Let's get me a gaming machine!

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by XM.Saint, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. XM.Saint macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    #1
    I have an Xbox. I've enjoyed it. Hassle free, never been red-ringed, I get 40-50% off games through a personal connection. Fun for quick multiplayer stuff.

    BUT- I'm sick of paying for online play, I'm sick of missing out on custom/community content/modding. I LOATHE MS-Points and buying DLC.

    Bottom line, I want a gaming rig, or I want to become less interested in gaming :)

    I want a macintosh because:
    -They are sexy.
    -I like the mac OS.
    -I like to do other stuff (purely as hobbies, I am by no means good): Photo editing, movie editing (Final Cut Pro).
    -Convenience, relatively hassle-free experience.
    -I grew up with Apple, from Mutant Beach to Marathon to Myth(best games ever, bar none, God what happend to bungies inspiration?), Warcraft:Orcs and Humans to World of Warcraft.

    I want a PC because:
    -Poor mac options for graphics/customizability
    -$$$$
    -I'm going to be gaming in Windows anyway.


    I could definitely be persuaded to buy a PC rig, but I hate the way everything works. Whenever we haul my friends computers over for a LAN or w/e, its 3 macs and 2 pcs. We always have to wait for updated drivers, reset preferences, and more than once had to have Windows re-installed before we could play. I don't want that. I hate that ****.

    So recommend your preferred gaming rig. How does the top end Mac gaming set-up compare cost/performance wise with a cheaper PC? I want to stay under 3k if i have to go Mac Pro. I would prefer closer to 1.5k for PC.

    Sell me.

    P.S.- I know next to **** about customizing/building computers. It seems graphics card upgrades are the real problem with macs. What is a good amount of RAM/Processor speed for a decent lasting gaming rig?
     
  2. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

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    Location:
    Northern California
    #2
    I can relate to your dilemma. I'm kind of the same way, using my Mac Pro for both (personal/hobbies/work + gaming). But it's like you said, we use Windows for gaming anyway and while the Bootcamp drivers make setup pretty easy, it's still Windows and you still have to deal with the problems that arise, so why not just have a full PC for gaming is what I think. The main reason is of course going to be having access to the latest and greatest video cards (provided you can afford it!) or at least having a vast selection to pick from. The Mac Pro's hardware, while certainly capable of gaming, isn't really geared for that task and you're paying a premium for those Xeons and fancy RAM and whatnot which won't help your gaming performance. It's nice having one machine that can "do it all" but if you don't really need the power on the Mac side, I'd go with a PC built for gaming and a cheaper Mac (maybe a Mini with a switch to share monitors and input). Actually I've considered this myself though it'd be hard to part with the HDD and RAM capacity of the Mac Pro :) (though since I have one already I could keep it around for those reasons).
     
  3. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #3
    For the price of a high end Mac (maxed out iMac 24", regular Mac Pro etc) you could get a Macbook + homebuilt gaming rig. That's my plan anyways and I'm half way into it :)

    Really. The current macs are capable and can play games. But if you want to go overboard with settings and resolution, and something that is future proofed for longer than a Mac or any other fixed hardware system, then build your own gaming rig.
     
  4. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #4
    Get a Mac. You can run both OSX and windows.

    With PCs/windows, you will run into problems such as constant need for tweaking, virus scans, frequent defrag, and inexplicable problems.

    However computer based FPS games are typically better than console versions because computers don't need auto-aim and the the slower game play imposed on consoles.


    If you want a desktop Mac
    Get iMac with Radeon 4850 or
    Mac Pro with Radeon 4870.

    I use a MacBook Pro. Works great in many games such as COD4 and TF2.
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #5
    Wait, what?

    I'm going to second a MacBook + a cheap gaming rig. $500-600 is more than enough unless you just really have to play Crysis on HIGH. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

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    Aug 9, 2007
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    Australia
    #6
    A Mac Pro with a Radeon 4870 is a total waste of money, unless you're also going to be doing something that uses the 8 CPU cores. Even the quad core model is a waste of cash for a gaming machine.

    As far as Windows goes, I've never had any problems on my boot camp installation. No defragging needed or DLL trouble or registry trouble.
     
  7. Yaboze macrumors 6502a

    Yaboze

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    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    The Garden State
    #7
    That's what I did. Got a Macbook which is small and quick enough for everything but gaming. Then I just bought a Intel Quad Vista rig for games.

    I like the iMac but you can get a Windows PC that is much better and upgradeable for less. You can upgrade the video card at least in a PC.

    The Mac Pro is sweet, too, but way overpriced.
     
  8. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    Jan 18, 2005
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    #8
    ^ My Macbook runs Bioshock very well, L4D, Fallout 3, TF2. So it's good for everthing and gaming.

    Heh, I've had more problems on OSX than XP in the 2 years I've had an iMac. All I have installed is AVG for protection and I've never had a virus on this. And to make matters funnier I do a weekly defrag in XP and never did one for OSX. I ran a demo of some Defrag app and damn - the HDD was really fragged! Total mess. Had to shell out for the full version.

    The only tweaking I've done in XP is overclocking the graphics card which was as easy as downloading new drivers, open the settings app, move some slider bar. In OSX I had to buy and install USB Overdrive to get the extra buttons working on my mouse. *shrugs*
     
  9. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #9
    To OP: You're a gamer and want a gaming rig. In other words: You have no need for a Mac and it would be the wrong choice for you. Macs - including the Mac Pro - are no gaming machines, end of discussion, and typical Mac users are no gamers. Most folks here tolerate frame rates, audio output and graphics settings that would make most hardcore gamers shudder in disgust.

    Buy an Alienware (a Dell company, isn't it?) machine. Those beasts were designed for gamers - and ONLY for gamers.

    If you can't/don't want to afford an Alienware box, buy a Dell XPS.

    If that's still to expensive, find a nice local computer store and let them customize a machine for you that fits into your budget.
     
  10. pianoplayer1 macrumors 6502

    pianoplayer1

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    Dec 31, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    #10
    Yes definately Macbook + gaming rig. Even better if you can hook the PC up to your TV and use a wireless keyboard/mouse. And keep the macbook for nongaming tasks.

    I wouldn't recommend an Alienware or PC like that... just buy the parts from newegg for example and stick it in a case - with good components it can be around $800 and you can spend another $1200 on a macbook for a killer combo.
     
  11. cryonicjim macrumors newbie

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    Mar 13, 2009
    #11
    Might be better off with a ps3+low end mac

    interestingly as a semester final for one of my IT classes, I made a detailed analysis of the whole gaming pc vs gaming system and regular pc. the end result was that, in the long run you'll spend less buying a gaming system and a low or mid range mac.
     
  12. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #12
    What, really? Even giving that console games are double that of a PC game, pay for an online subscription, pay for DLC?

    Switching to PC gaming was the best economical decision I made. Past the initial cost I've been saving money, and had better controls (mouse+keyboard), free DLC, free multiplayer, better graphics...
     
  13. JackAxe macrumors 68000

    JackAxe

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    In a cup of orange juice.
    #13
    I second that. Avoid Alienware and Dell like the plague. Both are overpriced clone makers that will charge you through the roof roof for lesser components. On that thought, pretty much avoid all so called gaming-rigs.

    Piece the system together yourself and you'll save a bunch. It's really not that difficult and it will give you a certain level of competence with your system -- and don't skimp on components.

    PCs are so freaking inexpensive and powerful these days and it's pretty much across the board. Depending on the screen resolution you want to game on, really determines how much you'll need to spend. Mid-range PCs can actually handle true 1080p(None of this upscaling blah) at 60 fps, and at a much higher frame-rate and detail level than consoles.

    I have Macs and PCs. Macs for practically everything else, PCs for gaming/3D.

    Anyways, to provide some general recommendations, if you do decide to get both:

    First off, most PC games are held back by consoles now days, so as rambled above, you don't need a super-rig to get phenomenal performance. $1.5k will buy an i7 easily.

    CPU: Get a quad-core -- all the new games support it and they are CHEAP, and even if an old game doesn't use it, your OS will.

    Mobo: I recommend getting an Intel if you get an Intel CPU -- their boards are once again highly reliable and developers now days can be a bit lazy, so will only test for the most obvious configs it seems. My friends prefer ASUS, which make excellent component for the most part. I've owned Tyan(workstation) ASUS, A-Bit, MSI, and others I will not mention. The two best boards I've owned, are this Intel DP35DP, which is from the other year, and an Intel Neptune from the Pentium days -- my Intel Trident board was complete crap. I've never owned a more stable PC, not even my Tyan, which is still here, is as reliable.

    GPU: Prices are freaking soooo dirt cheap right now. If your mobo has SLI, you can factor that in as which GPU you want -- so just add in another GPU when prices drop, if games at that time start to tax your system, or if your budget allows it, buy two now. But first figure out what screen rez you want to drive.

    Also, on the GPU, if you consider ATI, you should probably also consider AMD for the CPU. I personally stick with nVidia most of the time, as they always do better with my 3D apps. BUT, I have bought ATI over nVidia, when there's a clear edge, like back in the 9700 pro days. I like both companies, but nVidia has some advantages over ATI outside of gaming.
     
  14. JackAxe macrumors 68000

    JackAxe

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    #14
    This is rather subjective. It really depends on the types of games you like to play and how many you buy each year and so on. It can be skewed both ways.

    How much was your target PC's price? Was it a clone, was it something like an Alienware? What do you view as a regular PC and a gaming PC?

    Also, with PC games, there's almost always user mods, because of included editors, which expand a single games life way beyond its years. Look at WarCraft 3 as an example. PS3's LBP is kind of an exception, but it's just that, an exception, where as with PCs, this sort of thing is the norm.

    Anyways, there's more to ramble about, but I have to say the overall benefits of gaming on a PC are greater, unless you're just a casual gamer.
     
  15. XM.Saint thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    #15
    Thanks to all for your replies. I've decided to go with a cheaper PC rig, and maybe get a macbook or imac down the road sometime.

    The problem is, I really don't know squat about what I can skimp on, and what I truly need. I have a friend who can help me put it together, not that I'm worried.

    Anyway, I've done some research but it's all kind of subjective so I need some help.

    Where is the best bang for the buck? So far I'm thinking newegg.com

    But I'm not sure what motherboard to get. Do I need/want i7... DDR3 1333, 1600 or 1800?How much processing speed/ram? Do i want crossfire/sli? How many pci slots? I really don't know much. I've been reading up but some quality feedback here would make things easier.

    Let's say my budget, officially, is 1.2k. I can go a little over if I can get a big performance boost for a few hundred dollars.
     
  16. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #16
    i7 is easy to hit for about $1,000. If you want to get Dell XPS Studio you can go as low as $800 and drop in your own video card.
     
  17. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #17

    Sure. Only that you won't have up to five years of service and warranty if you go for that option, which is something that people always tend to forget when they claim that Dell "charges you through the roof for lesser components" - which simply is not true. But maybe I'm spoiled because I'm used to buying from them as an enterprise customer (at my ex-job) and always got the best prices and the best service from them. Nobody was -ever- able to offer us equally specced equipment at a better price. Not even HP, and they're already highly competitive.

    I also wonder what you folks have against Alienware? Sure their stuff does not come cheap, but neither does Apple's. And those Alienware boxes really look mean and from everything I've read so far, all the folks who have one really seem to enjoy those machines.

    Anyway. If you don't want service and warranty and if your own work time does not cost you anything, then build your own machine. However, I doubt that you will actually safe any money on that. The last time I looked, pre-built systems were always cheaper than the sum of their parts. Must have something to do with mass orders and cheap (almost slave) labor in China, the country where Apple, Dell and others let produce.

    Also, I doubt that you will really feel that extra point of performance that a highly customized machine might give you. It's usually only a benchmark thing.

    I completely lost interest in building my own computers more than a decade ago, so the garage feeling no longer gives me a kick. I rather order a complete box these days and use my saved time on what I like more: Play the bloody game I bought this machine for.
     
  18. Cyberius macrumors newbie

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #18
    This advice is wrong. Part for part, you can build a computer cheaper than Dell, HP, or anyone, really. It's not even close, especially if you buy through Newegg.
     
  19. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #19
    Fixed :)

    But yea, building a PC will always be cheaper IMO I wouldn't go for a Core i7 just yet. A Core2Quad would be more than powerful enough for a modern gaming rig, just be sure to partner it with a 4870x2 (or even x1, very capable card). 4-8gb ram. The rest is up to you (HDD, wifi, bluetooth, DVD or Bluray, monitor, 360 controller, keyboard/mouse, 5.1 speakers...)
     
  20. JackAxe macrumors 68000

    JackAxe

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    #20
    5 year service plan? Dells are 3 years last I checked and at an additional cost. Also, if you don't buy dirt cheap components, or OEM, they almost always include 3 year warranties -- at least the brands I like.

    Dells are made cheap. Their plastic casing is cheap and they're always a mixed bag of cheap and decent components. Show me a quality Dell and I'll show you an overpriced PC.

    For enterprise and some small businesses Dells are fine, they are also fine for some consumers that don't care to ever go any further with their system, or don't know anyone that can help them out, but for gaming, or anyone that cares to do a bit of research with the internet, Dells are overpriced.

    When Alienwares showed up in the early nineties, they sold outrageously overpriced clones -- this was during the computer fair days. Now days they sell obnoxious looking overpriced clones. Their components don't justify their cost. They're selling consumer components closer to workstation prices.

    I would never degrade an Apple by comparing them to any consumer PC. :] You obviously use Macs, so you know all of the consumer perks they offer, that no PC has yet to match. :)

    I personally don't buy consumer Macs, only their workstations and higher end portables. From that stand point, their system's pricing have remained extremely competitive. It's more obvious with the Intels now, but even with the G5s, their price based on their performance and components was great -- at least for most work outside of 3D.

    That's misleading. As noted retail components have 3 year warranties. Even the OEM parts have a year plan-- you really need to go cheap to get worse than that.

    Cheap really depends on what you're buying and it's pretty clear that Dells gaming rigs are not worth the sum of their parts. As far as China goes, I'm pretty sure they mass-produced 90% of my components, if not all.

    The money one saves from not buying Dell or Alienware, will pay for extra performance. Why settle for just highly optimized, when you can use the money save to buy faster components.

    The reason I piece my systems together, is so that my bloody games will play out of the box. If I really wanted to be lazy, my friend puts together systems via his business. I also don't have to worry about my OS being littered with crap, nor getting another mouse and keyboard I don't want. I did step away from building a new PC when developers neglected them in favor of consoles -- as MS was showering them with money for exclusives -- but fortunately that time seems to have past for the most part.

    And 10 years? That's a long long time to be away, you should probably build a PC as a refresher, because things have really changed and for the better. :)
     
  21. JackAxe macrumors 68000

    JackAxe

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    #21
    EVIL game controller!!! :eek:
     
  22. fblack macrumors 6502a

    fblack

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    USA
    #22
    I think its a good decision a macpro would have been overpriced for just gaming. If you were a heavy photoshop/final cut pro user and gamed a little bit well then it might have been worth it. But not solely as a game machine.

    I've built a few gaming machines over the past couple of years, my most recent was last summer and am planning to pick up a mini or maybe a Macbook (I wish they made Macbooks in 15inch come on Apple!) for the regular stuff soon.

    You need to do a little research. A good place to start is to get some ideas from several review sites that provide system build guides. This at least will get you some ideas of potential costs. Some sites that you might want to start with:
    Firing squad suggests different builds from $500 budget to $5K Dream Machine
    http://firingsquad.com/hardware/spring_2009_buyers_guide/

    Tom's Hardware builds 3 different machines tests them and then gives you a value/performance breakdown.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-radeon-gefore,2147.html

    AnandTech publishes several buyer guides, this one gives you some ideas for building a Core i7 system.
    http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=3510&p=1

    There are many, many sites with build guides and suggestions. These are just a few. Some just list hardware suggestions and some build the machines, test them with the latest games and publish the results. If I were you I would take my time and do a lot of research before building. Its not hard to build your own machine, but the devil is in the details.

    You also mentioned in one of your posts LAN parties? Well, you can build a SFF machine that you can carry around, but that is a whole other beast.:)
     
  23. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #23
    Dell's XPS Studio with the Core i7 is a nice deal if you're going to go the prebuilt route. New it hovers just over $900 and refurbished it goes as low as $759. My suggestion is to purchase your own video card instead of paying what Dell wants.
     
  24. Mr. lax macrumors 6502

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    Apr 6, 2007
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    Canada
    #24
    Didn't you answer your own question?

    If you hate it, don't choose that option
     
  25. jmpage2 macrumors 68030

    jmpage2

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #25
    It would depend on the quality of the power supply. The lower end Dells have been notorious for having really weak power supplies and you could hit the limit if you went with a substantially higher end card and put it into a machine with a wimpy PSU.
     

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