I have Starcraft 2 installed on my Macbook Pro in OS X. I have Intel i7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, nVidea Geforce FT 330M, and a SATA hard drive. In Energy settings I've set it to Higher Performance over battery life. I notice that running it on the recommended High settings, it doesn't run very smoothly when there are many units on the screen.

I have Windows 7 Ultimate also installed via Bootcamp. I'm considering installing Starcraft 2 on that now.

My question is: Does Starcraft run better on Windows 7 than OS X?

Things to consider in comparison:

  • Mac OS X default to 32-bit mode, while on Windows can start in 64-bit
  • Does nVidia graphics card better support on Windows?
  • 3
    To propose the obvious, why not just install it under Win 7 and see?
    – TM.
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 21:15
  • 10
    Why bother asking any question on a Q&A site if people propose you "google it" or "try it yourself". I ask because I want to see what other gamers see and experience based on some of the bullet points I pointed out. Maybe someone can save me & others time, maybe they can point out something very thoughtful.
    – spong
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 22:02
  • @sunpech because usually you can't "try it yourself."
    – tzenes
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 22:13
  • @sunpech I never said "don't ask this question here". I just offered you a suggestion to help you get an answer.
    – TM.
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 23:02
  • Unless someone can show me a benchmark, this is kind of subjective
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Nov 13, 2010 at 22:42

5 Answers 5


Typically, I find cross platform games have better performance on the Windows version as opposed to the Mac versions. If you look at what Blizzard's recommended specifications are:

PC Recommended Specifications:

  • Dual Core 2.4Ghz Processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX or ATI Radeon® HD 3870 or better

Mac Recommended Specifications:

  • Intel® Core 2 Duo processor
  • 4 GB system RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT or ATI Radeon® HD 4670 or better

PCs require less powerful components than Macs do. From this, I would assume Starcraft 2 runs better on Windows than on Mac.

  • 2
    +1 insightful. Didn't think to look recommended specs. I did end up installing Starcraft 2 on the my Macbook Pro, and the Windows 7 install seems to outperform the OS X install. What I find interesting is that in Windows, Medium settings were recommended. But on OS X, High settings were recommended-- even though they are the same exact hardware, just different operating systems.
    – spong
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 1:03
  • It is worth noticing that while on PCs you have a wide range of hardware available, on Macs there are only a handful specific combinations of it. Hence, you might need a "better" graphic card just because the one recommended for the PC simply doesn't exist on any Mac, or only exists on a Mac which has a too underpowered CPU (or vice-versa).
    – o0'.
    Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 19:36

It runs much better on a Windows 7 boot. People are reporting that on the same Mac, they're getting low framerates at low/medium settings under OS X, and very good framerates at high/ultra settings under Windows 7.

  • I am on a Mac and the game runs faster when I check high settings. It runs very slowly with lower settings. Perhaps that is the reason? Commented May 27, 2011 at 15:00

Not really an answer but from my experience so far I would like to let you know that the game crashes a lot on OS X (especially when playing the campaign). I might give BootCamp a try to check whether it does crash that much on Windows 7.

On a side note, and even though this is not to be taken as a serious proof, most of the time games run better when using the DirectX framework (available on the Windows plateform) than the OpenGL framework (the one used by StarCraft II on OS X).

I'll install Windows 7 right away and will keep you posted.


I read somewhere the Windows version might be about 15% faster at this point in the development cycle. I did play the whole campaign in OS X though and I never noticed any performance problems at high settings, so for me the point was moot. For me, the inconvenience of booting into Boot Camp wasn't worth 15% since I already had an optimal frame rate.

The game has never crashed.


My brother had this same problem and then he realized that he was still running off the lower end graphics card rather than the high end one. Make sure you have the high end one enabled. Suddenly it became really smooth and fast on his MBP when he enabled the higher end card.

  • (USE THIS ONE) NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics processor with 256MB of GDDR3 memory on 2.4GHz and 2.53GHz configurations; or 512MB of GDDR3 memory on 2.66GHz configuration
  • Intel HD Graphics with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory5

I called my brother up and he said it was under energy saver settings. He hadn't realized it was not enabled until he tried playing a steam game and steam was all like 'you know you aren't using your best graphics card right?'.

  • 1
    FYI: the latest MacBook Pros (i5/i7) switch automatically between the integrated and dedicated graphics cards with no re-boot required. The only down side is there's no manual control any more.
    – ashtonium
    Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 19:59

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