Running 5K iMac at half resolution for Windows gaming

Discussion in 'iMac' started by RyanJWilliams, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. RyanJWilliams macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2014
    Hi guys,

    I guess this thread might have to go on ice until someone gets their iMac up and running, but as 5K is clearly far too high a resolution for gaming (even a desktop-class GPU would struggle) the only way I see of achieving this on the new model is by running at half resolution (2560 x 1440).

    In theory, this should produce a display that looks virtually identical to the preceding 27-inch iMac models. However, I know that in practice this isn't the case with the retina MacBook Pro. Because the NVIDIA cards in that device don't allow smoothing to be disabled when upscaling resolutions, the picture ends up blurry.

    As the new iMac comes with AMD GPUs, I'm wondering how things play out this time around. I know that AMD drivers' control panel allows for the upscaling mode to be toggled and there are some options, but whether or not a 'perfect' upscale can be attained I don't know.

    The ultimate goal here? I wouldn't purchase this computer as a gaming rig (I have consoles for that), but there are a certain few Windows-only strategy and simulation games I'd enjoy playing, and also I have some older adventure games and such that I occasionally replay. The idea is that I be able to this without the picture looking horrid.

    I guess that until someone just goes ahead and tries this out there's no way to know. So, if anyone has the time to try out some games at a lower resolution in Windows on a 5K iMac and can share their feelings on how it looks... ;)
  2. Shadylane315 macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2006
    I would also like to know the answer to this question. I'm getting an iMac for work purposes, but I do have a few games on Steam and windows fusion that I would like to play. I want to know if it will be possible to play 2013 games in 1080p UHD.
  3. azure247 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2008
    cant u buy the non 5k imac instead then?

    because i dont know how windows will look at 5k...
  4. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Where does the premise for this question come from?

    I've been running games on Steam and off, through Windows (virtual and bootcamp), and OSX, for over two years on a retina MBP. There's no issue at all. Of course I can't run most of them at 2880x1800. Most of them I run at around HD resolution, sometimes slightly higher. There's no issue, nor is there blurriness. The lower the resolution you pick, the faster the framerate. It handles it far better than a traditional LCD panel will handle resolution drops, as there are so many true pixels available to do the job.

    I'd be willing to put money on the retina iMac being just the same. I bet it absolutely flies running at 1080p or something around that level. If you tried running at 5k it would be a complete dog, if the game could even handle it.
  5. ToroidalZeus, Oct 18, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014

    ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2009
    A lot of people are upset Apple went with the AMD GPUs instead of giving an Nvidia 980m option.

    The hardware (specifically the graphics card) isn't powerful enough to run most games at 1440p on max settings; this will be a 1080p / medium settings machine.

    the current xbox one/ps4/wii u consoles are incredibly weak in PC terms; like $150 graphic card weak. I'd guess by the end of next year you will be able to build a gaming rig with a 4k IPS display for the same cost as the 5k retina iMac (actually you already can today if you are comparing the spec'd out version) and it'll be like getting a next-gen console today.
  6. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    780M is running battlefield at 1440p high details.
    if you go 295x no problems at all.
  7. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    It does not end up blurry. Yes, it is linearly interpolated — which is the correct thing to do and improves the quality of the image compared to a simple pixel magnification.

    Side-by-side, the half resolution gaming on rMBP looks better than full-resolution gaming on a classical MBP. I have tried.
  8. say19 macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2014
    Yes I am very interested in this topic too.

    My old 2011 iMac just died so I have to buy a new mac. I had to decide between Mac Pro (which doesn't seem the right choice for gaming), "old" 27" iMac (which didn't feel like an upgrade) or the new 5k iMac.

    I've ordered the 5k because it's just too exciting not too. I'm not too worried about bleeding edge gaming performance; but I would really like to know if it games "ok" on half native resolution in OSX, and if it can game ok in Windows bootcamp.

    If it really can't game at all under Windows, for example, I should probably get a max spec non-retina iMac.

    Anyone have any information on this/seen any?
  9. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    The 2012 rMBP is a 1080p/medium settings machine. I know, I run one. The retina iMac is way more powerful than a 1Gb 650M. It will fly at 1080p with pretty much anything.
  10. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    gaming on 780M 1440p on OSX or bootcamp is very ok. on bootcamp i guess even better since not every game is made for osx as wel. so take the 295x to have even better experience than 780M
  11. scottrichardson macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2007
    Ulladulla, NSW Australia
    It will work just fine. You should be able to play 1440 or at worst 1080. The interesting thing will be the scaling. As you say you cannot turn off the smoothing effect of upscaling 1440 to 2880 but with the extra physical pixels you may end up with what can most closely be attributed to 'physical antialiasing'!

    I'll be doing the same as you.

    As to the remark about consoles being really under powered. As an owner of both next gen machines, I am constantly blown away by the graphics in games. I'm not a pc gamer so I have no idea what it's like on that side of the world. But as heavy console gamer, color me impressed by these machines with relative $150 GPUs.
  12. say19 macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2014
    Ok then this thread is pretty reassuring, thanks for everyone's advice!

    I will be interested to see what gaming is like under Parallels and Bootcamp.

    I guess I will have to start hunting around for manual fan control apps again if I am going to start gaming in bootcamp hehehe.
  13. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
  14. say19 macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2014
    Oh I sometimes game under Parallels in my old iMac, you definitely can. It depends on the game and what you consider "gaming" of course.

    Anything that I want to be immersed in or anything competitive I played under bootcamp; but for replays of games I have already played through, or games where I don't really care so much about the glitz, Parallels works very well. And this is with a 2011 Mac.

    Of course, this does depend on what you consider minimal acceptable quality, and what kind of games you want to play.
  15. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    i tried to install different apps and games on VM 1 year ago...and every-time i tried to run the app...told me that it can't be run on virtual machine.
    Maybe things have change now..
  16. say19 macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2014
    Hm that's strange. I have never seen this message on Parallels.

    I do know that the modern version of Parallels is a lot better with gaming than it was a few years ago.

    With any Windows game, I always make a decision whether I can actually be bothered booting into Windows just to play it. Usually, I can't. (Exceptions are Dragon Age Origins and any Mass Effect title hehe.)
  17. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    Some games play fine under parallels but that is just if you are lazy like me :) Sometimes you get graphics glitches. Only thing I've noticed under windows and my rMBP with playing games is my laptop seems to get hotter than under OSX. I do run a power management application under Windows so I know the system isn't getting hot enough to melt just very warm. Also, I have run lots of game at high settings with 1440 and sometimes I even stray from that depending on the game and how I want the game to look.

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