iMac Gaming

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PurdueBoy, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. PurdueBoy macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2011
    I am going to be purchasing the next iMac that comes out for school and I was wondering how well it would play games? I have read posts that they aren't suitable for high end gaming, but that stats seem much better then my windows pc which can play every game I have ever played on max settings (Skyrim, BF3, CODS).
  2. Alaerian Guest


    Jan 6, 2005
    A barstool, Innis & Gunn in hand
    They will most likely run fine ...

    ... but we aren't psychic. How, exactly, are we supposed to know what the specs are on a product that hasn't been released?
  3. PurdueBoy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2011
    Well I mean to the specs of the current iMacs. Those seem a lot better.
  4. AcesHigh87 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2009
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I have the high end current generation 21.5" iMac with an i7 and 8GB of RAM. I can run both portal games, TF2 and Diablo 3 Beta all on the highest settings. I can't say for the games you posted but you should be able to play them at least at medium settings. Especially if the next generation gets a boost in the GPU. The processor and RAM are plenty strong to do it but the iMac's downfall is always the GPU.

    In summary, it will work. You might not be able to play on the highest settings depending on the game but it'll work.
  5. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    The iMac can't play those games at max setting at native resolution. Not going to happen.The iMac uses Mobile GPU's. NOT desktop. The fastest iMac has what is on par with a desktop 6850. Now go play BF3 at 2560x1440 on THAT. High end to me means zero lag, 45+ FPS always and all eye candy turned on at native resolution. The new (unreleased) iMac's will most likely not be able to do this either, they'll be faster with maybe a 6870 type replacement but that card can't do it either at that res. BUT you can play them just fine with slightly reduced res and settings and they are great computers.
  6. PurdueBoy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2011

    Well I was thinking of going with the smaller iMac so games would be run at 1080p. My windows pc has a 4870 not overclocked and runs everything at 1080p.
  7. camardelle macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2011
    I would think the gaming experience would be much better on a 360 or PS3 but I'm not a gamer and didn't buy my iMac to game on.
  8. MacMall macrumors newbie


    May 4, 2005
    I just bought the 27 inch Imac i5 6970m 1gig,

    Its an amazing computer! I'm so impressed with it and its ability to handle games at nav rez, you should have no issue running games on a high-end Imac!

    I run wow at nav rez 50-140fps
    I run SWTOR nav rez 50-60fps
    I run Dragon Age 2 and nav rez 50-60fps
    I play Skyrim at nav rez 50-80fps

    If you want all the bells and whistles game on a PC, if you want a sleek,sexy,low noise and all around bad ass computer get an Imac!

    I'm sure the new refresh with have a better GPU too, so you really can't loose! I like you was worried that most my games would run bad our get low fps, I am so impressed by this Imac.

    I also own a xbox360 and its no were as good as the Apple, I get to game at high end rez unlike the xbox at 720p.

  9. hifoo45 macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2010
    I dont know if your statement will end up being true. If he does go after the next model with the highest GPU, they might actually be able to handle those games maxed out. My current mid 2011 model with the 1gb 6970m can run MW3 (2560x1440) maxed out at 60fps but can only do BF3 at mid-high (1080p) and hovering right around 40fps.

    More likely than not the next GPU will be a boost higher up in rung and will likely be able to handle BF better.
  10. yashi macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2011
    You're not going to be playing anything with 8x AA, especially at native resolution, but not many, if any, computers are.

    I can only speak for the 6970m on my 27" current gen iMac, but it plays Starcraft 2, Skyrim, and WoW quite well at 2560x1440 with most settings maxed in WoW, and most settings around "normal" levels SC2 and Skyrim. The next GPU will probably be much better and run those games awesome.
  11. jackoatmon, Feb 9, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012

    jackoatmon macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011

    I have the current highest spec 27" iMac, and am a giant gamer gear-head. This comp is the first one I've ever owned that I didn't build myself.

    The GPU (6970m) is actually an underclocked 6850. It's set to 680 MHz by default, and on that clock it runs BF3 full screen, native res, max settings with zero hiccups ever on BF3 and Skyrim (I game an embarrassing amount and I've seen nothing except a few very minor framedrops on huge events in wide open spaces in Skyrim, never anything in BF3). I'm assuming the reason other people have had some troubles max settings on Skyrim is that it's a texture-heavy environment and they prolly have the 1gb VRAM model. I got the 2 GB and it's smooth as butter. (VRAM being the limiting factor in texture display)

    For higher draw games - the most obvious example being Witcher 2, to run on high settings (no ubersampling of course) at native res (1440p) you have to jack up the clock to around 810-820 (IIRC 780 is the native 6850 clock). That's zero problem for this card, and the system can easily handle the heat with minor fan overclocking.

    That's a lot of rechnical detail, but the main point is that you can go max-settings in just about any game on the market with the current gen 27" high spec, so presumably the next one with the 7xxx gen Radeons in them will be QUITE a bit better (I've heard estimates like 40% performance increase, and I believe it)

    TLDR: Buy it. Don't listen to people in threads like this who make assumptions without looking into gear tweaks which are incredibly easy to do in Windows 7, where you'll be spending your gaming time.

    (FYI for other hardware tweakers - MSI afterburner is the most compatible overclock suite for this particular card. Best fan solution has been MacFan in OSX with a restart into Win7, with fan resets upon full shutdown and reboot after gaming sessions. I only add all this because it took me a GIGANTIC amount of research and experimentation to figure all this out. I'm about 6 months into owning it and it's like day 1, so no apparent danger in conservative overclocks - my heat sensors have never read anything even remotely in the "melt the GPU" range. And trust me. I've melted components a few times.)
  12. nostylluan, Feb 10, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012

    nostylluan macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2012
    first of all, mac's aren't for gaming... so you are limited. although the two best companies for multiplayer games support OSX.. that is valve and blizzard.

    you can play counter-strike, team fortress, portal, left 4 dead, day of defeat and you can play starcraft/warcraft and diablo. as for an mmo that isn't warcraft, your best bet is eve online

    that's about it for mac gaming, unless you count casual gaming like peggle, bejeweled and such, steam has a lot of those, so does facebook. once you get older, you'll stop playing lots of games, and the ones supported on mac osx are the best ones anyways, so it doesn't really matter.

    learn to play your limited games, they're the best any ways. so keep this in mind...

    valve, blizzard, casual or eve online... that's your choices. have fun

    unless you get bootcamp, then you run windows on a mac computer... so its better to go alienware then getting a mac if you want to run windows, its pointless to run bootcamp on a mac, your games will drop fps
  13. David085 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 9, 2009
    iMac runs great for World of Warcraft, CS:S, Team Fortress 2, Duke Nukem Forever, Starcraft II, and alot of others too
  14. nostylluan macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2012
    valve or blizzard ;p
  15. bungiefan89 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2011
    Agreed completely except for the SC2 performance. I find that if I only drop the resolution down to 1080p, I can play that game with all other settings maxed out (i.e. Extreme) and I easily get between 50 and 60 FPS. And yeah, Skyrim plays awesome on the iMac, even with all settings completely maxed out including resolution.

    Pro tip: Skyrim was meant to be played on a 27" iMac with a 360 controller and a few interface mods. Accept no substitutes! :)
  16. divamatt macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2012
    Great post, and thanks for all the details. I'm interested in getting the refreshed iMac when it comes out. I do enjoy my gaming (mainly RPGs) and want a machine capable of making it look effortless and beautiful.

    I get that the iMac is not primarily a gaming machine, but your post really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Where can I learn more about these tweaks?

    Assuming the new iMac gets the Radeon HD 6990M card (as I read in the buying guide news), how would that affect gaming on an iMac? With such a card, how many years could I expect to crisply and smoothly play games such as Skyrim (and its successors) on such a machine? Could tweaking extend this time? Up to how long?

    Thanks again for the awesome post!
  17. bushidounohana macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    St. Louis, MO (USA)
    Thank you for ALL of this information.

    Off topic (just a touch!): Regarding MSI Afterburner (on the Windows side of things)--does anyone know of any progress on overclocking suites for OS X? I know there is some limited capacity to overclock GPU with things like Zeus (by cindori), but I was curious if anyone had any insights otherwise?

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