Intel Macintoshes

Does X-Plane run on the Intel Macintoshes?

X-Plane 8.40 and later versions are universal binaries and run native on the Intel Macintoshes. You could run earlier versions under Rosetta, but you probably wouldn't like the performance because of the emulation overhead. Performance of 8.40 and later on the Intel Macintosh models is excellent provided they have a graphics chip with full 3D hardware acceleration.

What about the Intel Mac Mini?

The Intel Mac Mini uses an Intel integrated graphics chip, which lacks several important 3D acceleration features. As a result, these functions have to be handled in software. While the Mini's cpu is no slouch, it can't make up for the missing hardware. Reports from a couple of users are that X-Plane 8.40 runs on the Intel Mini, but just barely. You will probably be disappointed. (The G4 Minis used an ATI Radeon chip and run X-Plane quite decently.)

What about the Intel iMac?

Most iMac models have an ATI 3D graphics chip and run X-Plane with excellent performance. However, check the tech specs carefully before you buy!! Apple is now also building low end iMacs with the Intel integrated graphics chip. You may be disappointed with the results.

What about the MacBook and MacBook Pro?

The MacBook Pro uses an ATI 3D graphics chip and is a great machine to run X-Plane.

The MacBook uses the same Intel integrated graphics chip as the Intel Mac Mini. A recent user report says that the Core 2 Duo MacBook actually runs X-Plane quite decently. (This is X-Plane 8 with the first generation 8 US scenery and generation 7 world scenery.) You can't turn on a lot of scenery options, but it's quite usable. It won't be the same as a MacBook Pro, but if you only have half the money to spend it's a viable option.

What about running plugins on an Intel Mac?

Here's what Ben Supnik has to say:

I want  to clarify the situation with plugins on these new Macintoshes. Basically, Macintosh plugins will not load on Intel Macintoshes until  they are made universal. The only workaround is to run X-Plane under  Rosetta, but this affects framerate. Plugin authors must compile  universal versions of their plugins in order to run natively on these
new Intel Macintoshes.

X-Plane 840 is a "universal" application - it can run on an Intel  Macintosh in two modes:
  1. Natively - framerate will be high
  2. Under Rosetta (the PowerPC emulator) - framerates will be low.
The problem is this: if X-Plane is running natively, plugins must run  natively too. Native and Rosetta cannot be mixed and matched!

X-Plane defaults to running natively. But if you have a non-universal plugin, it cannot run natively, and it will not load at all. Universal plugins will run natively or under Rosetta.

All "CFM" plugins (plugins compatible with OS 9) are non-universal. Mach-O plugins may or may not be universal depending on how the author compiled that plugin.

Therefore when you run X-Plane 840 natively on your Intel Macintosh, any non-native plugins will not load. This is normal; the authors of the plugins must make their plugins universal in order for them to work on these new Macintoshes.

One workaround to this problem is to run X-Plane under Rosetta, but the framerate loss from running under emulation may make flying impossible, with or without plugins.

Back to the configuration page

Back to the main page