iMac Primarily as 27" Display for PC

Discussion in 'iMac' started by fishyuk, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. fishyuk macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2007
    Near London UK
    Hi all,

    I wondered if anyone has tried an iMac 27" as a display for another machine over a prolonged period of time? I primarily use a PC (this is not intended as a flame war, I have various apps I need to use for work and what is also a decent gaming rig) and am looking at 27" monitors.
    Whilst I use Win7 90% of the time I have a Mac Mini and it is always nice to use both platforms so I could consider selling the Mini and getting an entry 27" iMac.

    I'm aware the iMac would need to be on (folding at home it is then) to use the pass-through but has anyone really used it in anger as a display for another machine? My PC currently has a 5770, which will probably be upgraded to a 6000 series GPU when they come out in November, so has display ports that should work. Not sure if the Radeon would be able to output general day to day sound to the iMac but if it did that would be the clincher over a standalone 27" high res monitor.

    Cheers, Alex (from my Mac Mini)

    PS Yep I do use Parellels on the Mini if I need basic windows performance and have bootcamp on my work laptop but neither come close to the power of the PC I have and I can't afford a Mac Pro so no need for Boot Camp suggestions.:p
  2. nobias macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2010
    Why not keep the mini, and get a 27" Dell monitor, or the upcoming 27"
    Apple cinema display...
  3. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2008
    FYI Radeons don't play nice with Mini Displayport to DisplayPort converters. ATi's aware of this and has 0 plans to fix it. I do believe the 48XX series had no problems with it though.

    You can definitely do a Mini Displayport to DL-DVI though! I think over in the UK the 27" LED is not that much cheaper than the 27" iMac so people I know are of the thought that they may as well pay a little bit more and get a whole computer with it.
  4. RealEvil macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2007

    I have a 27" iMac and am thinking of getting a gaming/general purpose Windows PC for my job too.

    I think it will work fine - I use my 360 on the iMac via DisplayPort in with Sound now.

    Just a word of warning - lots of ATI cards with Display Port do NOT work with the iMac. Just google around 5850 and iMac 27". I am not sure if your card works or not - some models do and some dont. I am going to go for a GTX 460 with DisplayPort (currently only Zotac do this).

  5. drjsway macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    Why not sell the PC and the mini, get the iMac and just install windows on it. Don't understand why you need two desktops just to use two OSes. If you're worried about gaming performance, get the high end iMac (unless the GPU on your PC is much better).
  6. fishyuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2007
    Near London UK
    Thanks for all with the ATI display port comments, just the info I need and I had heard some stuff before. Perhaps it will change with the new ATI influx in to Apple. I'll keep an eye out for what people have done and I did hear some mention that the 6000 series Radeons are expected to play better (though you know the rumor mill..). The 5770 was always a stop gap to a bigger 6000 series card so can wait till Nov.

    Cheers, Alex

    The Dell was the primary choice and the iMac the curve ball to be honest. If I went just for the display it would be the Dell for the additional inputs it offers probably.

    Mini is great for what I use it for, just thinking I could probably get a decent bit of cash for it at the moment which would offset the delta with the low end 27" iMac a little. Then I'd have a better mac to mess around with future mac stuff, especially GPU wise.

    All early days so very interested in the feedback.

    I need the performance really and the Mac Pro is just too much. No wish to start a mac/pc thing here, I just quite enjoy the self build thing, trying new components etc. GPU today is a 5770 desktop card so more powerful than any of the iMac CPUs (of course as it is a full length card) but I know I can change it as and when I need (and probably when I don't too...;)).

    If I did do a 27" iMac it would be the lowest end model and of course you can't select a higher end GPU too unless you move all the other specs up so it would never replace the PC, just the Mini.

  7. hedgehogmac macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2008
    have you seen this thread:
    I am in a similar position and want to build a gaming PC and use my imac 27inch as the monitor. I plan on something like GTX460 SLI (for great performacne at 2560x1440, but still unsure about exact situation with connections to/from displayport and mini displayport. I don’t want to end up spending an extra $200 on an adapter for DVI to mDP as that cash could have gone into the PC.
  8. Ptyger macrumors member


    Nov 20, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    I can't substantiate this as I have not tried it myself (but I intend to do so fairly quickly), but I have read at hardforum that ATI Radeon 5XXX cards that have mini-displayport connections on the card work with the iMac and cinema displays. These would be the eyefinity edition cards, I guess. I plan on purchasing an eyefinity-5 edition 5770 that I -hope- will work to output the PC video into my 27" iMac. Note that I am not attempting to build a gaming machine, just use an old core 2 quad HP I have sitting around collecting dust on which to run my statistics software. I'll try to remember to post an update in a week or so when I have everything hooked up.
  9. fishyuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2007
    Near London UK
    Thanks for the link, odd the 5970 does but the rest of the 5xxx series doesn't. Will keep an eye out and ask a contact at ATI.
  10. pestul macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2009
    Is the status still the same with the 5xxx series with regular display port output capabilities and iMac connectivity? Over in the other thread this was reported as of late Oct 2010:

    If true, it's easy enough for me as I could just hook up my Samsung LCD via DVI to configure it. I may just have to guinea pig it for everyone to see.

Share This Page