Saturday, 12 November 2011

OS X Daily: Check if Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Will Run on Your Mac (in Bootcamp)

OS X Daily: Check if Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Will Run on Your Mac (in Bootcamp)

Link to OS X Daily

Check if Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Will Run on Your Mac (in Bootcamp)

Posted: 11 Nov 2011 04:27 PM PST

Skyrim on a Mac

Will Elder Scrolls V Skyrim run decent on your Mac? If your Mac is relatively new (2009 models and up) the answer is probably, but before you go jumping into Bootcamp, installing Windows on another partition, and buying the game, let’s check to be certain that it will run on your hardware, and run at an acceptable rate for that matter.

First up, here are the general Skyrim system specs for those who are savvy enough to take this information and make a decision on that alone:

Recommended Specs – (For running Skyrim on “High” settings at 1920×1080 resolution)

  • Quad-core Intel CPU
  • 4GB System RAM
  • 6GB free HDD space
  • DirectX 9 compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with 1GB of RAM (Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 or higher; ATI Radeon 4890 or higher)

Minimum Specs – (For running Skyrim on “Low” settings at 1920×1080 resolution)

  • Dual Core Intel 2.0GHz or better
  • 2GB System RAM
  • 6GB free HDD Space
  • Direct X 9 compliant video card with 512 MB of RAM

Both cases you’ll need a DirectX compatible sound card but all Macs have those so that isn’t an issue. The first thing to notice is that in terms of RAM and CPU, nearly all modern Macs meet or exceed those specs, so what you really want to focus on is the graphics card chipset and video RAM (VRAM).

Step 1) Find Mac Graphics & GPU Info

What we’re going to do is retrieve the graphics card info from your Mac and then search a giant list of compatible GPU’s to see if and where it appears on a giant list below, this will let you know if your Mac can handle running Skyrim.

  • Hold down the Option key and click on the  Apple menu in the upper left corner, select the top result which is “System Information”
  • Now in System Profiler, look under the “Hardware” list and click on “Graphics/Displays”
  • Look next to “Chipset Model” (see the red square in screenshot) and copy the numerical value of the chipset into your clipboard
  • Check Mac GPU info

  • Check out the value next to “VRAM (Total)” as well, highlighted in blue in the screenshot, the higher this is the better, with lower values greatly reducing the texture and resolution quality you can run the game

Step 2) Search GPU List for a Match

There’s really one one step here, it’s using that chipset info to see if you can find a match from the huge list of video cards below:

  • Come back to this web page and hit Command+F in your browser window, then paste in that numerical value and hit return to search the giant video card list below

Find a result? Congrats, you can probably run Skyrim, scroll up to see where the assumed graphics settings will be. If you’re barely on the edge, you may want to reconsider. If you’re in doubt, don’t risk wasting the money and just play the console version that is guaranteed to work well.

Don’t see a match? Try searching for a variation of the chipset (320M vs GeForce 320) to see if that’s how it’s listed instead. Remember, this list is intended for PC users and not Mac users, and sometimes the GPU is listed or named slightly different.

Still don’t see a match? It probably won’t run, this includes most of the Intel chipsets, sorry! Go for the Xbox or PS3 versions instead.

Super Huge Skryim Video Card List

Below is the humungous list from the Bethesda Software forums of compatible video cards grouped by their expected performance. We’re listing video cards that are beyond what would ship with Macs because some of you may have upgraded yourself or you may be running a Hackintosh, or maybe you’re just curious for your household PC. This list is repeated verbatim, they’re obviously geared towards Windows/PC users so there are plenty of GPU’s that won’t be relevant to us in the list:

Personal Computer

Very High / Extremely High:

GeForce Mars II Dual GTX 580 3GB
Radeon HD6990 4GB
GeForce GTX 590 3GB
Radeon HD6870X2 2GB
Radeon HD5870X2 4GB
Radeon HD5970 4GB
Radeon HD5970 2GB
GeForce GTX 580 3GB
GeForce GTX 580 1536MB – GeForce GTX 460 2Win 2GB
Radeon HD6970 2GB
GeForce GTX 570 1280MB
GeForce GTX 480 1536MB
Radeon HD6950 2GB
Radeon HD6950 1GB
GeForce GTX 295 1792MB
Radeon HD4870X2 2GB
Radeon HD5870 2GB
Radeon HD5870 1GB
GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB
GeForce GTX 470 1280MB
Radeon HD6870 1GB
GeForce GTX 560 1GB
Radeon HD5850 1GB
Radeon HD6850 1GB
GeForce GTX 460 2GB
GeForce GTX 285 2GB
GeForce GTX 460 1GB
GeForce GTX 465 1GB
Radeon HD4850X2 2GB
Radeon HD4850X2 1GB
GeForce GTX 285 1GB

High / Very High:

GeForce GTX 460 768MB
GeForce GTX 460 SE 1GB
Radeon HD5830 1GB
Radeon HD6790 1GB
GeForce GTX 275 1792MB
Radeon HD4890 2GB
GeForce GTX 280 1GB
GeForce GTX 275 896MB
GeForce 9800GX2 1GB
Radeon HD4890 1GB
GeForce GTX 260-Core 216 896MB
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB
Radeon HD4870 1GB
Radeon HD5770 1GB / HD6770 1GB
Radeon HD4870 512MB
GeForce GTX 260 896MB

Medium / High:

GeForce GTS 450 1GB
Radeon HD3870X2 1GB
Radeon HD5750 1GB / HD6750 1GB
GeForce GTS 250 1GB
Radeon HD4850 1GB
GeForce 9800GTX+ 512MB/GTS250 512MB
GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB
Radeon HD4850 512MB
GeForce 9800GTX 512MB
GeForce 8800GTX 768MB
Radeon HD4770 512MB
GeForce 8800GTS 512MB (G92)
Radeon HD6670 1GB
Radeon HD4830 512MB
Radeon HD5670 1GB
Radeon HD5670 512MB
Radeon HD6570 1GB
GeForce 8800GT 1GB/9800GT 1GB
GeForce 8800GT 512MB/9800GT 512MB
Radeon HD2900XT 1GB
Radeon HD4730 512MB
GeForce 9600GT 1GB
GeForce 9600GT 512MB/GTS240 512MB
GeForce GT 240 1GB
GeForce GT 240 512MB
Radeon HD2900XT 512MB
Radeon HD3870 512MB
GeForce 8800GTS 640MB (112SP)
GeForce 8800GTS 640MB
Radeon HD4670 1GB
Radeon HD4670 512MB
Radeon HD2900Pro 512MB
Radeon HD3850 512MB
GeForce 8800GT 256MB
GeForce 8800GTS 320MB
GeForce 8800GS 384MB/9600GSO 384MB
GeForce 9600GSO 768MB
GeForce 9600GSO 512MB (G94)

Low / Medium:

Radeon HD5570 1GB
GeForce GT 430 1GB
Radeon HD6450 1GB
GeForce GT 520 1GB
Radeon HD5550 1GB
Radeon HD3850 256MB
GeForce 7950GX2 1GB
GeForce 7900GX2 1GB
Radeon X1950XTX 512MB
GeForce 7800GT Dual 512MB
Radeon X1900XTX 512MB
Radeon X1900XT 512MB
GeForce 7900GTX 512MB
Radeon X1950XT 256MB
Radeon X1900XT 256MB
GeForce 7900GTO 512MB
GeForce 7800GTX 512MB
GeForce 7950GT 512MB
Radeon X1950Pro 512MB
Radeon HD2900GT 256MB
Radeon X1950Pro 256MB
Radeon HD4650 512MB
GeForce 8600GTS 512MB
GeForce 8600GTS 256MB
GeForce 7900GT 512MB
GeForce GT 220 1GB
GeForce GT 220 512MB
GeForce 9500GT 1GB
GeForce 9500GT 512MB
Radeon X1800XT 512MB
GeForce 7900GS 512MB
GeForce 8600GT 512MB
Radeon X1950GT 512MB
Radeon X1900GT 256MB
Radeon X1800XT 256MB
GeForce 7900GT 256MB
GeForce 7800GTX 256MB
GeForce 7800GS Bliss+ 512MB
Radeon X1900GT Rev2 256MB
GeForce 7800GT 256MB
Radeon X1800XL 256MB
GeForce 7800GS 256MB
Radeon X1800GTO 256MB
GeForce 8600GT 256MB
Radeon X1650XT 256MB
GeForce 7600GT 256MB
Radeon HD2600XT 256MB
Radeon HD3650 256MB
Radeon HD4550 512MB
Radeon HD5450 512MB

Very Low / Low:

Radeon X850XTPE 256MB
Radeon X850XT 256MB
GeForce 7600GTS 256MB
Radeon HD2600Pro 256MB
Radeon X800XT/PE 256MB
GeForce 6800Ultra/EE 256MB
GeForce 6800GT 256MB
GeForce 6800GS 256MB
Radeon X800XL 256MB
Radeon X800GTO 256MB/X800GTO2 256MB
Radeon X850Pro 256MB
Radeon X800Pro 256MB
Radeon X800GTO 256MB
GeForce 6800GS AGP 256MB
GeForce 9400GT 512MB
GeForce GT 210 512MB
GeForce 8500GT 256MB
Radeon X1650Pro 256MB
Radeon X1600XT 256MB
GeForce 7600GS 256MB
Radeon HD2400XT 256MB
GeForce 6800 256MB
Radeon X800GT 256MB
Radeon X800 256MB
Radeon X1300XGE 512MB
Radeon X1300XT 256MB
Radeon X1600Pro 256MB
Radeon HD4350 512MB
Radeon HD3450 256MB
GeForce 8400GS 256MB
GeForce 6800XT/LE 256MB
GeForce 7300GT 256MB
GeForce 6600GT 256MB
Radeon HD2400Pro 256MB

EXTREME: These cards SHOULD max the game at full 1080p, without any problems.

Radeon HD 6990M
Nvidia GTX 580M
Nvidia GTX 485M
Radeon HD 6970M
Nvidia GTX 570M
Radeon HD 6950M
Radeon HD 4870 X2

HIGH: These cards should run Skyrim at high setings, give or take a little depending on the resolution. They will definitely play Skyrim well.

Nvidia GTX 480M
Nvidia GTX 470M
Nvidia GTX 560M
Radeon HD 5870M
Radeon HD 6870M
Nvidia GTX 460M 1.5GB
Nvidia GTX 460M 1GB
Nvidia GTX 285M

MEDIUM/HIGH: These cards should be around medium/high settings give or take a little depending on the exact resolution. Some of these cards are showing their age but should still be more then sufficient for Skyrim.

Radeon HD 4870
Nvidia GTX 280M
Radeon HD 3870 X2
Radeon HD 3850 X2
Radeon HD 4850
Nvidia GTX 260M
Nvidia GTX 9800M
Nvidia 555M GT 2GB
Nvidia 555M GT 1GB
Radeon HD 6850M
Radeon HD 5850M
Radeon HD 6770M
Nvidia 9800M GT / 8800M GTX
Nvidia GT 445M
Nvidia GTS 360M
Radeon HD 6750M
Nvidia GT 550M
Nvidia GTS 260M
Nvidia GTS 160M
Nvidia GTS 9800M
Radeon HD 6830M
Radeon HD 5830M
Nvidia 9800M GS
Radeon HD 4830M
Radeon HD 6730M
Radeon HD 5770M

MEDIUM: These cards should be around solid medium settings give or take a little depending on the resolution. These cards should be on par with the console version graphically or even a bit higher.

Nvidia 8800M GTS
Radeon HD 5750
Nvidia 540M GT
Radeon HD 5730
Radeon HD 6670M
Nvida 435M GT
Radeon HD 6650M
Nvidia 350M GTS
Nvida 250M GTS
Radeon HD 6630M
Radeon HD 5650M
Nvidia 525M
Radeon HD 4670M
Nvidia 425M
Nvidia 9700M GTS
Nvidia 335M GT
Radeon HD 3870M
Radeon HD 4650M

MEDIUM/LOW: These cards should run Skyrim, with the right tweaks you could probably get them to look as good as the console version. The farther you get down the list the closer you are to low end.

Radeon HD 3850M
Nvidia 420M GT
Nvidia 330M GT
Nvidia 240M GT
Nvidia 7950M GTX
Nvidia 9700M GT
Nvidiia 230M GT
Radeon HD 6490M
Nvidia 325M GT
Nvidia 130M GT
Nvidia 7900 GTX
Nvidia 9650M GS
Nvidia 9650M GT
Nvidia 8700M GT
Nvidia 7800 GTX
Nvidia 7900 GS
Nvidia 9600M GT
Nvidia 220M GT
Nvidia 120M GT
Radeon HD 6470M
Nvidia GT 520M
Radeon HD 3670M
Nvidia 320M GT
Radeom HD 2600M XT
Mobility Radeon X1900
Mobility Radeon X1800 XT
Mobility Radeon X1800
Nvidia 7800M Go
Nvidia 9600M GS
Nvidia 9500M GS
Radeon 6370M
Radeon HD 5470M
Nvidia 415M GT
Radeon HD 3650M
Nvidia 310M

LOW END: These cards will have trouble running the game if they even run it. The game probably won’t be very enjoyable on any of these. The cards on the top of this of this list may be sufficient, but its more of a judgement call. The cards on the bottom probably won’t run Skyrim at all.

Nvidia 410M
Radeon HD 4570M
Radeon HD 6450M
Radeon HD 5450M
Radeon HD 2600M
Nvidia G120M
Nvidia 315M
Nvidia 7600M GT
Nvidia 9500M G
Nvidia 8600M GS
Nvidia 7700M Go
Nvidia 6800M
Mobility Radeon X1800XT
Radeon HD 5430M
Radeon HD 4550M
Radeon HD 4530M
Radeon HD 4350M
Nvidia 305M
Mobility Radeon X1700
Nvidia 7600 Go
Mobility Radeon X800
Mobility Radeon X1600
Nvidia 6600M Go
Mobility Radeon X1450
Radeon HD X700M
Nvidia 110M G
Radeon HD 4330M
Nvidia 8400M GT
Nvidia 105M G
Nvidia 103M G
Nvidia 9500M Ge
Nvidia 102M G
Nvidia 205M G
Nvidia 9400M ION
Radeon HD 6320M
Radeon HD 6310M
Radeon HD 3470M
Nidia 9300M G
Nvidia 9200M GS
Radeon HD 3450M
Radeon HD 3430M
Radeon HD 3410M
Radeon HD 2400XT
Radeon HD 4270M
Radeon HD 4250M
Radeon HD 4200M
Radeon HD 2400M
Nvidia 8400 GS
Radeon HD 3200M
Radeon HD 3100M
Nvidia 8400M G
Nvidia 8200M G
Nvidia 7400M Go
Nvidia 7300 Go

If and how well a Mac can run Skryim is a question that myself and many others have had over the last few days. After answering this question for a few friends and again on Twitter, and then not finding any particularly easy answer online, I decided to write this up with the information I did find. Yes, it’s a Windows only game, but too many of us Mac users want to play Skyrim and it’s just not available for Mac OS X yet, so Bootcamp it is. If you can’t run this in on your Mac, there’s always Xbox 360 and PS3 too.

If you’re looking for some more specific performance information and FPS tests, check out Toms hardware, although they are not Mac specific tests or GPU’s.

iPhone Battery Problems Not Entirely Resolved with iOS 5.0.1

Posted: 11 Nov 2011 12:08 PM PST

iOS Battery Life

The iOS 5.0.1 update apparently didn’t resolve every battery issue after all, and some iPhone and iPad users continue to report issues after the update.

The good news is that Apple is aware of the battery issues, and has provided AllThingsD with the following statement:

"The recent iOS software update addressed many of the battery issues that some customers experienced on their iOS 5 devices. We continue to investigate a few remaining issues."

If you continue to have battery life problems with the iPhone or iOS 5 in general, check out these tips to help for the time being, and we’ll keep you posted with any additional updates from Apple.

How to Use Redsn0w to Jailbreak iOS 5.0.1

Posted: 11 Nov 2011 10:54 AM PST

redsnow logo iOS 5.0.1 with its bug and battery fixes can be jailbroken using the latest version of the redsn0w tool. For now, this is still a tethered jailbreak, but the semi-tether from Cydia works.

If you don’t like the tethered boot process, hold out for an untethered release which is actively being worked on by the Dev Team, no ETA is available for that however.


  • A supported iOS device: iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 1, iPod touch 3rd or 4th gen – there is currently no support for iPad 2 or iPhone 4S
  • iOS 5.0.1 installed already – download it here or use the OTA update if you haven’t already
  • The previous iOS 5 IPSW for the device
  • Redsn0w 0.9.9b8 – get it for Mac or grab it for Windows

The jailbreaking process will be familiar to anyone who has done this before or who has used a custom IPSW. The main thing to remember here is that you are pointing at the older IPSW file despite running a newer version of iOS, this will continue to be the case until a new version of redsn0w is released to circumvent that aspect of the procedure.

Jailbreaking iOS 5.0.1 with Redsn0w

  • Turn the iOS device off and then connect it to the computer
  • Launch Redsn0w and click the “Extras” button, then click on “Select IPSW” – locate the iOS 5 IPSW (not iOS 5.0.1) and click “Open”
  • Click “Back” to return to the original Redsn0w screen and click on “Jailbreak” as usual
  • Put the iOS device in DFU mode as redsn0w instructs, holding down the Power and Home button for 10 seconds, then release the power button but continue to hold the Home button for another 15 seconds or so
  • As the jailbreak works, the iPhone/iPad/iPod will reboot and you’ll get a notification that it requires a tethered boot, let the device boot up as usual and then put the hardware into DFU mode yet again so you can perform the tethered boot and get Cydia to work
  • Back in Redsn0w, go to “Extras” and select the iOS 5.0 IPSW again, then click on “Just Boot” at the top of the “Extras” menu to perform the tethered boot
  • Enjoy your jailbreak

If you have a white Cydia icon it’s because you didn’t perform a tethered boot properly, so just go through that step again and you’ll be fine. From this point it’s recommended to install the semi-tether since it improves the experience, it’s a free download from the Cydia store.

If all of this seems confusing or causes a headache, just wait until a new version of redsn0w is available or better yet wait for the untether.

Classilla is a Modern Web Browser for Classic Mac OS 9

Posted: 11 Nov 2011 09:58 AM PST

Classilla browser for Mac OS 9

Have an old Mac running OS 9 laying around the closet? Dust it off and bring it into the modern age (of the web at least) with Classilla, an open source port of Mozilla, the same underpinnings of Firefox. It’s a work in progress so don’t expect it to be perfect, but alongside iCab it’s probably the best web browser option available for the classic Mac environment.

Grab Classilla from the development projects homepage

Requirements are basic enough to run Classilla: PPC processor, 64MB of RAM either virtual or physical, 50MB of disk space, and Mac OS 8.6 or later, although Mac OS 9.1 is recommended along with a G3 CPU.

For those PPC Macs running older versions of Mac OS X, don’t miss TenFourFox, a modern FireFox port for older pre-intel Macs running 10.4.

Reskin Google Reader with a Mac OS X Lion Theme

Posted: 11 Nov 2011 09:45 AM PST

Google Reader Mac OS X Lion Theme

Google recently revamped their popular RSS aggregator (subscribe to our feed while you’re at it) Google Reader with a new look, if you’re not thrilled about the new appearance you can apply a theme to make G Reader look similar to a native OS X 10.7 application. You’ll need to be using a newer version of the Chrome browser or Firefox for the best results, although a beta version for Safari is also available from the themes GitHub page.

Installation within Chrome and Firefox is a simple two step process:

  1. Download and install Stylish (for Chrome users only)
  2. Install the Lion theme from UserStyles (for Firefox & Chrome)

If you want to give the Safari extension a try, check out the themes GitHub page.

Nice find from LifeHacker

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