Help making a choice of Mac (gaming?)

Discussion in 'Games' started by RobHague, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. RobHague macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Was not quite sure where this should belong, but since the core of it is referencing to games i figured here would be a good start.

    Some history....I currently have an AMD Opteron 146, with 1gig of RAM and a GeForce 6800 GT which I was recently thinking about upgrading. There is nothing particularly wrong with it (speed wise) but i wanted to give it one last update before its left for a while. This time round though I happened to be looking further a field… to the Mac and seem to have been 'swayed' towards them. Bit like the siren's song eh ;) hopefully not though lol..

    I have always liked the Mac, the design and my brief encounters with the OS (though not OSX) were always pleasant ones. I have always wanted to buy one of the systems but could never afford the steep price and software penalty. But I hate Windows, to be honest, that’s what I wish I could upgrade the most and ‘longhorn’ isn’t even due for its first beta until sometime this month, and the details of it seem to have changed more often than I upgrade. Especially since they are cutting out some of the more interesting features. So the hopes of an improvement over what I have now (XP) is at least a year away. Anyhow, I can either upgrade my PC yet again (PCI express and maybe a Prescott this time round since ive been using AMD for quite a while) or take a chance and get myself a new Mac.

    I’m quite fond of the idea of getting a mac, but while I want one I cant help but think it cant offer me what I want. On the other hand every time I look at what new PC parts I could buy the “and when im not playing a game I can still look forward to being stuck with Windows” thought springs to mind.

    Id say my Needs as it were are :-

    - Stylish (not so much a need I guess)
    - Game Friendly
    - Value! Should be worth the money and last a while.
    - I hate Windows, I want a change and the linux distros ive tried were not it (again not so much a need) I hear how intuitive and pleasant OSX is, id like to experience this for myself.
    - Expandability (I would prefer some upgrade potential and some longevity to the purchse)

    I ruled out the MacMini after looking at the specs and total price with added extra’s btw – comes up past an iMac G5 so no thanks.

    I think I narrowed down my purchase to two possible choices, iMac G5 or Power Mac G5. The eMac is definitely not aimed towards me id say.

    IMac G5 looks the part! Very compact, very stylish and the 1Gb option with a 2Ghz G5 is very appealing. For the price, around £1,300 with the extra few bits it seems a good value – it is expensive but it’s realistically affordable. The problem now comes from the fact that this impressive system has a Radeon 9600 graphics chip integrated inside. Ow. I will get a nice impressive 20” screen but with that no way will I be able to enjoy Doom3 (mac version) or Halo etc inbetween my surfing, and general use. You have a 20” display you want to set your games at the native res and enjoy them…. And from here on the 9600 can only get worse. I plan on having this system for around 1 ½ to 2 years or more… if the 9600 is looking a poor performer now what in 2006??

    Onto the PowerMac, it looks nice, even though I prefer the compact neatness of the iMac G5, and Duel G5’s are definitely impressive sounding and im sure pack a punch to last while. It’s also upgradeable! You can swap out the Graphics Card, and spec up an order on apples site with an X850 or 6800 GT! So im not downgrading from what I have now. It’s more like a PC in that it can grow with your needs. Hopefully that should power Doom3, Halo and any other upcoming games on the Mac and keep me happy enough so I can enjoy the benefits of the Mac without sacrificing entertainment The problem is that it’s a stonking £2,400+ all told (with 20” monitor/etc) which is kind of bank emptying bad. This is when the “for that money I could get two high-spec PC’s” thoughts creep in.

    I’m afraid to say that for my use I will need to go with the Power Mac. Would people agree? However im concerned, mainly because of the large price that that im not buying into a pretty nice system – if you are a graphics designer.

    I am not sure of the current state of Mac gaming :) and I am not pretending that the mac is a huge gamers platform – I know its not. But there are games out for it, recent games like UT2004/Doom3/Halo and a few RPG’s that id like to play. There is nothing particular on PC that im after playing… tbh ive been bored of the majority of PC games so far. I do plan on doing other things with my system of course, I like using photoshop (though not professionally), surf the web, music, cd/dvd burning and watching DVD movies on the apple widescreen should be a delight.

    However, tell me straight – Should I just forget this and stick with the PC? Or should I go for the investment? Does anyone have any recent benchmarks of games like UT2004/Doom3 I can browse at – In one forum I was told its “slow” on the Mac because it was not optimised or the G5. However the forums I use are not exactly filled with ‘open’ minded people – a lot of people simply go “OMFG A MAC HAHA” it would seem at times.

    For me it’s a big decision to break from the PC and spend thing kind of money on a ‘new’ platform ive had not much experience with. Id rather not regret it after. With reference to the 'siren's song' again being tempted only to find out ive made a horrible mistake.

    Peoples thoughts and suggests (pref that have been in a similar position) appreciated. :)
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    The first thing I would do is go visit a place that sells Apple products in your area (or an Apple retail store, if you're lucky enough to have one close by) and try out the Mac models you've identfied, as well as using the time to experience Mac OS X some more. Once you've done that, and you still want a Mac, determine the specific model that's best for you. This can be done with more experience and asking questions to the store staff.

    If you still have questions after doing that (unless you've done that already), let us know, and we'll try our best to answer them.
  3. Rocksaurus macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2003
    I assume you have a monitor for your Opteron, so why not just get a switch and share that monitor with a powermac to save a chunk of cash?
  4. WhiteSavage macrumors regular


    Oct 4, 2004
    I am what you call a "Mac Gamer." Thats right, my life is a living oxymoron. But you know... as I walk through the numerous Mac Gaming forums and talk with the thousands of Mac Gamers around the world... it really isn't at all as bad as anyone thinks. Mac gaming has been growing slowly compared to Apple's computer line because quite frankly Apple doesn't have games as their #1 priority... like ever. If you want to check out the games page on Apple's site, you'll have to literally type into the URL box:

    Now the bright side. I've had Windows, I've dealt with it, poop, I STILL deal with it. While Windows may have more games... and better game performance at that... Mac has OS X> :). Your Mac isn't going to be your perfect gaming companion. But its going to be your Gaming buddy for sure. I own a 1.8 Ghz iMac G5 and a Dual 1 Ghz Powermac G4. On both computers, I play most of the latest games out for Mac. I regularly play UT2k4, Call of Duty: United Offensive, Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots, EV Nova (Naturally) and a whole cartload of others.

    Note: If you haven't played EV Nova yet... either download the demo or... something. Its a perfect example of a great Mac-only game... that was in fact so popular... it got ported to PC (Wah!)

    Anyway: I'd say go with the Dual PM G5, while its more expensive, takes up more space, etc... in the end you're going to have a great machine for a long long time. My Dual PM G4 is still my favorite of my 2 comps. Probably because its almost 5 years old and still plays all the latest games short of Doom 3.

    And then there's the not having Windows side of the matter. Well... Just imagine a breath of fresh air so sweet that you feel like sneaking up behind someone, smacking them upside the head with a phone book and then running away, laughing histarically...

    Hmmm... maybe a bad illustration. Well anyway, for you, Mac is the way to go. Just remember that in the end its your money, your decision, and your happiness thats at stake. Do some research, try the comps out at an Apple store, or CompUSA, or Fry's etc.
  5. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    The problem with gaming on the Mac is that the new games take longer to come out than on PC. That said, most of the "good" games are on the Mac platform. So if waiting a few months for the Mac version bothers you, a PC might be the way to go.

    How much money do you have to spend? That's really the bottom line question here. If you're determined to get a Mac, I'd personally go for a Dual 2GHz G5 with the best video card available, and a 19" CRT (better for gaming than LCD) which will save you a TON of money. Load it up with RAM, and get UT2004, DOOM3, WoW and the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront, and you're set.

    HOWEVER, you could also upgrade your PC for gaming purposes (new GPU, faster chip, etc.) and then get a Mac Mini or eMac for everything else (email, web, general computing.) This gets you the latest games as soon as they're released, and no worries about compatibility. If you use it as a gaming machine only, your interaction with Windows would be kept to a minimum. Use the Mac for everything else, and you'll enjoy all the benefits of OSX (security, ease of use, no viruses, great software bundle, no viruses, stylish UI, no viruses...)

    If you're planning on doing video editing at some point, get the Power Mac.
  6. RobHague thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Thankyou for the fast responses :)

    Good advice, im just not sure of any places around here that would sell such systems. PC's yes, but not Macs. I live out in the "sticks" so to speak, there are not a lot of large retail chains around here. Which presents a problem for me. However i will try and do some research to see if a local Dixons store stocks them.

    Hi, yes thats true but it might spoil the experience a tad. Its a 17" TFT and i doubt it will look asthetically pleasing next to the rest of the kit :) besides ive already kinda promised my old monitor to my sister if i upgrade to the mac. :eek:

    WhiteSavage & jrv3034
    Wow, thanks for all the info there :D that makes me feel a little easyer about the mac and games. The wait for games does not bother me (to jrv3034 mainly) and keeping both systems around is something i considered, but my room is really not large enough for two systems. I really want an all-in-one system i think :)

    I guess i will just keep looking at reviews and such, try and get a feel for the systems. Does anyone know of a site that deals with games for the Mac at all?

  7. pknz macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2005
    Halo runs perfectly fine on an iMac. Doom 3 runs but settings need to be turned down.
  8. krunch macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2005
    friggin Apple continues to drop the ball in the graphics card field...I cannot understand why Apple won't let you upgrade the graphics card in at least the 20" would probably make the difference for alot of people in switching to Macs...
  9. XNine macrumors 68040


    Apr 7, 2005
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    Yes, a dual PM G5 will be a little pricey, but you're looking at short term.

    I spent 3K on a 933 MHz PowerMac G4 3 years ago, and it runs EVERYTHING except for Doom 3 and Motion/Motion 2.

    I have had 1 stick of Ram, with MFG warranty die on it, so I got a new stick.

    I can guarentee I would have spent twice as much on PC's in the last three years just for upkeep from viruses, spyware, new video cards, etc.

    Games? Meh. That's what consoles are for. and I'm sorry, but they are better than a Mac or a PC as the cosnole was built specifically to play them, so i don't play games very much on OS X (save for that hacking game I once played, tic-tac-toe, snake, and chess.)
  10. dubbz macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2003
    Alta, Norway
    Sorry for going slightly OT, but I'm getting a little tired of seeing this...

    Console gaming != Computer gaming.

    Different type of games, different type of feel to them. Some type of games are just plain more suitable for a console, some just work better on a computer.

    You obviously don't play the type of games that work better on a computer, and that's fine... but a console could never replace my computer as a gaming platform.

    Just for the records, I own 2x Xbox and 1x GameCube.
  11. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    My Power Mac G5 (in signature) works fine for gaming (and everything else I throw its way).

    No problem playing Doom III- never gets choppy (on high, not highest, settings).

    Go for the Power Mac G5- it will give you awesome performance and will last for a long time (plus it holds its resale value very well!).
  12. pubwvj macrumors 68000


    Oct 1, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont
    We just got the iMac G5 20" 2.0GHz. Great machine for gaming and schooling (we homeschool). If you are in school you can probably get the educational discount which saves a bit. We got the 400GB HD. No overheating problems like reported with the earlier versions of the iMac G5.

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