Gaming unit -what to purchase

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by CostaC, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. CostaC macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2014
    I have a question for all you experts and hoping you can offer me some advice.

    We we currently have an older MacBook Pro that I use for general daily chores. We have iPhones and iPads and love our apple products.

    We are looking at buying a new computer specifically for gaming. They game so I would be played would be Diablo, League of legends and a couple more like games.

    I realize that a simple basic machine is more than enough to run those games, but we would like to get a computer with the best possible graphics card, essentially what a dream computer would be for a hard core gamer.

    We are saving money right now but are willing to pay upwards to $4000 for the proper set up. We upgrade our machines usually only every five or six years. We had initially thought of going with an iMac, but we are now toying with the idea of getting gaming specific monitors instead as a possibility?

    My knowledge it's to be sick to understand the pros and cons of going with the Mac Pro versus an iMac for this. I realize that my question may sound really stupid as I don't understand computers well enough, maybe even overkill.

    I'm hoping that those of you who understand the specs of all the Apple products, can help us decide what we need to do. Thank you so much and advance.
  2. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 27, 2013
    If you're only looking to buy a Mac then wait until the new iMac is released and get an I7 5K iMac with an SSD and the highest option gpu they have. That is probably going to be the best gpu in a Mac until the new Mac Pro comes along.
  3. bodonnell202, Apr 10, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017

    bodonnell202 macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2016
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Honestly (and I say this as a fan and owner of many Apple products) Macs are not the best for gaming. If you are looking to put together a good gaming system your money is better spent on a Windows PC. You'll also have access to a much larger library of games. For around $1500 you can put together a fairly powerful desktop gaming system - go for at least an i5, an nVidia 1060 or Radeon RX 480, 16 GB of RAM and a good sized SSD. Custom built systems are best when looking at desktop gaming systems but I'm not sure what is around you for computer shops...

    You'll have money left over to spend on a really good monitor or set of monitoring and you'll be able to upgrade the system down the road with a newer GPU, more RAM or a larger hard drive if the need arises.
  4. CostaC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2014
    That's a very interesting idea. Maybe but doing a PC unit specifically for gaming and later on in the fall get a more basic but up to date new unit to keep everything else running on iOS and all our other Apple products.
  5. bodonnell202 macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2016
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    That's my strategy! I have a windows PC for gaming and some other stuff at home, while my trusty MBA is used on the go and for keeping my other Apple products backed up and up to date.
  6. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2015
    San Jose, CA
    I'd just build a gaming PC (which is what I did recently), especially since you can build something really nice for under $4K.
  7. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL

    Quick specs:
    • Processor: Intel Core i7 5820K
    • Motherboard: MSI X99S SLI PLUS
    • GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX Titan X
    • Memory: Kingston DDR4 HyperX PREDATOR
    • Power Supply: Super Flower Golden Silent Fanless Modular
    • Hard Drive: SSD Samsung Serie 850 EVO
    • Casing: Lian Li Case – PCO7S - Customised
  8. mpConroe macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2017
    Arbroath (UK) / Wroclaw (PL)
    Really? Old Processor (2 generations behind) and workstations graphics card for gaming?

    I would wait for new iMac. They are coming this fall. For $3000-$4000 you would get max specs new iMac which will be good for gaming.

    If you want to save a money, buy $2000 gaming PC with new i7 7th generation like Intel core i7 7700k and graphics card nVidia 1080 or even 1080 Ti. Don't forget about the ssd as main hard disk drive. If you want to spent more money: buy ssd on pci express. If you want to save - buy standard ssd on sata. Don't buy standard hdd.
  9. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    My plan later this year is to build a hackintosh. I'll probably have a separate Windows SSD in it for gaming I can't do on a Mac. But I'm looking to go with the best I can get that will boot into Mac OS.
  10. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    I believe you missed my point. This thing is silent. Zero fans, zero water, awesomeness 100%. Can you build a faster machine? Yep. Can you ALWAYS build a faster machine? Yep.

    They are building ones that you may more approve of:
    • i7 - 7700k
    • GTX 1080Ti
    Probably just me that is super excited about this.
  11. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I have read so many comments over the years about gaming machines and about Mac vs PC. Though I have been a Mac user for many years, I would not consider the Mac as a first choice for gaming. I would opt to either build to spec a PC or review some choices from Origin or maybe Alienware to get an idea of what I should be looking for. Of course one might simply figure the most likely games to play and find out what are the best specs for each game and go for the best options to cover most games.

    As for Apple, it is fine for a subset of games out there but that is about it. When we look at the chart of what items are the money makers for Apple we see Mac computers remains very small. One would wonder why Apple insists on ignoring a rather large market. I guess "thin" is in with gamers given they prefer the real deal of better guts in their cases.
  12. Malus120 macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2002
    I've been an emphatic Apple fan for as along as I can remember, and have used macOS (OS X) since version 10.0. That said, having recently built a hackintosh (because Apple decided not to upgrade their desktops last year, and even if they had the improvement over my previous 2014 Retina iMac just wouldn't have been enough) which I also use for gaming (in Windows) , I can honestly say, don't buy a Mac just for gaming.

    The sad but true state of affairs is that not only has Apple let it's desktop lineup stagnate hardware wise, they've let macOS stagnate as a platform (especially for gaming).

    As someone who has always (to some degree) gamed on Macs, let me elaborate on why I feel that we are currently in one of the worst periods Mac gaming has seen since the transition to x86 over a decade ago.

    To briefly recap the hardware problems (AKA why you shouldn't buy a current mac even if you want to game in Windows):
    1. The Mac Pro is severely out of date (3 years!), and even in its day, it was designed with dual GPU productivity in mind. It features two GPUs that were, even for their time relatively mid range and unfortunately, dual GPU support (for games) is spotty even in Windows (and almost non existent in macOS) and even when it works, performance just won't match up to 2017 (or even high end 2015) GPUs.
    2. The iMac features fast and modern (4 core) CPU's, but the GPUs are decidedly 2015 vintage mid range (basically an R9 285/380 in modern/consumer parlance), with a performance profile similar to a single D700 in the Mac Pro. The 2014 models also throttle under heavy load.
    3. Thunderbolt eGPUs, while an interesting and developing option, still require a fair bit of tinkering, limit performance, and are fairly cost ineffective.

    The bigger problem however is in the software stack however:
    1. OpenGL: macOS used to generally be around 1 major version of OpenGL behind Windows and Linux. Today, we're 3(.5) major versions behind (OpenGL 4.1 with some 4.2 extensions supported vs OpenGL 4.5 on Windows/Linux). To put this in perspective, OpenGL 4.1 was released in 2010, and OpenGL 4.2 was released in 2011. This means Apple's basic (cross platform) graphics stack is effectively SIX YEARS behind the competition, missing tons of modern features, to the degree that a lot of newer titles which use OpenGL either can't be ported to the Mac at all, or can only do so missing higher end graphical options and with reduced performance.
    2. Vulkan: As of today, Apple does not offer support for Vulkan the (low level, high performance) successor to OpenGL. While Apple does offer Metal (see point #3), this is problematic as it means that developers who want to bring modern games to the mac are effectively forced to rewrite their graphics stack if they want modern features/decent performance, something they didn't have to do (at least for features) in the past.
    3. Metal: Metal, Apple in house low level high performance graphics API, has only recently began to approach feature parity with Vulcan/DirectX 12, despite initially appearing (on iOS) years before either of the two. The fact that it's been available on macOS since El Capitan and yet we are only now seeing games released with it speaks volumes. While Apple finally appears to (maybe) be getting serious about Metal, they're going to need to be a lot more proactive about keeping it up going forward, and there's no guarantee they will do so.
    4. Drivers: While Metal (or Vulkun if Apple decided to be so generous) has the potential to make this much less of an issue, the state of graphics drivers on macOS are, in a word pathetic. We just got drivers for Nvidia's pascal GPUs last month, almost a full year after there release, and those drivers are still beta, and have (relative to Windows) horrible performance. AMD's driver performance is also awful (relative to Windows) in macOS, but, in comparison with Nvidia, Apple has covertly built in support for various newer GPUs, such as the R9 Fury/4xx series, but they require a good deal of mucking around in the system files to get them working properly, and while they do work after some tinkering, should very much be though of as beta.
    5. Variable Refresh Rate: macOS has no inherent support for variable refresh rate monitor technologies (FreeSync/GSync). Variable refresh Rate is a revelation, allowing you to enjoy FPS between 31-59, without having to endure ugly screen tearing, or poor frame pacing. While NVidia's latest (beta) web drivers apparently support GSync, the beta nature of the drivers, overall poor performance on macOS, and GSync monitors being so expensive (relative to FreeSync), means I really can't seriously recommend this to anyone.
    6. Recording/Streaming/Game DVR: On Windows, you can utilize your GPU's hardware video encoding blocks to record/stream/DVR your gameplay on the fly with virtually no hit to performance, and this is integrated directly into the AMD/NVidia drivers (although excellent 3rd party tools that take advantage of this exist as well). On macOS you'll need to dedicate at least one core to this, significantly impacting performance, and producing an inferior recording. Even if you don't stream, the ability to say "hey, I just did something really cool 2 minutes back, I wish I could have a recording of it... oh wait I can, command G" is really awesome.
    7. Bootcamp: Because Apple is the OEM for the AMD GPU's used in Macs, standard graphics drivers for Windows don't work out of the box on a Mac using Bootcamp. While you can hack around this limitation, its a pain, and furthermore, certain features just don't work on the mobile chipsets Apple uses
    8. Games: This is the most obvious problem but because of all of the above and more (I could go on), the selection of new games on the mac over the last few years has really dried up.

    While I'm certainly hoping the situtation gets better, I would strongly advise you to consider a PC/Hackintosh, or to at least wait for Apple to refresh the desktop lineup before spending any serious amount of money on a machine primarily
  13. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    League and Diablo would run fine on any current machine. I would wait until a product refresh. If you don't need the portability, get a specced up GPU on a 27inch iMac.
  14. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Don't get a Mac Pro for gaming as the price performance just isn't worth it. I had a nMP with D700's and it was easily blown way in games by a modest PC with a decent graphics card (3770K with a 980 Ti). If you really, really need a Mac for your daily stuff then an iMac would offer better price/performance for gaming than the nMP. Yes I know the nMP has a quicker GPU, but the price is much higher, hence the price/performance comment. If you don't NEED a Mac and your 'stuff' can be done on any machine then get a PC. It's a much, much better gaming platform.
  15. MaraviRasmussen macrumors newbie


    May 3, 2017
    if you want just 1 computer for gaming and yet want it to be a Mac , I've been there a couple of times long ago and can tell you the best choice for general purpose+gaming+being a Mac is an iMac, but if you're looking for multiplayer games as it seems you are, and maybe bring your Mac to LAN parties(don't know if they still exist , that was years ago for me) i´d suggest a recent MacBook Pro , these will game at 70 Celsius most of the time if you have one with iGPU(intel hd, iris)that is not ideal but won't harm the hw at all, also, if you happen to purchase one with a generous amount of storage you could easily improve performance using bootcamp(and Vulkan api if the game in question have it)

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14 April 10, 2017