New to Macs - Have New iMac24, 2.8GHZ...

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by zarley, May 14, 2008.

  1. zarley macrumors member

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    #1
    and I love to play games. I know Macs aren't known for gaming but I just had to make the switch. I'm done with PC's- too many problems. Anyway, what is the deal with Mac gaming? Are games like Wow, FPS games and EA Sports games like they are on the PC?

    Is Paralells or Boot Camp better for gaming? Is it true you can get a virus through those programs because it is in PC Mode? Should I just AVOID PC altogether when it comes to gaming?

    I'm new, appreciate the help and hope to hear some answers :)
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #2
    If you want the best out of gaming then bootcamp is the way to go. Bootcamp simply enables you to install and run Windows on part of your hard drive thus turning your Mac into a PC, warts and all. It is, however, the best way to enjoy the widest variety of games on your Mac just make sure you run an anti-virus/spyware program and use a little common sense when you download things (that goes for the OSX side of things as well).
     
  3. zarley thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Ugh...Getting Kaspersky or some other virus program scares me. If I just buy the games and ONLY use them for the BootCamp portion I should be OK, right? Does Bootcamp require me to buy Windows?
     
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #4
    Yes. Bootcamp is simply a disk partitioning program that makes it easier to install Windows. You still need a copy of either Windows XP SP2 or Vista. Anti-virus is probably not necessary if you are being careful and not using the Windows side for random web surfing. When running off the bootcamped partition you are just like any other PC running Windows.
     
  5. zarley thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    So you feel comfortable with it? I am just so scared for "Pc-ing" my new iMac! Can you run games in 080x764 mode and higher resolutions?
     
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #6
    Sure. You can run games in full resolution if you want. Just make sure you have the latest Windows graphics driver for you video card. Which card do you have?
     
  7. nagromme macrumors G5

    nagromme

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    #7
    Welcome! I personally stay Mac-only for gaming, though I do run Windows XP to test things for my clients. Some other people game mainly in Windows. You'll have to decide where you fit in that spectrum :)

    A lot of big-name games ARE on Mac (I get game news from http://InsideMacGames.com ) and run great. On my 24" white iMac I personally play Quake Wars, Quake 4, Doom 3, Prey, Unreal Tournament 2004 (soon UT3 and Gears of War) and Halo (out of print apparently), along with tons of great older games and great shareware--all in OS X. (I haven't gotten as much into war games, RTS, RPG, racing, puzzle, and many other genres, but those are out there too.)

    To answer you specifically: EA has started bringing games to Mac again--including sports--and WoW is available for Mac along with many first-person shooters.

    But note that these games came first to Windows, and were optimized for Windows. OS X and Windows do things very differently, and optimizing for one isn't always ideal for the other. Mac porting houses do a good job, but tests often reveal Windows versions running a little faster. I don't much care: I can run these games with great quality and good speed, and have FUN, so numbers on a list of benchmarks are less important to me.

    More important may be the fact that Mac games usually come out later, sometimes months later. If you need the latest thing NOW, get it for Windows or a console. And when the Mac version comes out, at full price, the PC version will already be on sale. I can accept that market reality--some can't. To me a game that was fun 2 months or 6 months ago is still fun.

    Then there's the single biggest issue with Mac gaming: the title you want may not exist for Mac! Windows has a far bigger selection. I've been lucky: I like sci-fi games, and they have tended to make it to Mac. Macs don't have anywhere near the game selection of Windows, but they still have a lot of games (especially if you include all the great shareware).

    If you're wondering about a specific title--whether it exists (or is announced for the future) and how well it runs--Google for Mac reviews.

    Be aware that some older games have been updated to Universal (meaning Intel-friendly) but the demos have NOT been. So don't judge UT2004, say, by its demo. Demo won't run well, but the real game does.

    Boot Camp is the ONLY good solution right now for Windows gaming, unless you're talking simpler, less demanding games. Parallels and VMWare and WINE-based solutions have some limited ability to run Windows games without leaving Mac OS X, but it's not something to count on yet.

    Re security: unless you stay off the Internet, running Windows can THEORETICALLY open your entire Mac hard disk up to attack. This has never happened to my knowledge, but there are at least two potential risks to even the Mac side:

    1. Windows can't see the Mac partition, but a virus/worm/other malware can still see the physical drive device--and theoretically could erase the whole drive, Mac and Windows alike.

    2. Software exists for Windows to let it read/write on Mac partitions. A virus could theoretically include such software, allowing it to mine or attack your Mac partition just the way Windows users have been attacked.

    Again, that's theoretical--but still enough to give me pause. I'd rather not have to think about it. So I like VMWare. If you run Parallels or VMWare, games may not run, but at least your Mac stuff is safe: thanks to virtualization, your HD itself doesn't even EXIST to Windows in that case. (Unless you purposely share part of the Mac side with Windows. I don't: I just drag files back and forth.)

    Now, aside from attacks coming from Windows and reaching the Mac side (highly unlikely) there is the issue of Windows attacks reaching the Windows side! Yes, you can get a virus in Parallels, VMWare OR Boot Camp, if you do something careless. There's nothing to stop that other than what every PC user does (or should do). Which means run a bunch of anti-malware apps that slow your system down and are a major pain when you start up. And which work great--until they don't. So you have to keep yourself educated--which is additional aggravation.

    As a result, I avoid Windows as much as possible. OS X is stable, secure, and easy to troubleshoot. Games are already the LEAST stable class of commercial apps... the last thing I need is to be fighting Windows as well! That's not fun for me. And games are all about fun.

    Another benefit of gaming in OS X, for me personally: it means I have my same browser, bookmarks, email, chat apps, text editors, and other tools at my fingertips. So when it's time to research a game question, gather other people for a game, download maps/mods/patches, or other activity AROUND gaming, I'm still comfortably at home in OS X.

    Last but not least, I will game more if I can quickly and painlessly launch the game, play for a bit, and then get back to other things. Rebooting twice means delay and hassle, and I simply won't play as often if I have to face that. Even worse, rebooting means shutting down all the "stuff" I have open on my Mac, and then "getting it all out again" after the game. (Most Mac apps play well with others: you can leave tons of stuff open without a performance problem.)

    And since I use my Mac as a PVR (via EyeTV) to automaticlaly record HD TV shows, rebooting would be a problem: the PVR software wouldn't be running, and if a show came on while I was gaming I would miss the recording.

    Enough talk... back to Quake Wars in OS X :)
     
  8. zarley thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Wow!

    Thank you soooo much for this great insight into gaming. You truly know your stuff and I am NOT going to go to the darkside again- its just not worth it. I bought Paralells but am scared to use it! I will return it and strictly "stick" to my new iMac 24".

    ONE LAST QUESTION...

    If I wanted to can I upgrade the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro video card this came with in the future?
     
  9. zarley thread starter macrumors member

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    #9

    ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro- came with imac 24"
     
  10. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #10
    ATI's website has the latest bootcamp driver's for your video card. The card's are not upgradeable as far as we know.
     
  11. zarley thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    So did I make a HUGE mistake by not getting the NVIDIA card with my new iMac 24"?
     
  12. nagromme macrumors G5

    nagromme

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    #12
    Well, my white iMac has, essentially, a custom desktop GPU attached to a laptop-sized socket--and physically it can be removed. So theoretically it could be replaced if I felt like gutting my machine to get to it... but nobody makes an upgrade card in that unusual shape (required by the thinness of the iMac). I'm guessing your new iMac is in the same boat, but I'm not sure: you could be even worse off and the GPU could be soldered on :)

    On the other hand, there is a market for aftermarket upgrades of all kinds for older Macs--including amazing upgrades you wouldn't have thought possible when the machines were new. (Like CPU upgrades for old Mac laptops.) So someday someone might possibly sell a GPU upgrade for my iMac. I doubt it will be worth the money, and driver support would be a question mark, but the possibility exists... in theory.

    Even on Mac, nVidia has its fans and ATI has its fans. If it's a higher card it might be faster--but that doesn't mean what you have won't be plenty of fun for games. I wouldn't worry too much. Money saved on upgrades is more money for games! And pizza!
     
  13. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #13
    Only you can answer that question. In gaming the 8800GS is about twice as fast as the HD2600. In everything else the HD2600 is at least as fast if not faster than the 8800GS. I have run most games, including Crysis, at good settings and get decent framerates. If I had the option, I probably would have gone for the 8800GS but its not a big deal to me. Compared to my last gaming machine, they are both a VAST improvement, as my next machines will be.
     
  14. nagromme macrumors G5

    nagromme

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    #14
    Another way to look at upgrades: Macs hold a VERY high resale value for surprisingly long. Instead of upgrading just one part of your iMac, in a couple of years you can sell it and be well on your way to paying for some future Mac with ALL parts upgraded :) No tools required.
     

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