iMac or MacPro for Gaming 2012?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Huntn, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. Huntn, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012

    Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    My old G5 tower died a while back and instead of spending money on it and I'm thinking of replacing it. I just read this MacWorld Article from 2009. See quote below. A recent MacWorld shows the top 3 iMacs virtually equivalent in speed to the 8 core MacPro. Is this a no-brainer?

    In the iMac department, I'd have to check individual specs but I would tend towards the i5/2.7Ghz 21.5" iMac (speed mark 229) and save my self $500 over the 27" if I can get 1Gb vram video card in it.

    update: I just checked. There does not seem to be a 1GB video card available for the 21" model. :( I assume it would be a gaming mistake not to insist on that as compared to 512mb card?

    Are there any other issues to consider in this purchase?

    Is there an outlet that would purchase a G5 tower? I hate to throw it out although I can recycle it. It's just too pretty. :(

    For anyone who feels the need to tell me to get a PC, I all ready know all about them. Thanks! :D

  2. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    For reference, I play a few games on the 21.5 i7 with the 512mb 6770M card. And it dies very well. Plays Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 very well. And almost every older game / casual game I've tried. Add in the very nice iMac screens and you have a very nice gaming machine.

    Will you get get 100+ fps @ 1920x1080 resolution?
    No. But you don't more the 60 fps anyways cause that's the refresh rate of the screen anyways. For the most modern ie 2012+ 3D games - if you want to play any of thsoe I'd google up some blogs or whatever of people on 512MB cards playing those games to see how good they are.

    For me the choice was should I get the larger 27 screen or the i7 in the 21.5. I chose the i7 with the 21.5. And the less pixels being pushed in the 21.5 gives a slightly better performance then the 27 with same gpu. Because I felt that was the better way to make the iMac a little more future proof. We all do more then just game on our Macs.

    I have not really dome much gaming on a 1GB gpu iMac. So I can't comment there, someone else can. But can say the 512MB card I have, won't get you max res at native resolution for super modern games on ultra settings. But all the games I play on it at mostly high settings get very respectable fps and look very good.
  3. arashb macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2009
    Wait for an iMac refresh, then buy one. I play all the games I want perfectly on my 2011 MBP. So a new iMac would be able to be so much better than my MBP.

    Mac Pro is a bit overkill for gaming IMO.
  4. SlickShoes macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    Yeah please wait until a refresh the current ones are 1.5 years old and currently a waste of money.
  5. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    Just for another opinion. When I bought my mac pro back in 2008, I thought i'd get additional use out of it as a games machine alongside my video/photo editing. However I think that I expected too much from it, as it was never particularly good with relatively modern games. At the time I think it was down to the type of ram used in mac pros, but i can't remember now.

    It would have been better with windows i'm sure, but I needed all the drive space I could get for its main use as a workstation.
  6. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    Correct me if I am wrong but the GPU is the most important part of gaming.

    My Mac Pro (3 Ghz Octo 08) is only limited by the PC 5870 I bought a few years back. If I put a GTX 690 in there I bet I would have no problems.

    Only exception may be GTV IV but its a poor port from what I have gathered. Skyrim is also CPU heavy in some areas but I do not own that (yet) so I can't comment on wether my Mac Pro would struggle.

    iMacs have a fixed GPU and I do not see thunderbolt coming to the rescue.
  7. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    FWIW, I have the top end 27" with 2GB VRAM...I'm not a huge gamer, but it plays at max settings in Doom, Quake and Bioshock. No stuttering or glitches at all.

    If I was out for a pure gaming rig though, the Pro with a high end card is the way I'd go.

    Having said all that, now is not the time to buy either...Wait for the refresh as posted above.
  8. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    Nope, this is pretty accurate ....

    I have a 2008 Mac Pro tower and I re-flashed an ATI Radeon 6870 series card to work with it, and I have absolutely NO gaming performance issues.

    I was just playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Bioshock 2 on it recently and both were perfectly playable in my 27" monitor's native resolution.

    To a point, sure, CPU speed is also a factor for game performance -- but I've found that a 2008 Mac Pro (dual quad-core configuration, 2.8Ghz in my case) is adequate for everything I've thrown at it, to date.

    Obviously, too, you want to have enough RAM in the machine, but most Mac Pro owners I know are good in that area. I've currently got 8GB in mine, and I haven't felt like I needed any more than that.

    I can't speak first-hand for the new iMacs and gaming performance, but I've read that plenty of people find them perfectly suitable for it, as long as they buy one of the better configurations. Personally though? If I had to buy another system right now, I'd probably think about trying to find a deal on someone's used '08 or later Mac Pro tower. Some can be had at really good prices these days and you could put a new SSD boot drive in one, fill it up with a lot of RAM, and put a good video card in, and IMO, still have something a lot more flexible than an iMac. (Capacity for 4 internal hard drives, for example, and 2 optical bays.)

  9. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    If I remember correctly, according to MacWorld benchmarks, the top end iMac performance is equivalent or slightly better than a MacPro 8 core.

    I have a 2011 MBP (see sig) and am quite happy with it's gaming performance using Win7. I will be traveling less in a few months and think an iMac will fit the bill for me.
  10. Miharu macrumors 6502


    Aug 12, 2007
    I have the 2010 iMac 27" with an AMD 5670 512Mb, I'm not pleased with the performance. It plays WoW fine though and that's all I really do but I wpuldn't take anything that has less than 1Gb of VRAM this day, especially on a 27" display. I hope that the next iMacs will have good graphics cards, then I'll upgrade.
  11. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    I have to agree with the rest that says wait for an iMac refresh. A lot of rumours in that direction.

    And if you want some rather good 2011 iMac gaming benchmarks go here:
  12. arashb macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2009
    Yeah but that's mostly due to the fact that games aren't coded for anything beyond 4 cores for the most part. The iMac is better for gaming because it's using a newer processor while the current Mac Pro is reaching an ancient age in the computer world. It's still very powerful, but only when all 8 cores are accounted for.
  13. edddeduck macrumors 68020


    Mar 26, 2004
    Usually the biggest performance difference is caused by the graphics card in both Macs. Put a high end NV card in the MacPro and it will play games quicker than the iMac, place an old ATI 2600 in it and it won't.

    That said if you can hang on wait for the new models both ranges are over due for a boost.

  14. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains

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