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nokken

join:2001-02-07
Memphis, TN

[Beginner] Which Mac is for me?

Hi,

I'm an IT Professional by day and a PC Gamer by night.
I've built and customized my own gaming PCs for years.

I have the itch to try a Mac for my next machine and I'm not sure how to scratch it. Can someone help?

Things I must have:


  • Ability to add 3rd Party RAM. I'm not paying outrageous prices for RAM from Apple.

  • Ability to Boot Camp into Windows

  • Desktop graphics card options, not a neutered mobile chip.



Things I don't know:

  • Can I use regular PCIe graphic cards or do I have to buy special "Mac" versions?

  • Can I use my PC keyboards/mice?

  • Do I void any sort of warranty (AppleCare?) by opening my machine to swap out a HDD or memory?

  • Boot Camp/Windows: How do drivers work? Are these provided by Apple?

  • Can you access the same iTunes media library from within OS X and Boot Camp Windows?


  • Edit: I should add that I think I'd have to go with a Mac Pro for desktop graphic card options. Is that really the only desktop Mac available that has the ability to use high-end graphics cards?

    Thanks!!
    --
    "The key to flying is falling and not hitting the ground."


Thinkdiff
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-07
Bronx, NY
kudos:11

1 edit

said by nokken:

•Ability to add 3rd Party RAM. I'm not paying outrageous prices for RAM from Apple.

Avoid the Retina MacBook Pros, the Macbook Air, and new 21.5" iMacs. All other models (and older versions of 21.5" iMac) support user RAM.

said by nokken:

•Desktop graphics card options, not a neutered mobile chip.

You're pretty much narrowing your options with this demand. Only the Mac Pro (very expensive and hasn't been updated in forever) supports desktop-grade graphics cards

said by nokken:

•Can I use regular PCIe graphic cards or do I have to buy special "Mac" versions?

In general, the card must be certified for use in a Mac (read: more expensive). There has been some success with flashing PC cards to work in the past. I don't keep up with it, though.

said by nokken:

•Can I use my PC keyboards/mice?

Of course. USB keyboards/mice are standard.

said by nokken:

•Do I void any sort of warranty (AppleCare?) by opening my machine to swap out a HDD or memory?

Nope.

said by nokken:

•Boot Camp/Windows: How do drivers work? Are these provided by Apple?

Apple provides them for Windows 7 only on Macs for the past few years (should also work with 8). Windows XP drivers are available for older Macs (2006-somewhere around 2009? not exactly sure)

said by nokken:

•Can you access the same iTunes media library from within OS X and Boot Camp Windows?

If you set it up properly, should work.

In summary, if you're dead-set on a desktop graphics card, Macs probably aren't for you right now. Unless you have very specific needs, I don't think anybody could recommend purchasing a Mac Pro and all other models use mobile variants. You'll have to rescind that requirement if you want a reasonable Mac.
--
University of Southern California - Fight On!


nokken

join:2001-02-07
Memphis, TN

Thanks!



dirtyjeffer
Anons on ignore, but not due to fear.
Premium
join:2002-02-21
London, ON
reply to nokken

my buddy plays SC2 and D3 on a 3 year old Mac Mini...i know those aren't FPS games, but i was rather impressed that it does everything for him...several of my friends have switched to Macs, and wished they had done it years ago...my next computer will likely be one as well, especially after seeing Windows 8.



HiVolt
Premium
join:2000-12-28
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
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reply to nokken

ThinkDiff pretty much nailed it with all the right answers...

To add to the graphics department... Even the Mac Pro, even as outdated as is and its Radeon 5xxx graphics, does not support and has not supported multi-gpu configurations like CrossFire or SLI, so even a totally redesigned version which is expected sometime in the new year will likely not have that...

Besides, for a Mac Pro's base price you could build a killer gaming PC with multi-gpu configuration quite easily.

So if you're an avid PC gamer, Macs are not a great (and never were) a good choice, due to always being gimped in the graphics department.
--



Steimes
I make internets
Premium
join:2002-01-08
Belle Vernon, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

said by HiVolt:

ThinkDiff pretty much nailed it with all the right answers...

To add to the graphics department... Even the Mac Pro, even as outdated as is and its Radeon 5xxx graphics, does not support and has not supported multi-gpu configurations like CrossFire or SLI, so even a totally redesigned version which is expected sometime in the new year will likely not have that...

Besides, for a Mac Pro's base price you could build a killer gaming PC with multi-gpu configuration quite easily.

So if you're an avid PC gamer, Macs are not a great (and never were) a good choice, due to always being gimped in the graphics department.

Would a hackin-tosh work for someone looking to have the GPU power and the ability to work in OSX?
--
Making procrastination an art form since Pluto was still a planet.


HiVolt
Premium
join:2000-12-28
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·TekSavvy Cable

said by Steimes:

Would a hackin-tosh work for someone looking to have the GPU power and the ability to work in OSX?

I suppose, if you're willing to go that route, but the multi gpu would only be able to be taken advantage if booted into Windows, and not OS X.


Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1
reply to nokken

There have been some rumblings of external Thunderbolt connected video cards, however, I have yet to see them come to market. The idea there is that you could have the full power of a desktop video card on even small devices like a Mac Book Air.

Intel seems a little touchy about the spec though. Apparently an Intel video subsystem is required for any thunderbolt supporting system (PC not sure about all Macs). Therefore Intel may not certify some uses depending on how it accesses video,.....



dirtyjeffer
Anons on ignore, but not due to fear.
Premium
join:2002-02-21
London, ON
reply to HiVolt

my friend has a Mac Mini from a few years ago and plays SC2 and D3 on it no problems...not sure what its specs are, but likely nothing special.



Mike
Premium,Mod
join:2000-09-17
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1

I have the latest 21.5 iMac w the upgrade graphics and it can only do D3 at low-medium.

These aren't gaming machines.