How the 27-Inch iMac Stacks Up as a Gaming Rig



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Mikael Le Goff

I have a level 31 character on Borderlands and the iMac 27 inches late 2012 with 680MX.
I can tell you that if you set all settings to max you barely reach the 40 fps during the whole adventure.
In some places with not so many 3d models, you are at 60fps, but in general, it's not smooth.
I have bootcamp too, I will install it on Bootcamp to see the differences ..
I think the game is not optimised at all on Mac. Nvidia drivers can be the reason too..
Nvidia not supporting physics on mac.. You r like: "sorry?! I just spent all my money on this configuration.."

We should expect hight quality drivers for a high end computer like that.

One more thing: Changing the graphic settings in borderlands 2 can give you better framerate but if you don t run the game in Native resolution, it's not as beautiful as it should be.. Even changing settings for low setting, you ll encounter some low fps areas... not good at all.

The last problem is when you enter the game, it seems it's loading textures dynamically and meanwhile the game freezes a bit. Each time you enter a new area with new textures, it s the same. That s annoying. Compared to Dishonored running on windows, it's a really bad result on Mac.

Also When you do a benchmark, try to do the same thing for each benchmark.. like running a demo if possible. It gives better results to compare.

I ll try to give another feedback after testing borderlands 2 on windows.


Mikael Le Goff

I tested this morning on Windows 7 with latest nvidia drivers (680MX)
I can run the game at full resolution and it s just stunning! Ultra smooth, no visible texture loading or whatever.. All perfect and running at more than 60 fps!

I don t know if it s the game or the drivers on Mac Os X which sux or what.. But it's really bad on Mac os X compared to Windows ...

Talking about the hardware itself, it s just super good! But to use it properly, use windows for games!



you say above "Unfortunately, in order to get anything above 40fps, you're going to have to make some adjustments to the game's configuration file, but it's worth the effort."

What changes do you have to make to do this? Some details/steps would be great.


Joe Drizzler

I have a mid-2011 27" iMac 2.7 GHz i5 with 12GB RAM and the 512MB 6770M. With Diablo III running at full native resolution and all settings "high" except shadow quality "medium" I get only about 20 fps. If I drop the resolution down a bit and turn off anti-aliasing I can get it up to 30 fps. It's very playable, just nowhere near the frame rates you're seeing with the 2012 iMac.

I actually can get up to 60 fps, but only by using Boot Camp to run it under Windows. I have always found that interesting. Same machine, but much better fps running Windows instead of Mac OS.


Mikael Le Goff

I ll do it too for borderlands as i said in another post.
For diablo III, it runs perfectly smooth on the late imac 2012. I finshed the game in inferno mode and it s always super smooth, event all graphics set to max.



Joe, I have a 27-inch mid 2011 iMac, 3.4GHz i7 with 12GB RAM and AMD Radeon 6970M 1GB card and Diablo runs perfectly fine. I have no idea how to get the frame rate for it, but it is smooth at full screen, so it may just be the i5 processor and 512 graphics card?
The only time I've noticed a slight lag is the very first time I meet a large group of monsters. After the first time, I can meet a whole screen of them and it doesn't slow down.



Thanks for the comparisons, Joe. Really interesting. And it says a lot about the hardware, with the big differences in game quality after only a year of owning the machine. Yikes.

I know what you mean about getting better results with Boot Camp. On my old MacBook Pro, I get better frame rates on Diablo III with Boot Camp to Windows 7. It's strange. My only guess--and it's a guess--is it's the age-old culprit of DirectX vs. OpenGL. DirectX is proprietary to Microsoft, so you're only going to see that hardware acceleration from your NVIDIA chip on the Windows partition.



If you are buying an iMac, then you should already understand that upgradability is not going to be an option. However with the latest ones now out, you should also not have any trouble playing even the most intensive games out there. And with the configuration given above, I don't think you will run into any problems in the near future either. You should custom configure it thru the Apple store online to get that upgraded one already setup. I would get ram from elsewhere because you could save a lot of money doing that yourself.



Very true, in regards to the memory. Two Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1600MHz modules will run you less than $200 from Amazon. Apple charges $600 for the same upgrade.

The big question, as far as playing games, is just how long you'll be able to keep playing high-end titles at favorable performance levels. My guess: a couple years for playing games with "high" settings. After that, things will go downhill.

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