[Gaming] Returning iMac 5k for iMac 2013?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by platzypus, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. platzypus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2014
    #1
    Hello all!

    A while ago, I was deciding between an iMac 5k and an iMac 2013 (both maxed out) with a focus on the gaming aspect/performance (I mainly play WoW). I eventually went with the iMac 5k because well, it's the newest model with a pretty decent mGPU.

    The machine arrived about 3 days ago (after a 2.5 week wait), but aside from the stunning clarity on desktop processes, I was rather underwhelmed by its performance and aesthetics while playing WoW. Playing at 2560 x 1440, while churning out decent FPS on high settings, made for a very blurred out picture. Increasing the resolution to low 3k reduces the fuzziness, at the cost of FPS of course.

    I have half the mind to return the 5k for the iMac 2013 (780m) because it doesn't really make sense settling for a poorer quality picture at 2560 x 1440 on a 5k, when at native resolution (2560 x 1440) on an iMac 2013, the picture is presumably much sharper. Now I'm not a hardcore gamer, but after a long, long day at work, all I really want to do is to play WoW seamlessly without being bothered by a blurry screen. I went with the iMac 5k because most gaming reviews at 2560 x 1440 were positive; but none mentioned the tradeoff in terms of graphic quality.

    That said, I'm a little hmm... sad (?) that I'll be essentially trading a brand new model for an old one that has been on the market for a year plus. This is where I need a bit of objective help. I have the disposable income, so budget is no issue. Just to be clear, I'm deciding once more between the two iMac models, and nothing else.

    Now I know that there's been a lot of hype surrounding the iMac 5k—it being an Apple masterpiece etc.. But I'm looking for an objective opinion from a gaming point of view (performance/aesthetics).

    Given the fact that the machine is intended for work (mostly word processing/presentations/internet) and more for gaming (only WoW for now), am I being rational/reasonable in giving up my iMac 5k for the iMac 2013 for a higher quality gaming experience? What do I stand to lose/gain?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. steve23094 macrumors 68000

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #2
    Thank god you had a tldr version. Let me get back to you.
     
  3. CuteBaby macrumors member

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    Jan 2, 2010
    #3
    Are you 100% sure about this? The iMac 5k (5120x2880) has exactly 4 times as many pixels as a 2560x1440 display.

    It should not be any more (or less) blurry than an actual 2560x1440 display, since the 5k display would simply be using 4 pixels, rather than 1, to draw a single dot.

    Can any other 5k owners verify the blurriness claim?
     
  4. steve23094 macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    Apr 23, 2013
    #4
    Look, I have been in the pub all day, but you said this, "I have half the mind to return the 5k for the iMac 2013 (780m) because it doesn't really make sense settling for a poorer quality picture at 2560 x 1440 on a 5k, when at native resolution (2560 x 1440) on an iMac 2013, the picture is presumably much sharper. ".

    This is completely illogical.
     
  5. platzypus, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014

    platzypus thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2014
    #5
    I'm probably a little dense when it comes to stuff like that, but could you point out the logical error in that statement? Am I making a technical mistake w.r.t. the performance of the iMac 5k, or you mean that I'm being irrational by dumping the 5k just because of poorer graphical quality at 2560 x 1440 resolution?
     
  6. Seramir macrumors member

    Seramir

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #6
    It's true that 1440p non-HiDPI looks more blurry and pixelated compared to 1440p on a 2013 27" iMac. I've experience this myself and so have others on the forums.

    Is it worth giving up the 5K iMac? If you game a lot and are bothered by the reduced image quality at that resolution, then perhaps. The 5K iMac isn't really that much faster than the 2013 iMac in terms of gaming. The 2013 iMac's GPU also doesn't reach 100C+ minutes into a game. Then there's of course the on-going debatable issue of GPU throttling on the 5K iMac, making it perform worse in certain games than even the 2012 iMac.

    For everything besides gaming, the 5K iMac is wonderful. But if you're gaming a ton, I would personally go with the 2013 iMac. I have one, it is a gaming BEAST and I have no regrets of not replacing it with a 5K iMac. I also saved a lot of money, so that's another plus.
     
  7. CuteBaby macrumors member

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    Jan 2, 2010
    #7
    This is very interesting indeed. I wonder what is actually causing this blurriness, since there theoretically shouldn't be any.

    platzypus: If this blurriness is true, have you tried (especially with WoW, since it's relatively less demanding on the GPU) simply playing in 5k mode, but turning down the quality from Ultra to High, Medium or Fair?

    Depending on how the graphics are rendered, it is possible that, say, running WoW in 5k mode with Medium settings could look just as good as, or possibly better than, a non-Retina display with Ultra settings.
     
  8. TerrorOFdeath macrumors member

    TerrorOFdeath

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    #8
    -_-

    I honestly don't know what all the fuzz is about.

    I too have an 5k rImac. mx295/i7/512SSD/32GB.
    On this forum I read so much complaints about it.. jeez not being Nvidia, being louder, not being able to play in 5k.

    Most of the complainers just have no Idea of how things work sadly, no offense.

    Its AMD firstly, of course the fans are louder because AMD ist hotter than Nvidia. Then there is the gaming fact.

    I too only game WoW. And i wasn't happy with the experience while gaming with the fans etc. But thats pretty much it. Had also tu turn it down to 2560x1440. But thats ok, because you can't play on 5k. We are just about 2 years ahead of time with the 5k ;)

    However i decided to install Windows only for playing WoW. For everything else its still OS X and believe me i do a lot else :)

    What should i say.. installed Windows10 and the difference is HUGE. Same settings in WoW also 2560x1440. While in OS X i was getting about 100 frames (and at times it dropped to 30-40 and was tad lag) in Windows i had 400!! Thats 4x improvement.

    I now am able to play at Ultra Settings everything maxed out. I even could play at 4K but Im not doing it. In OS X if you decrease the resolution from 5K, in every step the picture becomes more blurry even at 2560x1440. But not in Windows! At 2560x1440 it looks exactly like 5K on OS X.
    AND the best of all! It doesn't get as noisy as in OS X. Even after playing straight for 5h. In OS X I start the game and the fans go BRUUUUM.

    And my brother has the last Modell with Nvidia 7Series, maxed out everything and he is getting lower frames than I am. Not only that, the feeling of gaming is much snappier with my rImac.

    Just awesome! Couldn't be happier :D

    Tod
     
  9. CuteBaby macrumors member

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    Jan 2, 2010
    #9
    Since WoW is not blurry at 2560x1440 on Windows, presumably the blurriness is caused by the way OS X and/or WoW is scaling the graphics.

    This means there's hope that it can/will be fixed some time in the future via an update from Apple and/or Blizzard!

    The reason why many people who buy Macs need to run WoW and other games on OS X is that they need to easily switch among Mac (not Windows) apps. You can't do that when using Bootcamp.
     
  10. steve23094 macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    Apr 23, 2013
    #10
    Oh for goodness sake. Back up your apparent statements with tested facts. And don't cherry pick them because you know we will find out the rest.
     
  11. platzypus thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2014
    #11
    Do you play WoW on an iMac, Seramir? Or does anyone who has visited this thread play WoW on an iMac 5k? I have a couple of questions regarding FPS on the settings that you guys play on, especially those who don't play at the native 5k.

    I'm currently at 3.3k, and my settings are a mix of Good/High. Even then, there's still a lot of stuttering/interface lag especially when turning in namely two areas (my garrison and Ashran). Is anyone else playing on an iMac experiencing this issue? It's the only reason why I have to cap my fps at 40 (and therefore feel that I'm being shortchanged).
     
  12. CuteBaby macrumors member

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    Jan 2, 2010
    #12
    What is 3.3k?
     
  13. platzypus thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2014
    #13
    That'll be 3342 x x1880.
     
  14. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 17, 2011
    Location:
    Ridgewood, NJ
    #14
    If one of the main uses for the iMac is gaming at 1440p, the 2013 is a way better option. It's cheaper and the performance will be nearly identical. You'll lose the 5k display, and the retina effect for the work you mentioned. You'll gain increased clarity in gaming by playing at native resolution.
     
  15. CuteBaby macrumors member

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    Jan 2, 2010
    #15
    But that's not a divisor of 5120x2880, so wouldn't that cause blurriness as compared to say 2560x1440?

    Shouldn't the clarity remain unaffected since 2560x1440 is exactly 1/4 of 5120x2880, and both are displayed within the same physical dimensions (27 inches)?

    The 5k display would simply use 4 pixels per dot, rather than 1 pixel per dot, resulting in exactly the same final outcome to the human eye. Am I missing something?
     
  16. platzypus, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    platzypus thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2014
    #16
    Prior to getting the 5k, I did a little bit of research on the aesthetics of the retina screen on anything below native (namely the 2560 x 1440). I eventually got the machine on the basis of all the theorizing people did on forums.

    The actual experience of looking at a retina screen at 2560 x 1440 is noticeably dismal. If you play WoW on it, you'd always be wondering how much more aesthetic value you'd be getting out of playing on a native 2.5k screen at the same settings. And if you decide to sharpen the image by moving the res up a notch or two, performance is affected.

    It seems that almost all the forums claim that playing on 2560 x 1440 on the 5k is seamless or faster than the imac 2013 (which is true to some extent). What they fail to mention is that you'd be trading off a huge chunk of clarity, at least on WoW.
     
  17. CuteBaby macrumors member

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    Jan 2, 2010
    #17
    This is really disappointing to know.

    Would it be too much trouble to ask if you could test-run WoW in Bootcamp to see if the clarity is truly the same as that of a native 1440p display, as claimed by TerrorOFdeath?

    Because if that specific claim is indeed true and verifiable by yourself (or others with the 5k iMac), then that surely means it's a software issue (i.e. not a problem inherent with the hardware display itself), that can be fixed down the road.
     
  18. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 17, 2011
    Location:
    Ridgewood, NJ
    #18
    Scaling down the resolution on these high dpi displays is much less noticeable than say 1080p would look on the 1440p iMac. However, 1440p native resolution is going to be sharper than scaled down 1440p. So my point is if one of the main purposes is gaming at 1440p, than why not save money and buy a machine with roughly equal performance and a native 1440p display?
     
  19. platzypus thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2014
    #19
    Unfortunately I don't have a copy of Windows to do just that, so someone else might wish to follow up. Even if it were of the same fidelity as a native 1440p screen, I don't know if it's worth the hassle switching back and forth from OS to Windows.

    If it's a software issue, will it ever be fixed? I've had a 2012 rMBP for two years now, and the issue was never solved if not seriously considered. I think that's mostly the reason why I'm veering towards opting for non retina. Dealing with that issue for 2 years is exhausting when all I want to do after a long day at work is to enjoy myself playing WoW.

    I will miss the stunning desktop clarity though. I guess it boils down to priorities. :|
     
  20. WilliamG macrumors G3

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    Mar 29, 2008
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    Seattle
    #20
    I can say that 2560x1440 on the 5K Display is not as sharp as 2560x1440 on my 2012 iMac. It's not awful, but it's not as sharp. Period. That said, WoW looks lovely at 2560x1440 on the RiMac.
     
  21. platzypus thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2014
    #21
    Well, I would beg to differ, but perhaps my expectations were a tad too high for the 5k to begin with.

    I'm planning to return it next week and concurrently order the maxed out 2013; if I find no significant difference, then it's back to the 5k for me. Of course, this whole process is going to take up to a month. It sounds pretty absurd, but I'd rather be sure I can live with the iMac I'm getting for at least 2 years for the premium I'm paying.

    I will really miss the retina quality desktop screen though (even though I'm no photographer/videographer or fancy graphic designer etc.).

    PS: Does anyone know if Apple keeps tabs on the number of returns made? Just in case.
     
  22. yellerdied macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #22
    Hi-

    Does anyone find gaming performance changed using OSX's Display Preferences set to Scaled- More Space, before starting up their game, and then choose 2560 x 1440 while in the game?
    Versus starting the game with the Display Preferences already set to Best for Display.

    Would leaving the RAM door off lead to cooler (tho' possibly noisier) operation?
     
  23. platzypus thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2014
    #23
    Just tried. If you're talking about WoW, the stated resolutions change to a different scale—2880 is the closest to 2560. Also, everything looks slightly unproportional.
     
  24. yellerdied macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #24
    Thanks for checking, platzypus. I was wondering if "unnecessary double scaling" (from both OSX and the game) could have been causing performance issues...
     
  25. platzypus thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2014
    #25
    An update (in the name of objectivity): I realised that turning the AA on (whether Low/High) blurs out the screen a little, especially names above NPCs and characters. This doesn't make 2560x1440 a whole lot better, but it does increase clarity slightly.
     

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