Is this an upgrade or a downgrade?

Discussion in 'Games' started by Nermal, May 6, 2005.

  1. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #1
    I currently have a 1.25 GHz G4 with 167 MHz FSB and 128 MB Radeon 9800 Pro. I'm considering getting one of the new iMacs (2 GHz G5, 667 MHz FSB and 128 MB Radeon 9600). Would you expect this to be faster or slower for gaming? The video card's worse, but the CPU and FSB are a lot faster, and hopefully this would make up for it.

    WoW, Doom 3, KOTOR, BF1942 and UT2004 are the most demanding games I have.

    Thanks :)

    Edit: It's playability I'm interested in (ie. a decent framerate), I don't really care if it doesn't look as nice as with the 9800.
     
  2. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #2
    Slower, the video card is more important than the processor in gaming.

    Processor does physics and AI calculations, while the graphics card renders *everything* onscreen. Therefore going to a lower graphics card means you can't render as much onscreen at once, regardless of processor.
     
  3. Poff macrumors 65816

    Poff

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    #3
    Even though it was a good move of apple to upgrade their graphics card, I believe they would have been better off upping the price a little and offering 17" and 20" with radeon 9800 pro. Or at least the 20".

    That would, for once, actually make the Mac a capable gaming machine. Not a great one, but still.. :/
     
  4. keysersoze macrumors 68000

    keysersoze

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    #4
    I think all of the 9800s have fan's for cooling. Apple had to redesign the iMac logic board to get the 9600 on there, which is passively cooled. I'm not saying it would've been impossible, as I don't know much about the differences, but it seems the 9800 would've required more power and some better cooling mechanisms. just my .02.
     
  5. Sutekidane macrumors 6502a

    Sutekidane

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    #5
    Well, with the 2 imac and powerbook in my sig, the 2 run WoW about as well as each other, or in some case, the PB is a bit better, but framerates are about the same, at the same settings. I think this is saying a lot, since it's a geforce fx 5200 ultra vs a radeon 9700 pro mobility in my case.
     
  6. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #6
    OK, let me change the question. How much slower are we talking about? Do you think that the games I listed would run acceptably on the new system?
     
  7. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #7
    WoW plays very nicely on my dual-2.0 (with 9600), so I'd expect similar ability from the 2.0GHz iMac. I don't have the other games, but, if Wow plays, I'd expect everything except Doom 3 to play fine. D3 might not be great, dunno.

    On the other hand, any non-graphics-intensive apps would fly. Overall, I'd have to expect that it'd be a win to go with the iMac.
     
  8. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #8

    http://www20.graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20041004/vga_charts-04.html#3dmark_2003

    3dmark scores for:

    Radeon 9800 Pro: 5966
    Radeon 9600 : 2518

    Pretty big difference.

    I can almost guarantee all the games you list will run acceptably, but you may have to lower some settings like the resolution from what you're currently used to.

    At minimum settings Doom 3 will run on a Geforce FX 5200. And thats the most performance intensive game you listed. It's 3dmark score is 1550.

    And BTW, just so you can all laugh at me, my gaming PC is using a 128 MB Geforce FX 5200. Not even Ultra. Though I slightly overclock it sometimes. It runs Star Wars Battlefront at 30 FPS at 1152x864, AA off, and all other settings max.
     
  9. Rocksaurus macrumors 6502a

    Rocksaurus

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    #9
    The iMac should do pretty well with your games, however if you're interested in games now and want to be playing them in the future, you really should hold out on buying that iMac, even though these upgrades have made them a great buy, if you want to game into the future, just save up for a bit longer and get a Powermac G5 (dual core perhaps!?) so you can upgrade the graphics card etc... With the iMac, you'll buy it and be stuck with a worse graphics card than what you're using now.
     
  10. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    #10
    No you will notice a boost in performance, because iMac is 64 bit and has 750 more MHz than your corrent powermac. VRAM is same, but 9600 is a little worse.
     
  11. dotdotdot macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Of COURSE there will be an increase!

    The 9800 vs 9600 is a big difference... if the MACHINE specs are the same!

    Running a 9800 Pro on a 256 MB RAM, 1.25 G4 with a 150 FSB vs. Running a 9600 Pro on a 512 MB RAM, 1.8 G5 with a 600 FSB would result in a performance BOOST. But, the graphics will slightly drop.

    1,000th Post!
     
  12. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #12
    You know what? If your SOLE interest in the upgrade is playing games...

    http://www.ibuypower.com/ibp/store/configurator.aspx?mid=66

    Athlon 64 system. Keep all settings default, except 512 MB of RAM and throw in a Geforce 6600 GT for $200 (outperforms a Radeon 9800 Pro). Then a copy of (shiver) Winblows XP Home. Total price: $750. Outperforms my gaming PC by light years, as well as anything from Apple short of a 1.8 GHz PowerMac ($1500) + a Geforce 6800 Ultra DDL ($500)- Apple doesn't offer the cards that are in between the $100-$150 Radeon 9600 and the $500 Geforce 6800 Ultra.


    You can hook it to your current monitor, as well.

    Of course, the iMac is better for everything else BUT gaming, because, after all, it is a Mac :D


    Otherwise, get a PowerMac so you can upgrade the card later.
     
  13. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #13
    1) Processors do not affect visuals in a game unless the processor lags so much that the graphics card has to wait for it to catch up.

    2) 64-bitness does not affect gaming performance.

    3) VRAM is a minimal difference.

    4) The difference between the 9600 and Radeon 9800 Pro is huge. Nearly 2x.
     
  14. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #14
    I certainly didn't get twice the performance by changing from a 9000 Pro to 9800 Pro (all other specs remained the same). I heard that the 167 MHz FSB isn't enough to feed a 9800 in the first place.

    I can't stand using Windows anymore for getting real work done, and I can't afford to hold onto a Mac and get a Windows PC. But no, I'm not upgrading solely for gaming.
     
  15. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #15
    That's probably why then.

    Besides, all things are equal. You upped the GPU by 2x, but if nothing else in the system changed (Same amount of bandiwidth, for example, with the FSB) the performance boost overall isn't 2x...


    Completely understood. If you're upgrading for more than gaming, then go for it. It should still run all your games (albiet at slightly lower resolution). Heck, it might even run better IF your Radeon 9800 Pro was completely bottlenecked by your FSB while the Radeon 9600 runs at full potential...you never know. And if any of your games were bottlenecked by the processor, thats no longer a problem.

    And for non-gaming tasks there should be a huge boost.
     
  16. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    #16
    1) Performance of games depends a LOT on the CPU speed. Games is not just graphics.

    2) Not true. Many companies now adopt their games to take advantage of 64-bitness. For example they can use much more complex shadows without a performance drop.

    3) VRAM is NOT minimal difference. If you want to have more detailed textues in games, you will need more VRAM, otherwise graphics textures will be stored in RAM, which leads to significant performance drops.

    4) No. If 9800 has twice more pixel pipelines, it doesnt mean that 9800 is twice better than 9600. It means that 9800 will be speedier than 9600 at higher resolutions.

    When first iMac G5s were released, everyone was saying that they wanted 128 MB VRAM and not that old crappy FX5200. Now Apple released iMac rev. B with 128 MB Radeon 9600 and still the public is complaining. Why?

    When PowerMac G5 Single will be updated (?) to mach current $1499 iMac, you can get one and buy X800 XT, if you want a BIG performance boost.

    :)
     
  17. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #17

    Performance, yes. Graphics, no. That's what I meant.

    Interesting. Why is that? The only major advantage with 64-bit processors (other than obviously having newer technology) is more bandiwidth + more RAM allowed, is it not?


    That is true, but if the game does not use up all the VRAM then the difference can be minimal.

    For example, you'll note that the new 512 MB cards actually are outperformed by the 256 MB and even 128 MB versions in some tests! Because few games use more than 128 MB VRAM.

    I meant that it got twice the score in 3dMark. Not pixel pipelines.
    I'm not complaining at all. A Radeon 9600 is vastly better than the best graphics card in my house. I'm just comparing it to the graphics card he already has. I would love to have a Radeon 9600.

    In fact, I was one of the few people who DIDN'T complain about the iMac. Other than the pitiful 64 MB of VRAM, that graphics card wasn't too bad. I game at high settings with a Geforce FX 5200, and the iMac had a 5200 Ultra.

    Oh yeah :D
     
  18. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #18
    OK, thanks for all your help, I think I'll dive in and do it :)

    BTW, the Aspyr game agent lists Doom 3 as 'no' on my current system, and 'exceeds recommendations' on my proposed system :)
     
  19. Wyvernspirit macrumors 6502a

    Wyvernspirit

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    #19
    That's because DOOM 3 Requires a 1.5 Ghz CPU (G4 or G5) and your current system does not meet that requirement where the iMac at 1.8 or 2.0 Ghz is higher then that.
     
  20. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #20
    Yeah I know, it was the 'exceeds recommendations' that I was trying to get at :)
     
  21. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    #21
    I have to agree with everything, except VRAM. Thats true that some games just dont have such good graphics and lots of textures to be stored in 512 MB (heh there are no 512 cards for Mac yet...) or even in 256. But we are comparing 128 MB to 128 MB gfx cards, so in VRAM they are the same. :)

    P.S.: no offence to you when I said about FX5200 and Rad 9600. Just in general from what I have read, a lot of ppl still want 9800 or even X800XT in the iMac :eek:. This could happen in maybe... umm... 10 years? ;)
     
  22. ReanimationLP macrumors 68030

    ReanimationLP

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    #22
    Dont underestimate the CPU too much. On my PC, Doom 3 ran at around 15 FPS on my 900 MHz, but when I dropped in a 2 GHz, it jumped all the way to over 60. This is using the same Radeon 9600 video card, everything the same.
     
  23. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #23
    I have one of those 128 MB GeForce FX 5200s in my Windows PC, although I don't use it for gaming.

    Doom 3's not only the most performance-intensive game listed, but also the most performance-intensive game I'm aware of.

    As far as the graphics cards go, you WILL take a bigger hit on the graphics card downgrade than you'll recover from the faster CPU. Remember that graphics cards (or GPUs) are designed to handle graphics, which leaves the CPU to focus on other tasks. Basically, the rest of the game will perform better, but the graphics will be worse - regardless of which game you're playing.
     
  24. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #24
    I'd love to get 60 with a 9600 :)
    At the moment I get about 20.
     
  25. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #25
    i would just overclock that MDD g4, the 1.25GHz ones can nearly always hit 1.5GHz sometimes higher, the record is 1.6GHz.

    you can try and overclock your cpu and if you screw it up (unlikely) you can buy dual from giga designs for $620 and with the money saved you could buy a 20" ACD or a dell 24" and max out your ram (1GB dimms work according to apple dev connection but i have yet to see a real world test)
     

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