What's more powerful?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nordique, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. nordique macrumors 65816

    Oct 12, 2014
    Hi guys, just wondering if the techy people on the forum can help me with some questions

    Overall, I am wondering which computer is more powerful (for gaming - albeit older games circa 2003-2004), making music, and just overall in general a more powerful machine

    A Retina Macbook Pro, Late 2013 13"


    A Mac Mini, Quad Core, 2.3GHZ clocked 2012 computer?

    Both are stock models, the mini is a server edition
  2. Pharmscott, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015

    Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    The link below will give you a comparison of raw computing power. For 10 year old games, both machines will do nicely so pick your favorite.

    Focus more on whether you'd benefit from the portability of the laptop.

  3. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    If you want to play Mac games from the stated time period, get on Craigslist and find a cheap Powermac G4 or G5. Max the RAM in it(2gb for most G4s, while G5s will take 4gb, 8gb, or 16gb depending on the model) and throw in a good graphics card(a Radeon 9600XT is a good cheap general choice-it is a drop-in for all but the last generation G5s, and requires minimal modification for use in most G4s) and you will have a good set-up for playing 2003-2004 games.

    Mac games from this era will be PowerPC native-you can only run them on Intel Macs using Rosetta, which went away after 10.6(Snow Leopard). Neither system can run Snow Leopard other than under virtualization.

    If you're playing Windows games and plan on using Bootcamp or some other set-up, either computer would do fine. I agree on selecting the one that would fit your other needs better.
  4. nordique thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 12, 2014
    awesome, thanks for the replies and advice guys !
  5. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    Mac Minis don't have dedicated graphics cards, so they'll always be a poor choice for higher end gaming.
  6. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    Neither does the current 13" MBP(whether Classic or Retina). You need to move up to the 15" to get a dedicated GPU.

    With that said, in 2004 the state of the art in graphics cards were cards like the Radeon X800 and nVidia GeForce 6800. The Mac X800 XT(retail) and GeForce 6800 Ultra(BTO for the G5) each had 256mb of VRAM, while some PC editions of these cards had 512mb.

    GPU performance has increased exponentially in the last 10 years-the integrated Intel 3000 Graphics in my late 2011 MBP at least in most respects runs circles around the GeForce 6800 Ultra in one of my G5s. The 6800 Ultra is thicker than my MBP, and nearly as long as my MBP is wide.

    Going even further back, I remember when Microsoft Train Simulator came out, and I really wanted to play it on my desktop(rather than having to use my dad's). I think I had an AMD K6 running at 233mhz or so. I dropped a fair bit of money(at the time) for an AGP Radeon Rage Pro with 16mb of VRAM so that I could play it. Around that same time(from about 1999 with the B&W G3 to 2001 with the Digital Audio G4), Apple was cramming the Rage 128 into pretty much everything as the standard graphics card-and if you watch the keynote where the B&W G3 was introduced, this was touted as a selling point. Those of us who use still use PPC Macs on a regular basis regularly joke about how awful these cards are, although admittedly I have a huge stack of them(both in PCI and AGP, as well as some flashed PC AGP cards) for testing and diagnostic purposes as well as to just throw a working card in a rarely used computer.

    I wouldn't worry about the graphics in any current Mac-integrated or otherwise-being insufficient to play a 10 year old game.

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5 February 5, 2015