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I was disappointed to find that the Mac versions of Half-Life engine games (Portal, TF2, CS:Source) have a lot of trouble running on my aluminum MacBook: as soon as there's any sort of action, the framerate drops to 5 or 10.

When it's running Windows, the MacBook has no problem with these games.

So, is there anything I can do to improve the performance of Half-Life engine games on OS X?

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I believe there were issues running the games following the latest OSX software update - Steam recommended that you not update.

I've had similar issues though generally a restart of steam is the best solution for me.

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Hrm, dang. Too late for the update. Also, I find the issues come up within ~5 minutes of getting into a game… So restarting would be painfully slow. – David Wolever Jul 15 '10 at 13:08
Oh, wait, the 10.6.4 update? I'm still running 10.5.8, so I guess that's not a problem. – David Wolever Jul 15 '10 at 13:09
@David - Correct, it was the 10.6.4 update - – Pauk Jul 16 '10 at 8:27

If you have recently updated to OSX 10.6.4, then you should boot up your mac with your OSX DVD and reinstall. You shouldn't lose any data or apps (though a backup would be advised).

Make sure you don't install the 10.6.4 update again (duh, but I did the first time round :-p)

You can find OSX updaters here which won't go all the way without asking you.

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I'm still on 10.5.8, so I don't think that's the issue. – David Wolever Jul 15 '10 at 13:10
Maybe that IS the issue then? While the games can run on 10.5.8 it is recommended that you run 10.6.3. I think. I could be wrong. – mechko Jul 15 '10 at 13:21
ah, yes, that could be it. I've been meaning to upgrade for a while… – David Wolever Jul 15 '10 at 20:00

While there are likely other issues causing the problem, have you taken a look at Tweak Guides? The Half-Life 2 optimization guide might serve as a stopgap until you can upgrade.

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