To my very surprise, after installing Panther 10.3 on our G5/1.6 GHz, I saw some very poor performance results from the most-demanding game installed there - UT2k3.
I booted up UT2k3, and played a level of DM - no settings were changed in the game, and when I started playing, I noticed instantly the mouse was sluggish, and gameplay frames dropped like a rock in water. With more than 3 bots firing on screen at once, the game became so sluggish, it renenderd UT2k3 unplayable; on a outdoor level, frames dropped below 15 again renendering some parts unplayable.
I'm not saying Panther is a bad OS - this time I'm pointing my finger at ATI (G5 has a Radeon 9600) - the Radeon 9600 has serious issues with 10.3 and unless ATI releases updated drivers for the Radeon cards, 3D gaming under 10.3 will bring many games to a stand still - the performance issues, I believe, was because the Radeon 9600 wasn't working well with Panther 10.3. ATI needs to get its game together and release updated drivers for Panther.
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I don't have UT2k3 to test on my G5 Dual with 9600 Pro (running Panther), but I've maxed out the settings for MOHAA (Medal Of Honor), and RTCW (Return To Castle Wolfenstein) and I don't see any performance issues. I realize UT2k3 is a more demanding game though.
Speaking of ATI, there are a huge number of issues surrounding both the 9800 and 9600 OEM Apple video cards. Most issues seem to relate to ADC connection, but if you visit Apples Discussion page, you'll be amazed at how many are having problems. It's clear that there is a fairly substantial number of ATI G5 video cards out there that are bad.
I can't help but think that the large number of orders that Apple placed with ATI for the G5 roll out, caused ATI's quality control to fail. Read the Apple Discussion forum, you'll probably agree. Some G5 owners are on their 3rd RMA for the video card.
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This is exactly what I've been waiting to find out. Carmack indicated that Doom 3 is clearly an iNvdia game. Came right and said it in an interview. So why then would Apple put a 64Mb ATI card in the G5. The 9600 pro card isn't a bad card if you are using a PC and the 128MB version. Very nice budget card.
I have been giving serious thought to buying a G5 as a Doom 3 gaming machine, with the exception of HL2 everything else runs on it. But the video card choice is just garbage, 64Mb just floors me. This thing has no shot at pushing Doom 3, not sure about Quake 4. This seems like a great machine I just don't understand the video card though.
Getting crappy frame rates in UT2k isn't surprising at all. Running UT2k on a PC with a 64 Mb card is just a waste, it's unplayable. Doesn't matter whether you are using a Mac G5, G4, a Voodoo machine or whatever. A 64Mb card has no place in a gaming machine anymore. It seems that Apple always picks one component to cheap out on, don't know why that is. Not a knock on the machines, love them, it just seems that way to me.