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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

What's the Best Gaming Mac
in January 2016?

Posted January 29th, 2016 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

If you spend a lot of time playing games on the Mac under OS X, you must be curious as to which Mac 'plays' best.

GRAPH LEGEND
iMac5K M395X = 'late 2015' iMac Retina 5K 4.0GHz Quad-Core i7; Radeon R9 M395X GPU
iMac 5K M295X = 'late 2014' iMac Retina 5K 4.0GHz Quad-Core i7; Radeon R9 M295X GPU
iMac 780M = 'late 2013' iMac 3.5GHz Quad-Core i7; GeForce GTX 780M GPU
nMP 8c D700 = 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3.0GHz 8-Core Xeon; Dual FirePro D700 GPUs
cMP 6c 980 Ti = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Xeon; ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overclocked GPU (requires NVIDIA web driver)
cMP 6c 680 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Xeon; GeForce GTX 680 "Mac Edition" GPU
cMP 6c 7950 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Xeon; Radeon HD 7950 "Mac Edition" GPU
rMBP M370X = 'mid 2015' MacBook Pro Retina 15" 2.8GHz Quad-Core i7; Radeon R9 M370X GPU

Batman: Arkham City - Using the built-in fly-through benchmark, we stipulated 2560x1440, Detail Level: HIGH, V-Sync: OFF, FXAA: OFF, All Effects: ON. (HIGHEST FPS means FASTEST)

Tomb Raider - The built-in benchmark was run at 2560x1440 using HIGH preset. (HIGHEST FPS means FASTEST)

Diablo III - Our character in the Shattered Crown campaign searches for the Chancelor's Alther beneath the Cemetery of the Forsaken. Settings were 2560x1440, Quality: HIGH, V-Sync: OFF, Anti-Aliasing: OFF. (HIGHEST FPS means FASTEST)

Grid 2 Reloaded Edition - Using the built-in benchmark, we ran at 2560x1440 and Medium preset. (HIGHEST FPS means FASTEST)

INSIGHTS
QUESTION: "Which is the fastest gaming Mac?"
ANSWER: "It depends on what game(s) you are running."
Some games are more CPU intensive. Some are more GPU intensive.

Our sample of four games had built-in benchmarks.

We included the fastest Mac laptop to illustrate that desktop Macs are preferred for gaming.

The pricey 2013 Mac Pro cylinder with dual FirePro D700s only makes sense if you run your games under Windows OS in a Boot Camp partition. Why? Because its two FirePro GPUs are hardwired into Crossfire mode.

Some games are much faster on a Hackintosh. We have been toying with one in our lab. With the GTX 980 Ti installed, it ran Batman: Arkham City 80% faster and Dirt 57% faster than the 2010 Mac Pro tower with the same GPU. However, Diablo III and Tomb Raider were only 2% and 4% faster respectively.

RELATED GAMING ARTICLES ON BAREFEATS

5K gaming on iMacs and Mac Pros

Five 2015 iMacs compared running Diablo, L4D2, and Tomb Raider

Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to email me,
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copyright 2016 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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