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08-08-11, 04:29 PM   #1
Haleth
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Buying new iMac, need some advice.

Hi!

I decided to invest in a new computer that'll last me a while, both for gaming and a future potential career in IT (software development, otherwise I wouldn't be making this topic ). I considered going Windows again because no doubt it's a cheaper and easier choice for both, but I really just like mac more and I can always dual boot windows if I have to.

Anyhow, I was browsing some of the different setups and being the hardware noob I am a few questions raised to my mind:

1) Is it a good idea to spend an extra €500 ($720, £440) on an SSD? I've no experience with them but I've heard they're a -lot- faster, and way more reliable. Considering HDD speed can be a bottleneck while gaming it might be an interesting choice, but it does seem like a lot of money. Would I be better off waiting for a general price drop and buying an aftermarket external SSD with Thunderbolt later?
2) The 1920 x 1080 model has an AMD Radeon HD 6770M, the 2560 x 1440 model (3.1/3.4 GHz version) has a 6970M. I'm interested in the second model for its CPU, but is the increase in graphics card enough to compensate for the much higher resolution?
3) The 6970M has a choice between 1 or 2 GB of memory. Would games such as WoW and Rift benefit from the extra graphics memory? It doesn't add too much to the cost (€100).

For reference: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/hom...co=MjIwNTQyNjE

I'd appreciate any advice on this, it's a lot of money so I want to consider everything carefully.

Thanks!

Last edited by Haleth : 08-09-11 at 04:24 PM.
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08-08-11, 05:21 PM   #2
Dolby
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1) (yes they are nice, I have one on my 11" air and programs start quicker, also the os boot time is extremely fast) If you are going to get a SSD you'll want to get a 2nd HDD because 256gb isn't going to be enough storage.

2) If you can afford it the 27" is quite impressive and you get a ton of desktop space. Important when programing / designing and testing. The higher res system has a bigger graphics card because of the resolution it displays.

3) 1gb of texture memory is more than enough for awhile but if its cheap it can't hurt to get more.

4) Throw as much ram you can afford into the machine. If your savy enough to upgrade your own memory it will be loads cheaper (OWC is popular http://www.macsales.com/).
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08-08-11, 06:51 PM   #3
Falter
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1 - I would consider the SSD now and use an external drive for storage. Also, keep in mind that if you do windows, you'll have to partition the drive to allow for it so get a large enough SSD to allow for this (also Lion's Boot Camp is only Win7 compatible, but it is the easiest windows install you'll ever do).

2 - I think the biggest things with WoW when Tom's Hardware tested were the number of cores more than the clock. They did a whole write-up on WoW a couple of years back, which I'm sure you could Google.

3 - Didn't Dalaran take more than a gig of texture memory to load on it's own? Also, WTB OSX native port of Rift...

4 - Totally agree, buying memory from Apple is expensive, but more RAM is always the first upgrade you should go for. But as I recall, Apple is savvy enough that they won't let you configure it with that upgrade in mind (ie - use 2-2gb sticks instead of 4-1gb sticks). Just something to consider and price before you buy if you need to max out the RAM and have only a few slots for sticks.
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08-09-11, 04:42 AM   #4
Haleth
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Thanks for the replies.

The 250 GB storage on the SSD isn't actually a problem for me. My current HDD has the same capacity and I've never gotten even remotely close to running out.

The higher res system has a bigger graphics card because of the resolution it displays.
What I was worried about with the 27" model is that the increase in graphics card might not be high enough to handle the increase in resolution - or should that be fine?

Didn't Dalaran take more than a gig of texture memory to load on it's own? Also, WTB OSX native port of Rift...
I think it does, but I've never had big issues before with my 2 GB of Ram and my astonishing 128MB video card. The only thing that seemed to really slow it down was loading everything off the HDD.

And yeah, an OS X version for Rift would really be nice. I hope they're considering it.

As far as the ram goes, 4GB seems enough for now and if I ever feel like I need more, I'll just buy aftermarket parts because if you get it from Apple it's stupidly overpriced.
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08-09-11, 05:32 AM   #5
Nibelheim
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The 6970M is around 60% to 70% faster than the 6770M depending on other factors. 2560x1440 is 85% more area than 1920x1080. Factor in the RAM difference, which game you're playing, what settings you use, and which bottlenecks appears, and guessing the performance become somewhat complicated. However, it's more than likely ok.

For system RAM, keep an eye on your usage for a while as you go about your usual tasks. If you're constantly getting very close to using all your memory, or you notice going past capacity (it'll be obvious when you do if you pay attention to how your PC performs), then consider upgrading.

As for SSDs, they're still fairly expensive so it's good to know what you need, and how much you're willing to spend. Windows 7 uses 20gb, OS Lion around 8gb, WoW uses 25gb, and add on any other applications you use. Since SSDs are costly (~50x more than a normal HDD), you'll want to keep a regular HDD around if you have lots of media.
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08-09-11, 05:42 AM   #6
Nibelheim
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Woops, saw you asked about 1gb vs 2gb on the GPU. Well, that also largely depends. A lot of games right now don't really hit 1GB even at that resolution, yet there are games coming out that are going well beyond it (Civ5 for example).

Since you can't really upgrade the GPU in an iMac, and you do want your PC to last a while, it may be worth the extra cash.
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08-09-11, 05:59 AM   #7
Haleth
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I'll go for the 27" then, also because it allows for the highest clock speed option (3.4Ghz i7).

The 250GB storage on the SSD really isn't a problem. My current 250GB HDD is sitting at 160GB available. I clean up my computer often enough, don't install anything I don't need and being an MMO gamer there's really only one game installed at a time. I also have a 500GB backup disk, so I'm not too fussed about removing something from the main disk because I can always get it back later.

It's more the price I'm worried about, but if I'm to upgrade my computer in 5-6 years from now again and I'll sell the one I'm buying now second-hand, I doubt I'll get any decent money from it if it doesn't have an SSD.
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08-09-11, 06:06 AM   #8
Nibelheim
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Originally Posted by Haleth View Post
I'll go for the 27" then, also because it allows for the highest clock speed option (3.4Ghz i7).

The 250GB storage on the SSD really isn't a problem. My current 250GB HDD is sitting at 160GB available. I clean up my computer often enough, don't install anything I don't need and being an MMO gamer there's really only one game installed at a time. I also have a 500GB backup disk, so I'm not too fussed about removing something from the main disk because I can always get it back later.

It's more the price I'm worried about, but if I'm to upgrade my computer in 5-6 years from now again and I'll sell the one I'm buying now second-hand, I doubt I'll get any decent money from it if it doesn't have an SSD.
Considered just a 120gb SSD? No matter how you slice it, $720 is a lot for storage
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08-09-11, 07:40 AM   #9
Haleth
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Well, the only possible built-in option seems to be 250GB, unless I'm missing something on the config.
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08-09-11, 11:11 AM   #10
Aftermathhqt
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Why a MAC? they are hell expansive, and they really suck for gaming, just buy a PC, and build it yourself alot more fun, and alot cheaper.

Don't really see any diffrent between a MC and a PC, just the price.

I recent brough a new computer for 700 Euros

I can play everything with ultra, without any problems at all.

ASUS M5A78L, Socket-AM3+
ATX, AMD760G+SB710, DDR3, 1xPCIe(2.0)x16, GbLAN, Parallel port, COM
port

BenQ 24" LCD G2420HD
1920x1080, 40000:1, 2ms, VGA/DVI/HDMI

Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333MHz 4GB CL9
XMS3, CL9-9-9-24, for Phenom II and Core i3/i5/i7, 1.60v (x2)

XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB GDDR5 "Dual Fan"
PCI-Express 2.1, "BLACK", 2xDVI, HDMI, 2xDisplayPort, 940MHz

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SE
OEM, 64bit, SP1

Corsair TX V2 750W PSU
ATX 12V V2.3, 80 Plus Bronze, Standard. 4x 6+2-pin PCIe, 8x SATA,
140mm Fan

Fractal Design Define R3 (White)

Already had

AMD Athlon II X4 640
Quad Core, 3.0Ghz, AM3, 2MB, 95W, Boxed

Western Digital Caviar® Green™ 1TB
SATA 3Gb/sec, dynamic 5400-7200RPM, 64MB

Last edited by Aftermathhqt : 08-09-11 at 11:20 AM.
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08-09-11, 12:16 PM   #11
p3lim
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Game92, if he likes macs, he should be allowed to.
If you configure one right, it is well enough to drive most games.

Oh and by the way, that memory you have there;


For Haleth:
SSD's is nice for many tasks, though it have close to no impact on games.
I myself don't belive that the controllers are reliable yet.
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08-09-11, 04:21 PM   #12
Nibelheim
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Originally Posted by Haleth View Post
Well, the only possible built-in option seems to be 250GB, unless I'm missing something on the config.
Hmm, I see. And apparently unless you buy an iMac with a pre-installed SSD, installing one yourself is a very tricky process and likely to void the warranty. Add that they force you into a 256gb SSD as the only option...

Well, it'll depend on your circumstances. I probably wouldn't pay the extra $500 for the QoL boost an SSD gives, but it sure would be annoying to live without an SSD (they make everything so snappy, and no more grinding HDDs)

Last edited by Nibelheim : 08-09-11 at 04:23 PM.
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08-11-11, 10:09 AM   #13
Haleth
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Right, thanks for the advice everyone! Ordered it, should be here in about 2 weeks.

27", 2560 x 1440
Quad-core 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
250GB SSD
AMD Radeon HD 6970M with 1GB VRAM

Goodbye playing on low graphics and still getting terrible fps.
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08-11-11, 01:41 PM   #14
Zagrei
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Originally Posted by Haleth View Post
Right, thanks for the advice everyone! Ordered it, should be here in about 2 weeks.

27", 2560 x 1440
Quad-core 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
250GB SSD
AMD Radeon HD 6970M with 1GB VRAM

Goodbye playing on low graphics and still getting terrible fps.
I am incredibly jealous! I run on the lowest graphics, and I still get horrid FPS regardless I've chosen all of the parts I want for my dream computer, and only the lack of funds is holding me back Congratulations on the upgrade, though!
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