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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Alternative Operating Systems > So, you want to play Eve Online (or other directX games) on your Macbook Pro?

So, you want to play Eve Online (or other directX games) on your Macbook Pro?
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Aug 10, 2006, 08:18 PM
 
Well, you probably can't do it in a stable fashion. Here's the skinny:

Eve Online works flawlessly in bootcamp on the Macbook line, since they have those integrated Intel graphics chips. But the Macbook Pro that I have (17") has an X1600. The drivers provided by Apple (dated March 2006) will cause the GPU to crash very frequently. Other games (such as Star Wars: Empire at War) have this problem, too.

I thought I'd start this thread in case anyone wanted to share ideas that I might not have explored yet.



Being a brainy sort of person, I thought I would try to find newer versions of the video drivers and install them myself. Only ATI's installers refused to work: the Radeon Mobility installer for laptops told me to go to Apple to install, and the X1600 drivers were no help, either.

(I was able to successfully install a .inf file dated 5-2006, but that made things slightly worse. Instead of GPU recover messages, I got blue screens of death. Force-installing the .inf files for the ATI mobility were much worse, leaving me with a copy of Windows trapped in 640x480 at 16 colors.)

Just to be absolutely sure, I reinstalled bootcamp and windows twice, and also updated to bootcamp 1.02. I lowered screen resolutions in the game and in Windows and tried lots of combinations of color depth and effects. Same results every time: Eve Online would cause the GPU to scream bloody murder or lock up tight within a few minutes of launch.

Bottom line: Unless someone very smart finds a copy of the ATI Mobility drivers newer than March 2006 and posts about how to install this into Windows, we are probably doomed until Leopard comes out ... assuming that it even contains newer drivers at all. (1.02 didn't.)


For the record, here are my specs:

Macbook Pro 17"
2 GB Ram
256 MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1600
Bootcamp 1.02
WinXP Pro (fully updated, installed with care)
     
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Aug 11, 2006, 08:42 AM
 
Does the X1600 actually support both transform and shading under DirectX, as Eve Online requires? I can't find any mention of it on ATI's page with the X1600's specs-or anywhere else, for that matte. If the game requires the GPU to do something it cannot, then crashes should be expected...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 11, 2006, 11:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter
Does the X1600 actually support both transform and shading under DirectX, as Eve Online requires? I can't find any mention of it on ATI's page with the X1600's specs-or anywhere else, for that matte. If the game requires the GPU to do something it cannot, then crashes should be expected...
It does indeed support T&L. I seem to remember having to go pretty deep into ATI's site to find those specifications, but they were there. There are also lots of pages out there that list the X1600 as a 9.0c-compatible, T&L-supporting card.

I fully expect this thing to work once drivers get updated by ATI. Maybe once Apple releases it in Leopard (and it's not technically named a beta), we'll have more leverage to use ATI's technical support team to get enhanced drivers. Maybe.
     
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Aug 11, 2006, 03:47 PM
 
Definitely sounds like an "incomplete implementation" driver issue from here. ATI could get on the stick for this issue too-they'd make a bunch of Mac users fans for life.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 14, 2006, 08:40 AM
 
I'm not sure this helps your problem in any way, but I play Eve Online on my 2.0 MBP. I upgraded RAM to 2gig and the whole things runs fine.

Admittedly, I have yet to devote an entire day to it to put it to the test.



FM
     
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Aug 14, 2006, 11:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by fallingman
I'm not sure this helps your problem in any way, but I play Eve Online on my 2.0 MBP. I upgraded RAM to 2gig and the whole things runs fine.

Admittedly, I have yet to devote an entire day to it to put it to the test.
FM
I assume this is a 15" MBP, which has the same graphics card as the 17"? (256 MB ATI Mobility Radeon?) If so, I'd be very, very curious to know which graphics driver you have in Windows and what order you installed everything. Did you update the graphics drivers? What version of Windows are you using?

Later today I'll try calling ATI to see what they can do for this problem, because I know it affects a number of us.

Mark
     
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Aug 14, 2006, 06:26 PM
 
For those curious, I called ATI about this problem.

The web page may be the worst company website I have ever laid eyes on, but the technical support agent that answered the phone was, luckily, a little helpful. While he stuck to the old line about ATI drivers on a Mac ("Not only are you supposed to get your drivers from Apple, but the whole idea of Windows on a Mac is way out there, and I don't want to speculate on how to fix this..."), he did suggest that I try the newest Omega drivers.

For those of you who don't know about them, they're ATI drivers that have been ripped free of the software that decides whether they can be installed on your machine or not. They did install properly on my macbook. The only difference I noted between the Omega drivers and the "true" ATI drivers was that everything appeared a little fuzzier on the screen ... almost as if fewer pixels per inch were present.

As for the game, well, it didn't seem to work very well. I got many blue screens of death when it tried to render some of the complicated shapes in space. *sigh*

Anyone else out there with a Macbook Pro 17" get Eve Online to work reliably?

And similarly, is anyone else out there having this trouble with any game?

Mark
     
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Aug 19, 2006, 03:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by fallingman
I'm not sure this helps your problem in any way, but I play Eve Online on my 2.0 MBP. I upgraded RAM to 2gig and the whole things runs fine.

Admittedly, I have yet to devote an entire day to it to put it to the test.



FM
I'm curious as well as to what you installed to get it running on your laptop. I'm going to be installing EVE Online on my MBP when I get around to installing Boot Camp. It would suck to not have it work as it's the only game I play other than Hearts of Iron 2. Also, what kind of FPS do you get for it on the MacBook Pro?

It'll be pretty lame if I can't run EVE Online on my MacBook Pro with dedicated graphics card yet can run it on my MacBook with a mediocre integrated graphics dealio.

Mark: Have you played any other games on your MBP? Could it be that your graphics card is defective by any chance?




PS - for people playing it on the MacBook (not Pro), what kind of FPS do you get as well?
     
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Aug 19, 2006, 03:45 AM
 
I would try messing with the in-game settings. Turn off all visuals and start building up from there.
     
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Aug 19, 2006, 01:48 PM
 
Hi Guys,

I have done absolutely nothing other than install the standard bootcamp drivers... No bluescreens, nothing. I've lost connection a few times, but I doubt that has anything to do with my machine, as my skype chats remain unaffected... Must be on their end.

I did however try and install the new drivers recently, and had an issue with my mouse... So I never got to try Eve with it as after a few seconds, I was unable to left or right click.

I just threw my old boot camp driver CD in, and let it overwrite whatever new driver was causing the issue and it seemed that it was "problem solved". The downside is that I have to put up with the audio comin out over speakers with my headset, which can cause annoyance for people chatting to me through skype.

I havent been brave enough to try just install the new ones again. I'm adopting a bit of an "if it aint broke, dont fix it" attitude.

To answer the above query, you're correct about the card in my 15" MBP.

Sorry I cant offer a soulution.
     
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Aug 21, 2006, 07:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Ankit
Mark: Have you played any other games on your MBP? Could it be that your graphics card is defective by any chance?
Argh -- took too long to complete this message. Now I have to retype it.

In response to your question, I'm pretty well satisfied that the GPU is not defective. For one, it works famously on the Mac side of things. I have also tried other games, like Oblivion, that do not cause any errors, and Star Wars: Empire at War, which does. I've checked forums, and I see macbook pro 17" users complaining of the same errors I get for Empire at War and for Eve Online, but not for Oblivion (except to say that some of the advanced features available in Oblivion aren't available under the 3/2006 version of the ATI driver).

Additionally, I've run dxdiag many, many times during my efforts to install different video drivers. Each time, all the tests work without any kind of hiccup.

I think we're definitely dealing with a driver incompatibility here.
     
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Aug 21, 2006, 07:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by jamil5454
I would try messing with the in-game settings. Turn off all visuals and start building up from there.
Done and done. For some reason, Eve Online doesn't like to adopt a color depth different from the OS. (So if you're in millions of colors in windows, you can tell Eve to display thousands of colors, but the setting never sticks. Set Windows to thousands of colors, and the setting will stick just fine.)

The very first thing I tried was to set the screen to the lowest possible resolution with the fewest colors available, and to turn off every buffer and special effect I could. In either fullscreen or windowed mode, it has no apparent impact. The game will work for a while, and then the GPU will crash and crash and crash and then eventually freeze.

I took some time to ask the ATI rep if he's ever had any success adjusting the compatibility settings in the ATI tools or in the windows control panel -- there's a slider that turns off various levels of hardware acceleration. He said that it had never done anything for him except slow down graphics display. It had never fixed a problem for him. I didn't try every combination of compatibility settings and graphics levels, but the few that I did try did not produce dividends. D'oh!
     
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Aug 21, 2006, 07:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by fallingman
Hi Guys,

I have done absolutely nothing other than install the standard bootcamp drivers... No bluescreens, nothing. I've lost connection a few times, but I doubt that has anything to do with my machine, as my skype chats remain unaffected... Must be on their end.

I did however try and install the new drivers recently, and had an issue with my mouse... So I never got to try Eve with it as after a few seconds, I was unable to left or right click.

I just threw my old boot camp driver CD in, and let it overwrite whatever new driver was causing the issue and it seemed that it was "problem solved". The downside is that I have to put up with the audio comin out over speakers with my headset, which can cause annoyance for people chatting to me through skype.

I havent been brave enough to try just install the new ones again. I'm adopting a bit of an "if it aint broke, dont fix it" attitude.

To answer the above query, you're correct about the card in my 15" MBP.

Sorry I cant offer a soulution.
I have a question: have you installed all of the Windows updates? Or did you install just the critical ones and not the optional ones, perhaps? And had you installed directx 9.0c?

These are things that I installed immediately upon installing Windows (both the first time I tried boot camp and last week when I erased everything and started over.) My install order went like this:

1. Install bootcamp and windows.
2. Install the apple drivers (so that the network card is recognized.)
3. Install all Windows updates, both critical and optional. (There were no optional updates for the graphics card.)
4. Install DirectX 9.0c.

Then I installed Eve and tested it. I wonder -- perhaps I shouldn't have installed something? I just worry that not installing a Windows update would work against me.

Mark
     
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Aug 22, 2006, 01:07 PM
 
OK --

Go to Start-->Run and type "dxdiag" and hit Enter. Run the DirectX tests and audio tests. It could be a problem with the DirectX installation, audio problems, or an OpenGL problem. Also, make sure you're installing DirectX 9.0c AFTER you install the bootcamp drivers (I guess that's kinda necessary).

Apart from that, I would begin downloading things like ATItool which checks for artifacts, VRAM testers, 3dmark05/3dmark06, and a few other benchmarking/testing programs to hopefully isolate the problem. You might want to check audio too... sometimes that can be the culprit.
     
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Aug 22, 2006, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by jamil5454
OK --

Go to Start-->Run and type "dxdiag" and hit Enter. Run the DirectX tests and audio tests. It could be a problem with the DirectX installation, audio problems, or an OpenGL problem. Also, make sure you're installing DirectX 9.0c AFTER you install the bootcamp drivers (I guess that's kinda necessary).

Apart from that, I would begin downloading things like ATItool which checks for artifacts, VRAM testers, 3dmark05/3dmark06, and a few other benchmarking/testing programs to hopefully isolate the problem. You might want to check audio too... sometimes that can be the culprit.
As I mentioned, I'd been all over dxdiag in the process of this. But ATItool and some VRAM checkers -- excellent idea! I'll post the results once I get a chance to try that. (Eve is down right now due to server problems or patch roll-out problems, or both.)

Mark
     
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Aug 23, 2006, 12:04 PM
 
Okay! I have tried using ATI Tool to monkey with the graphics card in this MBP. At first I thought I had uncovered a problem with the card, because ATI Tool crashed whenever it tried to change the clock speed. But then I realized it was just the version of ATI Tool -- I had downloaded the stable release 0.24, which is not compatible. 0.25 Beta 15 turned out to work flawlessly ... as did my video card! I ran the "check for artifacts" option for a couple of hours and never got one. (This was on the default speed. ATI Tool complained that my core and memory speeds were overclocked, but I think it wanted the default to be an astonishingly low 84/84.)

Suffice it to say, the hardware seems to be working properly.

I downloaded the newest patch to Eve Online and gave it another try. The GPU panicked immediately, and then reset itself, displaying 256 colors and no acceleration. It was stable for ten minuets -- right up until I tried accelerating. The "exhaust" effect coming out of my ship locked the GPU.

     
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Aug 23, 2006, 11:44 PM
 
Try 3dmark05 and 3dmark06. These benchmarks use pretty much all features of your GPU, so this way you can determine if it's a driver problem or not.
     
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Aug 25, 2006, 07:29 AM
 
I didnt install all the updates. I installed most I think, but then turned the auto-updater off. I didnt think that Apple would be releaseing many more updates for Bootcamp before Leopard and didnt want to have the annoyance of a MS update wrecking anything...

Once I knew it worked fine, I just turned it off.
     
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Aug 25, 2006, 11:10 AM
 
"MS update wrecking anything..." I'm agog. What do you mean by that? I've been using XP for years-since it was released, in fact, and I've never had an automatic update do anything bad to my system. There's no reason for it to. Please explain.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 25, 2006, 12:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter
"MS update wrecking anything..." I'm agog. What do you mean by that? I've been using XP for years-since it was released, in fact, and I've never had an automatic update do anything bad to my system. There's no reason for it to. Please explain.
Maybe his ISP's having some "Infrastructure problems."
     
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Aug 25, 2006, 03:01 PM
 
For those of you still interested, I found 3dMark05 and ran it. Not sure that it told me much that was useful, but here are the overall results:

3DMark Score 3898 3DMarks
CPU Score 4955 CPUMarks

I wasn't willing to pay money for the pro version, so I had to make due with the free version, which would only test my graphics card for about ten minutes. Not sure what tests it ran, but nothing ever froze.

Seeing it display on screen "movies" made me think back to my time with Eve. When I first installed it and watched their introduction movie, it worked flawlessly. It was only after the movie ended and it started rendering ships with lighting effects that my GPU started to die. Perhaps this is why Apple hasn't asked for an updated ATI driver; it could be that it's only deficient in a few tasks, so nobody has noticed yet.

Has anyone noticed discussions on the web by people who have installed ATI's updated mobility drivers? As I discussed before, the ATI tech told me to stay away from those, and my experience with them was anything but stable. But I wonder if there are people out there who have managed to fix these problems and don't talk about it because they consider the matter closed?

Mark
     
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Aug 28, 2006, 05:41 PM
 
More news from Eve-Online that may help shed some light on this problem:

In September, CCP will be releasing a significant patch that should change the game to using pixel-by-pixel shading (or something to that effect). Since the in-game movies and the login screen work perfectly, I wonder if this change won't have a more positive result on the stability of the game.

Then there's always their Path to Kali major release, whenever that is. If it's not that, well, I guess there's always hope for Leopard.

Mark
     
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Sep 8, 2006, 01:05 PM
 
I have the solution!

For full details, see [solution] Crashes, blue screens, freezes, and GPU recover in games under Bootcamp

Short version: All that's needed is to reduce the clock and memory speeds of the ATI card before running Eve Online. I played on the laptop for five hours last night, all without a single hiccup. (In fact, it looks very, very good.)
     
   
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