Upgrading - Is this possible?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by SirenOfRed, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. SirenOfRed macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    So I am new to this, but I have been using both macs and PC's for years. Recently I have been wanting to get an iMac 27", but because I really enjoy gaming I am looking at doing the following. Will this work?

    -Purchase iMac 27" made between late 2009 and late 2011, ideally with i7.

    -Ensure RAM is at least 8GB (will upgrade if necessary)

    -Ensure HD is at least 1TB (again, will upgrade if necessary).

    I can source the above parts/ iMac rather cheaply, but this is where I get uncertain.

    I was wondering if it's possible to partition the HD (say around 300GB of it), so that the majority of my space is dedicated to Mac OSX, but when I want to do gaming, I can boot off of the other split hard drive which would be running windows (I am looking at graphics heavy games, like Skyrim and Magicka). What program would be better to do this? I don't mind paying. Parallels or Bootcamp? I want to run Windows 7 seamlessly and be able to play games without severe lagging.

    Lastly, what do I need to do to ensure the graphics are up to scratch? Do I need to make sure the iMac has at least a AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB/ 1GB, and if so, where do I find these? Or are there better graphics cards out there? This is where I get a bit lost, as I am not sure what I need.

    Lastly, how would I upgrade the graphics?

    I realise there are a lot of questions there, so whether you can only answer one or all of them doesn't matter, any advice is appreciated. Likewise, if you are gamer who has done what I want to do, let me know how it went for you!

    :)
     
  2. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #2
    Parallels lets you run Windows and Windows apps without rebooting, Bootcamp will assist in partitioning space for the Windows install and setting up the Mac to complete the install.

    With an iMac, the graphics card you get is the one you have to deal with, you can't upgrade the GPU in an iMac.
     
  3. SirenOfRed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    #3
  4. mixel macrumors 65816

    mixel

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #4
    Eek, I can't vouch for that sort of unsupported GPU upgrade.. Interesting that it's been done though! The parts to do that are probably expensive, hard to come by, and might not fit in the 2011 model? I'd never heard of that upgrade and certainly wouldn't do it myself.. It's more a case of making sure your iMac is powerful enough in the first place.

    Bootcamp all the way.. (+ Parallels..) Gaming performance in parallels isn't as good as bootcamp but you can optionally use Parallels to run your Windows/bootcamp partition also.. I frequently use Parallels to play things like Cube World (that's installed in my bootcamp partition) so I don't have to reboot into windows to do it and stop whatever work I'm doing in osX. Bootcamp is free though with OSX and does all the partitioning for you, and has no lag or issues, it's just running Windows natively.

    The Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB is capable, but already not "great".. Games run fine but you can't bump them up to extreme settings. I wouldn't get anything below the 6770M, but if you did there's mileage to be had there too - you just absolutely have to avoid intel graphics chips.

    I can vouch for Skyrim and Magicka both running great on the 6770M/512MB though.. You might have to turn down the screen resolution and various options, but it can be very smooth.
     
  5. SirenOfRed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    #5
    Thanks for that. I think my best option is a 2011- mid 2012 model, where I can upgrade the RAM and HD space if need be. I am really pleased that Magicka and Skyrim both work well on bootcamp (I have heard from a few people now that Parallels isn't great for gaming), because I don't really play anything with more intense graphics then those. Other option is purchasing the very latest imac, but that is an extra $1000 I don't really have! And, I think it's only a matter of years before Apple get themselves sorted in the gaming dept and release a computer that can handle it all (you'd think, anyway).

    Thank you! If you can direct me to any helpful youtube videos on setting up Windows on a seperate partition using Bootcamp, that would be wonderful.

    Also, where can I find Bootcamp?
     
  6. mixel macrumors 65816

    mixel

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #6
    :) "Boot Camp Assistant" comes with OSX and is stored in applications/utilities.

    It's really as simple as running that and following the prompts - providing you have a Windows install disc lying around and either a USB stick or blank disc for the assistant to burn drivers etc to.

    It brings up a slider so you can choose how much space you want each partition to have (don't skimp on the OSX one, remember Steam libraries etc can be either fully or partially kept on external drives!) - then asks you to insert he Windows disc and reboots.. From then on it's just a standard windows installation.

    Once its installed you can either go into "startup disc" in System Preferences to switch boot partitions or hold down ALT while the system is rebooting and it brings up a list of drives you can boot from.

    Once you're in Windows you insert the driver disc and autorun it and everything should install.
     

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