Mac for general purpose and gaming

Discussion in 'iMac' started by schulzjt, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. schulzjt macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2012
    Hello, I'm new to these forums and have joined because I found them to be extremely helpful.

    I've googled my topic but the research has always led to someone who wants to use Mac for high end gaming and has no focus on productivity or utility.

    My issue is that I want to know what an average person who juggles multiple tasks of writing and research would prefer for a Mac. Also, the ability to play games on moderate to high settings on the occasion, not hardcore gaming; occasional sit downs to enjoy Starcraft 2 or Borderlands. I know the rule of thumb, get a PC for gaming. The problem being that I do not want a PC, I'm not a hardcore gamer, and the main focus is productivity (i.e Word/Pages, research, movies, music, etc...).

    For as described above, what Mac would best fit?

  2. luminouslight macrumors 6502


    Nov 29, 2012
    Orlando FL
    I'd get the 27" with the 680 mx graphic cards option just so you have the ability to play most games out currently at high/ultra setting and it should last you a few years for upcoming games.

    If that's not an option get the best graphics card your budget allows. That's what I'm doing. I plan on using my imac for general purposes/ school work/ and light to moderate gaming.
  3. palmerc2 macrumors 68000


    Feb 29, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I'm in the same camp sans gaming...I prefer console or I may just build myself a little gaming PC down the road, and just use the iMac as the display.

    Anyway, I've been debating lately of what to get. Whether a Mac Mini or an iMac. I want a big screen, and I really like the way Apple has made their displays look with the glossy glass on front. I was considering a Mac Mini but the Thunderbolt Display is way overpriced, and I wouldn't want to hook the Mac Mini up to something else like a dell display or something. So to me the entry level 27" iMac seems like the best option, because if I were to configure the Mac Mini + Thunderbolt Display, it would actually be a little more than the entry level 27" iMac anyway for similar specs.

    I may even go for a refurbished 27" iMac, but I'll have to decide that when the time comes in the next couple of months.
  4. vannibombonato macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    The problem is that modern-day gaming, if you want to enjoy it at its best, is one of the VERY few tasks that truly demand a very powerful PC/MAC. Alongside with video-editing, serious audio production, extreme graphics work, etc.
    Wordprocessing, Excel, powerpoints and the likes are perfectly fine with 5+ years old MAcs/PCs.

    So, if you want to game on Mac, no alternatives except going with a 27'' with an 680MX (which is by far the most needed upgrade if you're into gaming).
  5. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    NB: You can't use the 2011 thunderbolt iMac as external monitor to any Windows run PC or mac. Maybe Apple has fixed this in the new 2012 iMac, but that will have to be tested. However, the thunderbolt display works with a PC. It's a completely arbitraty and nonsensical limitation, so if enough people complain about it, Apple might fix it.
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    If you just play games like SC2 and Borderlands2, the 650M is competent enough to play them at 1080p resolution. So the higher-tier 21.5" should be sufficient. If you want a 27", you'll need at least the 675MX to be able to play games on native resolution.
  7. Trinite macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2010

    I think the question really is, though, what "games like SC2 and Borderlands" will be like in a couple of years - and what specs they'll require.

    I'm in the same boat as the OP: I'm not a serious gamer, and don't particularly care about the high FPS shooters that seem to dominate discussion about what GPU you need. I would like to be able to play games like Skyrim and Dishonored - AND their descendants that come out over the next few years - at decent settings.

    Other than that, I need a computer for everyday academic work. It's clear that in one sense, the 27" iMac with 680MX would be the safest choice. But in general, I wonder if that's overkill. And especially, I'd really rather not have to get the 27": it's just bigger than necessary; I'd greatly prefer the 21.5. If there were a better GPU for that, there'd be no question....

    What do people think? As the OP noted, it's the hardcore gaming crowd that's insisting the 680MX 27" is absolutely necessary to game; what sort of future-proofing is needed if I'm mostly interested in RPGs and strategy for the next few years? Any thoughts?

  8. vannibombonato macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    The 680MX IS necessary if you're into gaming and don't want to change your imac 2 years from now.
    Games are unfortunately built primarly around GPUs available on PCs, not fully optimized, and the requirements needed steeply increase over time.

    If you could change the GPU in the iMac any time there would be no problem, but since you need a GPU that will be ok 3 years from now the 680MX is the only choice. And even with this, 3 years from now you'll be nowhere near meeting the requirements required for playing the latest games at their best.

    If you're very serious into gaming you need a PC, if you're a casual gamer grab a base 27 with the MX.
  9. Dr FranknFurter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2012
    Cambridge UK
    I don't know much about high end gaming etc but i'm interested in the odd game like Call Of Duty to run on the mac. To play it safe i specced the 27" with the 680mx as with uni discount it was £105 more so seemed a decent piece of mind for the next few years. Of course i'm sure for most people (myself included) you have to think carefully as every upgrade that seems worth it soon adds up to a bloody expensive machine lol. I'm in a similar usage demographic as the OP and here is my spec

    Dispatched: 3 - 4 Weeks
    Delivers: 03 Jan, 2013 - 09 Jan, 2013 by Standard Shipping
    Part Number: Z0MS
    With the following configuration:

    •3.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    •8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    •1TB Fusion Drive
    •NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5
    •Magic Trackpad
    •Apple Wireless Keyboard (British) & User's Guide (English)
    •Apple Battery Charger
    •Accessory Kit


    Oh and 32MB of Crucial RAM arrived this morning just waiting to be slammed in! I will be using CS6 etc so thats the reason for maxed out RAM even though i'm not entirely convinced you need that much RAM its a relatively cheap upgrade and RAM prices could actually more more in the next few years.
  10. schulzjt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2012
    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    Sounds pretty clear that I will need a 27" to play while safe proofing future games as much as possible.
  11. swordsmn macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2012
    And Schultz just spring for the darn 680 graphics. It's price point is too good to leave on the table with any gaming.
    Frankly I'm going to slippery slope my way to maxed out (except memory - self upgrade and no $1300 768 sad)
  12. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Correct.. and not the 660M one either. That one will do medium settings for 2012 and 2013 games and then end up in "low" land.

    People should buy according to their most intensive use. For many people, that is gaming.. utility/productivity usually isn't stressful (for the computer).

    Really do need to recommend you spring for the 680MX for the best gaming experience... Both SCII and Borderlands II would appreciate it. For general utility the best thing you can do for yourself is get the Fusion drive.
  13. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    This thread is ridiculous - for starcraft and similar games is absolutely no need to buy maxed out 27incher... are you all serious? so your advice to OP is to pay 2000 bucks to play from time to time games so low demanding as starcraft? absolutely ridiculous...

    I do play starcraft 2 on base 2011 21incher, settings high, full hd, without any problem, mostly 2v2 games on battlenet... and not under wn (where it would perform even better) but natively under os x ML... I did play Diablo 3 as well, i do play maxed out source games...
  14. Nandifix macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2012
    The 660m can play most games on high / ultra.
  15. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    At this point I cannot recommend any iMac with less than 1GB of VRAM for gaming. It may be OK now but not in a year or two. If the new 27" is out of your budget, try finding a refurb 2011.
  16. vannibombonato macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    You have no clue what you're talking about.

    Enjoy playing battlefield and the likes at max settings, but most importantly, enjoy their successors in a year or two from now.

    If anyone is into 3d gaming (that is, not "football manager") and plans on buying an iMac the only reasonable option is get the 680mx and have an up to speed computer for the next few years. And when I say up to speed, don't expect to play most demanding games at their max settings in a year from now, let alone two.
  17. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    OP occasionally plays starcraft and Borderlands and you say he must buy top end imac for 2000+ dollars:DDD I think I am not one without a clue... Hope that OP has some rational thinking and wont blindly follows yours advice...
  18. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    At 2560x1440 with 512MB VRAM? Color me dubious.
  19. Bargle macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2012
    I can't think of any game on the market that uses more than 4GB of ram...enjoy your 32, you could have bought 64 and you'd see the same benefit. I.e nothing.
  20. emgoodman macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2011
    What settings are equivalent to consoles?

    I find in these threads the terms ultra, high, med, and low are used in describing game settings. My only experience has been gaming on the 360 and PS3. What I want to know is what PC game settings would be roughly the equivalent graphically and performance of a console. I am looking at a refurb 21.5 and trying to decide between the baseline 6570 GPU or having to go over budget to the 6770.
  21. GunZi macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2012
    Starcraft 2 can be demanding for the GPU when on highest setting... my machine can only run it on Low settings, and thats why i'm getting a 675MX or 680MX iMac.


    not sure when its inside a 27 inch display and only has 512MBs..
  22. Deathwish86 macrumors member

    May 1, 2012
    I just love how at the very slight mentioneaning of gaming everyone just goes: " Uooo dude, get the 680MX. Futureproof that mofo, it's only like 2500$. Small price to pay to play Starcraft2 or Angry Birds, right?" Well no, if you want to be ignorant about it and pay that amount of money in order to have some sort of future proofing(i just love this term) to be able to play "casual games" in 2 better buy the High End 21.5" and change it annually and you'd still come cheaper and have the latest and greatest. The GT650M is a capable card, it will run the games u mentioned and some just fine. Don't listen to those who automatically push you to the 680MX as soon as they detect "gaming" in your post. But hey, it's your hard earned money!
  23. MetzoPaino macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2012
    Blizzard games like Diablo and Starcraft scale really well so would likely be happy on any iMac.

    FPS like Borderlands need something bigger.

    Considering that your main work is very un-intensive I wonder if you wouldn't be better getting the cheapest iMac, and using the saved money to build a gaming PC for under the TV. Running at 1080p means you don't need the best parts to make it look really nice, you've a much bigger catalogue of games and Big Screen mode in Steam means you can use a controller and have a very uber-console like experience.

    Then you keep your less intensive Civs/SimCitys/Starcrafts on the Mac.
  24. Zackmd1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 3, 2010
    Maryland US
    Medium to low settings are roughly equivalent to 360-PS3 graphics. Consoles are holding back game design with 7 year old hardware. All games on the 360 are rendered at 720p then upscaled to 1080p to keep FPS up so even a PC game running at medium settings at full 1080p will still good better then on a console.
  25. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011

Share This Page