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Slapshot 05-21-2011 04:07 PM

Lifelong PC Guy Considering An iMac - Need Advice
 
As the title says, I've been a PC guy for 25 years. I've probably built 30 systems, for myself, and others in that time. Now, just as I was about to start a new build, I suddenly have a dilemma and could use your expertise, and thoughts on the matter.

I have a new job that I started about six months back, which offers a great, creative environment, and a promising opportunity for the future. We just had new management brought in to take the company to the next level and these guys have sme great ideas and plans. And that's where the dilemma appears. The new team is converting us completely to a Mac environment. There are a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that we will be using several proprietary software apps that were designed solely for Macs. They are offering the employees a one time opportunity wherein they will pay $1000.00 towards our purchase of an iMac. They think that the benefits of having us more comfortable, proficient and actually using the Mac platform will help the transition and as well as benefit a number of other things. Also, as an additional bonus, those of us who purchase iMacs under this plan, will also have the opportunity to work from home one day a week, and possibly an additional day in the future. All of which is pretty compelling stuff.

However, as I noted earlier, I've been a PC guy my whole adult life. There are a couple other things in play here though. I've been having a great time working with Garage Band on the iPad my fiance bought me for my birthday. I'm getting to the point where I really, really want to be able to utilize the full blown version but, of course, it's only available for Macs. And, having discussed this with half a dozen musician friends/acquaintenances, and several music stores,and there is absolutely nothing for the pc that is remotely an equivalent. Having my own iMac would solve that too, but clearly that's not quite enough reason on it's own, of course, to buy one. But when you add in the offer being made by the company, well, it makes you think at least a bit.


Importantly, I have always been a gamer, to a degree. The only thing I currently am involved with is World of Warcraft and I'm eagerly awaiting Diablo III. I'm also looking forward to Skyrim this fall. And that's really about all that interests me as far as games. No FPS, etc. Insofar as I know, Mac's have never been able to do gaming decently. Has that changed with the newest versions of the iMac's? They have Intel i5 and i7 processors, and offer Radeon 6970 (2gb) video cards. I'm guessing this setup would have to allow me to play WOW and Diablo III with the bells and whistles, but likely not Skyrim.

In the end, I'm still finding it difficult seriously considering anything other than a pc, it is, of course, what I have always known. However, the $1000.00 they are offering is virtually half the price of a loaded 27 inch iMac (we get a corporate discount also). Right now, having had some significant financial setbacks in the past year, as I mentioned, having someone pay for half of my new computer is a hard thing to turn down, though. Especially as my new pc build was going to run me something over $2k, so that's literally a thousand dollars back in my pocket. Not to mention one less day of having to drive to work, with gas at $4.00 a gallon, no commute time, saving wear and tear on the car, on my brain, etc. etc.

It's my hope that this forum, which was recommended to me by a Mac owning friend, while clearly biased towards Apple products, will be able to honestly consider someones situation and provide fair, and technically sound advice.

If I cannot game, given my parameters, thats almost definitely going to be a deal breaker. If it is workable though, my other intended uses of a computer are a lot of net surfing, some music creation (Garage Band, plus plug in's, etc.), some digital photography manipulation and synching to my iPad/iPod. All of which, excepting the gaming piece, a Mac could do as well, if not possibly a bit better in some areas, as you know.

And so now you have my dilemma. I would appreciate your thoughts, opinions and advice. This is entirely new ground for me. Thanks for any help with this.

JC

CrimsonRequiem 05-21-2011 04:14 PM

If gaming is a big deal for you then stay away from the iMac. You aren't going to be very satisfied as the graphics cards are watered down and are not as powerful as the desktop equivalent.

You can game but it won't be as good as a dedicated gaming rig.

Use the Mac for work and build yourself a gaming rig. That's how I get by.

Slapshot 05-21-2011 04:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem (Post 1239845)
If gaming is a big deal for you then stay away from the iMac. You aren't going to be very satisfied as the graphics cards are watered down and are not as powerful as the desktop equivalent.

You can game but it won't be as good as a dedicated gaming rig.

Use the Mac for work and build yourself a gaming rig. That's how I get by.


Thanks very much for the honest reply. My issue is, I'm physically limited in space, so I either have to choose one box or the other, long term. I simply don't have room for both an iMac and 27 in. monitor, and a Windows/PC box, and large monitor.

JC

RavingMac 05-21-2011 04:37 PM

Does it have to be an iMac?
You could use that $1000 toward a refurb MacPro and get a killer machine for about $1500 net that would be upgradeable.

Slapshot 05-21-2011 04:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Razormac (Post 1239865)
Does it have to be an iMac?
You could use that $1000 toward a refurb MacPro and get a killer machine for about $1500 net that would be upgradeable.


Hmm......hadn't considered that. I don't know much about Mac Pro's, other than what they look like. Would a refurbed model have a fast enough processor? What options do you have for upgrading? And what would they run as far as cost?


JC

RavingMac 05-21-2011 04:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Slapshot (Post 1239876)
Hmm......hadn't considered that. I don't know much about Mac Pro's, other than what they look like. Would a refurbed model have a fast enough processor? What options do you have for upgrading? And what would they run as far as cost?


JC

Three models here from $2-3K. As far as upgrading possibilities you'd be better getting that from some of the other guys. The closest I have come to a MacPro is to drool over it. :)

Refurbished Mac Pro 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon - Apple Store (U.S.)

Refurbished Mac Pro 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon - Apple Store (U.S.)

Refurbished Mac Pro 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon - Apple Store (U.S.)

Slapshot 05-21-2011 06:17 PM

I can actually manage to afford one of these, but the catch is that the Apple 27in. display is not included, and costs almost $1k, which puts these at the $3,800-4,000.00 mark. Thats unfortunately just beyond my reach. The absolute max expenditure I could make would be $3500.00, shipped and in my home.

JC



Quote:

Originally Posted by Razormac (Post 1239881)
Three models here from $2-3K. As far as upgrading possibilities you'd be better getting that from some of the other guys. The closest I have come to a MacPro is to drool over it. :)

Refurbished Mac Pro 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon - Apple Store (U.S.)

Refurbished Mac Pro 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon - Apple Store (U.S.)

Refurbished Mac Pro 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon - Apple Store (U.S.)


Stretch 05-21-2011 06:26 PM

The games you list are all Blizzard games, and they do a pretty good job with the Mac versions. Sure you can build a kick butt PC gaming rig for 2k, but does that have an awesome 27in widescreen monitor?

robduckyworth 05-21-2011 08:25 PM

you say you dont have room....

you can use a 27" iMac as a monitor for your PC rig. i humbly suggest both, as CrimsonRequiem says.

a 6970m will get you by, but you cant really upgrade, and you wont see the kind of performance a desktop 6970/90 or GTX 580/90 will give you by a long shot. then theres SLI/CF etc, overclocking, cooling, that you also cant control on the iMac.

Macs are brilliant for for everything else (in my mind, superior). Just not gaming. Unless you just play Angry Birds.

Housekat 05-21-2011 10:35 PM

If you look at newegg or any other website, the 27 inch imac is a ips monitor thats led backlit with a resolution of up to 2560x1440 which is higher than 1080 HD it costs around 1k by itself. I bought my imac for gaming only, yes defeats the purpose, but man I love macs and I wanted to game on one. I have the 2.93 i7 with the 5750 and I play wow with everything maxed out. The fps is pretty smooth and I can go anywhere in the game without feeling like its lacking. You would be amazed to see what WoW looks like on this display which will blow you away. To me it was worth the 2k for a gaming rig, true, it isn't top of the line gaming, but it handles everything maxed out and thats what mattered to me.

Slapshot 05-21-2011 11:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Housekat (Post 1240021)
If you look at newegg or any other website, the 27 inch imac is a ips monitor thats led backlit with a resolution of up to 2560x1440 which is higher than 1080 HD it costs around 1k by itself. I bought my imac for gaming only, yes defeats the purpose, but man I love macs and I wanted to game on one. I have the 2.93 i7 with the 5750 and I play wow with everything maxed out. The fps is pretty smooth and I can go anywhere in the game without feeling like its lacking. You would be amazed to see what WoW looks like on this display which will blow you away. To me it was worth the 2k for a gaming rig, true, it isn't top of the line gaming, but it handles everything maxed out and thats what mattered to me.

Thanks Housekat, I can only imagine what WOW looks like. I particularly appreciate the insight from an owner of an iMac.


JC

Lifeisabeach 05-21-2011 11:48 PM

I used to build my own PCs myself until I switched a few years ago and and never looked back. My first Mac desktop was a PowerMac, then a Mac Pro because I couldn't convince myself to let go of having a tower that I could "upgrade" as needed. My current Mac is an iMac 21.5" i3, bought late last year and I will never go back to anything else. It has the upgraded GPU, but is far from the fastest iMacs available then. Still, it's plenty powerful for the limited gaming I do these days. I can run StarCraft 2 at "medium" quality very well, and I've read that the higher-end of the last-gen 27" iMacs can run it with all quality settings maxed out without a problem. The new iMacs are MUCH improved over those, so I have little doubt that you would find these to run your games very satisfactorily.

Mini_mi 05-22-2011 02:25 AM

Hmm, don't see a real dilemma here. Make your bosses happy by getting the iMac, you make more money to enable to you to get a bigger house which gives you room to own a gaming rig. All is good

RavingMac 05-22-2011 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Slapshot (Post 1239913)
I can actually manage to afford one of these, but the catch is that the Apple 27in. display is not included, and costs almost $1k, which puts these at the $3,800-4,000.00 mark. Thats unfortunately just beyond my reach. The absolute max expenditure I could make would be $3500.00, shipped and in my home.

JC

I was assuming you already had a good monitor that you would use with the MacPro. Agree, going for the Apple display pumps the price up considerably.

Slapshot 05-22-2011 07:50 PM

Just came across this site offering certified, refurbed Mac Pro's far more affordably than direct from Apple.

Can I just upgrade the processor and video card and use this as a solution to my dilemma?


Mac Pro - Macs4U.com


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