Which 27" for Gaming?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jinx5000, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. jinx5000 macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2010
    I'm looking to buy a new 2010 iMac 27" for basic uses with the occasional gaming via boot camp. Before i sell my PC and buy my imac i have a few questions about gaming on a mac (via boot camp)

    will the i7 be a dramatic improvement over the i5 for gaming purposes?
    - will the processor speed increase be noticeable?
    - will hyper-threading make any difference?

    are there any heat issues with an all-in-one device such as the imac?

    is the 5750 decent enough to run games at high settings at the native resolution?
    -Dragon Age?
    - Diablo III? (hopeful)

    i will not be doing any video editing with this machine apart from the VERY occasional imovie clip. is it worth it to spend the extra $200 to go from the i5 to the i7? and would performance increase dramatically by boosting my RAM from 4Gb to 8Gb?

    thanks in advance for the responses
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    i7 is not worth it for gaming as games don't support that many threads. iMacs run hotter than regular towers but I wouldn't say there are heat issues. Yes, 5750 aka 5850M can run those games fine
  3. CBJammin103 macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2007
    Louisiana, United States
    Considering that the i7 will probably extend the useful life of your iMac significantly compared to the i5, I would say that $200 is negligible for an extra year or two of practical usage.

    The only problem with making real-world comparisons are that many applications are not multi-core optimized quite yet; but it's definitely on the rise! It's really cool to see my iMac converting songs in XLD and seeing it blazing along on working on 8 tracks at a time (quad core + hyper-threaded = 8 threads).

    Think of the i7 as making an investment - if you have the $200 and won't be on the streets because you spent it, there is definitely a great return you can get on it over time.
  4. techapocalypse macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2010
    Blizzard games never really require the best machines, kinda like Valve
  5. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    The i5 will be just fine. The i7 might be a tad faster, but i'm not sure its worth the difference in price. You certainly want the fastest video card available.
    You will be able to run most if not all games with max settings on that setup. However, I wouldn't expect to be able to do that on the native resolution of that screen.
  6. jinx5000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2010
    my biggest issue here is that i'm getting rid of my custom built PC with an i5-750 (where the imac's is an i5-760) and playing my games on a 24" samsung monitor.

    as of now, games like SC2 and BFBC2 push my 4 cores to almost 100% when under load and that's with a better GPU than the one that comes in the imac.

    the price increase isn't a HUGE deal, hut i'd like to save money if i can...

    i guess my biggest concern is; will the i5 be a good build to last me for three or so years for the games i play now (BFBC2, SC2, DaO) and games i plan to play in the future (Diablo III) or will the i7 be better off in the long run? will games in the next 3 years or so most likely not even use hyper threading and will this GPU be good enough for those games?

    and would 4GB or RAM be sufficient for either system or should i boost it up to 8?
  7. Teqnilogik macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2010
    I just bought a Late 2009 iMac 27" in July and it has an ATI 4850 GPU in it. I got 4GB of RAM and the i7 CPU.

    I have ran Batman Arkham Asylum, Mass Effect 2 and Dirt 2 in Windows 7 (with Boot Camp) at their highest settings at 1920x1080 resolution and the results were great. I'm not sure the exact frame rate I am getting but I do know it is higher than 30 because I do not notice any lag or slowdown in the gameplay. The Mid 2010 iMacs come with the ATI 5750 and similar GPUs which are a step up from the 4850 GPU I have. I'd say considering how well my iMac performs in these games that newer iMacs will perform just as well or better.

    I was kind of bummed that 20 days after I got myiMac they released newer models with better GPUs but oh well. Mine runs all current games at their highest setting in 1080p so Im happy. Of course, in a few years Im sure my GPU won't be able to handle all the newer games at higher settings but that's how it is with PC gaming. You can always get a 360 or PS3 to play newer games that your PC/Mac can't handle as well. But I don't think you'll have a problem running games smoothly on a new iMac for a while.
  8. Skybar macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2010
    I am playing the same games as you are, and are soon going to buy a 27" aswell. And I am definitely going to buy the i7. Why? My computer will last longer.

    Take for example the up and coming Battlefield 3 (which should be out in 1-2 years i think), which is built to make use of hyperthreading and multicore CPU's to their full extent. That game will run alot better on an iMac with the i7 in it rather than the i5.

    The i7 have turboboost aswell, which the i5 dont. In theory the speed of the i7 can rise to 3.6 GHz when the computer isnt using all cores.

    A Mac isnt like a PC, especially not the iMac. Once you buy an iMac, the stuff it comes with is the stuff it dies with (except for RAM). I would buy the i7 and start off with 4GB RAM, rather than to buy the i5 and go for 8GB RAM. Because you can always upgrade the RAM afterwards, not the CPU.
  9. Horus macrumors regular


    Mar 5, 2009
    That Intel Core i5 does have Turboboost.

    BTW, Mid-2010 iMacs are now available at the refurb store, including the quad-core ones.
  10. Teqnilogik macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2010
    Oh and the iMac is sufficiently cooled. It is whisper quiet most of the time I use it. I've only heard the fans kick on when I was using the CPU a lot for a duration of time and a couple times when I was gaming. But the fans are not annoying and easily drowned out by audio of music or gameplay. The iMacs aluminum casing also helps dissipate heat away from the machine. The top of the iMac gets pretty hot at times but this is by design as the heat vent is near the top. Cool air comes in the bottom and hot air out the top.

    And as far as RAM goes, I am fine with 4 GB. It's a decent amount to do just about anything today. Eventually Ill upgrade the RAM but probably not for a while.
  11. jinx5000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2010
    Wow, all great input's... thanks a lot!

    I know the i5's do include turbo boost, just not HT... but not sure if this is much of an issue as of now...

    I haven't heard much about BF3, or any other games being developed to take advantage of HT but i see your validity in getting the i7 for "future proofing" your investment.

    I think that 4Gb RAM is sufficient for now... now just trying to justify the Processor upgrade... according to benchmarks...(http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/107?vs=109) gaming won't see much of a drop off between the two processors...

    decisions, decisions...
  12. Teqnilogik macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2010
    The GPU does most of the heavy lifting in most games these days. The CPU helps out a bit but I don't think it makes as big of an impact in gaming performance as the GPU. And I would think the difference between the i5 and i7 would be small. I got the i7 because it was the best they had and I figured that if I was going to buy a Mac I was going all out so I had no regrets.
  13. jinx5000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2010
    Does anyone have benchmarks on the i7 or i5 for; bfbc2, sc2, crysis, or steam games? I'm more interested in hoe the gpu performs. And if games can be played on high settings and at what res. What fps is the baseline before things start to get choppy when looking at fps scores? 20 or 30?
  14. iMacN00b macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2010
    I posted about all of those in the Overclocking thread.
  15. kcnish macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2010
    i am in the same dilemma jinx5000. what did you decide on?
  16. tpg macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2010
    What graphics card do you have in your PC? If there's an i5 750 in there, it's likely to be quite recent, and given that the iMac only has an HD 5750 it might be that you're in for a graphics card downgrade.
  17. jinx5000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2010
    I will be in for a gnu downgrade. In my pc I currently have a xfx 5850 black. I'm okay with taking the hit as long as the game si wanna play will work just fine.

    Imacnoob... Do u happen to have. Alink for those benchmarks? I tried doing a decent search but couldn't find what i was looking for?
  18. edtorious macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2007
    San Diego, California

    I have the

    27" iMac
    4GB 1333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM - 2X2GB

    And I have the Starcraft 2 running on Mac at all Ultra Settings with no problem. If you are going to want to run windows on your iMac, I suggest you bump up the Hard Drive space instead.
  19. Rideherhard macrumors 6502

    Aug 2, 2010
    For most people isn't the i3 all we need?.. aren't the i5 and i7 more for video editing and working computer?. I'm thinking of getting an iMac 27", maybe go with refurbish, do I really need an i5 or i7 for movie/tv show watching(iTunes), streaming sports game from the internet, playing a few video games and internet usage.

    I was looking at the 27" monitor but with that price and what I can sell my MacBook Pro for I could get a new 27" iMac. Does the iMac support audio through the MiniDisplay Port?.
  20. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    It totally depends on what you mean by "a few video games". Are those games chess and solitaire? Or the latest FPS games that will be coming out for the next 3-4 years? If all you want to do is browse the net and stream videos then the i3 is WAY more than enough. But gaming is just as demanding if not more so than professional video editing. Thus the latest computer tech means more to gamers.
  21. talkinghead macrumors member


    Sep 17, 2010
    So, along those lines, for the same money, is the best value an i5 w/ 5750 (1gb) or i7 w/ 4850 (512MB) ???
  22. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    The 5750 is faster (it's a 5850M) the 4850 is a 4850M as well. For gaming.
    The i7 does still pack more CPU power
  23. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I thought I read somewhere that the two benchmark very close to each other, but the newer video cards take much less power and run much cooler.
  24. Teqnilogik macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2010
    If you look at the desktop card versions of the 4850 and 5750 they are about the same in performance with the 5750 coming out on top on most benchmarks but it's not a huge difference. I believe the newer chips do run cooler and use less power. Also since Apple uses the notebook versions of these chipsets you have deduct a little performance from those desktop benchmarks as well. I'm very happy with my 4850 Mobility in my iMac.
  25. jinx5000 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2010
    so back to the main issue...

    for games like BFBC2, SC2, DaO, D3 (hopeful)...

    both machines should run it just fine on ultimate/high settings at native res? right?
    i think the gpu is the major thing here where the CPU doesnt make much of a difference for gaming when compating the i7-870 or the i5-760.
    Since Apple has decided to go to the 5750 (mobile5850) card, the performance in these games should be good?

    think i'll be alright getting the i5 and upgrading RAM somewhere down the line?

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