27" iMac & downscaled (2560x1440) gaming

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by grundgedanke, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. grundgedanke macrumors member

    grundgedanke

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #1
    Hi,

    i am considering buying a current iMac 27" model in its maximum expansion. When it comes to gaming it still lacks playing in 5k. So my question is, if i play in 4k fullscreen, how good is the scaling? It it really usable? Maybe you guys have some examples and experiences to share?

    Cheers
    Stefan
     
  2. Strider64 macrumors regular

    Strider64

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    Suburb of Detroit
    #2
    What limited gaming I have done on the PC via bootcamp the only issue I have been having is getting the resolution to play in full screen mode. 99.9 percent of the time it requires me to adjust the resolution in the games settings and there are a couple of games (I can't remember the names) that can be a bit of a pain. Someone who games more heavily probably can answer this a little better than I.
     
  3. saturnotaku, Jan 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016

    saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #3
    One thing to bear in mind, depending on what games you're playing, is that the iMac's hardware is not nearly powerful enough to run games at a reasonable frame rate at 4K resolution.

    Edit: Are you talking about gaming at 2560x1440 (2K) or 3840x2160 (4K)? If the former, the iMac Retina should deliver OK performance, provided you tweak your in-game settings a bit. The latter is basically out of the question, at least for any game released fairly recently.
     
  4. grundgedanke thread starter macrumors member

    grundgedanke

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    #4
    @saturnotaku you're right. Typo. I meant 2k. But still the question how it scales.
     
  5. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #5
    In the brief period I had a 5K iMac, I played my games at 2560x1440 (America's Army and League of Legends). League could go much higher in resolution too. The games looked fantastic at 1440p. It looked absolutely no different to my older 27" iMac (1440p native), but obviously gave better performance.

    However, check individual games forums for performance. As mentioned, the 5K iMac is not kitted out to run games particularly well. The GPU (4GB M395X) gets extremely hot very quickly, relying on thermal throttling and near-max fan speed to prevent overheating (you can only get max fan speed when you fully push the CPU too).

    A general rule of thumb - it'll run most games on medium settings @ 2560x1440. But that obviously depends massively on the game...
     
  6. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #6
    I disagree. I am very satisfied with the performance of my late 2015 iMac @ 1440p and I get great frame rates (35-50fps) at Ultra settings @ 2560x1440 on OS X in the following:
    Alien Isolation
    GRID Autosport
    Elite Dangerous
    F1 2013
    Thief (2014)
    Shadow of Mordor
    Hitman Absolution
    SOMA
    Max Payne 3
    and others.
    In addition, the over-discussed heat issue is a non-issue in my opinion. Yes, sometimes the fans come on, but that is what they are for!
     
  7. grundgedanke thread starter macrumors member

    grundgedanke

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    #7
    Thanks for your input so far. I am alright with the performance. I was just wondering about the "look". But i had the chance to have a look at 2K games running on a 27" retina display and it was great. So i fine now :) Thanks guys.
     
  8. andy9l macrumors 68000

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    #8
    I personally wouldn't play a game at 35FPS, though. I understand that is subjective, but I don't class 35FPS as 'great frames'. That's more like 'playable'. Anything less than ~45-50FPS suggests your hardware is a little on the weak side for what you're trying to play and you should probably lower the settings.

    The heat issue comes down to whether or not you care that your graphics card is being pushed permanently to its thermal limit. This does impact performance in the short-term as the clock rate throttles in order to avoid overheating (use GPU-Z to see). However, you may or may not be able to notice this in-game. Fact is, though, that it does happen.

    In short: looks great, runs average.

    Bottom line is that Macs are not intended for gaming, but they are generally powerful enough to handle games.
     
  9. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #9
    I have to disagree. This new iMac is great for gaming. I said that 35fps was the lowest, and most of the games I mentioned run at 60fps at ultra settings @1440p and that is good enough for me. If someone is obsessed with frame rates, then drop the res down to 1080p and bump them up. Some people say that 1080p is perfect for gaming, and that anything above that is wasted. I wouldn't agree, but....
    There is much debate about fps in games, and there is evidence that shows there really isn't much of an issue as long as games don't start dropping below 30fps. People don't necessarily notice the difference between 40fps and 60fps. Indeed LA Noire was limited to 30fps and it plays rather nicely.
    The graphics card is not being pushed to its thermal limit all the time as any reference to iStat Menus will show.
    Macs are 'intended' for gaming in as much as there are many fantastic games for OS X, otherwise, there are a lot of developers out there wasting their time and money!
    Most of the Windows PCs out there are not great specs, but that doesn't stop people playing games on them and enjoy the experience!
     
  10. andy9l, Jan 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016

    andy9l macrumors 68000

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    #10
    I don't disagree that it does play games. That would be silly. But it's not "great" for gaming. Again, I suppose that's subjective.

    The 5K iMac I purchased did NOT provide a significant performance boost over my 2010 iMac when it came to gaming. It was an improvement, but not 5 years of improvement. Not even close. The machine was significantly louder, the GPU ran at 108C (and reached that temperature in a few seconds) which is above the suggested upper thermal limit of the M295/395X cards, and it suffered from thermal throttling. All of those things point heavily towards a machine that is being used for something it is absolutely not intended for. All of those things are common on all max-spec 5K iMacs. You can watch a video with more details about this. And another showing the GPU reaching mad temperatures in a few seconds and starting to thermal throttle. Not even full screen gaming.

    iStat Menus and GPU-Z are two of the very tools that have been used to show the thermal issues.

    I'm confident the iMac will see a redesign soon enough. It's starting to age now with an almost identical design for nearly 6 years - slightly thinner edges for the past 3. Hopefully that will come with an improved cooling system than this one designed for hardware from 2012. The compromises made for thinner design are now very apparent. That said, Apple seems to like relying on thermal throttling. The new MacBook literally relies solely on it at times!

    But for casual gaming...yep, it works.
     
  11. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #11
    If 50-60fps at ultra settings @ 1440p is casual in games like Thief or Alien Isolation, then I agree!
    Again, we have a very different experience of the new iMac. Mine replaced my 2011 i7 3.4GHz 1GB 6970 iMac, and frankly, the difference was night and day!
    --- Post Merged, Jan 21, 2016 ---
    I know it doesn't tell the whole story, but here are benchmark tests of the 2 iMacs in question.
     

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  12. grundgedanke thread starter macrumors member

    grundgedanke

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Germany
    #12
    I know. I use Mac and/or PC since decades :) Just was not sure about the scaling thing. We have a capable gaming pc, but most of the time the couch/ps4 combo wins. The Mac would be for working stuff mostly, but i thought it would be good to know what is possible ;)
     

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