Between Choices

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Blkant, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. Blkant macrumors member


    Jul 27, 2012
    I am in need of a replacement for my old desktop. While the desktop won't be a gaming computer per-say, I do want it to run specifically two graphically demanding games, the next Doom and Unreal Tournament (as well as development in Unreal Engine 4). The rest of my uses will be various work related assignments that so far have been, with some challenge (its a small and older macbook), satisfied by my laptop.

    I'm having difficult time coming to a conclusion, and would like to get some recommendations and advice from everyones experiences and expertise.

    These are the options I have thought of.

    Custom PC:
    I know the usual suggestion is to build a custom PC. While that I love the idea of customizing and upgrading the computer, I despise windows and the computer would be used ONLY for the games really. I simply cannot use windows for day to day or work.

    Benefits of a PC with osx, but what about stability? Most of my time will be spent in osx, and it is crucial to me that it performs completely stable and fluently in it. I am concerned that this will be lost in the hackintosh as they are quite literally a hack job. There is also a concern over if I would even be successful in setting it up etc... I'm also generally not a fan of "non-genuine", though at a low enough price forget it.

    Fully loaded iMac:
    Extremely expensive and there are concerns over the performance of the hardware. I have always had and loved using iMacs, however at the price with no certainty of the performance of the 780M, I am uneasy that it may not satisfy my needs in the end. Of all directions though I am leaning in this direction if it can meet my needs, despite the high cost.

    Old Mac Pro:
    From what I understand some of the older Mac Pros have CPU's that rival or surpass i7's. On top of that they allow customization of GPU's etc... However I have had difficulty in figuring out which ones would be comparable for my needs, where to find them, which allow what customizations etc... It has been somewhat of a mess to figure which would be ideal, though I fully remain open to the idea. I had read you can get fully loaded iMac power for a lot less and still have a Mac this way, however it hasn't been so simple to verify and find such a case.

    Thank you. :)
  2. JohnPi314 macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2014
    I'm in the same boat. My current thinking is this : If I'm going to be spending 65-85% of my time gaming, then I'm going to go the DIY PC route. The trade off is using Windows - blech - but I can rationalize that away by saying "I'll be compatible with at least 95% of the computing world".

    If i won't be gaming as much as I think I will be, then I'd be better off with an iMac, for all the obvious benefits. It's expensive, but I rationalize that away by saying "I'll keep it for 5 yrs, it will retain it's value, and I prefer OS X anyway" -which I do.


    I would think more in terms of your use cases, and how much time you will spend in each. Then pick.
  3. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    A cMP would be an interesting choice. If you are thinking about going the hack route, a cMP might be something to look into. You will probably pay about $300-$500 more for one than if you built your own hackintosh, and it will be less upgradeable, but it will be more stable for sure. Think of it as a middle ground between the iMac and a hack. You should really go the hack route if you are mostly in to gaming though, because OS X should not be your primary system for gaming.

    The 780m is powerful, at least relative to mid-range cards like the gtx 660 or the 750. It has a little over half the power of the 770, but it also has double the VRAM, so if you are doing any game with custom texture mods it will be fine, but for most games 4GB of VRAM is unbalanced with the power of the shader cores in the 780m. Expect to play AAA games on medium settings 1440p with 60 fps. You can probably crank up AA and texture mods, but forget particle effects like Physx. If you are ok with that, it will be expensive but will be the most reliable solution. Expect to spend about $2200 for a decent one with a 780m.

    If you go pure PC, you might as well setup for a hackintosh build. They are relatively easy to build, and are essentially exactly the same, some of the parts are just more specific (i.e. Gigabyte motherboards, intel processor). I have one right now I built last November. Just make sure all of your components have corresponding Apple drivers (, and the only issues you should have will be with the software side. You don't need to know how to code, but it can be useful. The tools that tonymacx86 provides have a solid UI that doesn't require any knowledge of coding. As long as you follow instructions to the T, it is a reasonably straightforward process. It will be a headache if you get incompatible components or download the wrong drivers though. I would put OS X on a 256GB SSD, and don't use it for gaming. Have a separate drive with Windows on it and game on that. For an i7/gtx 770 system, assuming you already have your gaming peripherals, it should set you back about $1600.

    If you are really into gaming, get a hackintosh or a cMP. The Mac Pro will have a little more reliability, a little less customization, and a higher price. I would recommend a hackintosh if you are mostly a gamer, as you will spend most of your time on Windows. Games perform poorly on OS X not because of their hardware, but because they don't have optimized software. Performance in general will be 20-30% worse on OS X just because of driver issues, so a Windows based machine would be your primary focus, with OS X as a side project.

    Just my opinion.

  4. h9826790, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014

    h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Obviously PC in not the choice since you need OSX.

    Hackentosh is no a choice either because that's not stable enough for your work, any software upgrade may cause you different strange issue.

    iMac should be the most painless choice, apart from expensive.

    The cMP way, to fit your requirement, you can spend around $700 to buy a single CPU used 2009 Mac Pro (4,1). Flash it to 5,1 firmware, drop a W3690 in it (extra $300). Or upgrade to something like X5677 that cost you less than $200, but still have 3.46GHz, turbo 3.73GHz single core performance. And than another $400 for a graphic card like GTX680 (flashed for the boot screen). Or as cheap as a used 7950 PC version (no boot screen, but cost only $100). Plus a little bit on the RAM or other stuff, you may able to get a perfectly stable Mac that fit your needs with around $1000. The beauty of the cMP is that you can upgrade it all the way to 12Core 3.46GHz (X5690 x2), 128G RAM, dual HD7970, 4 internal HDDs + SSDs in optical bay or on PCIe SATA 3 card, etc... if you really need that later on.

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