Casual gamer looking to replace Late 2009 27" iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DracoDWS, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. DracoDWS macrumors member


    Aug 1, 2013
    My max upgraded to 2.8 i7, HD4850 (512) graphics card iMac from Late 2009 is back in the Apple store getting the graphics card replaced for the 3rd time. Since it's almost 5 years old now, I was hoping to replace it with a new iMac. I thought I was going to get lucky when the rumors were that they would be updating the iMac line any day now. They were right. Sort of. Today's low-end iMac doesn't help me.

    I don't know what to get now.

    The 27" screen was a little on the big side for my desk, so I wouldn't mind dropping down to the 21" but I don't know how I should spend my money in the wisest way.

    I thing I overestimated my needs on this last iMac. Sure it was a beautiful screen, but my gaming is - I think on the modest side. Mostly just Blizzard games, Diablo 3, Hearthstone, and just recently the Mac Beta of Marvel Heroes.

    However, those games seem do be going a job on that HD4850 since it's being replaced for the 3rd time.

    Do I go with the 21" with the 1gb graphics card and the 256 SSD and get more ram up to 16gb and maybe get windows 8 and Bootcamp for games? Or go with the 27" again ang the 2gb card and SSD?

    I can wait a little while, but not that long. These graphics cards seem to only last 6 - 9 months. I'm hoping they update the rest of the iMac line soon.

    How much of a difference is there between the old i7 nehalem chips and the current i5 chips?

    I just hate the thoughts of spending $2,000+ again.

    I wish they would make a Mac (Pro) Mini. Some consumer friendly upgrade able Mac.

    Any thoughts?
  2. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    If you are looking for the best game performance per dollar, do not upgrade RAM. You will not realistically need more than 8GB. If you are looking to save money on a 21" iMac, yet still get decent gaming performance, don't expect too much. They are overpriced in comparison to the 27" models.

    I would get the 2012 27" i7/gtx 680mx/1 TB Fusion/8 GB. It costs 1949$ on the refurbished store, and it is seriously the best bang for your buck. The processor does not matter at all for gaming, but the gtx 680mx is almost exactly the same as the gtx 780m. The only difference is the 680mx comes with 2GB VRAM and the 780m has 4GB VRAM. This does not double performance, and in reality you will not see any difference at all. The VRAM only plays a role in loading textures (e.g. AA, texture mods) and most AAA games in 2014 use 1.5GB VRAM. In 90% of games, the two cards will get the same FPS. The 2012 model is also exactly the same externally. Check out the 2012 model, I cannot recommend it highly enough. There are rumors that a retina model is coming out around October-December, so if you want to wait, it will cost a lot of money, but it will almost certainly be nicer.

  3. DracoDWS thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 1, 2013
    I'll look at that. Thanks, I forgot to look at the refurbished store.

    The Apple store just called and told me they frayed my LCD wire when they were putting my computer back together. Now it will be a few days to get a replacement.
  4. kupkakez macrumors 68000


    Apr 4, 2011
    The only games I occasionally play are The Sims 3 (bootcamp into Windows since it sucks on Mac) and WoW on low-good graphics.

    What kind of iMac would be appropriate? I don't want to get overkill for those 2 games as neither are real graphic intensive but I can't decide what configuration. :confused:
  5. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    The Mac I recommended is overkill, but I still think it is the best choice for people looking at mid ranged options. If you start building a new iMac, the price adds up really quickly for what you are getting. The only reason you should get a new one is if you are getting a maxed out one with full SSD, or you are getting a baseline model with very few upgrades. I don't recommend getting a baseline model, as they will perform pretty poorly for day to day tasks, and the hard drive is really terrible, so you will get better use out of a MBA or a rMBP.

    Here is what you should do. Build a new iMac the way you want it. For almost everyone, this should include either a fusion drive or an SSD. On the 27", don't buy RAM, as Apple charges way too much. Once you have it figured out, look at the price. If it is 1800$ or more, you should probably just get the 2012 model I recommended, because I can guarantee that it will perform better in almost every task.

    I think it is best to get what you need, but you might as well get a computer you don't need as long as it costs the same as a computer you do need.

  6. ric275 macrumors member


    Dec 4, 2011
    I'd call myself a serious gamer having various consoles and playing most new releases, but I do most my gaming on my iMac. I have Windows 7 via bootcamp and it is the 2012 27" 3.4ghz i7, 16gb ram, 680mx, 3tb fusion drive. I play battlefield 3 on ultra settings at 50fps. I play Elder Scrolls Online almost max settings, looking beautiful, at 40-50fps. The performance of this machine is brilliant as far as I'm concerned.

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