iMac + Games = 20"? or 24"?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by elbruelsio, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. elbruelsio macrumors member

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    #1
    Apple provides a couple bar graphs of gaming performance tests they've done with the iMacs which can be found here:

    http://www.apple.com/imac/graphics.html

    However, those results are mis-leading because if you read the print below the graphs it tells you that the ATI card used in the 20" for testing was the 128 MB version. I'm curious to see results for the 256 MB ATI card in the 20" versus the 256 MB nVidia card used in the 24". If anyone has first hand knowledge of or links to sites providing gaming results of the 24" iMac versus the 20"iMac with BOTH using their respective 256 MB cards, please let me know.

    I want to buy one and am having a hard time justifying the price tag of the 24", but am willing to pony up the coin if I can see substantial real-life differences in graphics performance between the two systems. And please don't tell me to go to TomsHardware's VGA charts... Apple doesn't provide specific enough data on the graphics cards to know the EXACT specs of the cards in their systems. Also, I don't believe any of the cards on those charts are the mobility versions. If I am wrong their feel free to correct me in that assumption.
     
  2. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    #2
    The difference between the 20" iMac with the 128MB card and the 256MB card is minimal to say the least. In fact, I doubt you would be able to tell the difference without benchmark numbers.

    The 7600GT is much much faster than the X1600. The difference is, if you want to run at the native resolution of the iMac, the 24" doesn't have such a big edge anymore since it needs most of the extra horsepower of the GPU to feed the additional pixels. Regardless, I was in the same position as you and I decided to get the 24". I could not be more confident that I made the right decision.
     
  3. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #3
    24" also has upgradeable graphics (MXM module). Don't know what other cards you can find in MXM form factor though, now or in the future.
     
  4. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #4
    this is said in alot of places, and as a footnote it is said that there arent any on the market, there might be, but dont bet on it.

    sucks.
     
  5. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    #5
    The answer is none - not now or in the future. :(

    I had thought about getting an 24" iMac, of which gaming would be one of its many uses, but looking at some of the benchmarking of the latest games, I have postponed my decision and am now seriously thinking of a Mac Pro with 20" ACD instead (would prefer 23", but even the X1900 would have problems driving that sort of estate these days) :S
     
  6. elbruelsio thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Can you provide links to the places where you've seen some of these gaming benchmarks that have lead you to this decision?
     
  7. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    #7
    Tom's Hardware and Anandtech are the sites I got my information from.

    And about the MXM graphics card, unfortunatly it is a type II not a type III which is much more common. Also, the card requires full EFI compatibility which is not being provided in other such cards used in Windows laptops. Your only hope for ever upgrading the GPU in the 24" iMac is getting whatever module Apple includes in future releases. Even then, you have to hope that it is the same type of card.
     
  8. elbruelsio thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    So why would I spend 3000+ for a Mac Pro??
     
  9. nazmac21 macrumors 6502a

    nazmac21

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    #9
    Or you could buy a used PowerMac G5 with the nVidea 6800 Ultra Or ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Edition (and save money over the Mac Pro).
     
  10. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    #10
    That wouldn't work if games were a main concern with no possibility of running Boot Camp.
     
  11. nazmac21 macrumors 6502a

    nazmac21

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    #11
    Unless you run Windows 2000 (the only good version of Windows) on Virtual PC.
     
  12. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    #12
    I hope you are kidding. VPC is horrid when you are using something as simple as Excel. I can't even begin to fathom attempting to run HL2 with VPC.
     
  13. nazmac21 macrumors 6502a

    nazmac21

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    #13
    Then the OP should save up money for the refurbished Mac Pro and buy it when he can.
     
  14. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #14
    you're not gonna be doing any gaming using virtual PC...

    IMO the OP should get the 24" imac. It does great with games, has a very nice screen, and will save a bundle over the mac pro.
     
  15. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #15
    Why not just build a PC for Gaming? You seem to need a new graphics card every 18 months for PC gaming, and any iMac won't give you an upgradeable graphics card, however on the Mac side you can get a Macbook or Mac Mini and you'll still be able to use your screen and speakers.

    PS Don't get a G5 for Gaming, gaming on OS X isn't brilliant and you can't run Windows natively.
     
  16. nazmac21 macrumors 6502a

    nazmac21

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    #16
    How about don't get a PC for gaming but here is another good Mac for gaming:

    Refurbished iMac 24-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SuperDrive
    1GB (2x512MB) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300)
    250GB Serial ATA hard drive
    Slot-load 8x double-layer SuperDrive
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 128MB GDDR3 memory
    Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
    Built-in iSight Camera and Apple Remote
    price: $1,699.00

    (I know it doesn't have a 7600 GT card but the 7300 GT is still good for gaming)
     
  17. Allotriophagy macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 5, 2006
    #17
    For gaming on the iMac, you need the best graphics card you can get. That means the 7600GT on the 24" iMac.

    You cannot upgrade the graphics but you will be able to resell the machine later down the line when you find that your needs have outgrown the 7600GT and Apple has released something newer and shinier. The 24" iMac should hold its value for some time.

    The MXM card and slot used in the iMac are not strictly of industry standard - Apple fudged them so it will not accept. From the way the 24" is assembled, the chances of Apple-produced upgrades is unlikely. People have tried various MXM cards but with no joy. A little information here.
     
  18. nazmac21 macrumors 6502a

    nazmac21

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    #18
    I would get this Mac for ultimate gaming (if it were me):

    Two 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    4GB (4 x 1GB)
    250GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI)
    Apple Cinema HD Display (30" flat panel)
    One 16x SuperDrive
    Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
    Mac OS X - U.S. English
    price: $6,645.00
     
  19. elbruelsio thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    I'm sure we would all gladly have that under our desk.... if we could aford it! When I figure out how to make a million dollars on the internet, I'll buy that system and come back and let you know. Oh wait, by that time this system will cost $300.

    topgunn,

    So are you playing games in the native resolution of your 24" or do you turn it down? Is there a difference visually?
     
  20. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    #20
    Typically, the last thing I will adjust to make a game playable is the resolution. I would rather turn off some of the eye candy but keep the resolution at native in most cases. For example, I run HL2 at 1920x1200. I just can't run AA/AF which isn't that big of a deal since the resolution is so high. On Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (possibly the most demanding game graphically) I have to run it at 1280x800. It still looks very good but it is not as crisp as it would be at 1920x1200. The 20" iMac wouldn't be any better at 1680x1050 because the X1600 would completely choke on this game.
     
  21. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #21
    Even if Apple provided dual 8800 GTX's in SLI the card's would choke trying to drive the 30 inch at native resolutions (2560x1600).
     
  22. atom21 macrumors newbie

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    Mar 7, 2007
    #22
    All I know is that 7600GT is notably faster than X1600.

    ____________________
    McIntosh MCD201 - MCD201 SACD/CD Player Catalog by McIntosh Laboratory, Inc. for download
     
  23. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    Feb 10, 2004
    #23
    • Mac mini 1.83ghz model, refurb - $700
    • 2gb RAM upgrade, newegg - $180 (minus $40 rebate, minus $40 resale of original modules on eBay - neither counted towards total, just bonus money, buy some games, go out for a good steak, get a new keyboard and mouse, whatever).
    • 250gb FW MiniStack HDD w/ FW - $150
    • Dell 24" 2407 - $700 (or less if you hold out for a good deal - I think I've seen these for just under $600)
    • Xbox360 premium - $400
    • Nintendo Wii - $250

    $2380, but it'll beat the pants of any other setup for gaming, imo. :) You could easily get this down to $2000 if you go with the 1.66ghz mini, 1gb of RAM rather than 2, wait for a good deal on the LCD, and hold out for a 360 price drop which must be getting pretty close at this point, smaller/cheaper/no extra HDD, etc.

    I know you were probably looking for some specific PC games, etc, but if you just want to have a setup that will give you lots of gaming options with minimum upgrades required for the next several years this is certainly a good option. Most PC games are hitting the 360 now-a-days, anyways. Plus, you can upgrade portions of it for a pretty low price, and can keep parts of it well after the rest is obsolete. The 2407 LCD for example will be a great display for years after you've grown out of the rest of the hardware.
     
  24. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

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    Minnesota
    #24
    The 7300GT, while not a worthless card by any means, will have a hard time keeping up with modern games at 1680x1050. The 24" iMac isn't really going to let you max out your graphics in modern games (at least not at 1920x1200 it isn't), but games will fare better using a GeForce 7600GT at 1920x1200 resolution than they will using a GeForce 7300GT at 1680x1050.

    One other point to consider: some games, such as Half Life 2, have shown great improvements when it comes to playing them on an LCD's non-native resolution, so you might get lucky with certain games if you go with a lower-end iMac. No guarantees, though.
     
  25. PCtoMac-change macrumors member

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    Feb 10, 2007
    #25
    :rolleyes: :D :rolleyes:

    Sorry, but that is so wrong it's not even funny. Unless Macs require far more VRAM then PC's, which I doubt because my Macbook plays a few games with Intel, my SINGLE 8800GTX runs all the games at 2560X1600 without a "choke". :)

    The only game where I go under 30(get about 29 outside...60+inside) is ES4:O and that's with max AA and AF too. And just because I want to say this...

    It runs Crysis on max on 2560X1600 in DX10. If a weak X1900 can power a Mac Pro...the 8800GTX will have NO problems with anything at that resolution. So before you go putting down the PCs top card please do some research.

    And to the TC:
    The 7300GT is weak don't even attempt to buy it
    The 1600 is a good mac card, but in the PC gaming it's low-end
    The 7600GT is a great card; it's even mid-range in the PC world.

    I'll admitt I don't know much about iMacs besides that my friend has one like you were planning, the 7600GT. The only Mac's I ever owned were notebooks.
     

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