While you can't just go and install your own drivers usually , previously mentioned gfxCardStatus gives you some insight as to when your Mac is using integrated graphics, and when it's switched over to a dedicated card. You can even force OS X to use one card or another using the app although you probably won't want to.
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Similarly, you'll be able to make smarter tweaks to your games' graphics settings if you learn what all of those toggles and options mean. Check out our guide to graphics settings to get familiar with everything from anti-aliasing to v-Sync. Once you understand what each option does, you'll be more comfortable tweaking and making changes in your games in a way that actually improves performance without sacrificing quality, instead of doing the big things that may even compromise both.
Obviously, adjusting the graphics settings for your game is one of the best ways to make sure it runs a little more smoothly, but another thing you can try is switching between full-screen and windowed mode. Even windowed mode taking up the entire screen can sometimes smooth things out for you, and which one will work better depends heavily on the games you play.
I've had some titles strain in windowed mode but really pick up when set to full-screen, and other titles choke in full-screen but suddenly become playable in windowed mode. Your mileage may vary. Even if your Mac is packed with a massive SSD and plenty of RAM, keeping a bunch of apps running in the background while you fire up a full-screen game isn't going to do you any favors. If you game on Windows, you're probably used to the performance tradeoff of keeping other apps open while you game, so you should be ready for it in OS X as well.
This is especially true for heavier apps and web browsers, which consume more system resources the longer they've been open. If you can, close Firefox or Chrome on your Mac while you game, or at least close them before you game and start a fresh session if you like to surf the web or research while you play. In some cases, it's not a big difference, but in others—namely when it comes to web browsing—it can be pretty nightmarish. Flash, Java, and other heavy plugins for web content are especially to blame for sucking down system resources while you're trying to play full-screen games, and fighting those games for valuable processor time even though the game clearly has priority.
You could just remove Flash and Java entirely, or you could install ClickToFlash for Safari or Flashblock for Firefox or Chrome to stop it from loading until you actually want it. Activity Monitor is built in to OS X and gives you a complete picture of which processes and applications are using the most memory, CPU, and disk resources.
It's great, and it's a great way to see if there's some application open behind your games that's slowing everything down so you can close it even if that app is Steam—I've seen that happen before. However, Activity Monitor can be a pain to keep an eye on behind a full-screen game, so consider iStat Menus , which essentially puts those tools in your Mac's menubar. I know we suggested keeping menubar utilities to a minimum, but the beauty of iStat Menus is that they're really light on system resources, and can tell you more than just RAM, CPU, and disk activity.
One click shows you CPU temperature, battery temperature, fan speed, and more. You can get a feel for whether or not there's a hardware issue at play as well as a software one like a broken or dying fan, for example , even while your favorite game is up and running. Just to get the inevitable out of the way, yes—you can always install Windows on your Mac. Whether you give up on OS X entirely or you use Boot Camp to dual-boot, you can run Windows and your favorite Windows apps and games on your Mac hardware. It's one way to get your game on in a way you're probably familiar, and use all of the tweaks and tools you're familiar with.
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Plus, if you're running Windows, you have a broader array of games available for you to play, and many of them will actually run better in Windo, you have more options. A Mac actually makes a remarkably solid Windows computer, and while it's not designed specifically for gaming, most models' discrete graphics make them pretty good for the task. Once you've gone through these suggestions, ideally your games should play a bit more smoothly.
As with any system, you'll have to tweak the graphics settings to make sure everything is just right, but just because you're gaming on a Mac doesn't mean you have to settle for the performance you get. Keep in mind however just like in a Windows PC, hardware plays a significant role, and there's only so much you can do to accommodate it and boost performance before you hit its natural ceiling.
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Hello all, I enjoy very much Crossover for some years now, but never managed to launch a program in a windowed screen mode on my Mac than the usual fullscreen mode. I was very happy with this new option available Emulate a virtual desktop which had to make my life easier in Crossover but never get to make it works on each bottle I own. I actually click on the option in the wine configurator, and enter the resolution size but it still launches this fullscreen mode in each application.
Did I miss something? Is it the good way to have windowed programs? I run Crossover I had recently this issue trying to run a game in windowed mode, and got this answer from the staff: "The emulate virtual desktop mode only works on the older X11 mode of Crossover so you can give that a try. Just open Crossover and click the Bottles button in the top left to show the list of bottles on the left hand side.