Please I want Input on My Purchase!

aman88

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Mar 21, 2019
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So I currently have an iMac11,2 (late 2010). It has issues as it cannot restart or wake from sleep without crashing, and in general is just slowing down tremendously... I hope to get a new iMac by May, but price is an issue... I really need to keep it under $2,000. Currently I only use it for general home and office use (I play my games on the Nintendo Switch or PS4). Down the line I may want to play games (but nothing serious, maybe games like Starcraft).

I was looking to get:
27 inch iMac, 8th gen i5 3.0 ghz, 8 gb ram, radeon pro 570x, 256 gb SSD for $1899

This with the idea of adding a eGPU and an external monitor (works better with an eGPU than internal monitors) within the next couple of years if I decide to play games for about $1000 (Razer Core X, Vega 64, Acer Monitor).
How do you feel this would compare to:
27 inch iMac, 9th gen i5 3.7 ghz, 8 gb ram, Radeon Pro Vega 48, 512 gb SSD for $2849

Reality is I would love the second option but it is just not realistic at the moment, and my current iMac really is at the end of its use.
 

SkiHound2

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Jul 15, 2018
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So I currently have an iMac11,2 (late 2010). It has issues as it cannot restart or wake from sleep without crashing, and in general is just slowing down tremendously... I hope to get a new iMac by May, but price is an issue... I really need to keep it under $2,000. Currently I only use it for general home and office use (I play my games on the Nintendo Switch or PS4). Down the line I may want to play games (but nothing serious, maybe games like Starcraft).

I was looking to get:
27 inch iMac, 8th gen i5 3.0 ghz, 8 gb ram, radeon pro 570x, 256 gb SSD for $1899

This with the idea of adding a eGPU and an external monitor (works better with an eGPU than internal monitors) within the next couple of years if I decide to play games for about $1000 (Razer Core X, Vega 64, Acer Monitor).
How do you feel this would compare to:
27 inch iMac, 9th gen i5 3.7 ghz, 8 gb ram, Radeon Pro Vega 48, 512 gb SSD for $2849

Reality is I would love the second option but it is just not realistic at the moment, and my current iMac really is at the end of its use.
For general home and office use I don't think you'd notice any difference. Search some of the benchmark sites and look at comparisons of the cpus. The 8th and 9th generation i5s have largely the same architecture. The 9600x will benchmark a little faster. And of course the benchmarks don't always correlated perfectly with real world speed in completing different tasks. Even the integrated intel graphic processing units work fine for everyday use. The Radeon Pro Vega should make the higher end option much better for gaming, or any software that really exploits the gpu. Deciding between what you want, what you need, and how much you're willing to spend is not easy. I'm still running a 2012 mini and for many things (web surfing, email, office applications, video streaming (I don't think it would stream 4k but it seems to do fine with a 1440p monitor), etc.) it's till fine. Can get kind of bogged down with things like photoshop if working on large raw files. But for routine day-to-day stuff almost anything on the market is sufficiently speedy.
 
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MSastre

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Aug 18, 2014
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Just out of curiosity, what type of HD is in your 2010 iMac and how full is it? Best practice is to keep 15-20% free space on your OS drive.
 

aman88

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Original poster
Mar 21, 2019
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For general home and office use I don't think you'd notice any difference. Search some of the benchmark sites and look at comparisons of the cpus. The 8th and 9th generation i5s have largely the same architecture. The 9600x will benchmark a little faster. And of course the benchmarks don't always correlated perfectly with real world speed in completing different tasks. Even the integrated intel graphic processing units work fine for everyday use. The Radeon Pro Vega should make the higher end option much better for gaming, or any software that really exploits the gpu. Deciding between what you want, what you need, and how much you're willing to spend is not easy. I'm still running a 2012 mini and for many things (web surfing, email, office applications, video streaming (I don't think it would stream 4k but it seems to do fine with a 1440p monitor), etc.) it's till fine. Can get kind of bogged down with things like photoshop if working on large raw files. But for routine day-to-day stuff almost anything on the market is sufficiently speedy.
Thanks man... I think the base model will be PERFECTLY fine for anything I do... I just want the option to play games later on, cannot spend the additional $1000 to max out the higher end 27 inch. Maybe down the line I will add the eGPU set up if I decide to do anything that requires it.
[doublepost=1554050873][/doublepost]
Just out of curiosity, what type of HD is in your 2010 iMac and how full is it? Best practice is to keep 15-20% free space on your OS drive.

I think it is the basic 5400 rpm 1 tb hd. I have over 900 mbs free (I have only used about 10%)... I was considering buying one of those HD replace kits online for $100 (probably will still do it)... but the computer is stuck at Sierra and really 8.5 years is old lol... most people do not keep cars for that long.
 

MSastre

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Aug 18, 2014
534
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Thanks man... I think the base model will be PERFECTLY fine for anything I do... I just want the option to play games later on, cannot spend the additional $1000 to max out the higher end 27 inch. Maybe down the line I will add the eGPU set up if I decide to do anything that requires it.
[doublepost=1554050873][/doublepost]


I think it is the basic 5400 rpm 1 tb hd. I have over 900 mbs free (I have only used about 10%)... I was considering buying one of those HD replace kits online for $100 (probably will still do it)... but the computer is stuck at Sierra and really 8.5 years is old lol... most people do not keep cars for that long.
Is that a Fusion drive and did you mean 900 mbs free or 900 GB free?
 

aman88

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Mar 21, 2019
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Is that a Fusion drive and did you mean 900 mbs free or 900 GB free?
No it’s the original standard hd stock... it was replaced under warranty with a recall by apple in 2012... I have roughly 900/1000 gbs free. Sorry I meant gb not mb.
 

mikehalloran

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Oct 14, 2018
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The chances that the drive in your iMac is still good are too remote to be considered. I’ve replaced hundreds of these and have never pulled a good HDD out of one and I test them all. BTW, most pass the SMART test in Disk Utility but that doesn’t make them good. there are other factors and TechTool will show the many areas where it has failed while still passing SMART.

I have the same machine. I installed a 2TB SSD a few years ago and it runs great over High Sierra. You have no idea how much better until it’s been done. A 1TB SSD runs about $140 + a $12 adapter and a temp sensor that runs $10–$40 depending on the one you get. A 2TB SSD is now a little under $300. If you pay a tech to do the labor, the average cost is $75 in h Silicon Valley where I live.

BTW, unlike later iMacs, I recommend having the late 2009-2010 done by a tech and having the NV RAM battery replaced a the same time–it’s on the back of the motherboard and that’s not an easy DIY (replacing the drive is, however). The original is a high-heat BR2032 but since you’ll be replacing the spinning heat pump, a standard CR2032 battery is perfectly fine.

That said, it’s time to replace mine. Current versions of apps I use take way to long to load; files take too long to render. A new iMac’s write to disk (SSD version) is a minimum of 12x faster than SATA II, the fastest write speed available to you & me — and my system is way, way faster than yours. Now I do AV and it will benefit from having more cores. But that’s me and I am not you.

If your only issue is speed, replace the HDD. If you want to upgrade, get a newer iMac. If you say, record a video on your smart phone and wish to edit it down and convert to post on Facebook... your iMac will take a very long time, even if you update it like mine. If you never do anything like that, your 2010 will go online, watch YouTube, handle email etc. at about the same speed as a new machine as long as you replace the HDD.

In the morning, I boot my iMac and log into 150 or so web sites on three monitors as part of what I do for a living. When the HDD was installed, I’d boot, get breakfast and watch the news for 20 minutes, then go back and see if I was logged in everywhere. Nowadays, I reboot and the whole process takes about a minute, sometimes 90 seconds.
 
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aman88

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Mar 21, 2019
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The chances that the drive in your iMac is still good are too remote to be considered. I’ve replaced hundreds of these and have never pulled a good HDD out of one and I test them all. BTW, most pass the SMART test in Disk Utility but that doesn’t make them good. there are other factors and TechTool will show the many areas where it has failed while still passing SMART.

I have the same machine. I installed a 2TB SSD a few years ago and it runs great over High Sierra. You have no idea how much better until it’s been done. A 1TB SSD runs about $140 + a $12 adapter and a temp sensor that runs $10–$40 depending on the one you get. A 2TB SSD is now a little under $300. If you pay a tech to do the labor, the average cost is $75 in h Silicon Valley where I live.

BTW, unlike later iMacs, I recommend having the late 2009-2010 done by a tech and having the NV RAM battery replaced a the same time–it’s on the back of the motherboard and that’s not an easy DIY (replacing the drive is, however). The original is a high-heat BR2032 but since you’ll be replacing the spinning heat pump, a standard CR2032 battery is perfectly fine.

That said, it’s time to replace mine. Current versions of apps I use take way to long to load; files take too long to render. A new iMac’s write to disk (SSD version) is a minimum of 12x faster than SATA II, the fastest write speed available to you & me — and my system is way, way faster than yours. Now I do AV and it will benefit from having more cores. But that’s me and I am not you.

If your only issue is speed, replace the HDD. If you want to upgrade, get a newer iMac. If you say, record a video on your smart phone and wish to edit it down and convert to post on Facebook... your iMac will take a very long time, even if you update it like mine. If you never do anything like that, your 2010 will go online, watch YouTube, handle email etc. at about the same speed as a new machine as long as you replace the HDD.

In the morning, I boot my iMac and log into 150 or so web sites on three monitors as part of what I do for a living. When the HDD was installed, I’d boot, get breakfast and watch the news for 20 minutes, then go back and see if I was logged in everywhere. Nowadays, I reboot and the whole process takes about a minute, sometimes 90 seconds.
I am still going to buy a new iMac but I probably will replace the old HD... not sure if I’ll go SSD since I just can’t imagine paying someone to do it for a computer that’s worth under $100 at this point, I feel I can replace it with a standard HD myself, and if not, oh well I’ll just smash the old HD and recycle the rest of it.
 

adamk77

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2008
510
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So I currently have an iMac11,2 (late 2010). It has issues as it cannot restart or wake from sleep without crashing, and in general is just slowing down tremendously... I hope to get a new iMac by May, but price is an issue... I really need to keep it under $2,000. Currently I only use it for general home and office use (I play my games on the Nintendo Switch or PS4). Down the line I may want to play games (but nothing serious, maybe games like Starcraft).

I was looking to get:
27 inch iMac, 8th gen i5 3.0 ghz, 8 gb ram, radeon pro 570x, 256 gb SSD for $1899

This with the idea of adding a eGPU and an external monitor (works better with an eGPU than internal monitors) within the next couple of years if I decide to play games for about $1000 (Razer Core X, Vega 64, Acer Monitor).
How do you feel this would compare to:
27 inch iMac, 9th gen i5 3.7 ghz, 8 gb ram, Radeon Pro Vega 48, 512 gb SSD for $2849

Reality is I would love the second option but it is just not realistic at the moment, and my current iMac really is at the end of its use.
From what you've written, there is no choice. You said that you really need to keep it under $2,000. And the other one is nearly $1,000 over your budget.

The only thing I'd change is to put in a 512 GB SSD as it will not be easily upgradeable without voiding your warranty. It will be only $99 above your budget.
 
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aman88

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Mar 21, 2019
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From what you've written, there is no choice. You said that you really need to keep it under $2,000. And the other one is nearly $1,000 over your budget.

The only thing I'd change is to put in a 512 GB SSD as it will not be easily upgradeable without voiding your warranty. It will be only $99 above your budget.
Yeah that’s not a bad idea... reason I was going with the 256 instead of 512 is I have only used about 80 gb/ 1 tb in my current 8 year old computer. As you can see this is a tough decision for me... I want something that performs well but isn’t a bankrupter.
 

jeremiah256

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Aug 2, 2008
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Yeah that’s not a bad idea... reason I was going with the 256 instead of 512 is I have only used about 80 gb/ 1 tb in my current 8 year old computer. As you can see this is a tough decision for me... I want something that performs well but isn’t a bankrupter.
Stay within your budget. If you need extra storage in the future, use an external SSD.
 
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adamk77

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Yeah that’s not a bad idea... reason I was going with the 256 instead of 512 is I have only used about 80 gb/ 1 tb in my current 8 year old computer. As you can see this is a tough decision for me... I want something that performs well but isn’t a bankrupter.
I feel you. I've seen you struggling to decide in other posts too.

The only other choice is the i7 Mac Mini with Vega 56 for $1899 or Vega 64 for $2099, which I know you don't want to do because you don't want to compromise on the iMac's display.

There's really no point in debating or stressing about this as your budget is your budget. It is what it is.
 

aman88

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Mar 21, 2019
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I feel you. I've seen you struggling to decide in other posts too.

The only other choice is the i7 Mac Mini with Vega 56 for $1899 or Vega 64 for $2099, which I know you don't want to do because you don't want to compromise on the iMac's display.

There's really no point in debating or stressing about this as your budget is your budget. It is what it is.
You can get an iMac mini with a Vega gpu? Or you mean by adding an eGPU?
 

adamk77

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Jan 6, 2008
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Haha you had me all excited... have you tried that set up with Mac mini plus eGPU?
Lol my bad. Nope, I don't have an eGPU. An eGPU is in my future though. I'm just waiting for it to come down in price (around $300 range for an enclosure + Vega).

However, I did receive my new Mac Mini a few days ago and am currently using it on a 43" monitor with the integrated GPU in full 4K mode and have 0 issues with video performance (not gaming, just regular use - 4K streaming, coding, mission control and expose).
 
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mikehalloran

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I am still going to buy a new iMac but I probably will replace the old HD... not sure if I’ll go SSD since I just can’t imagine paying someone to do it for a computer that’s worth under $100 at this point, I feel I can replace it with a standard HD myself, and if not, oh well I’ll just smash the old HD and recycle the rest of it.
In that case, probably best to sell as-is. The only reason to fix is to keep it.

Although I am going to get a new iMac for the reasons I mentioned, my wife has no reason to upgrade beyond her 2011. Like I, she makes her living on her machine but it does everything she needs. She never does audio or video work like I do.

If you replace the drive, you still need a temp sensor since the OE dives are no longer available. If you look around, you can get an optical drive sensor for a few bucks on eBay—plug it into the socket of the old sensor and tape it to the drive. These do not work on the 2011 and later but are fine on the 2010.

Without a temp sensor, you need to use one of those gawdawful fan utilities. This causes the fan to roar at full speed on boot up until the extension loads and then you need to control the fans manually.
 

aman88

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Mar 21, 2019
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In that case, probably best to sell as-is. The only reason to fix is to keep it.

Although I am going to get a new iMac for the reasons I mentioned, my wife has no reason to upgrade beyond her 2011. Like I, she makes her living on her machine but it does everything she needs. She never does audio or video work like I do.

If you replace the drive, you still need a temp sensor since the OE dives are no longer available. If you look around, you can get an optical drive sensor for a few bucks on eBay—plug it into the socket of the old sensor and tape it to the drive. These do not work on the 2011 and later but are fine on the 2010.

Without a temp sensor, you need to use one of those gawdawful fan utilities. This causes the fan to roar at full speed on boot up until the extension loads and then you need to control the fans manually.
They sell full replacement sets with everything you need on Amazon...
[doublepost=1554063520][/doublepost]
Lol my bad. Nope, I don't have an eGPU. An eGPU is in my future though. I'm just waiting for it to come down in price (around $300 range for an enclosure + Vega).

However, I did receive my new Mac Mini a few days ago and am currently using it on a 43" monitor with the integrated GPU in full 4K mode and have 0 issues with video performance (not gaming, just regular use - 4K streaming, coding, mission control and expose).
I have heard good things about the Razer Core X plus Vega 64.... that will cost you around $900. That is why I was going to shell out the ~$2000 for the iMac then maybe in a year or so, have saved up for an eGPU set up. Only thing I heard is they run much better with an external monitor so the TB3 does not bottleneck. Therefore I will probably get a 1080p display which run around $150.

I am assuming a Vega 64 eGPU plus external monitor will perform close to an internal Vega 48?
 

adamk77

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Jan 6, 2008
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They sell full replacement sets with everything you need on Amazon...
[doublepost=1554063520][/doublepost]

I have heard good things about the Razer Core X plus Vega 64.... that will cost you around $900. That is why I was going to shell out the ~$2000 for the iMac then maybe in a year or so, have saved up for an eGPU set up. Only thing I heard is they run much better with an external monitor so the TB3 does not bottleneck. Therefore I will probably get a 1080p display which run around $150.

I am assuming a Vega 64 eGPU plus external monitor will perform close to an internal Vega 48?
Vega 48 on the 2019 iMac is similar in performance to the GTX 1060 according to this benchmark. The Vega 64 has about 75% higher gaming performance than the GTX 1060. But I don't think it's that straightforward because of the Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth vs the internal PCI-Express.

I found this by a Redditor, which I found very helpful:

Keep in mind that FPS plays a part in how much of a hit your eGPU performance takes due to TB3 overhead and host-device bandwidth reduction. The higher your FPS is, the more data is being passed between the host and the device, so the performance hit (in percentage) rises. In other words, it is "better" to run 4K at 45fps than 1080p at 120fps, in the sense that in the first case your performance is closer (by percentage) to a comparable desktop.

That's the thing: There is no increased bandwidth from a higher resolution (one caveat, higher resolutions may use a set of textures that is larger in size). The data sent to the GPU is geometric model data and textures, and is not resolution dependent (the texture caveat I noted above aside). But if you increase the framerate, you need to feed more data to the card as things come in and go our of the frame (or turn around, or what not) more rapidly. If you cannot do it, the card cannot render as fast as it can, and the FPS drops.
Also check out this link where they test internal GPU vs the same card on the eGPU.
 

aman88

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Mar 21, 2019
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Vega 48 on the 2019 iMac is similar in performance to the GTX 1060 according to this benchmark. The Vega 64 has about 75% higher gaming performance than the GTX 1060. But I don't think it's that straightforward because of the Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth vs the internal PCI-Express.

I found this by a Redditor, which I found very helpful:

Keep in mind that FPS plays a part in how much of a hit your eGPU performance takes due to TB3 overhead and host-device bandwidth reduction. The higher your FPS is, the more data is being passed between the host and the device, so the performance hit (in percentage) rises. In other words, it is "better" to run 4K at 45fps than 1080p at 120fps, in the sense that in the first case your performance is closer (by percentage) to a comparable desktop.

That's the thing: There is no increased bandwidth from a higher resolution (one caveat, higher resolutions may use a set of textures that is larger in size). The data sent to the GPU is geometric model data and textures, and is not resolution dependent (the texture caveat I noted above aside). But if you increase the framerate, you need to feed more data to the card as things come in and go our of the frame (or turn around, or what not) more rapidly. If you cannot do it, the card cannot render as fast as it can, and the FPS drops.
Also check out this link where they test internal GPU vs the same card on the eGPU.
Thanks for the post! That seems to be on par with what I was finding... but I figured even with an eGPU it will still be better with a more powerful gpu than lesser powerful internal gpus.. here is a nice posting of people running eGPUs with external vs internal displays...

https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/post-results-of-your-egpu-score-in-heaven-benchmark/
 

adamk77

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2008
510
149
Thanks for the post! That seems to be on par with what I was finding... but I figured even with an eGPU it will still be better with a more powerful gpu than lesser powerful internal gpus.. here is a nice posting of people running eGPUs with external vs internal displays...

https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/post-results-of-your-egpu-score-in-heaven-benchmark/
I would think so, too. A more powerful GPU will be bottlenecked because of Thunderbolt 3 at a resolution that results in a really high frame rate. But if I were to run it at 4K, the more powerful GPU would definitely be better.

I'm definitely not spending $900 on an eGPU and a Vega 64 to do 4K gaming. On a Mac, no less. Today a Razer Core X and Vega 56 will set me back $600, and even that's too much for me. Looking at a graph of the Sonnet enclosure on Amazon, it dropped about $100 over the course of 1.5 years. Hoping for more competition in the eGPU space. And hoping that GPU prices will continue to drop now that the mining craze is stabilizing. Cost of these GPUs are back down to where it was nearly 2 years ago.
 

aman88

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Mar 21, 2019
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I would think so, too. A more powerful GPU will be bottlenecked because of Thunderbolt 3 at a resolution that results in a really high frame rate. But if I were to run it at 4K, the more powerful GPU would definitely be better.

I'm definitely not spending $900 on an eGPU and a Vega 64 to do 4K gaming. On a Mac, no less. Today a Razer Core X and Vega 56 will set me back $600, and even that's too much for me. Looking at a graph of the Sonnet enclosure on Amazon, it dropped about $100 over the course of 1.5 years. Hoping for more competition in the eGPU space. And hoping that GPU prices will continue to drop now that the mining craze is stabilizing. Cost of these GPUs are back down to where it was nearly 2 years ago.
Hence why I want to buy the base 27 inch and then get the eGPU in a year or so haha... eGPU is nice too because you can upgrade the gpu every couple of years when it gets out of date... can’t do that on the internal iMac one...

Also I wish I could find it but someone posted on YouTube about getting 71 FPS on the 2018 Mac mini with a Vega 64 eGPU as opposed to 55 FPS on the new iMac with the Vega 48... it was a comment on someone’s YouTube video so I would not swear to the authenticity... just figured that might apply to your case.
 

adamk77

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Jan 6, 2008
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Hence why I want to buy the base 27 inch and then get the eGPU in a year or so haha... eGPU is nice too because you can upgrade the gpu every couple of years when it gets out of date... can’t do that on the internal iMac one...

Also I wish I could find it but someone posted on YouTube about getting 71 FPS on the 2018 Mac mini with a Vega 64 eGPU as opposed to 55 FPS on the new iMac with the Vega 48... it was a comment on someone’s YouTube video so I would not swear to the authenticity... just figured that might apply to your case.
Do you plan on gaming on the Mac or on Windows via Bootcamp?

I've just read through the entire "2018 Mac Mini for eGPU" thread on eGPU.io, and it is not a simple plug-and-play experience if you want to use the eGPU with Windows via Bootcamp. This turns me off to the whole thing.
 

aman88

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Mar 21, 2019
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Do you plan on gaming on the Mac or on Windows via Bootcamp?

I've just read through the entire "2018 Mac Mini for eGPU" thread on eGPU.io, and it is not a simple plug-and-play experience if you want to use the eGPU with Windows via Bootcamp. This turns me off to the whole thing.
I don’t particularly care for windows... in my near 31 years I’ve never owned a Windows based PC... I’d play whatever games are available for Mac OS. But you’re right, I did read it’s not plug and play for Windows as it is Mac... but it does seem like a lot of people are doing it? Are there games you like that are Windows only?
 

adamk77

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Jan 6, 2008
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I don’t particularly care for windows... in my near 31 years I’ve never owned a Windows based PC... I’d play whatever games are available for Mac OS. But you’re right, I did read it’s not plug and play for Windows as it is Mac... but it does seem like a lot of people are doing it? Are there games you like that are Windows only?
Ah, then the eGPU solution will work out well for you.

I love Apple products, but I love gaming more and this fact alone would get me to move to Windows 100% of the time if not for my profession :)

I have a large library of games on Steam mostly for Windows. A brand new RX 580 that was in it died within 3 weeks. I don't want to spend money on 2 GPUs, so I was planning on just using the Mac Mini as it has the better CPU than my PC. It's looking more and more like I'll buy the Vega 56 for my PC instead. I really want to play Monster Hunter World and it's PC only (and I don't own a console).