iMac Hardrive and effect on gaming performance?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by thomasandgil, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. thomasandgil macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2006
    Hi All,

    Not too good on the technical side of things but here is my question.

    I am looking to purchase the 24" iMac with 2.33ghz processor, 2GB RAM and Nvidia 7600GT 256mb graphics card, but not sure whether I need to pay the extra for the 500GB Hard drive?

    The main use for this iMac will be running Microsoft Flight Simulator 9 and the new version 10. Want to be able to get max frame rates, so will larger Hard drive make a difference to frame rates or is it only processor, RAM and Graphics card that affect performance?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Abulia macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2004
    Kushiel's Scion
    Hard drive size will make no difference in performance.

    Hard drive speed, however, can affect performance, but not significantly. Putting in a 10,000 rpm drive might make your system feel a bit "snappier" and load times down, but actual frame rate would likely be unaffected.

    On an iMac your only real option is to add more RAM to increase performance.
  3. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Different HDs have different access rates (and rpm is but but one of the factors) and this can affect load times for data. But I suspect the difference, if any, is minimal with the two iMac HD choices. (And the larger drive is not necessarily the faster, though that's sometimes the case.)

    And the difference would be for load and caching times, NOT for framerates.

    The graphics board, processor, and sometimes RAM are the big fps factors. (If you have too little RAM, the HD gets used more--at least, in OS X, probably Windows too I assume. And using the HD is slower than using RAM alone. But this would not affect constant framerates much, it would affect little "hitches" and periodic delays.)

    Be sure to check out X-Plane too--it runs on OS X, has a free demo, is OFTEN updated, has a large community with free scenery and aircraft for download, and is just generally AMAZING:


    X-Plane surpasses MS Flight Simulator in many ways.
  4. thomasandgil thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2006
    Thanks nagromme and Abulia, I think you have answered my question.

    Will definately have a look at X-Plane.

  5. MacProGuy macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2006

    One other caveat here...

    If you have 2+ Gigs of Ram, I'd agree and say you'd never see the difference in the actual FPS... however, if you have something silly like 512MB of Ram in a machine, I'd bet you would see better performance.

    I'll have to try it out :D

    My theory is this:

    Let's say you take a machine with a slow 5400RPM HDD on a machine with only 512MB of Ram...

    Then replace the hard disk with a RAID 0 2x15,000RPM Pair...

    I'd bet the game and the operating system would run faster because the *VM SWAPPING* that would naturally occur with so little ram would be soooo much faster.....

    Hmmm... where is MythBusters when you need them... jaime???? jaime????


    hehe :D
  6. Abulia macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2004
    Kushiel's Scion
    I'd take that bet simply because no amount of hard disk swapping -- be it a RAID stripe or otherwise -- will match RAM speed. It's just a fact of life that paging to a hard disk, no matter how configured, is BAD. More RAM avoids this by an order of magnitude.
  7. MacProGuy macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2006

    OK... let's try it. Who's going to be the test mule... I can't do it because no one will believe the results... :rolleyes: :D

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