21'' inch iMac for gaming

Discussion in 'iMac' started by callum_r, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. callum_r macrumors newbie

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    Jul 16, 2015
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm sure this question has been asked numerous times before but i'm struggling to find an answer.

    I'm looking at buying the 21'' inch iMac with these specs:

    2.9GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X4GB
    1TB Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 1GB GDDR5

    So I was wondering, would that be able to run games pretty decently? I'm not talking high end, ultra setting shooters, i'm talking the likes of WoW, Skyrim (with bootcamp) etc on high settings.

    I suppose my other question would be about the storage. Which would be better, fusion drive or flash storage for gaming? Overall, I'm planning on using my computer for my studies more than anything, but it's still nice to know I can play games in my downtime if I want to.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mannaerts macrumors newbie

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    Dec 2, 2010
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    Belgium, Antwerp
    #2
    I know it runs WoW fine as Blizzard is actually very good at optimizing for OSX.
    I'm in for an iMac as well and i was wondering if anyone plays League of Legends on it and if it is playable on OSX/iMac 21"
     
  3. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #3
    Just a suggestion,

    Assuming you are buying this in the US you can get a refurbished 27" i7 with a 2GB video card, and fusion drive for about the same price. Plus you can upgrade the RAM yourself in the future if you need to. Food for thought...the 27" iMacs are much better buys
     
  4. jerwin, Jul 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015

    jerwin macrumors 65816

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #4
    I should think that even the m290 will run rings around a 750m, though the 3.3 Ghz/m290 configuration doesn't come with a fusion drive.
    The 3.5Ghz.m290x/fusion drive configuration is decent enough, though the m295x is much faster.

    http://barefeats.com/imac5k6.html

    Note that the 780m is far better than 750m.

    Of course, this all depends on whether a refurb 5k iMac actually fits your budget. If it doesn't, well, I feel your pain.

    (Spoiler: the 21 inch iMac with fusion drive is $1899, the 27 inch 5k mac refurb is "2300, less 15 percent" or $1955)
     
  5. callum_r thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 16, 2015
    #5
    Thanks guys.

    I'm from the UK, meaning I can't grab a refurbished one quite as easily.

    I am still tempted to get the 27'' though. I'd get the fusion drive, meaning the only difference between the two specs is a slightly improved graphics card and the obvious larger screen (which I suppose is even better for the odd gaming)

    I do have some questions about the 27''. Mostly, have you ever found the screen too big? My desk would fit it, but i'm just worried there's a degree of 'novelty factor' that comes with having a computer screen that big. Does it not feel weird using it daily on everyday applications?
     
  6. jerwin, Jul 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015

    jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #6
    It feels normal....
    But then, even with my previous machine (an early 2009 20" imac), I had a 20 inch secondary monitor. placed to the side.
     
  7. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #7
  8. callum_r thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 16, 2015
    #8
  9. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #9
    pretty much. Search around this forum for people's attitudes towards them.
     
  10. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #10
    I have that iMac and with Windows 8.1 installed via Bootcamp, I can run GTA V at 900p at 80fps with FXAA, and a mix of normal, high and very high settings. Absolutely no problem running it and it's so hard to back to the consoles sub 30 fps haha
     
  11. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #11
    And I went and found out an old friend what I was catching up with had mp bought my same model of iMac for their graphics design course. After showing her GTA V running on it, it was less than a few minutes and she was on Amazon looking for a copy of Windows 7 to buy to play it haha
     
  12. Hastings101 macrumors 68000

    Hastings101

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    #12
    Yes, refurbished Macs directly from Apple are probably one of the few refurbished things I would trust. You get a good warranty and a cleaned up machine.
     
  13. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #13
  14. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    #14
    The majority of the 750m benchmarks are not of the rare GDDR5 variant that the iMac ships with, rather the more slow DDR3 version. Better to use the 755m for the comparison then take of 5%. If it helps, on cinebench, I get 60fps on OS X with my 750m, what does the 290 get (not 290x)?
     
  15. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #15
    My m290x gets 88.6 fps. a m370 gets about 60 fps. If the m290 splits the difference, 75fps wouldn't be out of line.
     
  16. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Here is a review of the iMac 2015.

    They use Uningine Valley 1.0 (a fairly demanding DX11 benchmark) to test GPUs.
    At 1920x1080 Ultra settings, under windows, the 2014 imac( 3.5 GHz, m290x) was good for 29 fps. The 2015 imac (3.3 Ghz, m290) was good for 26 fps. This was under windows, so I can't personally verify the results.
     
  17. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #17
    So 25% faster in OpenGL uses then over the 750m, so that wouldn't be enough to match the resolution increase between 1080p and 1440p would it? Of course this is also just an OpenGL test, which will reflect similar results in Mac OS games, but on Windows the differences could very well be different due to better implication of drivers as well as use if DirectX. How are the drivers for the 290 btw? I have found the drivers for my 750m to be perfect in Windows with common updates to accommodate new games to improve performance. Is it the same experience on the AMD side with more newish cards?
     
  18. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #18
    It depends what you consider an representative bench mark of the games you intend to play.

    Screen Shot.png
    Some time ago, barefeats used that same benchmark to test various iMacs @1080x1920. (windowed, no antialiasing)

    and their 750m imac 21 scored 22 fps.

    Here's the 1080p result, by the way.

    Screen Shot 1.png
    I dunno-- going from 60 fps to 85 fps is not meaningful. Going from 22 fps to 37 fps-- that's the difference between an unplayable game and perfectly acceptable one. You could argue that furmark is hardly representative of modern games, but some programmers really like to use shaders.
     
  19. The Economist macrumors 6502

    The Economist

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    #19
    I own 2.9 GHz 21.5-inch late 2013 iMac. I bought it in a store so mine came with a 1TB HDD. The machine is excellent for most modern games and my only regret is not having a SSD.

    Keep in mind though that those specs are not enough for the cutting-edge games released this past year but will be fine for WoW and Skyrim.
     
  20. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #20
    I have the exact same iMac haha With the 750m, I run GTA V at 900p with FXAA, and settings mixed between medium, high and very high and get 80fps on average in single player when in free roam. I feel the 1GB of VRAM is a larger limit that the card itself but I love gaming on it :)
     
  21. JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502

    JoelTheSuperior

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    #21
    Really depends on what you're expecting. A similarly priced PC is going to give you much better gaming performance - no doubt about that, but equally the iMac certainly isn't a slow machine.

    If your usage is going to primarily be gaming, honestly it's difficult to recommend the iMac, but equally if you want a lovely machine that'll run OS X and is great for productivity, then by all means go for it.
     
  22. callum_r thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 16, 2015
    #22
    Thanks for all the help guys. I decided to go ahead and get an iMac 5k instead. Comes with the r9 m290x graphics card (good enough for most games im assuming? possibly even gta v from some of these comments) and i bought it with fusion drive as well! Looking forward to getting my hands on it now.
     
  23. JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502

    JoelTheSuperior

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    #23
    Ah yes - it's certainly decent. You won't be maxing out any games on it any time soon but with Windows you'll certainly get decent performance on GTA V on medium settings at 1080p or so.

    Unfortunately as WINE doesn't support DirectX 10 (and as Cider is essentially a fork of an ancient version of WINE) it's unlikely that GTA V will see an OS X port any time soon, but on Windows (via Bootcamp) it's certainly a viable option.
     
  24. callum_r thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 16, 2015
    #24
    Yeah, through bootcamp of course! So long as a game like that runs over 30fps and 1080p i have no complaints. I never expected an imac to run games at a crazy level anyway. If I wanted that, i'd have bought a proper windows computer with far better specs. But my main intention with any mac is productivity first, gaming second.

    It's just nice to know I have a computer that if I did choose to play games like gta v etc that it won't die out on me in a moments notice.
     
  25. JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502

    JoelTheSuperior

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    London, UK
    #25
    Ah yeah definitely - for productivity, honestly right now without exposing my inner fanboy too much OS X is a far superior OS. There's a good reason that both my computers run it. The productivity software available on the App Store is second to none and for actually getting work done, give me a Mac any day.
     

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