Valve Claims Frame Rate Improvements of Up to 120% With Snow Leopard Graphics Update

Yesterday, Apple released Snow Leopard Graphics Update, designed to address issues being experienced with high-performance games on Mac OS X 10.6.4. The issue was brought to light by Valve Software, which had recommended that Mac gamers not update to Mac OS X 10.6.4 until the issue was addressed.

Valve, which has been working closely with Apple and graphics card companies to improve gaming performance on the Mac platform, has now posted a technical explanation of the steps it has been able to take to improve performance as facilitated by the new software update. While the details are certainly interesting, the bottom line is that frame rates have been increased by 15% to 120% on some newer Mac hardware.

We are seeing dramatic performance improvements on iMac (Late 2009 and Mid 2010), Mac mini (Early 2009 and Mid 2010), Mac Pro (Early 2009), MacBook (Early 2009 and Mid 2010) and MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010) and MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2010) models. Depending on the game, video settings and the hardware, we have measured frame rate improvements from 15% to 120% on these systems. On older systems, we are generally already operating at the limits of the hardware, so it is not obvious that any significant performance improvements can be achieved in the future.

Valve has made a significant investment into the Mac OS X platform, working to bring its entire library of high-profile games to the Mac while also opening up its Steam game distribution platform to allow other developers to easily offer Mac versions of their titles.

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