Good iMac Specification for Gaming

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Lycanthrope, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Lycanthrope macrumors 6502a

    Lycanthrope

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium, Europe
    #1
    Hi Folks

    My son's iMac (late 2010) is getting a bit long-in-the-tooth and I'm looking to replace.

    He's gaming a lot, but nothing too heavy, mostly stuff like Minecraft and Roblox (??), however, if the machine was more performant, he would play more demanding games.

    He's also got his own YouTube channel, so he's doing quite a lot of video editing.

    With almost anything he does, the current machine is getting super-hot.

    Any recommendations out there? I was hoping there would be a refresh of the iMacs with new video cards, but I've no idea when that will be.

    Oh yes, 21.5"...

    Cheers, Dave
     
  2. LilBethan macrumors member

    LilBethan

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2015
    Location:
    The United Kingdom
    #2
    I find that gaming is a lot better on windows PC's.
    You can get a much higher spec PC for a considerable lower price that what apple offers.
    Also a lot of games are not compatible on Mac but are on PC.

    (I game on Windows and use a Mac for work)
     
  3. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #3
    Buy a Windows PC. The only iMac that is even remotely capable of gaming is the 27-inch with the upgraded R9 M395X GPU. But even then you're going to be limited to 1080p resolution for most titles, and the system will still get very hot.

    A Windows PC will get you far more bang for you buck. For less than $1,000, you would be able to get a system that will wipe the floor with any Mac, plus get a decent 24-27-inch monitor.
     
  4. jarodlee88 macrumors member

    jarodlee88

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2016
    #4
    You could probably build a cheap $500 PC that will destroy the gaming performance of any Mac. Games usually run better on PCs. With the new RX480 at $199, gaming on the PC will be cheaper as ever with better experience compared to a console. Hope this helped
     
  5. Lycanthrope thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Lycanthrope

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium, Europe
    #5
    Seems to be a consensus forming here... Just that I hate Windows and although I offered to my son, he's not keen either... I'll talk to him...
     
  6. MacAlien macrumors 6502

    MacAlien

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    TBH, a few years ago when I'd first loaded Boot Camp Win7 onto my iMac, I wasn't too thrilled about it. I was given a couple PC games and wanted to see how they ran. I didn't boot back into OS X for about a year, minus miscellaneous quick reasons like sending a certain file or something. Just recently installed Win10 onto this laptop. While I'd love for Apple to catch up to the modern world, at this point in time I'm leaning towards something else. Only thing I'd miss is the trackpad though, which isn't enough for me and my wallet.

    Your son will get used to it. I would advise the usual virus prevention stuff, ad blockers, etc... It takes maybe a couple days to get acclimated to it but it's not horrid. Lots of bloatware, but easy to deal with. It's gotten more user friendly than even 10 years ago AND, big bonus... you can play the big boy games. ;)
     
  7. aidanpendragon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #7
    You asked about iMacs, so I'll confine my answer to that. 27 inch iMacs should be capable of moderate to heavy gaming, depending on the specs. Even the lower end is close to $2000 USD, though, so you're paying an Apple premium and not getting comparable performance to a high end PC. You and your son may be willing to pay that Mac tax for the Mac experience, however, as I was.

    Current 21.5 iMacs have all integrated graphics and are not great for gaming.

    New iMacs are expected in the fall and may have improved graphics with AMD Polaris...search the iMac rumor roundup for more.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 14, 2016 ---
    You asked about iMacs, so I'll confine my answer to that. 27 inch iMacs should be capable of moderate to heavy gaming, depending on the specs. Even the lower end is close to $2000 USD, though, so you're paying an Apple premium and not getting comparable performance to a high end PC. You and your son may be willing to pay that Mac tax for the Mac experience, however, as I was.

    Current 21.5 iMacs have all integrated graphics and are not great for gaming.

    New iMacs are expected in the fall and may have improved graphics with AMD Polaris...search the iMac rumor roundup for more.
     
  8. raulitoburrito macrumors newbie

    raulitoburrito

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    #8
    I have a late 2012 Mac Mini and have plans to purchase a Thunderbolt to PCIe x8 daughter card box at some point in the future for an "external graphics card". This method isn't cheaper than the outright purchasing a PC tower that other responders have suggested. The price range of one of these Thunderbolt to PCIe is between $400 and $2000, depending on the speed of the PCIe slots, the number of upgrade slots, and whether the units allow you to house a Mac Mini within the enclosure. The manufacture Magma is the most costly, Sonnet Technology has several configuration options available and is mid-range price, and then Other World Computing has several options. I have a bunch of research into this with URLs if you are interested. I read an article about an individual who was able to set this up on a laptop and pipe the video back out the laptop's screen rather than being required to attach external monitors directly to the video card. Thus the setup would be that the external graphics card was being seen as another available graphics chip to the system.
    Another thought is that the gaming storefront Steam "http://www.steampowered.com" has hardware device called Steam Link that would allow you to stream over your LAN network games that are running on another system. So you could get a PC to run the games but view and control them through your iMac. In this case you would be able to keep the older iMac and utilize it more like a dummy terminal.
     
  9. ignatius345 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2015
    #9
    This is gonna sound extravagent, but if you guys prefer OS X generally (I know I do) and just want another system for gaming, you could use a Mac Mini AND a small PC tower for gaming -- using a KVM switch, the two could share the same monitor, keyboard, and mouse.*

    I just upgraded from a 2011 Mini and found it sufficient for basic video editing in Final Cut Pro X -- as long as you have decently fast storage and RAM. You could pick up a used Mini with decent specs for $750 tops, I think, if you go with a faster one -- then you could buy a modest gaming PC and a decent monitor and STILL, I bet, come out around the price of the high-end 5K iMac.

    The one big caveat in all this is that the Mac Mini won't drive a 4K display, I don't think -- maybe I'm wrong about that, but I don't think it's got the graphics to do so at anything beyond 30FPS, which is probably painful to look at.

    * I had a similar setup at an old job and it was pretty seamless. I'd just hit a switch on the KVM or maybe a keyboard combo (can't remember) and then I'd be looking at my Windows desktop.
     
  10. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #10
    A 2014/current Mac Mini should be able to drive a 4K display at 60Hz with a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable/adapter.

    If you're really desperate for OS X, you could build a Hackintosh. You just need to be very careful about the parts you select as only certain ones can be used with Mac OS. There's plenty of discussion on this topic, including several dedicated forums and subreddits.
     
  11. Lycanthrope thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Lycanthrope

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium, Europe
    #11
    After dwelling on this I'm thinking to go the Mackintosh route. I've installed OSX on non-Apple laptops in the past, so have some experience there. This would allow my son to play games on Windows and everything else on OSX, sorry, MacOS, with a good graphics card. On top of that, I can use some fancy see-through case with pipes and LED's inside - he'll think that very cool... Plus his Logitech G910 keyboard will map better...
     
  12. ignatius345 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2015
    #12
    Good to know, thanks!
     
  13. shiekh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    #13
    I used a Mac since 1984, but recently moved to Windows 10 due to Macs being glued shut. No regrets, Microsoft got it right this time.
     

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