The answer to graphics cards and games - build a PC!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by lloyd709, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. lloyd709 macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    I mean this seriously. I'm mac through and through for everything else I do but after spending 5 or 6 years pulling my hair out with frustration over not being able to have the latest graphics cards, about a year ago I built a PC for next to nothing just for the games.

    Excluding the graphics card it cost about £450!!! OK, I then spent £400 pounds on a GTX580 graphics card but that's what I would have had to have spent anyway (if it were possible to put one in my MAC - I know it is apparently possible now with a bit of frigging around but it's not something I want to have to do every time I want to upgrade my graphics card).

    I've absolutely no regrets with the decision - being out of that stress zone is so nice. I'm not gloating, I just seriously thought some of you might find it useful having this pointed out.
  2. lloyd709 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    I know, I did actually say that it can be done with a bit of frigging. But it is frigging.

    What about the next card you might want to upgrade to? What about those games that mysteriously crash or won't boot under bootcamp but work perfectly on a native PC?

    I know it can work but all I'm saying is I'm so pleased that my mac's a mac and does OSX brilliantly for my professional apps, and my games that are running on the very latest but relatively cheap hardware are separate and not influenced by Apple gods that tell us what we should and shouldn't be using and doing!
  3. lampliter macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2008
    Your right. For 1500 bucks you can build a PC for gaming that no Mac Pro on the planet could even compare to for gaming. Im a mac person, but when you order a 6000 dollar mac pro it can barely run panama sam with the crappy card it will come with (I'm exaggerating of course). Its only been this past couple of years that we can even play games with first bootcamp and some rigging of out of date cards.
  4. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    I already have a Mac Pro which I use for professional applications.
    I have an HD 5870 which will run most games very nicely.
    Why tie up space with another computer when I can play games with bootcamp.
    I am only interested in X-Plane but just out of curiosity, what games crash or won't boot under bootcamp?

    My next computer will be a Mac Pro with an HD 7970. Very few PCs can beat that rig for gaming.
    Yes, there are some, especially with crossfire or SLI.
    And yes, something else will come down the pike that is bigger, better, and meaner than the HD 7970.
    But, as long as my Mac Pro is an excellent all-in-one machine, I am not going to waste space with another computer.
  5. Cindori, Dec 23, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011

    Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    how are you thinking now? no matter the generation, custom built PC's will always come in like half the price of Mac Pro and still perform better due to ability to overclock CPU by like 1.5GHz without a sweat.

    My PC with 2500k OC'd to 4.5Ghz will probably overperform any 2012 Mac Pro in games as long as I get a matching GPU (7970).
  6. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Most customers who purchase Mac Pros don't buy them for gaming. I certainly didn't buy mine for gaming.

    I still understand the frustration without being able to buy the latest and greatest all the time. But wouldn't that partially be AMD and NVIDIAs fault? I always hear people blame it on Apple 100%, but that's not necessarily accurate.
  7. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    Very very true. It's been more of a GPU and game maker problem then it has been with Apple. Back in the ole days it was the marketshare excuse for not releasing properly coded games and driver rich GPUs.

    Now it should be even less of an issue and some game makers like EA claimed to be more committed to the Mac, but I have yet to really see that commitment fulfilled.

    I have my Macs for work primarily, home/family second, and gaming third. I do have my C&C and Civilization on standby. I am still waiting for C&C3's expansion pack and C&C4 to come to the Mac . . . and last I checked those titles were EA titles, nothing Apple made.

    Now, I agree with the OP 100%, anyone needing to do some serious gaming with Crossfire and DirectX support needs to just grab a sweet PC rig or configure their Mac Pros accordingly. Light gamers like myself can still get by gaming under Mac OSX, but we will be waiting on the others for years for updated titles.
  8. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    I said very few PCs can beat a Mac Pro with an HD 7970. I did not say all.

    The Mac Pro with an HD 7970 should be an very respectable gaming computer.
    An overclocked custom-built PC with a comparable video card or video cards will most likely beat it.

    There's no doubt about it.
    How many people have a computer like your souped-up PC? Yes, a few.
    Oops, I'm back to my original assertion.
  9. Mike Biggen macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2010
    The problem isn't necessarily now. Right now, a 2012 Mac Pro with a 7970 would indeed be a nice gaming machine (at great expense). We run into problems, when, two years from now, Apple still sells the 7970 at its original MSRP while much newer, faster, and cheaper cards are readily available. The 5870 is a great example. The best card Apple sells is still the Radeon 5870, and they still charge 450$ for it. A quick look at Anand's benchmarks show that the 6870 performs similarly to the 5870, but can be found for 150$-ish. You could upgrade three times for the price of the 5870 through Apple.

    The issues are compounded if you want to use Nvidia when Apple is fixated on AMD or vice versa.

    Much like the OP, I gave up on hoping that Apple would do better with video cards and went ahead and built myself a PC strictly for games. I don't even mind the price so much as the lack of selection. Now, I can use whichever cards I want, and for a reasonable price. Plus, now I don't have to reboot my Pro all the time.
  10. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2005
    Rochester, NY
  11. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    PC tower for PC games... who'da thunk it!

    The assertion that a Windows PC to play PC games on can be had for less money than a Mac Pro and will do a better job of playing said games is not really news is it?

    I play WoW on a Mac Pro 2008, practically the only game it needs to play tbh. The reason it is a Mac Pro and not a gaming PC is that the rest of the time it is used for "normal" Mac activities, photography, iPod management, artistic design and internet based activities like shopping, email etc. A PC can do all these things but as "I can't be doin' wit no Windows", it has to be a Mac.

    When fellow WoW players ask me to spec a WoW box, I never tell them to get a Mac Pro. I can spec a £500 Llano system that does the job with a 22" LED backlight screen and Blu-ray; an i5 beast with a GTX560Ti that will tear WoW a new one for £700 or an i7 behemoth with a 2 GB HD6950 that will hand practically any PC game its arse for £950.

    Compared to a 27" iMac for £1700 or a Mac Pro for £3000+ the term "no contest" looks obvious at best. :)
  12. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    If anyone's buying a Mac Pro, or any Xeon workstation purely for gaming that's pretty stupid. As far as games go there are many performance trade off's to the workstation architecture. Not only that, but the CPU is pretty much never the bottleneck, these games can't even begin to use a quad core to its full extent let alone 6, 8 and 12 core machines.

    If you want to do serious work, the Mac Pro ranks up with the best of them (or will when/if it's updated). For games, buy or build a machine dedicated to its task. Of course a Mac Pro can run games.. quite well in fact, but don't be surprised if your friends machine bought for a third of the price trumps it, because they're vastly different machines for vastly different tasks.
  13. lloyd709 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    If I remember correctly, the only way I could get Metro to start up was to - believe it or not - start Doom III first then exit it and then Metro would start!!

    I think F1 2010 crashed quite often on me as well and I'm sure there was another game that gave me problems but can't remember which one it was.

    All these problems stopped once I started running them on a PC rather than in Boot camp.
  14. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I used to have a Mac Mini + Windows PC. My jobs would process overnight and if there was a problem I wouldn't know till the next day. By selling both and upgrading to a MP, now my jobs run under a couple of hours each. Work is way better, gaming is still great, and I have a lot less desk clutter especially having got rid of all the cables and adapters associated with a KVM switch. I am definitely not going back to that setup. If work falls behind, I'll upgrade the CPU and memory. If gaming falls behind, I'll throw in a newer GPU.

    Additional points:

    1) Metro starts fine for me on my MP, so you are probably blaming the MP unfairly.

    2) Even with the mediocre 5770 I have, BF3 looks and runs spectacular at 1920x1200 with high settings.

    3) I didn't buy a Mac Pro for gaming. The fact that it happens to run Windows games so well is a bonus, and it means I don't HAVE to buy a separate gaming PC.

    I'll grant you one advantage to separate computers is that with a flick of the KVM switch, I could play a game while waiting for a job to complete. However, I found that in practice I only very rarely did this. I like to monitor the workflow now, especially since jobs break from time to time.
  15. lloyd709 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    Sounds like you have exactly what suits you.

    I was just saying that if you were one of the many mac pro users that are frustrated with some of the limitations of gaming on a mac pro (clearly depending on your gaming desires) then you might want to consider building a PC if you hadn't already considered it. I know it has it's disadvantages but it was the right solution for me!
  16. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Mm. This debate rankles with me, somewhat.

    In February/March, I want to buy a gruesomely powerful computer that I don't need to even think about replacing for three or four years. Gaming is a central concern, yes, but I also want nasty processing power: so that whatever I decide to do with the machine happens as quickly as possible.

    I switched to Macs almost two years ago now, and I love the damned things. I piss-off lots of my friends talking about how they're voluntarily ruining their computing lives with Windows PCs: one of them recently defected (he bought my 2010 iMac), and another one is going to buy a new iMac when the next updates come along. But this leaves me in a jam: I want a seriously powerful (gaming) computer in February/March, but I also want a Mac.

    No Ivy Bridge CPUs until April/May, I read today. Jesus...
  17. theSeb, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011

    theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Will it really though and by what noticeable margin? It seems to me, by looking at the benchmarks, that in today's games the CPU is no longer the bottle neck and it's all about the GPU.

    Here we have an i7 3820 overclocked to 4.5 GHz versus other mainstream processor options with the same GPU. What's 4 frames per second? There is basically no difference in DirectX 11.


    At the higher resolution the difference is even less

  18. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    If it is out by then and if you can afford it, a new 2012 Mac Pro with an HD 7970 can be your seriously powerful gaming computer.

    We're not worried about Ivy Bridge right now. We're waiting on Sandy Bridge.
    What you are talking about are Ivy Bridge desktop processors.
    It will be a long wait for Ivy Bridge server processors (Mac Pro).
  19. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Welcome to the world of compromise.

    You can please all of the software some of the time or some of the software all of the time but you can't please all of the software all of the time.

    Mac OS X makes coverts very happy until they see how long we have to wait for upgrades. If you need the fastest shiniest box on the planet, it is time to go back to the Windows cave. Take a big chequebook with you too because the upgrades will be along pretty much on a weekly basis as all the component manufacturers strive to beat each other in spec/speed/size.
    The Tech review forums all spend huge amounts of time measuring the differences which can be a gnat's leg wide at times.

    Choosing a Mac Pro means you don't even have to look at an upgrade for a couple of years at a time... unless you simply have to have the biggest toy on the block at all times. In that case you need a Hackintosh laboratory and a couple of guys in white lab coats with fire extinguishers handy. :eek:

    Alternatively be happy with the refresh rate of once in a blue moon. It makes up for the higher initial purchase price. :)
  20. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Ah-ha. We're waiting on the server-class Sandy Bridge CPUs, aren't we? That's right. I remember now...!

    Sorry, I got myself in a knot. That friend of mine who's going to buy an iMac keeps pestering me about when the Ivy Bridge CPUs are coming out: I got confused.


    Sure, I hear you.

    I'm not the kinda guy who needs the best and fastest of everything 'all of the time'; I just want to buy something that's offensively powerful at that moment, so that I'm not thinking in six/twelve/eighteen months' time, "mm, wish I'd bought the next model up...".

    Actually, while I have the thread's attention (don't mean to hijack...), should it be possible to add (for CrossFire purposes, and PSU-permitting) a second HD 7970 that has not come from Apple? i.e. just any generic 7970 card, provided that the primary card is an official Apple purchase?

    Or, alternatively, is it not even necessary for either of the cards to be 'official'? Can Mac Pros use generic cards, provided that there's a driver for it within OS X?
  21. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
  22. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    There are a lot of people who has a 2500K. Even when it's not overclocked it will still fair pretty evenly with the Mac Pro if both the PC and the MP has the same GPU. Not to mention the fact that the 2500K is a LOT cheaper than the processor in the MP so for gaming a lot of the 2012 PC's will beat or have fairly the same performance as the 2012 MP.

    The MP is however a much more powerful all-around workbeast so it is still a better piece of machine but for gaming, not so much.

    I am extremely glad though that it appears that the MP will have the same performance in games as a gaming-PC and also be able to do all the work as a MP can do ^_^ Now let's hope the game-developers develop games compatible with Mac...
  23. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    Yes, that would be nice.
    I have the PC and Mac versions of X-Plane. X-Plane works better under Bootcamp (Win7) than it does with Mac OS X.
    I've got some very, very sophisticated Garmin software that only works with Windows.
    Oh well, thank goodness for Bootcamp.
  24. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    If you're going to do this, just do boot camp + whatever GPU you want.

    For me, I could build a PC, but if I'm going to have a Mac Pro for the Mac stuff anyway...

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