Mini + Small cheap gaming pc

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Planner Dude, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. Planner Dude macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    I think i want to go with a mini, but fear the few games i might want to play will requre a better graphics card. Couple that with a lack of an opitical drive and less options for expaniding, makes me think i could use a cheap pc to fit my possible gaming needs and future expansion (as opposed to byong a nonupgradable imac instead of mini + pc.

    My question is what do people here use. Can u get by with a cheapo pc tower with dedicated gpu for gaming?

    I defintle want to play the new simcity and might like to play battlestar galictica, starwars republic, or other yet to be determined goofy games.

    Or am i overthinking this and could get by with the i7 mini?
  2. mabaty macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Boise, ID
    The mini won't cut it for gaming with its HD4000 gpu, but why two desktops? Why not a MacBook and budget gaming box?

    I use a custom built Windows machine for gaming, and a MacBook Pro Retina for work, and everything else. My Windows machine was not a cheap, but its 3 years old now and can still play the games I like @ 2560x1440 res. You could build something similar in performance for less than $1000 for sure. Then, just get an Air maybe? I don't know what your budget is like, but theres my opinion.
  3. jmcgeejr macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    I have been using a mini(2011) for everything day to day, it's quite a little workhorse, I too built a gaming rig about 3 years ago, it's still plenty powerful enough to do everything I need, I even have a nice hdmi switch for them.

    However at this point I am actually going to replace them with a new iMac with the 680mx graphics.

    To answer your question, yes you can do that, and it's fine, but for me I got the point where I was tired of having all this real estate wasted with hardware and stuff when I could get it all in one box.

    Good luck!
  4. durruti macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2004
  5. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    The new simcity out in early 2013 is the main game I want to play. I don't have a lot of money to spend on a system.

    I want a Mac Mini for photos and video editing so I need a lot of hard drive space. This rules out a laptop, plus i have a dell laptop issued by my work so don't need another lappy (maybe i'll get an ipad in the future, though). My current set up is a 2007 Mac book Pro but its battery is dead, so it functions more like a desktop. This laptop works fine for surfing from the couch but it is showing its age with ripping dvds, mp4s, and scanning for faces in iphoto. The hdd is small so i have to have all my files on separate externals complicating the setup. I also had the logic board replaced cuz of the gpu issue....i feel like its a time bomb and i don't want to invest more in the aging rigg.

    I can use my tvs as a monitor and can add a new hdd &ram and I can move it around the house, if i get a mini. The imac less so and it costs a boatload more (for a 27").

    I was hoping I could get a gaming PC for around $300-$500 to use for games if the mini didn't work well. Maybe i could hackintosh it too.
  6. ee13lbp macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2012
    The new Simcity will run on the new Mac mini. The minimum requirements for it is a hd3000, and the hd4000 is about 40-50% better than this. Sure, the hd4000 isn't great, but it will still run every modern game apart from crysis 3.
  7. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007

    If you can stretch the $300-$500, put it into GPU.
  8. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    so do you expect it to be barely playable or will it play perfectly with decent graphics?

    I am such a n00b to gpu stuff and wondered if the miniunal specs meant barely playable.
  9. theRAMman macrumors regular

    May 6, 2012
    The Moon.
  10. MattA macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    on my 2011 Mini, I play WoW and SWTOR (using bootcamp for win7) and both play perfectly fine. I'm using the 6630m GPU which is about on par with the HD4000. This is being run out to an Apple LED Cinema Display (24" @ 1920x1200).

    If you're serious about the mini, why not give it a try? If it plays everything you want satisfactorily, why get a PC at all?
  11. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    Very true....

    That is the way I'll probably go but I like to think ahead....just in case

    Does anyone know why the SIMCity game requires higher specs for PC over mac?

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better or Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.0GHz or better
    Graphics Card:
    ATI Radeon HD 2x00 or better*
    nVidia 7800 or better*
    Intel Series 4 integrated graphics or better*
    *Minimum of 256MB of on-board RAM and Shader 3.0 or better support.

    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.0GHz or better
    Graphics Card:
    NVIDIA 9400M/ Intel HD3000
  12. ee13lbp macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2012
    In my experience the recommended settings almost always mean high-ultra settings, but low settings is usually on par with current consoles anyway. The hd4000 can usually manage medium and sometimes high on most games, but some more demanding games require the settings on low. Games on the Mac mini are definitely playable, you can even find some gaming footage on YouTube :)
  13. cheezeit macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    I'm in the same boat as you except i have the PC already. It's currently hackintoshed and plays everything perfect. I thought about downsizing again to the mini and keeping this PC just for games but found that its kinda repetitive.

    I'm more leaning towards a Macbook Air/Pro depending on power and maybe a mac mini as a iTunes media server for the house.

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