iMac vs. MBP specs for gaming

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by seladore, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. seladore macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2008
    Hi All,

    I'm looking to upgrade to a new machine soon, and can't work out what would be better for Windows gaming - an iMac, or a MBP. The graphics cards/processors don't seem directly comparable, as far as I can see, which is confusing.

    Just looking to boot into Windows occasionally to play Fallout/Oblivion/etc. Nothing uber-intensive.

    Examples I'm considering:

    1) i3 iMac, ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB, 4GB RAM

    2) i5 MBP, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M with 256 MB, 4GB RAM.

    Now, I don't know a huge amount about specs and graphics cards. I have no idea how the NVIDIA GeForce compares to the ATI Radeon. And how much difference does the faster processor in the MBP make?
  2. Mooperface macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2011
    If you want some good gaming experience you should think about getting more graphic ram 256MB ist not enough. You need 512 or better 1gig. :cool:
  3. seladore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2008
    Yeah, OK. I realise that.

    I was asking about how the iMac will compare to the MBP, all things being equal (say, putting 512 in both), given that the cards/CPUs are totally different.
  4. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    I had the same question some time ago, but not for gaming, just general computing. I ended up getting a MBP for portability, but if I were looking at a gaming Mac, between your two choices, I'd go with the iMac.
  5. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2010
    If I were you, I would go with the iMac for the extra graphics memory. The current generation of Intel CPUs is not that much of a big leap from the Core 2 Duos. I've ran Fallout 3 perfectly fine on a 512MB graphics card and a Core 2 Duo CPU.

    Plus, I would find gaming more comfortable on a desktop than a laptop.
  6. whooleytoo macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Obviously, you can't upgrade the VRAM on a MBP (without changing the laptop you buy), so you can't do a like-for-like comparison.

    I recently got an i7 MBP and it's a good gaming machine, though admittedly I haven't tried any cutting-edge games yet. I've been playing Half-Life 2 & Episode 1 and it plays flawlessly, there was some 'tearing' but turned on V-syncing and it's great now. I've yet to try anything heavy like Crysis via Boot Camp, but I'm a little scared..

    My big worry - apart from performance - would be heat build-up; laptops are small enclosures with the components tightly packed in. Parts of the laptop get very hot when playing. I always use a cooling pad when playing, and though it does a great job of keeping the bottom cool, the rear-top of the laptop (presumably where the graphics circuitry is located) gets very hot. I can't imagine that'll help prolong the laptop's life.. I'd guess a more spacious iMac enclosure would be better, but then there's a big, warm LCD in there as well so might not be any better..
  7. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    VRAM only allows to load more textures, that's all. ( the rest of the settings don't influence the VRAM it seems ) And most of the time, the difference between high and ultra high textures you don't see?

    Performance wise, the 256mb and 512mb version are the same with all settings the same except texture quality.
  8. star-affinity macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2007
    VRAM aside the graphic cards in the iMacs are much more powerful than what can be found in the current MacBook Pro.

    Here's a graph comparing the previous generation of Core i7 iMac (older 48xx series of ATI cards – the current iMacs except for the smallest one have the faster 5xxx series) with the current MacBook Pro and the iMac still wins.

    It's just one game that's been tested (Portal) but still.
  9. clockworkorange macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2008
    I have personal experience with the first option

    I run Team Fortress 2 on full settings (MSAA OFF -don't bother, don't care) at native resolution (1920x1080) and average around 70-120fps

    I am running Windows 7 in 64 bit if that helps, everything else is stock.
  10. star-affinity macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2007
    Off topic, but may I asked why you decided to move to Windows 7?
    Just curious: :)
  11. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2010
    I have Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro. I had it on originally because I needed Microsoft Office to work with the documents I had create previously on my Windows desktop and I really didn't like Office for Mac 2008 and Pages '09 just didn't have the compatibility I need to work with everything. It became a pain when I programmed something in TextMate on Mac for my university course and then had to reboot into Windows to complete the write up in Word 2010.

    Now I have Office 2011 and it works a treat. :)

    I've always been a big fan of Apple's and Microsoft's operating systems. I guess I keep both Mac and Windows on my laptop because I like to have the best of both worlds on the go. And there's always a Mac/Windows only program that I need to use every now and again (Windows Pinball FTW!).

    I suppose I could virtualise Windows but running VMs can really drain the battery.

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