Blizzard gamer needs info on the 27" iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tombc1234, May 12, 2010.

  1. tombc1234 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    #1
    With Starcraft II, Diablo III, Cataclysm and Blizzard's unnanounced MMO on the horizon, I thought it might be time for a lil upgrade.

    I'm currently using a 1st generation Unibody 17" MacBook Pro, which does the job for most games at medium to high settings, although the FPS is a little dissapointing at times (yes, with the GT chip turned on).

    I was considering selling it and purchasing the 17" refresh with the new chip. However, I scrapped that idea when I remembered the 27" iMac. I'm clueless as to how it performs as a gaming machine however. The specs would be as follows:

    • 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    • 16GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x4GB
    • 1TB Serial ATA Drive
    • ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB

    As you can see, I'm willing to splash some cash on this baby, but not in vain. Can anybody shed any light on the Radeon HD 4850, how it performs, and most importantly, whether its worth the upgrade from my current rig (Nvidia 9800 GT). Im a sucker for high resolution, and the new iMac has got me jizzing in my pants... Just had a look at another thread discussing the new iMac, says the graphics card sucks.. true?

    Should I stick with what I've got until the next iMac refresh, or buy the just-out new MBP?

    Some advice would be welcome. Main games being played are all pretty graphics intensive (25 man raiding gets very cluttered, and Im sure D3 is going to necessitate some real horsepower).

    As a side note, I'm going to the University of Liverpool in September, and plan to take advantage of the student discount scheme for Higher Education. How much can I save on the 27" iMac build listed above?

    OR (so sorry about complicating this thread further) wait for WWDC and the possible new Mac Pro and 27" cinema display? Then I can upgrade the graphics card how I wish right?

    Thanks, Tom.
     
  2. lasuther macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #2
    Yes, wait for the next iMac update.
     
  3. Bad Paper macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I have the 24" iMac w 3.06GHz C2D and Radeon 4850. This thing flies. I love it. In WoW I keep all graphics options maxed out. No problem booting into Windoze for Dead Space and various Steam games (not much more of that now, giggle). I guess there are better cards than the 4850, but I'm not complaining at all.

    My guess is the next iMac refresh will be the first half of July. I don't know whether it will be worth it for you. Keep an eye on the refurb section of the Apple store. I certainly wouldn't buy a C2D these days; it's all i5/i7 at the minimum from here on out.
     
  4. tombc1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    #4
    Hmm well June WWDC and July aren't too far away.. besides, I'm buying when I get to uni, in September, so I guess I'll have a better idea of what to buy then.

    Well that's certainly a relief! I imagine the higher res on the 27 inch will slow the frame rate down considerably but I guess it does have a better graphics card. I just wish they offered an option with 1GB
     
  5. tombc1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    #5
    Hmm well June WWDC and July aren't too far away.. besides, I'm buying when I get to uni, in September, so I guess I'll have a better idea of what to buy then. New iMac or Mac Pro hmmm Ill be spoilt for choice :D

    Well that's certainly a relief! Whats your FPS and resolution you play at? (Press control + r) I imagine the higher res on the 27 inch will slow the frame rate down considerably but I guess it does have a better graphics card.

    I just wish they offered an option with 1GB of Video Memory..
     
  6. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #6
    There are probably a multitude of different ATI cards apple could use in its next revision of its iMac, but a whole lot of them don't even outperform the mobility 4850, the only thing they offer that's even remotely compelling is directx-11. Combine this with the fact that we don't know if the iMacs will get updated or not soon, so waiting for a next possible update might not be the best thing.

    However since you can wait until you get to the university, sure knock yourself out and wait for one!


    As far as performance, I can give you the numbers for the mobility 4850 on Starcraft 2. The performance of Starcraft 2 on OSX is paltry compared to Windows.

    With native resolution and all graphics settings set to highest spare portraits to 2d, I get:

    min 21, max 36 average 30 fps. Perfectly playable.

    With osx under same settings I get 10 fps-- not playable at all.

    As far as the extra resolution, it barely affects the performance of SC2. Going from 2560x1440 to 1920x1080 on sc2 only adds 8 or so fps-- compared to 3d portraits to 2d portraits that adds 10fps.


    The mobility 4850 with 1gb of GDDR3 ram would be a waste, as it stands I don't even believe it has the necessary memory bandwidth to take advantage of it. Like I said there's a multitude of crappy 5k series cards apple could use, but they all offer less performance. Only the mobility 4870 and 5870 clearly blow it out of the water, this is because they offer GDDR5 memory.
     
  7. toddybody Guest

    toddybody

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    #7
    ATI by Necessity?

    Why the hell is Apple giving the iMac these mediocre ATI HD card upgrades (HD 2400 XT > HD 2600 PRO > HD 4850) The HD 4850 is coming on 2 years old. Grow up and move to DDR5(the orgasmic screen and i5/7 merits it). Im hoping that with the migration of STEAM to OSX, Apple will start to realize that they have some gamers on their hands.


    Would I be smoking crack to hope for an NVIDIA GTX 285 option?
     
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #8
    Because last October when the iMac came out, the ATI 5XXX series wasnt released yet.

    iMac kills the MBPs: http://barefeats.com/

    16 gigs of ram? Why? Is that really necessary?

    And a Macpro and a 27" display? so from $2200 US to $4500 US?

    Why not just get a mini, a PC gaming rig and a Dell U2711. Thousands less.
     
  9. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #9
    The 4850 was one of the best performing Mobility cards last November - the 5xxx series didn't exist, and ATi haven't ever made a 4870M. nVidia's solutions run hotter, which probably pushed them out of the iMac as a possibility.

    In the next refresh I'm expecting to see a 5850.
     
  10. toddybody Guest

    toddybody

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    #10

    Just read the reviews and bench marks on the 5850...Im impressed, very nice balance on processing and power consumption. The iMac would be even more of a roided gazelle with it;)
     
  11. Baycon macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    #11
    Just to be clear : SC2 can be played at native resolution with 3d portrait without any problems on my iMac i5. The video card isn't top of the line at the moment, but it does fine for most games out there, especially if you play them without thinking you have a gaming rig.

    As many posters have said...wait...at least until after WWDC (just in case!).
     
  12. L0s7man macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    #12
    The biggest bottleneck on the iMac is IO. 7200rpm sucks and I shall soon be performing the surgery of translating the SSD ;-)

    Starcraft 2 runs well in native res, max details in Windows, but you need to scale to high/medium on Mac OS, due to the drivers being *****.

    I wish iMac had USB3.0, or eSATA. But internal SSD + maybe 2nd SSD in optical bay and something like NAS Drobo would be awesome.

    Its a great machine despite few shortcomings.
     
  13. toddybody Guest

    toddybody

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    May 13, 2010
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    #13
    USB 3.0?...Im stoked for Light Peak...still a while off though :(
     
  14. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 18, 2010
    #14
    Get a mini or 13" macbook and then buy a gaming PC. Serious Mac gaming just isn't there yet.
     
  15. EasyJW macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #15
    27 iMac will be fine, probably most of the mac range new will be fine[​IMG] but i'd still wait for an iMac fresh release
     

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