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Best Mac Computers for Gaming 2015


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#1 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 07 July 2015 - 01:02 PM

Best Mac Computer for Gaming 2015
This article will focus on providing readers with the best Mac (both desktop and laptop) for gaming at various price points. The contents of the article are as follows:
  • Gaming on a Mac? Is This a Joke? - I will discuss why the Mac is a valid gaming platform and give links to some places you can find Mac games.
  • Understanding Computer Components in Relation to Gaming - I will explain the 3 main components (CPU, graphics card and RAM) and how they relate to gaming.
  • Best Mac Laptop for Gaming - I will go through the best pricepoints for Mac laptops in relation to gaming performance.
  • Best Mac Desktop for Gaming - I will go through the best pricepoints for Mac desktops in relation to gaming performance.
Read on to learn more!


Gaming on a Mac? Is This a Joke?
No. Mac's are very capable of running a lot of great gaming titles these days, and Mac gaming has never been better then it is right now. There have never been so many current, big name titles on the Mac, then there is today. That being said... the Mac is not a platform that Apple has designed necessarily for gaming, and as such you'll have to pay a lot more for a decently powerful Mac that you would have to if you bought a dedicated gaming PC running Windows. Also, there are many big-name titles that still haven't made it over to the Mac.

Mac gaming is a small but growing community that is started to gain serious traction in the computer gaming world. Here are a few places to find games for your Mac: Understanding Computer Components in Relation to Gaming

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): The Most Important Factor
The primary factor of any gaming computer is the strength of the video card. No amount of RAM or CPU power can compensate for a weak video card (also known as a GPU - graphics processing unit). This means that a fast i7 chip will struggle with games if it is not paired with at least a semi-capable GPU. Mac's come equipped with GPU's from three different vendors:
  • Intel Graphics: Not to be confused with Intel CPU's, Intel has a wide range of integrated GPU's that come coupled with their CPU's. Intel's processing units are power efficient and capable of light gaming but they fall far behind in performance compared to a discrete GPU from Nvidia or AMD. Intel's integrated graphics are featured in all Mac computers, with the exception of the Mac Pro.
  • Nvidia Graphics: Nvidia is the largest GPU manufacturer on the planet with GPU's ranging from tiny Android devices all the way up to massive workstation computing units. Nvidia currently has GPUs in the mid range iMac models in the form of the 750M and 755M.
  • AMD Graphics: AMD manufacturers a wide range of products, including GPU's, and are the second largest GPU manufacturer in the world. Apple has selected AMD as the current provider of high-end graphics options for the Mac. The iMac 5K, 15" Retina Macbook Pro and Mac Pro all utilize AMD graphics as the best configurable graphics option.
When comparing Intel, Nvidia and AMD graphics it should be a general rule of thumb that AMD and Nvidia will always be superior to Intel in terms or graphics (and therefore gaming) performance. Currently Apple does not offer any high end options from Nvidia, and as such AMD graphics are the most powerful option available to Mac computers.

Central Processing Unit (CPU): Important Up to a Certain Level
The CPU is responsible for processing a wide range of different computer functions, including many parts of a game such as the AI, physics, game logic and more. It is important the a CPU achieves a base level of performance in order to not bottleneck the GPU when it comes to a game's total performance. To keep things simple I am going to say that any i5 or i7 CPU that is faster then 2.5 GHz is "good enough" for gaming on a Mac. Faster speeds will benefit, but once the CPU is at the 2.5 GHz or faster level, it is better to spend money on a faster GPU instead of a faster CPU.

RAM: Just Make Sure You Have Enough
RAM (Random Access Memory) is where your computer loads the game files for quick access when you are playing a game. 8 GB is the recommended amount of RAM for most modern games. Many games are even playable on 4 GB's of RAM. Your computer requires a certain amount of RAM in order to load the game files into, and once it has enough it does not (and cannot) use anymore. 16 GB of RAM will give you zero performance benefit over 8 GB in 99% of gaming situations.

Cost Has Nothing to Do With Power
A common misconception with a lot of computer buyers is that more expensive equals better performance. Spending more money can be more powerful, but it's extremely important that you look at the components that make up a computer and decide whether or not it makes sense for you. For example, the new Macbook that Apple released (the super-thin one) costs around $1500 and is TERRIBLE at gaming, and that's okay. It is not a gaming machine and should not be used as one. The $700 Mac Mini (see below) destroys it in terms of power.

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Best Mac Gaming Laptop for the Budget (Macbook, Macbook Air, Macbook Pro)
This section will focus on providing the best budget points for getting a Mac laptop for gaming. If gaming is your primary focus I don't recommend spending in between these price points, as there is no real gaming performance gain in between them.

Best Laptop for $1300: 13" Retina Macbook Pro with 2.7 GHz i5 CPU and Intel Iris Graphics 6100: Apple Store Link
This Mac is really the minimum of what it takes to run modern games at somewhat acceptable settings. The Intel Iris 6100 graphics are considerably faster then the previous generation Iris graphics (found in the Mac Mini).

Expect to play modern games at low-medium settings at 1080p resolution.

Best Laptop for $2500: 15" Retina Macbook Pro with 2.5 GHz i7 CPU and AMD Radeon R9 M370X: Apple Store Link
This is the only Mac laptop with a dedicated GPU. It will perform much faster then the Intel Iris Graphics 6100 and is the most powerful Mac laptop you can buy. When compared with desktop Mac computers (see below) this will perform roughly identical to the $1800 iMac.

Expect to play modern games at medium-high settings at 1080p resolution.




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Best Mac Gaming Desktop for the Budget (Mac Mini, iMac, iMac 5K, Mac Pro)
This section will focus on providing the best budget points for getting a Mac desktop for gaming. If gaming is your primary focus I don't recommend spending in between these price points, as there is no real gaming performance gain in between them.

Best Desktop for $700: Mac Mini with 2.6 GHz i5 CPU and Intel Iris Graphics: Apple Store Link
This is the cheapest price point that has a capable CPU and somewhat capable graphics. The 2.6 GHz CPU coupled with the the Intel Iris graphics will offer a playable performance from most modern games (the most demanding titles will struggle to run, even at low settings). Note: you will have to purchase a monitor, keyboard and mouse in order to use the Mac Mini

Expect to play games at low settings at 1080p resolution.

Best Desktop for $1500: iMac with 2.9 GHz i5 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GT 750M: Apple Store Link
This is the first Mac desktop that contains a dedicated graphics card and will perform much faster then both the Mac Mini and the 13" Macbook Pro.

Expect to play games at medium-high settings at 1080p resolution.

Best Desktop for $2000: iMac 5K with 3.3 GHz i5 CPU and AMD Radeon R9 M290: Apple Store Link
This iMac will perform considerably faster then the $1500 version and surpass the 15" Retina Macbook Pro in performance. The M290 will be able to power nearly all modern games with decent graphics settings.

Expect to play games at high settings at 1080p resolution.

Best Desktop for $2550: iMac 5K with 3.5 GHz i5 CPU and AMD Radeon R9 M295X: Apple Store Link
This iMac is the most powerful gaming iMac having roughly 15% more graphics power then the $2000 iMac. Paying extra for the faster CPU is not recommended as it will be of no benefit in virtually all games. Note:the M295X graphics card must be specifically selected during the configuration process.

Expect to play games at high-ultra settings at 1080p resolution.

Best Desktop for $3000+: None (Honorable Mention: Mac Pro with 3.3 GHz Xeon CPU and Dual AMD FirePro D700)
The step up from the iMac line is the Mac Pro. The problem with the Mac Pro for gaming is that it is meant as a productivity machine and not a gaming machine. The CPU and GPU in the Mac Pro are certainly powerful, but they are both extremely expensive parts that aren't really designed for gaming. The $4000 Mac Pro with 3.3 GHz Xeon CPU and D700 graphics (fastest available) is only slightly faster then the top end iMac in gaming, while costing $1500 more and not coming with a beautiful 27" display.

If the Mac user is running bootcamp the dual GPU's can be combined to nearly double graphics performance, but if the user is willing to utilize Windows for gaming, then why spend $4000 on a Mac Pro? Get a gaming PC for $1000 instead that will have equal gaming performance.

The Mac Pro is a similar to a powerful Clydesdale horse, while a gaming computer is like a race horse. Both types of horses are fast/powerful in their own way, but they have completely different strengths and uses.



Leave a comment below with any questions or thoughts you might have!
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#2 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 10:14 PM

Tried editing this the best I could, but I'm sure there's some errors in there. I apologize in advance.
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#3 ipickert55

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 11:15 PM

You are a god among men.

Take my beans. All of them.
Maybe it really is all cocks in the end.

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#4 Nickburger

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 07:48 AM

Any comment with regards to the gaming power of a Hackintosh? How significant is the Apple brand markup?

#5 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 09:03 AM

View PostNickburger, on 11 July 2015 - 07:48 AM, said:

Any comment with regards to the gaming power of a Hackintosh? How significant is the Apple brand markup?

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to speak to that in an official capacity. (Similar to pirating games)
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#6 mattw

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 09:16 AM

Probably worth mentioning that for gaming a used older Mac Pro is still an option until whenever Apple cut us off from a newer version of  OS X - although obviously there will be no warranty etc.

A 2009 machine can be picked up for very little and converted to 2012 spec for little outlay. RAM and CPU upgrades are very economical and the GPU options still hold their own against an upgraded iMac Retina.
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#7 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 09:39 AM

Q: Aren't you undervaluing the Mac Pro? Isn't its only drawback price? (from reddit)

Answer:
The Mac Pro is certainly an impressive machine, but I cannot recommend it as a "best Mac computer for gaming" due to it having a massive markup over the iMac for very little performance gain. If you look at the benchmarks the 295X solidly beats the D300's in every benchmark:
  • Geekbench 3: Multi-Core Overall Score - iMac is 14% faster
  • Geekbench 4: Single-Core Overall Score - iMac is 21% faster
  • Left4Dead 2: 1440p, Very High, 4x AA - iMac is 23% faster
  • FurMark: 2560x1440 with no AA - iMac is 5% faster
  • TessMark: 16x 2560x1440 no AA - iMac is 55% faster
This means that the top end iMac is an average of 23.6% faster then the Mac Pro with 3.7 GHz CPU and D300's
I get what you are saying about Vulkan and Metal, but I think given Apple's trackrecord with implementing new/updated graphics API's I wouldn't hold my breath. Apple has always been years behind in OpenGL implementation and I don't see them suddenly making their graphics api a big focus.
Metal will certainly be powerful, but I highly doubt any game will be coded for it. On the Windows side we had Mantle, which could run on every gaming PC with a 7xxx series AMD GPU or newer - which is a lot larger market then the Mac gaming market.

Even Mantle struggled to find support and has now been canceled. It can be argued that Mantle's main purpose was to motivate the more popular API's to have better performance and it did (both DX12 and Vulkan are huge improvements over DX11 and OpenGL). Many of Mantle's main features made it into Vulkan

EDIT: Found some benchmarks of the Mac Pro with 8 Core 3.0 GHz and D700's vs the iMac 5K with 4 GHz CPU and 295X. The Mac Pro with D700's performs 3.3% faster on average across all of the benchmarks. To put that into perspective the Mac Pro with 8 Core 3.0 GHz and D700's costs $6,099 compared to the top end iMac which costs $2800 and comes with a beautiful 27" 5K monitor.
Technically speaking you could get the top end iMac with 4 GHz CPU and M295X and then get an external GPU enclosure with a Titan X (fastest single GPU on the market) and you would still save about $1500 compared to getting the top end Mac Pro and the Titan X would destroy it in gaming.

EDIT 2: I want to point out that I do not think the Mac Pro is a bad computer. I will copy and paste what I said about it in the article: The Mac Pro is a similar to a powerful Clydesdale horse, while a gaming computer is like a race horse. Both types of horses are fast/powerful in their own way, but they have completely different strengths and uses.
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#8 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 09:46 AM

View Postmattw, on 11 July 2015 - 09:16 AM, said:

Probably worth mentioning that for gaming a used older Mac Pro is still an option until whenever Apple cut us off from a newer version of  OS X - although obviously there will be no warranty etc.

A 2009 machine can be picked up for very little and converted to 2012 spec for little outlay. RAM and CPU upgrades are very economical and the GPU options still hold their own against an upgraded iMac Retina.

Totally agree with you. I didn't include them since the person this article is targeting isn't going to spend the time/money try to find and upgrade an old Mac Pro. In Barefeats 5K 60Hz Performance Shootout the 2010 Mac Pro with 3.33 GHz 6-core and GTX 970, 980 and Titan X all destroyed both the iMac and the tube Mac Pro with D700's
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#9 mattw

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 08:33 AM

The new Mac Pro is far more of a specialised machine built primarily around FCP X and Open CL compute driven applications where as the old one was more of a general purpose pro machine and because of the standard PCI-E slots could be made to perform for gaming - obviously not enough to satisfy the more hardcore gamers with their custom built gaming PCs but certainly well enough to handle the current/modern titles for most folks enjoyment.

If you are looking at current new Macs only then I agree the new Mac Pro, whilst it can run games OK, unfortunately the dual GPUs it has can only be taken advantage of with games if running Windows so for an OS X gamer the iMac is certainly the better option.

It's just a shame there is nothing with a more powerful GPU available when running games in OS X to make a step forward from the older machines.

To be fair it's probably not too much of an issue now whilst new titles primarily target the latest consoles but it could be soon if there is a step up in requirements and we often still face the added hardware demands with ports not being quite as well optimised and OpenGL performance bottlenecks. There is hope however that Metal may help in some cases here.

At the end of the day we need Apple to realise the potential in the same way they have with iOS and much progress could be made towards being a more main steam gaming solution.
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#10 DaveyJJ

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 01:20 PM

Sadly, I have, in the past few months, started leaning towards a PC machine as a dedicated gaming box. For CDN $1300 I can get the same "Gaming PC" as in Sneaky Snake's signature and knock any Mac system out of the water, if the sole criteria is gaming performance.

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#11 macdude22

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 04:08 PM

View PostDaveyJJ, on 12 July 2015 - 01:20 PM, said:

Sadly, I have, in the past few months, started leaning towards a PC machine as a dedicated gaming box. For CDN $1300 I can get the same "Gaming PC" as in Sneaky Snake's signature and knock any Mac system out of the water, if the sole criteria is gaming performance.

These days a PC+adeckedthefoutmini seems like the sweet spot for the Mac gamer. For the price of an iMac you can come in pretty close to a sweet ass Mini and a damn decent PC.
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#12 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 07:19 PM

View Postmacdude22, on 12 July 2015 - 04:08 PM, said:

These days a PC+adeckedthefoutmini seems like the sweet spot for the Mac gamer. For the price of an iMac you can come in pretty close to a sweet ass Mini and a damn decent PC.

When I was writing the article I was actually pleasantly surprised by how powerful the mini is (GPU performance aside). I haven't looked at them in years, and they are a decent balance of price for performance now.

The one Mac computer that I think is completely, inexcusably, low powered is the base iMac. Here are its specs: 1.4 GHz i5 (wtf), HD 5000 (worse then Iris), 500 GB HDD (not even a Fusion drive), 8 GB RAM. The $700 mini DESTROYS it in performance and still leaves you with $300 to buy a monitor, kb and mouse.

I'm going to head into the Apple store tomorrow and order 1 deckedthefoutmini please.
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#13 Frost

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 08:11 PM

It's a shame you apparently can't get the 27-inch iMac with the 780M anymore. That'd actually be better for gaming as you'll have less input lag since you can game in the 2560x1440 native resolution very well on a 780M. Conversely, the M295x gaming in at 5K is kind of a joke with anything modern, so you'll be dealing with scaler delay pretty much at all times. Might not be noticeable if you're used to 60Hz LCDs and HDTVs, but it's very noticeable if you're used to a CRT or high refresh rate gaming LCDs.

Technically you could run a second monitor for gaming off of the iMac, but that kind of defeats the purpose of the great all-in-one design. Which honestly has its appeal... my cousin uses a 680MX-equipped 2012 iMac as his gaming machine and it works out great for that. Apple's design doesn't look hideous like all-in-one gaming PCs either.

View PostSneaky Snake, on 07 July 2015 - 01:02 PM, said:

Best Desktop for $1500: iMac with 2.9 GHz i5 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GT 750M: Apple Store Link

This is the first Mac desktop that contains a dedicated graphics card and will perform much faster then both the Mac Mini and the 13" Macbook Pro.
Need to fix this link. It goes to the Mac mini, not the iMac.
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#14 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 08:21 PM

View PostFrost, on 12 July 2015 - 08:11 PM, said:

It's a shame you apparently can't get the 27-inch iMac with the 780M anymore. That'd actually be better for gaming as you'll have less input lag since you can game in the 2560x1440 native resolution very well on a 780M. Conversely, the M295x gaming in at 5K is kind of a joke with anything modern, so you'll be dealing with scaler delay pretty much at all times. Might not be noticeable if you're used to 60Hz LCDs and HDTVs, but it's very noticeable if you're used to a CRT or high refresh rate gaming LCDs.

Technically you could run a second monitor for gaming off of the iMac, but that kind of defeats the purpose of the great all-in-one design. Which honestly has its appeal... my cousin uses a 680MX-equipped 2012 iMac as his gaming machine and it works out great for that. Apple's design doesn't look hideous like all-in-one gaming PCs either.

Notebookcheck actually rates the M295X as being 13% faster then the 780M, and pretty much exactly the same performance as the 880M in their review of the M295X. Nvidia's 900 series of mobile cards was a massive step forward for mobile GPU's though. Even the 970M is rated at 13% faster then the M295X and the 980M is a full 35% faster. (The 980M is a bit faster then the desktop GTX 960, but about 20% slower then the GTX 970 - pretty impressive for a mobile GPU)

View PostFrost, on 12 July 2015 - 08:11 PM, said:

Need to fix this link. It goes to the Mac mini, not the iMac.

Fixed. Thanks for pointing that out.
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#15 Frost

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 08:25 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 12 July 2015 - 08:21 PM, said:

Notebookcheck actually rates the M295X as being 13% faster then the 780M, and pretty much exactly the same performance as the 880M in their review of the M295X. Nvidia's 900 series of mobile cards was a massive step forward for mobile GPU's though. Even the 970M is rated at 13% faster then the M295X and the 980M is a full 35% faster. (The 980M is a bit faster then the desktop GTX 960, but about 20% slower then the GTX 970 - pretty impressive for a mobile GPU)

I know, but I'm talking native res there. 2560x1440 is a lot easier to power off a 780M than 5120x2880 is off an M295x. You're trying to run double the resolution with only 13% more GPU power.
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Iridium (MacBook Pro Mid-2012) – 2.7 GHz i7 3820QM / 16GB RAM / 2TB Samsung 850 Pro / GeForce GT 650M 1GB

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When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.

#16 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 08:30 PM

View PostFrost, on 12 July 2015 - 08:25 PM, said:

I know, but I'm talking native res there. 2560x1440 is a lot easier to power off a 780M than 5120x2880 is off an M295x. You're trying to run double the resolution with only 13% more GPU power.

True, plus a lot of games don't play well with DPI scaling. (gaming on windows on my old retina macbook pro was a nightmare trying to get games to look right)
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#17 Jan

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 10:57 AM

My main work machine these days is the Retina MacBook in my signature. Even though I'm a professional writer, the new keyboard is a non-issue for me. I actually got used to it pretty quickly. The retro Mac Pro with its brand new GTX 970 does it for me as a gaming rig. Hopefully this thing will last forever (or at least the next 3 years). If I'd be in the market for a new machine I would search for a refurbished iMac 27" with a 780M or a cheap Late 2012 model with a GTX 680M.
Feral Account: Jan

MacBook 12" with Retina Display (Early 2015)
Core M 1,2 GHz | 8 GB RAM | 512 GB Flash
Intel HD5300 1536 MB VRAM
macOS Sierra

Now playing: Mad Max, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Ultra Street Fighter II, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

#18 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 11:00 AM

View PostJan, on 13 July 2015 - 10:57 AM, said:

My main work machine these days is the Retina MacBook in my signature. Even though I'm a professional writer, the new keyboard is a non-issue for me. I actually got used to it pretty quickly. The retro Mac Pro with its brand new GTX 970 does it for me as a gaming rig. Hopefully this thing will last forever (or at least the next 3 years). If I'd be in the market for a new machine I would search for a refurbished iMac 27" with a 780M or a cheap Late 2012 model with a GTX 680M.

I'm really interested in the Retina Macbook as well (I'm a writer as well for 50% of my job - other 50% is in browser work). What prompted you to get it over the 13" Retina MBP?
2015 13" rMBP: i5 5257U @ 2.7 GHz || Intel Iris 6100 || 8 GB LPDDR3 1866 || 256 GB SSD || macOS Sierra
Gaming Build: R5 1600 @ 3.9 GHz || Asus GTX 1070 8 GB || 16 GB DDR4 3000 || 960 Evo NVMe, 1 TB FireCuda || Win10 Pro
Other: Dell OptiPlex 3040 as VMware host || QNAP TS-228 NAS || iPhone 6S 64GB

#19 Frost

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 07:37 PM

View PostJan, on 13 July 2015 - 10:57 AM, said:

The retro Mac Pro with its brand new GTX 970 does it for me as a gaming rig. Hopefully this thing will last forever (or at least the next 3 years). If I'd be in the market for a new machine I would search for a refurbished iMac 27" with a 780M or a cheap Late 2012 model with a GTX 680M.
What's funny is since Maxwell reduced the power draw over Kepler while almost doubling performance, the Titan X is now within the Mac Pro's power curve without needing an external power supply or modding a connector directly onto the rail. As robART's tests showed, a classic Mac Pro can beat the top of the line new Mac Pro with dual D700s for significantly less money. I'm sure the 980 Titanium will follow suit shortly, making it even cheaper. That gap will widen significantly once Pascal's out next year assuming power draw doesn't increase (unlikely since they're shrinking to 16nm), while the nMP will continue being trapped with D700s unless Apple's got a refresh coming soon.

If I'd known this was going to happen, I might not have shelled out on the Tiki. But then again, it is an order of magnitude more portable than a Mac Pro, and I do make use of that to tote it around places.

If you like gaming on a Mac, grabbing a nice condition used classic Mac Pro (or upgrading one you already own) is actually an extremely solid option right now, and puts all the other Macs completely to shame for performance potential.
Kestrel (Falcon NW Tiki) – 4.0 GHz i7 4790K / 16GB RAM / 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2, 2x480GB Intel 730 (RAID0), 10TB STX BarraCuda Pro / GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB
Iridium (MacBook Pro Mid-2012) – 2.7 GHz i7 3820QM / 16GB RAM / 2TB Samsung 850 Pro / GeForce GT 650M 1GB

Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.

#20 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 07:58 PM

View PostFrost, on 13 July 2015 - 07:37 PM, said:

What's funny is since Maxwell reduced the power draw over Kepler while almost doubling performance, the Titan X is now within the Mac Pro's power curve without needing an external power supply or modding a connector directly onto the rail. As robART's tests showed, a classic Mac Pro can beat the top of the line new Mac Pro with dual D700s for significantly less money. I'm sure the 980 Titanium will follow suit shortly, making it even cheaper. That gap will widen significantly once Pascal's out next year assuming power draw doesn't increase (unlikely since they're shrinking to 16nm), while the nMP will continue being trapped with D700s unless Apple's got a refresh coming soon.

If I'd known this was going to happen, I might not have shelled out on the Tiki. But then again, it is an order of magnitude more portable than a Mac Pro, and I do make use of that to tote it around places.

If you like gaming on a Mac, grabbing a nice condition used classic Mac Pro (or upgrading one you already own) is actually an extremely solid option right now, and puts all the other Macs completely to shame for performance potential.

OWC sells 6-core 3.33 and 3.46 GHz Mac Pro's for around $1500. That's the best option for gaming performance.
2015 13" rMBP: i5 5257U @ 2.7 GHz || Intel Iris 6100 || 8 GB LPDDR3 1866 || 256 GB SSD || macOS Sierra
Gaming Build: R5 1600 @ 3.9 GHz || Asus GTX 1070 8 GB || 16 GB DDR4 3000 || 960 Evo NVMe, 1 TB FireCuda || Win10 Pro
Other: Dell OptiPlex 3040 as VMware host || QNAP TS-228 NAS || iPhone 6S 64GB