Which is better for casual games (The Sims 3/Portal 2)?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ConnorTurnbull, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. ConnorTurnbull macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #1
    I've been playing about with different ideas for a desktop Mac for some time. I've now decided and will be buying a Mini next month.

    Question is, which of these two specs is better for light games such as The Sims 3 and Portal 2. Both these configs meet the minimum specs of both games, but which one would run it better?

    2.0GHz quad i7, 4GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 3000
    2.7GHz dual i7, 4GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M w/ 256MB GDDR5

    Also, would increasing the RAM to 8GB make much performance difference in games?

    Cheers.
     
  2. qCzar macrumors regular

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    Feb 27, 2011
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    SFBA, CA
    #2
    I'm going to go ahead and say the AMD. If the games so choose, they'll have a "real" graphics card to give them some push. You'd likely be able to skate by with the quad-core, but it wont keep up with the new games coming out.

    The Dedicated GPU will be your best friend here.
     
  3. Mr.C, Jul 24, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011

    Mr.C macrumors 601

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    Location:
    London, UK.
    #3
    I have to agree with that.

    The Quad Core i7 is the server model with dual hard drives as a standard configuration and comes with the server version of Lion. The GPU in the server model isn't really good for games and they will benefit from the discrete GPU in the regular high end model. Portal 2 in particular will run better. Even the discrete AMD Radeon GPU is mid range at best and will not allow many retail games to run any higher then medium settings without taking a big hit on the frame rate. I would not classify Portal 2 as a light game. Technically it is quite demanding. The Sims 3 I haven't played but from what I've heard should be fine on the model with the discrete GPU. All in all the standard model with either a dual core i5 or i7 with the discrete GPU probably be a better option.

    I'm not sure about the RAM but I don't think more 4GB will make much difference when it comes to games. Having said that RAM is pretty cheap and it may not be a bad idea to upgrade to 8GB. Most games today require 2 to 4GB of RAM.
     
  4. Vermifuge macrumors 6502a

    Vermifuge

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    Mar 7, 2009
    #4
    Yeah at the price of RAM today just get the 8GB. i cannot imagine the extra $20 is really going to put any one out.
     
  5. ConnorTurnbull thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 18, 2010
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    United Kingdom
    #5
    Thanks Mr C. Honestly, I play Portal 2 on my PS3 now anyways, but since I have the Steam code I thought I would at least try it when I get my Mini.

    It's more The Sims 3 that i'm a bit worried about performing well.
     
  6. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #6
    Yes I also got the free Mac version of Portal 2 with the PS3 version. I've tried it on my current Mini and I have to run it at really low settings to get it running at a decent frame rate. I don't think it would probably be the same on the new Mini with the integrated Intel GPU. On the higher end one with the discrete GPU it should run a lot better, probably at least at medium settings.

    I don't really know how The Sims 3 would run on either of the new dual core Minis. I've heard it runs really well on the one with the one with the discrete GPU. I don't think it will run at a decent level on the one with the integrated Intel GPU except maybe at the lowest settings.

    Integrated GPU's with shared memory really aren't good for any game that uses 3D graphics. The Nvidia 9400M on my current Mini is apparently integrated and uses shared memory and most games chug along unless run at the lowest settings and they usually look pretty awful at that level. Some games won't run at all.

    I would suggest that if it's within your budget then get the Mini with the discrete GPU as you can't change the GPU after the fact. It will probably make video playback smoother especially at HD resolutions.
     
  7. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    #7
    To be honest Sims 3 will perform well on either of those computers. but in general GPU's are more important when it comes to gaming than CPU's.
     
  8. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Pa
    #8
    The sims will perform much much better on the ATI card than the intel one. No comparison. Portal 2, likewise. Some games won't even load without an ATI/nVidia card.
     

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