Mac Pro as a gaming machine?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Michael Goff, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. Michael Goff macrumors G5

    Michael Goff

    Jul 5, 2012
    The main thing I'm wondering is how well it works in a cost/performance ratio. Or is it just better to still buy something else if I want to mainly game on it?
  2. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    I will sum up the various answers given over the years ;)

    1. The Realist - Yes, if you boot into Windows and buy a powerful graphics card.
    2. The Anarchist - I boot into Windows too...on my Hackintosh
    3. The Hopeful Optimist - Mac gaming is going from strength to strength...right?
    4. The Delusional - Macs are awesome game machines
    5. The Pessimist - Mac gaming is going nowhere. Every year the same promises and then we have to three years longer than everyone else to get the newest Call of Duty and I'm not installing Windows!
    6. The Economist - Buy a console for gaming
    7. The Cheap Bastard - Just game on your iPad/iPhone
    8. The Hyper Forum Member - WTF you want to buy a three thousand dollar game machine for it's a workstaaaation it's for woooooork!!!11
  3. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Spot on. I´ve Windows 8 installed on its own SSD. Running both bootcamp and parallels. But, as I don´t game, it´s seldom used :eek:

    If I were a gamer, I would go the Windows route, without hesitation.
  4. Michael Goff thread starter macrumors G5

    Michael Goff

    Jul 5, 2012
    So which are you in regards to the newest Mac Pro?


    Obviously I'd be booting into Windows. I play TOR, there's no OS X client.
  5. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    With regards to the latest Mac Pro I'm not happy with the graphics cards in the 6,1. They perform well in Bootcamp in SLI mode but they are oldish GPUs, have some difficulty installing AMD drivers instead of Apple's, and they don't support upcoming Direct X 12 which will improve performance and visuals. So if I was a 6,1 owner I would say buy a console.

    If you play Tor, then you just have to be happy with what you get out of Bootcamp on 6,1. The SLI performance is good.

    As a 5,1 owner with GTX 980 I have all the latest games and some classics thanks to the recent Steam sale on Black Friday and they run fantastic on Windows.
  6. h9826790, Dec 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015

    h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    By considering the price of the base model new Mac Pro, you should already able to build a very powerful gaming PC. e.g. dual 970, water cool, and OC a 4790K to a level that the Mac Pro can't achieve.

    Of course, that will be with a huge case, not working OOTB, no technical support, and cost lots of time.
  7. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    D700 is the only real choice for "serious" gaming which is over 3000 sterling...very poor value for money from a gaming perspective.

    For gaming, all you really need is a fast quad core - i5 4690K or i7 4790K and spend most of the rest of your budget on a powerful GPU (or two). Personally, I would hold on until early next year and see what the 300 series and "big maxwell" bring. My rig, when complete with new GPU next year will be around the 1200 mark. It was very easy to put together.

    I have an ATX case but there are some nice Mini-ITX and Micro ATXs cases available now.

    Various sites like Overclockers uk offer pre-builts which are beter value than the Mac Pro.

    Don't bother with the X99 platform at the moment for gaming, RAM is expensive, motherboards are on average twice as costly as Z97. Virtually every game will actually run better on the cheaper 4790K than the 8 core 5960X.
  8. AlecZ, Dec 24, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014

    AlecZ macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2014
    Berkeley, CA
    These 6-core and 12-core Xeon processors are supposed to sacrifice some single-core performance for faster multicore performance. Most games won't use that many cores effectively. They cost way more than i7 processors. And for gaming, you don't need pricey ECC RAM or pricey workstation GPUs. The Mac Pro has lots of pricey, pro-level niche parts and is therefore expensive. On top of that, it's a bit outdated now; a new iMac can outperform a low-end Mac Pro on Geekbench (which tests CPU and RAM) for less money for that reason.

    It'll certainly run games extremely well, but you could get a similar experience for less if you just want it for gaming.

    The other thing to consider is that the nMP doesn't have cheaply upgradeable GPUs. A "cheese grater" Mac Pro does and most PCs do, of course. And fast gaming GPUs are cheap.
  9. Jani81 macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2013
    Mac Pro is excellent gaming machine also. And it doesn't cost so much anymore if you know what you are doing. Just buy first basic 2009 model with 500-800 $ or 2010 model. Then update the firmware from 2009=>2010. You can now update processor up to w3690 6 core. You should change the memory also to 1333 mhz after update. Last thing what you need especially for gaming is the graphic card. Macvidcards is releasing nvidia gtx 980 mac edition after new year so that would be the perfect card for gaming! And here you go, 2 in one, very powerful working station and very powerful gaming machine! There's no way that highest end imac can get even near that kind of mp while gaming.
  10. Cheule macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2009
    I have the nMP (late 2013), bottom model 4 CPU, Dual Firepro D300s. I use it for Video editing and gaming. I find it excels in both!

    I built a gaming PC for my son, a 6 core 4.3GHz AMD with Geforce GTX 990, and my Mac runs even better in Windows 8.1 than his does. I kid you not.

    I play games like Call of Duty, Diablo III, Borderlands 2, all at highest settings with a 2560x1080 ultrawide monitor 21:9, and it's silky smooth.

    Obviously one would point out that my rig was $2,500 (edu discount), while his was $1,200. But I had that money, and I wasn't disappointed.
  11. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    The bottom line is that if you just need a gaming machine, then definitely nMP is not an option. If you need more things from your machine, then nMP under Windows with Xfire enabled, turns into a very good gaming computer.
  12. superdx macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2009
    It's more a question of operating system imo. Windows games just run better. That being said, I hate rebooting and I run all my games in OSX. It is definitely slower than the Windows equivalent, but at least I can multi-task and work at the same time!
  13. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    Lol satirical genius
  14. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    I'm gonna offer up an opinion that's a cross between the realist, and the hyper forum member.

    Are you planning on doing some work with it alongside a heavy helping of gaming? Well okay then. Grab it and enjoy. It's a solid enough machine to last a good 3-4 years without feeling like it's getting long in the tooth. And I hear it's great for video editing, music production, and 3D work to boot.

    Are you planning on buying the Mac Pro just for games? NOOOOO WAYYYYY! OH MY GOD! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? You're gonna spend way too much money for what you're getting! You could build a gaming machine for half the price that'll run circles around it.

    So it all depends on what you want to use it for. Just gaming? No. Stuff and gaming. Yes.
  15. ToroidalZeus, Dec 25, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014

    ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2009
    Number 2 checking in.

    For gaming the Mac Pro isn't very good.

    For reference I spent about 2500 (monitor, keyboard, mouse included) on a X99-5820k (6-core) and GTX 980 Hackintosh that will smoke entry level $3k Mac Pro (no monitor included). For $3k, I would be at dual 980s and hitting 50 FPS at 4k Ultra settings.
    X99 is the da bomb with sales. I can get a 5820k for 300 USD at Microcenter (~same cost as a 4790k) and 16GB of DDR4 ram for 200 at TigerDirect (so maybe 1/3rd more than DDR3 ram). If someone is building a PC from scratch I wouldn't discount X99.

    As for games running better on the 4790K that's only because it's essentially OC from the factory at 4.4Ghz Turbo. Once any X99 chip is OC games run the same or even better on X99. (games like BF4 that use more than 4 cores)
  16. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    I was tempted by the 5820 but I decided to cheap out in the end. I would need to buy a bigger heatsink for the 140 W cpu too or watercool it. The 5820 is about 320 in the UK, but the motherboards are on average 200 wheras the Z97 are usually half of that except for the ones with silly names. Rather spend the dough on GPU or two.

    My specs ended up being:
    Asus Z-97R
    16 GB Kingston HyperX
    Cooler Master 412S (using own fan)
    5870 2 GB
    Sharkoon T9 Value ATX Case
    Seasonic 660 W

    I intend on buying a single high end GPU next year, my 5870 is a bit loud.

    I would love to build an overclocked 8 core beast...but such an investment isn't a good idea for me at the moment since my job will only last until 2016 :(
  17. JoeG4 macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    I don't think you need to spend >$1500 to have a really nice gaming machine. You can get a GTX 980 for ~$600, and everything else will be cheaper. You could totally just get an iMac and have the desktop running alongside.
  18. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    I “think" I’m a number 1.

    Ok, so I’ve a Mac Pro 1,1 with 11GB and a single 5770 installed. Have 10.10 running on an SSD and Win8.1 in another bay, again on an SSD.

    For less taxing games I use Parallels. Fo real games I boot natively into Windows.

    I bought and played Alien Isolation today. Now this was at default settings, (I’ll have to rerun it to tell you what they were), running full screen, (30” Cinema display), with no discernible slowdowns.

    I also fired up Tomb Raider 2013 - game played fine.
    F1 2013 - Game played fine.
    Assassins creed III - There was the occassional and very slight stutter.

    Are you all telling me that I’m really missing that much when it comes to smoothness and graphics compared to a dedicated gaming rig or a console?

    Now, I love Mac hardware and will not buy a DOS box for that reason alone. I’m torn between upgrading to a 2012 Mac Pro 5,1 and a Mac Pro 6,1 (when the eventually release the first update).

    Whadda ya reckon?
  19. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014

    6,1 and even 7,1 owners are going to be in awe of what we add to 4,1 and 5,1 in the next year or two. NVME RAIDs, dual or quad GPUs (external power of course), USB 3.1, Bluetooth 4.2. The only thing that can stop us is OS X updates acting like Kim Jong Un and prevents our upgrades working. We have Windows installed to keep supporting our upgrades.
  20. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    This is what I am wondering. I’m already spitting feathers at the lack of internal storage. I should have bought a bloody official refurb when I had the chance.
  21. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    OCW, Create Pro and Editbuilder sell refurbs with full warranty if that's the worry.
  22. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    Almost. I’m in the UK. I’ve been scouring Mac Specialists all morning.
  23. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    Create.Pro will look after you. They have the best service in the UK. Their eBay store has some great deals you can build from scratch.
  24. Lucas Godfrey macrumors 6502

    Lucas Godfrey

    Jul 12, 2010
    Somewhere between Here and There
    I won't buy a windows machine or a Hackintosh as long as i can always put a new graphics card in my mac pro every few years.
    i don't think PCI cards are going the way of the dodo just yet so when they come down in price ill get some pcie flash storage, new graphics cards and possibly thunderbolt if it ever turns up.

    The only thing I've essentially tapped out is cpu, but I've just bought two x5690s to put in my main machine for £400. 12 cores @3.46ghz should be sufficient for the lifetime of the computer. everything else will be done over pic-e in future. and ram is getting cheaper every day, just bought another 16gb for my main for £55.

    All the while i can max out any game that i want at the moment. with a 780gtx in my machine it just screams. its expensive running a mac pro as a gaming rig sure, but it you game on the side and work on it mainly then its fantastic.
  25. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008

    I'm all over it.......

Share This Page