IMacs and gaming - or not?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by thomasarisager, May 19, 2011.

  1. thomasarisager macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2011
    I am looking to buy a new computer and I really like Apples design and not having a tower at my feet.

    But I can see that Graphic cards are overlooked in Macs?

    Only the most expensive line - the best 27" comes with 1gig Vram and can be upgraded to 2gig.

    What about the 21,5"?

    I really dont want a large 27" screen, but will the better 21,5" not have serious problems running newer games in medium-high settings with 512gb Vram?
    And with an "old" but still good Graphic card. I mean the 6750 and 6770 are just new names for old 5750 and 5770 Radeon cards.

    Any good opinions on if more Vram is not needed or can someone with a good knowledge on this subject say it wont be the bottleneck in gaming - at least not the for now?
  2. Kerel macrumors member

    May 19, 2011
    Weimar Germany
    Watch out!

    These cards are not rebrands of the HD5750/70 series.
    Those are desktop cards and mac uses laptop graphics cards.

    They are actually much slower than their Desktop couterparts with the same model numbers.

    You should compare them with the HD6570 and the HD6670. They use the same chip as the HD6750 and HD6770 use in the 21" Imac with comparable clockspeeds. Anandtech has a review on them.

    The HD6970m used in the new 27" is actually a desktop HD6850 chip with lower clockspeeds.

    You deside if that´s enough graphics power for you.

    512 is still enough for 1080p with medium/high setting.
    Only if you use AA and AF you need more than that.
  3. TheUndertow macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2011
    Most graphics cards seem to be that way, with incremental "increases" to old chips and then new names given.

    The iMac has to make a trade off somewhere to account for the form factor.

    No...there is no magical solution to defeat sir Thermal Pants and all the hot air he creates with the "desktop" series cards.

    Folks put crazy cooling apparatuses in their towers to account for it, but it's not physically possible in something a quarter of the width, with a 21" or 27" screen slapped on for good measure.

    Go with 1GB if you can.

    I plan on going with the 27"...probably with 2GB VRAM, and plenty of gaming.
  4. jpjandrade macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2010
    Unless you are one of those persons that feels that anything below 60fps is not an acceptable frame rate, I think the new iMacs are awesome for gaming. Even the base one has a very capable graphics card.

    Look at the barefeats' benchmarks:

    The base iMac runs Portal 2 on OS X at 1920 x 1080 with all cranked up to 11 and still manages to run it at 57fps. Sure, Valve games are usually optimized, but even if you have games that run at half of that, it's still 30fps with 4x AA and 8x Anisotropic.

    The 6970M is even better.
  5. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Sorry .. maybe I´ve been asking this question, but need another opinion. I posted the same question here, on barefeats newest thread about Portal 2

    According to some member there, gaming FPS can be quite low even if you only have 4Gb of stock RAM, even if you have BTO iMac with 2Gb VRAM !!! :eek:

    Is that real? I´ve never thought that gaming would be a memory hog, 4Gb of stock RAM should be more than enough if you only use it for games, am I right?

    Any other who experienced the same? Do we actually need more than 4Gb to get maximum FPS the GPU can crank up? Even with 6970M 2Gb? Yes, RAM is not that expensive if we upgrade ourself .. but I´m just thrilled that we need so much memory for gaming
  6. jpjandrade macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2010
    This is probably just a bug or something like that. I don't know if any game actually requires 4GB, most require much, much less.
  7. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I haven't played Portal 2 on my new i5 with 4 GB of RAM, but I've played WoW on maxed out (ultra) settings and have been getting a smooth play (around 35 fps in crowded areas). I jump down to the high setting and get fps in the 80s. The guy who you are citing didn't provide any frame rate but just said it "felt" better. I wouldn't freak about it.
  8. thomasarisager thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2011
    Very helpful - thank you all :)

    I just want a computer I can game on for 3-4 years and I actually dont play the very GPU intensive games, but I needed a bit clarification :)
  9. trudderham macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2011
    In regards to the 27" display, it really isn't that big after spending a day with it. I thought I'd be swamped with the thing and have to move my entire head to look around the screen, but you totally don't. Makes me wonder how I lived with a 24" screen before!
  10. Shivetya macrumors 65816

    Jan 16, 2008
    Go check out the information at
  11. davidcmc macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2009
    Any iMac that is not the 27" with 6970 will be bad for games.
    Unless you're satisfied with medium graphics and ~30FPS, the iMac 21,5", even the one with 6770, will be just a medium gaming device.

    It all depends on what people like.
    I like games to run at high in everything, but I don't need a large resolution. I'm satisfied running a game at high settings in a 1280x720 resolution, so it means that the 6770 will be pretty bad in some games for me.

    Portal 2 shouldn't be used as a reference, since it's not a graphics demanding game and uses a very outdated engine called "Source".

    If you want to test a GPU, run games like Starcraft 2, Crysis 2, Bad Company 2 etc.
    I can assure you that the Radeon 6770 Mobility (used in iMac 21,5") won't run those games at high settings with good frames per second.
  12. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    This is simply nonsense. 30 fps on medium settings? My MacBook air can do that in starcraft 2. People with MacBook pros with the 6750m have been running Starcraft 2 at full res and high settings and > 30 fps for months now. There's ample evidence all over barefeats, this forum, and YouTube.

    Please don't just post nonsense without even bothering to do the most basic investigation.

    Edit: for example, check out 2011 mbp pulling 23 fps on high settings... At 2560x1440. So you think the iMac, with a lower res and a faster card, is only going to be able to handle medium settings? Right.
  13. davidcmc macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2009
    I'm not arguing with some monkey brain fanboy (as 90% of MacRumors).
    Your opinion come from review sites (not trustable) and people's post.
    My opinions come from my own experience (I've owned 2 MacBooks Pro and today I own a notebook with a 5870 Mobility).

    Starcraft 2 single player is not the same Starcraft 2 multiplayer.
    The multiplayer side of that game is more graphic intensive than the single player side.
    The 6750M may handle it in single player, but will never get good results in high settings and large multiplayer maps with explosions and many units in the screen.

    I remember trying to play Left 4 Dead 2 in my old MBP 13" with GeForce 320M.
    I had to put everything on low and run at 1024x600 resolution to get anything above 30FPS during those moments with lots of zombies on your front.


    Go ahead, buy the iMac and try to play graphic intensive multiplayer games for yourself.
    Hear those fanboys opinions and later think about your pocket.
    I'm just saying. :)
  14. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
  15. Kongret macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2011
    Starcraft 2 multi 6750m 4v4

    L4D 2 on mbp 13
  16. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Yet you admit that you haven't played any games on the newest iMacs, yes?

    So why should we trust your opinion?

    Just saying.

  17. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    Just read his post again. Monkey. Brain. Fanboy (90% of us)
  18. thomasarisager thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2011
    It sounds like the IMac 21" 2,7GHz is capable of gaming. Only a few posts that they cant and none have really stated anything trustworthy.

    So buying the good 21" seems like it will do me good for 3-4 years? I am fine with turning res down to medium later on to have it last for 3-4 years.

    Thanks again everyone for your comments and links :)
  19. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    The iMac is an all in one, gaming is adequate on it. If your playing non graphic intensive games then you will be fine. 3-4 years.... Nope, maybe 2 years , industry moves on very fast. Also to get the most out of the hardware and a wide range of games you are going to have to bootcamp win7. Drivers and game optimisation on os x completely sucks compared to win.
  20. henrikrox macrumors 65816


    Feb 3, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; nb-no) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I have to disagree on the part that its moving fast forward.

    Crysis 1 is still the most demanding game out there.

    Also most games nowadays are being developed first on the consoles then ported to the pc.
  21. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    The base 21.5" iMac is great value, and will be able to game with at least 30 FPS on medium settings in most games at native resolution. I'm not sure how it will handle games like Metro 2033 or Crysis 2 at those settings, but I would think it'd all right.

    You can see here an example of the difference between the 6750M in the base 21.5" iMac and the 6770M in the higher end 21.5" iMac here (top chart). I'd not worry about the 512MB VRAM being completely used at 1920x1080, I don't think you'll be able to use high enough settings to actually surpass that VRAM buffer. Leave AA off and you should be fine (although you may end up being able to use 2x or 4x, I don't really know).
  22. MacHamster68, May 21, 2011
    Last edited: May 21, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    just DONT expect the performance of a proper gaming rig and you will be fine with a iMac no matter if 21.5" base model or 27" top model
    you can play games , just not at the performance level of a dedicated gaming rig

    i have build one now again after i needed windows for business reasons (avid) but i guess i could play near any game at full settings too 200fps should be a walk in the park for the setup
    ASUS Crosshair IV Formula board
    AMD Phenom II X4 955 OC @ 4.0ghz
    2x ATi HD 6970 2GB crossfire (4GB graphic ram in total not overclocked yet)
    12gb kingston HyperX T1 @ 1600 (not overcolocked yet )
    30"apple cinema display (its not glossy:p and second one already on the way to replace my tv )
    all together did cost less then a iMac 27" i5 but certainly will outperform even a iMac i7 and finally AMD inside a computer again

    but i still love to use my iMac G3's and eMac's for everything OSX tiger related ,you cant beat those old PPC processor Mac's ...not with intel inside and pee'd on glossy displays
  23. thomasarisager thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2011
    I surely can see what you guys mean.

    I think all my questions and speculations have been answered now.

    I'll go with the good 21,5" Mac and my expectations are also that it is surely able to keep me running several years but not on the highest settings on the very demanding games it will be lower.

    MacHamster68: Indeed it is a crazy computer you can put together for the money a mac costs. The screen, design and little space it requires most be at the cost of something ;)
  24. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    Apple's cost difference is actually starting to decrease because Apple is buying more and more in bulk compared to other computer manufacturers. Sure there are some that sell more computers but they have those sales spread between many more machines. Apple continues to consolidate now four form factors for desktops and 7 or 8 for laptops. Each form factor will sell millions on each run (except for the Mac Pro) so Apple gets benefits of size.

    So Apple continues to squeeze the price difference between it and the econo boxes from Dell.
  25. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    i dont think its a good idea that apple is trying to be competitive , i have the feeling that the keeping the price as low as possibleand the profits as high as possible is not good for quality , sure the iMac's look better then the rest of the all in ones from dell sony acer and the lot , but yellow tints , dust inside the display (not behind the glass ) rattling harddrives , superdrives that fail after a couple uses and all those small niggles that go on since 2009 , sure a company like apple could afford better and a more rigorous quality control

    ok apple is solving most of those issues under warranty quickly ,but i would prefere if apple would sort the issues out before the computer gets to the customer , as that was the reason for me to build a pc myself as then i have influence on the quality of parts used and where i source them from and only have to blame myself if things go wrong and saves me from returning iMac's all the time like some have to

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