A Mac for gaming?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Teste, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. Teste macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    Hello, I'm a PC user considering a move to Macs, but I'm unsure if it would be a good choice. I have bought a new PC a couple years ago with a really robust configuration, from a very big company (Dell), with a focus on gaming. The computer has been a constant source of stress - I have had to replace everything, including the mother board. Meanwhile, some friends have an iMac, and I can't help but notice how it has never given them any problem. And my iPhone is a great piece of hardware.

    The thing is, I'm not sure the Mac is powerful enough for gaming. Most of what I would do would likely be under Boot Camp, considering how many pieces of software are not available for macintoshes; do you people think it would be worth it, or should I just give PCs one more try?
  2. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

    Aug 11, 2010
    Well your mistake was going Dell, I have a high end Sony Viao it's not given one problem. Toshiba is also a very reliable brand.

    Dell make cheap plastic POS,
  3. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
    Check the video card and CPU. A Mac running Bootcamp will have comparable performance to a PC with similar specifications.
  4. Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    You may not want to consider it, but I went the console route a few years ago vs sticking with pc gaming. The transition does take a little time, but afterwards you just pop in the disc and play, not more hastle with configurations, specs, etc. (I found most of the games I wanted to play were on the xbox first anyway.)

    For mobile gaming, I use an iPad, it's an underrated gaming device, and so much more.

    A mac under bootcamp is simply a pc running with mac hardware, with the same virus issues, configuration issues, etc. In addition, I found it a hassle to reboot all the time into the pc side, so I played far less games than I though I would on the mac.
  5. AdamantFinn macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2011

    I use BootCamp to play PC games on both a 4 year old iMac and a 1year old iMac. Though the specs aren't as high as their PC counterparts (I am running only 500meg and 1 gig video cards respectively) I consistently get high frame rates and high resolution. I think you will be happily surprised at how well Bootcamp performs.
  6. Ace134blue macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2009
    Toshiba sucks too... And 99% of other laptops/pcs are made of cheap plastic too..

    Also, Dell makes very good and reliable business machines, its just the consumer ones i would steer clear of.

    OP go with a gaming PC custom built. Dont buy a mac for gaming.
  7. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Build your own PC, I love doing that!

    Um... I don't think you're asking the proper question. If you were to spend upwards of $1500 for a PC, you would have a superb, godlike machine. If you had a $500 PC, and it's not working as well as your friends iMac that cost 3x as much, there's a saying "You get what you pay for".

    TL;DR - Get a Dell Vostro system, or really any business class computer, and it will be 1000x more hassle free.
  8. Teste thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    Thanks for the many replies, everyone :)

    Are there issues with overheating? I also heard that Boot Camp with Windows can only use up to 3 GB of RAM, is that true?

    Heh, thanks for the suggestion, but a console wouldn't work for me. I don't even have a television (not enough room); it's the same reason why I have an iPhone but won't get an iPad: the iPhone works both as a smart device and as a cell phone, while the iPad is a better smart device, but doesn't work as a cell phone. The less things I have, the better.

    I'm not in the USA, so getting reliable parts here is something very hard to do (enphasis on reliable). Could you please elaborate on why I shouldn't get a mac for gaming? What issues exist with it?

    The computer I'm currently using, the one I have already had to replace many pieces from due to hardware failure, cost more or less $4500. I'm not in the USA so that increases a bit the price, but if there's one thing I can assure you is that it's very far from being a "superb, godlike machine". Meanwhile, my friends' iMac cost far less than that and, while they use it less than I do, so far nothing in it had to be replaced.
  9. MacForScience macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2010
    Here is the issue with Mac's for gaming if you are talking about gaming in OS X it is not a comparable experience because of the flaws in OS X implementation of OpenGL for games. If you count the fact that you can run Windows 7 etc on a mac natively and play your games in that you should be fine unless you are a hardcore gamer (I define as someone who needs SLI or Crossfire (multiple linked GPUs) etc).

  10. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    The high end iMac would be reasonably good for gaming, however check benchmarks of the card before buying. If you want a mac which is a true powerhouse for gaming consider the mac pro, although a PC with similar specs for gaming would probably be cheaper. [​IMG]
  11. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    Only with a 32-bit installation of windows. Newer macs support 64-bit Windows 7 so you can access all the installed RAM

    Games that run on OS X generally have worse performance than if it was the same game run in Windows with the same hardware specs. So for best performance you'd have to use Boot Camp and install windows. If you plan on mainly using the machine for gaming, maybe a Mac isn't such a good idea as you could buy or build a desktop PC for much less and with better specs. The mac user experience comes from OS X, so why pay the Apple premium if you're not going to use it often?

    If you were mainly looking at a general purpose computer, and occasionally would use it for gaming, then you should consider a Mac, but it seems your main need is gaming, so a Windows system would give you better value for money.

    If your budget is big enough, you could consider getting a gaming desktop PC and a cheap mac, like the mac mini, macbook or 11" macbook air which would give you the best of both worlds.
  12. gdeputy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    New York
    let me put it this way, even the Mac Pro isn't a great option. It comes with a 5770 1GB (which I have, you can buy it for 130$) which at this point is a midrange card.

    iMac's best graphics option is a 5750, which is not as good as a 5770. Basically, the newest games coming out will not run on max settings, and definitely won't run at 27" native res.

    You can expect 1920x1080 near max for most games, and as time progresses that'll go down on a 5770.

    With a 5750 shave about 6-8fps average off that. At max settings on new games 1080p your looking at around 30-40 frames per second.

    If you spend 2,000 on a PC you can have a nVidia 580 and be getting more like 100fps on those same games.

    2,000$ will build you a Sandy bridge i7, 8GB DDR3 1600+ RAM, a Nvidia 580, and also a 250gb SSD on top of a 1-2TB HDD 7200RPM.

    In other words, unless you want OSX, gaming wise you can't go wrong with a windows PC. The specs i just listed will blow a Mac Pro out of the water.
  13. jetblk328i macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    I would not go mac+vm. for the price of that, you could have a PC that is easily 10x better gaming wise.
  14. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008

    I don't know where it comes from that you Americans appear to have such a low opinion about Dell. Here in Germany, Dell is BY FAR the best supplier for business(!) hardware in the industry with the best service that I know of. Apple offers nothing even remotely close to Dell's service and reliability.

    The only other company that had a similarly good reputation was IBM, but I do not know that first hand. HP doesn't reach Dell's level, and that I do know first hand.

    I could also tell you long stories about failing Apple hardware and how long it took Apple to fix certain issues. For example, it took them more than two weeks to fix the wireless LAN issue of my current 27" iMac i5 and I had to send in the computer twice. And that was WITH the expensive AppleCare! If it had been a Dell, some technician would have come to my house and would have fixed it right there - the next day. Because that's the sort of service that you get from Dell for the price of AppleCare. (Actually, you would already get SAME BUSINESS DAY, 4 HOURS response time service for that money.)

    I also had a long list of issues with Mac Minis, Mac Pros, PowerMacs, iMac G4s and PowerBooks. Really, Apple computers are no magical silver bullets. They're just machines like all the other PCs out there.

    Anyway. If you want a computer for gaming, you should NOT buy a machine from Apple. 64-Bit Windows 7 will be your operating system of choice, and you'll get much more bang for the buck when you buy a PC. End of story.

    If you were primarily looking for well-designed hardware - talking about looks AND engineering - or if you wanted a rather quiet machine, then Apple's computers would be in the discussion again, even if you wanted to use them as hosts for Windows or Linux. But since you're looking for a gaming rig, you should buy something else. An Asus Predator, maybe?
  15. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    The lack of cutting-edge graphics cards and the inability to use SLI/Crossfire in a Mac Pro is the main issue, along with the higher cost.

    Unless you don't mind that and are willing to play games on lower settings. In that case, it would work fine, although you'd get more bang for your buck with a PC.

    The point of buying a mac is for OS X. If your main use will be Windows, you're better off with a Windows PC.
  16. jimd007 macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2011
    I kinda agree with the above but would add the following, the 5750 in the imac isn't really a 5750, Apple has a tendency to mess with graphics cards and name them according to their approximate speed. It's actually a mobile 5850 that's fitted in the imac and the speed is probably somewhere between the two cards - a mobile card is used due to the space/heat issue.

    I own an Apple MacBook and a Dell XPS 730X i7 3.7gHz (I upgraded from a Mac Pro). The Macbook is great in that is boots insanely quickly (into Snow Leopard) and has never gone wrong - you know when you turn it on it will just work - I use it mainly for music and portability. The Dell has been reliable running Windows 7 but at the end of the day you can't beat OSX as an OS - it's just great. However, the Dell handles games superbly and way better than my old Mac Pro under Boot camp.

    To sum up, you've got to compromise, if the machine is mainly for games I think switching to Apple is too much of a compromise for the performance/price, if gaming is less than 50% of the machines usage I would take the Apple route.

    One final thought to consider - AppleMacs hold their value very well, far better than PC's - so if you do take the Apple route and it's not right for you you can always ebay it without taking too much of a hit...
  17. Kissaragi, Jan 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011

    Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2006
    Dell are actually an excellent brand with a very good customer service rating. Ive heard more people complaining about viaos than dells.

    Unless you want to use OSX for other stuff, id go with a gaming pc over a mac. Maybe from one of the smaller, specialist gaming pc companies? There should be no reason why a decent pc gives you more trouble than a mac, it sounds like you just got very unlucky with your dell.
  18. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Also, you should not expect that a Mac running Windows 7 will be any less fussy than a PC running Windows 7. In fact since the Apple supplied hardware drivers are less than ideal, it could be more fussy than a typical PC.

    It's only the combination of Mac hardware and OS X that leads to a simpler, less fussy, experience for many folks. So if gaming under Windows is your main purpose for the machine, get a box that is designed for that.

  19. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    Well first of all you've never required the best components for gaming. We're in a good spot right now as consoles are considerably weaker than desktop computers, so because most games are built with consoles and PC's in mind any game you buy will run fine on a high end Mac now.

    So long as you use Bootcamp.

    I've been researching my next machine. I was planning on going the home build route, always done it in the past. It's cheap, easy and you can customise any aspect of it. But the graphics cards in the new iMacs (at least) are pretty dandy. I mean they'll run some pretty powerful games (GTAIV, Crysis) just fine.

    I mean I'm using a 2006 iMac to play L4D2 (native res, overclocked GPU, everything at medium) and it runs at 30fps.

    I'd never buy a mac as a gaming rig. You'd be daft to do that. But they do run games well - just not as great as a cheaper home built PC!
  20. Aatos.1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2010

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