3.06 worth the extra cost over 2.8 for gaming? (iMac)

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by adjones, May 15, 2008.

  1. adjones macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2007
    Firstly, this is an iMac only question and as you can probably tell from the title, there is little chance I can afford a Mac Pro!

    There is a general discussion in the iMac forum of the merits of buying a 3.06 over a 2.8 but I want a gaming focused answer with some gaming benchmarks etc.

    I want to get an iMac 2.8 or 3.06 (w/ 8800 and 2Gb) but the £130 odd difference is almost the same as the cost of Vista/XP and a 4Gb upgrade.

    I don't care about day-to-day use - I'm just focusing on gaming... is it worth me getting the 3.06 instead of the 2.8? The GPU takes the heavy load so is there any point with 260Mhz different in the CPU? Is there any technical difference in the chip that makes it superior other than the clock speed?

    Benchmarks for both chips (w/ 8800 and 2Gb) would be good if anyone has stats for their machines they would like to share. Or experiences with games like CoD4, EVE, Crysis with these setups.

    Also as a side question - would 4GB really make a difference over 2Gb?

    All help greatly appreciated!
  2. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Not to be a party pooper, but if you really just want to play games with your iMac, you might as well spend the ~2000$ it would cost for an iMac and spend it on a PC. You would be able to get a much better card than the 8800GS if you invested that money into a gaming PC, and probably a better CPU as well. You might even be able to get a 9800GT or one of the new ultra high end cards if you get a deal.

    But if you are detirmined to get a Mac, you might as well splurge and get the best available. I got the 2.33Ghz instead of the 2.16 for 250 extra dollars, so it seems like a great deal to me that you can spend the same amount and get a much better processor jump.
  3. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    I would say that the upgrade to 4 GB of RAM over 2 GB would make a larger difference than the extra 260 MHz.
  4. adjones thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2007
    Sorry, I guess my first post did sound like I am a hardcore gamer!!! I am not... I currently play 5 year old games on an old 2.6Ghz P4 laptop... I'll say no more.

    I want to get a Mac more than a PC for the majority of my stuff/day-to-day work etc. I am not after an uber gaming rig, just the best I can get on the Mac without spending unnecessary cash. I don't own any consoles as I only have one TV in the house and the wife will not allow a console on it. Apparently I spend to much time watching the football (soccer) already :rolleyes:.

    So yeah, just seeing whether I'll be missing out on some gaming fun by going for the 2.8?

    I need to be able to play the latest games at a respectable FPS, at a relatively high detail setting. I am kinda fed up playing Quake 3!
  5. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    If money is an issue, you can also upgrade the 2,8 ghz iMac to the 8800 GS.

    The processor difference is not a huge deal for gaming, but the 8800 GS vs. the 2600 HD is.
  6. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    I would say no. You have two VERY fast processors either way, and games are more likely to be CPU bound in that case.

    I personally DID get a similar near-trivial CPU upgrade a while back... but I knew it was irrational at the time :eek:
  7. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Um, some people prefer the quietness of a Mac.

    For the rest of the people who speculate without data, whether something is better, you should check out benchmarks:

  8. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I believe he's set on getting the 8800GS, and the only question is whether he should also go from 2.8 to 3.06. Since those benchmarks only compare a 3.06 with the 8800 to a 2.8 with the 2600, they really don't answer his question.
  9. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  10. PcBgone macrumors 6502


    Feb 3, 2008
    Im in the same boat, but I have pretty much decided that the 3.06ghz isnt really going to matter that much. Most games wont utilize the 2.8 ghz processor...They are more likely to utilize the GPU, so as long as you get the 8800, you should be fine for a few years.

    Im planning on ordering mine next week...then upgrading the ram to 4gb via newegg..And then I will order the eeevillll windows...to dual boot for those games that are must haves:D
  11. daze macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2006
    San Jose, California
    If you get the best, it'll be old pretty soon considering the speed of Intel chip releases. I'd recommend getting the 2.8, because in a month or two, your 3.6 will be old anyway. Others are right. A faster card and more memory will get you better gains and bang for the buck.

    Also, if you want games, then getting a PC is highly recommended than a Mac, if you care about performance and bang for the buck. If you love Macs, then chances are, you probably aren't a heavy gamer anyway and probably need a console like the Xbox 360. ;)

  12. adjones thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2007
    I would look at getting a PS3 but I am not allowed! (see my second post)

    In a couple of years time I will build a gaming PC soley for that purpose but for now I will need to get by using the iMac for my games.

    People seem to be nodding towards the 2.8 which is what I had thought.

    Yes, I would like to see benchmarks for the two chips both with the 8800gs. I have looked at the barefeats test and the 2.8 has the 2600 GPU so it is not a fair comparison.
  13. millar876 macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2004
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    im in a similar situation, but i have a PS3, x-box 360 & wii. i mainly want a new gaming mac for FPS games and a couple of RTS like LOTR-TBFME 1&2. I dont like fps games on the consoles, i prefer a mouse and keyboard. i think im going to go for the 3.06GHz because i do a LOT of video encoding and the extra 200 and whatever MHz will make a slight difference, and the bigger stock HD would be nice
  14. adjones thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2007
    I am likely not to be doing much in the way of video encoding (possibly editing the annual holiday video - not HD - but thats about it) but will be doing plenty of photo editing and correction. This won't be massively processor intensive stuff really so I could cope with the 2.8 for that.

    If CoD4 plays just as well on the 2.8 as the 3.06 with the same gfx card (in XP/Vista) at pretty much the same settings then 2.8 is the way I am going to go.
  15. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    I apologize for being confused, since you first said:

    And then you say:

    But basing my advice on your second post, I would say that the 3.06 upgrade really comes down to how long you want to keep your computer for. If you plan to keep the iMac for more than 3 years, I say spend the extra cash for the added longevity. If you plan to upgrade yet again in less than 3 years, save the money, since by the time you are ready for a new computer there will be something much better than what is current (obviously). And like others have said, it would be a much better investment to get 4GB RAM in place of the 3.06 processor upgrade from the 2.8. But if you want the absolute best, go for both! (But at that point, you might as well pay just a little bit more and get a Mac Pro with 4core and 8800GT.)
  16. adjones thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2007
    I can see how my comments sound contradictory but basically since the beginning I wanted a response from people purely regarding the gaming performance and not typical day-to-day tasks. I am happy that either chip would more than cope with what I would need it for outside of gaming.

    I then had to explain to other posters why I am getting a Mac and not and gaming PC or a console which led me to discuss my normal useage.

    I cannot afford a Mac Pro. I have looked at it and I don't have the money to consider one.

    The iMac must last me about 5 years for normal use but I understand that gaming side of things will soon fall by the wayside as the software stakes are raised. This is why in 2 years I will have enough money to build my own gaming machine and buy a good monitor.

    If anyone has a 2.8 with a 8800gs who are into a bit of gaming then I would love to hear how it goes for shooters and games like EVE etc.

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