Mac Pro as a gaming rig long term.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DELTAsnake, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. DELTAsnake macrumors 6502

    DELTAsnake

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    Australia
    #1
    I use my iMac as a Windows gaming rig, I've been happy with it and want to replace it with a Mac Pro when the Sandy Bridge Mac Pro's are released next year.

    I'm just really wondering how many years I can expect to get out of a Mac Pro as a gaming rig if I keep the RAM and GPU upgraded? I've heard that Mac Pro CPU's are far ahead of what desktop CPU's are. Should the CPU of a Mac Pro still be up to playing the latest games at full settings 3 or 4 years from now? Thats really the only part of a Mac Pro that can't be upgraded so I'm concerned about the long term viability of the CPU.
     
  2. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

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    #2
    CPU unlikely to be the issue

    I should say that I'm not a gamer, but I'm interested in hardware. My understanding is that the CPU is unlikely to be the bottleneck in gaming. Future cpus will probably just have more cores rather than higher clock speeds whilst games tend to be single threaded so won't use more cores anyway.

    Much more of an issue will be upgrading the gpu. If you just want to run Windows this will probably be ok but if you want to have a gpu that will work also under OSX then Apple's past policy seems to be to make new gpus available to new computer users and not to go out of their way to make them work on earlier models.

    Of course, if your main purpose is gaming, the Mac Pro is a very expensive route to take - Xeons and ECC memory are designed for stability not for high frame rates.
     
  3. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #3
    Mac PRO are way behind in hardware, CPU, memory, gpu are released way after PC gets it. PC will get SB in Jan but Mac pro's with SB won't release before Q4. PC parts are also half the price.

    Unless you absolutely need to run oSX on the machine too, you are way better off with a pc
     
  4. DELTAsnake thread starter macrumors 6502

    DELTAsnake

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    #4
    Well theres no way I'm going PC, but if I can't upgrade the GPU past a certain model then I might go with a iMac with SSD and lots of ram, that would be cheaper, but even less upgradeable.
     
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #5
    There is no indication that you won't be able to upgrade you GPU in the next years in case that you've got a Mac Pro with EFI64. I don't think that Apple will go for EFI128 in the next couple of years. They are just making the transition to 64 for all of their computers.
     
  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #6
    mac pro cpu is not hard to upgrade. take the 2010 2.8 base you can put a 3.2 quad or a 3.33 hex in it quickly and safely .

    when the sandy bridge comes out what cpu upgrades will be available. will be a new bridge to cross (get it) heh heh. My point is if you want a mac pro you will be able to upgrade it and keep it "fast" for 3 to 5 years.
     
  7. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Its a bit of a waste IMO to buy a great computer just to play video games.

    Also, what is sandy bridge?
     
  8. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #8
    The next Tock in Intels processor architecture roadmap. Those processors are not compatible with current Mac Pro generations, though.
     
  9. Vylen macrumors 65816

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    #9
    There is no EFI128.
     
  10. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #10
    I know, but it would be the logical successor for the EFI64. But as I said, it is very unlikely that Apple will adopt it in the near future.
     
  11. Vylen macrumors 65816

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    #11
    It would only be the logical successor for EFI64 if there were 128bit processors on the market. Which probably won't be around anywhere in the near future (maybe not even in the distant future).
     
  12. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #12
    I believe 3-4 years is absolutely doable, provided you start with a decent CPU and upgrade the GPU over time.
     
  13. Kpjoslee macrumors regular

    Kpjoslee

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    #13
    Besides gaming via boot camp, what do you do with you Mac everyday? I just don't see why you would want to spend $3000+ on Mac Pro if gaming on windows is your main concern. If you like doing casual tasks on Mac, then I would say keep your iMac and build your own PC for gaming, as it would be cheaper than Mac Pro even if you go for highest end CPU and GPUs in SLI or Crossfire.
     
  14. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #14
    It's really tough to view the Mac Pro as a sustainable gaming rig. The biggest limiters are the GPUs, if you still want to boot into OS X using the same card. You only have a handful of choices there, even if you're flashing.

    OS X aside, you also have to ask yourself how you would benefit from the Mac Pro's workstation-class hardware (i.e. expensive Xeon processors) outside of gaming. Also, Mac Pro logic boards lack SLI support if you want a multi-GPU NVIDIA solution down the line.

    What exactly do you do in OS X that makes it a necessity for you? If you simply like OS X better for general computing, I'd also consider the Hackintosh route. The sad reality is that the GPU (not the CPU) is generally going to be the biggest bottleneck and it wouldn't be all too uncommon to see others with sub-$1000 PCs spitting out higher frame rates than you simply because they can use any GPU they want.
     
  15. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    What do you believe to be advantage of using a Mac Pro for this rather then building a PC.

    I agree I wouldn't buy a PC, but you can build just as good looking and quiet a PC these days as the Mac Pro if your focus is Windows Gaming.
     
  16. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #16
    Wrong. Certain Mac Pros got high end processors before PCs get them.
     
  17. goMac macrumors 603

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    #17
    This.

    128 bit processors are at least 20 years away (for consumers). EFI128 would ship sometime after that.
     
  18. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #18
    you can upgrade the GPU...it's just that the newer gpus eventually wont work in OSX, only windows. The mac pro will never beat a gaming pc of even half the price b\c you can't do SLI on a mac pro. Or, you could build a couple new pcs over the length of a few years for the price of a mac pro. Essentially, it's not worth the money unless it is primarily used for OSX, or you need 2 cpus for some reason.
     
  19. w00tini macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I am a big PC gamer that just took the leap to a Mac Pro. Best decision I ever made. I sold a DIY PC rig and now have all of my desktop computing for both Win/Games and OS X in one kick ass solution.

    Games aren't scaling up the way they used to. It used to be your GPU was outdated within a few months. Now, since games are being more optimized for multi-core than for extreme pixel resolution, a Mac Pro with the ATi 5870 is a long-term solution for a gamer.

    Plus if you're into games from companies like Valve and Blizzard you're pretty much playing on their current and future engines right now. Titles like L4D2 and StarCraft 2 play as smooth as silk on the current gen Mac Pro.

    I say go for it.
     
  20. toxic, Nov 4, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010

    toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #20
    honestly, a Mac Pro is an expensive machine just for gaming.

    but yes, you can upgrade the video card, and you can use any one you want as long as you're in Windows...OS X will only take Mac video cards, or a similar Windows card flashed to support EFI. CrossFire and SLI are not supported.

    CPU is hardly a bottleneck and shouldn't be a factor.

    as for lasting 3-4 years, that depends on what games you play. RTS? definitely. FPS? maybe not.
     
  21. w00tini macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #21
    good point toxic. i would suggest that gaming in Windows will be just fine for years to come with the current Quad/Hex-core & 5870 setup. gaming in OS X has never been as good for reason we all understand at this point so to get the most mileage out of a Mac Pro for gaming, run Bootcamp and enjoy the fraggin' waggin'!
     
  22. SidBala macrumors 6502a

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  23. davelanger macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 25, 2009
    #23
    You can always get an imac for osx and buy a nice gaming rig for around $1500
     
  24. Ravich macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 20, 2009
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    Portland, OR
    #24
    Even if you're set on going with a mac, you're still better off gaming on windows. It is a regular occurrence for the OSX version of a game to run very poorly compared to the windows version even with the exact same specs.
     
  25. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #25
    IMO considering how late Xeons will come out they will be on Ivy Bridge with the Mac Pro having up to eight cores, also remember Sandy Bridge's insane Turbo which works as long as the CPU doesn't get too hot (and the Mac Pro's excellent heat dissipation) 5GHz quad cores X2 turbo n00bs
    EFI128 is easily a decade away since tech might be fast, but I'm not seeing Petabyte RAM this decade, hell we probably aren't going to hit Terabyte RAM sticks this decade
     

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