Gaming on iMac with 780m?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by abluehaze, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. abluehaze macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    I've been trying to decide for a couple of weeks now on what to order. I've always had iMacs in the past but have grown tired of the mobile graphic cards in them out dating so quickly. I do quite a bit of gaming in osx with d3, wow and guild wars 2.

    I had ordered a 6core Mac Pro a couple of weeks ago with dual 700s but cancelled it after reading some initial reviews stating it's really only going to reach it's potential as a workstation. I thought that maybe an iMac wod be better suited as a general use/gaming PC.

    I'm curious to see how well the iMac with the 780m runs games at full native resolution. I'm really torn on what to do here and seem to waffle back and forth day to day. As I've seen there are quite a few others here that have a similar dilemma. Hopefully we can all come to a decision we'll be happy with.
  2. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    While the 780M is decent enough for moderate gaming today, in a year or two you'll probably be back in the same boat - wanting more power out of what's essentially a non-upgradable graphics system.

    The new Mac Pro is a probably not a great gaming system either - graphics upgradability is an unknown at this point, and a top-tier system is VERY expensive.

    Consider an iMac, but know that if you're a serious gamer you'll probably be unhappy within 2 years (well, that and truly serious gamers tend to use DIY Windows boxes).

    Something worth considering is an older 2010-2012 Mac Pro. You can put just about whatever graphics card you want in it now, and upgrade it in 12-18 months if it becomes too slow.
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You'll get nice frame rates on medium graphic settings [native resolution]. Nothing extreme, unless you dial down the resolution.
  4. benjai macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    I have the base 27" 2013 model with 3TB fusion drive and D3 at full settings runs fine even with a lot of explosions going off at MP10.
  5. abluehaze thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    What kind of frame rates do you get at those settings?
  6. benjai macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    Just checked and its around 30fps when in town and drops a bit to 25fps with loads of monsters on screen. I don't know if thats acceptable to you but I don't notice any lagging or anything.

    I suppose the 780m would be a bit quicker too as I only have the 755m but its more than enough for me. You could also turn the settings down a notch but current settings are fine for me.
  7. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Yes, the 780M would be noticeably quicker.
  8. benjai macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    Unfortunately the 780m would be almost £300 more than my already very expensive iMac.... =(

    I suppose I don't really play a lot of games though so am very happy already.
  9. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    D3 with 780m on MACOS IM GETTING 58-60fps with all high settings
  10. abluehaze thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    Is that at native resolution of 2560x1440?
  11. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    I'm getting the following frame rates in WoW @ 2560x1440 on Ultra settings:

    Flying around Halfhill Market: 40-60
    Walking around outside: 35-50
    Walking around in structures (banks): 90-100

    My machine specs are in my signature. Let me know if can help with anything specific.
  12. IA64 macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2013
    780M is running most of my games at Ultra High details and native resolution fine.

    MW2 /MW3 get around 400FPS and 180FPS respectively.
    Battlefield at high settings get around 40-60 FPS
    NFS Most Wanted 2012 ~ 70FPS ( High Details )

    I'm not a serious gamer but this card has a lot of juice to deliver.

    My only complain is the screen tearing in game. You have to find the optimum settings to get rid of it. Even with VSync and triple buffering on, it's just annoying.

    The refresh rate of the screen is 60Hz, kind of outdated to be honest....
  13. ventuss macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2011
    I get the same as him when playing D3 on my i7 and 780M at native 2560x1440 getting 58-59fps
  14. pscl, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

    pscl macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2013
    i got the exact same problem. from day to day back and forth... brain***k.

    here is my solution:
    getting the imac 27, 3.5 Ghz, 1TB FD, 780m (2400€) and if its not that good after a while, getting a windows gaming rig (3.5 i7, GTX 780 and using the gorgeous 27" screen as display via TDM) for about 1400€.

    its 3800€ for a top of the art system... more (gaming) power as a macPro, more disc space and on top a nice 1440p screen. way more value for your money than buying a macpro with D700`s and (at least) 512 GB SSD. in view of the fact that you have already placed the order and canceled again, I guess that money is not your problem. :)

    sounds like the only one-for-all-solution to me.

    i watched almost every gaming performance video on youtube. the imac should perform fine. battlefield 4 in native resolution about 40 frames with the possibility of getting 10-15 fps from overclocking (msi-afterburner) +200 core +300 RAM.

    what do you think?
  15. abluehaze thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    I know what you mean. I keep going back and forth hour by hour. I think I'm driving myself nuts.

    That does sound like a pretty good plan if you don't mind having another tower around. I'd like to avoid that if possible. One good thing about the Mac Pro for windows gaming would be that both cards would be utilized for most games and give us near Titan performance (with d700s).

    I can afford to get the Mac Pro but 6k is a painful pill to swallow. I'm still interested in getting the best bang for my buck. I've always had iMacs and while they're great computers I hate that they have mobile graphics cards that out date so fast. The gpus in the iMacs makes then feel more like laptops when you try to stay up to date with the latest games.

    Your solution does sound like a logical one. The thing that keeps bringing me back to Mac Pro is the possibility that apple might update osx to utilize both gpus for gaming or that blizz might enable them for their games which would then greatly improve the performance of the Mac Pro in comparison to the iMac for osx gaming. The other thing that had me favoring a Mac Pro is the possibility of upgrading the gpus at a later date but that's a big if apple ever offers gpu options.

    The logical side of me says to just order a iMac but my heart tells me to order the Mac Pro. This sucks.
  16. jcr918 macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012

    I was in the same boat. I decided on going with a maxed out Imac over the mac pro.
  17. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    Yes native resolution 2560x1440
  18. pscl macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2013

    The D700 Upgrade is just insanely overpriced in comparison to an titan. i dont think that it would bring same gaming performance.

    i think you should read:

    the macpro will handle gaming well, but not that well if you look at the money you are about to spend for this d700 machine. i mean... come on... im an apple-fanboy too.... but 4000€/$ for this? other people would call us insane.

    i dont like the fact of having another tower around too but im going with an beautiful lian li midi tower (looks pretty nice with aluminum finish) and hide it behind my desk.


    i think this is the right choice.
  19. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    Had been doing the same "wondering" a few months ago.

    I had a Mac Pro '08 with Radeon 7950 (Mac Edition). I'm not a hardcore gamer, but next to doing the "usual" Mac-stuff, I like to play games too.

    It was time for an upgrade:

    Two options:
    - nMP with Dual D700s
    - 2013 iMac Maxed out.

    The issue with getting a nMP with D500 (or D300) is that it is no "update" from a 7950 from a gamers / OpenGL point-of-view.
    The D700s should give roughly the same gaming performance as a 7970.

    Problem nr. 1 regarding the nMP:
    Paying for TWO D700s when only ONE is doing actual work regarding gaming. I don't think that in 1 -2 years that games will get "multi-GPU" aware, so basically, the 2nd D700 is pretty much useless for me.

    Problem nr. 2 regarding the nMP:
    Availability. Even if I have the money to spare, and I wanted one a few months ago (i.e. "now" back then...), I would have to wait a couple of months, when a new iMac could be delivered just a few days later.

    Problem nr. 3 regarding the nMP:
    Display... I own a 24" LED Apple Display, but I wanted a new display. 27" looks good to me. TBH, the 27" Apple Thunderbolt display is ready for an update... don't want to buy that one now. iMac 27" gave me what I wanted regarding the display.

    Problem regarding iMac:
    Grfx card. Had to go maxed out: i7 3.5 / 32 GB / 1 TB SSD / 780M 4 GB. The 780M is "okay", i.e. good enough. But, what you want is GTX 780 "desktop" performance. Getting an iMac means: no way to upgrade your grfx.

    I went for the maxed out iMac.
    The 780M is good enough. Maybe not so in about 2 years. But then, maybe, the Mac Pros might be better affordable, have different (read: better gaming..) grfx specs, or I will invest in a new iMac then.

    I have it a couple of months now, and it's great!! So fast and quiet!
  20. pscl macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2013
    nice to hear this!
  21. xsasha92x macrumors newbie


    Jun 24, 2011
    Massachusetts, US
    How do you use an iMac as a display for a Windows PC? If I could use my iMac as a display for a custom gaming computer (Maybe Razer's Project Christine) I would be much more relieved but from what I've heard so far, I don't think it's possible to use the iMac as a display unless it's through target display mode with another Mac.
  22. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Same problem different solution

    Reading this thread has been a bit of an eye opener. A lot of reviews rubbish the graphics of the iMac saying that the resolution has to be scaled down to 1920 x 1080 with medium-ish settings for decent frame rates on most games. So it is interesting to hear from people who are gaming on the iMac to hear that it does cope okay. I'm not a very hard core gamer, but I do play games like Skyrim that do push the graphics and these games need to be played with high quality settings to do them justice.

    Because I had doubts about the graphics of the iMac I built a DIY PC with a GTX 780, i7 3770k (Didn't need the latest when I built it), 32GB RAM (for VMware) and a handful of SSD's for various tasks. To be honest it flies (and that without adding the other 2 GPU's it will support) and Windows 8 has grown on me a little .... BUT ..... iCloud integration on the PC isn't so great. I do miss OS X, iCloud and integration with my iPhone that works so well on my laptop.

    For a long time I've wanted a core i7 standalone Mac with dedicated graphics. It might happen one day so I'm keeping my eye on the updates for the Mini or if anything new comes from the nMP form factor. The next generation of iMac might swing it for me. Doesn't have to be a retina screen, I think the current iMac screen is excellent (apart from been glossy - Why no matt option Apple?). Until then I'll have to live with both worlds.


    I'll wait for the next update and maybe take this route. The iMac does look very good in a living room compared to all the clutter I have now.
  23. abluehaze thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    I agree with a lot of your points. My thinking though is that Apple might issue an OSX update that enables dual GPU utilization across the whole system including games. It actually would seem silly for them not to do something like that considering the strong focus on dual GPU's with the new Mac Pros.

    I really agree with you on the Thunderbolt Display. I also don't have a display to use with the nMP and would have to buy a Thunderbolt. I would never order anything from Apple that was so far past due for a revision but I'd have no option (I would never order a 3rd party display).

    I've said it a thousand times but I really REALLY wish Apple would get a clue and just make these iMacs an inch or two deeper and give us a REAL desktop GPU.
  24. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    Attached are Heaven benchmark results from my Windows machine with GTX-660 and my 2013 iMac with GTX-780M. I used 1280x780 because that is the highest res common resolution between the two systems. Although not reflected in the results, the Windows machine is overclocked to 4.01 Ghz.

    I play very few games, so gaming perf. isn't an issue for me. However the iMac has excellent performance for video and photo editing, significantly better in Lightroom than my Windows machine.

    For $6k you can get a max'd out iMac plus a good Windows gaming machine. If gaming is important, that's what I'd do.

    Attached Files:

  25. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    you will not have the best performance per buck on an imac. better off building gaming box/steam
    machine and get mac mini for your os x needs. you will
    save a ton of money.

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