Originally Posted by Mr. K
The 4850 is "good enough"? It's MORE than "good enough" to run the latest games on highest or nearly-highest settings. The 4850 won't give you bragging rights for framerates, but it can easily get the job done and then some. Hell, the GeForce 8600M GT in my MBP has maybe 1/2 the power of that thing and it can still run the very latest games smoothly on near-highest settings at 1080p. Everybody annoyed that the iMac's got laptop GPUs should quit their bitchin' and, if gaming really matters to them as it does to me, they should get back to enjoying pretty graphics at smooth framerates, and more importantly, enjoying the games themselves. The iMac is one hell of an achievement, that they can squeeze that much horsepower into that kind of enclosure (and are making it thinner too?!). The pricing is the only thing really absurd with that machine right now. And compared to the MBP, the pricing of the iMac looks like a good deal.
And on a side note, TBH, if you want bragging rights, you don't buy an AIO anyway. You build your own computer, or get a tower, and keep it upgraded with super-high-end hardware.
You have some valid points. What on my side I'm trying to say is that the 4850 is quite nice. However it is only available on the highest-end options of the iMac. That's one peeve. Secondly, yes the iMac is a great piece of art, let alone a great piece of engineering. However, this is also a constraint.
I don't need bragging rights, just smooth framerates and very high settings for visual enjoyment at 1080p. My ATI 4830 512mb in my PC *just about* does this. Actually a 4870 1GB is now "mid-range" for pushing 1080p pixels.
High-end would be 4890 and above, GTX275 and above.
Games at 1080p are really, really demanding with the latest titles. Maybe I'm being too picky but you also need higher framerates since usually for 1080p you're playing on a 19" to 22" or larger monitor so that's a lot of motion. Especially action shooters.
What I did was get a PC tower for gaming, but go for real value-for-money. ATI 4830 512MB... (soon 4870 1GB should drop below the USD $120 mark, though I could wait for the ATI 5830 or something like that) also I got an AMD Athlon X2 (real affordable compared to Intel and still does the job for games and most other things)...
The point that is interesting is who really does gaming on an iMac? A lot of people or not that many? Those really interested in gaming probably, as you mention won't go for an iMac... They'd go for a PS3, Xbox360 of mid-to-high-end PC tower.