Contemplating a Mac but have lots of questions...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by trparky, May 29, 2015.

  1. trparky macrumors member

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    Jul 5, 2010
    #1
    First, some background. I'm somewhat an entrenched Microsoft customer meaning I've been using PCs for a very long time. I've been in the Microsoft camp since... God, I think Windows 95. I currently use Windows 7 and like the OS but Windows 8.x is a different story, I can't stand where Microsoft is taking Windows. The whole mishmash of tablet, mobile, and desktop is just that, a mishmash and a bad one at that. Generally speaking I don't like where Microsoft is going. I strongly feel that there should be two operating systems; one for mobile and one for desktop. So far Apple seems to be the only company that understands that there needs to be a clear delineation between the two very different platforms.

    OK, so with that being said I do have to admit that there really isn't that much holding me to the Microsoft platform. Most of the software I use is very platform agnostic. I use Firefox as my browser of choice and Firefox also runs on the Mac. I need an office suite and it appears that I'd be covered in that department too since an office suite seems to come free with every Mac you buy. I would also need a good text editor with good syntax highlighting and text color for my PHP/HTML/Javascript dabbling. Oh, and an SSH client to SSH into Linux servers.

    But, here's the biggie. I do some gaming and by that I mean Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, and World of Warcraft. Those are the only games I really play and have any real interest in playing so if I were go to to a Mac the Mac would definitely have to support those games. But, how do I do that without breaking my bank account. What would be the best Mac to get for that kind of workload? And don't tell me Mac Pro because that's well out of my price range.

    Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, and World of Warcraft all have native Mac versions that need no installation of Windows to function. I would be doing a desktop instead of a notebook, I figure that going for a desktop would be better for the kinds of needs that I have. Gaming is generally not a good thing to be doing on a notebook simply due to cooling limitations.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    May 6, 2014
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    USA USA USA
    #2
    Not to be a Negative Nancy, but I think recently Apple have been "dumbing down" a lot of their bundled apps (and portions of the OS) to create a more homogeneous user experience between the mobile and desktop platforms. Luckily for applications, at least 3rd party non-approved applications are allowed to run on the desktop for the time being.

    For the gaming side, I don't know as I don't game on the Mac, I'm sure others will jump in.
     
  3. EnesM macrumors 6502

    EnesM

    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    #3
    If you are referring to the Photos app, I couldn't agree more, but I do think they just left out a lot of features in order to get it out the door already. I sincerely hope they'll add more features and flexibility to it as I like the design.

    ----------

    As for the gaming on a Mac advice, I think with the games you mentioned you won't have a problem on an iMac. iMac 5K beats even beat Mac Pro in some benchmark tests. But, of course, don't expect to play them @5K res...

    But if you own those games, (and if you're not a pirate), I'd suggest you install Bootcamp Windows so you can enjoy all the games you own already for Windows. That way you can still enjoy the wonders of OS X, and games for Windows.
     
  4. trparky thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 5, 2010
    #4
    At most I'd go with maybe a 27inch iMac, maybe even a 21inch model. I don't need 5K.

    There's a nice thing about Blizzard games, if you buy a license for the game on Windows you essentially bought the license to also run it on the Mac as well. Your license is tied to your Battle.NET account so you download the Battle.NET program/app, login, and it let's you download the native game for your OS be it Windows or Mac.

    ----------

    I'm not really a heavy gamer so I could spend most if not all of my time in Mac OSX and just keep Windows in a VirtualBox or Parallels VM.
     
  5. EnesM macrumors 6502

    EnesM

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    May 7, 2015
    #5
    No one NEEDS 5K, but if you see it in action...it's a beauty, and since you're not a heavy gamer, I strongly suggest you try one out at the Apple store. Of course, if your budget permits you, that is, if not then yeah, go for 21"...

    I also use Windows for some non-Mac apps in Parallels that my job requires, but forget about playing games in Parallels, it's just too slow for that.
     
  6. trparky thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 5, 2010
    #6
    Based upon the games that I would be playing, what base graphics would you suggest? Intel Iris or should I go for something nVidia based? Is the Fusion drive worth it?

    Truth be told I have an SSD in my current Windows desktop so perhaps going with the Fusion drive would be best.
     
  7. EnesM macrumors 6502

    EnesM

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    May 7, 2015
    #7
    Again, budget and capacity will decide. Let's say that money is no issue, then is 1TB enough? If yes, SSD, if no, Fusion drive 2 or 3TB.

    I'd go for nVidia, but not the 295X, it get pretty hot based on many complaints on this forum and elsewhere. 290 should be more than enough.
     
  8. trparky thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 5, 2010
    #8
    I'd like to keep it under $1800 to $2000 if at all possible. I'd have to save up some cash to do it so it'll be a couple of months until I pull the trigger on this little plan of mine. I just want to get some ideas on what hardware I should get before walking into the Apple Store; I have two of them that I can choose from to go to.

    1 TB would be enough. I keep most if not all of my programs and data on a 500 GB SSD on my current Windows machine and have more than enough to spare.

    I have 16 GBs of RAM in my current Windows box but who knows how much RAM I would really need in a Mac. Most of the time Windows users need a lot of RAM is because Windows is such a pig when it comes to RAM. I can always upgrade the RAM later by adding more later if need be.
     
  9. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

    Joined:
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    Location:
    France
    #9
    Try to get a refurbished imac with the high end video cards:
    GTX680m
    GTX775m
    GTX780m
     
  10. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2003
    #10
    I would suggest holding out for Windows 10. Rumor has it being released in July, and it will right many of Windows 8's wrongs. I think you'll like it.


    In any case, it will be a free upgrade, and you only have to wait a month and a half. What do you have to lose?
     
  11. trparky thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 5, 2010
    #11
    I'll try it but so far I've not really liked what I've seen in recent Technical Preview builds of Windows 10. I have it running in a VirtualBox VM.

    ModernUI this, ModernUI that. More of what I can't stand being shoved down my throat. I have a desktop computer with high-end hardware, quit treating it like a stinkin' tablet or phone. The whole GUI looks like someone at Microsoft fired the artists. I can't stand this whole "flat design" movement.

    By the way, I have an iPhone 6 Plus; I love it. Pairing it with a Mac would be great since well... Apple hardware tends to work best with other Apple hardware.
     
  12. tillsbury macrumors 65816

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    Dec 24, 2007
    #12
    If you want to game you should definitely go for the 295X. I don't play many games, and a lot of them are not graphics intensive, but you will not be able to get much past Minecraft on the integrated graphics. I run Diablo 3, Portal/2, WOW, and I run Windows 10 under parallels to use AoEHD, Trackmania and so on. You can always bootcamp Windows if you want to run PC-only games with higher graphics requirements.

    The 295X gets warm, but only within its spec. I haven't noticed any degradation running games for long periods. I don't think that there are particularly many users of maxed-out retina iMacs out there complaining. There are certainly many who don't have them who are very vocal.
     
  13. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2003
    #13

    I understand that you want to try the other side. But it would be irresponsible of us not to tell you that gaming on the Mac is still far behind gaming on PCs. And since you expressed the importance you place on this aspect of computing, you may want to give an honest look at the drawbacks of Mac gaming.


    Firstly, years often pass between the time a game is released on Windows to when it finally trickles down to the Mac. Secondly, there seems to always be video driver issues on the Mac. On the PC, the card manufacturer releases driver updates directly to you, and you install them. On the Mac, everything goes through Apple, which usually means delays. It's just not optimal for gaming.


    For me, I like to keep and use both platforms. I've been using Macs for a while for everything else, but last year I built my first custom PC specifically for gaming. Personally, I wouldn't want to try gaming on a Mac.
     
  14. trparky, May 29, 2015
    Last edited: May 29, 2015

    trparky thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 5, 2010
    #14
    Crap. I'm not really a gamer by any sense of the word. I'm more of a casual gamer than anything else. I'm not at all interested in the FPS (first-person shooter) genre of games. Like I stated before, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, and World of Warcraft is the extent of my gaming.

    I absolutely do not like the direction that Microsoft is taking Windows. I don't want a tablet operating system but that's what Windows is becoming. I want a desktop operating system! I don't want ModernUI apps, they are what I refer to as "toy apps". There's nothing at all that interests me on the Windows Store. It's mainly filled with garbage apps that have no use other than to scam you. Searching on the store will bring up lists of endless garbage all because anyone and their dog can put together app and throw it up there and attach God knows what keywords to make it jump to the top of the search results regardless of the fact that the app is relevant to your search or not.

    I run Windows 7 right now and I might very well run it into the ground, that is, until it's EOL (End of Life). What I will run after that, I have no idea. That's why I was thinking about the Mac platform.

    If you ask me, the writing is on the wall with Microsoft and they know it. The fact that they are making so many of their apps cross-platform compatible with devices such as Android and iPhone devices is proof positive that Microsoft sees the end of the line coming. They need to either adapt to a non-Microsoft world or die. If you ask me, I think a world without Microsoft would be a refreshing idea. For too long has the computing market been held back by Microsoft and their twenty year old OS that's got more holes in it than Swiss cheese.
     
  15. AlifTheUnseen macrumors member

    AlifTheUnseen

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    #15
    Yes, but there's another hypothesis: the maxed-out RiMac, if used for gaming, might still operate within specs of the M295X, but with 2700 rpm fans, tho, those vocal dudes are vocal because their hearing has been seriously compromised… ;-)

    The one-line-summary is: RiMac: beautiful screen, stupid design/technology
     
  16. trparky thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 5, 2010
    #16
    So what is the general consensus? Is it that just because I play some games I'm going to be forever stuck in a Microsoft dominated hell? I for one don't and can't accept that.

    There's got to be an alternative for people like me that can't stand where Microsoft is going.
     
  17. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #17
    When you post on a forum, you will quickly find there is not general consensus you get everyone's opinion. My suggestion, visit an Apple Store or reseller and try out a Mac. You can then find a machine the suits your needs.

    One previous poster suggested a refurbished iMac. I STRONGLY agree and let me tell you why. First they are virtually identical to a new machine, don't assume they were repaired, many refurbs go into the refurb program because a newer model came out and Apple realizes most buyers want the latest and greatest. Second is the come with the same warranty as a new machine. Third they are eligible for AppleCare, Apples extended warranty that is WELL worth the money. Fourth, you can save hundreds of dollars. In short a rufurb does not have a down side. You can find the site by visiting Apple's online store and look for the link at the bottom of the page. If you don't see anything that interests you, keep looking because stock can change by the hour.
     
  18. tillsbury, May 29, 2015
    Last edited: May 29, 2015

    tillsbury macrumors 65816

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    Dec 24, 2007
    #18
    No, absolutely not. I entered the Microsoft hell in 1984 and left it in 2012. Never looked back :) I still have to use the odd XP window for work and Windows 10 for some games, but as rarely as I can manage.

    Fans loud on the riMac? All the games I play have music or sound effects playing most of the time. Can't hear the fans over the music. I suppose you could always use headphones, but the fans on my rimac at full speed are no louder than the one that used to be on my PC under the desk all the time.

    Again, be careful of comments from posters who don't have the machine in question.
     
  19. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #19
    Given your needs, the stock high-end 21.5" iMac (2.9GHz i5, 8GB RAM, 1GB NVIDIA 750M) should be able to satisfy your gaming needs.

    Note - upgrade to at least a Fusion Drive or a 256GB SSD. The 5400rpm stock HDD is a disgrace for a computer sold today.
     
  20. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #20
    Ok, I think I can help you.

    I am a gamer.

    I only used Macs since 2007, and I played a lot on all of them (a 2007 MBP, a 2010 iMac and now a 2013 iMac)

    I played a lot of games on my 2013 iMac (27'', basemodel with the 755M GT). Played a lot of StarCraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, Team Fortress 2, and more visually demanding game like the last Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3, Batman Arkham City, GTA IV (haven't tried GTA V), Cities Skylines, Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 1-2-3, etc.

    I really never had a real issue playing those games. Of course I have to tweak a bit the graphics sometimes, but nothing that affect the overall aspect of the game in a significan manner. Even with AA off and a mix of medium/high settings, most games still looks very very good. Also, most of the time I play on 1080p resolution instead of native 1440p resolution, and even though I can "see" a difference, it still look and feel very great. In fact, since games anyway show you organic and moving images, not being in native resolution doesn't make a significan difference. It's different when you are reading text in a browser, you clearly can see that the display is not in native resolution, but when you are looking at a 1080p movie on a 1440p display (like the one on the iMac), the difference is really minor.

    ---

    Also, on the general "state of gaming on the mac", it has changed A LOT since I started playing on Macs in 2007. In 2015, with Steam, EA's Origin, and other gamings stores on Mac OS X and most of major games being available at some point on OS X, games that are available on Windows AND OS X are really not exceptions. I wouldn't say that they are the rule, but it's not rare at all. For example, I have a Steam game library of 115 games, 67 of those have a Mac version.

    And if you are playing Blizzard games, it's not even a problem, since all their games are Windows/Macs from day one. (Blizzard is probably the best Mac game developper right now, with Valve.)

    ---

    About general performance, there have been significant improvement on this aspect too. But, it is really a case by case thing. Blizzard games in general, I really have a hard time seeing a difference between playing in OS X and Windows. However, I still have a boot camp Windows 7 installation on my iMac that I use mostly for games and I still do most of my gaming in Windows. With the exception of the Blizzard games, which I always play in OS X since I don't notice a clear difference.

    Anyway, you probably will be fine in OS X for the gaming you do. But know that you may wish to eventually install Windows with Boot Camp for some games.

    ---

    ps : about gaming on the retina iMac : http://arstechnica.com/apple/2014/10/the-retina-imac-and-its-5k-display-as-a-gaming-machine/
     
  21. forg0t macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2014
    #21
    Well, I agree that Microsoft is blurring the lines between mobile and desktop OS but I don't agree in you thinking that Apple isn't doing the same. Take a look at the new MacBooks. As beautiful as they are, they look a lot like an iPad with a keyboard.

    In the past Apple use to encourage simple upgrades at home, they posted guides on how to increase the ram and hard drives. Now the solder everything in. Likewise, the OS is looking a lot more like an iPhone lately.

    I love my RiMac, and currently I love OS X, but in a few years I will probably be in the Linux camp.
     
  22. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 31, 2007
    #22
    I must add, on the general topic of switching from Windows to OS X.

    The biggest advice I could give you is to keep an open mind and remain aware that OS X is not a copy of Windows, that it is different (that's the point) and that you will have to relearn some things from time to time.

    What I mean by that, is that even though OS X is more user friendly than Windows and in my opinion, way better in general usage, if you are coming from Windows, some trivial stuff that you don't think about may not work in the same way in OS X.

    Accept that you are learning a new OS and system, accept the differences, and you will have fun with OS X.

    For example, Print Screen in OS X is made inside a particular app (Preview or Grab) (there is a complicated keyboard shortcut too, but if you don't use it often you probably won't remember it). The first time you need it you may have to search a bit because you are used to the way Windows does Print screen (with a dedicated keyboard button and "Paste" into a program).
     
  23. tillsbury macrumors 65816

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    Dec 24, 2007
    #23
    Yes, there are a number of differences. The Finder in particular will annoy you no end. But that's the worst of it. Generally programs tend to look very simple, but have all the options hidden away somewhere. Photos is a good example, as is the ability to option-click on a lot of things to see more options.

    High resolution gaming can be fun, though, so do try things here and there. I play Minecraft, Half-life 2, and Age of Empires HD in 5k, and they're all brilliant. Generally though things work better dropping to half resolution.
     
  24. trparky thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 5, 2010
    #24
    Finder will annoy me? Heck, Explorer on Windows annoys me so no change there. LOL

    There's a lot of things that annoy me to no end about Windows. Like having to reinstall Windows every year or so just because the thing had been loaded down with so much garbage under the hood that it runs like truck tied to a boat anchor.

    ----------

    I figure that when I do go for it, which will be some time until I get the funds for this kind of endeavor, I'll sign up for that Apple class where you get a year's worth of tutoring on how to use Mac OS X.

    ----------

    I figure that if I'm going to do this I'm not going to cheap out. I'm not going to settle. I'm going to save up the cash and do it right.

    The good thing is, once I buy this thing I'll be able to get a good long time out of the machine. Some people have said that they have gotten as many as five (sometimes more) years out of a Mac.
     
  25. tillsbury macrumors 65816

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    Dec 24, 2007
    #25
    Oh yes, you won't regret it. Finder is the only thing that pisses me off about OSX. Columns always being the wrong size. Different layouts in different programs. Some options not being available depending on where you are.

    But otherwise you'll love it. I have completely forgotten about reinstallations and upgrades every ten minutes. I used to change computers at least every year -- the rMBP lasted me two and a half years and I only changed it because the rimac came out. But most of all I love not having to fix my wife's computer all the time. I bought her a 13" Air and she hasn't asked me a single question in two years. Previously something would go wrong every month...

    The most annoying part of OS X for me was Office 2011, but once they fix up the bugs in Office 2016 that's looking very promising. Certainly it's a whole lot quicker. And being able to see a hundred and fifty clear rows on the screen at once is heaven...
     

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