New iMacs and Gaming
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Many a heated comment, pro or con, has been made about the new appearance of the iMac line following the recent revision of this line announced at Macworld Expo Tokyo. However, looks are only outer casing deep -- the real question is, are they better gaming machines than previous models?
Various articles around the web and our own research seem to indicate that these flower-power iMacs will indeed be great gaming systems. With 500 and 600 MHz G3 processors and Rage 128 Ultra graphics chips, the Faster and Fastest models will most definitely have the power and speed to play current titles such as Rune, Oni and Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force (though they will need a RAM upgrade to do so.) The addition of a 256k backside cache running at full processor speed should give these machines equivalent to and/or better performance than any Blue and White G3 system, and perhaps even better than Apple's short-lived PCI G4 tower. And the addition of an Apple Pro keyboard and the new 'buttonless wonder' optical mouse will make all games easier to control.
MacCentral has produced a report on the Rage 128 Ultra found in these new systems; the chip is identical to the Rage 128 Pro series of cards, but it includes 16 MB of SDRAM rather than the 8 MB available in previous systems. The low-end iMac model (now known as the Fast configuration) keeps the 8 MB Rage 128 configuration.
Unfortunately, according to several reports the extra graphics horsepower is only available in US and Canada configurations; iMac models shipped to the UK for review do not have the 16 MB cards or the processor-speed backside cache. However, the review of these systems posted by Macworld UK is still an excellent introduction to the series.
And finally, we failed to mention this in our initial report, but the Apple page as well as several other sources proclaim that Pangea Software's Cro-Mag Rally is now being bundled across the entire iMac line, in addition to Pangea's other classics Bugdom and Nanosaur. Right out of the box, new users will have three 3D titles to enjoy and show off to their friends.
Report on Rage 128 Ultra at MacCentral
It has been three years since the introduction of the iMac line; though some developers we talk to still claim that they haven't seen a corresponding surge in the gaming market as millions of the self-contained systems were sold, it does seem that the iMac's time as a midrange gaming system has come. It will certainly be a viable solution for those who don't intend to spend $3,499.00 + $350 for a GeForce 3 monster gaming rig. While there is some disappointment that the GeForce 2 MX chipset didn't make it into the iMac line, it seems obvious that this was due not only to cost but to the issue of driver maturity -- Apple wasn't going to ship a driver still under development to the type of users that typically buy iMacs. Follow the links below for more details and information.
Review of New iMacs at Macworld UK
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