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Need advice about my gaming rig

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Lionitow, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. Lionitow

    Lionitow Reinvented The Wheel

    • Member
    Hi guys,
    recently I've started thinking about upgrading my gaming rig. Before everything else, here it is:

    Modello: Mac mini Last 2012
    Identificatore modello: Macmini6,1
    Nome processore: Intel Core i5
    Velocità processore: 2,5 GHz
    Numero di processori: 1
    Numero totale di Core: 2
    Cache L2 (per Core): 256 KB
    Cache L3: 3 MB
    Memoria: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Modello Chipset: Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB

    I know, it is a Mac, not the best choice for gaming but that's what i have.

    I started thinking about changing it when I realized that some games (The Witcher 2, Chivalry) ran at 10fps with minimum settings, others ran just bad (BioShock Infinite, 20-30fps min settings) . Can it be just porting problems or requirements incompatibility (I read, for example, that the Witcher didn't support Intel graphics)?

    I also noticed that Steam games run worse than others, for example I have a stable 60fps in Minecraft, Assassin's Creed 1-2-Brotherhood, all at maximum settings. Is there like a cap or something? Who knows...

    So, my computer is only 3 years old and I would keep it a bit longer, one or two years at least.
    But technology rapidly goes forward, so buying a good new pc could be an investment for the future... I don't know what to do.

    I also thought about upgrading my RAM, which is very easy on Mac Mini, from 4 to 8 or 16. But the question is: is it worth it? Could it actually improve in-game performance or is it useless considering the rest of the hardware? Is enough 8Gb or could 16Gb result in way better performances?
  2. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Considering your hardware, upgrading your RAM is not going to net you any performance gains of note in gaming, or even general computing really.

    The reason Minecraft and the older Assassin's Creeds run better than The Witcher 2 or Chivalry is that they are incredibly low-graphics games in comparison to the Steam-distributed games you mentioned. Steam itself doesn't impose performance caps on games it distributes - otherwise no game developers would have chose to distribute their games on Steam.

    There are two big issues that you have. Firstly, you have a Mac which runs Apple's OS X which is itself not a gaming-friendly OS when compared against Windows (not even half of the games on Steam are supported on Mac) and the solutions to that either involve dual booting or using a Virtual machine. The former is possible but the second will hit performance badly - you will still be limited by your second issue.

    The second issue is that your computer is seriously low spec. I wouldn't expect that sort of spec to be used for anything much beyond normal document processing and internet browsing usage and at a push low-end graphics gaming (which really limits you to a small cross-section of the overall gaming world).

    The only recommendation I could think of would be to assess your money situation and decide if you can afford a proper gaming-oriented computer. You can normally pick them up in the £500 (~$500) price range at a good quality, and you can go as low as £400. If you are wanting to get a rig to last a while, I would say save up till your Mac can't run any of the games you want to play now and then add that to whatever budget you can put together (then you might be able to push your budget £100 or so higher - netting you a longer-lasting graphics card).

    The sort of rig that lasts is a powerful one, there is not such thing as real future proofing and performance on a PC you buy will just go down year on year - so the higher the FPS you get now with a new build, the longer it will last before your average FPS in games goes below whatever your threshold is for acceptable FPS.

    Edit: another reason against a Mac for gaming is that A) you pay the premium for getting a Mac (I have seen Apple charge as much as double what the computer specs are worth) and B) you still need to buy a Windows license to be able to dual boot and thus play all games released on PC.

    Edit 2: this sort of spec is what I would recommend. Assuming that rig was in budget right now, and if you could save that extra £100 by waiting a while you could even net yourself a GTX 970 which would be freaking awesome for gaming (and the rig would be able to play games as well as my desktop - at half the price - which I can testify to being amazing for performance, Fallout 4 on max settings easy).

    Edit 2.1: well, the rig wouldn't be able to play games literally as well as mine, or any equivalent in GPU but higher-end CPU. The lower your CPU performance, the more prone your game will be to micro-stuttering. A way to alleviate that would be an AMD graphics card and the Mantle API, but that is a niche thing as not many games support the Mantle API. But really, compared to the performance you have now, that sort of rig would be incredible.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015
    PsychoticLeprechaun, Nov 14, 2015
    Last edited by PsychoticLeprechaun; at Nov 14, 2015
    Lionitow and Arpak like this.
  3. Lionitow

    Lionitow Reinvented The Wheel

    • Member
    Thank you for the explanation.
    Mh, it looks like I'll have to save up and buy a new pc instead of trying upgrading this shiet.
    By the way I already have a Windows partition on which I play Win-only games, and I have to say I prefer a lot using Mac, but I'm not going to buy an Apple hardware anymore. I guess they're most suitable for different uses than mine.
  4. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Yeah, Mac's are good for some uses, but for gaming (or anything needing high-end hardware for that matter) you'd be paying a big premium for the same experience in most cases.
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