Advice on Gaming

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by REM314, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. REM314 macrumors 6502


    Jun 1, 2009
    Hello all I come here somewhat defeated. I've been wanting to build a gaming PC for a while now and have been struggling between staying with Apple or just building a PC. I know all the pros and cons and I've stayed the course as long as I could. Steam coming to macs was a big big push in the right direction but it seems like Apple is focusing more on laptops and mobile devices rather than desktops. The only real thing holding me back from buying an iMac for gaming is the video card and I just don't see that changing. Anyways, I was wondering if anyone had any advice or links as to how I should build the PC. I'm hoping to be able to run Crysis 2 fairly well whenever it comes out. Thanks so much!

    /signed defeated Mac gamer
  2. aiqw9182 macrumors 65816

    Apr 22, 2010
    Get a refurb 2.93 or 3.06 24" iMac with a 4850. It's cheap and you get great game performance.
  3. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    If you're going to build a PC, I'd recommend an ASUS motherboard. The last PC I built is over 8 years old and has been run through hell and back, environmentally and performance, and it still works.

    As for power supplies, I've always been a fan of PC Power & Cooling, but I've hear Seasonic builds more efficient power supplies than anything else on the market.

    Assuming cost is not an issue, I'd also say go with Solid State Drives and SLI graphics cards. Better than SSD drives are getting SSD to run in a RAID 0 configuration.

    Lian-Li would be my brand choice on the case. I like simplicity in the design, but they have some cases that are very friendly for maintenance, not just the initial build.

    Regardless of what processor you go with, you'll most likely want to pick up an after-market heat sink and fan for it. I hear the stock heat sink and fans for Intel and AMD aren't as quality as they used to be.

    For an optical drive, definitely Plextor.

    Sound card, I don't know. I've always used Sound Blaster products, but I've also had problems with them at times and I don't know of any alternatives other than the on-board sound.

    All of this to say that I'm assuming you've put one together before. If not, most of it is just plugging in components into a slot or a male end of a cable into a female end. Installing the CPU/heatsink/fan is probably the most sensitive, but I don't know if they still use pins in sockets anymore. You'll want some thermal paste, to apply between the CPU and heatsink; just make sure you don't over or under-apply it.

    Also important, discharge the static electricity from your body before you start touching all of the components. My personal preference is to put it all together at a kitchen table or somewhere without carpet, leaving my shoes and socks off, with an ESD strap grounded to the case.
  4. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    I like Macs just as much as anyone here but if you want a gaming PC, build a windows-based PC. You'll get a heck of a lot more for your money and can use whatever hardware you want. Not to mention you won't have to deal with crappy cider ports or rebooting into windows just to play a game. As for specific parts, it depends on how much you want to spend and how nuts you are about gaming. For example, SSD drives and dual video cards can skyrocket the price of your PC and you might not care about that kind of performance.

    I don't really have any specific manufacturer recommendations because there are so many different options out there that work really well, be it motherboards, video cards, cases, dvd/blu-ray drives, PSU's, etc.
  5. Scooby_Doo macrumors member


    Apr 5, 2005
  6. REM314 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jun 1, 2009
    Thanks for the advice guys. Ill look into all the components you've mentioned.
  7. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    I just built myself a very nice computer a couple of weeks ago. It's pretty easy – and I'd definitely recommend Windows as well. My machine is a hackintosh, so I can also run OS X, but I've got a Core i7, 6 GB of RAM, and I'll be putting my 4890 into it shortly so it'll be a very nice machine for both gaming and non-gaming use. :)
  8. Benjones-KY macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2010
    This is just speculation, but I doubt Crysis 2 will be much harder to run that Crysis 1. They're making this game for consoles as well as PCs so I'm guessing some thing will be kept more in check than last time. I'm talking about being able to run the game on very high then hitting the ice part and having to drop to medium. Also, they had very poor sales for Crysis 1 toward the beginning due to having an impossible to run game. They've prolly learned to make it a little more accessible this time around.

    Main Point: You might not need a custom built gaming PC to run Crysis 2.
  9. masterofbuckets macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2009
    Agree that if you are going to be gaming heavily and want the best bang for your buck, a custom built PC is the way to go.

    Components depend on your budget but here is a general list for you to ponder over :

    Intel Core i7 920 Processor
    ASUS / EVGA motherboard that supports LGA 1366 socket ( for Intel CPUs)
    ATI Radeon 5850 gfx card
    6 gigs of Corsair/G Skill / Patriot DDR3 RAM
    650W Power Supply ( Corsair/Antec/Enermax are good brand choices imo ).

    If you plan to add more video cards, water cooling, etc consider getting a 750W+ PSU.

    A nice Mid/Full Tower case with enough room for cooling. I am a fan of Antec, Lian-Li and Cooler Master cases so have a look at these : Antec 900 / Cooler Master CM 690

    Thermal paste for CPU.

    Atermarket cooler for CPU . Look at Arctic Cooling Freezer, Prolimatech Megahelems

    500 GB - 1 TB Hard Drive

    On board sound is ok but if you crave more, look at ASUS Xonar series of cards.

    Phew...that should come around $1400 and you should be all set for gaming nirvana :D

    If you live near Microcenter ( ), they carry some ridiclously low priced components, especially Intel processors.

    Or you can head to Newegg which is a good place to shop for components online with relatively better priced components than your neighborhood shop.

  10. tkingart macrumors 6502


    Apr 1, 2010
    West Coast
    Apple is focusing more on mobile devices (after all, they are a mobile devices company now.)

    While I've been very pleasantly surprised with gaming performance on my iMac, it really cannot compare to a PC for gaming dollar to performance. If your focus is gaming, build a PC. The price to performance weighs "heavily" in the PC's favor.

    Hopefully, iMac's will get a decent refresh that will leverage the decision for less compromise when choosing Macs for 3d gaming. I don't believe the MacBook Pro's got a better refresh than iMac's because Apple's focus is on mobile devices, it was more in regards to what was available to them at the time. With Steam coming to OS X, it is a good sign for Mac gamers (down the road.)
  11. JackAxe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2004
    In a cup of orange juice.
    I'm another vote for just build a PC for gaming and leave the Mac for other tasks. You'll get a WAY more capable system for way less that will of course always be upgradeable. The newer Windows OSs are really stable.

    It's really not that hard to assemble a PC and it really makes it your own. I enjoy doing it as a hobby, which only once did I ever get burned out on it, but that time has passed.

    I can offer suggestions if you'd like, but most is pretty well covered.


    I got my 920 for $199 from Microcenter last year. My friend bought one a few months 'before' me and got it for $179! :eek:

    But on that note, they no longer sell the 920, but the good news is that they sell the slightly higher clocked 930 for $199.

    I had one of those GIGANTIC heat sinks like the Prolimatech Megahalems -- my friend has this one -- and replaced it with a Corsair HD50. It brought my temps down about 5c, which was no big deal since I was already running in the thirties, but I like that it's smaller and it was easier to install. I had to Dremel the door fan just to get my previous heat-sink installed. :eek:
  12. Gulzt macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2010
    Yeah a PC would make more sense with better support for the games, running smoother etc..

    But if you only play blizzard games, they work like a charm on Mac and are more stable.. It's very unlikely for any Blizzard game to crash on a Mac.

    Get a Razer Deathadder Mouse Mac edition and you're set
  13. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    If you feel the MacOS is a better environment for doing stuff and don't want to give that up, if you like to game, but don't want to pay for two computers, I'm a proponent of let your Mac do it all. If you travel with a laptop, the MacBookPro is the only way to go. If you don't give a damn about the MacOS or you want to have the fastest game performance, then by all means go with a PC. I have a built PC at home that is getting on the old side. I feel no need at this point to replace it because I'm doing all of my gaming on my MBP. However I travel at least 15 days a month and the 1 laptop that does it all is the only solution for me.
  14. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    I agree, I may not be able to play the latest and greatest games with my little macbook, but gaming wasn't my only focus with the computer.
  15. masterofbuckets macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2009
    Awesome...wish I knew about Microcenter before I got my 920 for $280. :(

    I just don't like big ass heat sinks...I use a Scythe Katana which does its job well and its more than enough cos I don't overclock ( yet ).

    The Northbridge runs very hot (typical in X58 motherboards ), will be getting an Antec Spot cool fan soon to increase mobo life expectancy.
  16. ukyo229 Guest

    Jan 27, 2010
    You could go Apple's Pro gaming way.

    Mac Pro

    - Two 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    - 32GB (8x4GB)
    - 2TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    - 4x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB
    - Apple Cinema HD Display (30" flat panel)

    All yours for only US$12,198!! You know, keep your options open. The :apple: way.
  17. JackAxe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2004
    In a cup of orange juice.
    LOL, the best part of that Mac Pro, is that even with 4 GPUs, it's video performance is still way slower than the GTX 275 I bought for $200 and most games rarely use more than 2 cores. :)

    My G5 DP 2.5 Ghz with a 30" and 6800 Ultra after my developer discount was about 6k. I saved over a thousand, but of course I spent $500 to get that savings, but it was still a good deal. Anyways, it SUCKED for gaming, but it was a wonderful computer until it died. :eek:


    I recall when Microcenter opened and their prices were ALWAYS high, even more so than Frys. This was when I bought all of my components from ma and pa shops, but when the internet really started coming of age, that all changed. Now it's crazy how much less Microcenter chargers for its CPUs and some other compoinets. I just avoid them for peripherals most of the time. Anyways, I send all of my friends to them to build PCs, because they have some of the best prices around, especially for being retail. :)

    I'm not a fan of large heat sinks either. I had that Coolmaster V8 -- wasn't sure what to buy -- and It was WAY toooo large. The HD50 is a nice change, but no disrespect to the V8, because it cooled well. I don't overclock either. There hasn't really been a need.

    Anyways, I have the base Pt6 from Asus. I noticed the north-bridge has a heat-pipe on it, which as far as I know is doing a good job. That's another good thing about replacing my V8, the north-bridge is now more exposed to the fan on the door.
  18. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    Why would 32GB RAM and 4x GF GT120 do you any good at all?
    The i5 iMac would be a lot faster :D

    Get 6-8GB RAM, Ati 4870 and one quad core 3.33GHz, if you are crazy and buying a mac pro for gaming.

Share This Page