iMac Questions before I buy [gaming, dual/tri monitors]

Discussion in 'iMac' started by WiiDSmoker, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. WiiDSmoker macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2009
    Hermitage, TN
    I can't decide between either the 27-inch: 2.7GHz or the 27-inch: 3.1GHz.

    Besides the .4 GHz different, the main difference looks to be the video card. 512 MB / 1GB.

    How well does the 2.7GHz handle games such as Steam? And for the 3.1 as well? And at full resolution/settings.

    Also will these machines chug if I get another 27" ACD as well? Maybe even down the line have 2 ACDs?

    And it's highly recommended to buy RAM from Crucial correct?
  2. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

    Nov 20, 2009
    Calgary, Canada
    Hi WiiD,
    those vid. chips are stretched to max running any demanding games as it is, I don't think running 2 or even 3 monitors will make you happy. (maybe playing Sims3...).
  3. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Seriously? I think you need some of the stuff wiid uses.

    "Steam" isnt a game, but if you mean something like HalfLife 2 via Steam, then dont worry. I play CounterStrike all the time on a 4 year old iMac with 256 megs of VRAM. Running the main 24" 1920 X 1200 screen and a second 24" 1920 x 1200 screen.

    Not sure why you need to play at full resolution and full settings.

    regardless, if all you cared about was gaming, you should get the best video you can afford. Or get a PC.
  4. Horlics macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2011
    Think different

    If you want to drive 3 screens and want any gaming you do to be at max res, then an all-in-one like the Mac ain't for you.
  5. bpeeps macrumors 68020


    May 6, 2011
    Oh geez, the OP may have other reasons for buying a Mac as well. Yes, PC's or or a Mac Pro could be better for gaming. But the question is asking how the iMacs he's looking at will perform.

    OP, I have the 27" 3.4ghz with the 6970M card and I can every game I play at max settings with around 60fps. I play Left 4 Dead 2, Half-Life 2, Team-Fortress 2, GTA 4, etc... The gaming card in the base 27" may be a little shy of running games at full settings.
  6. elithrar macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2007
    It's probably worth clarifying whether the OP wants to play games ON three displays, or whether he wants to play games AND have three displays (for other non-gaming tasks). The former is a no-go, outside of a really high-end PC with SLI'd 590's or 2x 6990's (assuming 1080p or better per screen).

    The base 27" is 'okay', but running current gen games at native res (2560x1440) will require you to dial down the settings a lot, losing a lot of the polish. The high-end 27" is a big jump (the 6970M is a lot better than the 6770M) up, and if you plan to play any current-gen games (Crysis 2, BF3, The Witcher 2 or even Portal 2) at native res, pay that bit extra.

    Some people run games at lower than native res, but if you're doing that it seems pointless, since the jaggies make it look horrible.
  7. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    The 6970M 1GB is much better than the 6770M 512MB, and it's not to do with the VRAM although it does help prevent bottlenecking.

    Performance under Windows 7 will be better (if not significantly better in most cases, if not all) than in Mac OS X. The more screens you have, the lower the frame rate you'll get when gaming. The 6970M 2GB will very likely be required (so that you're not bottlenecked) if you intend to use a second screen, and especially a third.

    If you'd like an idea of the performance of the 6970M in the 27" iMac then look at these benchmarks from Anandtech of the 6850 desktop card which the 6970M is based off (the 6970M has ~12% lower clock speeds than the 6850 desktop). Also, look at the bottom chart on this page which includes the 6970M in Anandtech's benchmark of Metro 2033.

    So the performance of the 6970M should be that of the 6850 desktop but around 10% less, roughly. There are plenty of games benchmarked at 1680x1050, 1920x1200 and 2560x1600 in the first link I posted.

    Regarding RAM, I recommend buying from OWC, which I've found to be reliable.
  8. WiiDSmoker thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2009
    Hermitage, TN
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Awesome. Thank you guys. I'll only be gaming on one monitor but using two or three screens for daily work etc.
  9. elithrar macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2007
  10. MrNomNoms macrumors 65816

    Jan 25, 2011
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I've got the high end iMac with 2GB VRAM and it is best to hold off evaluation until Lion is released with OpenGL 3.2 and games have been upgraded to OpenGL 3.2. The old and new OpenGL stacks are entirely different beasts which should, at least in theory, result in a major performance boost when it comes to existing and future games titles.

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