Mac Gaming 101: How to Learn More About Your Mac and Why It’s Important
This week’s Mac Gaming 101 entry was put together by the Support Team at Aspyr Media. We’ll tell you how to find important information about your Mac and try to explain why it’s important to know!
Know Your Mac
Many of the issues we see on a daily basis can be remedied by knowing as much as you can about your Mac. Knowing things like your processor speed, memory configuration and graphics card info can keep you from purchasing software that is unfit for use on your machine. And, as the old saying goes, “knowledge is power”. What follows is a brief overview of the “About this Mac” tab under the “apple” menu at the top left of your desktop.
The first thing you see when you select the “About This Mac” tab is the initial configuration screen. This has a basic overview of your OS (operating system), processor, memory, and start up disc, as well as an option to get even more info.
While this does have some very useful info, there is even more available after selecting the “More Info” tab.
This window has even more useful info about your Mac including the all-important info on your graphics card. The most important things to remember about your hardware when purchasing software are:
- Processor Type and Speed
- Graphics card model and available VRAM
- OS version
At the top, you will notice some different tabs:
This tab displays the basics.
Down at the bottom, you will see a “System Report” tab and a “Software Update” tab.
These are both very useful and important.
Selecting the “System Report” tab will bring up your system profile. This contains TONS of useful info. Sometimes, if you contact Aspyr Support, we will ask you to attach a copy of your system profile so we can set up a test case and/or see the specifics of your configuration. Aspyr Support will use this to determine if your Mac is supported, when you have run updates, where you have our software installed, and if it has been updated properly. Mostly, this allows us to set up a test case for your issue on the same Mac you are on (or as close as we can properly get). Some people do not like to send their whole system profile, if you do not want to send the whole profile, contact us and we can walk you through taking screenshots of what we specifically nee to resolve your issue.
This tab shows your display configuration including your primary display and any other monitors you have connected. Here you can also choose your display preferences including your display resolution (“best for built in display” or “scaled”) and brightness.
You can also choose your display arrangement; this will choose which of your connected monitors is your primary monitor. Another option is color calibration and your display color profile.
As you can see in the screen shot below, the display tab also shows the resolution of each monitor and which graphics card is used with which monitor. This can be helpful if you have multiple graphics cards.
The storage tab shows how much storage you have on each of your connected hard drives. In the shot above, you can see what this tab will look like with a 500GB external hard drive and an 80 GB iPod attached. This will show not only how much storage you have left but what the storage is being used for.
Another useful tool attached to the storage tab is access to the “Disc Utility” tool. The disc utility tool can be used to create partitions; repair disc permissions; and erase or restore all attached hard drives. These tools are for advanced users, and we do not recommend using any of these features until you know exactly what they do and how they work. You can do some major damage here if you don’t know what you are doing.
Here are some nice resources if you want to know more:
- Using Disk Utility to verify or repair disks: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1782
- What is Disk Utility? The Complete Beginner’s Guide: http://mac.tutsplus.com/tutorials/os-x/whatisdiskutillity/
This tab shows how you have your memory configured.
It shows the total amount of memory your machine has as well as info on how many slots you have and how they are used. You can also see how to upgrade your memory when you are ready for more.
This tab has quick access points for help with both OS X Resources and Macintosh Resources.
Here you can find resources for finding what kind of service plan and options you have as well as info on how to extend your service coverage via the AppleCare Protection Plan.
We strongly encourage that every Mac user get to know the ins and outs of their machine. The more you know about your machine, the more you will be able to make informed decisions on what software is best for you (Editor’s note: Especially since GameAgent’s Mac Match feature is not always available everywhere you go!).
“Knowledge is power” and “Knowing is half the battle!”
– Aspyr Support