Mac Pro and Gaming

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by brigog, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. brigog macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2007
    Well I was hoping to hear something new today at the keynotes but I guess it was not what I expected. Anyhow here is my question. I don't graphic design at work and so im on a mac all day long. I love mac's etc but ive always had a PC at home because I love to play games in my spare time. I tend to run alot of high end games that require alot of resources etc so I would like to have something that can handle my needs while being in my price range.

    My budget is around 5k but im deciding what to do exactly and looking for some guidance from all of you. IDEALLY I would like to get a high performance desktop for at home that I can play games on as well as do any work I need to do. Also I would like to get a Laptop to take with me to work for smaller things. Ive looked at alienware computers and macs mainly (open to others) both have there pluses.

    • 8 Core's (great for multitasking even though doesn't help games much)
    • Mac OS
    • Fast interface
    • Ability to use my Mac and PC apps
    • Ability to go over 4gb of Ram

    • Expencive
    • Need to buy after market ram to keep cost down
    • Can SLI the Nvida Graphics Card (only Direct-X 10 Card)
    • Have to use Bootcamp to run game (not really a huge problem I dont think)

    • Runs Majority of Apps & Games Nativly
    • SLI Support for most all graphics Cards
    • Alot of high performace parts geared towards gameing

    • No sort of Bootcamp
    • Most computer systems only support up to 4GB of Ram
    • Alienwares higher end items cost more then my budge
    • Viruses (need I say enough)
    • Visa (I can use XP I suppose)

    Overall I beleive I have a general understanding of pros and cons of each BUT I only have experience with gaming on PC's. I would like some feedback from people who have used Bootcamp to run high end games (Everquest 2, Call of duty, Vanguard, Etc) to see how they run. Now I know they just released the new Nvidia graphics card but my concern is that 512ram will become outdated shortly on relations to gaming standards considering most high end gaming systems now have 2 SLI 768 Cards.

    Also I mentioned above im looking for a laptop as well. Any input on a good laptop to take to and from work every day would be great. I used to have an old G4 Powerbook but I sold it to put money towards a newer laptop to keep up with times. For my laptop needs its pretty basic. It would be great if I could do games and things on it but its not NEEDED. due to my budget I was almost considering a basic model of the new Mac Air but please give some input.

    finally note is im a student as well so Ill be getting student rates so take that into consideration when thinking about cost because it can make a huge difference. Also if it goes a little over 5k im not to worried, just don't want to be sitting close to 6k.
  2. exspes macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2008
    For 5k you can build an amazing gaming rig.

    The difference between the MP and a gaming rig is that mac pros use workstation level hardware. That means Xeons, which are expensive. Workstations key is reliability. Hardware is less prone to quirks, and faults. You pay a premium for that.

    Not to mention games don't benefit from 8 cores, I hardly would think that they benefit from 4.

    I'd say, if your range is 5k, and you love macs, build yourself an amazing gaming rig for 2.5, and spend the rest to get an MPB or Imac for everything else. :D

    Oh and - don't buy Alienware. Go to, pick yourself up all the parts, and enjoy. It'll be a lot cheaper. You can find plenty of guides out there of what components to select for various budget gaming rigs.
  3. brigog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2007
    Thank you for your post. Also in you mind what do you think would be in a REALLY good gaming system. Also if anyone else has any views on everything please feel free to add.
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    How much power do you need for work?

    If I was in your situation I'd probably be looking at a dual core (3GHz+) gaming system (quad if budget allowed), 2 GB RAM, and be looking at the next generation of graphics cards. Depends what resoution you want to play at, but if you are playing at lower ones you can get alot more mileage out of your money buying the lower end of the top components (things like 8800GT graphics cards and E6850 or Q6600 processors) and then replacing it in a couple of years rather than buying high end once for minimal improvement.

    There is no reason with your budget that you shouldn't be able to get something like that and say a Macbook Pro and a decent monitor to share between them for when you need to do work in OSX.

    I'd probably start with what monitor setup I'd want and work from there, because you don't need two SLI'd 8800Ultras and a QX6850 to play lower resolutions, but if you want to game at 2560x1600, well...

    Oh and really consider building yourself, or having it built by a local shop. Alienware is not the route for maximizing a budget.
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    You'd be better served by several $1,000 quad systems over several years with the best midrange hardware then a one lump sum on a work station.

    I spent ~$2,000 for my MacBook and my soon to be quad minitower. I waited for ages for a Mac Pro but I gave up back in November. I just missed out an auction for a X3220 for $222.50 on eBay. I'm still stalking for other chips.
  6. fernmeister macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2007
    Why not buy a macbook and build a hot PC gamestation?

    The Mac Pro is just not a good buy if the main thing you want is games. It makes much more sense to build an upgradable desktop gaming machine if that's your thing. Then a MacBook (model depends on your needs), would work as your portable machine for work and whatever.
  7. exspes macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2008
    Here are a couple of guide links to show you some prices/power comparisons:

    Anandtech High End Gaming

    Anandtech Midrange Gaming

    ArsTechnica's High End Gaming/Midrange Workstation

    The Ars guide isn't really midrange. They call it a "HotRod" guide, and their next step up is a "God Box" - the god box is pretty much a pc equivalent of a MacPro. Like I said, for just gaming, you can do it for cheaper. Those guys come out to $1500 - $2000
  8. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    I find your Pros and Cons severely flawed.

    A Mac Pro will also run all applications natively, whether you are booted into Mac OS X, Windows XP/Vista or Linux for that matter.

    The price is subjective and for something that makes me money I wouldn't cry over an initial small investment. You got to give something before you can get.

    You should also distinguish between Scalable Link Interface (NVIDIAs SLI) and ATIs (or AMD, however you see it) CrossfireX. They are not the same. You will be able to run two ATI cards in CrossfireX but not NVIDIAs SLI (at least not officially).

    Sorry for asking but how is running Windows for games a con?
  9. yesthisisapc macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    Another thing that should be pointed out is that you could stick as much RAM as you want in a Mac Pro and you'd still have a speed problem. FB-DIMMs have notoriously slow access speeds and will prove to be a massive bottleneck.
  10. junior77 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    I see a lot threads saying to buy two machines...which is great for those that want two boxes.

    But if you just want ONE computer, how can you go wrong with a MacPro? Yeah, it costs a lot...but you can do A LOT with it. You can run professional apps, you have the best OS, and you 'can' run games. Can you run them as fast as a gaming windows machine? Probably not...

    I'd curious to see how much differently games run with Bootcamp and then running games that run on both OS, i.e, World of Warcraft (which isn't that graphic intensive to begin with). If anyone has any good links...please forward them on.

    But can you play the games with more than acceptable performance, but would like to wait for how the 8800GT is implemented in the new line, i.e., drivers.

    How 'slow' is the memory, when it comes to real world FPS performance?? Are you talking 1-2FPS or 10-20FPS?
  11. ^squirrel^ macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2006
    The new Macpro has faster Ram, correct me if i'm wrong but it's PC6400 800mhz.

    This isn't that bad for gaming.
  12. yesthisisapc macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    Primarily load time increases and maybe a 5% frame rate decrease in spots. Also, I've found that graphics drivers for OSX are largely, if I may, horrible pieces of crap that in no way seem suited for the games released for Macs.

    There are actually a lot of problems with Mac gaming natively in OSX.
    1. A lot of games are pretty much built for PPC systems. In fact, a LOT of them are, still. You'll find more are being released that will run on the Intel chips natively, but most still seem to go through Rosetta, which is a huge slowdown.
    2. Some games won't run in OSX at ALL anymore. Now, these are older games, but sometimes I want to play Diablo 2. New games don't have this problem.
    3. Graphics card drivers :(

    Even if you boot into Windows, the Mac Pro is not really suited for gaming. These are primarily high powered workstation computers.

    Not bad, but not really GOOD either. It's not just the fact that it's 800MHz, it's the fact that fully buffered memory has some pretty slow write times in general.
  13. ^squirrel^ macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2006
    I have to say i've been playing Battlefield 2142, COD 4 and Flight sim x and i've been very happy with the performance. Unless you're a hardcore gamer then this machine is a perfect all rounder!
  14. orangejuice macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2008
    New nVidia GForce cards should hit the shelves in Feb, doubt Apple will even consider these as an extra BTO option later down the line.

    As developers continue to push creative boundries, from a gaming perspective, the Mac Pro is a poor option.

    I'd advise that you build your own windows box, or get a 360 if you don't believe cutting-edge graphics and a kb / m are necessities.
  15. junior77 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    Historically, they do eventually trickle down a new card supporting the same connection, but definately not the choices that are seen with PC options.
    X800XT AGP, XT1900 PCIe for G5...eventually 8800GT for early mac pros.

    Tend to agree if gaming is the only reason for purchase.

    XBOX is nice for what it is. But for FPS games, kb/m are my choices. In a ideal world you would have 2 boxes, but a little sacrifice in gaming...the mac pro should be more than adequate and hold it's own against high end PC gaming. Only time will tell when official comparisons come about...
  16. junior77 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    I don't get it...

Share This Page