Intel Mac as a Windows game box?
April 6, 2006 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Is an Intel Mac with Bootcamp and Windows a viable option as a Windows gaming box?

It's not that I'd use a new Mac for Windows games only, of course, otherwise I'd just get a PC. Games are the only reason I keep a Windows box in the house. Do I need to any more?
posted by nthdegx to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
It depends on the system requirements for the games. So far the MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, and iMac are using Intel processors with different video chipsets. More specifically, the ATI (Mobility) Radeon X1600 or an Intel motherboard chipset for the Mini. I've heard that the Intel chipset is decent but not remarkable and the Radeon chipset being used isn't quite top of the line but it'll do. None of these have upgrades outside of an initial choice in build to order options (128MB of video memory versus 256MB, or system memory in the case of the Mini).

The new Powermac equivalent, when released, will likely have upgradeable video options if it is similar to past systems. There haven't been any announcements about its availability yet.
posted by mikeh at 8:31 AM on April 6, 2006

it's beta....use at your own risk...imo wait till the drivers are stable...
posted by killyb at 8:31 AM on April 6, 2006

It's certainly a viable option.

The Core Duo iMac has a PCI-Express ATI Radeon X1600 graphics card, which is a modern mid-level card that's quite sufficient for most gaming purposes.

Unless you want the latest and greatest $600 GPU powering your gaming box, an iMac or MacBook Pro should do the trick. Note, however, that the Intel Mac Mini has anemic integrated motherboard graphics, so it won't get you decent gaming performance.
posted by killdevil at 8:33 AM on April 6, 2006

Best answer: Yes. (via /.)
posted by donpardo at 8:35 AM on April 6, 2006

Although there is something to be said for caution. It seems to me like what you'd be doing would fall under "unsupported" by most game publishers (at least for the moment) and so if you did run into game crashed or instability you could pretty much forget about getting support from the publisher. It would be wise to wait for other people to do this testing for you first and verify that your desired games do in fact work before spending the money.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:37 AM on April 6, 2006

Best answer: Here's Half-Life 2 running just fine on an iMac.
posted by designbot at 10:11 AM on April 6, 2006

Why would it be "unsupported," Rhomboid? Game publishers "support" games that are running on windows on PCs that people put together from parts. Why would the fact that its running on Apple hardware be any concern of theirs?

I think the bigger issue might be wanting to put a cutting edge gaming card in an unyet unreleased Mac tower, and there not being MacOS drivers for it.
posted by Good Brain at 11:42 AM on April 6, 2006

If you're buying it specifically for gaming, I'd suggest holding off for the towers if you can. You may want to be able to upgrade video cards later... that's pretty common, in gaming.

Other than that, the iMacs are quite good gaming machines. The MacBook Pro is solid. The Mini is terrible.
posted by Malor at 2:56 PM on April 6, 2006

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