Help me decide - I love OSX and Gaming

Discussion in 'iMac' started by wilds94, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. wilds94 macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2012
    Need help and information on deciding which is right for me.

    I want to PC game, not at the highest fanatical end of PC gaming, but i'd like to be able to play the latest games on maxed at 1080p. I already have a rMBP 15" that runs quite hot, too hot for me to play games comfortably, but that may be because i'm running them off of a portable HDD because my SSD is only 256gb.
    I do miss having a powerful workhorse desktop, but i am also jealous of my brother and his friends playing games on their windows laptops, which are half the price and still seem to be able to play games better than my rMBP. I don't mind spending a bit of money to get what i want; a computer that will do OSX and gaming quite well.'

    So far i see my options as:

    A) Maxed out 27" iMac with my own RAM in there. This is so far my favourite but theres mixed opinions out there on the quality of the GTX 680MX and and the fusion drive and even after hours of research i still find myself clueless on wether it will be able to play the latest PC games on 1080p at 60FPS, without being too hot or fans going nuts.

    B) Buy a much bigger SSD for my rMBP and just running boot camp on that. Maybe having the games installed on my HDD may make the computer comparable too my friends gaming laptops, or maybe the Retina screen makes it struggle :(. Either way, if i could game well on this somehow, it would be a nice option, but expensive.

    C) Build a gaming computer. I love OSX and use it every day and it's hard for me to justify building a computer to run windows just for gaming when i really hate windows. It isn't a bad option though, and i'm attracted to the idea of a powerful and cheaper machine but it would be better if it also ran OSX. which is my next option;

    D) Build a Hackintosh. I love a challenge, and i love the idea of having the power of a custom built PC with the best gaming and the best OS, but is it too difficult? I don't know.

    E) Buy a Mac Pro and throw a few more HDDs and a much better graphics card in there and run boot camp on it. Also love this idea, but who knows how it would work.

    Either way, I am a computer nerd at heart and i miss having a workhorse desktop (sold my very old gaming PC when i got my first Macbook Air before my current rMBP). If the iMac is actually a workhorse, and haters are just bagging it because they hate apple, it might the best option. Please everyone, throw your opinions, suggestions, information, links at me to better help me make the right decision. You may have realised now i get a bit obsessed over things, and i think this forums is the best place to come for decent advice, so thanks in advance,

    Will. :) :apple:
  2. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Just a few remarks.

    Your rMBP won't run hotter because you are running from an external, this has nothing to do with the GPU.

    Laptops are not gaming machines, if you want to run the latest games get a desktop.

    The Maxed out 27" runs cool and is probably the best option, a MacPro just for gaming is overkill and is also not the best for Gaming.

    Hackintosh, stay away from it, updating the OS is difficult, you don't want to fiddle with your OS the whole time.
  3. wilds94 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2012
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    This is looking like something that i'm going to have too get my head around, and in all honesty it dosn't bother me too much. I'm quite prepared to lug this thing (27" iMac) around too a mates for a lan, or just chat over Skype.

    I've been reading a little bit from some other posts and everyone is quite excited for the GTX 680MX, so it's looking like the better option.


    What about the Fusion drive in Bootcamp on Windows? How's that working?
    Please everyone throw more opinions and suggestions at me.
  4. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Bootcamp has been updated to support 3 TB drives and Windows 8 AFAIK.
    I have Windows running in Bootcamp on a Mini and it works well except I can't get My Wifi to work, might be solved in the latest Bootcamp drivers but it's a big download and I am on a limited Internet connection, just use a wired connection now.
  5. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I have a brand new 27" iMac. 3.4GHZ GPU, 2GB GPU option and 32GB of RAm with the 3TB Fusion drive. I do not, however boot camp, but can confirm that X-Plane...probably one of THE most hardware hungry applications out runs in HDR perfectly. The Imac has a far better cooling system and doesn't even get hot, just a little whisper from the fan, and slightly warm to the touch.

    I am unsure about Bootcamping the 3TB fusion drive though, but others here will know more about that aspect of things. In short, the Imac will run your games very well indeed.
  6. Razzerman II macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2011
    Scunthorpe - yes, that place
    Go for E


    You don't mention a budget, or a timescale, so I would say wait for the new Mac Pro and decide then. If you really do miss having a 'workhorse desktop', I'd say the wait might be worth it.


  7. Fantola macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2012
    Århus, Denmark
    Buy the high end 27" iMac! (i7, 680MX, some ram, fusion drive)
    Its a BEAST for gaming! I can run ALL Games (also battlefield 3) on max settings in native resolution (1440x2560!)

    The computer runs very cool, but is a bit loud (the fans) when gaming! :)
    If you want to carry it to a LAN party, just put it in the box it came with.
  8. wilds94 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2012
    This makes me happy. Some people on other forums have said that it's better to get the i5 and the GTX 680MX for heat issues. Can anyone elaborate on that?
  9. dandrewk macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    San Rafael, California
    Yup, maxed out iMac here with SSD. Adding to others, zero problems running StarCraft and CoD4. Runs fast, smooth and cool, even with Lightroom running in BG.

    I haven't installed Bootcamp yet, so can't answer about Windows only games.

    eta. As there are no heat issues with the i7, no need to downgrade to the i5. Considering your needs, the fastest processor available should be your only option.
  10. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    To be fair, he did say 60fps, and nobody's getting 60fps in Battlefield 3 maxed out at 2560x1440 with the 680MX. But it does do 1080p with reasonably high settings at reasonably high frame-rates.

    A lot of games do run at 2560x1440p at max settings at 60fps, though, - Devil May Cry being one such game.

    It's VERY hard to be disappointed by the performance of the 680MX card. Far Cry 3 will run at 60fps at 1080p with pretty high settings (not max, though).
  11. wilds94 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2012
    I guess I'm left with two questions. Going to order tonight, but can someone tell me how well the Fusion drive functions on the Bootcamp partition? Maybe i should spend the extra $$$ and get the SSD?
  12. Potzynoodle, Apr 18, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013

    Potzynoodle macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2013
    Hi wilds94 - great thread, I echo many of the sentiments in your original post and can tell you that I have over 30 years supporting, building and using high end gaming PC's. On 25th March this year, I ordered the maxed out 27" i7 iMac and have been using it for 13 days.

    I have boot-camped Windows 7 on my 3TB Fusion Drive and it runs like a dream. I've only installed Guild Wars 2 so far and it runs perfectly fine for me in full screen at the highest settings :)

    Try not to think too much about what sort of PC you could build for the same money, I've looked into this extensively over the past week and have come to the conclusion that on the cusp of Intel's new Haswell chip - you'll be throwing good money away on components which will depreciate VERY quickly over the coming months.

    Think of it this way - let's say you have £2000 - build yourself a top spec gaming PC or buy the iMac 27"?
    What percentage of your initial outlay would you get back on both systems in say 6 - 9 months time in order to upgrade or move onto something different?

    I've also been watching videos on Youtube regarding the possibility of building myself a Hackintosh -(check out MKBHD's 5-part series) and over at you'll find everything you need to know before undertaking the build and includes monthly buyer guides. There's tons of support too on their very active forum.
    Again though, to build the 'dogs danglies' Hackintosh you'll be spending as much, if not more money, on the best future proofing components currently available (remembering to factor in the cost of a decent 27" IPS LED monitor)...that I hope you'll come to the same conclusion that I did.

    Buying an iMAC is a safer investment - particularly if you are able to purchase one using a discount (search eBay for the 12% discount codes selling for £12.50).

    You'll have a few months to get used to the iMac and wait for the 1st Gen Haswell hardware to see what it brings before deciding if you wish to revert back to building yourself a gaming PC. When it comes to re-selling the iMac (purchased with discount) you'll not have lost as much £££'s as you would have done had you tried to then re-sell a 3rd Gen gaming rig which no-one will want.

    Oh, and don't forget to purchase the extended Apple Care Warranty for your added protection and re-sell potential.

    Go with your heart and not your head :)
  13. vannibombonato macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    I only play BF3, all highest settings except AA, and i think it is around 60fps. Put it simply, i can't tell the difference from, like, a quiet situation vs. a crowded battle, which is something.

    So, back to the original poster, two options only are valid in my opinion:
    1- Imac 27 with 680MX: very good, but not future proof. We'll start "suffering" in the next 1-2 year max.
    2- Wait for the MacPro, buy it at its minimal specs, and leverage the fact that you will be able to change the graphic card, which is what future-proofs a Mac/PC gaming wise. Obviously more expensive.

    Consider also that a well-kept imac (keep the box!) maintains its value, so it's also worth considering to buy an imac now and maybe, if you really are this much into gaming, upgrade later to the latest generations, which tipycally upgrade the graphics card while selling the "old" one.

    I'd buy the iMac, and happily play now on a wonderful machine.
  14. gregorsamsa macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2006
    (Metamorphosing near) Staffs, 51st State.
    (F) For the money you're prepared to spend & considering that "you love gaming", I'd buy a Mac Mini & put the rest towards a decent gaming PC. You can't go far wrong, with the best of both worlds.

    If you really love gaming, you can use your funds much more wisely than buying any high-end Mac.
  15. Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    North Wales, United Kingdom
    At work, I have a maxed out Mac mini. It is a fantastic machine, but the 3D graphics are all but useless for gaming.

    For browsing, email and MS office the mini is great. With the 2.6GHz quad core i7, it isn't bad at number crunching with Matlab.

    The base mac mini is on the slow side. It only has a 500GB hard drive. And it is $599. The mini I use sells for about $1200 without a keyboard, mouse or display.

    I don't see the value in buying a 'fast enough' mini + a dedicated gaming PC. Why not just get one machine that does it all?

    A 27" iMac with the quad core i5, 1TB fusion drive and 680MX is $2,399.

    Yeah you can get more performance per dollar from a generic PC, but it won't be an iMac.
  16. luffytubby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    This thread is a reminder of that, gaming is a big part of computers. Gaming has only grown over the years, and it's revenue has now surpassed Hollywood. It's the mainstream, it's recreation for many many millions of people, and it's only going to get better.

    It's time we kill this notion that you can't game on Mac, and that they are not intended for that. It's obvious that the desire and userbase is here. But the situation is (as you all know) that DirectX is exclusive to the Windows platform.

    Still, the facts are here;

    1) This games generation has gone on for an obscene long time. It's never been like this before, but ever since the Xbox 360s debut in 2005, this console cycle has lasted over 8 years. This has meant a stagnation for lots of games that has been released on PC. In a years time, PS4 and Durango(the next Xbox) will have been released. With them, they will bring specifications a much higher pace, which means that some of the PC ports that follows, will tend to be poorly optimized. This happens with PC games at every new generation of consoles.

    TL;DR - The Imac, which it's wonderful Kepler graphics might be a bummer already, when Battlefield 4 is released. BF4 will ofcourse run on the machine, but with 64 players multiplayer action, it's going to get stuttery quickly.

    2) Your Retina Macbook Pro is a superb machine. The 680mx is a superior card to 650m but you are going to face the same problems on a higher scale. It sounds like you are suffering from grass is greener on the other side. Why not keep your rMBP, and play at high medium settings at 1080p(or lower)? BF3 on a rMBP at 1680 rez with mediumish settings runs comfortable at 40 fps-ish at with GPU temps around 90;
    Thats pretty damn good for a ultrabook laptop. the game looks great, it looks smooth. on PC this would most likely mean a fat bulky laptop you wouldnt want to carry around with you, which makes the whole argument for a laptop, poor, IMO.

    3) you could build a gaming rig. Or you can have it build from a manufac with custom specifications like this(if you got money) : or

    that little tiny box will kick ass for the forseeable future. and it can be upgraded later, which gives it a long lifespan. it also features lower temperatures, and much much much higher performance than what is possible in a Imac.

    Then get this Display:

    This is the Dell u2711. The same panel as used in the Imac, only you get it without the coating, you get more inputs and even higher RGBgamet.

    If your even more crazy, and 27'' inches is not enough for you, you can go 30'' like the old cinema displays and get a u3011;

    These are not gaming monitors. These are high grade quality monitors used by professionals. they are excellent.

    Pair that gaming rig and monitor with a classy keyboard, mouse and headset, and your good to go.

    You're building a steambox. This is actually a thing you can do with Windows8. You can configure it to almost be a gaming machine and nothing else. you don't even have to look at the desktop. set updates to automatic, and have the tiles be only games as you disable all the other windows apps. And voila. a gaming machine of steroids.


    Please don't get me wrong. Imac 27 is a great machine, but your going to run into the same undesireable traits as with rMBP. It's not the machines faults. it's simply that they have thin chassis that cant hold much more graphical potential.

    Total War Rome 2 is coming. Crysis 3 just came out. We're going to see GTA5 this year. I promise you that there will be unoptimization coming in some of these awesome games, and Imac will suffer. It's not Imacs fault, it's just the way of the game industry right now.

    Tl,DR - Get a steam gaming rig. keep your rMBP on the side for everything non-gaming and use it for lighter gaming on the go(mmos, older games, lower quality settings ingame for demanding titles). That's my advice.
  17. gregorsamsa macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2006
    (Metamorphosing near) Staffs, 51st State.
    Each to their own of course. The suggestion in my previous post is the solution that works for me. I use a 2011 Mini for most of my serious work & have a PC for games, etc.

    There is relevant background here. My 2008 iMac lasted under 3 years (logic board problem). Despite my financial loss, later on it became almost a relief to be rid of. Frankly, the worst screen I've ever had the misfortune to endure for 8 hour stretches. Awful glare! I know they've improved since, but they're still useless to me in my set-up for long spells of work. I'd never buy another AIO from any company for as long as I live.

    My present set-up, with a Mini for the serious stuff & a PC mostly for leisure (gaming, etc.) + 2 anti-glare monitors is the best I've had. No tedious rebooting either.
  18. wilds94 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2012
    Don't do this too me now!!! I'm so close to ordering my iMac.

    I guess i'm going to say that I really cant justify spending $1000+ (and knowing me i'll end up doubling that) just for a windows machine for gaming, where i could sell my laptop and get both a better gaming machine and a more powerful desktop for the extra $1200 i'd spend on a windows machine. At the moment i think i'll end up selling this iMac too my dad 2 years down the track because thats when i guess it will be worth the jump too the next? I'm pretty confident the iMac is going to be the best investment. And, i really despise windows, if it wasn't for gaming i would never touch a windows PC again.
  19. iCole macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    Have you considered a console? I have an iMac which i use for daily stuff and some steam games (nothing too demanding). And for long and more serious gaming sessions, I have a few consoles, older and newer. Buy a good old PS3, get PSN+, get lots of free games and console exclusives.
  20. luffytubby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    You've made up your mind, that's fine. If you have watched enough youtube videos of the 680mx performance, and concluded it fits your needs, then go ahead. You know the score now.
  21. wilds94 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2012
    Yeah i have an Xbox 360, and decent tv. I bought them both with the money i got from selling my initial gaming PC. I thought it would be easier and nicer, and it is, but i miss the RTS games, and steam, and having a workhorse desktop computer like i used to.
  22. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    To clarify, Boot Camp does not use the Fusion drive. It loads and runs from a partition on the HDD. So if you want your Windows to function from an SSD you may want to consider getting the SSD only option instead of Fusion drive.
  23. Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    North Wales, United Kingdom
    What you really want is the next generation Mac Pro. . . Well probably. We don't know what Apple is doing.
  24. ozbilge10 macrumors member


    Feb 1, 2013
    you could buy a ps3 or xbox360 or wait for ps4 and xbox720. Also, do you have stuttering when you play games ?
  25. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    Download FRAPS (it's free). You'll see you're nowhere near 60fps solid at 1440p maxed out without AA. People have different tolerances to frame rate, which is why I bring this up.

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