Civilization V Updated for Mac Pro, Includes 4K and OpenCL Support [Updated]

Aspyr has updated Civilization V with support for the new Mac Pro, offering OpenCL frameworks to improve performance on NVIDIA and ATI chipsets in OS X Mavericks, as well as 4K resolution. The company says most Civilization V players should see faster game and visual performance as a result.

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Click the image for a full-sized 4K screenshot

Civilization V is available on the Mac from the Mac App Store [$14.99], Steam, and Aspyr's GameAgent digital store. The game is being offered for 50% off temporarily on the GameAgent store alongside the update.

Update 8:53AM PDT 3/21/2014: A prior version of this post claimed that Civilization V takes full advantage of both video cards on the Mac Pro, based on information provided by Aspyr via a blog post and press release. Aspyr has updated its blog post and reached out to MacRumors to issue a correction.

The Civilization V update does not utilize both video cards in the Mac Pro. An Aspyr spokesperson explained that the update "focuses on the OpenCL framework so that more processes are centered around the GPU, thereby reducing the overall memory footprint" and that the company "made the decision to focus on one card so that all other ATI and NVIDIA setups would benefit from the structure instead of JUST the Mac Pro."

We have also updated this post with a full-resolution 4K screenshot of Civilization V.

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10 months ago
Score! Now I can finally justify buying a Mac Pro!
Rating: 11 Votes
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10 months ago
Wow. Civ in 4k. Astounding for someone who played the original Civ, which was may have been as low as 320 x 240!
Rating: 4 Votes
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10 months ago

Holy cow.


Is that another Gandhi reference?
Rating: 4 Votes
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10 months ago

I'm much more interested in the use of OpenCL than 4K support. I mean, lots of GPUs (and CPUs) support OpenCL, so that should benefit people who own iMacs and MBPs as well.

OpenCL is a compute technology, not a graphics technology per se. Do we have any more information on how it's being used? Is it being used to power the AI? Effects like the ocean or whatever?


Hey guys, our apologies but the blog post that is being quoted here has an error. The OpenCL update does NOT take advantage of the second card, but rather focuses solely on taking full advantage of the OpenCL framework so that iMac and MBP owners would see benefits as well. MacRumors and we will get the edit out asap.

Springsup is right on with the tech. Essentially OpenCL (used properly) allows you to shift computing processes over to the GPU, thereby reducing the overall memory footprint of the game.

We chose Civ V as the focus for this effort for two reasons:

One, Civ V is by far the biggest game on the Mac. It was important to us that if we were to spend the time, money, and resources on an update that we knew wouldn't make any money, it really needed to benefit the most amount of users as possible.

Two, Civ V would get the most benefit from a reduced memory footprint because of the way the game works. :apple:
Rating: 3 Votes
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10 months ago

Gandhi seems more of a PC player than a Mac one.

Gandhi seems more of a Nuclear Bomb player to me.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

Thanks for posting the Aspyr news link Commander.data! I had not caught that and its now edited to reflect the work done.

We actually started this effort out many months ago with the intention of only enabling the second card, but once we started digging in we realized we could make a much bigger difference by focusing solely on OpenCL. The misprint is simply that, our blog guy looking at old internal docs and picking up the second card language. Everything else is the same. Civ V is the first big title to support 4K resolutions, the misprint is HOW it does it. Again, our sincere apologies for the misprint.



Its on the wishlist for sure, but for now Intel integrated GPU's didnt make the cut.


Since its utilising OpenCL for its improvements, wouldnt it by default end up using both cards for OpenCL functions on a new MacPro? I thought all GPU cores available to the OS were available to any app that used OpenCL transparently?

I realise you are saying Civ V wasnt optimised specifically to utilize dual-GPU, and it may be arguing over symantics, but wouldnt the second card give an OpenCL performance boost? Or does it have absolutely no impact on performance at all with regards to Civ V?
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago
Great. I'm buying another Mac Pro just for gaming.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago
Thanks for posting the Aspyr news link Commander.data! I had not caught that and its now edited to reflect the work done.

We actually started this effort out many months ago with the intention of only enabling the second card, but once we started digging in we realized we could make a much bigger difference by focusing solely on OpenCL. The misprint is simply that, our blog guy looking at old internal docs and picking up the second card language. Everything else is the same. Civ V is the first big title to support 4K resolutions, the misprint is HOW it does it. Again, our sincere apologies for the misprint.

I suppose this makes sense for a first release. However what about Intel GPU support? Some of those new Intel GPUs are awesome OpenCL machines.


Its on the wishlist for sure, but for now Intel integrated GPU's didnt make the cut.
Rating: 1 Votes
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10 months ago
I asked a legitimate and relevant question in this thread earlier and it was deleted. Can anyone answer it?

Does the OpenCL in use in this game now give it speed parity with the PC release of Civilization V, or is it still better to restart in Bootcamp to play it? Are there any performance comparisons?
Rating: 1 Votes
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10 months ago

Since its utilising OpenCL for its improvements, wouldnt it by default end up using both cards for OpenCL functions on a new MacPro? I thought all GPU cores available to the OS were available to any app that used OpenCL transparently?

I realise you are saying Civ V wasnt optimised specifically to utilize dual-GPU, and it may be arguing over symantics, but wouldnt the second card give an OpenCL performance boost? Or does it have absolutely no impact on performance at all with regards to Civ V?


It depends. In theory, OpenCL allows you to write hardware-agnostic parallelised code - it could run on the CPU (all CPUs support OpenCL if they have driver support) or any GPUs that are present.

In practice, code is often targeted to specific hardware. The biggest performance bottleneck is usually transferring data to/from host and GPU memory. However, if you're on a SOC then there is no separate GPU memory and it makes more sense to memory-map. Those are separate commands, so you as a programmer need to make sure you use the right one for the hardware you're on. Similar hardware-specific nuances creep up all over the place, so writing very portable abstract code is not that easy.

In my opinion, OpenCL should abstract those kind of details away and the hardware driver should decide on the best thing to do. OpenCL is a pretty low-level API, though. I've argued about this at great length, but the Khronos group members seem to prefer optimising for performance and letting the programmer explicitly control everything.
Rating: 1 Votes
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