Bootcamp or buy a 'cheap' gaming PC?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thecounthahaha, May 12, 2016.

  1. thecounthahaha macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010

    I've been a mac user now for nearly 7 years, and have tried my best with gaming with PC friends using only cross platform games (made easier in the last few years!) but the itch is getting harder to scratch. I've been out of the loop for quite a while so I was hoping someone might be able to help me along the right path..!

    I have a 2012 non retina 2.7 GHz i7 macbook pro, which I've replaced the DVD drive with a second SSD for more storage. Its a work machine (owned by me), and is regularly filling up its 1tb SSD storage.

    If I was to install windows 10 on it for gaming, I'd have to split off *at least* 100gb for the OS and for a couple of games, which will definitely impact on work storage (work files are via dropbox so external drives aren't usable). Buying windows 10 will be about £100, which could go towards a PC tower. Will my laptop even be able to run the newest games?

    If I was to buy a 'cheap' desktop PC for gaming, say in the £400-£500 range, would I be seeing any improvements? Will I be able to run games at better levels, run newer games and run them for longer? Here's a quick google search for a gaming PC from a high street shop for a rough idea comparison

    Knock £100 off for Windows 10, and a couple of vouchers here and there and it's not *vastly* more expensive. Is it more powerful than my laptop?

    Game wise/spec wise, I'd be looking at and similar games to:

    Total War
    Act of Aggression
    Any new Call of Duty games/FPS games

    Am I asking for too much?

    Thanks very much, sorry if it is the wrong board - please let me know where I should be if so.

    Thanks again.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I recommend a cheap PC desktop that can handle games much more efficiently then a 5 year old laptop.

    MBPs are not gaming machines as it stands and given the age of your laptop, I think you'll be better off with a newer PC that does gaming a lot better.

    [MOD NOTE]
    I moved the thread to the Buying Tips forums as that seems like a better place for the discussion
  3. robeddie Suspended


    Jul 21, 2003
    I'll disagree, not because you can't get a better gaming machine if you buy a standalone windows computer, but good lord what a clunky 'solution' that is. The elegant simplicity and convenience of being able to boot up windows on your laptop and play a few relatively modern games right there (on the airplane seat, in your hotel room, etc) is huge to me.
    Sure the MBP isn't a killer gaming machine, but it doesn't completely suck either, and for a lot of windows games, it's absolutely sufficient. Obviously if there's one killer game that you really want to play that exceeds the ability of the MBP, then fine, go with the clunky 'solution'. Otherwise, run windows 10 on your MBP, see how it goes, and if you find gaming performance just intolerable ... only then should you punt and go the other way.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Why is it a clunky solution? Many people buy/use gaming PCs, in fact I'd say its a great solution.

    Are you saying that 5 year old laptop will not suck in playing most modern games? People complain about gaming on current MBPs, never mind a pre-retina model
  5. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013

    Yeah asking too much from a 5 year old fairly mediocre mobile GPU.

    I would go with a second hand gaming PC, eBay has fairly decent rigs at great prices, £200-300
  6. thecounthahaha thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    Thanks for all of the replies guys. I think I was leaning towards getting a pc but hearing your thoughts on the matter is pushing me that way too.

    Yes the laptop is 4 years old and although is very much still ok for my work and limited Mac gaming, it is on the older side! That and having to eat into valuable storage space which affects my work output and it kind of outweighs the lack of portability. I already have a desk with 27" 2560x1440 screen and keyboard/mouse so that's not an added cost either.

    In terms of processor and graphics card - any pointers on what I should be looking for? Lots of the cheaper pc towers o can find use AMD instead of Intel - anywhere I can find a 'what's more powerful' chart or something?

    Here's the specs of the current contender for example -

    • AMD FX-4300 Processor
    • Memory: 8 GB
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
    I seem to remember nvidia cards being best but I'm really out the loop...

  7. aolish, May 12, 2016
    Last edited: May 12, 2016

    aolish macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2015
  8. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    1) consider the PC alternative not an alternative but an appropriate fit for your gaming needs.
    2) investigate the games themselves for "optimal" hardware vs minimum requirements.
    3) either buy a system or build to spec what you need

    Apple in its infinite wisdom didn't consider the gaming industry which is about as stupid as Gates was about the internet early on. Don't make yourself a hostage to Apple's decision to sidestep the gaming industry.
  9. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Owning a nMP with D700's, a rMBP with a GT 650M and a PC (core i7 3770K + GTX 980Ti), I know which one I would choose. Apple do not make anything that comes even close to the gaming performance of a reasonable PC. Even with my old GPU (GTX 780) the PC was still a much better gaming experience than any of my Macs. It's fast, quiet, very stable and I can swap out components as I need to - my CPU is ancient, but it doesn't need to be any quicker as I have a recent GPU that does all of the work. Clunky it is not. In comparison bootcamp on a nMP was clunky. The AMD drivers don't support Crossfire very well in some older games (Fallout 3, Skyrim) to the point I would sooner run these games off an xbox than a nMP as the experience was that poor.

    As for the original posters question, I would stick with a core i5 CPU (you don't need an i7 for games), 16GB RAM is plenty as is a 256GB SSD. Spend the rest of the money on the GPU. If you can't get what you want within your budget you can always buy used - plenty of people ditch their old gear on ebay as they must have the latest stuff. If you still can't find anything then maybe consider an xbox as the multi-player stuff is getting better across Windows 10 and xbox now.
  10. thecounthahaha, May 13, 2016
    Last edited: May 13, 2016

    thecounthahaha thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    That's good to know that even if I was to get a new iMac/Mac Pro it wouldn't be a better solution.

    I'm struggling to find an i5 machine that falls within budget, and I'm also kind of restricted to Currys/PC world, as the deal they have on at the moment brings it much close to being on budget (which is quite low). At the moment is they have gaming rigs 10% off, plus I have £70 worth of vouchers - so a £500 machine is £380. I'm happy to go elsewhere if the price difference is not much different, but I have worries about buying second hand from a non-shop for warranty reasons, even if that is only 1 year.

    I'm happy to upgrade parts down the line, in a year or two say, but I don't want to be disappointed from the start because I bought a dud. Thing is I don't really understand what can and can't be updated in this non-apple world. I'm so used to being able to change HDDs and RAM without really thinking about it, but nothing else, that I'm a bit overwhelmed by all of the possibilities - and the 'might not work' that comes with it.

    The £500 rig below which is what I was looking at seems to get good reviews, but I am aware it isn't the fastest of CPUs. Plugging it into a build-it-yourself page though doesn't seem to come out cheaper which is interesting. How upgradeable will it be in the future? Can I switch out the CPU/GPU for something faster in a couple of years, like a GTX970 and an AMD 6300 (or better)? Several posters have mentioned about getting a good/upgradeable motherboard - this one is an AMD 760G - does that count!?

    Going up to a £600 rig with i5 changes the graphics card to AMD - is it worth the extra £100? Is it more upgradable in future?

    I have been looking at some gaming specs on steam and the GTX960 seems to be above minimum on all of them including the newest games. There are a few that don't list AMD CPUs as being there at all (eg - should I be worried?

    I realise when doing this there's always something that can be better, and a really good machine at £500 is not necessarily possible, so buying something that can slowly be upgraded as I run into issues seems reasonably sensible.

    Thanks again for all the help you've been giving me!


    Just found out that the 10% off thing ended yesterday (I thought it had another week), which might change things slightly if there is a better machine at a different retailer for a similar price.


    Just found this i5 with 960 card on ebuyer for £500 - according the to the reviews the psu is 500 not 350 as listed but you never know. Would this be a better option?
  11. jashic01 macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2016
    That's a good spec. It's also one you can upgrade over time. You can get more ram later when you need. You can attach an SSD later when you need. And the CPU and GPU are upgradable when you need. But for now, it should play every single game that's out very well.
  12. iShater, May 18, 2016
    Last edited: May 18, 2016

    iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    As someone mentioned, you should find out the minimum vs. optimal specs required for the games you want to play. If your MBP supports the minimum, then using bootcamp will save you hundreds of pounds. If it doesn't meet those, then a separate rig is worth it.

    I have been using Bootcamp for games for a while as I don't mind running minimum settings. However, my system is long in the tooth, and upgrading it just for games is not worth it. So when I am ready, i will be buying a desktop rig from Alienware or throwing something together.
  13. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I wouldn't touch anything from Currys/PC World - they are terrible. Give any of the decent UK suppliers a call (Mesh, PC Specialists, YoyoTech, Overclockers, CCL, etc, etc) and tell them what your budget is. They will build something that will actually work - probably a lower spec CPU (that you can upgrade later) and a reasonable GPU. These guys have all been around long enough now, build good kit and have decent warranties. You will also support a local shop rather than a big chain.

    Or alternatively, buy an xbox and save until you can get the PC you want
  14. thecounthahaha thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    Thanks - I've just contacted overclockers with the ebuyer link and they've specced up a system that is the same but with newer parts, a better motherboard and better PSU (plus a 3 year warranty) but its £160 more.

    I'm going to sleep on it, but it seems like a reasonably sensible reason to overpay the budget...
  15. gman901 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I have a rMB for work and light gaming and bought a refurbished Dell Latitude with a Nvidia 960M which plays everything on 1080p perfectly. The total cost was about the same as buying a brand new Macbook Pro 13" with 512GB of storage.

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