Best option for Gaming Mac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by skunkyjosh, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. skunkyjosh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    #1
    Hi,

    I like to play games like Starcraft, World of Warcraft and Diablo and so far I've been gaming with the iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011) Intel Core i5, 2.5 GHz, 4 GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 520 MB but due to the age of the computer, the performances are declining in my games.

    Not going to lie that I've been looking and waiting for quite some times for a decent cheap upgrade from Apple, nothing so far. We're pretty much down to 2 options since you can't game on Mac Mini, Macbook Air and Mac book Pro. In the left corner, we have the iMac 5K Display and in the right corner we have the Mac Pro.

    I was hoping for a decent upgrade from Apple, for a cheaper iMac dedicated to the gaming community but it doesn't seem to be happening since they once again went for an high-end iMac after going to an high-end Mac Pro. What's my cheapest option for a computer that will give me a good 3-4 years of gaming experience?

    The cheaper the better.

    Thanks,
     
  2. Serban Suspended

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #2
    those particularly games will run perfect on your 5k imac or mac pro at 1440p.
    but take the 295x gpu or dual d700
     
  3. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Location:
    Ridgewood, NJ
    #3
    Gotta love "cheaper the better" and having Apple's two most expensive computers as the choices! Plus, GPU upgrades of $250-$1000 (which you'll want for gaming). :eek:

    I wouldn't buy either if gaming is your main concern. Get a refurb 2012/2013 with a 680m/780m GTX. That would be the "cheapest" option for best performance/deal.
     
  4. Confusius macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #4
    How much faster - especially for gaming in 1440p - do you think the i5 retina iMac with the AMD Radeon R9 M295X will be, compared to the previous i5 iMac with the GTX 780m (assume both have the same RAM and Fusion Drive)?
     
  5. skunkyjosh thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 27, 2013
    #5
    What spec should I pick on the iMac 5k?

    Let's not worry about cash and let's just keep in mind I don't play FPS. Someone build it for me please, don't over-build it. Just put an 'X' in front.

    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz or
    4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz

    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB,
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB or
    32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x8GB

    1TB Fusion Drive,
    3TB Fusion Drive,
    256GB Flash Storage,
    512GB Flash Storage or
    1TB Flash Storage

    AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2GB GDDR5
    AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5

    Thanks

    ----------

    GTX 780m was released in May 2013. I'm really looking for a long-term investment. Not a temporary solution that will last me 1.5 years. :eek:
     
  6. Confusius macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #6
    I'd go with this:

    X 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz or
    4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
    (cheaper and apparently little difference for games)

    X 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB,
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB or
    32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x8GB
    (very much cheaper to upgrade it yourself later, cf. iFixit)

    1TB Fusion Drive,
    X 3TB Fusion Drive,
    256GB Flash Storage,
    512GB Flash Storage or
    1TB Flash Storage
    (speed and size)

    AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2GB GDDR5
    XAMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5
    (since you'll game..)
     
  7. puke macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    #7
    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz or
    X 4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz

    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB,
    X 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB or
    32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x8GB

    1TB Fusion Drive,
    3TB Fusion Drive,
    X 256GB Flash Storage,
    X 512GB Flash Storage or
    1TB Flash Storage

    AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2GB GDDR5
    X AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5

    Why? If money aint an obstacle and if you really want the iMac 5K and game with (personally I doubt it'll work since I still believe the GPU can handle all those pixels + game) I've seen it lag in normal usage in OS X... i7 for gaming, 16GB Ram, 256/512gb of SSD for fast usage, (512 for a bootcamp windows 8 if gaming sucks using OS X). Easily the 4GB card.

    Tho, I recommend Mac Pro. I'm on the verge of getting it aswell.

    //J
     
  8. skunkyjosh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    #8
    You guys are giving me 2 completely different build. The guy at the Apple Live chat gave me a similar build to yours Confusius.

    Hardware

    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB
    1TB Fusion Drive
    AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5
     
  9. azure247 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #9
    Basically:

    -The default CPU (i5)
    -The best GPU
    -Flash drive (Reason: Fusion drive isn't supported in Windows bootcamp. Running Windows for games will give you better gaming performance.)
     
  10. Andune macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #10
    I would Change the RAM to 8GB and then buy 2x4GB and install them yourself to get 16GB total, saves a bit of money.
     
  11. Gav Mack, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    Sagittarius A*
    #11
    Best option for Gaming Mac?

    It isn't the cheapest by a mile but a 4 or 6 core dual GPU d700 Mac Pro the best rig by a mile despite losing a bit on single core but gaining on PCie SSD. laughably, insanely quiet on full gas and will last a hell of a lot longer taking hard work full-on unlike retinas, iMac's in fact everything but the old Mac Pro which has a full length PCIe card. I have a GTX 680 2gb in my old 3,1
    Retinas and iMac's also that if on the wrong side of the thermal paste lottery not only throttle the gpu but can and do go wrong and get progressively louder.

    Crossfire in boot camp win 8.1, sadly 7 not supported which is about the only minus it has.

    Can connect 6 thunderbolt displays and will likely support two 5k displays :D

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5918
     
  12. RyanJWilliams macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2014
    #12
    Instead of just blindly ticking components, let's break it down a bit.

    CPU
    i7 is faster than i5, even at the same clock speed. This means that a 3GHz i7 is faster than a 3GHz i5. However, few games need this extra power and even those that do would likely be held back by the iMac's GPU long before that point. I'd go with the i5 if your needs beyond gaming are light, but bear in mind that the i7's power will be very useful for non-gaming tasks like audio, image, and video work.

    RAM
    I don't know of a single game that uses up even 8GB of RAM. Remember that even the latest consoles don't come with more than this. Again though, RAM is useful for project stuff.

    GPU
    This is the important one and a no-brainer: get the most powerful option. With both the non-Retina and Retina iMacs, the GPU upgrade is significantly more powerful. In fact, the choice is basically 'not for gaming' vs 'suitable for gaming'.

    One thing you must bear in mind is that the Retina iMac runs at an absolutely huge resolution, and there is no way in hell that you'll be able to run games with decent performance at that size. I might be wrong on this, but I don't think that OS X lets you run at a lower resolution when using Retina screens (ask MacBook Pro owners), therefore you'd have to use Windows which lets you control resolution to get good performance.
     
  13. skunkyjosh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    #13
    I'm going to lose my Applecare warranty If I do it myself, no?

    ----------

    I was reading an article about the 5K iMac and gaming and I'm starting to wonder if this is a good idea at all.

    " Finally, gaming — and here’s where the reality is going to bite. You aren’t going to be doing any gaming on a 5K display at anything like high detail levels. You may not even pull it off at low detail levels, and for a very simple reason: The R9 M290 is a midrange GPU from 2012 boxing way, way out of its weight class on this one. Despite the term, 5K is not 25% more pixels than 4K — it’s almost two times as many pixels. "

    http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/19...a-last-gen-gpu
     
  14. RyanJWilliams macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2014
    #14
    That's what I meant in my last comment. The GPU is more powerful than the non-Retina iMacs have, but even the latest desktop-grade GPUs would struggle with the 5120 x 2880 resolution. To get satisfactory performance for games, you would have to run the games at a non-Retina resolution, for example the 2560 x 1440 resolution that the earlier iMacs have.

    Unfortunately I don't think OS X lets you do this natively, i.e. when you choose a lower resolution it actually still runs at the higher one and upscales the image. As such, you'd need to game on Windows.
     
  15. skunkyjosh, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

    skunkyjosh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    #15
    In that case, would you think it's a smarter choice on the refurbished market? I would save about 1K with that refurbished one. Or should I wait and hope for something else from Apple in 1-year?

    $2059
    Refurbished 27-inch iMac 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

    Originally released September 2013
    27-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2560-by-1440 resolution
    8GB memory
    1TB hard drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
    Built-in FaceTime HD camera
     
  16. Gav Mack, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #16
    Best option for Gaming Mac?

    On a budget a used 6 or 12 core Mac Pro 5,1 tower with ssd and PCIe graphics card. It will take a GTX 780 and with external power even a Titan Black! They are even downclocking dual AMD cards to fit the requirements of the PSU.

    Normal SSD in an adapter out of 4 sleds is SATA 2, but you can go SATA 3 via PCIe or even PCIe NGFF to get performance better than all bar the new Mac Pro. 48/96Gb ram for single or dual socket.

    It may be slower single core but is still the monster gaming macintosh and will batter any other Mac in sight by what GPU(s) you fit even though it's design dates back to 2009, just so upgradeable though Thunderbolt is and will always be lacking.

    www.macvidcards.com for a GPU selection.

    It's a pc gaming rig with an Apple logo that boots both OSX and Windows as well as a Pro workstation.
     
  17. skunkyjosh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    #17
    Like this one?

    $2629

    Refurbished Mac Pro 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5

    Originally released December 2013
    3.7GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5
    12GB memory
    256GB PCIe-based flash storage
    Dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics processors with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

    What kind of monitors I would need for that Mac Pro?
    I would need to purchase an extra HD too?
     
  18. Gav Mack, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #18
    For the new silent model that's the one but may have to upgrade to d500 for more gaming.

    But if your games use the gpu more than the CPU a second hand 2012 Mac Pro tower with some AppleCare left if you are worried or even a 2010 (both 2010 and 2012 are Mac Pro 5,1, I am after a used 2010 dual socket and have no qualms buying used) with the right upgraded ssd and gpu would batter the daylights out of its newer brother and would cost roughly the same. They are very reliable, they outlive all other Mac systems and the Mac Pro forum here an ultimate resource to tinker or for help with it. I have a 2008 one myself, with 32gb ram gtx 280 2gb and it plays pretty much every game I have at 1900x1200 with the settings turned right up

    Like this one : http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-P...3072378?pt=Apple_Desktops&hash=item3a908a17fa

    Then select your storage : PCIe sata with a Apricorn velocity solo or duo x2 card with Samsung 850 SSD, much cheaper than PCIe NGFF which is basically the same kind of ssd as the new Mac range - then whatever gpu you can afford, though if you want additional storage that doesn't require fast access with booting PCIe there are 4 3.5 inch sled bays for bare sata drives.

    You can do upgrades to processors up to six core 3.46 ghz per socket, older Mac Pro 4,1 2009 can be flashed to support them also.

    But check if the 5,1 is a genuine one and not a flashed 4,1 sold as a 5,1. Upgrading the cpu on the 4,1 is beyond the novice...

    I do find it amusing that the old, so called obsolete Mac Pro when upgraded is still the fastest gaming Macintosh by a long way. The new GTX 980 apparently works fine, and requires no external power, but no boot screen support yet but it will surely come. You can buy used PC gtx 680 2gb/4gb cards quite cheap, flash the mac bios in bootcamp and it works with boot screens.
     
  19. Serban Suspended

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    Jan 8, 2013
    #19
    you can run games at 1440p on OSX even on the 5k display imac no problem here
    15" rmbp you can play diablo at 900p for example
     
  20. insane79 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #20
    wouldn't recommend the 5k iMac for gaming as even if you play native 1440p resolution for games the upscale will create the image to be blurry & also in 2 year time that gpu won't be able to play new games in 1440p, you are better of getting a normal 1440p iMac fully speced instead.

    My 2 cents..
     
  21. Mac32 Suspended

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    Nov 20, 2010
    #21
    Yes, like other's say... Playing in 5k is unrealistic, it will produce crappy framerates. And if you play in 1440p the image will be blurry. I'm sure the 5k display is fantastic, but if you want to game regularly I recommend the ordinary iMac version.
     
  22. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #22
  23. skunkyjosh, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

    skunkyjosh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    #23
    Thanks all for the feedbacks. I've made my decision and if it doesn't work out with the 5K I can return it at no charge within 15 days. I wanted something painless since I'm not the kind of guy who's going to install his own RAM.

    I wanted to go with the following configurations:

    27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display
    CAD$2,949.00

    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB
    256GB Flash Storage
    AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2GB GDDR5
    AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac

    But then I cancelled my order and chickened out of this...

    ----------

    I read the 2 articles to make my decision. I will get the iMac 2013 if this 5k doesn't work out.

    http://www.game-debate.com/gpu/inde...radeon-r9-m290x-crossfire-vs-geforce-gtx-775m

    http://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/mac/what-best-mac-gaming-3446272/

    ----------

    Who knows the future? Maybe It's worth waiting for Apple to upgrade their new 5K line.............. or maybe they will just upgrade the 21.5 inch line???
     
  24. Confusius macrumors regular

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    Mar 24, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #24
    If I've understood this correctly, though, if you play in 1440p, it will scale to precisely 4x (2x2) the pixels - which is the resolution that the 2013 iMac ran natively - that means pixels shouldn't be distorted, only twice (4x actually) larger than you'd see them on the 5K screen natively. However, that would make them the same quality as the 2013 iMac at native 1440p resolution.

    So the question is whether - in 1440p - the retina iMac is faster than the 2013 iMac. If it is, then it should be the gaming iMac of choice. If not, then one would either go with the 2013 model or wait for a 2015 one.

    I suppose I'll wait for Barefeats or someone else to run the tests and comparisons...
     
  25. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #25
    If you want to game, the CPU and GPU upgrades should be considered mandatory. You can choose the drive and RAM to suit yourself, but don't skimp on processing power.
     

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