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3D Games on iMac "early 2009"

Posted Thursday, April 2nd, 2009, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated May 11th, 2009 with Radeon HD 4850 results

We ordered our 24" iMac 3.06 with the CTO Radeon HD 4850 on March 5th. It arrived on May 8th. This weekend, we ran our suite of 3D Game benchmarks to see how it compared to 24" iMacs with other GPUs as well as to Mac Pros with roughly comparable GPUs (and 30" Cinema Displays).

This page is limited to test runs at 1920x1200 "High Quality." If you want to see results at 1280x800 with more examples of older iMacs, check out our "low rez" page.

LEGEND OF GRAPHS
The
RED bar indicates the fastest. The ORANGE bar indicates the iMac equipped with the HD Radeon 4850.

m2.9 R4870 = early 2009 Mac Pro 2.93GHz 'Nehalem' with Radeon HD 4870
m3.0 G88 = 2007 Mac Pro 3.0GHz 'Clovertown' with GeForce 8800 GT
i3.1 R4850 = early 2009 iMac 3.06GHz with Radeon HD 4850
i3.1 G13 = early 2009 iMac 3.06GHz with GeForce 130 GT
i3.1 G8S = early 2008 iMac 3.06GHz with GeForce 8800 GS
m2.9 G12 = early 2009 Mac Pro 2.93GHz 'Nehalem' with GeForce 120 GT
i2.8 R26b = early 2008 iMac 2.8GHz with Radeon HD 2600
i2.8 R26a = mid 2007 iMac 2.8GHz with Radeon HD 2600

All numbers are FRAMES per SECOND

FINALLY A SERIOUS GPU FOR iMACs
Remember when the iMac was laughable as a game platform? Nobody is laughing now. The 'early 2009' iMac 3.06 with the optional Radeon HD 4850 is impressive as a gaming platform. The only Mac that runs games faster is a Mac Pro with the Radeon HD 4870.

The 'early 2008' iMac with the GeForce 8800 GS and the 'early 2009' iMac with the GeForce 130 GT are both big improvements over the Radeon HD 2600 XT, Radeon X1600, and even the GeForce 120 GT. But for $50 more, I say get the Radeon HD 4850.

We saw the reports of HD 4850 equipped iMacs freezing on MacRumors Forum but on May 2nd, Apple released a firmware upgrade that perports to address the issue. When our HD 4850 equipped iMac arrived, the firmware update was already installed. No freezing has been experienced during our testing during the last three days.

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copyright 2009 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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