Having your cake...

Discussion in 'Games' started by Lord Blackadder, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #1
    Last year I talked a buddy of mine into getting a 12" Powerbook. He loves it, but has come to realize that it isn't a 3D gaming champ. He's not super computer literate, so I'm helping him spec out a dedicated gaming PC.

    Which made me think of this forum, since a very common topic is "how will games run on my *insert Mac model here*?" Many of the veterans or gamer types generally answer that they won't run all that great, you're better off getting a cheap PC for games.

    I'd just like to kick this idea out there on the forum and see what people think. What would you guys envision for a 2 computer setup - a Mac for productivity (Office, web work, maybe some Photoshop or the GIMP, iApplications etc), and a PC strictly for current 3D gaming. Could such a setup be configured so that one could get a couple years of use without major upgrades and without spending too much more than one might spend on a single, generously equipped machine of either platform? I'm guessing several of you have such a setup, so I'm curious.

    As for my friend, I think we're going to go with one of the newer Athlons; I'm still mulling over a video card. If all goes well, I might do the same for myself.
     
  2. brap macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #2
    This is generally what people here do. It's only sound reason. Look at a few signatures (mine included), and across the seminal 'Post your setup!' threads. You'll find so many dual-machine setups it's unreal. Nerds, after all, are nerds ;)
     
  3. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    I also have a Mac for creative stuff and a PC for gaming. If you are going to build yourself a PC, I recommend getting at least:

    R9800pro (X800XT or G6800GT would be best)
    AMD Socket939 motherboard from Asus
    AMD64 90nm 3000 cpu Socket 939
    2x512MB PC3200 RAM (so it runs in dual channel mode)
     
  4. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #4
    I'm a bit confused with AMD's nomenclature, but I was considering an Athlon 64 3500 and the rest is basically similar to you're spec, hvfsl. When all's said and done, it looks like he'll be in the $800 range without display (I've got two decent 19" CRTs from work, and I'm giving him one).

    What would be a good Mac to theoretically compliment this on the productivity side? Maybe a SP 1.8GHz G5 tower with a superdrive and a RAM bump? or a superdrive iMac? If you play you're cards right, it seems you could have your cake and eat it too for a little over 2 grand, which isn't bad at all.
     
  5. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Location:
    Hell@HighAltitude
    #5
    In the world of computers, things are changing. Computers really aren't getting any faster. It's my opinion that there will be a shift in computer programming. No longer will people just write some code and compile it, but they'll figure out how to get as much as they can from each clock cycle (because after all, newer programs need to run on the same speed machine [nearly] because they're not getting any faster) So i would go with the fastest computer that you can afford (in your money range). In my case, when i built my gaming pc, i was torn between an AMD 3000, or a P4 3.0e. I chose to go with Intel, because the clock speed was 1ghz higher (not to mention that it has HT [which isn't widely used yet but will be in time]). It might not play games as well as an AMD, but it was the more powerful CPU. Plus, i've had LOTS of friends that have had ATI vcard issues with AMD processor mobo's. I just didn't want to spend 2 weeks debugging the hardware... install hardware, install software, crash, repeat. It's a pain, and i've got limited time. But some claim they've had compatability issues with Intel too. Also, intel is the only one with pci-express.. but that's expensive, and i don't think it's worth the cost. Screw pci-express. An ultra/x800 will play the games coming out for the next 3 years. Heck, my 9800 plays doom and far cry wonderfully (but not at 1600x1200 with everything turned up). I built my rig for a little over 1k and that was about 3.5 months ago. You could build the same machine for ~700-800 bones. And it's a sweet rig.
     
  6. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Location:
    London, UK
    #6
    AMD's cpu naming is based on the speed of a P4. So a 3500 is about the same speed as a 3.5Ghz P4 in most apps (if one excisted). Although AMD cpus are considerably faster in games than Intel. So the 3500 is more like a P4 at 3.8Ghz in games.

    I wouldn't bother getting a superdrive Mac since they are a lot more expensive. Just get a DVD burner for your PC and use iDVD to output a disk image. You can then copy the disk image across and burn it using a program like Nero on the PC. (That's what I do anyway).

    Plus remember that if you want extra RAM for your Mac, get it from somewhere like Crucial because Apple seriously overprices RAM.

    If you can, I would go for at least a dual cpu Mac.
     
  7. tinydancer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #7
    So what's you setup, from top to bottom? I'm building a PC and seeking advice fcrom anyone and everyone. Benpatient has already been a big help.
     
  8. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #8
    Yes, I've seen how marked up Apple's RAM is.

    My Dual G4 as it's configured now cost me around about as much as a new SuperDrive eMac, but in my opinion it's a better buy because of it's PCI slots and general upgradability, despite the performance hit (since I don't do heavy Photoshop work I dopn't notice it too much). It XBenches around 95 (the SATA upgrade bosted the XBench about 5 points). That means if I was to spend $800-$1000 on a PC I'd have an iLife/Photoshop etc workhorse and a Gamer PC for $1800-$2000 total. The Mac doesn't have to be super fast; games demand performance threshold for them to be playable, but a few second or more difference in compressing a DVD won't have most of us banging our heads on the table.
     
  9. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Location:
    Hell@HighAltitude
    #9
    Raidmax case
    160GB seagate SATA HD
    ATI 9800pro w/Artic VGA silencer
    NEC DVD-RW 8x
    microsoft wireless G-adapter (connect to AE base station)
    ABIT AC7-G mobo (this mobo's got it all [oh, not integrated wireless])
    Pentium 4 3.0e HT (1mb lvl1 cache)
    1GB crucial PC3200 DDR400 RAM
    ~5 90mm fans
    I've got some really cool looking turbine fan on the CPU, which keeps it at ~60 degrees C
    450watt PSU
    Samsung 19" widescreen CRT syncmaster (~200 bucks): best monitor for gaming... i swear. It's not so huge that it takes up the whole desk, and it's refresh rate is so fast, it doesn't give you a headach. Max res is crazy.... i keep it well below max res at 1600x1200 @75htz
     
  10. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    #10
    thanks for the shoutout tinydancer.

    c2t, what's the model number for your 19" monitor?
     
  11. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    If you are getting a PC for gaming, then the A64 chips are better (cheaper and faster). Plus when Win XP64 is released next year, the A64 will be even faster. There are some benches here: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2261&p=13
     
  12. iNetwork macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #12
    You are very incorrect about the intel processors being faster than AMD Processors. Just because the intel is 1 ghz faster doesn't mean it is faster.
    If you have any doubts, read this article:

    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2261

    I'm sorry my friend, but you too have fallen for the ghz myth--AND you're an Apple user!!! OMG Don't waste your money on Intel.
     
  13. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #13
    Seems like most of you gouys with dual setups have a powerful PC and a more midrange Mac.
     
  14. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #14
    Cheap PC for gaming

    I bought a super cheap Athlon stripped down PC from Walmart (online) for $168. It didn't include a HD, Floppy, CD, only 128 MB, monitor, or O/S. It had built-in video plus a AGP 8x slot and built-in sound. I already owned all the extra parts and didn't need the floppy anyways. Instead of the Duron 1.7 Ghz CPU they included an Athlon 2400. This deal wouldn't be as good if I didn't own all the parts. I had 256 MBs of memory that was in a drawer that I added to it. The internal case layout and design was the best that I have ever seen on a PC. Very easy to open and upgrade it without cutting up my hands. I was very happy to finally put use all those spare PC parts I had in storage.

    So far I could play all my old PC games including GTA III. I still would buy Mac games for my G5 if they are available. Now I can have my cake and eat it too. I'll wait until Doom III is on the Mac and not buy the PC version since I doubt this machine can handle it as well as my G5.

    One negative thing. I had already owned Windows XP professional but I had installed it on another machine a few months ago but later uninstalled it and left it with XP Home and sold it. When I installed it on the new machine the activation process told me to contact Microsoft. Microsoft rep told me I can't use that copy of XP on my new computer. I ended up paying another $200 for another copy of XP Pro. I wish there was a way to uninstall and move a license from one PC to another PC. One good thing was the newer copy of XP had SP2 pre-installed so I wouldn't get a virus in the first 15 minutes of connecting on the Internet to download SP2.
     
  15. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #15
    Yes, that seems to be true. I wish I would've bought an iBook, saved $500, and bought a decent PC with the leftover cash. I'll know next time, though. I recently bought a keyboard and mouse adapter for my xbox, so my xbox is my gaming PC for the next year or so...
     
  16. asphalt-proof macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2003
    Location:
    Magrathea
    #16
    I think that its because if you discount games, a Mac a low to mid range does very well in most situation unless you do a lot of vid editing etc. plus the mid and low range Mac prices are easier to swallow. Heck they are downright competive to PC if you don't have gaming as one of your requirements.
     
  17. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #17
    I have:

    AMD Athlon XP 2500+
    512MB of DDR333 or 400 RAM (forgot!)
    ASUS AV7600 motherboard
    This is the best motherboard ever, IMO. AGP 8x, 4 slots for RAM, a slot for the ASUS wifi card, 6 PCI slots, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, integrated sound card, SATA connections...all for $70 bucks!
    Floppy Drive
    2 CD burners (pulled out of an old computer and bummed off of a friend, cost cutting!)
    PNY Nvidia GeForce 4 card with 64MB of DDR VRAM. It runs most things at 800x600 resolution. I'm pretty happy with it.
    WinXP


    I did all of that for less than 300 bucks. I pulled a lot of things from old computers (CD drives, floppy drive)
     
  18. applekid macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    #18
    By recommending someone to build a gaming PC, you're defeating the purpose for some users. I think many of the users here that ask for game recommendations or how well games run on a computer don't have high expectations. Most of these casual gamers will be happy with one game for months. They'll probably accept choppy frame rates on their Mac and enjoy whatever game it is greatly, just because it's playable for them.

    I had to ask myself if I really wanted to use $700 to build myself a PC for gaming. I figured out I don't have time for all of the games I want to play nor the money. I also find most computer games not as satisfying as a console game. Not to mention, I didn't want to bother with maintaining a PC. You'll find yourself wasting hours tinkering with your machine. And, to game regularly, I figure I'd have to build a new PC about every 3 years (new CPUs, probably a new mobo, and a new graphics card) or the upgrade for the graphics alone will cost me about building one PC. So, I said a PC would be useless, and I'm quite content with my decision.

    I'm not saying building a PC for games alone is a bad idea, but some of the users here really don't need two computers nor need a computer for high-end gaming.

    Better yet, a console isn't a terrible recommendation either. It'll last longer (new consoles about every 5 years), it's cheap, and the gameplay is much more satisfying, IMHO. There's only really two genres on the Mac and PC: RTSes and FPSes. And when it comes down to it, every game is the same FPS.

    But, if you've got the cash, time, and all you wanna do is play FPSes for a long long time, go for the PC.
     
  19. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #19
    Personally, I've been happy with my Mac-only setups for the past 6 years. I've got an xbox and PS2, and play some older games on my Mac.

    In my experience, Macs can be very long-lived as compared to PCs, as long as games aren't crucial. But for those users that want to play new games, a dedicated PC makes sense, because you can get 2 computers for the price of 1 generously specc'd one that embrace the positives of both platforms. it's more work and requires a bigger investment, but if you're willing to do it you're probably the kind of person that will be satisfied with such an arrangement.
     
  20. neoelectronaut macrumors 68020

    neoelectronaut

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Southeastern Louisiana
    #20
    You know, here's a kooky idea. Why not just buy a videogame console instead? From $100-$150 you can get just as much enjoyment as a $2500+ PC without all the hassles. (Namely Windows.)
     
  21. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #21
    (1) Not all good games are on consoles
    (2) Controllers suck for FPS games...

    I thought the same thing you do, but now I have regrets. :(
     
  22. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #22
    Reasons not to get a console...

    I have over 40 nice PC titles that I already paid for. Granted some of these games are old but they are still very fun to play. I tried using that logic of just getting a console so I don't have to maintain a Windows machine.

    I paid close to $180 for Xbox, and about $300 dollars in games and it just wasn't as fun as any of my PC or even Mac games. The graphics weren't as nice to what I was use to also. And that isn't saying much since I use mid-priced graphics cards. I sold my games and Xbox at a loss and used that money to buy Unreal 2004 and C&C Generals for my Mac. I feel those 2 games were better than anything I played on Xbox.

    Because my PC games were old, I could basically buy any cheap PC that run instead of some fancy $2,000 PC. My logic is that the PC just needed to be as fast or faster than the 450 Mhz PC that I had before. GTA was playable on it more than my Xbox probably because of the graphics card and keyboard controls. By the way, I don't see a huge difference in speed between 450 Mhz and over 2 Ghz on a PC platform for games. Perhaps 2Ghz is just a lie from the folks from Dell. It's just not that noticable. I always set the graphics to the highest on most of my games except for resolution. 1024x768 is one notch under the maximum that my monitor can handle. It's better than what my Xbox can do on my TV.

    My old games include NFL Blitz 2000, Star Wars (Rogue Squadron & Phanton Menace), Microsoft Pandora's Box / Casino, Motocross Madness (1,2), Midtown Madness (1,2), Sim Theme Park, C&C series including Renegade, Star Fleet & Klingon Academy, Descent 3, Train Simulator, GTA, Star Trek Armada (1,2), X-Wing Alliance, Jedi Knight II, the classics like Pacman, Frogger, Asteriods, ..., Aliens vs Predator, Diablo II (Use Mac version) etc...
     
  23. thatwendigo macrumors 6502a

    thatwendigo

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Sum, Ergo Sum.
    #23
    For someone who loves to bash mac users for their supposed lack of understanding of the PC market, you're surprisingly ignorant.

    I suppose that's why the repeated feeling of the software community is that Microsoft writes code that can be up to 2000% too big for what it's doing, then? Perhaps it explains the ridiculous requirements for Longhorn that were leaked around the time of WinHEC this year?

    If they were interested in optimization, people wouldn't be using Intel processors from the last two years.

    HA!

    Other people have already linked to the hardware benchmarks showing how the Pentium 4 is being slaughtered by AMD's offerings, but there are other aspects to this. With your prattling about enhancing efficiency, one might think that you would have done some homework on the architectures that you've been knocking and praising. The joint technology efforts of IBM and AMD are leading to a new generation of processors that are more efficient and more power savvy than Intel's offerings, with the new-generation 90nm Athlon 64 and Opterons stomping Pentium 4s into the ground and doing it at a lower price. There are a tiny handful of benchmarks where Intel can hang in with their competitor, but the x86 speed crown goes to AMD for now.

    Then don't use a PC or Linux. I think what you meant to say is that you don't want to spend more than an acceptable amount of time fiddling with hardware and related issues, since you have to do so anyways with any PC that you don't just buy from a vendor, and sometimes even then. I, too, have heard the anecdotal evidence that ATI's drivers have issues with some setups, but they're not borne out by any review I've ever read by a credible source.

    Wrong.

    The first PCI Express chipset for the AMD platform, the VIA K8T890 chipset is designed to fully meet the increased system bandwidth demands placed on the PC. Designed to support a complete range of AMD Athlon™ 64, Athlon 64 FX, Opteron™, and Sempron™ processors, the VIA K8T890 delivers high performance, comprehensive features, and rock solid stability. The K8T890 chipset is optimized to work seamlessly with the latest PCI Express graphics cards, featuring a PCI Express x16 connection for up to 4GB/s of dedicated graphics bandwidth per direction, and provides four PCI Express x1 connections. Each 1x PCI Express connection provides 250MB/s per direction bandwidth to PCI Express peripheral devices such as Gigabit Ethernet and HDTV tuner cards.​

    Not to be outdone, nVidia also releases nForce 4.

    NVIDIA nForce™4 MCPs (media and communications processors) deliver unbelievable PC performance and unmatched PC security. NVIDIA nForce4 MCPs bring the latest PCI Express™ bus technology to AMD platforms along with cutting-edge advancements from NVIDIA like NVIDIA® SLI™ multi-GPU technology, NVIDIA® ActiveArmor™—a secure networking engine—and the latest in storage solutions including support for the new SATA 3Gb/s drives.​

    From the ground up, priced out a month ago:

    AMD Athlon 64 3200+
    $228
    Thermalright HS
    $62.99
    MGE Sidewinder with 400w PSU
    $55
    Thermaltake Thunderblade 120mm fan
    $9.99 x 1
    Thermaltake Thunderblade 80mm fans
    $5.99 x 4
    Asus A8V
    $129
    HiS ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB (BIOS flash to 9800XT)
    $224
    Kingston HyperX 2x512MB
    $195
    Sony 52x32x52x16x CD-RW/DVD-ROM
    $40
    Total cost: $968
     
  24. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #24
    That spec looks good Thatwendigo, for under $1000.

    However, I've heard that there have been issues with that new nForce chipset on the socket 939 mobos. I won't pretend to know much about it, but Tom's and other sites have mentioned it. Still doing research...
     
  25. russed macrumors 68000

    russed

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    London, England
    #25
    my opinion exactly. they are so much better for multiplayer games. i'm not a big fan of (well i hate) first person shooters, so that no great loss and in my opinion graphics are not the be all and end all. yeh you may get stilghtly better graphics but i prefer the game play of console games.

    save your money getting some top wack pc and get a decent tv!
     

Share This Page