New iMac -> gaming/longevity/decisions. ack

Discussion in 'iMac' started by fleg123, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. fleg123 macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    So, my 2006 MBP (256mb x1600, ~2.3 c2d) is getting rather long in the tooth and I'm looking for a new system. This was my first apple product and I definitely fell in love, leaving windows behind. Since then, I've gotten a cheap netbook with windows 7 and I recognize that MS has come a long way since XP.

    My troubles are these:

    I'm not sure whether to grab an iMac or build my own windows box. I'd be buying a top-o-the-line iMac (doing the ram upgrade and potentially the ssd upgrade myself). I'm really sort of curious about how long this machine will comfortably last me, though. I know iMacs aren't really upgradeable in terms of the GPU and I'd like this purchase to last 4+ years. I'm not a "hardcore" gamer-- I don't necessarily care about playing the newest games at the highest settings available, but I would like to be able to play good games (some of which will be the newest) at, at least, middle-of-the-road settings. I recognize that it's a gradient-- the longer I have the computer, the more I'm going to have to degrade the settings to play the latest games, but how long can I realistically expect to do this? I mainly play WoW right now, but also SCII (which runs *okay* at the lowest settings on my MBP) and I'd like to be able to play D3 and Portal 2 and any of the steam games I buy during the summer sale. I know they'll be fine now, but, like I said, I'm just worried that I'm not going to be able to eek out 4+ years. I'm not really sure if this stuff increases linearly (demand placed on graphics cards). My MBP card served me well for ~4+ years (it's just been hobbling along for the last year), and that's fine...

    Sorry for that wall of text, and I know no one can predict the future. I really do love OS X and don't really want to go back to a windows box, but I do like to play games and just want to know I'll be able to play (obvs not at the highest settings) for the life of the machine, which I expect to be 4-5 years.
  2. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Not considered going the Xbox/PS3 route, and just having a nice computer seperately?
  3. fleg123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    I had thought about it-- I have a Wii (no, I didn't purchase it... free wii!) but I'm generally always underwhelmed with console games compared to PC games. It's certainly changing, and maybe in a decade, but I'm really a fan of the mouse/keyboard thing and it seems like a lot of games I really like aren't available (or aren't good) on consoles... hell, I still play D2 occasionally =p

    Like I said, I'm by no means a hardcore gamer, I just want to know, generally, if I can expect the 6970m to last about as long as my x1600 did. The x1600 was the middle card offered in the 15 inch back in 2006 and it's held up as well as can be expected, served my needs well. It was a great comp and a good enough gaming set up. I'm just worried that, due to my perception that the gap in performance-demand between games coming out last year and games coming out this year is bigger than the gap between games coming out in 2005 and games coming out in 2006, the 6970 won't last a similar length of time.

  4. sinser macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003

    The OP said he mainly plays WOW, SC2 and has plans for Diablo 3. None of these games is available on XBox/PS3.
  5. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    Heh, you're in almost the exact same situation I was in. Except my old iMac was only 2.0ghz!

    I was considering building a Windows desktop. The bang for buck is brilliant, you could effectively build a machine with the same specs as an iMac for £500. But if you want a similar sized monitor of similar quality then the price gets a bit closer.

    In the end I wound up buying a maxed out 27" iMac and haven't looked back. It plays all the games I need it to at maximum settings, max res. Never dips below 60fps in Valves or Unreal Engine 3 (under Windows, you'll need that for max game performance, with new drivers).
  6. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Me no read too good.
  7. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    I thought I might do a little reminiscing:

    Who the knows what you and your computer will be doing in 5 years.

    In 2000 I was a total ski/surf bum, living in Lake Tahoe during the winter and then San Diego in the summer -- taking a month off in October and May to do some sweet mountain biking and kayaking. My rent was $75 a month and I lived with 5 chicks and 1 guy, non-stop partying.

    Nothing could be sweeter. Not a friggin care in the world. plenty of cash. I didnt even need a computer.

    By 2005 I was married, got a real job, had a daughter with one more on the way, bought a new house, a new car, was painting rooms pink and shopping for sheets at Ikea. Enough money to buy anything I wanted.

    So unless you are say -- 17 -- and gaming is the core of your life... Id say dont get hung up on specs too much and get what you like/can afford.
  8. fleg123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    Thanks guys. I mean, I get what everyone is saying, and no, gaming is not a core part of my life... I'm just hoping that in 2-3 years, I'm going to be able to play currentish games (obviously not on high settings-- medium or maybe even low is okay, especially at the 3+ year mark).

    @Dagless-- I'm so close to just biting the bullet. As I said, apple hasn't let me down so far, so I'm inclined to believe the top end imac will perform at least as well (comparatively, I know it will be objectively better) as my old MBP. I guess I just need to go for it and worry about the GPU when that time comes =)
  9. antman2x2 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    New YAWK
    Wow, you and me are extremely alike!

    I play WoW SC2 Portal and a few other games on my new high end 2011 imac.

    They run beautifully. I play WoW on high at 1080p with maxed AA and everything. I get about 50FPS in org, but always stay at 60 everywhere else.

    SC2 is also on high, same settings as WoW and I havent seen a single hiccup.

    Portal(I dont have portal 2 yet) Runs like a champ. Everything maxed at 1080p

    I dont run the games at max resolution which is 1440p because it does begin to dip in performance. But like you said, AS LONG AS THEY RUN.

    Ive recently been a hardcore PC gamer, but I bought my iMac and an xbox 360. Best combo ever. NEVER LOOKING BACK.

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