It's the end of the Mac gaming world as you know it, to quote a song. In response to popular request from shocked readers, I'm posting 7 game benchmarks with best settings at 2560x1440. Maybe the 27-inch 'late 2012' iMac with the GeForce GTX 680MX won't be so strong -- or will it?
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
All the games we tested ran under OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 at best settings.
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 was set to 2560x1440. (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 2560x1440 for all Macs. (HIGHEST number equals 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=2560 --pref:_y_res_full_ALL=1440 --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 best average FPS.)
Steam Left 4 Dead 2 - The settings were Anti-Aliasing NONE, Filtering Anisotropic 8X, Vertical Sync Disabled, Shader Detail Very High, Effect Detail High, Model/Texture Detail High. Resolution was 2560x1440. (HIGHEST number equals 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 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 best average FPS.)
Blizzard Diablo III - Settings were Vertical Sync OFF, Max Foreground FPS 200, Texture Quality High, Shadow Quality High, Physics High, Clutter Density High, Anit-Aliasing ON, Low FX OFF. Resolution was 2560x1440. (HIGHEST number equals the best average FPS.)
The 27-inch 'late 2012' iMac with the GeForce GTX 680MX had the fastest frame rate in 5 out of 7 cases. It came in second on the rest.
Why does a mobile GPU like the GeForce GTX 680MX with 2G of VRAM beat a desktop GPU like the GeForce GTX 680 Classified with 4G of VRAM. One theory is that since the 680 Classified is not a "blessed" or "flashed" GPU optimized for OS X, then it could be at a disadvantage. One way to test that theory is to run the tests under Windows 7. (Working on it.)
Another theory is that the 680MX is just that good.
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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