21 vs 27 gaming?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by beerglass007, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. beerglass007 macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2008
    I've ordered a 2012 iMac 21.5" maxed out, 16GB RAM, Fusion, 650 video card, I7

    This will run native at 1920 x 1080

    How much better would a 27" with a 8GB RAM, fusion, 680MX video card and I5 be for gaming.

    The screen is much higher native res and so the extra VRAM is going to be needed.

    But the difference between a fully maxed out 21.5" and a BTO 27" with standard CPU and memory is roughly £300 more.

    I wonder if the 27" will last the test of time better than the 21.5".

    Its not just for gaming 24/7, but I fancy doing light gaming and don't want to spend £1600 on a full maxed out 21.5" only to find its useless in 2 years

    Any ideas people ?

  2. Fifemacuser macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2012
    Hi there,

    I am still trying to figure out to do on specification. From experience of a full spec gaming laptop that has lasted me 5 years the one thing you want to max out more than anything is the GPU. To My mind you will be regretting the 21.5 inch GPU within a year

    . You can leave the RAM and upgrade at leisure and you probably don't need the i7 or fusion, but the 675 or 680 is an absolute must if you are looking for a bit of longevity in terms of gaming.

    Hood luck with your choice!
  3. beerglass007 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2008
    But what about the extra screen estate the 27" GPU has to power....how many games will run this native in 1 - 2 years...it will be the same as the 21.5" yes/no ?
  4. vannibombonato macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    No comparison as long as you max out the GPU on the 27 incher...the upgraded GPU just blows away the 21'' one and that's the single most important factor in gaming.

    Regarding resolution, you don't necessarily need to run always at full native resolution, honestly once you go past the 1920x1080 i believe you're very well set.

    If you are into gaming and want a mac, only option is a 27'' with the 680 top card. To be clear, a dedicated PC will be faster, less expensive and upgreadable in the future (especially the GPU), think well at what you are going to use your mac for.
  5. Heresiarch macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2012
    Let's talk about resolution first. On native resolution (i.e. 2560*1440 for 27", 1920*1080 for 21.5"), the performance is:

    27" 675MX > 21.5" 650M > 27" 660M

    660M simply can't handle 2560*1440 with High graphic settings well. 650M on the other hand, could run Skyrim on:

    1920 x 1200
    Ultra Settings
    8x Anti-Aliasing
    8x Anisotropic Filtering

    and get a consistent 30-40 FPS. If you turn off AA and turn down shadows for a notch you'll get very good FPS.

    675MX on the other hand, runs 50% better than 660M (check the NVIDIA performance page of it). Unfortunately, it still runs about 10% worse than good old GTX 560.

    Finally, 680MX will be beat even GTX 570 and perhaps GTX 660. That's not saying a lot of course if you really want to compare its power to better desktop GPU, but should be more than sufficient to play games in 3 years with at least High.
  6. beerglass007 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2008
    Sorry you lost me here. 680mx is the hignend VRAM 2GB, which is 50% better than the 660M ?

    I understand that, but what about the extra res 2560*1440 ?

    The 21.5" is 1920*1080 , so how does the 650M compare ?
  7. beerglass007 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2008
    anyone else think the 27" will date the same speed as the 21.5" both maxed out?
  8. Heresiarch macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2012
    If you check on NVIDIA's website about its graphic cards' performance (using 3DMark Vantage scores), you'll notice that 680M (not MX) scored 50% more than 660M. That roughly translates into 50% better performance for 680M vs 660M. With 680MX it'll be even better. You don't need to think much of the VRAM, VRAM affects only texture loadings, having high VRAM will reduce texture "popping" and game stuttering issues, but won't affect frame rate as what the GPU does.

    The reason why 660M running 2560*1440 will be worse than 650M running 1920*1080 is, well...I read it SOMEWHERE (I think it's a benchmarking site). I must I don't really remember where the source was.
  9. NJelect macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2012
    Other than some of the latest 3D shooters operating at full detail I doubt you will notice any problem.

    Remember, other than the above the gaming industry is still trying to make sure their titles are very compatiable and operate effectively with newer model computers (both mac and pc).
    High end shooter games are somewhat specific concerning hardware and the followers spend a lot of money to maintain an edge; edge = online gaming.
  10. cirus macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    Its actually more than 50%. See here http://www.anandtech.com/show/6311/...-review-ivy-bridge-and-the-geforce-gtx-680m/3

    Add about 10-15% to the 650m.

    Also, keep in mind that double the pixels does not mean half the performance.

    Look at the gtx 660.

    On ultra settings it gets 75/57 fps (avg/min) at 1280 by 1024.
    At 2560 by 1600 its gets 30/23 fps.

    1280 by 1024 has about 1.3 million pixels, 2560 by 1600 has about 4.1 million pixels. So comparing the two resolutions, from 1024 x 1280 to 2560 x 1600 is an increase in the number of pixels by 3.15x (4.1/1.3). Framerate went from 30 to 75, an increase of 2.5 times (75/30). Minimum fps increased by about twice.

    So doubling the pixels does not quite halve the performance. Since the 680mx is more than twice as fast as the 660m (the 680m is about twice as fast and the 680mx>680m) and the pixels count is only increased by (2650 x 1600=4.1 Mpixels; 1080p is 2.07 Mpixels) slightly less than twice, you should see slightly better performance on the 680mx at native resoltuion on the 27 inch vs the 21.5 inch at 1080p. This is assuming that the 660m's 512 MB vram is going to be sufficient (which it is not for some games).
  11. beerglass007 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2008

    Ok thanks

    So the 21.5" with a 650 should be better than a 27" with a 660 ?

    But the 27" with a 680 is better than a 21.5" with a 650 ?

    How much better is the 27" with a 680 over the maxed out 21.5"

    I currently have a 21.5" totally maxed out with i7,fusion,16gb and 650 on order and might cancel for a highend 27" but only add the fusion and 680

    Just need to understand if the 27" will last longer

  12. beerglass007 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2008
    People think the new 27" 680 is like a desktop 670

    I really can't see that myself, not with the native res of the 27"
  13. beerglass007 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2008
    Dont really want two machines

    Failing that I could build a hackintosh :cool:

    But this is missing the point of a MAC
  14. cirus macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    I think we'll have to wait for benchmarks, but i'm guessing about maybe 20% (in anything that is not cpu limited).
  15. Trinite macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2010
    Can I reopen this discussion with what's perhaps an ignorant question? :eek:

    Exactly how important is VRAM in this calculation? I too am thinking about getting the 21.5". I know that would mean some limitations because of the 650M. But how much of a problem is the 512MB going to be for gaming?

    Cirus, you say it won't be sufficient for some games, but can someone expand on what that means? Does it cap resolution? Generally lower performance? Mean that some games can't be played at all? Or if, as Heresiarch (great name, by the way!) says, VRAM "only affects texture loading, but not frame rates", how much is that likely to ruin play?

    Thanks for any info!
  16. apedance macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2012
    imo vram can get important for gaming.

    vram acts as cache memory for the gpu. when the vram is full new data (like textures) is loaded either from the RAM or the harddrive.

    this can decrease performance and surely will end in lower frame rates.

    just google for system requirements for some upcoming games...

    farcry 3 - minimum of 512 MB DirectX 9.0 card
    recommended: 1024 MB DirectX 11 card

  17. Nandifix macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2012
    Just use a 660m in 1080p res? Surely it's better than 650m
  18. MagicThief83 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2012
    I think the 650M can handle gaming at 1080p, and probably at high as well, as long as you don't go overboard with AA, MSAA, and all those other filters that can highly impact performance. Me personally, I wouldn't mind bumping down the resolution a bit. on a 1080p screen, I don't believe a decrease in resolution would look all that bad; however, on a 1440p screen, lowering the resolution will probably make things look a bit unappealing.
  19. CapnJackGig macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Lowering the resolution on any screen below its native settings is ugly. Turn down effects etc before you ever drop the resolution unless you love blurry games.
  20. Bargle macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2012
    If you game in windows the computer will move cpu RAM into gpu RAM automatically (VRAM). Antialiasing should be set to zero on most any game as that is a severe hit to FPS.
  21. Trinite macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2010
    Hm. I certainly didn't know this! That sounds like it could really make up for the limitations of the 650M's 512MB VRAM. How much of a difference can that make (i.e., how much CPU RAM can it move into GPU RAM)?
  22. Nandifix macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2012
    I'm not sure if this is possible but can you play in a window on the 27inch making the res 1080p?
  23. Luvin macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Yes. I think this also depends on the game and if you're playing it in OSX or windows. Some games will deal with the lowered resolution by adding black bars to the empty space. Some people hate that and others don't mind; it's a matter of personal preference.

    Getting to the question earlier regarding VRAM... As has been stated, VRAM is primarily needed for higher resolution displays and for higher-resolution textures such as those that can be downloaded for Skyrim. Moving forward, I would anticipate more and more games utilizing higher textures and therefore needing more than the 512mb of VRAM found on lower end iMacs, especially as newer consoles come out and drive the newer, higher standards.

    To put things into perspective, when I purchased my macbook pro in 2008, 512mb video cards were pretty normal. It's borderline 2013 now, so I believe a minimum of 1GB should be purchased if you want any sort of longevity out of the machine.

    <rant>The only reason I can think that apple would only put 512mb GT 650m in the higher-end 21" iMac is that it is plenty enough if you wanted to drive multiple displays for everyday tasks and that is as far as their concerns went. Otherwise, it's a blatant move to force people into a higher-end model if they desire any sort of gaming performance now and in the future.</rant>

    Anyways, hope that helped. :)

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