Is the 650M good enough for my gaming needs

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Sensa, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Sensa macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2012

    I tend to keep my computers for significant periods of time. For example my current computer is an early 21in 2006 iMac which means it has both the ATI1600 GPU and the 2 ghz core duo neither of which are supported anymore, by anyone meaning I can't even play new basic games and/or update to Mountain Lion.

    I don't play a lot of games but do want to play Civ 5 and Guild Wars 2 now that there's a mac version of it. It is also possible I would, if the game was good enough, bootcamp a new iMac.


    Prior to the new iMacs being unveiled I was thinking of getting a 27 in with the best possible GPU, considering the likelihood I'll keep the new computer for 6+ years, to avoid the situation I am in now where my otherwise properly operating computer is functionally obsolete.


    1) Is the 650M in the higher end 21 in new iMac capable of smoothly playing Civ 5, GW2 and even possibly supporting bootcamp play of similar games currently out.

    2) If yes, can the added cost of going with the best GPU option, available in the 27 in version, be justified on the basis of extending the life cycle of my computer 6 or 7 plus years?


    Will both options both be functionally obsolescent 6 years down the road, which wouldn't justify the extra dough now, and would i be better off using the saved money on the purchase of a high end 21 in and shorten my computer life cycle to around 4 years and just buy the similar model with latest middle of the road GPU?

    what would you do in my situation...thanks in advance
  2. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Treat the iMac like a laptop purchase.

    Get the fastest model available to extend it's useful life.

    It's not obsolete until it doesn't do what YOU want it to do. :D

    Fallout3, Fallout:New Vegas and Homeworld 2 Complex run just great on my Late2009 iMac.
  3. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Really depends on how you like your settings.. On the 650M on the larger maps in Civ you will probably want to go down to medium graphics settings. You really want at least the 675M model if you want a couple years of not worrying about settings; if you're at all serious about games and you want to keep the iMac as long as you can, just build to order the 680MX and a Fusion drive and be done with it. That's my plan.
  4. DrRadon, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012

    DrRadon macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2008

    check this side, it´s german, but you´ll get the Idea.

    Select all the games you are interested in (hold command and click as many as you care for) and put a X besides the cards you want to compare. After that hit the "Einschränken" Button and the side will take a few seconds to compile your personal list.

    The little numbers given for each resolution/game high/low end needs is the frams per second the game gets.

    Keep in mind that these tests are made with Windows Notebooks. Maybe your iMac i5 is better than what they rock as a proccessor, but likely the game will run slower on OSX than on Win.
    Guild Wars should run on low and high settings, but not on the maximum.
    Civ 5 only gets a good rating on low, no test on high and a bad one at ultra. (than again i have been running it on my 2007 iMac via Bootcamp so i am sure a new iMac will have the power to to get the game rolling smoth on some level of good looks)
    The Witcher 2 seems to be one of the games that might be able to get, at least the 640 card, to it´s kness even on low settings ( 25 fps ). Interesting enough since the game just got it´s Mac release a few weeks agoand it likely will not get these numbers on OSX. I can report on that as soon as i got my 650M iMac, just bought the game for 6€ of a british shop.
  5. Isengardtom macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2009
    Mine too
  6. DrRadon macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2008
    On the other Hand. What you pay for the high end iMac with fusion drive today might as well be enough extra to buy a new iMac 3-4 years from now when there are already better cards and fusion drive or even SSDs have become an afordabel standard.
    The 27 inch high end model is starting at 2000€. Ad another 300-400€ to that to get a fusion drive... (based on MacMini fusion drive prices)

    If you look at that pricing you might just get a cheap gaming pc with yur 21 inch iMac. That would at least be upgradeable in more wais than just ram.
  7. Fynd macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2010
    I used a 650m for months playing GW2 on my rmbp. It's OK under boot camp, but only playable with settings dialled way down, at sub-native res and with moderate frame rate.
  8. MagicThief83 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2012
    I fully agree and this makes a lot of sense. Unless you hardcore game, I think it's prudent to just get the maxed out 21.5" so that the system lasts you a couple of years and you still get great performance.


    Of course you can't game at native res on the rMBP under Bootcamp, because any card will struggle and experience decreased performance under the maximum resolution of the rMBP. Even the 680MX would be at the mercy of the rMBPs native resolution. The GT 650 is a solid mid-range card and can play a majority of today's games at decent resolutions with medium-high settings and you'll still get good FPS.
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The 650M in my retina MBP smoothy plays GW2 at 1920x1200, high settings, 40+ fps (drops to 25+ in heavy WvWvW). It should be ok to play modern games at full HD resolution/med settings. I am a bit worried about 512MB VRAM though... thats really pushing it.

    Well, the maxed out iMac is a beast that will be able to compete with most of the gaming rigs. If you plan to keep the machine 7 years (if it will survive that long) while still playing games, a 680mx has a much better chance playing future games than the 650m. I mean, its will be literally over 3 times faster than the 650m. Besides, it will let you play modern games at native 1440p resolution with decent result, which is a great fun.

    Any option will be obsolete in 6 years. I'd go for the high-end 27" iMac (depending on how much it costs), sell it in 3 years and get a new one. In the end, it won't be much more expensive than buying/selling a 21" model, as you will also get more money back. A new 21" is $1500, you will probably be able to sell it for around $900 after three years. The 27" iMac will be something around $2200, but you will be able to sell it for $1600. Doesn't make that much difference.
  10. Fynd macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2010
    Apologies, native res for me meant 1080p. I don't factor 2880x1880 into native resolution when gaming, haha. My bad.
  11. MagicThief83 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2012
    Looks like I'll be settling for the GT 650M because I was in the Apple store today, and the 27" iMacs were huge!!! (the new ones will just be thinner but with the same dimensions right?) I find the 21.5" to be perfect. The 27" is just pure overkill. Like I mentioned, I am almost guaranteed the 650M will be perfect for casual to moderate gaming. For most people wanting to get the 680MX just to "future-proof" your system, I think it's a little silly because no matter, technology changes at such a fast pace, it's almost difficult to keep up with. The 680MX will be outdated as well in a couple of years as well, as there will be a GPU even more powerful. Get what system best suits your needs (if that means the 27" and the 680MX, then that's great!), but to go beyond what's necessary and spend unnecessarily is crazy, and that's why I'll be settling for the 21.5". Apple store rep told me the new iMacs (21.5") will be available sometime the middle of the month, I'm hoping for next week and can't wait!


    Most YouTube videos of the GT 650M in the rMBP demonstrate the cards ability to handle high-res gaming while achieving good frame rates. Such videos showcase BF3, D3, BorderLands 2, Batman Arkham City. I have a couple of Steam games I would like to play (Batman Arkham Asylum, GTA IV, Borderlands). I think the GT 650M can handle them at reasonable resolutions and high-settings. Can't wait! :D

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