iMac and external gpu

Discussion in 'iMac' started by djaan, May 12, 2011.

  1. djaan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    #1
    hello all

    i just placed an order on the 21.5 inch i7 iMac, and i am mainly going to use it for music production but also bootcamp gaming. I like the specs of the top specced 27 inch, but i din't go for that because it is way larger than anything i would want on my desk. I am a little worried though, that the 6770m won't live up to my expectations when gaming at native resolution, and i was wondering if there are any external gpu solutions like the vidock http://vidock4.com/ that will enhance gpu perfomance, and in that case how much of an improvement would i see if i used the fastest card available?

    price is not a concern so if a can "attach" a 6970 to the imac i would be more than pleased

    what say you?:D
     
  2. JeepGuy macrumors regular

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    Sep 24, 2008
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    Barrie
    #2
    Won't work with the imac, there is no pci-express slot
     
  3. Blipp macrumors 6502

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    Mar 14, 2011
    #3
    Thunderbolt is essentially PCIe so should be able to handle an external GPU in the future. No clue as to when someone will make one or how much it'll cost you, though. If the pricing on the Vidock are any indication then you'd probably be better off just building a mid-range gaming PC.
     
  4. djaan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 12, 2011
    #4
    hm, hadn't seen that one. Are there any pci-express adapters that one could connect to the imac?
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Finland
    #5
    Sonnet will be releasing PCIe to Thunderbolt adapter but so far they haven't said anything about GPU support. It is theoretically possible but there are a lot limitations and other concerns. TB is nowhere near as fast as PCIe so AMD 6970 would probably be capped by the bandwidth.
     
  6. hipnotizer macrumors regular

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    Apr 11, 2011
    #6
    I purchased the 27 inch imac with the 6970m 2gb. I am sure that this card will suffice for at least a year in native resolutions and by that time there will be thunderbolt gpu's on the market place.

    In the meantime I look forward to gaming on the huge screen.

    Not to sure how the 6770 will fair but I am pretty sure it will be decent enough.
     
  7. DannyBres macrumors 65816

    DannyBres

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    Oct 30, 2007
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    UK
    #7
    As above TB is basically PCIe so yes it is possible if an accessory manufacturer thinks there is demand for one! :)

    However you will not be able to play the games on your new LED IPS Display! You will need a seperate monitor.


    I do not believe Target Display will work either as you need mouse and keyboard input to the computer which you cannot do in TDM
     
  8. djaan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 12, 2011
    #8
    bummer. I guess the 6770 will have to suffice then. Anyway, if it can manage Diablo 3 in native resolution with decent settings i will be satisfied:eek:
     
  9. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    One mile up and soaring
    #9
    Apparently the concept of an All-in-one is lost of more people than you would expect.

    I know the response to this is that people want options. Well it is an all-in-one. There are configurable options, and for those that this is not enough, some take it apart and upgrade internals, but really, get a Mac Pro, a hackintosh, or just build a PC if an all-in-one doesn't fit your needs.

    Sheesh.
     
  10. djaan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 12, 2011
    #10
    there is no need for the negative attitude, i bought the imac because i like the concept. I have no idea on how to build computers(or even how they work), nor do i wan't to learn it, and most of all, because the last thing i want is an ugly tower desktop, be it PC, hackintosh og mac pro! In fact my 13" mbp can do 90% of all the tasks i need done, i merely looked into the external gpu thingy because it would be a nice addition to an already cool computer.

    sheesh
     
  11. archer75 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 26, 2005
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    Oregon
    #11
    From what I understand, and correct me if i'm wrong, but using an external card via the thunderbolt port would function as a 4x PCIe card.

    That may rule out some upgrades.
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #12
    Thunderbolt = 10Gb/s
    PCIe 2.0 x4 = 16Gb/s

    So even slower.
     
  13. djaan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 12, 2011
    #13
    uhh, yeah... can you rephrase that?:eek:
     
  14. archer75 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 26, 2005
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    Oregon
    #14
    Well there you go. Probably not going to work.

    That said I was gaming on my 27" 6970m 2gb last night on crysis 2 with settings at medium and it looked amazing and played very smooth. So these imacs can do quite well. At least the 27" model.
     
  15. djaan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 12, 2011
    #15
    oh what i would pay for a 21.5" sporting a 6970m:rolleyes:

    in my opinion, the gap between the best and the second best gpu in the imac line is a bit too large
     
  16. archer75 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 26, 2005
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    Oregon
    #16
    Well cancel that order and get the 27"! Sure, at first it seemed big. But as i've used it for a few days in my day to day tasks it now feels just right. I still have plenty of room on my desk too.
     
  17. MacAndMic macrumors 6502

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    Jun 4, 2009
    #17
    I'll have to 2nd the cancel the order and go with the 27". It may seem big at first but once you get it, you'll never go back.
     
  18. Georgio macrumors 6502

    Georgio

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    Essex, UK
    #18
    This - the 27" with all the bells and whistles is the way to go.

     
  19. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #19
    21.5" iMac is much more limited in terms of TDP. Sure the difference is big but you can't just put any GPU into the 21.5". AMD 6800M-series would be too close to 6970M and probably too hot.
     
  20. djaan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 12, 2011
    #20
    thing is, i borrowed one a couple of days ago, and it just seems too dominant in the room it is going to be installed in
     
  21. archer75 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 26, 2005
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    Oregon
    #21
    You want your imac to dominate!
     
  22. MacAndMic macrumors 6502

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    Jun 4, 2009
    #22
    So you have seen what it will look like in the room, that is great, your decision was with full knowledge when it comes to form. Unfortunately this is where form and function collide.

    The GPU in the 21" is not junk, it is simply not as good as the 27". 1920 x 1050 games will be fine.

    Remember, no one here buys an iMac to game on. They buy a machine that suits their needs but can also provide some entertainment when possible. The current iMacs do just fine at this.
     
  23. archer75 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 26, 2005
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    Oregon
    #23
    I bought an imac to game on. In fact, I was just playing a game. Of course I can do other things too. But 2560x1440 was too good to pass up for gaming ;)
     
  24. MacAndMic macrumors 6502

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    Jun 4, 2009
    #24
    So you didn't buy it just for gaming? it may be your main gaming machine or the machine is mainly used for gaming but that is not the only reason you bought it. The OS, the form factor, etc. If it were for just gaming, you would have built a better system.
     
  25. fleg123 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #25
    Seeing as how the conversation has turned in this direction, how many year(s) do you guys figure the top end imac gpu will be able to handle (the majority of) games at medium-ish settings? I'm not talking crysis-like games here, that are already even pushing the limits, but stuff like Portal 2, WoW, Rift, Civ, other less-gpu-intensive FPS games...

    Do you think we'll be seeing the gpu struggling with high settings, native res by the end of the year (medium settings, native res this time next year)? I've been playing WoW on my 2006 C2D mbp with no issues at medium-ish settings. I feel like we might be underestimating the functional longevity of these machines.

    Obviously I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I do like to play and keeping up with modern games is somewhat important. My 2006 C2D macbook can't really handle Portal 2 (which is one of the reasons I'm looking at upgrading... after ~5 years of use, it's feeling outdated), but it's done otherwise well up to this point.
     

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