Should I buy a PC just to play games on?

Discussion in 'Games' started by ZildjianKX, Jul 25, 2004.

  1. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #1
    I have to admit, I have been a PC user for my entire life, and I switched gung ho to macs about a year ago...

    I've always been a gamer, but I figured I can make due with a mac if I bought a Radeon 9800 Pro with my G5.

    Recently, it's been really hard to bare. Getting 1/2 the FPS with OpenGL in UT2k4 than DirectX is kind of rough... and Doom 3 probably being 2 months off for the mac is really rough too.

    I'm starting to think, maybe my best option is to get a PB G5 when it comes out, get rid of my G5 tower, and built a Shuttle minitower with a top of the line card just for games... and just abandon games on my mac all together other than WC3? What do you guys think?
     
  2. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #2
    I have been thinking the same thing lately... but the only game I want to play is Counter-Strike (a LOT!). I too am thinking about getting one of the Shuttle's and putting a kickass video card into it, but here's my idea: keep my powerbook, upgrade my 20" cinema display to the new DVI version, get the Shuttle and a DVI/USB switcher. That way, I can use either one with my LCD, save a lot of space, and still take my powerbook with me when I want to take off.

    Lee Tom
     
  3. ZildjianKX thread starter macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #3
    Have you found a good DVI/USB switch box? I was also thinking of getting a 20
    " cinema display, just kind of bum it doesn't have a dual DVI input to it.
     
  4. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #4
  5. Rezet macrumors 6502a

    Rezet

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut, United States of America
    #5
    Umm... I don't know really. I doubt you will be seeing G5 powerbooks any time soon. Macs are not made for gaming, sorry you didn't get the memo before you bought your G5 tower. I recently purchased a loaded Dell for gaming and quite happy with it. But my fav comp is still this Dual g5. And it is getting most attention. 300$ speakers, 6800nvidia (this week coming), new screen etc :)
    If money is tight and you really want gaming pc, sell ur g5...
    But i'd rather get a new a second comp - Dell or alienware.
     
  6. Xenious macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    #6
    Having a gaming PC isn't a bad idea at all. I plan on using mine for doom3 and Battle for Middle Earth.

    Note about the new monitors and PCs tho. I have mine hooked up to my windows box while I await the shiping of my new G5. It is sensitive to many full screen resolution modes. I've found that many of my games greet me with a nice black screen when going full screen 3d. So far I have been able to change resolutions on Neverwinter and UT2004 to play at 1920x1200. The main issue I've found is that 1024x768 doesn't work on my new 23". It just gives me a black screen (and the blue light on the monitor pulses).

    It may be there is some configuration needed on the PC that I'm not aware of, but I'm thinking the apple display is just limited in its resolutions. My default desktop resolution is 1920x1200. Also anything in windowed mode works great. My windows graphics card is an Nvidia Geforce 5700 Ultra if anyone has any ideas.
    -jim
     
  7. applekid macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    #7
    Buying a brand new machine is overkill (especially Alienware, even though I find their quality only equal to Apple). Building a PC will do you just fine.

    However, I don't recommend the Shuttle case. I've read plenty times over it will melt with the newest high-end graphics cards. I think the newest Shuttle case will be fine (don't remember the name and model), but that's from memory.

    Anyways, I've been thinking about building my own gaming PC for the last year, and I still haven't gotten around doing it. It's cheap, and I could put down the money now, but I've gave it long thought and this is what I came up with.

    First, do I really want to build a spyware/virus/security breach magnet? With proper precautions, you can create a safer Windows environment, but do I really want to deal with that? It's not a sure-fire thing that it will stay secured. Secondly, do I really want to join the dying PC game market? It's already dropped for the last couple of years. It may change in the future, but by the looks of it now, it's not very reassuring. Next, do I have space for another computer? I'm sure for other people, they've got deskspace because they can share the keyboard, mouse, and monitor, but for me I live in an apartment, and I don't have parts that can be shared. I also had to think about how often and how long I play games in a given week. I get about 3 hours in for every week. Not much. I'd be better off investing in a game console instead of PC gaming rig. My final thought was this: is paying $600 for my ideal gaming PC worth the cost? Think about it: you use your Mac for at least a good 5 years (unless you're the type that sells your Mac as soon as the next generation arrives). That gaming PC, you'll be replacing parts from anywhere from every six months to up to a year. You'll keep upgrading and maintaining all of that hardware, but the costs will add up. The same does go for the Mac, but you definitely won't be upgrading all of the parts that often. Not to mention, if you actually enjoy erasing and re-installing Windows, by all means, go get that PC. You also need to consider how many games you plan on buying and playing. If you want a box just to play Counterstrike, I don't see why you would waste your money. But if you plan on playing games from the last ten years to the future, there may be a PC in your future.

    I hope I didn't turn you off from buying a gaming PC. I'm sure your preferences are different from mine. If you decide to buy one, more power to you. But as you can see with me, I decided not to because it just wasn't worth it at the end to me. I for one would recommend a console. I'm sick of the same FPSes just taking place in different time periods (as Maddox would say, http://maddox.xmission.com), but having the same objective at the end of the day. At least with console games, there's plenty of innovation and a better selection of games. It's much more rewarding for me at the end than beating another FPS.

    ---------

    Funny thought I came up with... Building that gaming PC will cost more than you think. People seem to forget you'll still have to buy the Windows OS. Now, I'm sure most of the PC gamers out there are either using a copy of Windows that they already are using on another computer, got a pirated copy, or got a copy from someone's office, so they don't add in that cost. Not that I'm saying all of them are, but anyways... The cost of Windows XP: $200 to $300, depending on whether you want the Home edition or Pro edition. All of a sudden, the cost takes a jump.
     
  8. Macmaniac macrumors 68040

    Macmaniac

    #8
    If you really want a good value for a gaming PC, build your own. There are plenty of places that can recommend good mobos and cases. Its the cheapest way if your handy with tools.
    I really wish Macs were better with games, its kind of sad when a G5 can't handle games:(
     
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #9
    FWIW, my brother's ~$600 HP PC plays WCIII essentially as well as my dual-2.0 G5.

    So, yeah, you can get a good gaming PC for pretty cheap. I mean, you can match a G5 for under $1000.

    You lose elsewhere, but, for gaming, you come out ahead.
     
  10. yamabushi macrumors 65816

    yamabushi

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    #10
    Unless you want to play games that are not available on the Mac platform I think getting a new Mac is a better idea. A dual 2.5GHz PM w/GF6800 is far more powerful than your current machine. A single 1.8GHz w/R9800 is no slouch but is far from cutting edge. Even poorly coded junk like NOLF should run well on a new top end PM.
     
  11. Vlade macrumors 6502a

    Vlade

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    Location:
    Meadville, PA
    #11
    Thats silly to spend 3000+ dollars when he can build a top of the line gaming PC for 500 bucks. Seriously, get a AthlonXP2400 mobile and overclock it to 3500+ speeds with good cooling, and a Radeon 9800 Pro modded to an XT, and you will kick the G5's ass at every game you can buy.

    I built my own PC for 250 (+130 for a video card) bucks and it is twice as fast as my BRAND NEW ibook, and for gaming it is probably 4X as fast. I am about to build a new watercool one this fall, once I find a buyer for mine
     
  12. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #12
    Not a big time gamer here. For that reason I say that going with one of the dedicated game boxes makes more sense. They are cheap enough to keep up with the latest in tech.
     
  13. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #13
    I think a PC will be a better bargin compared to a Xbox or Playstation. You can download demo games on a PC to see if you like it before you buy. I have a ton of PC games that I own so the price of a cheap PC is cheaper than buying an Xbox had having to rent / buy a few games. Game selection on the PC is more than even Playstation. Also I find it more comfortable at my desk playing a game rather than on the floor in front of a big screen TV. Graphics also are better on the PC game.

    I don't have a PC and use my G5 for my gaming system. I do have some old PC games that I would like to play again and I am thinking of building a cheap PC with some parts that I have around the house. I just need a CPU and motherboard and case. All the games played well on a Pentium II/III so I might get the one at Walmart for $180. The specs blow away my old Pentium III.
     
  14. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #14
    Yeah, for $149, you can't go wrong... if you don't want to buy a ton of games. If you're a serious gamer, the PC is usually a better bet in the long run (faster, better res, more flexible, etc.).
     
  15. ZildjianKX thread starter macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #15
    Yes, guess I missed the memo that some games like UT2K4 would run 200% faster under directX than OpenGL (UT2k4 wasn't out yet in Sept 2003 also). I'd never get a Dell or Alienware, that's for sure. My G5 is my first "pre-built" system I've bought in the past 7 years, and I could never buy a pre-built PC.

    Shuttles are actually really nice computers, very quiet and rock solid for gaming... I haven't had problems out of any of hte ones I've built for people... and is considerably less hassle then making a conventional system.

    Right now, I'm thinking I can never go back to windows, but I don't do anything too heavy on a mac besides playing a few games (which it's not very good at)... so perhaps a Powerbook as my primary computer in maybe January and getting a dedicated PC for gaming would be the easiest. I guess I'll wait until next year until dual core processors come out... I have time to wait anyways.
     
  16. SwitchingSoon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    #16
    at times mac gaming makes me sad...

    the top of the line mac model is as good as a low end pc concerning games...

    *sigh*


    must...wait.....until 7/30.........the urge to change my order to get a cheaper laptop and cheap dell is so strong.....
     
  17. Rezet macrumors 6502a

    Rezet

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut, United States of America
    #17
    200%? 3x faster? haha
    Dude, I have a Dell 3Ghz w/HP 800FSB
    1GB 400Mhz Ram
    80HDD
    X300Ati/and tested with friends X800.

    So I thought it will be a mosnster in UT2003 (not 2004)
    and what do u think?
    On antalus with 8 players 1280x1024 (details on high) I get 23-30 fps (with x300)
    With X800 I got 38-50 and thats just friggin deathmatch. It will be !@#$ fps in 2004 ONS.
    Conidering that 9600 on my single 1.8 g5 could handle 1280x1024 with 6 bots in deathmatch with over 30 fps to the most part, PCs performance is not as far ahead as u think. Difference is not 200%, but with similar specs (video cards) maybe measley 15-20%. So chill dude.
    I can provide screens if u dont believe me.
     
  18. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Location:
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    #18
    Economics don't work

    Say you can build a good game machine for $750. For $750, you could:

    - Buy a playstation 2 or Xbox and a ton of games
    - Buy a PS2 *and* an Xbox and rent a zillion games
    - Put it in the bank and buy your next Mac six months earlier
    - Buy a ton of games for your Mac (after the eight month release delay)
    - Buy some cool toys for your Mac, like an iPod
    - Rent 300 DVDs from NetFlix over 2.5 yrs and don't worry about games

    So yeah, if you gotta play those PC games when everyone else plays them, then yep you need a PC. But there are lots of other good ways to spend several hundred $$$ and enjoy yourself, especially if you already have a Mac. I think about buying a game PC every once in a while, but instead, I usually just go find a Mac game i haven't played yet or just go buy a book and keep most of my money in the bank. :)
     
  19. Rezet macrumors 6502a

    Rezet

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut, United States of America
    #19
    Which bank is that? Last time I checked bannks pay about 1%/year.
    Even moneymarkets and CDs won't help you there... ;)
     
  20. blaster_boy macrumors 6502

    blaster_boy

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Belgium
    #20
    I use both

    I've been mulling over the same question, but I already have a pc (from before I bought my mac) so I don't really need to decide anymore to buy or make one.

    Doesn't it also depend on what type of games you play ? I like adventure and 'discover' games more than FPS, but am not adverse to the latter either. So I play slower-paced games on my Pbook and FPS like Far Cry on my PC.

    PBOOK
    I have a 867 Mhz G4 12-inch Pbook that I am very happy with. Using it as my main machine life-wise (mail, photos, websites, etc...).

    Playing games on my PBook : It happely runs NOLF2, MOHAA, JEDI Guardian, Dungeon Siege and others, but will not run UT2004 nor HALO (stutters too much).

    PC
    Amd Athlon 1800+ with 512 MB Ram and Radeon 9800 SE (bought especially for FarCry!!).

    Playing Games on my PC : KOTOR, DEUS-EX Invisible WAR, FarCry, NWN - not really doing anything else on it except the girlfriend knows XP better than mac OS X.

    If you like FPS more than anything else I would go with an XBOX or PS2 - most of them come out now there first. Otherwise, get or make yourself a cheap PC so you can play those hot new games as they come out.

    If you can buy a mac, my guess is that you have enough money to also get a pc or console... if need be wait a little longer to buy the mac ;-)
     
  21. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Location:
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    #21
    Thanks, Alan Greenspan. I'm assuming that you have a "new computer" fund, and more money in that fund means a better computer sooner.

    But in the future, I'll speak a little slower. :p
     
  22. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #22
    the only reason i have a PC is for gaming, and it was kind of fun to build. You can build a pretty decent gaming rig for well under $1000, monitor included.. yeah a PS2 or XBOX is cheaper, but i much, MUCH prefer PC based keyboard + mouse gaming to joypad console gaming.

    last but not least, Doom 3 + Half Life 2, both of which are bound to run better (and definetly sooner) on a PC. 'nuff said.
     
  23. yamabushi macrumors 65816

    yamabushi

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    #23
    You can not build what I would consider a top of the line gaming PC for less than 1000 dollars or so - not including monitor. That means spending around $1500 for a completely new system to use exclusively for gaming while keeping the Mac to use for everything else.

    If you replace a single 1.8 PM with a dual 2.5 PM you get to use it for everything, not just gaming. You also can keep your old display if you like. In fact, you could keep the R9800 card for your new system if you want to save a few bucks. You also can sell the current Mac for at least $1000. So, you could get a new dual 2.0 for roughly the same out of pocket cost as upgrading to two seperate systems. For an extra $500 you can get an extra 25% GHz with the dual 2.5. Even the dual 2.0 will provide much better performance than a single 1.8. There are many reports of people having great performance in UT2k4 with a tricked out dual 2.0.

    Oh, and iBooks suck at gaming and Powermacs do not. It is no surprise that you can easily beat an iBook but beating a new PM with a decent graphics card and enough RAM is another matter entirely.

    If you are having trouble with UT2k4 make sure you have the retail version and have applied all of the latest patches. Doing so will improve perfomance by around 100% compared to the demo.

    There are a few good reasons to consider building a PC such as the fact that there are many more titles available for Windows than for OS X. However you will no longer see a serious performance deficit by choosing to game on the latest hardware on a Mac vs. PC. The price of a new complete system is also not that far apart. You will see some difference in price if you choose to build your own PC since it is pretty tough to build your own Mac. But why have two systems taking up space if you don't really need to? The current top end BTO Mac is a gaming monster.
     
  24. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Location:
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    #24
    Well, there ya go - buy vlade's PC!

    How fast is it once you push the "Turbo" button? :)
     
  25. ZildjianKX thread starter macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #25
    You really think you'll see that much difference in gaming if I upgraded to a DP 2.0 PM from a 1.8 SP PM? That would probably be the biggest waste of money I could make. As gaming goes, there is very little performance difference, since games aren't really MP aware other than onloading the sound on the second processor.

    The Radeon 9600s are a good example of this in this barefeat bench:

    [​IMG]
     

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