a little bit of a rant...nothing new here

Discussion in 'Games' started by benpatient, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    OK...I was scrolling around on a couple of computer parts websites that I like (newegg and a couple of lesser-known ones that are not yet distrubuting nationally), looking for possible hardware upgrades I might want to do to my PC at home, which is over a year old now, before HL2 and Doom 3 and Sims 2 and STALKER are released this summer/fall.

    At least two of these games will be holding alot of my attention upon arrival, and I'm concerned that my 9600 Pro 128, even though it overclocks well (and i pretty much always run it a little OCed), isn't going to give me D3 performance that I want. I can run far cry quite well, and it's pretty much the most intensive thing out there right now, but honestly, i could stand to see a higher resolution/settings combo and still have a good frame rate. I want, ideally, 1024 with all settings maxed out and 4xfsaa, or 1280 with full settings and no fsaa (or little).

    the 9600 just can't really handle that.

    So anyway, on to my reason for complaining. The dual processor 1.8 G5 that i'm typing on right now has a 5200U with only 64mb or vram in it. That was annoying when we bought this machine last year, and it is even more annoying right now, because the "next" G5 2.0 has the same underpowered card.

    How underpowered is it, really? I'll let the newegg price explain it for me:

    $52 - ChainTech nVidia 5200U 128MB retail box (comes with a couple of last year's games (this year's Mac games!))

    50 bucks. seriously. i'd imagine apple gets theirs complete with ADC port for 40 dollars each or less. upgrading to the 9600XT for 50 dollars should be like a kick in the butt of everything. If you buy a new G5 and don't upgrade the graphics card at least to the 9600, you have issues. I wonder if it is actually clocked at 500/600 like the PC version of the XT is...apple under-clocked the 9800 pro in the last generation and didn't bother to mention it...

    another example? The brand new G5s come with an 8x superdrive (DVD+-RW outside the mac world) This is apparently only a single-layer burner...

    today on newegg:

    $85 - NEC 8x dual-layer DVD+/-RW black OEM drive.

    I guess I'm just annoyed because we're supposed to be using the best stuff around, and it is really just cut corners and raised prices.

    the G5 case itself is obviously expensive. The power supply is excellent. the processors are great. the system bus is top-notch.

    all of these things tend to be harder to quickly change out with newer, cheaper, faster versions of themselves. keeping up with the latest graphics cards should be easy. keeping up with the latest optical drives and hard drives should also be simple.

    why does apple charge a 500 dollar "upgrade" charge to turn a single 80gb ($75 individual consumer cost price) hard drive into 2 250gb drives that would cost under 200 dollars each if i bought them today on newegg (not to mention the 75 dollars they save on the 80gb drive.)

    that's a 200 dollar rip-off just for the HDD. it's even worse if you want to upgrade just one HDD (200 dollars at apple to go from single 80 to single 250).

    the invariable response to complaints like mine is "apple has to make money somehow"....well, apple makes a higher percentage gain in profits than just about any other computer company.

    while that may be good for steve jobs' wallet, i somehow don't think we'll see all of that money re-distributed into new technology (except maybe a new stupid ipod or something else useless for most of us and equally bloat-priced).

    I'm sorry, i just had to complain for a minute because i was so annoyed by how cheap some of the parts in my 2500 dollar computer are compared to the parts in my older, 700 dollar computer.

    that is all.
    feel free to ignore me.
  2. Maclarny macrumors 6502


    Apr 20, 2003
    Be grateful that you have a PC for gaming. I sure am happy that I do because I simply wouldn't be content with game performance on my 1.6 G5. Granted Macs are pricey, but as I see it it's the difference you'd pay for a BMW over a ford. You just get the better package with the BMW. :D
  3. benpatient thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    that analogy would only work if the BMW was slower and less fun and using older technology that cost more.

    say VW instead...it's more accurate (made in mexico, looks good, terrible problems that you don't hear about until after you're financially invested, bad customer service, inflated prices due to a "reputation" effect).

    believe me, i'm glad that i do have the PC.

    with the money that you save by getting a SAMSUNG SyncMaster 213T instead of a 23" cinema display, you can build the PC i did and then some.
  4. geeeeeFive macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2004
    Its not a better package when the engine is underpowered. I agree about the graphics cards, but I'm not sure its Apple's fault, ATI/Nvidia are the ones charging tons of money for shi@#!@y cards. Could you imagine if the mac had video cards that were on par with PC cards, then you'd have a Rolls Royce.
  5. benpatient thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    it is apple's fault for trying to push that ADC crap on us.

    Apple: "we're all about open source and universal standards!!!"

    Apple: "we're going to create a proprietary video connection so you can avoid the terrible hassle of needing TWO cables coming out of your monitor (oh the horror), even though that means we'll have to charge you 100 dollars or more to hook up any of our monitors to any other type of universal-standard digital port. The best part is, our digital signal and the industry standard ones are identical! Perfect reason to create something totally incompatible. This also means we can have a 6-12 month lag in graphics hardware due to our low volume demand, and we can charge 30-50% more for that old technology and blame the supplier."
  6. bidge macrumors 6502

    Jul 16, 2002
    New Zealand
    What you have failed to notice about the DVD WRiter is at the moment the Dual Layer DVD-Writer's can only writer to +R9 at 2.4x, and there are next to no Dual Layer DVD+R9's that you can even buy yet. The current drive in the G5's is the latest drive from Pioneer, Apple has been using Pioneer's drives from Day 1 and they are really good quality drives with good compatibility. I'm not saying that your drive is any worse but they're about the same price.

    Supposedly te current drives only need a firmware upgrade to be able to write to DL DVD's, but Pioneer will probably not make one because they just want to sell new drives.

    If you want to look up reviews/prices on the pioneer 107D, I'm sure that you will find that it is a kick ass drive, and the 106D, the drive in your powermac is one of the most reliable DVD Writers out there.

    One big complaint is that Apple don't release updaters for the drives firmware, Pioneer has been releasing nearly a new version of the firmware every month and Apple has not even had one, surely that would be something easy for them to do, as the firmware is exactly the same as Pioneer makes? All they need is an updater that will read the files and update the drive.

    Definitely the Graphics card thing is really stupid, I'm not going to say anything as I agree with you and if anyone else wants to argue they can.

    My point in the post is that unless you want to pay $40 for DVD+R9 discs that aren't even readily available then there's no point in having a DVD+R9 writer. Apple has always used DVD-R mainly, and I don't seem them going only + wouldn't make sense.

    Sorry, that was all a bit messy.

    At the moment 8x DVD's are still twice the price, I have a Pioneer 107D and I just use 4x discs at 4x, even though I can burn to them at 8x. I'd rahter burn a disc that costs me less than a dollar in about 15 minutes than pay for a disc that can fit a few more GB's and takes about an hour to burn.
  7. bidge macrumors 6502

    Jul 16, 2002
    New Zealand
    OK, I'm wrong Verbatim are now making DVD+R9 discs

    COMING SOON - Should ship at the middle of June, 2004

    DVD+Recorable DVD+R DL from Verbatim -- Introducing DVD+R Double Layer by Verbatim, the industry leader for reliable media. Also called double layer or two layer DVD recordable, plus type DVD+R discs. Two AZO recording layers on a single-sided disc.

    Dual Layer DVD+R Features

    8.5 GB of storage capacity on a single-sided disc.* No need to flip the disc
    Largest compatible DVD back-up and data archiving format for computer drives
    Record 4 hours of DVD quality television and video (16 hours of VHS quality)
    Ideal for archiving home movies
    Read compatible with DVD-ROM drives & DVD-Video players
    Lifetime Warranty

    COMPATIBILITY -- Requires DVD plus type recorder with dual layer recording capability. New machines from BenQ, Sony, Philips and other manufacturer's are now introducing these models. Contact your drive manufacturer for details.

    The industry's first Double-Layer DVD+R (DVD+R DL) discs. The new 2.4x DataLifePlus(R) media nearly doubles the storage capacity on DVD recordable discs from 4.7GB to 8.5GB on a single side while maintaining compatibility with existing DVD video players and DVD-ROM drives.


    With Verbatim's new DVD+R DL discs, consumers can store up to 4 hours of DVD-quality video or up to 16 hours of VHS video quality on a single disc. PC users will also benefit by being able to archive nearly 8.5GB of data -- all without having to stop and turn the disc.

    The new media is fully compatible with the DVD+R DL standard endorsed by the DVD+RW Alliance and incorporates the Double-Layer DVD+R technology developed through the collaboration of Verbatim's parent company, Mitsubishi(R) Kagaku Media (MKM) and Philips.

    The development of reliable Double-Layer media is the key technology enabler for Double Layer DVD+R recording. The ultimate challenge was to develop materials and manufacturing processes for multi-layer discs that allow the properties of two unique layers, once recorded, to meet the DVD read only specifications for DVD-ROM drives and DVD video players. During recording (and reading), each layer can be targeted without disrupting data on the other layer.

    The first recording layer of the Verbatim DVD+R DL disc is semi-transparent, providing enough reflectivity for writing/reading data on the first layer, yet transmitting enough laser power to read/write on the second layer by refocusing the laser. In addition to optimizing layer reflectivity, new Metal Azo recording dyes were developed by MKM for each layer to optimize parameters such as signal amplitudes and power margins and ensure full compatibility with current DVD standards.

    "Compatibility was a top priority in developing our Double-Layer media," said Tim Clatterbuck, Verbatim Director of Optical Storage Marketing. "Content developers will be among the first to make the switch to Double-Layer technology because multimedia and video files require so much capacity. They can increase their productivity with the 8.5GB DVD+R media without worrying about playback compatibility. It will be the same as their 4.7GB discs, just more capacity."

    can't find a price though, can anyone find prices on thesse?
  8. bidge macrumors 6502

    Jul 16, 2002
    New Zealand
    Now found a price and to prove my point they're 14.95 each, I get inkejet printable Verbatim's that work out at $3NZ each, US$1.70, they're ten times more expensive.


    Still as I said in my first post they're +R and I don't see Apple doing that
  9. benpatient thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    and in 6 months they will be 3 dollars...meanwhile apple will still be touting their state-of-the-art 8x single layer burner.

    besides, since when are high prices a deterrent for apple users?
  10. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2004
    benpatient: you are one cool dude. I struggle with many of these same issues. Right now i am sooo pissed that i can't buy an ati 9800XT... cause it's BTO only, and ati doesn't even acknoledge that the card is availiable(BTO) on their web site. I switched to mac in 2001, and i play games regularly. But when i played Halo on my G5, i was pissed...way pissed. I too, am tired of an overpriced, underpowered (graphically...where's pci express?!), proprietary system. Games are always late, they suck graphically, they cost more, and they're incompatible with windows servers 50% of the time. I've been thinking about buying a pc just to game...it's just hard to do, since i have sworn off microsoft... In a way, i think apple is paradoxial. On one end they tie you to their hardware and make you suffer, and on the other end they're 'open source'. Can't tell ya how bad i'd like an all-in-wonder ati 9800. or how bad i want to play star wars galaxies/half-life/etc... Sometimes, it seems that windows offers much more freedom... it's just that they're disingenuine copy-catting SOB's. If apple were as big as microsoft, i'd hate them too, but i'd still support them because they earned it.... microsoft hasn't. It's not that i'm all about the underdog, it's that i think they deserve my business... anyway, i'm rattling on...
  11. applekid macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    The price difference is slight manufacturing differences and that BIOS itself costs a lot for development.
  12. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    well i don't really blame apple for two many things. they dont make the games or the graphics cards. the facts are is that windows is the ultimate platform for gaming in the computer world. just as apple is the platform for video, audio, design and so forth. luckily, financially right now i can afford the whole game set up. i have a high end pc for my computer games, and all 3 consoles. i have my 2 macs for pretty much everything else that is important. yes many times the games to play like crap, but i feel that is the developers fault. look at blizzards games, built on open gl and play beautifully on apple's machines. don't need to get hissy and pissy about apple, just accept that macs are not a gaming platform for the general public, save up some cash and build youself a pc that you can enjoy games on and have the best of both worlds if you can afford it.

  13. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    Nah, what you should do is get a GameCube or PS2. Sure, most of the games are crap, but there are some pretty good ones, and the machines are really cheap right now. GameCube is $99 and PS2 is $149 including the network adapter ($40 separately). Don't build a PC just to play games, it's not cost-effective.
  14. osprey76 macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Since when is gaming ever cost-effective? :)
  15. benpatient thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    i have a PS2 and i barely ever play it anymore because i can't stand the resolution limitations. My roommate has an xbox. it's a little better on our LCD HDTV, but not very much. They both look, in my opinion, crappy. If Halo wasn't so buggy, i would have played it on PC. I downloaded the demo and decided that while the controls were finally workable, that's about the only thing that was better (aside from the graphics, obviously). I just wasn't impressed with how it played. MS is trying to sell more xboxes because i know the 733mhz P3 that is in the xbox and the 32mb shared video memory from the GForce2 (or is it 3?) card that is in there isn't near to competing with my 3200+ level athlon, my 1.5GB of PC3200 running in dual channel, my RAID 0 SATA array and my 128mb 9600Pro card.

    If i run it in 640x480 (basically the xbox resolution), then it runs at about the same speed as the xbox does to my eyes.

    anyway, you can barely read the text on most PS2 games (even on an HDTV!) and it isn't any better on xbox or gamecube.

    i couldn't play splinter cell on the xbox because it wouldn't let you invert the vertical aiming axis, which is retarded. i was able to do this on the PC version, though, so i played that when it finally came out (and it runs just great on my PC that won't play halo very well over 800x600...even if i go to 1280x1024.)

    for most people playing computer games, aside from something casual, consoles are too inferior to be worth really spending money on. If you computer can't handle the game, then no, it won't be as fun as the console version, but there are too many great games that are mediocre on console and great on PC. anybody remember the Half Life PS2 conversion? Yeah, i thought not.
  16. musicpyrite macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Cape Cod

    There are many cases where an xBox will kick the pants off of a AMD 2500+, 512 RAM, and an average video card. It has to do with the way games are written. And thats why I barely game on my iMac, I do more on my xBox and Gamecube.

    And I think the xBox has 64 MB of shared RAM, don't know about the video card though.
  17. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Are the Superdrives in the new G5s still Pioneer A07 drives? There is a firmware flash available which enables the dual layer burning support built into the A07. Check www.xlr8yourmac.com for the exact details.

    I agree with you about the price gouging for commodity components though. A year ago when I ordered my 1.6GHz G5, I specced down the Superdrive to a Combo drive. At the time, that downgrade saved me something like AU $350. I can now add back the same OEM Pioneer A07 drive that Apple uses, with 8x burning support and dual-layer burning for around AU $160. :) Even at the time, there was no way that a DVD burner was going to cost an extra $350 over a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive.

    I guess these things are like RAM. Everyone knows not to buy RAM from Apple...buy it from a 3rd party. The same seems to go for optical drives and hard drives. Buy your G5 with the lowest spec you possibly can, and then buy upgrades from 3rd parties (Apple uses exactly the same stuff you can buy off the shelf...Seagate hard drives, Pioneer optical drives). Does it also make sense for graphics cards? Is it cheaper to buy a Radeon 9800 Mac Edition from ATI or OWC, versus paying to upgrade to it from the stock FX5200 or Radeon 9600 through Apple?
  18. benpatient thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    probably not.

    and either way, it's at least 30-100% more expensive than doing the same thing on the other side of the OS wars.
  19. Mav451 macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2003

    I'm guessing you've never played PS2 with component cable (480p) on an HDTV then? My bro got a PS2 a few years ago, and with component cable, Tekken Tag on the HDTV looked incredible. I daresay better than the arcade machine. Ditto with the legendary GT3 (play the Ivory Coast level).
  20. benpatient thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    yeah, that's how i play the PS2.

    the ONLY game i own that shows a real improvement is GT3.

    Maybe i just don't own the right games.

    for example, i hear Madden looks great with the composite video cables in 480p, but i absolutely hate that game. i would rather be repeatedly punched in the face than listen to john madden's voice. seriously.

    monday night football (or any time madden is a commentator) marks the only occasion where i turn on my closed captioning and turn off the surround sound.

    anyway, the issue with the 480p on the PS2 is just like the issue with Dolby Digital and DTS...it technically supports both of those, but only a few games actually use it, and they mostly only utilize it during pre-rendered movie cut-scenes.
  21. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    You and my wife. She despises Madden and starts spouting profanity in a tourettes-esque way whenever she hears his voice. So you're not alone.
    Personally, while I think there are some profoundly stupid things coming out of his mouth often enough, the man KNOWS football and was one HELL of a coach. At least you only have to hear him and not look at him to be mesmerized by his jiggling jowls.
  22. benpatient thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    i wish he didn't say things like "now what he wants to do here, bob, is get the ball to an open player who can take it into the endzone"

    i no longer have to hear him say it, at least, but it's almost as bad to read it on the closed captioning...

    "now in football, you need to advance down the field, and if you're on defense, you have to keep the other team from scoring, or you'll lose."


    he needs a buffer between his head and his mouth. just because .28 seconds of silence has passed doesn't mean you need to start talking again...ugh.

    this has turned into a little bit of a different sort of rant!
  23. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    pc can be very cost effective, depending no what you do. many games are just pc only, many crossplatform games play better on the pc if you have a well built machine. also many games just are better to play with a keyboard and mouse. it's really all in the needs of the user.

  24. seamuskrat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2003
    New Jersey USA

    Whenever you make a choice to purchase something, you have to evaluate if it meets your specific needs.

    In the case of a PC, there are so many manufactures selling them, that a nearly infinite number of choices exist. I assure yo the VAST majority of PCs sold are super underpwoered to play games. Your typical machines sold to home users often have integrated video. Plenty do not and some can be upgraded, but go look at Dell Online, CostCo, Circuit City, etc at the LOW END machines. All have anemic performance specs. Problem is that many of the computers sold today are these bargain basement machines.

    Apple made a decision to sell a machine that is a better package. It costs more, but in some ways you get more. But Apple does not make a dedicated gaming machine. True. They probably will not make a machine that is considered top notch for games. If the rumors are true that ADC is going the way of the Dodo, then we will at least have the POTENTIAL to flash PC cards and use them.

    As for DVD Burners, dual laywer + drives are a joke. I have one at work, and I made a copy and the media cost me $15.00. It took 50 minutes, and about half way through the copy the playback pauses, jitters and continues. Maybe that is a quirk, maybe not. But its not an effective means right now. The Pioneer 107-D will be upgradable to Dual -layer via firmware. I do not know what models this drive shoips with, but I just upgraded two of my machines with this drive for 69.99 plus shipping. Not too bad. I can use any off the shelf harddrive and pay the same as a PC user. In my experience, its always better to buy the options elswhere. Whether its a car, boat, or computer. With a Build yor own Dell, the cost of more RAM and storage is more than it would cost at Fry's. Granted, not as much of a premium as an Apple, but its far cheaper to customize on yor own.

    Most peopel that use computers do not use these specialized cards, extra storage, etc,. I work at a facility that has over 500 Macs, and less than 10 utilize them for anything more than Office and Internet and Email. Those that need speed and performance need it, and in some cases Macs are the best tool for the job. Sometimes its a PS2, others it is a PC outfitted with thelatest eye candy producing video cards, drives, ram mobo, etc.

    Point is that as a single company Apple caters to a nice medium of the road. I can say that the baseline Mac is able to do more than any baseline PC made by dell, Compaq or HP. Look at the base iBook and eMac and iMac. They are not bad in specs. Granted they are not gamoing speed machines, but MOST folks will get along fine without 100 FPS in UT2004. Dollar for Dollar a similar Dell, Compq, etc. will have similar performance specs at the low end. Its the high end machines where the difference gets larger. The lack of high end offerings and the fact that a decked out Alienware can cost the same as a decked out G5 and have better video is undeniable. But if you are spending $3500 on a gaming machine solely for gaming, the a Mac is not for you.
    We can all wish Apple would fix this, but how many sales would a 4000 mac rigged for games make?

    Just my opinions and thoughts.

  25. benpatient thread starter macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    i think you're missing the point, though...

    i built a PC because i wanted to be able to play whatever games i was interested in that came out between early 2003 and mid-late 2005.

    i evaluated how i expected the market to go as far as advancement, etc, and decided how much gaming performance i would need. Then i set about figuring out how much money it would take me to get to that point. the answer, to my surprise, was 700 dollars and 1 afternoon of putting the machine together, and then an evening installing all the software and getting things going.

    my 1 year old, 700 dollar PC runs rings around my 3-month-old 2500 dollar dual 1.8 G5 on everything except photoshop filters and writing postscript files to PDF.

    I do those two things a lot at work, on this G5 i'm typing on, but i download a couple of mac games to see how they work on my G5, because it has a 1200 dollar LCD attached to it, and my PC has a 4-year-old CRT attached to it.

    if you want to know what happened with that whole thing, read my thread i started about, oh, three months ago...basically, i can't play any games on my G5, and apple doesn't care to assist me.

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