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Are Macs Becoming Unusable as Gaming Rigs?


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Are Macs Becoming Unusable as Gaming Rigs?
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drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2014-11-09, 01:08

I finally popped in on our Minecraft community on Friday night, courtesy of my new laptop.

Within a few minutes the fans had started blazing and I had to drop the window size smaller.

I later found that the max FPS was set to 120 and dropped it to somewhere in the 30-40fps range.

The fan still came on after awhile.

We already KNOW that desktop PCs are the ultimate gaming machine, but until recently iMacs were said to be pretty decent at running Minecraft.

Now there's a guy over at MacRumors that's doing some research into the latest batch of iMacs and finding that the processors may have been intentionally throttled by Apple to prevent them from being overtaxed due to the heat issue of iMacs being "laptops on sticks".




...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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SpecMode
Wait what
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NorCal
 
2014-11-09, 03:20

Yeah, MacBooks and the recent, thinner iMacs are *really* not designed for any kind of use that stresses either the CPU or GPU for more than a few seconds at a time; the case internals just can't dissipate that kind of heat, and so they have to be throttled (in some cases, severely) to compensate. Even then, those components often end up running hotter than they're designed to, potentially reducing their useful lifespan (in one case described in the MacRumors thread you posted, the high-end GPU in one tester's Retina iMac ran at 106ºC for an extended period of time during a gaming test session, which is crazy; most chips are designed with a maximum operating temperature of 100ºC).

This is precisely why I use my iMac for everything but gaming, and keep a PC around dedicated for that purpose.
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drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2014-11-09, 03:42

I suppose that playing a movie at full screen doesn't tax the GPU in the same manner, so they're still fine for video editing, just not applications that demand real time 3D calcs.

Still, that stinks.

Where is the PRO in MacBook Pro, Apple?

...
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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-11-09, 09:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpecMode View Post
Yeah, MacBooks and the recent, thinner iMacs are *really* not designed for any kind of use that stresses either the CPU or GPU for more than a few seconds at a time; the case internals just can't dissipate that kind of heat, and so they have to be throttled (in some cases, severely) to compensate. Even then, those components often end up running hotter than they're designed to, potentially reducing their useful lifespan (in one case described in the MacRumors thread you posted, the high-end GPU in one tester's Retina iMac ran at 106ºC for an extended period of time during a gaming test session, which is crazy; most chips are designed with a maximum operating temperature of 100ºC).

This is precisely why I use my iMac for everything but gaming, and keep a PC around dedicated for that purpose.
What's even more crazy is people on that thread are perfectly fine with those temps of 100 C +. Calling people who say it is not good to run it at those temps fools and saying Apple tested it they are sure and it is fine...... People have way too much blind faith in Apple. Yes the GPU may be technically within its thermal limits, but it doesn't change the fact that heat=bad for the GPU and surrounding components.

While I am happy with my Late 2013 27" iMac i5 with the 780M playing X-Plane with temps of 56 C for the CPU and 63-66 C for the 780M with the fan at 2600 RPM( Those are the idle temps of my Early 2008 17" MBP).

giggity
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2014-11-09, 14:01

100 centigrades plus? That's not cool!

I think you would have to be stubbornly fanboyish to think any Mac was ever a great gaming rig. Not that you can't play games on them, I do so myself, but I've never been kidding myself about the performance. It's just that I didn't feel like buying another computer just to get more resolution and fps. Those guys in that thread are apparently replacing their high-end iMacs every couple of years, when they could buy a cheaper PC and only need to replace it every four years and still get somewhat the same gaming performance.
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drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2014-11-09, 15:22

I now realize that I've sort of created two threads addressing my growing dissatisfaction with my Mac as a gaming platform. The other thread was about finding a compact rig that would work for playing Minecraft. Right now I'm satisfying myself with watching YouTube videos.


...
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2014-11-09, 15:49

Maybe Thys is just my ignorance speaking, but how can a present day iMac have problems with Minecaft when my 2010 iMac can play both Bioshock and Starcraft II?

Are those blocky graphics really that hard to render?
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Dorian Gray
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Paris, France
 
2014-11-09, 16:33

Minecraft is so weird.
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Wrao
Yarp
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
 
2014-11-09, 16:38

Since I installed Yosemite I've seen *major* performance drops in a few games that I play. One of them the FPS went from a stable 300+ at 1440p(older game) down to barely capable of staying above 100fps with regular drops to 60 or worse. I lowered the resolution in that game to 1080p and now it is going stable at 500fps *but* even then I still get occasional drops down to 60 or worse. Which is insane, and something that *never* happened prior to Yosemite.

The other two games I have played recently don't have FPS monitoring in-game(at least not that I know how to turn on) but just observationally each feels like it is struggling more.

Oh and also about that first game, it is Mac and Windows compatible and when I boot into Windows 7 to play it it handles 1440p perfectly smooth with no drops in FPS at all.

It would appear very likely that Yosemite has either created some major glitches with graphics performance or something along those lines.

So yes, in a roundabout way, Macs are getting worse at being 'gaming rigs', but it might well just be due to Apple's incompetence more than anything else.


My completely uninformed speculation is that Apple develops OS X for laptops primarily and doesn't really think about their desktops at all. I think that they work in as many power saving and power throttling measures as possible for the sake of battery life and heat but then some of these things carry over onto their iMacs to where unreasonable drops in performance become more frequent. Don't really have much support for that idea though, that's just sort of what 'feels like' is happening. Like the system is constantly trying to get in the way and 'handle' things to a degree where it interferes with the things actually being done.

I read a blog post a few weeks ago talking about serious performance drops in some graphics design related applications as well, like serious not just 'oh this is working a little worse' just outright 'wow, this is borderline unusable now'. So it could well just be a glitch, but it could also be a consequence of how Yosemite does things too, or both. My iMac may be 3 years old but for a high-end desktop 3 years should still be able to keep up with modern demands really, the pace of development isn't *that* fast and my iMac, by the numbers still holds its own against current iMacs for the most part. So it's really not a question of not having the power. It has to be something in Yosemite.

And honestly, as I talked about in the Yosemite thread, I've also been seeing some mouse performance issues which are equally baffling and seemingly impossible but yet here they are.
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RowdyScot
Ice Arrow Sniper
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Great Bay Temple
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2014-11-09, 19:02

I have no intention of gaming once I go to Yosemite other than in Boot Camp.
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709
¡Damned!
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2014-11-09, 23:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Gray View Post
Minecraft is so weird.
You have no idea.

It's a cute little ditty when starting up for the first time. You wander. Old-school blocks are delightful, and it's all sorts of fun to jump around. The terrain in every direction is beautiful. The sun was set high when you started, but now the horizon is turning purple and you don't know what's about to happen, but in your gut you know it's going to be bad. As night starts falling you frantically dig a hole in the dirt because it just feels like you should and you start hearing death sounds in the distance. You place a block of dirt above your head to seal off the hole and now you and the pitch-black have eternity to think while the demons moan and clink and screech above.

That's yours, mine and everyone's first night in Minecraft. It's fine, it's legend, it's good stuff.

So it goes.
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