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The big Mac switch

juggerbotjuggerbot Registered User regular
edited January 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I'm in the market for a new gaming computer. I'm thinking about making the big switch to a Mac. I know they've come a long way since the old days of saving every 5 minutes because you knew it was going to crash. I've messed around on my friend's iBook and it looks so much smoother than Windows. Even when it runs Windows, it looks better than a Windows machine. But I'm not completely sure I want to pay a premium (the models I've seen are way more expensive than the gaming PCs I was looking at) for a computer I haven't been familiar with in years, paid updates, running most programs on Windows anyway, etc. So for those people who have made the switch, do you think it was worth it?

juggerbot on

Posts

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    If you're going to be using your computer for gaming, I would honestly not recommend a Mac. This is despite the fact that I currently own an iMac, a MacBook, a PowerBook, a Time Machine, an iPhone, and a handful of various generation iPods. I'm definitely an Apple fan.

    For gaming, when you switch to a Mac you are basically losing a good chunk of the software available for your system. You're also taking a hit in the performance and ease-of-upgrading (or possibility of upgrading at all) for the hardware. As you noted, an iMac or MacBook Pro are both expensive, and a standard MacBook doesn't really cut it at all as a gaming laptop.

  • juggerbotjuggerbot Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    This guy was the one I was thinking of. It looks like it would be very competitive as far as hardware goes.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    juggerbot wrote: »
    This guy was the one I was thinking of. It looks like it would be very competitive as far as hardware goes.
    It's $2800.

    I could buy a next-gen Windows computer for that much. And by "next gen," I mean "I could rent a time machine and buy one three years in the future."

  • GotrGotr Ms. St Louis, MORegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    *ahem* there's always Linux */ahem*

    Spoiler:
    [/spoiler]
  • CFluxCFlux Registered User
    edited January 2009
    To be honnest if all you are doing is gaming that system really isn't worth it. No game is going to take advantage of those xeons, and FBDimms are higher latency then ddr. For the same money you would be much better off getting an I7 bassed system with some nice high end graphics cards. If your gaming you will be running windows most likely which removes the only other advantage of that machine OS X.

    Now if you are also doing heavy photo editing, video editing, content creation then yes that is a fantastic machine for that. But just not that well suited to games.

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    juggerbot wrote: »
    This guy was the one I was thinking of. It looks like it would be very competitive as far as hardware goes.

    If by competitive you mean completely and totally overpriced, you are correct. I just left my iBook behind for a new Inspiron and it was totally worth it. This cost me half of what a comparable Mac would (because Dell does these crazy things called sales that Apple has never heard of). Vista is also incredibly similar to OSX in terms of looks. Unless Mac's prices become more reasonable (as opposed to paying for the name/image) I don't see myself going back.

  • DixonDixon Screwed...possibly doomed CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    juggerbot wrote: »
    This guy was the one I was thinking of. It looks like it would be very competitive as far as hardware goes.
    It's $2800.

    I could buy a next-gen Windows computer for that much. And by "next gen," I mean "I could rent a time machine and buy one three years in the future."

    If your going to be gaming that is not the machine to be getting, did you look at the video card. It is an 8800gt. Thats mid range these days, it can do about 52gbs of bandwidth. The new gtx295 is about 240 gbs.

    You could build a much better PC with the new i7 architecture that would blow that machine away

    Buying that for gaming would be the dumbest move you could make.

    EDIT: It is only DDR2 800mhz ram as well. Any PC you buy with the new intel CPU will be DDR3

    DOUBLE EDIT: Good god there using Doom 3 for their benchmark...

  • proXimityproXimity Registered User
    edited January 2009
    I love macs myself, but I recognize that they are not that great for gaming, even booting into windows. If you were looking at paying that much for a Mac Pro, I'd recommend getting a Macbook (laptops are fantastic, and Apple has THE BEST track pads, hands down), and a gaming PC that could easily beat the Mac Pro in gaming for the same price.

    I basically have the same setup, and I mostly use the PC for media and gaming, and the macbook for being productive anywhere.

    camo_sig2.png
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Yeah, I'm not saying there's no reason to buy a Mac or to use Linux.

    There's just no reason to buy a Mac or to use Linux if you're going to be using the system primarily to play games. Windows is by far the best for that, and by far the best value for your money.

  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    juggerbot wrote: »
    This guy was the one I was thinking of. It looks like it would be very competitive as far as hardware goes.

    If by competitive you mean completely and totally overpriced, you are correct.

    It's not at all overpriced for what it is -- it's actually one of the more affordable machines in its class. It just isn't a gaming rig.

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    juggerbot wrote: »
    This guy was the one I was thinking of. It looks like it would be very competitive as far as hardware goes.

    If by competitive you mean completely and totally overpriced, you are correct.

    It's not at all overpriced for what it is -- it's actually one of the more affordable machines in its class. It just isn't a gaming rig.

    Compared to other Macs perhaps but something compatible that is anything but Mac will not cost you that much. This isn't a gaming rig but it's not much of a rig for that cost unless you just like saying you have a Mac because you're like the cool guy on the commercials and now you're a Mac user so you're part of some hip community. Seriously, that is in no way worth $2800 unless you're a Mac nut.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Gaming is the universal caveat for Mac adoption, as you've seen above. If you want to "switch to mac," buy a cheap iBook for your regular computing. And then buy a nice desktop for your gaming, treating it like a souped-up console (less maintenance then, too).

    I dont play video games on computers, so my switch to a mac was pretty easy once I had one. I didn't miss anything.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • KhavallKhavall Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    For that mac you could build a top of the line gaming desktop, buy a "gaming laptop" and buy a netbook.


    I mean good lord.

    $2800 for a "gaming" mac? What's that even going to do? Make C+C3 and WoW look pretty?

  • BalgairBalgair Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Only read the OP, forgive me for the interruption.

    Don't get a mac for gaming. Yes, you can happily game on a Macbook Pro or Mac Pro. There's no debate there. It's a matter of price. You can almost always build a performance comparable PC for less than half the cost of the mac. If gaming is your primary goal for the rig, you'd be throwing money away getting a mac. And by the way, I'm typing this on my Macbook Pro. So don't think I'm not a fan.

    XBL:VOS THE VARG
  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I’ve been a hard core Mac user for years. Trust me, do NOT buy a Mac for gaming. Mac users pay a premium to run Mac OS because OS X lends itself to productivity in ways that very few releases of Windows have (mad props to Windows 2000, tho!). If you aren’t planning to spent eight+ hours a day working at your desktop, it’s not worth it.

    Spend $1650 on a badassed PC and an OS X license, then download Hackintosh so you can just run OS X on the PC.

  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    juggerbot wrote: »
    This guy was the one I was thinking of. It looks like it would be very competitive as far as hardware goes.

    If by competitive you mean completely and totally overpriced, you are correct.

    It's not at all overpriced for what it is -- it's actually one of the more affordable machines in its class. It just isn't a gaming rig.

    Compared to other Macs perhaps but something compatible that is anything but Mac will not cost you that much. This isn't a gaming rig but it's not much of a rig for that cost unless you just like saying you have a Mac because you're like the cool guy on the commercials and now you're a Mac user so you're part of some hip community. Seriously, that is in no way worth $2800 unless you're a Mac nut.

    A quick look around Newegg shows that if you build a comparable rig yourself, you're looking at:
    Spoiler:

    According to Newegg, my grand total (including FedEx shipping, which is free on the Mac Pro) is $2,750.52. If I knock the shipping down to UPS 3-day ground, I can shave a few bucks off that total, but for argument's sake, let's say I wanted everything to be comparable to the Apple experience. I saved about $48.50 by building a machine myself -- about enough to buy a couple of case fans and some thermal paste for the CPUs. I have to spend several hours building the machine myself, I have no unified warranty (just the 30 to 90 days on most of the components), no tech support, and no OS.

    So I don't think you know what you're talking about.

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • NostregarNostregar Registered User
    edited January 2009
    t Wasted Pixels: I, uh, think your prices are waaaaaaay off.

    Spoiler:
  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »
    t Wasted Pixels: I, uh, think your prices are waaaaaaay off.

    Prove me wrong.

    Dell charges $3,828 for a comparable system.

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Yeah, the deal with the Mac Pro isn't that Apple is overcharging (they're not). It's that it's ridiculously overpowered for 99% of consumers. Other than their RAM/HD upgrades, Apple doesn't overcharge (too much).

    To echo what's already been said: if you want a gaming desktop, you don't want a mac. If you were looking to game on a laptop, you could do worse than a Macbook Pro with boot camp/crossover, but there's no Apple desktop for you.

    Signature not found.
  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    Yeah, the deal with the Mac Pro isn't that Apple is overcharging (they're not). It's that it's ridiculously overpowered for 99% of consumers. Other than their RAM/HD upgrades, Apple doesn't overcharge (too much).

    To echo what's already been said: if you want a gaming desktop, you don't want a mac. If you were looking to game on a laptop, you could do worse than a Macbook Pro with boot camp/crossover, but there's no Apple desktop for you.

    Ridiculously overpowered in a very specific way, no less.

    Two quad-cores with a barely even midend graphics card. If Apple hated gamers anymore, they would actually have to come over to each of our houses and pee on us.

    twitter, github, resume/portfolio, if you like to play or host boardgames online, check out handtracker
  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    admanb wrote: »
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    Yeah, the deal with the Mac Pro isn't that Apple is overcharging (they're not). It's that it's ridiculously overpowered for 99% of consumers. Other than their RAM/HD upgrades, Apple doesn't overcharge (too much).

    To echo what's already been said: if you want a gaming desktop, you don't want a mac. If you were looking to game on a laptop, you could do worse than a Macbook Pro with boot camp/crossover, but there's no Apple desktop for you.

    Ridiculously overpowered in a very specific way, no less.

    Two quad-cores with a barely even midend graphics card. If Apple hated gamers anymore, they would actually have to come over to each of our houses and pee on us.

    Well, keep in mind, the Adobe family of products didn't even use the video card until the latest release (just a matter of months ago), so graphic designers don't really need a high-end video card. And those who do need a decent card are just going to pull out whatever comes with the machine and throw in a FireGL, so it makes sense in both cases to default to a relatively cheap and generic card.

    Edit: not that Xeon architecture is great for gaming anyway, the RAM is a mother of a bottleneck. :/

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • DixonDixon Screwed...possibly doomed CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    admanb wrote: »
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    Yeah, the deal with the Mac Pro isn't that Apple is overcharging (they're not). It's that it's ridiculously overpowered for 99% of consumers. Other than their RAM/HD upgrades, Apple doesn't overcharge (too much).

    To echo what's already been said: if you want a gaming desktop, you don't want a mac. If you were looking to game on a laptop, you could do worse than a Macbook Pro with boot camp/crossover, but there's no Apple desktop for you.

    Ridiculously overpowered in a very specific way, no less.

    Two quad-cores with a barely even midend graphics card. If Apple hated gamers anymore, they would actually have to come over to each of our houses and pee on us.

    Well, keep in mind, the Adobe family of products didn't even use the video card until the latest release (just a matter of months ago), so graphic designers don't really need a high-end video card. And those who do need a decent card are just going to pull out whatever comes with the machine and throw in a FireGL, so it makes sense in both cases to default to a relatively cheap and generic card.

    Edit: not that Xeon architecture is great for gaming anyway, the RAM is a mother of a bottleneck. :/

    The pricing isn't the huge problem, the problem is that the CPU they used isn't what should be in there. That CPU is overpriced even if you bought to build a PC. It wouldn't be a smart move to get CPU, the new i7 CPUs from the 920 to 965 are what you should be geting for that kind of money.

    They use an 8800gt for god sakes, that should tell you this machine wasn't built for gaming in mind. Especially at that price

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2009
    admanb wrote: »
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    Yeah, the deal with the Mac Pro isn't that Apple is overcharging (they're not). It's that it's ridiculously overpowered for 99% of consumers. Other than their RAM/HD upgrades, Apple doesn't overcharge (too much).

    To echo what's already been said: if you want a gaming desktop, you don't want a mac. If you were looking to game on a laptop, you could do worse than a Macbook Pro with boot camp/crossover, but there's no Apple desktop for you.

    Ridiculously overpowered in a very specific way, no less.

    Two quad-cores with a barely even midend graphics card. If Apple hated gamers anymore, they would actually have to come over to each of our houses and pee on us.

    There's a reason it's called Mac Pro. It's specced and built for professionals.


    And no, 'professional gamer' doesn't count.

  • NostregarNostregar Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Wasted Pixels : can you post the exact parts you're giving prices for? Because you say $70 for a video card; really? For a gaming computer? Also, $1500 for a processor? And $400 for a case/PSU? Having built a number of computers, none of those seem like reasonable numbers to me.

    Spoiler:
  • DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User
    edited January 2009
    admanb wrote: »
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    Yeah, the deal with the Mac Pro isn't that Apple is overcharging (they're not). It's that it's ridiculously overpowered for 99% of consumers. Other than their RAM/HD upgrades, Apple doesn't overcharge (too much).

    To echo what's already been said: if you want a gaming desktop, you don't want a mac. If you were looking to game on a laptop, you could do worse than a Macbook Pro with boot camp/crossover, but there's no Apple desktop for you.

    Ridiculously overpowered in a very specific way, no less.

    Two quad-cores with a barely even midend graphics card. If Apple hated gamers anymore, they would actually have to come over to each of our houses and pee on us.

    There's a reason it's called Mac Pro. It's specced and built for professionals.


    And no, 'professional gamer' doesn't count.

    To be honest, "professional" is a frustratingly vague term. Even if you limit the scope to the computer and graphic design industries, there are very few "professionals" who fit the profile of the Mac Pro target audience.

    Signature not found.
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »
    Wasted Pixels : can you post the exact parts you're giving prices for? Because you say $70 for a video card; really? For a gaming computer? Also, $1500 for a processor? And $400 for a case/PSU? Having built a number of computers, none of those seem like reasonable numbers to me.

    The $2800 macpro has two of these. He's not spec'ing out a gaming rig, he's spec'ing out building a mac pro from retail parts.


    As to whether or not the switch was worth it to me, well I did the Hackintosh route, because I had a nice laptop already and a new GPU, wifi card, and license to OSX cost me considerable less than trying to recoup resale value for my laptop and buying a macbook pro. And I could expense mac versions office and a few other productivity apps. If I had to eat $3K to do all the shit I already do the apple way it wouldn't have been worth it for me.

    I don't play many games on the laptop, maybe some NWN, Portal, or X3, which mine does fine. I have another drive I swap in when I want to do things the Windows way.

  • DistramDistram __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2009
    Honestly, if you want a gaming computer, build it yourself. You will save lots and lots of cash.

    Ask around here about which individual parts to buy and either put it all together yourself or find someone who will put it together for you, cheaply.

    I'll never buy a Mac simply because I can build PCs. I like to customize and upgrade; I can't really do that with a Mac.

  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Spend $1,500 on a Windows desktop and $1,300 on one of the new MacBooks.

    XBL: heavenkils
  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »
    Wasted Pixels : can you post the exact parts you're giving prices for? Because you say $70 for a video card; really? For a gaming computer? Also, $1500 for a processor? And $400 for a case/PSU? Having built a number of computers, none of those seem like reasonable numbers to me.

    To build a machine comparable to the Mac Pro, you'd need two Harpertown quad-core 2.83GHz processors (about $750 each). Any middle-of-the-line server mobo that supports 64MB of RAM should do (I picked a moderately priced one with good reviews, $420), and given that the Mac Pro only has a 2600XT with 256MB of RAM, it was only fair that I picked the same. You'll also need a pedestal server case and an adequate power supply for those two hefty Xeon CPUs (bundled together for just $370, which is actually pretty damn reasonable for what you're getting), and you'll need server-grade RAM instead of some cheapo G.Skill sticks (around $80 for the same 2GB you'd get in that basic Mac Pro). I don't think any of my other numbers would be subject to dispute, so there you go. :P

    Djeet is absolutely correct that the Mac Pro (just like the rig I speced out to match it) is a workstation. It's targeted at people who routinely spend more on their video cards than your whole gaming rig is worth. That's why the OP is nuts to be considering one for a gaming machine, and that's why others in the thread are flat out wrong for suggesting it's overpriced.

    It's like looking at a Volvo VN and saying, "you idiot, for what you spent on that, you could have scored a Honda Civic with a spoiler and go-fast stickers". It's completely missing the point.

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • NostregarNostregar Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Djeet is absolutely correct that the Mac Pro (just like the rig I speced out to match it) is a workstation. It's targeted at people who routinely spend more on their video cards than your whole gaming rig is worth.

    Then why does it have a $70 video card?

    I dunno, I think we're agreeing. I think the Mac Pro (or any other Apple computer) is simply not cut out to be a game computer. It is good at what it does, but what it does is not games. For that reason, the money would be much better spent on a computer designed to play games.

    I think that is what you are saying and that we agree. Either way, I don't think I have much more to add that hasn't been said.

    Spoiler:
  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »
    Djeet is absolutely correct that the Mac Pro (just like the rig I speced out to match it) is a workstation. It's targeted at people who routinely spend more on their video cards than your whole gaming rig is worth.

    Then why does it have a $70 video card?

    That's already been discussed a bit; graphic designers just need a basic one, and everyone else will be tossing in a $1,000 to $2,200 FireGL, so it's best for all involved to only include a cheapie.
    I dunno, I think we're agreeing. I think the Mac Pro (or any other Apple computer) is simply not cut out to be a game computer. It is good at what it does, but what it does is not games. For that reason, the money would be much better spent on a computer designed to play games.

    I think that is what you are saying and that we agree.

    Pretty much, I think you just misinterpreted the post that you initially replied to is all.

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Just to drive this point into the ground, here are the descriptions of the video cards Apple has available for Mac Pro builds on the Apple Store website. Any guesses what doesn't get mentioned at all?

    "A 16-lane, double-wide PCI Express 2.0 graphics slot supports the latest graphics cards for up to 8 GBps of data throughput, up to twice that of a previous-generation PCI Express slot. And by supplying up to 300 watts of total power to all PCI Express slots, the Mac Pro provides the headroom for high-performance, next-generation graphics cards.

    Choose among these graphics card options.

    ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT
    For excellent all-around performance in creative and productivity applications, choose one or more ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT cards. This card features a 256MB GDDR3 frame buffer, PCI Express 2.0 interface, and two dual-link DVI ports. With up to four ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics cards installed, a Mac Pro can support up to 8 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays.

    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
    For even greater graphics performance, choose the latest-generation NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB of GDDR3 video memory. With a unified shader core and massive memory bandwidth, the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT brings advanced performance to graphics-intensive applications like motion graphics, 3D modeling, rendering and animation. Featuring a PCI Express 2.0 interface for high bandwidth connection to the Mac Pro and two dual-link DVI ports for connecting up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays.

    NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600
    Featuring a massive 1.5GB frame buffer of GDDR3 memory, the NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 is the ultimate workstation-level graphics card. It’s ideal for industrial-strength 3D design work, modeling, animation, and stereo 3D visualization. One of the most advanced graphics cards available, it has an integrated stereo 3D port, so you can use stereo goggles for stereo-in-a-window visualization applications. With two dual-link DVI ports, you can connect two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays.

    Dual-Display Modes
    Each graphics card offers built-in dual-display support in two modes. Extended Desktop mode allows you to work on two monitors at once for increased desktop real estate and enhanced productivity. Video mirroring mode is useful when presenting to groups — the same image that you see on your local display also appears on a projector or auxiliary display. Simply attach two monitors and the Mac OS will recognize both displays. Use the Displays system preference to configure your monitors in either extended desktop or video mirroring modes.

    You can attach multiple Apple flat panels with DVI connectors to your Mac Pro graphics card directly. If you have an Apple flat panel with an ADC connector, the optional Apple DVI to ADC Adapter is required (sold separately).

  • proXimityproXimity Registered User
    edited January 2009
    8 30" monitors would be amazing....

    camo_sig2.png
  • bigpandabigpanda Registered User
    edited January 2009
    A quick glance didn't seem that anyone mentioned that for gaming you'll have absolutely zero reason for needing an 8-core machine.

    I'd only, only, only, only recommend getting a Mac Pro if you're doing some really heavy graphics work or rendering lots and lots of video or crunching some really crazy numbers (and I mean really crazy numbers).

    You're dollar's going to go much further if you put together a winbox. 'Course it's your money. if you really really want a Mac, then that's not going to be solved unless you buy a Mac.

  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Veering away from the Mac Pro discussion, I'll second a post earlier in this thread that said: spend $1500 on a Windows gaming box and $1300 on a Macbook.

    twitter, github, resume/portfolio, if you like to play or host boardgames online, check out handtracker
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