How is the baseline 27" iMac for gaming?

GKDAIR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 4, 2011
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I don't game as nearly as much as I use to but since I plan to keep an iMac around for a while this means I will probably put Windows 8 on it when it comes out.

I MIGHT get the 2012 iMac when it comes out, depending on how much it changes. But for now, lets just assume I'm getting the baseline 27" model iMac.

Based off that assumption how good is it for gaming? Also, note like I said I don't game very much at all, so I'm not expecting to run Battlefield 3 at ultra settings here.
 

Jethryn Freyman

macrumors 68020
Aug 9, 2007
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I was about to say that if you want to game at all and you're going to drop $2000 on an iMac, at least pay the extra $200 to upgrade the graphics card from the 6770 to 6970, it's actually a good bump in performance... but it doesn't look like the Apple Store site lets you do that anymore. I'm sure it used to...
 
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cerote

macrumors 6502a
Mar 2, 2009
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I have a late 2010 27in i5 iMac. It runs games pretty well. May have to adjust settings on some but I run things just fine on medium to high settings.

I got the base store package. No hardware upgrades on it.
 
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GKDAIR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 4, 2011
230
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The $1999 27" is just a hair outside of my budget. I have about 2.5k to spend and the high end plus apple care would be easily all of the money and I want some other things to go with the iMac.

The baseline 27 inch would only be about 2000 total. I looked up some videos for the 27 inch and it ran skyrim just fine. Thats really the only game I can see myself getting into.
 
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mobilehaathi

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Aug 19, 2008
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It'll certainly be sufficient for gaming...
 
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Nightarchaon

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
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The 6770 is fine for the small iMac , but to drive the higher res screen you'll want the beefier GPU ,

Do you HAVE to have the 27inch ? I went for the high end 21.5" and it runs skyrim and starwars the old republic fine at native res
 
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MagicBoy

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May 28, 2006
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Manchester, UK
The $1999 27" is just a hair outside of my budget. I have about 2.5k to spend and the high end plus apple care would be easily all of the money and I want some other things to go with the iMac.
Buy the Apple Care later? Can be done anytime within the first 12 months.
 
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GKDAIR

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Original poster
Oct 4, 2011
230
4
I don't have to have the 27" heck who really needs to have a 27" computer, lol.

The thing is I want my iMac to be my media center. If I bought a blu ray external drive or even just watched HD movies off of iTunes will it use the resolution natively or does it scale down to the 21.5 inch and make it actually look worse then the 21.5 looks?
 
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MagicBoy

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May 28, 2006
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OS X and the graphics chip will scale the video to the panel resolution. No one's commercially producing 1440p content as yet. Ignoring the size aspect the 27" panel blows the crappy TN based 21" version away.
 
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GKDAIR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 4, 2011
230
4
OS X and the graphics chip will scale the video to the panel resolution. No one's commercially producing 1440p content as yet. Ignoring the size aspect the 27" panel blows the crappy TN based 21" version away.
So given the fact that it scales the video back does the video still look good even though the resolution isn't correct?
 
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cluthz

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Jun 15, 2004
3,118
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Norway
So given the fact that it scales the video back does the video still look good even though the resolution isn't correct?
Not as good. You'll loose some of the finer detail and the picture is a bit blurry, but it will look decent.

As other suggested, you can buy applecare later. And the 6970m is loads faster than the 6770m.
 
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Nightarchaon

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
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OS X and the graphics chip will scale the video to the panel resolution. No one's commercially producing 1440p content as yet. Ignoring the size aspect the 27" panel blows the crappy TN based 21" version away.
Actually because your scaling a lower resolution picture up to a highres screen you will notice artifices and blurring more, a 1080p blueray on the 21.5 inch mac is pixel perfect , on the 27 you have 3 or 4 pixels trying to approximate 1 pixel, it maxes for a blurry mess with shimmer and other issues .

Why do you think that when apple went for "retina" displays on the iPhone and soon pad they exactly doubled the pixel resolution both horizontally and vertically . It was so that older software still desgined for the lower resolution doesn't blur, it just looks a little blocky.4 pixels doing the work of 1

If you want to get a feel for what I mean, load any iPhone only app on an iPad and hit the x2 button to make it full screen, that's a simplistic way of seeing what you'll be doing to your bluerays on a 27imch iMac, your better off getting the 21 inch, a 48inch hd tv and an apple tv tbh
 
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Jethryn Freyman

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Aug 9, 2007
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2
Australia
Actually because your scaling a lower resolution picture up to a highres screen you will notice artifices and blurring more, a 1080p blueray on the 21.5 inch mac is pixel perfect , on the 27 you have 3 or 4 pixels trying to approximate 1 pixel, it maxes for a blurry mess with shimmer and other issues .

Why do you think that when apple went for "retina" displays on the iPhone and soon pad they exactly doubled the pixel resolution both horizontally and vertically . It was so that older software still desgined for the lower resolution doesn't blur, it just looks a little blocky.4 pixels doing the work of 1

If you want to get a feel for what I mean, load any iPhone only app on an iPad and hit the x2 button to make it full screen, that's a simplistic way of seeing what you'll be doing to your bluerays on a 27imch iMac, your better off getting the 21 inch, a 48inch hd tv and an apple tv tbh
Really good post:apple:
 
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0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,574
2,909
When you're playing a game lower than native res and have AA switched on, then you don't notice the stretching at all. I spent years playing low res (but high AA) games on my older iMac and it looked great. Maybe it depends on the games you play, but for me and the games I play (and I'm a super picky game dev) the only difference between low res+AA and full res+no AA is the additional detail on full res.

I've got the high end 27" iMac and all the games I play run perfectly. I don't know about the base 27" but it can't be too much behind! Recently been playing LA Noire at native res, everything maxed and it looks gorgeous.
 
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mike693

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2011
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0
Actually because your scaling a lower resolution picture up to a highres screen you will notice artifices and blurring more, a 1080p blueray on the 21.5 inch mac is pixel perfect , on the 27 you have 3 or 4 pixels trying to approximate 1 pixel, it maxes for a blurry mess with shimmer and other issues .
This is true. Also, for video consider viewing distance. I often watch video on my 27" from a couch further back than the chair from my desk. 720p and better look fine to me from 6'. Depending on the encoding quality of any specific video and your eyesight, your experience will vary.
 
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The-Pro

macrumors 65816
Dec 2, 2010
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Have a look at the refurbished models, http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/imac/27
1659 for the high end model!!!!! Instead of 1999. You could even consider the 2010 i7 model available there. Even cheaper and has a better cpu, bit worse GPU compared to the 6970M though.
I can guarantee you that a refurbished model is just as good as a new one (been using refurbished mac pro for over two years now at 100% every day. Hasnt had any problems) lots of others on these forums can tell you that refurbished models are great aswell :D

You definetly wont regret having the 6970M.

Get apple care in a couple months when you have saved up some more cash
 
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reberto

macrumors 65816
Jul 20, 2005
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0
Get a refurb (i5 or i7) and Applecare.

One thing I've noticed, if someone doesn't get Applecare at day one, they will forget and never get it. I work at an authorized repair center and I see far too many people just out of their warranty period without Applecare with a $200+ issue with the computer, the go to bitch about how much it costs, then they go back and buy a cheap PC, then it all ends in tragedy.
 
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newbay415

macrumors newbie
Nov 27, 2012
2
0
newby question

I have read this thread and was wondering whether you are talking about running games with Windows on Mac or on OSx?

I have the dilemma of teenagers who want to play games, and think they "need" PCs - I would prefer to keep the house PC-free and pass two 27" iMacs (3.4GHz i7, 16GB memory 1333 MHz DDR3, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1024 MB AND a slightly older 2.8GHz, i7, 16GB memory 1333 MHz DDR3, ATI Radeon 4850 512MB).

Thanks for thoughts on how well these two would do for games on Mac or running Windows (and if so which version would be best).

Thanks!
 
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Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
12,618
10,564
Singapore
I am currently playing darksiders 2 on my 2011 27" imac and I find the game runs reasonably well in 1920x1080 setting, windowed mode with full aliasing on. It lags noticeably in 2560x1440, and graphics look like crap if you dial down the resolution and blow it up to full screen.

With that, my point is that the graphics card will likely struggle to run any game in full native resolution, so be prepared to either shell out extra for a graphics upgrade, or play windowed at a lower resolution.
 
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cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
I have read this thread and was wondering whether you are talking about running games with Windows on Mac or on OSx?

I have the dilemma of teenagers who want to play games, and think they "need" PCs - I would prefer to keep the house PC-free and pass two 27" iMacs (3.4GHz i7, 16GB memory 1333 MHz DDR3, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1024 MB AND a slightly older 2.8GHz, i7, 16GB memory 1333 MHz DDR3, ATI Radeon 4850 512MB).

Thanks for thoughts on how well these two would do for games on Mac or running Windows (and if so which version would be best).

Thanks!
6970M is very much faster than the 4850.
 
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Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
18,813
19,791
The Misty Mountains
I have read this thread and was wondering whether you are talking about running games with Windows on Mac or on OSx?

I have the dilemma of teenagers who want to play games, and think they "need" PCs - I would prefer to keep the house PC-free and pass two 27" iMacs (3.4GHz i7, 16GB memory 1333 MHz DDR3, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1024 MB AND a slightly older 2.8GHz, i7, 16GB memory 1333 MHz DDR3, ATI Radeon 4850 512MB).

Thanks for thoughts on how well these two would do for games on Mac or running Windows (and if so which version would be best).

Thanks!
The 27" iMacs will handle PC games via Bootcamp just fine. I've been doing so with a circa 2011 MacBookPro without any issues. See my signature. Depending on the model, having the 1GB VRAM video card makes a difference.
 
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SlickShoes

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
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0
The 27" iMacs will handle PC games via Bootcamp just fine. I've been doing so with a circa 2011 MacBookPro without any issues. See my signature. Depending on the model, having the 1GB VRAM video card makes a difference.
I agree with you until Planetside 2, have you tried that yet? It was pretty much unplayable for me, even on LOW and even dropping the res from 1440x900 to 1280x800.

I'd be interested to know if anyone with the same laptop as us has it running any sort of decent!
 
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Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
18,813
19,791
The Misty Mountains
I agree with you until Planetside 2, have you tried that yet? It was pretty much unplayable for me, even on LOW and even dropping the res from 1440x900 to 1280x800.

I'd be interested to know if anyone with the same laptop as us has it running any sort of decent!
The last time I played PS2 (during beta), it ran without stuttering. I've not been back to try it since retail. Which reminds me of a comment I want to make in the Planetside thread. :)
 
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