Mac gaming rig

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by KooBrewoP, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. KooBrewoP macrumors regular

    KooBrewoP

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    #1
    Ok, i am in the market for a new mac and i want something that is going to play the latest gen games, as well as allowing me to paint smoothly in photoshop. At the moment i am considering an iMac 3.06 ghz with all the options maxed out ( 8gb ram, ATI raidon 4850 ). Is this overkill?
     
  2. bunit macrumors regular

    bunit

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    #2
    Maybe not overkill but real expensive, but if you have the money, go for it.
     
  3. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

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    #3
    Get a mac pro..... Or a PC.

    Building a custom gaming PC would probably be the better option... Then install OSX on it, Hacintosh FTW! :cool::apple:
     
  4. thunderclap macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I just switched from a Mac Pro 2.66GHz to one of the new 3.06GHz iMac's. A year or two ago PC Gamer did a gaming test with the Mac Pro and while they found it to handle games well, they didn't handle as well as the PC counterpart. Their explanation was that games were not designed with the Intel Xeon processor in mind and that Core 2 Duo handled the graphics better.

    I've now done some tests on my iMac and it indeed does perform better. Before I could only play a game like Half-Life 2 at 1440 and even then it bogged down a bit on the Mac Pro. I can now play the games at full res, 1920.

    And 8GB is probably overkill. If you want it though, don't buy the memory through Apple. You can get it a lot cheaper than $1000 through a third-party.
     
  5. asphyxiafeeling macrumors regular

    asphyxiafeeling

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    #5
    8GB ram would be a HUGE waste of money, because

    1) the performance increase will not be significant at this point

    2) Apple charges ridiculous amounts for RAM. you're far better off buying them yourself (it's easy to install; don't let ignorance make you waste your valuable money)
     
  6. KooBrewoP thread starter macrumors regular

    KooBrewoP

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    #6
    But excluding installing osx on a PC, there is no cheaper way of getting these results im guessing. What performance increase will i see by maxing out the chip if the ram will not make any difference?, and how much of a drop would i see if using the 2.93 ghx imac?
     
  7. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    Oct 15, 2008
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    Germany.
    #7
    You'll be better off with an Xbox 360 than with ANY Mac or PC for gaming, end of discussion. And yes, I'm a gamer and for me stuff like Gears of War 2, Far Cry 2 and Left 4 Dead is where the party begins. And I'm no longer willing to participate in the monthly hardware upgrade chase. The Xbox 360 offers BY FAR the best bang (literally) for the buck.

    Macs suck for gaming. You'll be happy with your new iMac for three or four months and then you'll find out that you cannot upgrade it. But by then something like Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or another STALKER game will hit the stores and requires a faster graphics card than the one that you have. And then you're SOL. Unless, of course, you're happy with low resolutions and medium to low detail settings and lousy frame rates.

    Like I've said, I'm out of the upgrade chase. With the Xbox 360, the game developers are forced to make the game run on the console AND to make it run WELL and great looking - or they won't sell a copy.

    And when the next generation of game consoles comes out, it will be sold at the price of a new graphics card. Really, it's the better deal.

    About the specs of your iMac: 8 GB is what you should have these days, especially when you're going to install Vista 64 on the machine for your games. However, I don't think that you'll feel much difference between the 2.93 and the 3.06 GHz model, unless the latter one has a larger cache or something like that (which I don't know, and I don't care - I buy in the Mac Pro league because I want a multi-core computer that's expandable and customizable). An iMac basically is a notebook disguised as a desktop computer. They're beautiful machines, but not ideal for either gaming or Photoshop. You will have to live with a lot of limitations.
     
  8. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #8
    First person shooters play better on computers, except for those who needs the console auto-aim assists.

    I am usually in the top 3 of TF2 games and I usually use a MacBook Pro.
    The iMac is faster than my model so it'll work great.
     
  9. Radio Monk33 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 4, 2007
    #9
    Don't forget the slowing of the gameplay to make up for the lack of control/response time! Hurray for dumbed down interfaces and controls.

    I think the need to buy new hardware every few years is far less onerous than paying a subscription for the "right" to play online. And don't forget that you can use your computer for other purposes as well.

    I wouldn't put the money into a mac for gaming though.
     
  10. Supaklaw macrumors regular

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    Feb 8, 2008
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    NYC
    #10
    If money's no option, get a Mac Pro.

    If you like the new iMacs, get an iMac... it'll run games.

    If you want a gaming rig, get a PC. Gaming on any Mac is essentially running an emulated PC anyway.

    All shooters are better with keyboard/mouse.

    Only get an Xbox if you like playing online with racist tween tards that just learned how to curse, cheat, and quit when it's obvious their too dumb to learn how to play. I'm out of the $60 a pop game game, and constantly waiting for my xbox to break and then have to upgrade it because it's made from faulty untested and poorly ventilated parts.
     
  11. coronel mustard macrumors member

    coronel mustard

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    #11
    All shooters may be better with the keyboard and mouse- but unless you have the latest hardware, you can't enjoy the game as it is intended to be. With a pc you also have the joy of waiting for the game to install before you can even use it:rolleyes:.

    You can "enjoy" the same experience when you go online with a PC.

    The Xbox has standard hardware, therefore games made for it have to run well on it for the game to sell- you don't have to worry about having to upgrade your hardware constantly. You also have a great range of title to pick from and you can download arcade games from xbox live.
     
  12. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

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    #12
    The 8GB of RAM is a total waste for gaming. You'll run into the graphics bottleneck long before the RAM limit or CPU speed affects performance.
     
  13. Cyberius macrumors newbie

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #13
    If you have to upgrade your gaming PC constantly, you're doing it wrong.
     
  14. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

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    Jun 18, 2007
    #14
    Okay, console gamers, get back to me when you guys get to play such strategy titles as Empire Total War, Dawn of War 1/2, Company of Heroes, or soon Starcraft 2. How about games like Diablo 3?

    Add on the fact that you will get better graphics on the PC (although unfortunately at the dumbing down of the game due to being designed for consoles often).

    Honestly, you can build your custom top of the line PC gaming computer + buy a 360/PS3 for the same price as a Mac Pro, so unles money is no concern, going custom PC is the best
     
  15. PkennethV macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 16, 2006
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    Toronto
    #15
    What i would say, word for word. Though admittedly i turn down the graphics. I still much rather use a mouse than to have the best graphics though.
     
  16. voyagerd macrumors 65816

    voyagerd

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    #16
    I consider myself a Mac gamer and would definitely go for the Mac Pro. I want the extra cores in the Mac Pro to do rendering. I also already have a display and have to put all my hard drives somewhere so the iMac isn't an option for me. I built a Core i7 desktop for my friend and am waiting for 10.5.7 in order to install OSX on it. That desktop is however no where near the speed of even the low end Xeon 5500 Mac Pro. I just need to save up the money to get it so I can replace my old G5.

    What I'm still not sure on is what to do about the GPU situation. I prefer Nvidia cards since I can use CUDA and PHYSX with them and am more familiar with the drivers and stuff on the Windows side. I could get something like a GeForce GTX 285 and use third party drivers on the Mac side. The other option would be getting another Radeon 4870 and putting them in CrossFire to use in Windows. If I did this, I'd have to get a power supply to put on top of the Mac Pro for the extra PCI-e power cables.
     
  17. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #17
    Which is funny, since them games play better on PC with better controls, free online play, support for higher resolution and better graphi... y'know. We go through this about once a month but it can just be summed up with - PC's are better. They support the lower resolutions of consoles and all games can be played with a game controller (thanks GlovePie for the unsupported games).
    Monthly upgrade chase? Sir my 2 year old iMac can run L4D very well at 1680x1050. That's 24 months of the only upgrade being 1 to 3gb ram soon after I purchased it.

    On the other hand I don't know why any rational person would spend another £100-300 for a new graphics card just to play a couple of games.

    And them systems won't be capable of running any production or office software, are locked to high heaven with proprietary and limited hardware and do nothing more than play games and watch movies. Unlike a PC which does everything a console does and more.

    Again I disagree fullheartedly. Back in college in 2004 I produced a 720p HD short film using just a G4 PowerBook. I've produced commercial games using a 2006 iMac. I'm editing a 70,000x35,000px CS4 image on a 13" MacBook and I've encountered no problems doing any of those things.

    OMGZ no really? You mean I have to wait a further 2-5 minutes before playing a game? I need to lie down, I had no idea PC gaming had gotten that bad.


    Right. Silly comments are out of the way. The 4850 is a very capable card. You should be expected to get some good mileage out of such a card. The recent iMac would be very good for current games and ones coming out in the next year or 2. After that you may find yourself lowering the resolution to keep the frame rate up (game depending, of course). 8gb might be overkill for you, for a reasonable gaming rig I'd recommend 4gb but I'm managing great with 2gb (Macbook) and 3gb (iMac). Ingame load times are kept to a minimum and I've had no memory limitation problems (stuttering video, pauses etc).

    Personally my next machine will be a desktop PC with a 4870x2 (one that I won't be updating a month later :rolleyes:) so I'll be future proofed for quite some time.
     
  18. Arkangil macrumors regular

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    Jan 5, 2009
    #18
    For Mac gaming, everyone is playing to new top games, Crysis etc. to get benchmarks for fps and detail level. They are usually playing shooters.

    I am considering my first Mac in the form of a MBP, and while I game, I play more the RPG (non-mmo) types of games. I'm currently playing NWN2 and it's 2 expansions, and I'm thinking of buying Drakensang, and hopefully Dragon Age: Origins.

    How do Macs, and specifically the 2.4 MBP with the 256m 9600GT play these types of games? Am I going to be OK?

    When buying a game, obviously a PC game is going to show PC specs? How do I compare those to running Win in Bootcamp when deciding whether my MBP will be able to run them?
     
  19. voyagerd macrumors 65816

    voyagerd

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    #19
    I have an older MacBook Pro than the one you are thinking of as shown in my signature. Even with the slower graphics card, I can still play Crysis with Very High settings except for shadows and shaders set to medium. The game still looks beautiful and is very playable at these settings.

    I've never played any of the games you listed, but I'm sure the MacBook Pro is capable of playing any of them. It would be worth upgrading to the 2.66GHz MBP with the 512MB video card if you can afford it. You can directly compare the PC system requirements to your actual hardware when running Windows. I have both Call of Duty 4 for Mac and for Windows. I play single player on the Windows side since it gets better framerates. This is due to the performance hit that porting causes and the fact that I can overclock the graphics card quite a bit on Windows. The core speed of my graphics card was underclocked 100MHz by Apple. I assume they still do that with the 9600GT, so I would recommend overclocking, or at least un-underclocking.
     
  20. waiwai macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2009
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    Florida
    #20
    not overkill at all. the new imac fully loaded won't be able to handle max res and highest settings for the latest games, the cpu and memory will be fine but the main thing holding the imac from being a full fledged gaming machine is the video card...

    the 4850 is a main-stream budget video card... believe it or not...

    now if they offered a 4870 or 4870 x2 in the imac then maybe it would be appropriate for it to be called a "Gaming Machine".

    My advice to you... If you like Apples simply for the OS but are hardcore into gaming... I would recommend a EFi-X Machine. However, majority of people just like the Apple machine simply for the sleak and nice look of the physical machine, so can't do anything in that respect.

    I did some research on prices and what not... I was able to make a PC machine (i7 2.93, 4870 1gb, 6 GB DDR3 as highlights) with S-IPS 22" LCD and EFi-X with specs greater than a Mac Pro for a little over 3g's CDN (Taxes and everything included). you'd be paying that much for a fully decked out imac anyway (or close to it at least)... and that iMac's performance is 1/3 of the EFiX based machine.

    EFi-X is not illegal and is nothing like the Pystar or clone manufacturers so u don't have to worry about getting into legal problems.

    You would be able to boot Windows as wells as OS X on the EFiX based machine, that way you can get OS X goodness as well as a Beast of a gaming machine.

    EFiX is working on i7 and 4870 support and from the looks of their progress... it'll be released very soon... I'm going to be making me the EFiX machine as soon as support is provided...
     
  21. voyagerd macrumors 65816

    voyagerd

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    #21
    I built a machine for m friend a few weeks ago with a Core i7, 6GB RAM, 640GB HDD, and a GTX 260 for $1200. I tried installing 10.5.6 and 10.6 on it, but it doesn't look like OSX will install easily on Nehalem hardware until 10.5.7 is released.

    Based on seeing the benchmarks of her machine at 3.8GHz and the new Mac Pros, I'm still inclined to get a 2.66GHz Mac Pro since it has the second CPU. Maybe put a second 4870 in it with a ghetto-psu in back to power it... when I get the money..
     
  22. Arkangil macrumors regular

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    #22
    Thanks for the advice voyagerd. That is likely what I will do!
     
  23. Thunderbird8 macrumors regular

    Thunderbird8

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    UK
    #23
    Remember too (when looking at Mac v PC prices) that a second-hand Mac is actually worth some money. In April 2007 I sold a G5 Imac for £450 on ebay!

    An equivalent PC would have been a throw-away job.
     
  24. waiwai macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2009
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    Florida
    #24
    It's all relative... you pay a 25% premium for an apple machine only to be able to resell it to make that 25% premium back... PC same boat... you don't pay a premium thus you don't make money on the resale.
     
  25. thunderclap macrumors 6502a

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    Chicago
    #25
    Unless the game is designed to take advantage of the extra cores they are ignored. And let's face it: most games today aren't designed to take advantage of quad core. And dual processor? I don't think any games takes advantage of that. Mac Pro, in my opinion, is overkill for a gaming rig.
     

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