Affordable Mac with a good gaming GPU?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by eicca, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. eicca macrumors 6502

    eicca

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    Oct 23, 2014
    #1
    It's coming time to upgrade. I would like a Mac of some form that will be able to handle some gaming, like the Master Chief Collection or the upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game.

    Thing is, I've been out of the gaming world for so long I have no idea how system requirements and things like that are spelled out nowadays.

    Basically, what'll have an Xbox-level GPU in it? Is it realistic to get a refurbished 27" iMac with the Radeon Pro 570? $1500-1800 is an obtainable price for one of those, and I'll Bootcamp that sucker.

    Mac Mini is out, the Radeon Pro 570 obliterates the Intel UHD 630 from what I can tell.

    Or is it even worth trying to play games on anything less than a Mac Pro? And on that note, how old of a Mac Pro could do the job?

    Gaming is not my priority, and I know it's not what Macs are for, but I'm asking because if it's a realistic goal then of course I'll go for it.
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #2
    Actually, the Mac Pro - at least without modification (on the ones that can be) isn't that great an option

    The 27" iMacs are currently the best in Apple's portfolio for games, though I wouldn't say they're that good really.
    The 580 if you can afford it is a good bump up from the 570. There's also the 580X and Radeon 48 in the all new one, but of course that takes the price up.

    The 570 will probably run you fine for some games, but you shouldn't expect very high resolution and settings.

    I game on a Radeon R9 M295X iMac, and I have to use 720p in Sekiro right now. It works, and I enjoy the game tremendously, but it's not ideal; Though that's in part also because this GPU has some heat issues so it throttles down significantly, and the 5xx series aren't plagued by those issues. My GPU is rated for a base clock of 850MHz, but it hits 110 degrees if it runs at more than like 400 - often staying at around 350.

    If you're ready to do this potentially, waiting to see what the upcoming modular Mac Pro brings might be your best bet, but if not, a 27" iMac is the best offering right now, and has been for many years. Ideally a 580 or above, but anything in the 5xx series is probably alright. Going back to the R3xx and R2xx series will hurt you.
     
  3. eicca thread starter macrumors 6502

    eicca

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    #3
    Appreciate the input. 27” it is.

    But also, it may be more cost-effective just to snag a used Xbox for cheap.
     
  4. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #4

    Yes. I mean, I don't have any screens that aren't my Macs or iDevices; No extra TVs or monitors, so for me, it's just using what I have anyway, gaming on my iMac, but if you already have a display/TV anyway, a dedicated gaming console like an Xbox or PlayStation will net you better gaming experiences more cost effectively; Though if you're already in the market for an iMac anyway, well, consolidating your needs also makes sense.
     
  5. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    #5
    For $1200 you can build a very descent hackintosh with discret graphics. Check at https://www.tonymacx86.com/
     
  6. shaunp macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Don't go for the Mac Pro for gaming - not the 6,1 anyway. I had the 6-core one with D700's and it was pants as a gaming platform. Even in bootcamp.

    A new 27" iMac with the Vega 48 would probably be your best bet, but even then you might need to drop the resolution a bit. If that isn't good enough, then it's a Hackintosh with a dual boot into Windows for your gaming. Or just keep your current Mac for your daily stuff and get an xbox.
     
  7. GoldfishRT macrumors 6502

    GoldfishRT

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    #7
    For games you have a few options.

    27” iMac or a Mac Mini with eGPU are your best bets. You can also use an eGPU with most of the lineup at this point, even the Air, so that’s something to consider.

    But you’d be much better off just buying one of the enhanced consoles like the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro. Way better performance for the money.
     
  8. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #8
    That still requires an extra screen, and I really don't want another screen. The space and the cost for one that's good enough that I won't be sad looking at it isn't worth it
     
  9. eicca thread starter macrumors 6502

    eicca

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    #9
    Hmmmm how seamless is the experience? Does it require a lot of back end duct tape or does it basically work like a factory Mac when it’s finished?
     
  10. psingh01 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    You are better off getting a console and a cheaper Mac. You'll get better/more variety of gaming and save money over all.
     
  11. OVERTASK macrumors 6502

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  12. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #12
    Well said, man. Funny and fairly accurate
     
  13. venom600 macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    The best Mac option? Find the cheapest thunderbolt 3 Mac you can (probably an i3 Mac Mini), connect it to the cheapest EGPU you can find (probably something like the Sonnet RX570 puck), and you'll have a machine capable of playing most any game at 1080p at reasonable frame rates.

    The best overall option? Spend $100-200 on a cheap TV on Amazon and $200 on an Xbox One or PS4 and call it a day. You'd even be able to upgrade to whatever the new consoles are that will be out in the next year or so for less than the price of doing this on a Mac.
     
  14. OVERTASK macrumors 6502

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    #14
    What will your primary use be? Ultimately you'll have to decide and if gaming is fairly high on your list of priorities then you'd traditionally be better off getting a separate desktop PC. TB3 and egfx enclosures provide an additional option, though I'd say a moot point, egfx is an expensive hobby.


    As a side note, the 27 has a 5K screen so don't expect to get any reasonable performance, even with scaling it's going to be unplayable.

    Personally, under similar circumstances I would get a refurb rMBA from Apple for 1k, spend the rest on something like a i3-8100 + RX 580
     
  15. eicca thread starter macrumors 6502

    eicca

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    #15
    My main use for it will be audio engineering, so after all the excellent advice in this thread I think I’ll still get a 27” because I like big screens but also pick up an Xbox.
     
  16. russell_314 macrumors regular

    russell_314

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    #16
    "Affordable" means different things to different people but most people would not use this term on any Mac except maybe the i3 mini. If you have to have Mac OS then I would suggest a refurb 2018 mini with the i5. A hackintosh just doesn't make sense IMO unless you just want something to tinker with. For gaming your best bet would be a Windows desktop or laptop. I mentioned laptop because it's small and can be hooked up to an existing monitor. For 1,200 to 1,400 USD you can get something that will last at about four years. Since you mentioned an Xbox it kind of makes me think you're not very insistent on PC gaming so that might be your ultimate choice. The top of the line Xbox One X is 399 USD and if you look around you can get them cheaper than that.
     
  17. icanhazmac macrumors newbie

    icanhazmac

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  18. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #18
    Well you obviously can't play at 5K, but you can just adjust the rendering resolution and get perfectly fine results. I play Sekiro on a 2014 iMac these days, and it works just fine. It's not ultra settings or anything, but I get consistent frame rates and a good experience.
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #19
    My $.02 is you're better off getting a dedicated gaming rig, or a windows PC. The state of gaming on the mac is weak, though improving. The state of hardware on the Mac is weak, but has improved with recent models. The problem is you're paying the apple tax for a machine that will be inferior to playing games and the selection of available games is inferior to windows (or consoles).

    I understand that gaming is not the primary focus for the OP, but I am a big believer in getting the best tool that fits the need and macs and gaming are just not there imo.
     
  20. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #20
    I agree with getting the best tool for the job, but sometimes the best tool is the one you already have for other reasons, but because it's the best, but because it's what you have - like with cameras. A high end DSLR will give better pictures than a smartphone (in general), but if you're on holiday and you didn't bring that DSLR because it's big and bulky, none of that matters. Similarly, if you need as powerful a Mac as you can afford for other tasks, and thus have no budget leftover for a console or gaming PC; Or perhaps physical space or something else - the Mac becomes the best tool for the job.

    This is all just talk for geeze at this point though, since the OP has already decided on a "2-tool setup" with an Xbox and a Mac, so, well, good :)
     
  21. troy14 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    No love for a used 2010 Mac Pro 5,1 with a Mac flashed gtx 680 or even gtx980+???
     
  22. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #22
    I mean, those are great, but with a new modular Mac Pro around the corner, a main use case of audio engineering (where the single-thread performance could be an issue) and the limited lifespan left in those machines based on the CPUs ability to push single-thread performance, limitations of PCIe and other architectural things, I don't think it'd fit the OP super well, but for some it's definitely a good option - I'd love one if you're offering, despite a lack of space; But if an extra Mac is a possibility, I guess I can always make space ;)
     
  23. ignatius345 macrumors 68020

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    #23
    If you're really dead set on not having extra screens around, you could also get 1) a standalone Mac Mini with decent (though not game-able) specs 2) an Xbox like you said and 3) a monitor they both share.
     

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