Which Mac is better for gaming, 2009 Mac Pro, or current line-up quad i5/i7 iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by alexreich, May 12, 2012.

  1. alexreich macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    The two machines I'm trying to decide between are below. I want the most powerful one for gaming, but I'm really struggling on deciphering which machine is best for what I want to do.

    Option 1: Early 2009 Mac Pro (Quad) $1,399
    -2.66GHz Quad-core "Nehalem" Intel Xeon W3520 Processor (4 cores)
    -4GB RAM (4x1.0GB)
    -1.0TB HDD (7200rpm)
    -nVidia GeForce GT 120 (512MB VRAM)

    Option 2: Current-year 21" iMac $1,499
    -2.7GHz Quad-core Intel i5 (may be willing to up this to Quad i7 2.8GHz if anyone can convince me it's worth it?)
    -4GB RAM (2x2.0GB)
    -AMD Radeon HD 6770M (512MB VRAM)
  2. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    Neither are ideal for gaming.
    The MacPro could be with a new graphics card.

    Do you need a mac? For 1500 you ca build a pretty nice gaming machine
  3. alexreich thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    My parents said that I could get a new Mac for graduation next year, so I'm trying to get an idea of what's best for the money. As you could have guessed, my limit is $1500.

    I also just prefer OS X over Windows for day to day things, so I'll be sticking with the Macintosh.
  4. Sirobin macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2008
    I’d say go for the Mac Pro, and upgrade your graphics card. You can buy an AMD 6870 for less than $200, and get it working with minimal work, and you’ll have a pretty potent system. I still only have a 4870 in mine, and I can still run most games on high/ultra.
  5. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Is that really a better purchase than one from the current year? I'd suggest that if the OP buying a used machine, he should test it right when he gets it to make sure all is well with the hardware. I always tell people to do this so they can be confident of the condition of the machine, especially in case they experience problems post upgrades.
  6. The-Pro, May 13, 2012
    Last edited: May 13, 2012

    The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Definitely the Mac Pro.
    Like sirobin said, you can upgrade the graphics to the 5870 quite "cheaply".
    Also since there are now nVidia drivers available for OSX Lion, you can use the something like a GTX 570 and it will work too.
    Under windows, for gaming, on the mac pro you can get pretty much all graphics cards to work.
  7. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    Mac Pro, but tell me....please tell me that you intend to use bootcamp.

    If you do, you could keep the GT120 for OSX and use a 670 or 680 in bootcamp but 2.66 Ghz is not ideal for gaming although I suspect its quicker than my 2008 3.00 Ghz.

    If you not getting bootcamp, don't waste your money, get a PC instead.
  8. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    As others have said to game you really need to ditch the GT120 from the 2009 Mac Pro. Later on.. for around $300 you can stick a flashed 5870 in there and bump up the ram to 16GB... That would give you an excellent mac, and excellent gaming rig in comparison to the iMac.

    The iMac's Achilles heel is always going to be the GPU which you will never be able to update.

    Also bootcamping (running windows) on a Mac Pro is so much sweeter as you are able to allocate an entire HD separately for that purpose and keep your Mac and Windows drives entirely independent on each other.
  9. combatcolin macrumors 68020


    Oct 24, 2004
    Northants, UK

    Only a moron with rich parents would buy a Mac Pro for gaming.

    Buy a PC, cheaper, better and most importantly you have a huge range of upgradable GPU's.
  10. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    You could also build a hackintosh -- it's not difficult, and then you get the best of both worlds.

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