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Counter-Strike 2 x 4 Macs = Gr8 CrossOver content

What happens when an overly curious CrossOver product manager ropes an unsuspecting member of the QA team into testing a game on all of the MacBooks they can get their hands on? In true CodeWeavers style, they partner with videography to share the results in the goofiest manner possible. Read on for the backstory and a summary of results, and be sure to check out the video at the end for a far more entertaining version of this information.

This story has humble beginnings: I was reviewing ratings for games on CrossOver Mac. While it's not uncommon for us to have a mix of good and bad reviews for a single game or application, our ratings for Counter-Strike 2 seemed especially scattered. I asked Robert in QA to do a deep dive into settings on his two MacBooks to see if he could identify any possible configuration issues that might be hurting the performance for some users. The game was running really well for him on both of his machines, at which point we decided to grab other machines from other people and give them a spin. 

Robert ended up testing Counter-Strike 2 on 4 different MacBook Pros. For all tests, he played on the map Dust 2 for around 20 minutes. All game settings were kept to their default values, and D3DMetal was enabled in the CrossOver Advanced Settings.

The results were very clear: the game runs great with more RAM and/or a Pro chip, but struggles on machines with the standard 8 GB of RAM. The clear winner was a new MacBook with the M3 Pro chip and 18 GB of RAM, which outperformed the still very capable M1 Pro chip with 32 GB of RAM. A MacBook Pro with an M1 chip and upgraded 16 GB of RAM still held a constant 40 FPS throughout gameplay, making it an enjoyable playing experience. However, trying to play Counter-Strike 2 on a MacBook Pro with an M2 chip and the standard 8 GB of RAM did not go as well: the game started with 40 FPS, but quickly dropped to 10 FPS before eventually crashing.

  MacBook Pro  
  8 GB  
  10-40 FPS  
  MacBook Pro  
  16 GB  
  40 FPS  
  MacBook Pro  
  M1 Pro  
  32 GB  
  80 FPS  
  MacBook Pro  
  M3 Pro  
  18 GB  
  100+ FPS  

These results are of course not surprising: more powerful chips and more RAM are fully expected to improve performance. However, Counter-Strike 2 seems to be a rather extreme example of how much your Mac machines specs can affect the performance of games running through CrossOver. 

There are many demanding games that are still very playable on machines like the MacBook Pro M2 with 8 GB of RAM, including Grand Theft Auto V, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, PalworldSatisfactory and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. They will run better on a more powerful machine, but not all games have such disparate performance between Macs as Counter-Strike 2 does.

As always, we highly recommend checking our compatibility database to see ratings from other users for your desired games and applications. Just keep in mind that the people leaving ratings might have a different Mac than yours. You can hover over the information icon next to ratings to see if the user left their machine specs in a comment.

Check out our video below, and let us know what other games you'd like to see featured in future performance comparisons!

About Meredith Johnson
Meredith has been with CodeWeavers since 2019, and currently wears both the QA Manager and CrossOver Product Manager hats. After getting her PhD in linguistics, she somehow stumbled into the Free and Open Source Software world. When she isn't testing CrossOver, she's probably perfecting yet another bean stew, jogging slowly, buying even more linen tunics, doing a face mask or doting on her perfect chunky baby. 

The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.

So there isn't a single bug in CrossOver that causes the significant drop in performance when there's only 8 GB of RAM?

Is there a similar difference in performance between "real" Windows on machines too, when comparing ones with 8 GB vs 16 GB of RAM?

The RAM on the Apple M* devices is shared between regular CPU processes and GPU usage. Windows PCs generally have discrete video cards with their own standalone RAM chips. For example an 8GB RAM Windows Machine probably has at LEAST 4GB of video RAM and thus there's less of a hit to the low end Windows PCs...

I also kinda expected that you would fix that issue! Kinda strange that you told us about that and then do nothing about it...?

Also I would have expected that CodeWeavers owns every Mac combination ever released, so that you can test each new version on all Apple Silicon hardware available... testing on only 4 Macs, only for this case, seems pretty low to me.

Maybe you could add the tested machine to your compatibility DB?
Obviously for Linux it is not possible because of the big hardware variation, but for Apple Silicon there is only a limited range, you could do a dropdown!

Or just add a "RAM size" and "CPU Type" field to all your DB entries!
This way this works for Linux and Mac!

Also pretty sure that CS2 runs worse over time on the 8GB model because of a memory leak!
Your marketing team should talk to your development team, I am sure they could fix that!
That way CS2 would work correctly with constant 40 FPS on the 8GB model too!

But maybe it is also a heat problem, because the Air has no fan!
So maybe the RAM is not the problem after all.

You should check the activity monitor to check if RAM or temperature is the problem!

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