Upgrading a Pro to be on par with gaming PCs possible?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ChitoCrisis, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. ChitoCrisis macrumors member

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    #1
    I'm talking about On the level of PC gaming. I'm not sure if its easy to upgrade the latest video cards on Mac pros and if most are compatible.

    I will buy a new Mac Pro this year when they come out and I'd like to be able to do this sort of thing. I like macs and OS X that's why.

    If not ive been thinking about building my own gaming PC but I hate windows lol (I run it on my mbp to play some games) and I'd rather not have 2 towers in my room. I already have 2 tvs in there and all my gaming consoles take up a lot of space.

    I have more uses for the Mac Pro. I'd use it for everything.
     
  2. brentsg macrumors 68030

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    #2
    It's easy enough to run an NV 680 or the new ATI 9750 that just released.

    The biggest issue that I see with Mac gaming is that even if the game you want to play is available, it generally runs much better in Windows.
     
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #3
    Mac Pro is a workstation, not a Gaming oriented computer. You can custom build your own gaming PC with better gaming hardware for less than half what the Mac Pro will cost.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    Two major issues:

    - GPU selection for Mac Pro is very limited and the models available are often significantly more expensive than comparable PC GPUs (though you can run a PC GPU in a Mac Pro too but it may be limited to Windows unless you flash it)

    - Game selection and performance under OS X is much worse than in Windows. Most Mac users run Boot Camp just for gaming because of better performance
     
  5. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #5
    First world problems...... putting a half dozen gaming boxes into a single room. With multiple gaming consoles exactly how much game time is the Mac Pro going to see?

    To equivalence to a dedicated Windows gaming rig? No. There is no crossfire/sli . To equivalence to game 'good enough' probably yes. Mac GPU drivers are optimized for max frame rates. They are closer to the balance done for "Pro" GPU cards in the Windows world. Not the same but closer.


    What you won't see over time is rapid adoption of new technology ( OpenGL , new video cards , etc.). Unless a creditable and viable 3rd part PCI-e video card markets comes to the Mac market there will continue to be gaming gaps between the two markets.


    right tool for the right job. if that works for gaming consoles, it can also work for towers.
     
  6. ChitoCrisis thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Yeah I'd have to run windows for most games.

    But anyways space is an issue for me that's why I brought it up. I have almost no more free space where I live. And a dozen game cases? Try over 600 (about 200 are blurays and DVDs).

    Ill see how much it will cost to build a gaming PC. I'm still going to buy a Mac Pro. I want it as my work station for my major (3d graphics and animation).

    It might end up being a waste of money because a gaming rig will do everything I need it for performance wise but I love macs. Damn.
     
  7. Craigjtmp, Mar 25, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013

    Craigjtmp macrumors newbie

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    #7
    How to trick out your Mac Pro for gaming

    First thing, cough up a huge wad of dough for a awesome video card, either GEforce or ATI, the more ram the better, but the faster GPU is key. I use a GEForce GTX 285 with 1.8 GB of memory.

    Then, upgrade your OS and Apps hard drive to solid state, if you are still running a [spinning disc technology] SATA drive, you are using old technology. You can pick up a 120 GB SSD for about $100 now. Lion and Apps are about 100 GB, with 20 GB free. Keep that empty space free, and keep all your data, music, etc. on an external, separate drive.

    Get the fastest Internet connection possible. Fiber optic is ideal.

    One should have at least 4 GB of ram.

    I play all sorts of games, and have no problems.
     
  8. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #8
    You must not be aware that almost all solid state drives are version SATA.
     
  9. Craigjtmp macrumors newbie

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    #9
    CORRECTION: If you are using spinning disc SAT drives....

    Oops, mistype, I meant to say: "If you are still using the old spinning disc hard drives". Yes, SATA is the interface, not whether it has spinning discs or solid state.
     
  10. dpny macrumors regular

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    Jan 5, 2013
    #10
    If you're going to run the games in Bootcamp, then yes. Buy a 6-pin 670/680, install the latest drivers and go to town. In Bootcamp it will just be the nicest PC you've ever owed.

    You can also play a fair number of games in Parallels, with some graphical issues here and there. However, if you want to play in Parallels make sure you google first and make sure the game is supported in Parallels. I play Mass Effect 3 in Parallels, but getting it to run took some doing and there are occasional crashes when it pushes the GPU really hard.
     
  11. Wardenski macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2012
    #11
    Assuming the next Mac Pro is similar to the current one then it is possbile but as people have said you are limited GPU wise for OSX compatibility.

    I use my Mac Pro for gaming and everything else...it has a PC 5870 (6 and 8 pin*) which serves me well but is struggling with the latest DX11 games. I also have an X-Fi Titanium card that outputs encoded 5.1 to an amplifier but it doesn't even get detected in OSX.

    For SLI/Crossfire though you would need to get more ambitious an invest in auxillery power supplies etc.

    *I power the 8 pin from the spare connector in the drive bay...been running this for 3 years, no issues on a 2008 Mac Pro
     
  12. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

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    #12
    You dont have to have a massive case, you could make a very nice gaming pc in a shuttle case or similar.
     
  13. Tesselator, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #13
    Yup. What's needed for games (in the box)?

    • MB w/ 5-1 or 7-1 Surround + 100baseT NIC,
    • 64bit 4GHz dual-core CPU,
    • 6 to 8 GB RAM,
    • GPU 520 (or above?),
    • One 1TB HDD or SSHD,
    • ~ 650W PSU,

    And some of that is future-proofing. ;)


    As far as gaming on the Mac (which is a different world) the GT 8800 is able to handel everything I throw at it. I run all games in 1080 with the maximum video options (although I mostly turn off AA because I like that crisp game gfx look). Here's what's in my Game folder:

    Angry Birds (Space)
    BioShock
    BoarderlandsII
    COD Modern Warfare
    COD Black OPs
    Cars
    Dirt 2
    Doom 3
    Halo
    Nexuiz
    Savage 2
    All Sid Meier's games (about 10)
    Quake 4
    Spore
    StarCraft II
    UT2004
    Warhammer 40k
    XPlane

    And then of course Quake Live in the browser. I'm not really much of a gamer besides Quake Live but I have some experience as a game developer back in C=64 and Amiga days so I like to look around and play a few levels every once in awhile.
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #14
    You do need a lot beefier GPU for "true" gaming. Something like AMD 78xx or NVIDIA 650/660 would be the minimum for a decent gaming rig.

    I think the main question here is, how avid gamer the OP is? Mac Pro is fine for gaming if the OP isn't looking to run the latest games at maximum settings for the next 5 years (it'll still run the games in 5 years but most likely not at maximum settings).

    To be honest, I don't see the point in getting two rigs unless the OP is serious about gaming and is looking at something high-end where Mac Pro simply can't offer the same level of freedom (top of the line GPUs, CF/SLI, overclocking etc). Getting a mid-level gaming rig would be rather point less because it wouldn't even outperform the Mac Pro, at least not by much.
     
  15. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #15
    OK, Thanks for that!

    I think one of the main issues with gaming FPS is monitor size. So far from my tests it has the biggest impact on performance - generally speaking.

    As an arbitrary example GameX gets 40FPS @ 1080 with all video options set to max. And 48FPS with all options set to low. But if I drop it down to 720p I get 75FPS with all setting at max. I assume the same thing would apply from 1080 to higher resolutions. While the native rez of my monitors is 1080 (23") some larger monitors are pretty high! I imagine the 8800GT for example would choke at 1600 vert - for example.
     
  16. Derpage, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    Derpage Suspended

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    #16
    You can make your Mac Pro into a very good gaming box, but you will never get the fps needed for a competitive box. However, with that said, the differences between a "very good gaming box" and a "competitve gaming box" are negligible to the average gamer.
     
  17. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #17
    Yeah, resolution (not screen size ;)) makes a big difference too. IMO, I don't see the point in spending +$1500 on a gaming rig unless it's accompanied by a monitor capable of 2560x1600/1440.
     
  18. Derpage Suspended

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    #18
    Most games aren't really targeting a resolution that high and do not have textures to support it, making it over-kill and unnecessary.
     
  19. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #19
    Well, just in that list I mentioned there are more than one which allow selection of 1600p resolutions.

    And think of all the games you've seen running on 2 or 3 screens. That counts too. The message here is that rez is taxing - perhaps more-so than any other setting. Knowing this will allow people to make better decisions I think. If all they have and all they ever want to have, is a single 23" (which are usually 1080p native) then they can deduce that they have little or no need of some OC version of the 690 and that a 570 (or maybe even less) will do everything the 2or3x price 690 will. Or whatever... you get the idea I hope.

    Likewise, if they're on a 30" monitor which typically support a 1600 native resolution or they play on two or three 24" monitors which typically have 1920x1200 native, then they can shop for the appropriate GPU card.

    That such resolutions are overkill for Angry Birds and such isn't really relevant to the point IMO. We're talking about dedicated gaming boxes after all.
     
  20. Derpage, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    Derpage Suspended

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    #20
    They will often support the higher resolutions, but they get there through things like MSAA and resampling. The target texture res for most all major releases is 1080p resolution televisions. The mipmap or texture packs (or whatever solution, there are many) created target a certain file size. Everything outside of this is handled through filtering or sampling which causes more load on the card. You just need to find the right balance in the settings provided. How to do that can be found here: http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/wiki/gamesettingsguide
     
  21. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #21
    *** reread post***
     
  22. Derpage Suspended

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    #22
    Okay, now what do i do Chris?
     
  23. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #23
    The point is that it's rather useless to spend more than $1500 on a gaming rig and then limit it to 1080p. Pretty much all games will run at maximum settings with +60FPS, so spending more will just be wasted money. Getting a higher res monitor opens new doors because there are more pixels to process, hence you need faster hardware to achieve good graphics. Such monitor will also take the gaming experience to a whole new level.
     
  24. Derpage Suspended

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    #24
    I agree with your line of thought, I'm just not sure many games are really being developed for those high resolutions right now with consoles being the primary platform for release.
     
  25. Tesselator, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #25
    Well, if they're actually rendering to 1600p buffers (or whatever) then it'll look awesome at that resolution, and if not then it may look scaled. I have no idea which games do and don't tho. I would assume the vast majority of games which offered 1600 did in fact render to buffers that size - else it would seem rather silly to allow that to be selected.

    Of course, most XBox and PS3 games are rendering the heavy stuff into a quarter or so buffer, then upscale it, and then render the HUD with full rez. At 1600, the HUD will be sharp, even when the heavy graphics are not. So... maybe huh? <shrug>
     

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