OS Neutral The Next Mac and Gaming

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Huntn, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #1
    Currently have a 2011 MBP which does an outstanding job with any game I want to play via Windows/Bootcamp. I've all ready replaced the hard drive and I realize I might be on borrowed time as this hardware is 4+ years old. I realize that I'd probably get just as good performance if not better from an iMac, but I do travel on occasion and it's nice to bring gaming with me, other than my iPad.

    My impression is that for more demanding gaming, I need dedicated graphics such as the top tier $2500 MacBookPro with AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB GDDR5 memory or the $1500 iMac with NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 1GB video card.

    Thoughts? Are there lesser Macs that will do the job for AAA gaming? My impression is no.
    Thanks!
     
  2. freshe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    #2
    Don't buy mac for gaming :) that's the best answer.
    I was gaming on 6970 model, then 680 and 780. I got the 290X retina iMac and couldn't game on that.
    I only play WoW so it was enough for me, though on 5k model I had the GPU wasn't enough to have it maxed and get smooth gameplay the way it was on the previous 3 models. You'd get better gaming experience with some gaming windows laptop rather than MBP.

    Ofcourse as you said you will be able to play games but then again the experience will be different. I used to play wow on 13" hp model back from 2008 or so - graphics was minimal but at that time it didn't bother me. Once I got the 27"er on maxed details I drooled allover the screen it was so shiny and colourful :)
     
  3. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    #3
    Between M370X and 750M, the former is definitely faster (plus double the memory).
    However, the best choice for the moment would be the retina iMac with the M290X.

    You can see the performance of all of the above here.
     
  4. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #4
    Neither M370X nor 750M are nowhere near fast enough for playing current-gen AAA titles on decent settings. Both are low-power mobile versions of 2012 GPUs.
    Of course it depends on what you want to play and which graphics quality you expect, but for gaming I wouldn't get either of these options.
     
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
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    Denmark
    #5
    If it still does an outstanding job for you, why not wait another year then? We all want new toys all the time, but for gaming it is important to get the newest graphic card you can get your hands on (At least for the Mac!), so it may be worth waiting at least on the new Skylake machines.
     
  6. freshe macrumors regular

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    Jul 15, 2012
    #6
    I would disagree - if it can't make wow run smooth in 5k whats the point ? Given that WoW isn't the latest and most demanding game. I had 5k and got rid of it. 290X isn't enough for this screen. So don't waste your money on it yet. I had better performance from 780. At least look at M295X which is twice as fast as the 290X and is bit faster than the 780m according to that benchmark you linked.
     
  7. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    #8
    Having a retina iMac doesn't mean you have to play on 5k, though. The retina iMac is indeed the Mac with the strongest GPU at the moment. This means that comparing with any other Mac, under the same resolution, will perform better.

    IMO, 5k is not a common ground for gaming, at least yet, and should not considered an option. A retina display is useful for desktop usage (and there's a difference with standard resolutions). But if someone has to choose now a new Mac with games in mind, why not get the Mac with the best GPU currently available ?

    Mac Pro...being the owner of one, I wouldn't suggest it for games. Under OS X, only the one GPU will work and its gaming performance falls under retina iMac's top-end GPU. Under windows, crossfire is nice but it's a hit-and-miss feature as many games will not work with it, including some AAA titles (which, again, leaves you with one GPU that is not better that the high-end iMac's one).
     
  8. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Sure, but you'd have to choose a resolution which is an integer divisor of the native 5K resolution or you'll end up with interpolated blurry graphics.
    This makes 2560x1440 the only resonable choice, which is still quite demanding for a mobile GPU like M290/295. For current-gen games it will be (mostely) fine, but looking to the future you'll be stuck with a non-upgradeble GPU hooked up to a huge screen.
    Of course this depends on the personal expectations, the 5K iMac is an awesome machine, but I wouldn't get it if gaming was one of my top requirements (well, at least not if I have to care about money; getting a new top of the line iMac every year would be a soluation, too :D).
     
  9. freshe macrumors regular

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    Jul 15, 2012
    #10
    So in terms of playing just Blizzards games under Mac OSx on Mac Pro - will they use 2 GPUs or just one ?
     
  10. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    No game will use both GPUs in OSX, Crossfire just isn't supported by the OS.

    Only GPGPU applications (OpenCL, CUDA) can profit from more than 1 GPU. On MacPros obviously only OpenCL.
     
  11. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    Mar 4, 2013
    #12
    I recently retired my 2011 MacBook Pro as my gaming PC, but it's still more than fast enough for work and photo/video processing. Due to space, noise, and budget constraints, I picked up one of these, along with a 16 GB DDR3L RAM kit, and a 240 GB SSD all from a local retailer that had all of these items on sale so it ended up costing quite a bit less than Amazon or Newegg. I wiped Windows 8.1 from the Mac and cloned my OS X install to the 240 GB SSD, as the existing 1 TB Samsung SSD would be going into the Zbox. Since my Windows 8.1 license is retail, it was simple enough to transfer it to the new machine.

    The main reason I went with the Zotac over an Alienware Alpha or Gigabyte Brix is the fact that the Zbox includes a VESA mount so I can attach it to the back of my monitor, turning it into something of a poor man's iMac. Dying Light is basically unplayable on my MBP, even at 720p and low details. The Zbox can handle that game at 900p and medium settings.

    I'm excited to see what the next generation Zbox can do. Hopefully it will still include a VESA mount.
     
  12. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    Jun 10, 2011
    #13
    Yes and - sadly - no. It's actually weird. The best looking resolution (as long as it is not the native one of course) varies from game to game. When I had the iMac 2010 27" model with a 2560x1440 resolution, I eventually had to reduce it in order to play some games later on. Some of them had an awful visuals when I used the 1280x720 (including Diablo 3 IIRC). It has to do with how each engine renders in each resolution. There was an interesting older discussion in this forum about that matter, which - for me - boils down to this; choose the Mac with the best GPU you can afford and never look back. ;)

    This. As I also wrote, when talking about OS X, only one GPU will work. The crossfire hit-and-miss part was only for windows. However, regarding Blizzard games, do keep in mind that they are also very CPU-dependent.
     
  13. koyoot Suspended

    koyoot

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    Jun 5, 2012
    #14
    Metal can change that, and utilize second GPU. And everything points to that Blizz is converting their games to Metal.
     
  14. robertosh macrumors 6502

    robertosh

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    Mar 2, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #15
    Maybe he / she does not want to get rid of a mac . It's clear that Windows gaming is better than mac gaming but in recent years the gap had decreased a lot and today you can get a good performance on native / bootcamp games on a Mac. Yes, in comparison with the same game, on windows runs better but you need to install it, wasting disk space...
     
  15. foobarbazqux macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    #16
    Then just keep it

    Is gaming the only reason you're considering such an expensive laptop? If so, you could build a gaming PC and get a cheaper MBA/MBP for less than that. That's the route I take.
     
  16. koyoot Suspended

    koyoot

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    Jun 5, 2012
    #17
    To be fair, demanding gaming can be done on any of current Macs, apart from Macbook. It really gets to the question: what resolution we think of gaming.

    Its funny situation, but even 13 inch MBP has more powerful GPU than your MBP. And Skylake will bring even more power to this little boy.
     
  17. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #18
    Thanks, I'll check it out!

    I appreciate the input, but have to question this. I've got a 2011MBP that plays World of Tanks at 60fps. What is your definition of decent?

    I will probably keep it till it dies. In the past I've sold laptops like this at the 3 year point and regained half the purchase price. Try that with a windows PC.This one is beyond that so...

    I've got a home built gaming PC, this would be for traveling and I want to keep a Mac in my inventory ideally that's capable of gaming. However I travel much less than I used to, and for my Mac stuff (my primary computer), I could do all of the things I do besides gaming on a MacBook Air. I'm still thinking about choices, hence this thread. I don't want to give up Mac mobility. :)
     
  18. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    Mar 4, 2013
    #19
    OK, it would have been helpful had you mentioned the bolded part in your first post. That being the case, unless you demand maximum performance, I would just get a rMBP 13, Iris Pro rMBP 15, or if you really want, a refurbished rMBP 15 with the GeForce 750M GPU. Spending $2,500+ on a current dGPU model makes no sense given your current setup and usage pattern.
     
  19. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #20
    Good idea, I'll check it out. Thanks!
     
  20. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    Jun 10, 2011
    #21
    I'm on the same boat. After building a gaming PC, I'm selling my Mac Pro and my Macbook Air and I'll use the money to get the high MBP model. Retina computing and enough horsepower to replace nMP (for my needs) while connected to large display shared with the PC while I'm home, decent gaming when away from home. 2 computers, all covered.
     
  21. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #22
    You have to ask what's my definition of a current-gen AAA title. World of Tanks certainly isn't. ;)
    Throw some recent stuff at it (e.g. Shadow of Mordor or Metro Redux on OS X or GTA, CoD, Battlefield, FarCry 4 on Win) and you'll see what I mean.
    The current top of the line rMBP (M370X) delivers approx. 1/3 of the performance of the high-end 5K iMac (M295X), and even this is barely more than a entry-level gaming GPU (a comparable PC GPU would cost about $200).

    If World of Tanks is the most recent game you want to play, fine, but as you've explicitely asked about "AAA gaming" I wanted to point out that no notebook (and especially no MacBook) would be a wise choice for that.
     
  22. Huntn, Aug 6, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015

    Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #23
    Dedicated graphics has made a huge difference and I've played hundreds of games on this hardware including what I consider to be AAA, but frankly maybe it's not. But every game I've chosen runs adequately, and I'm allowed to call up games that go back to 2011, that were new when my hardware was built such as World of Tanks, World of Warcraft (older although it has been updated graphically over the years), SWTOR MMO , Final Fantasy XIV MMO, and a slew of Steam games. Suffice it to say that every game I've wanted to play, and I have extensive gaming tastes, has run just fine on my hardware.

    For those people considering a MacBookPro for travel and gaming, it represents the absolute best option to have it all- the MacOS, if the MacOS is important to you, and gaming via Bootcamp while on the road. And it's slightly annoying when people basically state the Mac is "no good" for gaming. Yes, you have to pay a lot of money for the top of the line MBP with dedicated graphics, $2500, but you are basically paying for the travel option of having two computers in one. I've not regretted going this route ever. And as I stated, at home I have a gaming PC to play games on, and my MBP to do serious work on.
     
  23. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #24
    Sure, games from the MBPs release-time will be somewhere between 'good' and 'okay-ish' (high-end titles will only run on reduced graphic settings), upcoming games won't be, but if you really "need" mobile gaming then there is no alternative to this (quite costly) compromise.

    I've never said that you can't game on a MacBook, but the value for money is just ridiculous. If you wanted to get a new MBP either way I'd say "sure, pay a few more $$ and get the dedicated GPU", but just for gaming I'd personally never ever consider spending $2500, although it certainly wouldn't ruin me.
    I'm in a similar situation, my MBP is a little older than yours but I gamed quite a lot on it when it was new. In the last years I didn't because more modern games were not playable any more. The MacBook does everything else just fine though, so I rather pass on mobile gaming than donating a ******** of money to Apple. The M370X is quite much the same as the PC HD 7770, which I recently purchased for ~50€, this makes it quite hard for me to justify the value of the rMBP form a gaming perspective. :D
     
  24. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #25
    Thanks for your perspective, :) As I said, the conditions: I want the MacOS, mobility, and gaming. I'm not really versed in PC gaming laptops, but The last time I checked, I seem to remember PC laptop in the gaming realm running from $2000-$3000., about the same price as a MBP. Are the PC laptop for that price, vastly superior to the MBP with dedicated graphics?

    A quick search produced a group in the $1000-$2600 price range: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2020688,00.asp
    A question would be which one of these have dedicated vs integrated graphics and how does the MBP performance compare?
     

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