Carmack Clarifies Mac Statements

Yes, Quake III Arena is coming to the Mac, but Carmack admits Apple is playing catch-up to the PC.

Id Software's John Carmack updated his .plan file this week, with clarification on the announcement he made at last week's Mac World Expo about bringing Quake III Arena to the Macintosh.

"Q3test, and later the full commercial Quake3: Arena, will be simultaneously released on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms," Carmack wrote. "I think Apple is doing a lot of things right. A lot of what they are doing now is catch-up to Wintel, but if they can keep it up for the next year, they may start making a really significant impact."

"I still can't give the Mac an enthusiastic recommendation for sophisticated users right now," Carmack continued, "because of the operating system issues, but they are working towards correcting that with MacOS X." Regarding the G3 Mac system, he wrote, "Basically, it's a great system, but Apple has oversold its performance relative to Intel systems. In terms of timedemo scores, the new G3 systems should be near the head of the pack, but there will be Intel systems outperforming them to some degree. The Mac has not instantly become a 'better' platform for games than Wintel, it has just made a giant leap from the back of the pack to near the front."

We've enclosed a copy of Carmack's recent .plan file (update 1/10/99) on page 2.Ok, many of you have probably heard that I spoke at the macworld keynote on tuesday. Some information is probably going to get distorted in the spinning and retelling, so here is an info dump straight from me:

Q3test, and later the full commercial Quake3: Arena, will be simultaniously released on windows, mac, and linux platforms.

I think Apple is doing a lot of things right. A lot of what they are doing now is catch-up to wintel, but if they can keep it up for the next year, they may start making a really significant impact.

I still can't give the mac an enthusiastic reccomendation for sophisticated users right now because of the operating system issues, but they are working towards correcting that with MacOS X.

The scoop on the new G3 mac hardware:

Basically, its a great system, but Apple has oversold its performance reletive to intel systems. In terms of timedemo scores, the new G3 systems should be near the head of the pack, but there will be intel systems outperforming them to some degree. The mac hasnot instantly become a "better" platform for games than wintel, it has just made a giant leap from the back of the pack to near thefront.

I wish Apple would stop quoting "Bytemarks". I need to actually look at the contents of that benchmark and see how it can be somisleading. It is pretty funny listening to mac evangelist types try to say that an iMac is faster than a pentium II-400. Nope.Not even close.

From all of my tests and experiments, the new mac systems are basically as fast as the latest pentium II systems for generalcpu and memory performance. This is plenty good, but it doesn't make the intel processors look like slugs.

Sure, an in-cache, single precision, multiply-accumulate loop could run twice as fast as a pentium II of the same clock rate, butconversly, a double precision add loop would run twice as fast on the pentium II.

Spec95 is a set of valid benchmarks in my opinion, and I doubt the PPC systems significantly (if at all) outperform the intel systems.

The IO system gets mixed marks. The 66 mhz video slot is a good step up from 33 mhz pci in previous products, but that's still half thebandwidth of AGP 2X, and it can't texture from main memory. This will have a small effect on 3D gaming, but not enough to push itout of its class.

The 64 bit pci slots are a good thing for network and storage cards, but the memory controller doesn't come close to getting peakutilization out of it. Better than normal pci, though.

The video card is almost exactly what you will be able to get on the pc side: a 16 mb rage-128. Running on a 66mhz pci bus, it'stheoretical peak performance will be midway between the pci and agp models on pc systems for command traffic limited scenes. Notethat current games are not actually command traffic limited, so the effect will be significantly smaller. The fill rates will be identical.

The early systems are running the card at 75 mhz, which does put it at a slight disadvantage to the TNT, but faster versions areexpected later. As far as I can tell, the rage-128 is as perfect as the TNT feature-wise. The 32 mb option is a feature ATI canhold over TNT.

Firewire is cool.

Its a simple thing, but the aspect of the new G3 systems that struck me the most was the new case design. Not the flashy plasticexterior, but the functional structure of it. The side of the system just pops open, even with the power on, and lays themotherboard and cards down flat while the disks and power supply stay in the encloser. It really is a great design, and the benefitswere driven home yesterday when I had to scavenge some ram out of old wintel systems yesterday -- most case designs suck really bad.

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