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How WoW Runs on the Mac Mini 2020 Baseline Model with Apple M1 Chip

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Apple introduced its first Apple Silicon processor for the Mac called the "M1" chip last week, so we're looking at how WoW performs on the new Mac Mini baseline model.

Blizzard announced native day 1 support for Apple Silicon earlier this week, which is great news for new Macs owners that purchased a device with the M1 chip.

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The Mac Mini ships with Apple's 8-core GPU that's supposed to handle extremely demanding tasks with ease. Before that, they've shipped with integrated Intel graphics. The Mac Mini model has an Apple M1 chip with 8 cores and 8 gigs of RAM, but doesn't support external GPUs.

How Does the Apple M1 Chip Perform?

Cviddy24 provided some preliminary results on how WoW performs on the new Mac Mini.

  • The screenshots were taken at level 5 on a 3440x1440 ultra-wide monitor, 3/4 downloaded with ElvUI.
  • The game rarely dips below 30 and caps at 50 FPS, depending on the area.
  • It should run decently on 1080p.
  • The game remains decently smooth at 5 without changes. At a 7 it remains playable.

Screenshots

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Source: Reddit

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that's... rather poor. you get better performance out of a 7 year old Optiplex.

that said, I would love to know if this is a native ARM-version or if there is some kind of dynamic recompilation going on which would produce a lot of overhead. also, what is the bottleneck here, CPU or GPU?

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37 minutes ago, jinsu2301 said:

that's... rather poor. you get better performance out of a 7 year old Optiplex.

that said, I would love to know if this is a native ARM-version or if there is some kind of dynamic recompilation going on which would produce a lot of overhead. also, what is the bottleneck here, CPU or GPU?

It has integrated graphics. Thisnis pretty decent performance considering that. Also, I doubt a 7 year old Optiplex can run modern WOW at 1080p.

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So, pretty decent for integrated graphics, but there will be no external thunderbolt GPU support for the foreseeable future on M1. You could plug a Vega 64 into the previous Mac mini and get 144fps.

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I think these numbers are a bit of an edge case, most people are not running a resolution that high. Some results at 1080p and 1440p would have been more relavent imo. I am surprised that little Mac Mini gets those framerates at that resolution however. It will be interesting to see the performance of future models with more powerful chips, like the iMac or Mac Pro.

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1 hour ago, durdyenglish said:

It has integrated graphics. Thisnis pretty decent performance considering that. Also, I doubt a 7 year old Optiplex can run modern WOW at 1080p.

Actually I can say without a doubt that my Optiplex 7010 has an i5-3470 paired with a GTX 1050-Ti Low profile card and run "Modern WOW" at a consistent 80+ fps on max settings and mine is 8 years old.

Granted I use a dedicated card but I played on it with integrated graphics until WoD.

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1 hour ago, durdyenglish said:

Also, I doubt a 7 year old Optiplex can run modern WOW at 1080p.

I think you are underestimating how little CPUs have improved over the last decade. if you get a Dell with an i5 and a dedicated GPU, 1080p is no issue. you can buy one with a 3470 for less than a hundred bucks and shove a used 960 in there. it's obviously not gonna run to the usual PCMR standards, but neither does it on the M1.

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1 hour ago, jinsu2301 said:

I think you are underestimating how little CPUs have improved over the last decade. if you get a Dell with an i5 and a dedicated GPU, 1080p is no issue. you can buy one with a 3470 for less than a hundred bucks and shove a used 960 in there. it's obviously not gonna run to the usual PCMR standards, but neither does it on the M1.

Apologies, I will reframe my perspective: an out-of-the-box, seven-year-old Optiplex is unlikely to achieve this type of performance while running the most modern rendition of the game, especially on comparable or identical settings.

At the beginning of Legion I was running an 4th gen i5 with a 960. At 1080p, the rig struggled to maintain 45FPS (graphics settings 7) in a wide variety of content and zones. Once I upgraded to a 1060 6GB, performance dramatically increased. Now, with an i7-9700 and a 1660 TI, I am finally able to maintain 60 FPS or higher (nearly) across the board with much higher settings enabled (still at 1080p).

While I understand that, conceptually, your point holds water, it is undoubtedly hyperbolic and vastly ignores the achievement of maintaining this level of performance with integrated graphics on a non-native OS.

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Also overlooked point: now that WoW can run smoothly on an ARM chip (which are now owned/produced by NVidia and predominantly used in mobile devices), we are one giant step closer to playing World of Warcraft (and most other games) on a mobile device.

 

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10 minutes ago, durdyenglish said:

While I understand that, conceptually, your point holds water, it is undoubtedly hyperbolic and vastly ignores the achievement of maintaining this level of performance with integrated graphics on a non-native OS.

Very true. And I personally think the advancement of the arm has been a long time coming. I think these numbers alone will justify me eliminating my Dell and Mini for this model to take the place of both (well not just for this, since I already have one I don't play on.)

 

  

7 minutes ago, durdyenglish said:

Also overlooked point: now that WoW can run smoothly on an ARM chip (which are now owned/produced by NVidia and predominantly used in mobile devices), we are one giant step closer to playing World of Warcraft (and most other games) on a mobile device.

 

I don't know if I would want to play WoW on a mobile due to controls.

Edited by WyzrdX

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1 minute ago, WyzrdX said:

Very true. And I personally think the advancement of the arm has been a long time coming. I think these numbers alone will justify me eliminating my Dell and Mini for this model to take the place of both (well not just for this, since I already have one I don't play on.)

 

  

I don't know if I would want to play WoW on a mobile due to controls.

I thought about this too, here's what I got:

  • You would need a larger screen - I'm thinking the game would be optimized for tablet use first
  • Multi-screen functionality (a la Nintendo Wii U/Switch, etc.) could give you the option of additional screen space by relegating inventory, menus, etc. to a second, smaller screen (your phone) when you wanted to
  • The game now has integrated voice chat, a mobile version *could* eliminate most traditional text chat channels (many games are already going this route)
  • Stylus support would be mandatory with unique "gestures" built into the controls
  • Allowing you to properly queue up your (single) next ability would make tapping abilities less tedious
  • Upgrades to the camera system (auto-face your target type stuff) would go a long way in reducing the number of input commands required to maneuver your character

People play this game with trackballs and drawing pads, electric instruments and game controllers. It may not be perfect, but I'm confident they are already working on it.

WoW is setup perfectly, both from a hardware requirement, aesthetic, and revenue model, to transition to a mobile market. Game companies can no longer count on people investing huge amounts into their systems. It's not a matter of if, it's when.

If they don't port WOW directly to mobile, they will release a repackaging (Champions of Azeroth mobile RPG or maybe a "sequel" to WoW [not called WoW 2]) that will be a slightly boiled down version.

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