iMac or Mac Pro for gaming

f1restarter

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 9, 2005
121
14
London
I have been a PC user for most of my life until about 7 years ago I bought a powerbook. I now use the pc mostly for gaming but I want to switch over to the world of Apple completely. IMO OSX is still better than Windows 7, so before this latest refresh I was all set on buying the 27" iMac because the Mac Pro didn't offer much as far as a gaming GPU was concerned.

Now I think the Mac Pro is a much better option for those that want to play the latest games at high resolution. I was kinda hoping the new iMac would have a much faster GPU but sadly it's not the case as people in the iMac chat think it's a mobility 5850 gpu. I doubt it will play crysis 2 smoothly at high resolution, unless I'm wrong.

So do you guys think I'm going the right way by choosing the Mac Pro over the iMac from a gaming and upgradability point of view? thanks
 

CaptainChunk

macrumors 68020
Apr 16, 2008
2,142
6
Phoenix, AZ
If you must have a Mac for gaming, the Mac Pro is really your only option if you want upgradable graphics. The 2010 models that ship in August are getting very good GPUs (the 5770 and 5870).

Just understand that Mac Pros DO NOT support SLI in Windows for NVIDIA cards. And while ATI CrossFire has been known to work in Windows, you'll likely have trouble powering more than one 5870 in a Mac Pro because the logic board only has two PCI-E power connections.

I say these things because Crysis and Crysis 2 have historically been some of the most GPU hungry games available and really do need high-end graphics hardware to play acceptably at higher resolutions.
 

f1restarter

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 9, 2005
121
14
London
Those are good points CaptainChunk. According to Apple I can install 2 5770s so maybe that could work for demanding games like Crysis 2. Don't know if that would work in bootcamp.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,402
33,054
Boston
If you're thinking of using SLI/Crossfire with the MacPro, then think again. Apple does not support this.

If you want gaming, then get a PC or a game console. Games on OSX are far and few, and they're more expensive, then their windows counterpart. Since apple does not have the latest and greatest components, you're paying more for less performance if you plan on running windows also.
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
3,523
369
Sweden
Just understand that Mac Pros DO NOT support SLI in Windows for NVIDIA cards.
wrong. proved this with a recent thread.

If you're thinking of using SLI/Crossfire with the MacPro, then think again. Apple does not support this.
both are supported under windows, which you game in anyway.



Why the attitude, "Osx dont game well so get a console"

Seriously, it takes shorter time to reboot Windows then to boot up an Xbox 360.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
Get PC and Mini/MacBook or Hack the PC. Mac Pro is way too expensive for gaming in terms of what you get. You can build a similar machine for less than 1500$. If gaming ain't that important, then iMac is just fine
 

Topper

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2007
1,186
0
Yes but the cost of a mac pro vs. the cost of a gaming machine.
I've got a GTX 285 in my 2008 Mac Pro
I use WinXP under Boot Camp for gaming.
I have no need for another computer, the GTX 285 is great for gaming under Boot Camp.

The new Mac Pros will have the HD 5870.
That puppy is going to be wonderful to play games with under Boot Camp.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
what I meant was who the fck gives a sht about OSX games, if you game you game in Windows, and windows games >>>> console.
What's the point of buying Mac for +1000$ more and then run Windows on it? It's understandable if it's used for work as well but OP said nothing about that. If the main purpose of that machine is gaming, then PC is a lot better choice.
 

Cocoia

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2010
36
0
Seriously, it takes shorter time to reboot Windows then to boot up an Xbox 360.

So true. Not to mention you get to play it on your nice Cinema Display :).

The "get a console" detractor smells a bit like troll.


What's the point of buying Mac for +1000$ more and then run Windows on it? It's understandable if it's used for work as well but OP said nothing about that. If the main purpose of that machine is gaming, then PC is a lot better choice.

This is a Mac forum, no? It could be that he loves to run OS X, and would like to play games (SC2 + Steam games) on OS X, but being able to boot into Windows for more 'serious' gaming is great. In that case, getting a Mac for gaming isn't a bad idea.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
This is a Mac forum, no? It could be that he loves to run OS X, and would like to play games (SC2 + Steam games) on OS X, but being able to boot into Windows for more 'serious' gaming is great. In that case, getting a Mac for gaming isn't a bad idea.
We don't have to be blindfolded Apple fanboys though. You would be paying hefty extra for OS X. If the main purpose is gaming, then I don't understand why OS X is so important because games run better under Windows. Sure if OP doesn't care about money and it doesn't matter is it 1500$ or 3000$, then he can buy Mac if he thinks it's worth it. It's not my money but I wouldn't pay the Apple tax and then run Windows most of the time. I he's serious about gaming and money matters, then PC is better choice. When something new comes, he can just buy it, no need to wait for Apple to come up with it 6 months later with 200$ bigger price tag. You can always install OS X for PC as well.

It's just my opinion but you can't beat the fact that PC offers much greater performance/price ratio than any Mac does.
 

REM314

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2009
265
0
Canada
If you really want a mac for gaming I would still recommend playing your games in Windows until Apple decides to catch up to the latest openGL.
 

Queso

Suspended
Mar 4, 2006
11,821
7
A Mac Pro isn't worth paying for if you just want to game on it. It's primarily a workstation designed for media content creation. If you game on a Mac it's because you have a Mac for some reason and you also want to occasionally game on it.

Seriously buy a decent PC instead.
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
4,883
407
London, UK
Crossfire *does* work in Mac Pros in Windows but SLI doesn't (unless you used hacked drivers with the 7300GT). If you're feeling daring you could even run two 5870s in a Mac Pro with some 6 pin power splitters but I wouldn't advise it (although I did exactly that with two 4870s in my MP1,1 for many months).

To be honest though, buying a Mac Pro for gaming isn't really advisable. It's a workstation first and foremost and is priced as such but it can be used as a gaming machine in off hours.

Consider this:

A Mac Pro Quad 2.8GHz will be $2499.
The 5970 upgrade will likely be about $200 extra.
A 27' Apple Display will be $999.
Total system price: $3698

A 27" i7 2.93GHz iMac is $2199

The 27" iMac route would save you $1499. You could buy/build a gaming PC with a 5970 (twice as powerful as a 5870) for that and connect it to the iMac's display. If games are important to you then this setup would be *far* superior.
 

sinser

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2003
549
0
Honestly I'm facing the same dilemma. Not that I really need the full power of a Mac Pro, I just do the ordinary stuff (web browsing, some office, some iphoto,..) + some gaming (WoW, SC2,..) on my Mac, but considering that:

1) I already own one of the beautiful pre mirror ACD which would be unused with an iMac;
2) The Mac Book Pro is expensive but should also last much longer as far as upgradability is concerned
3) I like a lot the iMac, but every single time I look at those damn glossy screens I feel bad

it looks like a "reasonable" choice. Sure one could build a Windows Box, but, hmmm, I use Windows just at work, and have always used a Mac at home and don't feel like I'd like to have a Mac computer for everyday stuff + Windows box for gaming.
Yes, if Apple just could deliver a lower priced, less overpowered MacPro that would be great, but I'm not holding my breath on that...
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
4,883
407
London, UK
Yes, if Apple just could deliver a lower priced, less overpowered MacPro that would be great, but I'm not holding my breath on that...
Never going to happen. The market for that's just too small and unprofitable. Apple doesn't like users upgrading their own hardware, they'd rather they just buy new machines.

The alternative route is go the hackintosh route. It takes a bit more work but it can be worth it in the end. It was my only option once Apple changed the target market of the Mac Pro.
 

redscull

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2010
774
731
Texas
I now use the pc mostly for gaming but I want to switch over to the world of Apple completely.
This is really what it comes down to. If you're set on moving to Apple completely, the Mac Pro is going to be the best rig for gaming. But.. and this is a big but.. you'll be paying a whole lot of money for inferior results. Because the simple truth is that the Apple platform is not a good one for gaming. Neither the hardware nor the OS are designed for hardcore gamers.

The new Mac Pro has the best gaming hardware from Apple, but it's designed to be a workstation. You're paying for a workstation. You could build your own computer that would perform just as well for gaming for vastly less money. And if you get the Mac Pro, you're still better off running Windows on it for your gaming needs. So you're still not really completely Apple unless you want to forfeit even more performance.

The iMac isn't designed right to be a gaming machine. It has a decent (though not top-tier) video card now, and good processor and all that, but it's paired with an extremely high resolution monitor. That's fantastic for casual use, but for gaming, you'll probably want to run at the LCD's native resolution (I know it bothers me not to run LCDs native). And that means you're forced to play games at a higher resolution than anything but a top-tier video card can really handle well.

I love OSX myself, and prefer it for all my casual computer needs (web, email, photos, music, movies, documents, etc). But you know what? There is nothing that OSX does better than Windows that isn't featured on an iPad. And that's leading into what I think your best solution actually is. Buy a dedicated Windows gaming machine (most bang for least buck), and truly use it for only gaming. For everything else, use an iPad with the OS you love.

That's what I do at home. I have a Windows box for SC2 and other games. Performs beatifully. It's only turned on when I'm gaming. Any other time, I'm on my iPad. I have a MacBook Pro, which is a wonderful machine, but really only serves the purpose of being my iPad and iPhone syncing station.
 

mlts22

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2008
538
32
You could buy/build a gaming PC with a 5970 (twice as powerful as a 5870) for that and connect it to the iMac's display.
Call me dumb, but I was digging around on threads how to do that. Will one of the Apple sold adapters work to get a PC's DVI or even VGA input to Mini DisplayPort work? I know that Mac Pros this isn't an issue. The reason I wonder is because Mini DisplayPort is a packet based format, and I don't know if the adapters Apple sells work both ways, or only one way, converting packets into DVI or VGA signals.

I've found people who have tried random adapters with little success so far, as well as stuff like "will try this, will post results", with no followups.
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
4,883
407
London, UK
Most 5xxx series PC cards come with a mini display port on them now anyway. All you'd need is an MDP cable. I know my 5970 has a mini display port on it.
 

Quash

macrumors regular
Sep 27, 2007
192
20
Mac pro all the way.
I've done both gaming on an imac and on a mac pro.

That top en 5750 in the imac will seem very slow within 2 years. Especially when you need to drive that massive resolution. Get a good quad core with a 5870 and it will be a lot faster then the imac, roughly double the framerates i expect. And then in 2-3 years you run into trouble just upgrade to a better graphics card.

I also had thermal problems with the imac. Back in the day i gamed days on end and after a couple of hours i used to get graphics glitches. Only way to resolve it was to use fan control to the loudest setting and then they went away. An imac chassis is just not made for 24x7x365 load and it showed.
Maybe these issues have gone away now but it prompted me to save up for a mac pro. Never regretted buying it.

It's funny how many react get a windows box for gaming. And while that makes sense if you want to just game. If you want to work on a mac and want to game in the evenings. imac + windows gaming rig (similar in power to a mac pro) costs roughly the same as a mac pro setup.

The one box solution just seems more elegant to me.
 

redscull

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2010
774
731
Texas
It's funny how many react get a windows box for gaming. And while that makes sense if you want to just game. If you want to work on a mac and want to game in the evenings. imac + windows gaming rig (similar in power to a mac pro) costs roughly the same as a mac pro setup.
Yeah, except that's the least cost-effective way to do it. You could pair the Windows machine with an iPad or a Mac Mini to yield a much lower price while still having a top-end gaming rig and Apple OS for all the stuff that it's superior at. iMacs are ok gaming machines, but if you had a real gaming rig, a Mac Mini or iPad would do all the non-gaming stuff an iMac could do, for cheaper. The Apple 27" display on the iMac, while phenominal for professional use, is a poor choice for gaming thanks to subpar refresh rates and an unncessarily high (for gaming) native resolution. You could get a far better 27" gaming monitor for just over 1/3 the price. Point is, don't pair a gaming rig with an iMac unless you have money to burn.

Get a Mac Pro if you have "work" that benefits from it. Or even an iMac. But if you only want Apple for the "casual" stuff, and have a real gaming rig running windows, your email/web/photo/etc stuff can all be easily handled by a Mini or iPad.
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
4,883
407
London, UK
It's funny how many react get a windows box for gaming. And while that makes sense if you want to just game. If you want to work on a mac and want to game in the evenings. imac + windows gaming rig (similar in power to a mac pro) costs roughly the same as a mac pro setup.

The one box solution just seems more elegant to me.
Yes the one box solution is more elegant but it's inferior in many ways. An iMac and a PC gaming system with a 5970 has far more power. The iMac's more powerful than the quad Mac Pro by itself. The PC has equivalent power and has far superior gaming performance. In some ways this solution is even more elegant since you can leave the iMac to complete tasks such as rendering, encoding etc while using the screen to game. The more cost effective solution would be to build a gaming computer, install OSX on it and buy a 27" Apple Screen.
 

f1restarter

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 9, 2005
121
14
London
I want to thank all of you for your input regarding my dilemma. All great suggestions. Well the reason I didn't want to build a separate windows pc for gaming is that I don't do hardcore gaming enough to justify buying/building a windows pc, I play a few specific games like WoW, Crysis, BFBC2. Plus another thing that attracted me to the world of Apple was how Apple computers have much better resale value than Windows PC do.

About 6 years ago I made the biggest financial mistake by ordering a custom built gaming pc and within 6 months it wasn't even half it's original price. Here I see people selling their 6 year old Mac Pros for over a grand. No 6 year old Windows PC would ever go for something that high.

So after reading through many posts in the MP section as well as the iMac section I'm thinking I will save a lot by going the iMac route since I won't have to buy a monitor as I will need to with the MP. I really do need a nice monitor since I'm still using my 20" Dell 2001FP.

Regarding playing on the console, I just hate playing FPS on my PS3, I'm just too used to the KB/Mouse combo. :eek:

So the bottom line seems that the MP is going to be a huge investment and even though I would sorely miss the upgradability, going the iMac route will be a better investment for a casual gamer like me and yes I will use bootcamp whenever I want to game on the Mac. Still have a free vista ultimate CD laying around.
 
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