imac for gaming

sinser

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 16, 2003
549
0
I'm planning to buy one of the new iMac and I want to game on it. I'll only be playing Blizzard games, SC2, D3 and WOW Cataclysm.

Will the following configuration of the 21.5" do the job at high settings ?
# 3.60GHz Intel Core i5
# 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x2GB
# 1TB Serial ATA Drive
# ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB GDDR3 SDRAM

Would the 27" with the ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB be much better ? To be honest I'm a bit concerned about the resolution of this one and it also feels too huge for my room and needs.
 

GyroFX

macrumors 6502
Jan 14, 2002
389
2
Los Angeles and NorCal
I'm planning to buy one of the new iMac and I want to game on it. I'll only be playing Blizzard games, SC2, D3 and WOW Cataclysm.

Will the following configuration of the 21.5" do the job at high settings ?
# 3.60GHz Intel Core i5
# 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x2GB
# 1TB Serial ATA Drive
# ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB GDDR3 SDRAM

Would the 27" with the ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB be much better ? To be honest I'm a bit concerned about the resolution of this one and it also feels too huge for my room and needs.
if you game at all, please upgrade the 5670 to 5750. I'm sure there's a huge improvement. 27" iMacs shouldn't have to have 5670 as default GPU period
 

Quad 2.5 G5 =)

macrumors 6502
Mar 29, 2009
319
0
if you game at all, please upgrade the 5670 to 5750. I'm sure there's a huge improvement. 27" iMacs shouldn't have to have 5670 as default GPU period
You must have really suffered if you had a 27" with a 3.06 C2D and a Mobility HD 4670. I recall the days that you could get such a horiffic thing as a GeForce 7300GT in an iMac 24" Granted, that was in 2006, but the quality of the GPU, and the resolution it had to produce, was awful, or so I heard.
 

tonyunreal

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2010
211
18
Blizzard games are not that resource hungry, at least not in their finished products.

I have the late 2009 basic model of iMac 27", which has a Core 2 Duo processor and an ATI 4670 video card with only 256m of video memory. Here's my experience with some popular games:

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
Runs great at 2560x1440, 2x fsaa and default settings + basic level of dynamic shadows

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm(Beta)
I haven't had much time playing this, but with the same setting as above, framerates seemed to be bearable although major slowdown was experienced at many revamped areas.

Starcraft II
The retail version runs great at 1920x1080 + default settings
2560x1440 wasn't available to me, must be filtered out because of the limited video memory size

Counter-Strike Source, Team Fortress 2, Portal with the 2010 graphics engine.
All games playable at 2560x1440, no fsaa, medium textures and low lightning.
I tried lower resolutions and decided the native resolution looks better.

Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse
No problem running at 2560x1440, but the low resolution textures made eyes bleed so I usually play at 1280x720 windowed mode, no slowdown at all.

Tales of the Monkey Island
Pretty slow at 2560x1440, fine at 1280x720 windowed.

The bottom line is, if you're low on budget and all you want to play is Cataclysm and Starcraft II, the lower spec model should be fine, but don't expect it to handle future games well.
 

bolen

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2008
351
0
Sweden
Blizzard games are not that resource hungry, at least not in their finished products.

I have the late 2009 basic model of iMac 27", which has a Core 2 Duo processor and an ATI 4670 video card with only 256m of video memory. Here's my experience with some popular games:

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
Runs great at 2560x1440, 2x fsaa and default settings + basic level of dynamic shadows

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm(Beta)
I haven't had much time playing this, but with the same setting as above, framerates seemed to be bearable although major slowdown was experienced at many revamped areas.

Starcraft II
The retail version runs great at 1920x1080 + default settings
2560x1440 wasn't available to me, must be filtered out because of the limited video memory size

Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse
No problem running at 2560x1440, but the low resolution textures made eyes bleed so I usually play at 1280x720 windowed mode, no slowdown at all.

Tales of the Monkey Island
Pretty slow at 2560x1440, fine at 1280x720 windowed.

The bottom line is, if you're low on budget and all you want to play is Cataclysm and Starcraft II, the lower spec model should be fine, but don't expect it to handle future games well.
This is under Windows, right?
 

D'Illusion

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2010
106
0
You must have really suffered if you had a 27" with a 3.06 C2D and a Mobility HD 4670. I recall the days that you could get such a horiffic thing as a GeForce 7300GT in an iMac 24" Granted, that was in 2006, but the quality of the GPU, and the resolution it had to produce, was awful, or so I heard.
I have a 2006 24" iMac with 2GB Ram and 256MB 7600GT GPU which was all you could get at the time.

I installed COD6 when it came out late last year and I had to run it at something like 1280x768 and very low quality settings to get it to run smooth. Running it at native resolution even on very low settings is impossible.
 

Zelnaga

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2010
234
1
Starcraft II
The retail version runs great at 1920x1080 + default settings
2560x1440 wasn't available to me, must be filtered out because of the limited video memory size
Default settings being medium? Did you attempt to run it on high detail? How did it go?
 

henrikrox

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
1,218
2
Okay.

If you are serious about gaming and performance, dont game in OSX. Blizzard has officially said that osx version has 15-20% worse performance then the windows 7 version of starcraft 2.

So sc2, wow u name it, it runs better much better in winddows.

in osx, i can play sc2 on low with good framrate, in windows i can use medium settings no problem
 

sinser

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 16, 2003
549
0
Theoretically what is less demanding between playing on the 21.5" with the 5670 at 1920 x 1080 and playing on the 27" with the 5750 at 2560x1440 ? Well, maybe I just need to wait for some benchmarks...
 

tonyunreal

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2010
211
18
This is under Windows, right?
No, all games referred were the Mac versions.

Default settings being medium? Did you attempt to run it on high detail? How did it go?
Yes they were medium if I remember correctly, I didn't bother to try high settings because:

1. I had some bad experience during beta;

2. If you play the campaign you'll see there's a lot of dynamic shadow/smoke/lightning effects you don't see in multiplayer games, I was afraid my video card can't handle it if I crank it up to higher settings.

I will try to run in at high, and post back my result.

Update:
Tried, it was unplayable at high, but if I changed the shader setting back to normal the frame rate seems ok.
 

henrikrox

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
1,218
2
Theoretically what is less demanding between playing on the 21.5" with the 5670 at 1920 x 1080 and playing on the 27" with the 5750 at 2560x1440 ? Well, maybe I just need to wait for some benchmarks...
Good question, wondering about that myself. Like you say we don't know what cards they really are, so we have to wait for some benchmarks.

I have faint hope that the 5750 is a mobility 5870. But i guess im just setting myself up for disappointment
 

Zelnaga

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2010
234
1
No, all games referred were the Mac versions.


Yes they were medium if I remember correctly, I didn't bother to try high settings because:

1. I had some bad experience during beta;

2. If you play the campaign you'll see there's a lot of dynamic shadow/smoke/lightning effects you don't see in multiplayer games, I was afraid my video card can't handle it if I crank it up to higher settings.

I will try to run in at high, and post back my result.
Cheers. Im thinking of going for the high end 21.5 with the new 5670 graphics card (is it a major boost from 4670?). So your results might make me go purcahse an iMac today.

Do you have starcraft 2 retail version?
 

tonyunreal

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2010
211
18
Cheers. Im thinking of going for the high end 21.5 with the new 5670 graphics card (is it a major boost from 4670?).
The desktop version of 5670 is a nice upgrade over 4670, however graphics chips inside an iMac are laptop versions, usually these chips only offer slight upgrade over their predecessors.

Do you have starcraft 2 retail version?
Well I have the digital download version, which should be the same as retail.
 

MythicFrost

macrumors 68040
Mar 11, 2009
3,932
38
Australia
I tried the WoW trial and could max it out at 30 FPS (no AA) at native resolution with my 27" i7 iMac (4850M), if not maxed, on high. If the 5750 in the iMac is actually (as speculated) a 5850M performance could be quite similar.

This was on Windows 7 64-bit though, not OSX where the FPS might be lower. Still playing it on high or medium should be acceptable.
 

henrikrox

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
1,218
2
Well not to be harsh, but world of warcraft is probably the worst game ever to test a gpu. Since its so cpu intensive. Also wow is so badly coded its a joke.

Anyways, if you turn down shadows, u can expect a 50% fps gain at least.

To test the gpu, try games like battlefield bad compan 2, crysis warhead, battle forge etc etc
 

MythicFrost

macrumors 68040
Mar 11, 2009
3,932
38
Australia
Well not to be harsh, but world of warcraft is probably the worst game ever to test a gpu. Since its so cpu intensive. Also wow is so badly coded its a joke.

Anyways, if you turn down shadows, u can expect a 50% fps gain at least.

To test the gpu, try games like battlefield bad compan 2, crysis warhead, battle forge etc etc
With Warhead running the avalanche setting with no AA I get min of 20 FPS on lowest settings, max of 70, average of 55. On mainstream settings I got min of 5, max of 40, average of 25.
I often turn Shaders and Textures to High in Crysis Wars, and everything else with exception to Water and Shadows to Very High, and the game runs fine IIRC, with exception to some weird Visual Artefacts I've had very rarely, adjusting the video settings and res don't seem to help after it occurs.
 

Quad 2.5 G5 =)

macrumors 6502
Mar 29, 2009
319
0
I have a 2006 24" iMac with 2GB Ram and 256MB 7600GT GPU which was all you could get at the time.

I installed COD6 when it came out late last year and I had to run it at something like 1280x768 and very low quality settings to get it to run smooth. Running it at native resolution even on very low settings is impossible.
The 7300GT was default, and the 7600GT was optional.
 

dexthageek

macrumors 6502
Dec 7, 2007
391
0
I tried the WoW trial and could max it out at 30 FPS (no AA) at native resolution with my 27" i7 iMac (4850M), if not maxed, on high. If the 5750 in the iMac is actually (as speculated) a 5850M performance could be quite similar.

This was on Windows 7 64-bit though, not OSX where the FPS might be lower. Still playing it on high or medium should be acceptable.
I am running the WOW Trial and I have the graphics maxed at native res and AAx2. And I am getting 80+ on the framerates. Running in OSX.
 

Zelnaga

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2010
234
1
The desktop version of 5670 is a nice upgrade over 4670, however graphics chips inside an iMac are laptop versions, usually these chips only offer slight upgrade over their predecessors.


Well I have the digital download version, which should be the same as retail.
So if I ran SC2 on bootcamp - Windows 7 - I should be able to get it high?
 

tonyunreal

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2010
211
18
I wouldn't say World of Warcraft is bad for GPU tesing, but the trial version really couldn't show anything, since the models and shaders in old Azeroth are six years old and you could easily get 30fps with a 3-year-old laptop.

To measure whether a set of resolution and graphics settings are good for your computer, you need to give Dalaran(which is not available in the trial version) a visit during daytime or at peak hours, I usually get 25-30 fps during daytime and ~15fps at peak hours, it became unplayable if your framerate drops to below 10.

Oh and I forgot to mention that OSX + WoW seemed to perform not so well with 4GB of ram, I could see slowdowns in crowded places and hear the hard drive struggling to get the character models loaded. I assumed OSX needs more ram for the disk cache to be efficient, so I purchased additional 4GB of memory and installed to my iMac, then the slowdowns were gone and the game ran perfect.

So if I ran SC2 on bootcamp - Windows 7 - I should be able to get it high?
I assume so if you get the 5670 model. Keep in mind that Starcraft II looks great even at medium settings, the only complain I have is the lack of anti-aliasing during cutscenes, which could be enforced with Catalyst Control Center under Windows, but I'm not sure whether it will have a great impact on framerates in the actual battles.
 

steveotron

macrumors member
Nov 22, 2009
42
0
I'm planning to buy one of the new iMac and I want to game on it. I'll only be playing Blizzard games, SC2, D3 and WOW Cataclysm.

Will the following configuration of the 21.5" do the job at high settings ?
# 3.60GHz Intel Core i5
# 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x2GB
# 1TB Serial ATA Drive
# ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB GDDR3 SDRAM

Would the 27" with the ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB be much better ? To be honest I'm a bit concerned about the resolution of this one and it also feels too huge for my room and needs.
Do you really need 8GB or RAM? And I certainly hope you're not paying for it from Apple.
 
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