Okay all you gamers, now that we have the 27-inch 'late 2012' iMac with the GeForce GTX 680MX, we can show you how it compares to other IMacs -- including one "big dog," a 6-Core Mac Pro with a GeForce GTX 680 Classified (overclocked) GPU and 4G of VRAM.
MP 3.3 G68C = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core Westmere with GeForce GTX 680 Classified (4G VRAM), 27" LED Backlit Cinema display (2560x1440)
MP 3.3 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core Westmere with Radeon HD 5870 GPU (1G VRAM), 27" LED Backlit Cinema display (2560x1440)
iMac 3.4 '12 = 'late 2012' (27") iMac 3.4GHz Core i7 with GeForce GTX 680MX GPU (2G VRAM), built-in-27" LED backlit display (2560x1440)
rMBP 2.7 = 'mid 2012' (15") MacBook Pro 2.7GHz Quad-Core i7 with GeForce GT 650M GPU (1G VRAM), 27" LED backlit Thunderbolt display (2560x1440) with the lid shut
iMac 2.9 = 'late 2012' (21.5") iMac 2.9GHz Quad-Core i5 with GeForce GT 650M GPU (512M VRAM), built-in 21.5" LED backlit display (1920x1080)
mini 2.6 = 'late 2012' Mac mini 2.6GHz Quad-Core i7 with Intel HD 4000 GPU (shares main memory), 27" LED backlit Thunderbolt display (2560x1440)
Though many gamers use Windows 7 in a Boot Camp partition, all the games we tested ran under OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2.
Blizzard World of Warcraft - Mists of Pandaria - We did our "Narache Village Totem to Tree to Totem Run" which tests GPU performance and used the Titan Panel Performance Addon to compute average frames per second. Settings were "ULTRA" preset. Resolution for the iMac was 1436 by 808. The Mac Pro, Mac mini, and rMBP were forced to run at a slightly higher 1456 by 820. (HIGHEST number indicates the best average FPS.)
Feral Interactive Dirt 2 - We ran the built-in benchmark where Travis Pastrana races seven copies of himself. SETTINGS include multisampling OFF, graphics_detail level ULTRA, shadows enabled, tessellation TRUE, dynamic_ambient_occ enabled, vehicles characterQuality="4." Resolution was 1344 by 756 for all Macs. (HIGHEST number equals the the best average FPS.)
Laminar Research X-Plane 10 - Run from Terminal app using this command line: ./X-Plane.app/Contents/MacOS/X-Plane --no_fbo_minify --fps_test=3003 --load_smo=Output/replays/p3.rep --pref:_prefs_found=1 --pref:_is_full_ALL=1 --pref:_x_res_full_ALL=1440 --pref:_y_res_full_ALL=900 --pref:_bpp_full_ALL=32. Our test was a replay of an F4 Phantom jet taking off and making a 180 degree turn. (HIGHEST number equals the the best average FPS.)
Steam Team Fortress 2 - The settings were Model/Texture/Shader Detail High, Water Detail = Reflect All, Shadow Detail High, Color Correction Enabled, Antialiasing = 4, Filtering mode = Anisotropic 8X, Wait for Vertical Sync Disabled, Motion Blur Enabled, Field of View = 75, Multicore Rendering Enabled. Resolution was 2560x1440. (HIGHEST number equals the the best average FPS.)
Feral Interactive Borderlands has a built-in benchmarking sequence. "High" Quality settings included MaxAnisotropy=4, MaxMultisamples=1, DetailMode=2, DynamicShadows=True, DynamicLights=True, DynamicDecals=True. Resolution was 2560x1440. (HIGHEST number equals the the best average FPS.)
In the five tests above, the 27-inch 'late 2012' iMac with the GeForce GTX 680MX beats all the Macs we put up against it.
The only exception was Diablo III which we didn't test in time to include in the graphs. At 2560x1440, High Quality settings, Anti-Aliasing=4, and Vsync OFF, the iMac 27" with the GTX 680MX averaged 60 FPS where we sampled. The Mac Pro with the GTX 680 Classified averaged 130 FPS. The Retina MacBook Pro struggled at 25 FPS.
MORE TO COME
We have done some added testing on various drives including two different Fusion Drives. And we have some info on heat and fan speeds when various apps are run on the 27" iMac. For other articles on the 2012 iMac 27" versus others, see our INDEX page.
BONUS FUN: See a YouTube video of a guy running X-Plane on three displays.
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