iMac as a Windows gaming machine?

So, I’ve got a new job with a nice chunky payrise[1], and I’m looking at buying one of the top-of-the line iMacs to replace my four-year old AMD 64. I’m a complete Mac newbie, so these will no doubt be damn fool questions?

Two questions:-

a) How easy is it to set up a dual boot Vista/XP?

b) What’s hardware compatibility like?

c) what’s the graphics setup like in the iMac?

[1] Still, a PowerMac’s above my budget…

BTW, my main gaming’s done on a 360 these days, so AAA FPSes aren’t a priority any more…

a) Easy
b) Everything works
c) It’s “ok” – like a laptop with non-integrated video

I have an iMac, I use it every now and then to play games (just like you, the 360 gets most of the attention). AAA FPSes are out of the question, but it works for pretty much everything else.

For a), it actually depends on if he wants to retain OS X as well. If so, then setting up a triple-boot system is a bit messier, needing a tool like rEFIt.

I use my iMac (Summer 2007 model) to play Portal at the highest resolution, dual-booting with Boot Camp into Windows XP. It works great.

The biggest problem is that I find that often I don’t want to reboot into Windows. But that’s a personal issue, and not a technical one.

If you are playing older games you can get away with either native games (small selection) or hardware virtualization (only DX8, costs extra).

Or you can install Win XP and dual boot. My pal plays LOTRO on his new iMac with the graphics set to ‘tits’ and it runs great.

$80, and they’ve recently gone directx9.

However, while iMacs are OK for gaming, bear in mind that 1920x1200 native res if you’ve got a larger model.

a) Easy.

b) Apple provide the drivers for all their stuff, everything else is pretty standard.

c) Very average.


So i finally bit the bullet after years of procrastination, desperately trying to avoid investing in a closed hardware platform, and even being aware that more than likely Apple will update these around September with 850M class graphics that will offer close to an 75%-100% increase in performance, and picked up a refurbished Late 2013 21.5" iMac with the 750M graphics card and a Fusion Drive. I then popped in Windows 8.1 64-bit through an external DVD on a boot camp partition and after much annoyance figured out how to turn off the ambient light feature that was dimming the display in Windows to about 33% of max brightness… and…

I have the best computer i have ever owned.

The most important thing to me is that it’s literally silent under even when gaming. It’s the ultimate SFF silent PC. Not one single whir of a fan is audible. I’ve tried gaming under Mac OS X and it’s still deplorable, but gaming under Windows is amazing. I’ve always heard that the best Windows PCs are Macs and this appears to be true. Rome 2 Total War on Very High graphics settings runs at about 30 FPS; Warlock 2 never drops below 60 FPS, Team Fortress 2 almost never drops below the 100s (!?), Civ 5 is around 50-60 FPS. Only Europa Universalis IV struggles with it running around 60 FPS zoomed out but dropping to 20 FPS or so if i zoom all the way down in terrain map mode and look at a bunch of trees. All games running at 1080P.

As far as the Mac OS X goes, with the Fusion drive going through photos is nearly instantaneous, which it should be, but Mavericks is a known quantity. I hate to say it but i kind of like that goofy Apple Magic Mouse and its gestures, though again, though not ideal for gaming, but for everything else makes a nice upgrade.

So now i’ve got a closetful of computers to unload ^^.

PS. I can download music through my old Zune account in Windows and see it in the Bootcamp partition in OS X all on the same computer. Hurray!

PPS Windows 8 seems like a more modern OS than OS X honestly.

Have you experiences any issues with drivers? I set up my MacBook Pro with a Windows 7 boot camp and found driver support to be an issue. So I now have a dedicated PC gaming machine.

The 750m isn’t much of a gaming GPU, but since you brought up the 850M coming up you clearly know what you’re talking about. I would never purchase an iMac as a gaming machine, but if you’ve got one, you can play some games on low/medium settings.

So far no issues at all. It helps that i waited about 7 months after release i’m sure; i wouldn’t get a Mac and expect 0-day Bootcamp support. The only issue was that Bootcamp would create a GPT partition that Windows couldn’t install into, and it took a bit to realize i needed to partition manually.

Well like i said above, i’ve been very surprised by the performance provided by this card. It needs 2gb RAM but otherwise it’s playing at 1080P at highest or med-high detail, not something like 768p at low settings or whatever. Skyrim runs at highest settings at 1080P and 8/8 MSAA/ASF at around 40FPS, which is surprisingly nice. But no, it’s not a next-gen ready kit, i’m just surprised at how good it is with NO FAN NOISE, which, let me be frank, is well over 50% of the appeal. The 850M GTX will be amazing, 2x performance per watt. I mean it’s close to 7850 performance, which is what i’m moving from.

Exactly, not next-gen ready. Lots of people are sizing their purchase based upon performance in xbox360 ports, those people will be very surprised in a year.

Siiilllleeennnttt. Like a steely will of the ninja, on a windswept mountain, looking at the moon, plotting his revenge.