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First time building a iMac gaming computer.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 6, 2012
This will be my first time building a computer and I was looking for some help. I am a sophomore in high school and have almost no experience with building computers or the components needed. I currently have a windows PC and was looking to upgrade to a iMac for a better gaming experience. From what I have read it will be best to get a 1TB hardrive and just split it so I will still be able to run games that only run on windows. I have about a $2000 budget. So what will be best basic system for me to buy and be able to upgrade and customize for my needs? I need to be able to run WoW, SC2 and other large demanding games like that. Any help or advise will be greatly appreciated.


macrumors newbie
Feb 16, 2008

In general, I agree that "Mac" is not an optimized gaming platform. That being said, I have played Wow, Quake4, D3 and Bioshock on OSX Lion and games like Rage, Mass Effect3 and others under Bootcamp. All of them run and run well enough for me to enjoy them on my iMac.

If your main goal is all about performance and upgradeability, I would agree that you may want to stick with a PC that you can pick and choose the components that meet your requirements and budget.

The iMac is not a machine built with overall upgrade flexibility in mind.

Just my 0.02 worth


macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2007
Dallas, TX
Since one of your primary goals is to be able to upgrade and customize your computer to your gaming needs, I would strongly recommend NOT getting an iMac (full disclosure, I'm a current iMac owner).

An iMac is a rather decent gaming computer, but it's going to lack the punch of a custom built gaming PC for several reasons.

1. The graphics card. The iMac utilizes the type of graphics card you would normally find in a notebook computer. These are typically going to be about a generation behind the desktop cards.

2. Lack of customization. For the most part you are limited to just customizing a few things about your iMac. Namely hard disk space, amount of RAM and the type of processor and video card (based on a few stock choices). Apple currently upgrades the specs on these only about once a year, so you're stuck with older options if you need to buy at the wrong time.

3. Lack of upgradability. The only item in an iMac that is "user upgradeable" is the RAM. You can put in a new hard drive if you want, but that will require dismantling the screen (which you might be a bit sheepish to do). What does this mean in the long run? When your iMac is no longer able to play the games you want, instead of just going out and grabbing a new video card or CPU to remedy the issue (cost: $250-$600), you have to go buy a new iMac (cost: approx. $1200 or more). Not the most cost-effective solution.

Again, this is not to say that you can't game on a Mac. You most certainly can, and can typically play most games at a high frame rate (or just need to drop the resolution down to a respectable 1080p to do so). However, as already mentioned, when the time comes that your computer can't play the games you want any more (and that time will come, PC or Mac), your only option is to buy a new Mac.

I'm a big Mac fan, but if you're serious about gaming, a PC is your best bet still.


macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2012
If I had $2000 to spend I would build a beastly gaming machine. Gaming purely in OSX, is IMO a world a butthurt but even still using bootcamp especially on a machine where the GPU can not be upgraded.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
don't upgrade just now the current imacs are a waste of money, they should be refreshed in the next couple of months so wait until then to buy one.

Building a PC is cheaper but building a PC that also runs OSX and has a screen of the same quality as an iMac then your price is going up and up.

If the guy wants an imac then let him buy one.


When your iMac is no longer able to play the games you want, instead of just going out and grabbing a new video card or CPU to remedy the issue (cost: $250-$600), you have to go buy a new iMac (cost: approx. $1200 or more). Not the most cost-effective solution.

This point is very true the upgradability is not good at all, however if you HAD to buy a new iMac to upgrade your old one will not be going in the bin, selling a used iMac is easy and they hold there value pretty well. If you were selling a 2 year old home built PC you would not recoup the same portion of the price of a new computer as you would selling on a used iMac.
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