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Gaming on the imac 5K?


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Hey guys,

 

I was thinking of getting myself a mac for work purposes (and also because I am sick and tired of Windows 10) but I would first like to know whether I will be able to play Total war Rome 2 and some of the more recent RPGs (Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, Divinity: original sin) on it. I don't have much time for gaming these days, so these are the only games I am interested in.

 

I have however heard various issues concerning macs (heating problems, poor graphic cards, resolution problems on the big imacs, etc.) and this is the main reason I have not bought one yet.

 

The only mac that has decent specs right now is the 27 inch imac 5K. I am not sure whether I would be able to decently play any of the above games. What is your experience? Would the base model for the 5K imac do the job (radeon R9 M380) or should I aim higher (Radeon R9 M390 or M395)?

 

Thanks for any advice?

 

PS: I don't mind if I have to play on bootcamp but I just want to make sure that the imac will be able to play those games.

PS2: I also don't mind not being able to play at 5K or 4K. Native resolution is good enough for me.

"Ooo, squirrels, Boo! I know I saw them! Quick, throw nuts!" -Minsc

"I am a well-known racist in the Realms! Elves? Dwarves? Ha! Kill'em all! Humans rule! -Me

 

Volourn will never grow up, he's like the Black Peter Pan, here to tell you that it might be great to always be a child, but everybody around is gonna hate it. :p
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It'll play (the Windows-only games with bootcamp of course) since Macs these days *are* PCs, but bear in mind that iMacs use laptop GPUs so they're significantly weaker than their desktop counterparts. You'll run games at half the native resolution at best, i.e. 2560x1440 (which is completely fine, no PC can game at 5k), and often will have to drop down to medium-low settings.

 

The main consideration is that these machines are non-upgradable for the most part, so what you spec initially is what you'll be stuck with for the rest of the life of the machine (which I assume will be 5+ years). I know you said you're only interested in the named games (Total War is probably the only system intensive one there), but over the next five years or whatever, you may find games that you really want to play but will struggle to do so. The odds of that happening, however, is not something I can answer.

 

EDIT: Point is, a typical PC probably receives a mid-life GPU upgrade, at around 2-3 years in. This pretty much resets its age to make it fully competitive with new machines at that point. No such possibility with an iMac.

Edited by Humanoid

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Thanks for the reply! Well, I have been using laptops for the past decade, so the alternative would have been a 1000€ toshiba or asus laptop with Geforce GTX 950.

The reason why I am considering an imac is that I am literally sick and tired of Windows as my main OS. The imac would also be a "family" computer, so I get to share the total cost ;)

 

All I care is to be able to play those games as I would on a laptop. I just hope the huge screen will not make the games look weird or distorted.

"Ooo, squirrels, Boo! I know I saw them! Quick, throw nuts!" -Minsc

"I am a well-known racist in the Realms! Elves? Dwarves? Ha! Kill'em all! Humans rule! -Me

 

Volourn will never grow up, he's like the Black Peter Pan, here to tell you that it might be great to always be a child, but everybody around is gonna hate it. :p
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1440p on a 27" monitor is completely standard and is already a very fine dot pitch compared to the usual ~22"-24" 1080p, so there's no issue with the resolution at all. You'll just have a 2x2 set of pixels on the 5k monitor acting as a single pixel providing the OS does the scaling sensibly. 5k may be a gimmick for now, but at least it scales down in a reasonable way (and I assume it's impossible to buy a non-5k model now). 4k monitors of this size are dumb because when scaled down 2:1, you end up with 27" at 1080p which has effectively huge and noticeable pixels.

 

And yeah, the iMac GPU will outperform those cheaper laptop GPUs, probably anything short of gaming-oriented or at least high-end multimedia laptops. So the only decision is on whether going for the higher spec models is worth it, and that's a matter of guessing what games you'll be playing for the next 5 or so years. For what it's worth, the gap between the M380 and M390 is a fair bit bigger than between the M390 and M395.

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Thanks, these pieces of info are useful :)

 

I start having second thoughts however as I was checking various benchmarks. According to this French site, the Nvidia GTX 780M is pretty much equivalent to the Radeon R9 390M (see the benchmark for Tomb Raider - http://www.mac4ever.com/dossiers/105298_test-des-imac-4k-et-imac-5k-2015).

 

I am therefore not entirely convinced that an imac would be a cost-effective solution for me... Better get a laptop pc for half the price and better performance...

"Ooo, squirrels, Boo! I know I saw them! Quick, throw nuts!" -Minsc

"I am a well-known racist in the Realms! Elves? Dwarves? Ha! Kill'em all! Humans rule! -Me

 

Volourn will never grow up, he's like the Black Peter Pan, here to tell you that it might be great to always be a child, but everybody around is gonna hate it. :p
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Apple's products are almost never cost-effective. You get mid-range hardware for high-end prices and buying only makes sense if you do it for the software and the ecosystem (the hardware stopped being unique a long while ago). Or maybe for brand recognition because let's face it, no one makes mice that can't be used while charging look as good as Apple does.  *scnr* ;)

We all have signed the pacts, we knew so well nothing was left
We are being born at the sound of ends, and yes we still believe in beauty
It used to be the pride of Man, now a flame put out by the cold in his hand

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The old rule of thumb was that a laptop GPU tended to be about half the speed of its desktop counterpart. However within the last few years, that number has crept up a bit, and it's fair to estimate 75% for the latest generation of nVidia mobile GPUs. AMD have really neglected the mobile space lately so nVidia is even more dominant here than in the desktop market, and unlike the desktop market, the advantage is a largely justifiable one.

 

The value proposition of an iMac is not terrible, at least for light-or-non-gaming purposes, since the very good screen is effectively included at a subsidised price. It kind of needs to be, because it'll be a shame to have to junk the screen once the rest of the parts become obsolete, and therein lies the problem with all-in-one solutions. The display is good enough to be relevant for the next decade. The CPU is good enough to be relevant for the next half-decade. The GPU is, however, likely only relevant for the next year or two. It's sufficient to play the nominated games, sure, but is "sufficient" really acceptable at this level?

 

At any rate though, comparing a 27" iMac to a mid-range laptop is a bit weird since they're different use-cases. If space is an issue, you can still build a full-featured desktop PC in a small mini-ITX case such as the Fractal Design Node 304, Corsair 250D or Silverstone Sugo.

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I'm glad no one mentioned "Jefferson" simply because ramza posted something. That would have been really childish. Saying "Jefferson" when it has nothing to do with topic at hand is just silly and I really am glad to see this community has matured past that.

 

Jefferson.

This post is not to be enjoyed, discussed, or referenced on company time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've never been able to justify an imac for personal use - even when the top models had desktop gpus, I've always gone with either their laptops or the minis, back when they still actually cared enough about the mini to make it functional. While I'm happy to pay the apple premium for the OS, I can't bring myself to cough it up for their peripherals. I'd still rather go with a laptop and external screen in clamshell mode...

 

I'm sure I had a point when I started writing, now I'm less certain of it. Hopefully new minis coming in a couple of weeks, which might change the scenario a bit. :p

You're a cheery wee bugger, Nep. Have I ever said that?

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