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Gaming on iMac

Discussion in 'Apple Desktop Hardware/Software' started by glenpinn, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    hi guys, son has a 21.5" iMac with 3.06ghz cpu, 4gb ram, 1tb 7200rpm hdd, and ati 4670 256mb graphics.

    i know its not going to be that good, but can someone please tell me from first hand experience what this card is capable of in gaming on such a machine.

    he still has his e8400 gaming pc that i want to get rid of and consolidate his audio work (iMac) and gaming onto 1 machine if possible.

    i had intended to get a bigger 27" iMac for him that has a 4850 or bigger card and a 1tb hdd and split that up and run Win 7 off boot camp on that for his gaming which would make life much easier and use up half the desk space than he does at the moment.

    most games are his steam collection i think.

    cheers
     
  2. Malakai

    Malakai Member

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    I played Portal on my first generation Macbook Pro (ATI Radeon x1600) when Steam was released on Mac and it worked ok considering my Mac is nearly five years old now. Newer Macs will do a much better job I'm sure.

    Install Steam on his Mac and try out a few games.
     
  3. Philll

    Philll Member

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    There will be no consolidating :)

    There are very few PC games that have been ported to Mac. There are even fewer that have been put on the Mac version of Steam. Unless he likes playing Valve games and the odd AAA title that has been poorly ported it's just not an option for a gamer.

    There are a lot of games available, including user made ports, but the Mac just isn't made for gaming and unless devs start jumping on the Mac OS bandwagon there won't ever be. If you want a full list (remember, only the smallest fraction of these are on Steam) then check on the apple site.

    You can also check out the App store on the Mac to see what's there.

    He can always look forward to Blizzard games but they are few and faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar between.

    Edit: Another option, you could install Windows via Bootcamp. Parallels / VMWare will run them shitty so try not to go down the VM path. Bootcamp will utilise the hardware available and you can have a pretty good PC gaming on a Mac experience, and it will keep it all on one machine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  4. OP
    OP
    glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    I have been told that he would be fine gaming on a mac using Win 7 under boot camp, which is why i made reference to it in my OP.
    So what im told is wrong, even gaming on a mac using win 7 still isnt any good ???
    I bought this particular iMac because it shits on windows for audio recording work in his studio, and to keep his current gaming machine as it is, then i looked into a 27" quad core iMac and was told with win 7 on it he can still boot into the Mac side for audio work, and win 7 for gaming without any probs.

    Cheers

    Ahh now i see your EDIT so i think u missed my reference to win 7 under bootcamp :)
    Which was why i was asking this in the first place.

    Cheers

    Anyway, ok so he has this 1tb hdd hardly has anything installed on it except snow leopard and a few extra apps, so i should enter boot camp in utilities and create a partition for windows 7 (say 500gb) and install some games and see what this 4670 card is like.
    He isnt really a power gamer any more, he plays a lot on xbox now as well so guess we should just try it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  5. zerassar

    zerassar Member

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    Hey mate.

    We all use 27" iMacs at my work and many staff use steam to no ill effect.
    You are defintely better off using boot camp though.

    My ex has last years 21.5" iMac and handles games like left 4 dead 2 and Team fortress 2 really well. Under boot camp and OSX.

    If you ever have any problems you can just dial down the graphics details.
     
  6. nitro_jawt

    nitro_jawt Member

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    I have the same iMac (except 27 inch), and although I don't have Bootcamp on it, I do use it for occasional gaming. How well it works depends entirely on your gaming expectations. Playing all the source based stuff on it is fine, and any of the more casual games as well. The most recent thing I've played on it a bit is StarCraft II, but I had to use pretty low graphics options.
    If you wanna play latest release FPS games, you are going to have accept a lot of compromise in the graphics department. Personally, I have a separate i7 gaming rig, so I don't really care about anything more than a little casual gaming on the iMac (hence no bootcamp).
    The iMac rocks with Logic for audio work though :)
     
  7. Queenie

    Queenie Member

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    Quick Answer:

    I game quite a bit, being a 19yo uni kid :D

    Long story short, tl;dr : he should be fine for most any game, as long as you run through boot camp. Macintosh ports of games tend to chew through more system resources than they should, probably due to virtual emulation of wine or whatever it is that they use to make it run on macintosh-

    running the mac port of rome: total war, a 2003 game, i can barely get above average settings with a 512mb graphics card, core i3 and 4gb of ram, yet i saw better performance on boot camp with a 64mb graphics card, 1gb of ram and a 1.83ghz single-core processor.

    stay away from ports I say, unless they're blizzard games, which work on both WONDERFULLY.

    In any case, when i don't have my windows pc around, i have a copy of xp running through bootcamp on installations similar to yours except for the graphics, which is a 512mb 5670.

    I do this because I have a few older programming applications needed for my engineering course that don't have windows 7 equivalents but I'm sure you'll be fine. Running windows through it is a snap as I'm sure you know.

    Now, in graphics card terms, yours is the same as mine, except mine has more memory. Essentially this means i can play stuff that has more requirements- tied down in things the computer needs to access ie textures and random data

    ie, with all the physics in mirror's edge, while being a relatively old game (circa 2008 i think) it requires a 512mb graphics card. It's essentially a freerunning/parkour game with jumping and lots of physics.

    Another is Empire: Total War, a game with also such a high requirement, due to the thousands of people onscreen at any one time.

    If your son wants to play fps he should be fine as long as the gfx requirement isn't too large.

    It can play battlefield: bad company 2, one of the latest multiplayer fps games (through windows of course). It could also run black ops.

    As far as rpg's go, It can run dragon age, and dragon age 2, just by glancing at the sys requirements.

    You just won't be running the latest games on the high detail setting.
    Ram MAY become an issue, but I don't 100% know myself- on my gaming/study pc, i have 4gb, and run all of my games fairly well, but it's using xp which is far less memory-intensive than 7 or vista. however, i also can't use dx11 which is better at handling some of the newer games either.

    But, being a mac, we can of course upgrade the ram. It's a cross-that-bridge-when-you-come-to-it situation I'd think.

    It can also run dead space 2, and of course the staple team fortress 2.

    World of Warcraft he could also play quite easily, as well as starcraft.
     
  8. Archy

    Archy New Member

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    The trade-off with the 27" iMac is that it needs to drive a much higher native resolution, which is a huge factor when it comes to framerate in source games, as well as most others.

    We don't know what the GPU is in the old PC, so it's hard to tell what sort of performance different there'll be.

    Can you find out exactly what games he's playing?
     
  9. robertgd

    robertgd Member

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    glenpinn. The new iMacs have 5670 or greater cards in them. :thumbup:
     
  10. OP
    OP
    glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    hi guys, may be late getting back, but if anyone is curious i have just run bootcamp on my sons 21.5" iMac with the 4670 graphics and made a 200gb partition and put Win 7 home premium 64bit on it.

    so far win 7 is fine, except his apple wireless mouse locks up or vanishes from the screen and a couple of the keys on his apple wireless keyboard have different functions.

    he setup crysis last night and reports it as playing on medium ok so not too bad, and will install a few steam games soon to see how they go.

    his old gaming pc is e8400, 4gb ram, palit 4870 dual edition graphics and a 24" Aoc lcd screen.

    is it possible to upgrade the graphics card in these iMacs ???
    if so do i need a mac specific card or can i use any type of card ???
     
  11. shift6

    shift6 Member

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    Theoretically yes if you go around dismantling everything and design/build something yourself.

    Practically, no.

    There is no such thing as an 'iMac specific card' or upgrade part to upgrade graphics. It's basically a screen with laptop parts built behind the screen.

    Your son just experienced quite a downgrade in terms of a gaming capable machine.
     
  12. Evo6

    Evo6 Member

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    ive been running Crysis2 which is very new on my Imac 27" i7 for the last week and it looks awesome, its not the top graphics but its more than enough to make me go :shock: and the machine doesnt skip a beat with it, running the game under boot camp in Windows 7
     
  13. mcwang

    mcwang Member

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    i have a a MBP 13" latest model, pretty sure the specs are under the 21" imac?

    i can play most games on highest settings no problem, eg. call of duty black ops, team fortress 2, WoW, etc

    getting consistent 60 fps so your son's imac should be fine :) otherwise just bring it down to medium settings for a smooth gaming experience - that's what i do on my PC
     
  14. robertgd

    robertgd Member

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    I don't belive this, sorry. The latest Macbook Pro 13" has an integrated Intel HD Graphics. Only the 15" and 17" have dedicated Radeon 6 series GPU's.

    I'll have to see it to believe it. (In regards to Black Ops anyway. I know TF and WoW aren't graphics intensive, so this I can believe)
     
  15. Philll

    Philll Member

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    My Macbook air is quite capable of playing COD games, I'm playing the Witcher atm on native res / medium details.

    I have no problem beleiving it so long as it's through Bootcamp and he's not using cider/cvz ports.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    my son installed his original crysis on his late 2009 3.0ghz iMac with the 4670 graphics and said it was fine for him, all his other games are fine, and he is going to install his crysis 2 soon and see what its like.

    crysis 1 works ok on his quad core toshiba laptop i got him last sunday, given it has the 1366x768 screen and 5650 1gb graphics.
     

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