Gaming on an iMac. How its Gotten Worse & a Goodbye to Apple

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Jurisprudence, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Jurisprudence macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2007
    This will be a bit of a rant & I fully expect the Apple apologists to come running to their defense but frankly I feel its a well justified rant. Heres the deal. I had an iMac late 2011 with an ATI Radeon 6970m. I used it for Eyefinity gaming across the iMac display and 2 23" Cinema Displays via the Thunderbolt ports. It ran perfectly but as time progressed and games became more demanding it started to show its age.

    I've just upgraded to a top spec iMac late 2013 with an Nvidia 780m 4gb GPU. Guess what. It won't do Nvidia Surround. There is no possibility of running 3 screens in gaming. 2 years in the computing world is a long time. We're used to seeing progression in our systems & paying the price for it. Never more so than with the prices we pay for Apple equipment, especially in Europe. As screen prices have lowered multi-display gaming has soared in popularity but with a €2,600 iMac you can forget it.

    What is the point in giving a system 4gb Vram on a GPU designed primarily for gaming (Its not a Quadro) if you cannot use it. Its just marketing BS. Apple know it. Nowhere was it stated that a function available on a 2011 iMac was not available on a 2013 model. You can blame Nvidia all you want but Apple made the choice to go with them not ATI knowing this would be removed.

    So a word of warning to gamers considering buying an iMac. Simply don't. I hate PC's and put up with Apples huge prices for the style and thought put into them but removing features such as this is unacceptable. I'd even put up with every iMac I've ever owned being faulty with known design flaws in the 2009-2011 models screen staining while they charged their customers for their faults. This fifth is my last.

    PC gamers claim you cannot game on an iMac & I'd always defended both them and Apple but thanks to Apples choices with the latest iMacs their statements of the disparity between PC's and iMacs in gaming has gained even more force. Having paid €2,600 on a machine in 2014 with less features than my older 2011 model I'm now left with the only option being to sell it at a significant loss (after Apple replace the faulty screen with appalling backlight bleeding & image persistence). Apple gaming, or anything else, never again. Adios Apple. After 10+ yrs of Apple loyalty I've finally had enough.
  2. IA64 macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2013
    Which game are out running btw ? and how do you find the performance of the GTX 780M under Mavericks ? for me it's rubbish. Good enough under Windows 8.1 but not Mavericks....
  3. Jurisprudence thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2007
    On the triples front I had Assetto Corsa which was the main driver (no pun intended) for the upgrade. Also games such as the DCS series which is heavily weighted towards Nvidia. On Assetto I was getting 100-130fps with no other cars but sadly without triples it really hurts the experience. Once you've used triples as a simmer you just can't go back. The 780m is a good card & I knew it would only be equivalent to a gtx660 or a gtx760 desktop gpu but the with the limitation outlined above versus the desktop cards value of €150 odd it makes it inexcusable to pay €2.5k+ for a system, even with a 27" display attached. I also played RTS games such as Companies of Heroes, also ARMA 3, Outlast, Raceroom Experience, iRacing, FSX and X-Plane which are now seriously crippled in experience terms.

    I haven''t spent much time in Mavericks tbh. Most of the mods Apple made over ML I had already installed programs for which were and still are superior. To me Mavericks is yet another example of Apple just waiting on others to create improvements, dumbing them down and calling them there own as they did with IOS. If you haven't tried Xtrafinder you really should. Makes Finder into a really usable file management system. Also TotalSpaces brings back Snow Leopards excellent Spaces system. Where are you finding the performance lacking? I would expect Win 8.1 performance for the 780m in general to be better just as a result of Nvidia being more pro-active in releasing drivers to combat ATI.
  4. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    What exactly are you smoking over there? Gaming has never been in a better state for the Mac, with super beefy high end video cards and a huge surge of triple AAA titles for OS X thanks to the likes of the Mac App Store and Steam.

    My 2012 iMac is putting Battlefield 4 through its paces nightly at high settings without a hitch and I've been enjoying full discreet 5.1 HDMI audio surround sound ever since the Mac got Mini DisplayPort.
  5. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    i dont have any problems in Maveriks with 780M with games like League of legends or Starcraft2/diablo 3. Not demanding games, and Battlefield 4 is not for MacOS but in WIndows i have everything set by default to high native resolution
  6. Jurisprudence thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2007
    I'm not smoking anything & I've made it pretty clear but perhaps you can't read "over there". The facts of removal of features from a €2.5k+ system are laid out in plain English if you cared to read rather than be a smart ass. Apples customers have a reasonable expectancy that features which remain relevant will remain, not be taken away as they spend again on later & higher spec models.

    Nobody said there wasn't surround or you couldn't play BF4. I've been running surround since 1999 so its hardly a giant leap forward. BTW Apple don't make GPU's just so you know its not the genius of the Apple gods who created the increased power for gaming etc. Its Nvidia or ATI doing the work. They just select the part & implement it with their modifications. Some people do more than just BF4. Or did until Apple removed the feature. For some its fundamental to their use.

    As said I've put up with faulty iMacs including 3 they wanted to charge me for replacement screens (€1,800+) before it was outlined the fault was a known design flaw caused by themselves. Countless others have been charged & should refer it to consumer affairs to get their money back. I've defended their ability and played for years on them as my primary machines but how dare someone question the Apple gods right!!! Fanboys only slow progression.

    BTW as regards the faulty display on my 2013 iMac I spoke to Apple support. We did a 1 minute image retention test. Thats all it takes to know if a screen is good or faulty. The iMac failed and the screen is to be replaced. Never mind the backlight bleed on 3 sides.The facts are Apple are either not doing basic testing for Q&A or consider it acceptable to sell this crap to its customers for serious money. As with the other years faulty displays its well known to Apples techs but the Co. keep selling them.
  7. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    This is why I have a separate PC for gaming and I use it as a glorified xbox. The only Mac which cuts it for gaming is the nMP, but then you need the D700's. For about half the price I can have a gaming PC that is much faster for gaming.

    Don't get me wrong I'd love to consolidate the mac mini and PC I have onto a single computer, but Apple don't have anything that meets my requirements right now.

    This is the main gripe I have with the iMac, the graphics performance isn't enough to drive the in-built display, let alone multiple displays for high-def gaming.
  8. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    Despite being capable of playing some games, it's the least ideal platform for gaming. So buying an iMac and then complaining about it's gaming performance doesn't make sense.

    If you want trouble free gaming then simply get a console or PC. They are designed for the task.
  9. Jurisprudence thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2007
    Considering its powered by a GPU, the 780m, used by Alienware, MSI amongst other high end gaming laptop creators I think many would disagree. Its an extremely capable system which is why I bought it.

    Just wondering have people actually read the opening post properly. The issue isn't the performance of the 780m, it never was. I am very happy with the performance of it as a mobile GPU. It is the effective removal of features pertaining to modern gaming on the iMac, namely the ability to use it for triple screen gaming which has soared in popularity.

    Just a tip for others running some PC games on any mac system via Bootcamp check out Ragnos 1997 Central on Youtube. He has a playlist of configs for improving framerates on various games. Helped me no end. Triple screen gaming at 5200x1200 on Outlast at high fps on a Radeon 6970m 1gb. I went from 20fps odd to approx 60fps just with his config. Well worth a look.
  10. bry223 macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2004
    Yet apple won't lift a finger to keep our graphics drivers updated in a timely manner. Even with 10.9.2 they're still using the Nvidia 310.00 drivers, yet the latest Nvidia drivers out right now are 334.89, thats a HUGE disparity, and a reason so many developers like Valve lash out at apple for their lack of support.
  11. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    beginning with the late 2012 imac i think apple is targeting and those people who want to be able to play some games because are a few so..who want a nice design/opencl and now openGL machine can buy an iMac with 680MX or 780M.
    And i think apple and intel knwos that and want to take that target too. Most of them love the apple macs for the looks but dont want just for looks tto pay the price and not be able to game a little. So Iris pro is starting to apeal for those people who need for work OpenCL and a mediocre OpenGL.
    So now we have 2 MAC products that can handle gaming: iMAC and MAC PRO, both high end models.
    And i think with next year will be and the notebooks if intel manage to improve the boost of his iGPU like it did with the Iris Pro from HD 4000, and with HD4000 from HD 3000
  12. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    I read your post and I was kind of alluding to the iMac not being a gaming device because Apple has not positioned it as a gaming machine. This is why there has been a removal of features.

    I personally think Steam will ensure the Mac becomes a relevant gaming platform, but I don't think they are going to get much assistance from Apple, especially regarding the iMac which is primarily designed for 'standard' work related tasks and to consume media.

    Also, the 780M would really struggle driving gaming over multiple displays, so I am not sure why anyone would want to do that. If it was a desktop class 7xx GPU then that would be a different story.
  13. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    I hear what the OP is saying, but since Apple never advertised surround-screen gaming as a feature of the iMac, to say it was removed is a bit disingenuous. It may have been a happy accident that it could under Windows, but I can hardly blame Apple for nvidia not supporting a feature that was never in the spec to begin with.

    Not being an Apple apologist, and though I'm a big Apple fan for productivity work, I'd never recommend a Mac to a serious gamer. If that's what you need, then you need two machines - a Mac for "real" work and a custom PC for games. One size does not fit all.
  14. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Actually, you ARE being one. "here, then not here" would be the definition of "removed" in the world outside of Apple's reality-distortion field.

    Whether or not Apple should be blamed for the removal is an issue where reasonable people can disagree on, but when one generation of something has a feature and the following one doesn't, it is correct to describe that as being "removed".

    To put arbitrary limits on a particular piece of general purpose hardware like the iMac as being for "serious" or "real" work seems to be in the realm of apologetics since Apple itself doesn't make such a distinction.
  15. koban4max macrumors 68000

    Aug 23, 2011
    get mac pro.
  16. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Except it's not a feature. It may have just so happened to have worked under Windows, it's never been advertised by Apple as a feature, nor supported in any way shape or form.

    It would be one thing if Apple advertised the 2012 iMac as having it, then removed it from the 2013. But this is not the case. In fact, I wasn't aware at all that any iMac supported such feature.

    Apple can't remove a feature that was never truly present (regardless of whether or not it happened to work in an unsupported form whilst using a different OS).

    That's not being an Apple apologist. I would be of the same opinion if we were discussing a product from Microsoft or Dell or Google or Samsung. It wasn't an advertised/documented feature, it wasn't supported and it required a 3rd party OS to make happen... I can't fault them for it. Sorry. Maybe it's just me, but I suspect others will feel the same way.
  17. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
  18. jaxhunter macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2012
    The way I read things (specifiaclly the specs and info on nVidia's website) the 780m is 3D Vision capable. Supposedly nVidia has rolled Surround into Vision. Supposedly. I understand that you have installed the driver directly form nVidia and so should have acess to the 3D Vision options. I think the reason you don't see those controls is the route of the mystery. Do you know anybody that has a PC laptop with the 780m? If so, can they access the correct options in the control panels? Perhaps a call to nVidia support?

    I understand your frustration but if you truly are dedicated to Apple I would dig a little deeper and do some creative thinking, including taking it to a PC repair shop taht specializes in gaming. If you're running Windows for gaming it should be able to be diagnosed and treated just like any other PC.
  19. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    Fun to be on my Ibook G3 800 and watch people haggle about tech specs... :D
  20. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    To elaborate further, the 780M is not listed as a supported GPU in nVidia's Surround System Requirements:

    Even if the GPU itself *was* capable, it requires specific motherboard, driver and OS support. So the entire system stack must support that -- or any other complex feature. Complex technical systems don't default to "automatically working". They default to not working unless highly focused effort is leveraged on a goal. That goal has a cost/benefit ratio which each manufacturer must evaluate.

    The OP paid "paid €2,600 on a machine in 2014", only to find "Guess what. It won't do Nvidia Surround". My suggestion is if you have highly specialized requirements, check whether the hardware you purchase supports that beforehand.
  21. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    I did read your entire original post as well as each one up to this point where I am replying to you.

    I do not blame you for being upset that Apple removed a feature in newer models that you relied upon to use multiple screens for gaming. I admittedly do not know anything about this kind of configuration as I don't have one but whether the issue is the Nvidia GPU not supporting it that Apple chose to use (?) or the issue is some other aspect of the computer design dropping the feature it does seem odd to have opted to remove it.

    That said, one should always be sure before spending large amounts of money on a computer system that it will perform as desired in every way. You cannot assume a model 2 years later is going to have the same features as you just found out. I know, you'd figure it would and it should but you can't assume that. They change stuff all the time so I'm sure going forward you'll never let this happen to you again no matter who is making the computer.

    Again, forgive my ignorance about multiple display gaming but doesn't that involve pushing a whole lot more pixels than single display? I ask because really if it were me wanting a rig like that I'd go PC anyway simply because I could use a much beefier GPU than a mobile one to drive those displays, if not two GPUs in SLI or Crossfire. I imagine without looking into it that you could do a PC like that for around the same or less than a 27" iMac.

    I know I like my 27" iMac to do double duty for regular computing tasks I use it for and gaming but I am okay with the tradeoff I make with performance to do this. I never did spend for the high end when I was a PC user either. I always opted for midrange GPU's, etc. I think the mobile GPUs in iMacs are fine so long as you are okay with these not attempting to compete with a high end desktop PC and yes I know they do compete well with gaming laptops considering they are built with the same parts. I'm not sure a lot of people using gaming laptops are driving three 27 inch screens while gaming though, you know?
  22. Jurisprudence thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2007
    Just to clarify a couple of things. I haven't just posted here without checking things out elsewhere. I have spoken to Apple Support and was told they don't think its supported but couldn't tell me for sure either way. I have posted on several forums and in spite of some guys doing their very best in advising there appears to be an air of confusion. It was more taking pot shots in terms of suggestions.

    Also I'm not looking to run Nvidia 3D Surround I'm looking to run 2D Surround. Nvidia on their website (as another poster rightly pointed out) do not list the 780m as 3D Surround capable. It fails to mention anything regards 2D Surround on either the GTX780 desktop or the 780M for 2D.

    I was told by another Apple qualified tech that it has been disabled in the bios. Thats Apples bios, nobody elses. As we all know its not something you can mess around with, there are no customised Vbios's out there you can just update to unless you're on a death wish to wipe out your iMac entirely and have it never boot again. I have just spoken to a senior Apple advisor who was fantastic and interested in the issue but he honestly couldn't tell me if it was supported or not. There apparently is no documentation available to him either way which isn't his fault but higher up (I work in support & know how blindsided a tech feels when this happens). He asked me to call Nvidia. They told me to call Apple.

    I get where guys are saying get a PC for gaming but in this day and age we shouldn't have to. Not that I'm implying you guys are saying this but its a bit like being told to go Android over IOS. We should be able to handle things on this side of the fence.
  23. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    Is nVidia Surround written for OSX Mavericks?


  24. Zellio macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2012
    780m and 680mx are the peak of Apple gaming. The iMacs are actually gaming machines now. Pretty much everything can be run at highest settings, Crysis 3 included.

    But the 780m and 680mx are at the level of a 660ti. They are really good mobile cards, but they are not gonna power 3 monitors. You need much more power unless you are looking to 3 screen Half Life 1.

    So as far as Nvidia surround is concerned, you really should stick to building a pc for that.
  25. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    i think even the Mac Pro with D700 is a gaming machine along with the 680MX and 780M
    And this year even the macbook will be if Intel again doubles the performance of the iGPU like HD3000 to HD4000 and from HD4000 to Iris Pro. So if we will have some 90% boost to the new HD6000 will be a gaming machine

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