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iMac for gaming? Heat output?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Jake Bunce, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I built a mac mini system a year ago. I maxed the RAM and installed a solid state drive. My intention was to build a low power desktop that I could use off grid while still meeting bare minimum requirements for gaming. It has met all of my expectations except for gaming, and not for lack of performance mind you.

    The problem is that it overheats. I experience graphical artifacts and crashes when I max the system with an intensive game. I took it to an Apple store where they replaced the board but it still overheats. I have tried undervolting the system to reduce overall heat while at the same time manually increasing the fan speed. The problem remains. This thing gets up to 100C easy.

    I did some research and found that this problem is common for mac minis and mac portables going back several generations. Apple seems to skimp on cooling under max load. I guess these systems just aren't designed for max usage.

    That brings me to the iMac. Has anyone used an iMac for gaming? Any heat issues?
  2. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

    I always like to experiment.. maybe select a program which causes a problem from your mac-mini, and test that on a newer Apple computer?

    They probably would not let you do that at an Apple store, but perhaps someone in your area which has a newer Mac?

    Edit: I bought the littlest mbp recently, and except for a strange Safari issue which happens occasionally, it is only above room temperature on one spot on the case by a few degrees..
    Jake Bunce likes this.
  3. Kier

    Kier XenForo Developer Staff Member

    For gaming with Mac OS, I think I'd have to recommend visiting http://www.insanelymac.com/ and researching the best possible components for building a hackintosh with high performance PC components and use that.

    A few years ago, I built a quad-core hackintosh with dual GeForce 8800 GTS cards and 8GB of RAM that kicked the **** out of my genuine Mac Pro for gaming. It's been a really great machine.
    Green Cat, Jake Bunce and Forsaken like this.
  4. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Actually when they couldn't reproduce my problem in their store they let me come in and play my game to try to reproduce it for them. Unfortunately I was unable to cause it to overheat in their refrigerator. Their stores are freezing cold in the middle of summer. Major air conditioning. :p

    I took a screenshot of the artifacting which was enough for them to authorize the repair.
  5. xfrocks

    xfrocks Well-Known Member

    Don't use iMac to play games. Even under normal load, if I touch the back panel it's very hot. I think the problem with Apple's machines is they try to eliminate fans and only depend on the aluminum to cool off the heat. Not enough with games (high performance for a long time) I guess.
    Jake Bunce likes this.
  6. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Good suggestion.

    I need to rethink this. The only reason I went Mac again was for the power consumption of the mini. I originally wanted to build a low power desktop but found it difficult. Low power systems tend to be very integrated and not customizable in the sense of a custom built PC.

    Perhaps I will just modify the mini. If I cut away the aluminum casing then I can attach some better cooling. [​IMG]
  7. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    I don't know about the mini... but I don't have any issues gaming with the new 27" iMac... the 1Gb graphics is obviously the best option. Runs Civ V, Cities In Motion, COD4, etc etc, without issue.

    You're obviously more Mac savvy than I though... again, never used a mini.
  8. rellek

    rellek Well-Known Member

    I've got 27" iMac with 2 GB Radeon 6970, 16 GB of RAM and i7. Is quite nice, at least on Windows. In Parallels, everything is quite a little slower. Heat isn't the problem, however fans are quite noticeable when playing. But NFS World runs smoothly at 2560x1440 at all details. Mac games such as Modern Combat Domination and NOVA 2 are good to go as well.

    However, I'm not sure if it was worth the money...for gaming. (Indeed, it _was_ for the other stuff I'm doing)
  9. Lost

    Lost Well-Known Member

    I love my iMac and although mine is more than powerful enough to play the latest games, it's a shame OS X is not a good platform for gaming. Mind you, in my opinion, the PC as a gaming platform has been going downhill for the last few years as well. Bloody consoles...

    Indie games on OS X are pretty decent though.
  10. Floris

    Floris Guest

    My iMac gets quite hot during gaming, but it's really not a problem. The games are great. I completely stopped using Windows for gaming.
  11. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    Guild Wars 2, Blade & Soul, Requiem, Neverwinter (MMO), World of Darkness, Vindictus, Kingdom Under Fire 2, Diablo III (Though PvP going to suck), Raiderz, and War of Immortals are going downhill?

    As for a gaming mac... Hackintosh is your best bet, as it'll open up more options for lowering power consumption. Many PSU's will shut off the fan if it is below 200w (idling) and you just have more options in the way of cooling.

    The main issue with Mac Minis is the lack of airflow and cooling in such a small place (the heat just builds up). Making a hackintosh with a half tower (I wouldn't suggest a mini or a slim case due to heating issues) and choosing powerful low-power consuming parts will give you a better system overall.
    Russ likes this.
  12. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    As a strong advocate of using Mac over PC for most applications, I'd still recommend anyone thinking about serious gaming to build their own computer (PC or hackintosh). For moderate gaming, a modern iMac will do, even though they will get hot (which is good, since the aluminium housing serves as a heatsink).
  13. Fred Sherman

    Fred Sherman Well-Known Member

    I've done some testing on this and I'll share what I found. Maybe it will help.

    I found some games caused major heat issues while others did not. After some research, it seems that the ones that caused the greatest heating issue were graphic-intense, 3D games that were not able to take advantage of multiple cores. X3: Terran Conflict is a perfect example. After time, I also got graphic artifacts, rendering gaps, mid-game crashes or complete hangs. The only other thing I noticed, is the majority of those games were ports.
    Anthony Parsons likes this.
  14. Lost

    Lost Well-Known Member

    Absolutely. A lot of games released on PC nowadays are poor console ports.

    Sorry, but the games you listed are not the kind of games I like.
  15. Kier

    Kier XenForo Developer Staff Member

    My poor 2008 Mac Pro is still saddled with a pair of the ghastly ATI Radeon HD 2600 video cards, which is the computing equivalent of topping-up your glass of vintage champagne with tomato ketchup.

    They're really not doing awfully well under Lion, and I'm putting serious consideration to replacing them with the Radeon HD 5770 cards that are available for the 2010 Mac Pro, if only to avoid the 5 second lag between activating Mission Control and seeing anything actually happen.
    Michael and Pepelac like this.
  16. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    All the ones I listed are games that are for comp only. That you don't like them is besides the point, they are all going to be top of the line games that are highly praised for innovative gameplay.
  17. Fred Sherman

    Fred Sherman Well-Known Member

    You should post a warning before a statement like this. I nearly spit coffee on my monitor as I tried hard not to laugh. Mind if I paraphrase this?
    Kier likes this.
  18. Kier

    Kier XenForo Developer Staff Member

    Be my guest :)
  19. rellek

    rellek Well-Known Member

    Is your Mac Pro the one with Nehalem-architecture? If so, you may flash it to make it a 2010 Mac Pro... Otherwise it could be hard to install this Radeon 5770.

    (My 6970M is doing well here, btw. :D #cough)
  20. Kier

    Kier XenForo Developer Staff Member

    No, it's the early 2008 model that preceded the Nehalem generation. I've read plenty of reports stating its compatibility with the 5770.

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