Seeking advice: upgrade time - iMac and gaming?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cbaginski, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. cbaginski macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2008
    Hello everyone!

    I am faced with a dilemma of having to upgrade my mac... I am currently on a late 2004 G5 with a 128Mb ATI card (not wsure which card, whatever the upgrade option was at the time) and I am using an old Apple 17" studio display which has served me admirably for 6+ years.

    I use my system for both work and gaming - I am an illustrator/graphic designer and my game of choice is World of Warcraft (and Diablo)... I dont play really hardcore games, but WoW does tax the system somewhat.

    2 factors are forcing me to upgrade within the next few weeks: I have to get Adobe CS3 (currently using CS2) which requires OSX 10.4 or higher (currently have 10.3.9)and my monitor is starting to go (the known backlit problem with the Studio Displays).

    New 20" screen and OSX 10.5 will cost me $800+... it seems for a few hundred more I can get an entire new Intel Core duo imac... but which one? iMac's being unupgradeable, will force me to really think this out - I need to make sure the iMac I get wont have to be replaced next year becuase I cannot upgrade the video card... if a new game is released I want to play.

    Alternately, should I even consider the iMac? perhaps a new monitor, OSX 10.5 and a new video card are more prudent options? I would be missing out on the intel core duo-ness though...

    any suggestions/advice would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!
  2. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    The iMac with geforce 8800 is great for gaming, it gives you a nice 24 inch display aswell.

    The iMac with radoen 2600 is ok too.
    I'm running WoW and AoC on my MBP 2.2GHz and WoW runs great, AoC is sure playable, but with high settings i can get FPS from 20-40 in most areas.

    My MBP runs WoW really great with a 22 Inch display in 1680x1050 res with the MBP @ 1440x900 on for firefox/ventrilo without any slowdowns, I can even fraps and keep 30+ FPS.

    The 8800 is alsmost twice as fast as the 2600 iMac tho.

    Check out barefeats for benchmarks for the different iMacs.

    All the options will be atleast 5-10 times faster than your old iMacG5.
    (My bro still uses a 2 GHz 21 inch iMac G5 for WoW and i have four times his FPS even i run with most on max and he runs most on lowest)
  3. mastershakess macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Bel Air, MD
    Which iMac are you considering? The lowest lvl, middle or high end?

    I have the newest 20" 2.4ghz Alum iMac
    Playing WoW I get 40-70fps everywhere with a few setting up, everything on high I get around 20-40fps
  4. andychris02 macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2007
    Dublin, Ireland (at the moment)

    I just got my iMac a couple of weeks ago and I can say it does the job in both CS3 and gaming (under Windows XP). I've been playing Crysis and I pretty much have the settings set to high and it runs great, Gears of War, Assassins Creed, CoD4 and Bioshock all run great as well, again, the settings are pretty high and there doesn't seem to be any slowdown issues at all, apart from the odd one here or there.

    The only thing that I'd suggest is to install SMCFancontrol as the H/Drive temp seems to get pretty warm when gaming under Windows (up to about 55/56ºC) before I put in SMC but now it seems to stay at about 50ºC, which I think is pretty safe. It only really seems to run warmer when I game (which is mainly under XP) than when I'm in OsX.

    Hope that helps.
  5. cbaginski thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2008
    Thank you all for your comments, I really appreciate them, it's really helping me think this through. The benchmarks also helped my buying decision quite a bit.

    mastershakess: I dont know which iMac to get, that's kind of why I am asking... here are the facts of my conundrum:

    1) I have to upgrade to OSX 10.4 or higher so I can run CS3 in the next few weeks - I have already committed to work that has to be executed in CS3 (I work in CS2 from my home office)

    2) My monitor is beginning to die, and will need replacing in the next 6 months or so

    3) My current G5 is perfectly sufficient for any work tasks I need to do - aside from needing OSX 10.4 and CS3 - so *any* computer I get will be a solid upgrade work-wise

    4) I am a blizzard fan - the recently annouced Diablo3 has me drooling and I will be devoting my life to it when it is finally released... and I will upgrade my computer for it if I have to

    so - my plan was, hold off on upgrading my system until I know what the system requirements of D3 will be... but, with my screen needing to be replaced in the forseeable future, and imminent work issues requiring at least an OS upgrade, I am forced to seriously consider the upgrade now...

    which leads me to the future considerations: I dont want the iMac I get now to be a paperweight when D3 is released. I may not eb cheap, but I am frugal - the low-end iMac is perfectly capable of running my work tasks and improving performance of WoW (which already runs ok for me), so I am leaning towards it - but, if in a year's time I need to upgrade again to play Diablo3, I will have basically rolled up a thousand dollar bill and lit it on fire. I dont like doing that.

    Which, in turn, has lead me to consider the top-line iMac with the geforce 8800 - reading various things online has lead me to believe the ATI cards are stinky - the top-line should last me longer before upgrading again.

    But, once I crested $2000 for my potential purchase, I realized for $300 more I can get a base line Mac Pro tower - and then I can get an external 24" monitor for $1000... and the advantage to that, is that I can change the video card if I ever need to... it seems like alot of money though just for the option to upgrade a video card.

    So, I can make an argument for the bottom end iMac at $1k, the top-end iMac for $2k or a bottom end Pro and monitor for $3k.

    Maybe the mid line iMac is a good stop-gap measure at $1.5k - and resign myself to the certainty that I will be getting rid of it in a couple of years.

    Or perhaps I should come at this from a different direction: a Mac Mini to get me through the pressing work crunch, and a nice 24" monitor... and then get a Mac pro tower when I need to get a better video card option.

    The mac mini will be temporary, yes, but I can stomach losing $600, I cant stomach losing over $1k.

    bah - decisions, decisions... :)

    Any other thoughts on navigating this quagmire (giddity, giggity)

  6. aki macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2004
    i dont think u should buy mac tower/pro for games (and photoshop).... its wasting

    i went from g5 imac to 3.06 imac with 8800 and 4gb and it will play any game now and d3/sc2/etc should be no problem at all......and i can do video and design work on it no problem

    tower form factor is too big for me but even not the size its just not worth that money for as u say just able to change your video card in 2 years or something

    my own advice buy as much imac as you can

    oh and i agree with other posts -

    1 MUCH faster than g5 even tho i loved it :eek:
    2 use smcfancontrol for windows games or loooooong render mostly just for your hd temp cpu and gpu r ok i think but hd gets too hot
  7. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Are you technical,ever thought about changing your backlight bulbs(CCF).
    I had a pismo and I changed the lamps myself,its quite a job though,not that easy.
    Bulbs are not that expensive but be very careful,they are thin and can easily break.
    If the backlight is your only problem I would try to change them if I were you,you would have a bright "new" panel again for next to nothing. , 19.99 $ a piece,just an example.
    Don't know how many You would need though,probably two,but could be more.

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