, around 10-11 fps in cities, and 6-8 fps with a ton of action on the screen. Despite the low framerates in some areas the hardware cursor still makes it very playable and the game looks gorgeous.

    If I turn the draw distance down I can get a pretty consistent 21-22 fps a little less in the cities, but it just looks so much better with it turned up!

    Great work both technically and artistically Blizz!
    -Ryan D. "

    Dual 2.5GHz G5 w/6800 Ultra: (another 6800 owner report on disappointing performance)

    (added 12/3/2004 from 12/2 mail)
    I recently upgraded from the 9600xt to the 6800ultra.....believe it or not, this is not much of a performance boost for WoW. I am kinda disappointed. (to the point where I am thinking of selling my dual 2.5 w/2GB ram and getting a new iMac and a gaming PC L) I love the Mac platform and had finally thought we had enough umph to stand with pc's on gaming. But considering what I have paid for this machine I am just not seeing the benefit. I will wait a few weeks as Rob (Rob Barris from Blizzard) said to see what improvements we get, but I fear Apple is the problem, they just don't care about the gamer, and their drivers don't tap the card for such.

    Running specs
    Dual 2.5GHz G5 Powermac
    2GB ram
    6800 ultra
    running 1680x1050 full settings except for farclip, which is at ²

    getting around 20-70fps, it's all over the place
    Erik (not happy) "

    I guess it doesn't have a max FPS rate cap then (I thought some said older warcraft games were capped at 30FPS or so max but maybe I'm wrong.)

    Comments from Blizzard on WoW Updates: (an email sent after the posts in the 12/1 news page)

    (added 12/2/2004)
    " Hello - I work in the Mac software group at Blizzard.

    We'll be releasing patches to World of Warcraft in coming weeks that will start to unlock the full shader capabilities of various video cards on the Mac. Getting to the point where we can do that reliably, has required a lot of cooperation between Blizzard, Apple, ATI and NVIDIA. We encountered a number of bugs and interactions when running WoW on OS X 10.3.5, that necessitated releasing Mac WoW 1.0 with the shader features initially disabled.

    A lot of progress has been made, and in fact a number of fixes that we need for shader support have shipped already in 10.3.6, and more are on the way. However our own patching schedule for WoW is not exactly synchronized with Apple's OS patch schedule. What this means is that even though these vendors have already shipped some fixes, the patch from us to take advantage of them won't be immediate. Apple has more fixes that have not yet made it out into the wild, these things can take a bit of time to get right. What we are going to do is examine each new Apple point release and determine which features we can unlock and on which configurations. My gut feeling is that we will have 95% of these issues resolved in the next 5-6 weeks.

    As has been the case with past Blizzard products (most recently Diablo II and Warcraft III) the Mac team continues to improve performance and profile the game in real world situations long after the 1.0 release. It's all too easy to quickly assign blame for slowdowns on GPU drivers or on Apple; suffice it to say that WoW is not always a game that is limited by GPU speed alone, and we will be closely examining our code's activity in city scenes on NVIDIA cards to see if there is a uniquely slow path holding us down.

    If you are a user that feels you are not getting the best out of your system, keep an eye on us for the next patch or two. WoW on the Mac is not going to be sitting still, we will be unlocking those aforementioned features and tuning up speed in other areas of the code. If you have more detailed reports that you would like to share with us directly, we welcome your feedback at wowmacteam123@blizzard.com. The best way to get us to focus on something is a nice detailed report with a specific location and server (screenshots and system profiles are also helpful items to include).
    Rob Barris - Blizzard Entertainment (Mac Team) "

    Powerbook G4/1.33GHz (12in) w/Nvidia FX5200: (includes a tip on showing framerates in the game)

    (added 12/2/2004)
    A couple quick notes. I am playing on my 12" Powerbook (1.33Ghz/768MB), hooked up to the Apple 23" display. I'm getting framerates between 12-20 with about the lowest settings. This is the resolution of ~1900x1200. It's playable, but I'd like to be able to turn up my settings. (that's a very high resolution, too high in my opinion for a graphics chip in the FX5200 class.-Mike)

    I also noticed that a lot of your messages use vageries in describing frame rates, for those that don't know, ctrl-r will display the framerate.

    btw, for any of your readers on Llane sever, interested in a mac-users guild -- send me a message (Tikos).
    David "

    Digital Audio Dual G4/533 w/Geforce4 Ti:

    (added 12/2/2004)
    "Hi Mike, here's a rundown of my WoW experience. I use my Digital Audio dual G4/533, running 10.3.6, with 640MB of RAM and a Geforce4Ti video card.
    The game runs at a steady 20FPS (Ctrl+R will display FPS), which is acceptable for this kind of game. I run it at 1600x1200 with the graphics options in the medium quality range.

    For a G5 system to not blow away that performance would tell me that the game is very GPU dependent and the drivers for the newer cards aren't up to par. On the PC side the game seems to be very GPU dependent. Geforce4MX cards run at around 10FPS at 800x600 at lowest quality, and that's with a 2.0GHz Pentium 4.
    -Mike M. "

    Dual 2.5GHz w/9600XT:

    (added 12/1/2004)
    " I am seeing excellent performance on my system while playing World of Warcraft, which incidentally consumes vast amounts of my life now. ;-)

    System Specs:
    PowerMac G5 (Dual 2.5 GHz)
    1.5 GB Ram
    Stock ATI Radeon 9600 XT w/128 MB VRAM

    I am away from my home machine so I can't say what all the settings are, but I know that I am running it at my display's native 1280X1024 resolution.
    Again, the performance is excellent...but in light of what I shelled out for this system, it darned well better be! Regards, Troy M. "

    Beta WoW w/Dual G4 1GHz/Geforce4 Ti:

    (added 12/1/2004)
    " concerning the poor performance the person with the dual 1.8ghz g5, 1.5GB RAM, and geforce 6800GT card had I must say I am quite perplexed.
    Granted, I only played in the stress test beta for the 5 days it went on (before the real public beta), but on my dual G4 1GHz with 512MB RAM and a Geforce4 Ti (mac edition) I was able to run at 1280x1024 and maintain stable FPS. I had to turn down some options whenever I rode a gryphon though, or the ride would be a slideshow.

    In other words, how is it that better processors, faster processors, almost three times as much RAM (faster ram too), and a faster graphics card manages to get worse performance than I got?
    Jamie B. "

    Maybe it's the retail version - no idea if he ever used the same version you did, and maybe there's some NV40 driver issue.

    PB G4 17in/1.33GHz w/Radeon Mobility 9600:

    (added 12/1/2004)
    " I have a PowerBook G4/1.33 (17") with the Radeon Mobility 9600. I have acceptable WoW performance, running at 1024x800 (I think that's the res, it's the wide-aspect one). I run with all options on low, however, which isn't too desireable
    I suspect that the CPU is the problem in performance, though, and not the graphics card.
    I have the 5400rpm 80GB drive, and 512mb or memory. Alexander J. "

    Dual 2GHz G5 w/6800GT

    (added 12/1/2004)
    " Unfortunately, I can confirm that WoW on a Dual 2GHz G5, 1GB RAM, 6800GT plays about the same as it does on the same machine with an FX5200 (even with 10.3.6). I talked my friend (who had never even used a Mac) into dropping close to $5,000 on the above machine with the 23" Cinema Display. His SOLE request was that he be able to play WoW. I told him it wouldn't be a problem, since Blizzard has the (very nice!) habit of releasing games for Mac and PC at the same time. Guess who has egg on their face now?

    The problem, as you mentioned, seems to be the drivers, which do not appear to be optimized (even a little bit) for the new card that Apple is selling for $500 (not to mention the Ultra for $100 more!)... Although I am the ORIGINAL Apple fan from the Classic and SE/30 days, it is rediculous that:

    -Someone can spend $5k on an Apple setup, and get horrible performance from a game designed from the get-go for a Mac (not even a port like Halo)

    -Apple's machines by default come with the lowest of the low video cards (such as the Radeon 9200 (eMac) FX5200 (iMac, G5's 1.8- 2GHz), or the Radeon 9600 for the THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR DP 2.5 G5). With the exception of the G5's, the video cards ( in the eMac, iMac, Notebooks) are not even upgradeable. Even worse, when they ARE upgradeable, the upgrade (as above) DOES NOTHING!

    -Apple's touts its Quartz Extreme technology, but can't provide good video cards for it to run on (Microsoft's Longhorn will take FULL advantage of all the latest video cards)

    -There is NO focus on gamers at Apple. Even though Gamers are the ones who will drop thousands and thousands of dollars on the latest and greatest machine, just to play a new game.
    AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!! (I'll hop off the soapbox now...)
    -Sean "

    As it has been for many years, most people with gaming as their primary use will choose to build (or buy) a PC instead. (With a ton of choices on motherboards, graphics cards, CPUs and games - all dropping in price from month to month...)

    beta WoW w/Radeon 9000 and GF4 Ti: (I asked for system/mac model details)

    Beta WoW on MDD Dual G4/867:

    (added 12/1/2004)
    " Hey Mike,
    I don't have the full retail version of the game, but I played the beta for a few months and played the version that was shipped on cds. I used a Radeon 9000 and a GeForce 4 Ti (Dual 867 MDD system) and there was not a noticeable difference except in viewing distance I could use before it got choppy. I do recall reading in the patch notes for the major patch before they went to retail (not the little one that they have notes for now) that the mac version had graphical issues due to driver problems and I do not recall them fixing it. They said it was an apple issue.
    Unfortunately Blizzard does not retain older patch notes, so I can't point to anything to prove it, but I am pretty sure I remember that it disabled shaders if not more.
    David D.
    P.S. Great site, I read it every day. "

    9600XT in Dual 2.5GHz G5:

    (added 12/1/2004)
    " Just wanted to let you know that I have a 2.5Ghz dual G5, 1.5 GB RAM, 250 GB HD with 9600XT on moderate WoW settings and my framerate is just fine outside of town. In town, depending on the town and my perspective, it can slow down a bit (10-20 fps), but outside of town framerate is rarely a problem (30-50 fps usually, with 40 avg).
    However, note that I do _not_ have the settings maxed, as that does lag my card.

    Also, I've done some poking around with WoW in a window and, as expected, it's not even coming close to peaking my processors. The bottleneck is certainly the graphics card. Lag is also not an issue since Thanksgiving day when most of the servers were upgraded (or whatever they did).
    -Tyler F. "

    (the first report from the main news page follows)

    Nvidia 6800GT owner comments on poor World of Warcraft performance: (from the 12/1/2004 news page)

    " I've got a Powermac G5 Dual 1.8GHz (pci-x ver)/1.5GB RAM/500GB RAID 0/nvidia 6800GT (just for the record I asked if he's running 10.3.6 which had later drivers, although they may not help with this they did address some performance problems like homeworld 2-Mike)

    World of Warcraft runs like a dog, independant of settings i choose. This is a widespread problem for anyone with a 6800 series card. While Apple's 'Ultimate' gaming machine recommends the Ultra (to play WoW and others), I do not recommend it. It's no better than a 5200Ultra. (for most any game the 6800 should be far better than the FX5200 when the graphics card is the bottleneck, but if there's a driver or game problem that's another issue.-Mike)

    I'm certain it's got alot to do with the drivers for these 6800's. But some people I know are also complaining about unacceptable framerates with their 9800 series cards.
    I was wondering if you had any information on this,
    Glen C.
    (he later wrote)
    I am running 10.3.6
    This seems to only be a problem with Blizzard's World of Warcraft. The UT2004 demo runs great with everything turned up, along with all my other games (call of duty, avp2, bf1942). I really appreciate youre help! "

    I tested several games in my Mac 6800 Ultra review game tests page (Splinter Cell, Call of Duty, Halo, Unreal Tournament 2004, Jedi Knight II, Quake3 and Return to Castle Wolfenstein.) I don't have any warcraft games installed, but in the past ATI cards were a better performer in these games as I remember. And being an online game, network/server performance could also be a factor I guess. However I'd welcome other WoW users comments on performance with any card/setup. Thanks.

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