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?
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
What about the MacBook and
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
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:
- Natively - framerate will be high
- 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.
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