New Mac and Warcraft

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by JonLF, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. JonLF macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    #1
    I have been debating the purchase of a new Mac for a long time. Initially my thought was to wait to see if there was going to be a significant bump in GPU choice/performance with the new iMacs, but I am getting impatient.

    The two computers I have done specs for are:

    24" Aluminum iMac with 2 gigs of RAM etc etc (256mb ATI)

    or

    Macbook 2.4 GHz with 4 gigs of RAM (144mb shared crap graphics)

    The only reason I am springing for 4 on the Macbook is because it stays within my budget whereas it does not with the iMac. My real question is this:

    Which will play WoW better? I currently am running it on my 1GHz eMac with 512 mb of RAM and a 64 mb graphic card and it plays acceptably enough, but I really don't want to drop that kind of cash and only see marginal improvements. That is pretty much the only game I play. With boot camp I see myself playing MoH, Rune, and some of my other old games, but that is about it.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #2
    I hope it's quite obvious the iMac will run it better. It has dedicated VRAM. They both will run WoW, but the iMac will run it a lot better.
     
  3. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #3
    Yeah, it's all about the video card. The extra 2 GB RAM won't help you at all with WoW (unless you have a ton of other RAM-hungry apps running at the same time). WoW only uses about a half gig or so, even if you have more available. Also the Mini I believe has a slower hard drive. Since WoW is constantly loading textures and geometry off disk, this could also affect performance.
     
  4. JonLF thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2008
    #4
    If I could be guaranteed (which I realize is an absurd desire) that the new iMacs would:

    a) be released before 2015
    b) get a better GPU

    then I would certainly go with the iMac without hesitation. Portability is certainly a plus, but the iBook G3 that I currently use is a pile of crap.

    I am not ready to plop down $1900 only to find out that 15 days later there is a nice, new iMac with a badass graphics card for the same price...
     
  5. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #5
    Oh yeah, definitely don't buy one now. It's due and won't be long now (at the latest they would probably intro them at WWDC in early June, but quite possibly before then). I'm waiting to pounce on a new iMac myself. I'm hoping for LED backlit display and a Blu-ray drive, but I'd settle for a faster graphics card (although the current Radeon 2600/256 is not terrible). In the really low expectations category, I wouldn't mind seeing a fourth USB port.
     
  6. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #6
    Definitely go for the iMac if you can although wait for the next update. It is a lovely feeling to buy an Apple machine on the day of release. For one thing, you know that you've maximised the time that it'll remain 'current'. If you need to save a few pennies you can always get a model with less RAM and buy it yourself later from Crucial. If its the top end 24" iMac model that you're looking at right now, you can spec up the second to top end model to have exactly the same specs apart from less RAM and get a saving of £60 (here in the UK at least), which is enough for a 4GB RAM kit from Crucial here.

    As far as WoW performance goes, the current MacBooks don't perform much better than what you're getting on your eMac. I have a previous generation MacBook that has a GMA950 graphics chip and while its perfectly playable, it suffers a bit at times, particularly in Outland. My friend has one of the newer MacBooks with the better graphics chip but it doesn't seem to perform much better than mine I'm afraid. A friend of mine has the 24" iMac and its smooth as silk.
     
  7. JonLF thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2008
    #7
    Yes, you are all right. Going with the 24" is probably the way to go. I am planning on starting with 2 gigs, but if that becomes the standard (a la MBP), I might just jump for 4.

    Sick of waiting....it's been 4 months now.
     
  8. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #8
    I hope you already know never buy RAM from Apple.

    And I dont wanna be snidey here but if you use the time you spent on W0W more wisely, you could perhaps transform your life.

    On that topic maybe buy a refurb macbook that *can't* run WoW all that well :)

    Cheaper too.
     
  9. jashic macrumors member

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #9
    I love it. A man of reason (or woman).
     
  10. JonLF thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2008
    #10
    For me WoW is just a hobby, not a lifestyle. I have full-time work and full-time school, but I like to have (need) a distraction once in a while. That being said, when I need a distraction, I want it to look nice...thus the debacle.
     
  11. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    Definitely don't buy any RAM from Apple. Even if you were to only want 2GB, you could get the iMac as I mentioned above, get a 2GB RAM kit for £30 and have a 1GB RAM kit spare that you could even flog off. Basically, for the cost of the 2GB iMac machine from Apple, you could get exactly the same machine if you buy the RAM elsewhere, £30 spare + some spare RAM or you can get the same machine but with 4GB RAM + some spare RAM for the same price. Apple RAM isn't better than Crucial RAM (or most other 'good' RAM dealers for that matter).

    WoW isn't that bad a drain if you don't get addicted. Its a great game to play while watching TV I find. I can socialise with friends (RL friends who play WoW), play a fun game and watch TV with the girlfriend all at the same time. :D
     
  12. rumbletum macrumors regular

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    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Wolverhampton, UK
    #12
    What? Wisely like reading threads about games you're not interested in?
     
  13. Yaboze macrumors 6502a

    Yaboze

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    The Garden State
    #13
    I have a Macbook from early January. It love it and didn't really get it for games since I have PC for that. However, since I own almost every Blizzard game I installed a few since the CD's are hybrids. I have Leopard, 4GB, Santa Rosa chipset, GMA X3100

    I play WoW and it just doesn't run well on the Macbook. In the older areas, outdoor framerates can really drop around crowds, I'm talking single digits to around 15fps.

    Interiors are usually better and can be pretty high, over 30-40 FPS.

    Outland is more taxing and you'll have a hard time there. I lowered the settings and it doesn't look bad, but the Intel graphics just can't run it that well. Either that, or the driver just sucks.

    It's playable to a point where if you are low level and want to do a few quests, look at the AH or do some mining/herbing and crafting, it would be fine. Some people have different expectations. Many people play WoW on older PC's and getting 20-30FPS is normal for them. Since I run it on a beefy PC, I kinda expect to turn everything on and run it at 60FPS.

    I installed Warcraft 3 and had many options turned up, not all the way up, but about what the install basically sets it to. I ran it at 1280x800, it looks great and ran about 40FPS. Starcraft ran well, too, but that's even older.

    For fun, I got the new Universal binary for Quake 3 and copied over my PC install directory of Quake 3 (I don't have a mac CD for Quake 3) and it ran very nicely. 60 FPS at 1280x800. I had to set the resolution manually and I turned on vsync. There were no slowdowns at all and it ran like silk. Of course, this is an old game as well, but it ran perfectly. So, if you want to play WoW and even play in Outland well or PvP, don't get a Macbook expecting to play it well. A Macbook Pro or iMac will work much better.

    I would get a iMac if they would just put a decent GPU in it. Even a 8800GT would rock. The rest of the iMac design I love, but this last batch with the ATi cards is not cutting it for me.
     
  14. Littleodie914 macrumors 68000

    Littleodie914

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    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #14
    Oooh snap! :p
     
  15. JonLF thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2008
    #15
    That is what I was looking for. My wife has a MacBook, but it is the first line released and only has 64mb of shared. I ran it on that and it was no better than my eMac. I would rather have the iMac and I think you confirmed what I was thinking. Additionally, I have a lot of old PC games (as I think I mentioned before) and I intend on running them on bootcamp. Granted, when I had my last PC it was a 128mb ATI (which was top of the line at that point), so I think holding out for a month or so (hopefully) will be the best bet. Thanks.
     
  16. wyrmintheapple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Location:
    Southampton, UK
    #16
    I'd be more concerned about this memory obsession the OP has.

    Lets be honest, the Macbook is awful graphics card wise, don't buy it.

    The iMac has good graphics cards.
    When I say good, I mean I have been playing warcraft for years on a single core sempron with 512Mb RAM and a 6600GT. It now has a gig. DDR1.

    The imac is light years ahead of that. It will play warcraft with 2 gigs of RAM very smoothly. Probably play it quite well with 1 gig if I'm honest really.


    Wait for the new one by all means, It'll get you maximum usable life from it as others have mentioned but, buy the iMac, install WoW, enjoy the game. Stop obsessing over whether you should plump for 4gigs of ram you don't need "a la macbook"

    Save the money for the WoW expansion or something "a la someone who doesn't waste money on stuff they don't need"
     
  17. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #17
    Your posts make it sound like you judge GPU's performance by the amount of memory it has/uses.

    This is wrong. For ex. a GeForce 8300 with 1 GB memory would be buried alive by GeForce 8800 GTX with just 128 MB.
     
  18. JonLF thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2008
    #18

    No, I know GPU matters oh so much. I was just throwing the RAM in there for clarification and to highlight the suckiness that is shared VRAM.

    I would love to see a 8600M with 512 like the MBP, as it would be markedly better than my ridiculously old ATI in my eMac. I just don't want to buy an iMac now because I have heard not so great things about the current card and because updates are imminent.

    Now we can speculate about updates all day long, but there are plenty of other threads dedicated to that, so I will sit and wait with all the other anxious thousands. :)

    My rationale was that:

    a) I can afford the extra $45 to kick it up to 4 right now
    b) 4 years from now when apps thrive on lots-o-RAM I won't wish I had more

    I'm not sweating it, but I certainly want the best machine I can afford right now.
     
  19. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #19
    Hmm why want 512 MB? Benchmarks showed the 0% increase in gaming performance over 256 MB 8600.

    Also, the current Radeon 2600 can run WoW at max settings smoothly so why do you want more? You said its like the most heavy game you plan to play.
     
  20. rumbletum macrumors regular

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    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Wolverhampton, UK
    #20
    :D
     
  21. JonLF thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2008
    #21
    If the 2600 can run at maxed out settings, then that answers my question. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about the 2600 and that is partially why I started this thread.

    If there were a beefier video card available with the update, I would love to have it. Perhaps there will be no noticeable difference in gaming, but who knows what I will be wanting to do with my computer down the road, thus my inquiry.

    Thanks for all the tips.
     
  22. tom. macrumors 6502

    tom.

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    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #22
    You do not want to be playing WoW on a Macbook, i went from playing on an Quad Core 2.4GHz, 8800GTX, 4GB RAM PC for a year, to my macbook for a month. I would highly recommend the iMac over the MacBook.
     
  23. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #23
    I'm not sure if iMac can handle max resolution + max settings, but I heard it runs smoothly on reasonable res. with high settings... so its better to verify it first :) I never played WoW myself

    Its probably worth checking out youtube videos of alu iMacs running WoW. I'm sure there are plently :)
     
  24. mrpalmer420 macrumors regular

    mrpalmer420

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #24
    I don't think you understand what people are telling you about the RAM.

    the 2.4 24" iMac comes with 1gb of RAM. Upping that on purchase would cost $100.

    Going to OWC, or crucial or newegg you can get a 4gb Kit for basically the same price.

    i just got Mine from OWC and it cost $96 shipped.
     
  25. JonLF thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2008
    #25
    No, I get that. I was simply responding to someone that suggested that going from 2GB to 4GB didn't make any sense. On most after-market websites, the difference in price to go from 2-4 is $35-50.
     

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