Benchmarking Final Fantasy XIV on M1 Mac Mini

Final Fantasy XIV does support macOS but the game version isn't native to macOS not to mention Apple Silicon. It's pretty much a Windows version run via Wine wrapper. How does it perform on Apple M1 and how much performance is being lost?

FF14 Endwalker on macOS

As of Endwalker the game does not have a macOS or Apple silicon native version. The operating system is supported but the game runs through Wine which allows running Windows apps on Linux or macOS. Then for Apple silicon, this is run through Rosetta 2 so the performance penalty versus Windows can be quite high.

Note that Square Enix uses separate licenses for each operating system. If you play on Windows then to play on macOS you would have to buy an additional license. The XIV on Mac unofficial client allows choosing a macOS or Windows license.

And when it comes to game clients - there is the official one and the community one XIV on Mac. It offers additional features which include some optimization to how the game is run (asynchronous DXVK and MoltenVK that translate original Windows DX graphics call to Vulkan to Apple Metal API).

Official FF14 macOS client

Official FF14 macOS client

XIV on Mac unofficial client

XIV on Mac unofficial client

Overview of the XIV on Mac client

Overview of the XIV on Mac client

Benchmarks

Benchmarks were done on a mac mini with Apple M1 (8-core GPU, 8-core CPU configuration) and 16GB RAM. Note that some other M1-based devices may have slightly smaller 7-core GPUs. As for RAM I strongly recommend 16GB+ devices even though FF14 can run on 8GB versions.

Due to the license requirements I've tested the macOS version using a free trial account, so I did not have access to Endwalker zones.

Gridania river benchmark
Central Shroud benchmark

As you can see max and very high settings are way slower than the remaining three. At those slower settings even in old zones, you can feel the animations and flow of the game isn't fluid. At high or lower when the FPS is around 40 FPS or higher it's already way better.

Users of more robust Apple devices with M1 Pro and Max report way better FPS on the unofficial client, but in this case, the game is constantly GPU bottlenecked so it looks like there isn't much performance to gain. On lower settings where there is a bit less GPU load the difference does come into play though.

Gridania benchmark

Where there are players the FPS drops. Gridiania usually isn't as packed as Limsa, so with M1 you can expect quite low FPS when moving through dense crowds. This benchmark is less accurate as players' count changes between each benchmark.

Resources usage

Resources usage

XIV on Mac gives a full performance overlay

XIV on Mac gives a full performance overlay

Performance penalty

There is no accurate way to determine how much performance is lost as there is no native version to compare against. However, the performance can be compared to Intel Xe and AMD Vega iGPU devices and World of Warcraft, which has a native Apple silicon version.

For example Intel i7-1165G7 with Intel Xe integrated graphics reaches 40-50 FPS in newer zones like Kholusia and around 30 FPS in Gridania (1080p, Standard Laptop preset - low). Windows FF14 performs worse than WoW on iGPU laptops while with dGPU the performance gets quite comparable. WoW on my Mac Mini performs 2-2.25x better than on laptops with 1165G7 or Ryzen 4800U.

So for my Gridania data, the performance uplift for M1 is only 40-50% vs Windows iGPU laptops whereas for WoW on average it's 200-225%. FF14 doesn't run as well on iGPU as WoW but still, the 40-50% is quite low when M1 has a better GPU and better performance cores than now quite old 4800U and 1165G7 (and faster memory).

Inspect me, look at this peak performance

Inspect me, look at this peak performance

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