Quandry

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
So my 14 year old nephew needs a Mac to do some games programming. His budget is £500, which I am going to have to top-up.



Originally he needed a PC, but now the engine developer is recommending a Mac instead. I know next to nothing about the sort of hardware that a games programmer needs... but I suspect it will be all about number crunching and graphics cards.



The one criteria I have is that he should be able to replace the CPU without having to replace the VDU - so the iMacs are out, straight away.



The Mac Pro is the obvious choice, and whilst I appreciate it offers outstanding value for money, he simply can't stretch to £1,799 for a 2GB system without a monitor.



Which leaves the Mac mini, which is a great wee system but it lacks the number crunching and graphics card. I can't believe that his choices are reduced to a £399 Mac mini or a £1,799 Mac Pro with nothing in between!



Should we just go back to looking at a PC?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,208moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    The one criteria I have is that he should be able to replace the CPU without having to replace the VDU - so the iMacs are out, straight away.



    Don't you mean GPU? Even for games programming, he shouldn't have to upgrade the GPU for learning games programming. The iMac GPUs are actually ok for that level of development - I wouldn't recommend the iMac for other reasons though.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    The Mac Pro is the obvious choice, and whilst I appreciate it offers outstanding value for money, he simply can't stretch to £1,799 for a 2GB system without a monitor.



    The quad comes to under £1500 with the 8800GT and you can get a cheap display for £100.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    Which leaves the Mac mini, which is a great wee system but it lacks the number crunching and graphics card. I can't believe that his choices are reduced to a £399 Mac mini or a £1,799 Mac Pro with nothing in between!



    Yep, but that's the way Apple like it apparently.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    Should we just go back to looking at a PC?



    One thing to consider is that 3DS Max, which is an industry standard in games is Windows-only as is DirectX. If he's going to be running Windows a lot and developing DirectX and upgrading to good GPUs on a budget then a PC would be a good buy. You can actually get a quad-core PC for under £500 simply because they have computer designs that accommodate higher-end consumer components, which Apple don't.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    datamodeldatamodel Posts: 126member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    So my 14 year old nephew needs a Mac to do some games programming. His budget is £500, which I am going to have to top-up.



    Originally he needed a PC, but now the engine developer is recommending a Mac instead. I know next to nothing about the sort of hardware that a games programmer needs... but I suspect it will be all about number crunching and graphics cards.



    The one criteria I have is that he should be able to replace the CPU without having to replace the VDU - so the iMacs are out, straight away.



    By VDU, you mean the monitor?



    I'd find out more about the requirements - it may be that a Mini or a laptop with external monitor would work, otherwise possibly an older second hand machine?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    The Mac Pro is the obvious choice, and whilst I appreciate it offers outstanding value for money, he simply can't stretch to £1,799 for a 2GB system without a monitor.



    Which leaves the Mac mini, which is a great wee system but it lacks the number crunching and graphics card. I can't believe that his choices are reduced to a £399 Mac mini or a £1,799 Mac Pro with nothing in between!



    Should we just go back to looking at a PC?



    I'd go back and check the requirements - 2008 computers are pretty fast, the Mini can probably do the number crunching, but will be poor for 3D in realtime. If he's mainly doing asset creation, story, physics and whatever it might be fine for 95% of the time?



    And I'm pleased to finally reply to a post, your sig has tweaked me forever:



    "Irony is lesbians f**king each other with penis shaped dildos..."



    Not necessarily - if they're lesbians because they don't fancy men, rather than don't like penetration it wouldn't be. It's like saying it's ironic that gay men have sex by poking things in holes, since they're gay and not into women...



    Ahem. Anyway...
  • Reply 3 of 3
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    So my 14 year old nephew needs a Mac to do some games programming. His budget is £500, which I am going to have to top-up.



    Originally he needed a PC, but now the engine developer is recommending a Mac instead. I know next to nothing about the sort of hardware that a games programmer needs... but I suspect it will be all about number crunching and graphics cards.



    The one criteria I have is that he should be able to replace the CPU without having to replace the VDU - so the iMacs are out, straight away.



    The Mac Pro is the obvious choice, and whilst I appreciate it offers outstanding value for money, he simply can't stretch to £1,799 for a 2GB system without a monitor.



    Which leaves the Mac mini, which is a great wee system but it lacks the number crunching and graphics card. I can't believe that his choices are reduced to a £399 Mac mini or a £1,799 Mac Pro with nothing in between!



    Should we just go back to looking at a PC?



    Don't go with the Mini as you've concluded correctly that it simply doesn't have the horsepower necessary.



    Also, don't rule out the iMac so quickly. Studies have shown that multiple monitors can increase productivity by 20% over a single monitor. You can connect up to a 23 inch external monitor to the iMac. In the development world, you often have multiple windows open and having multiple monitors also makes it much easier to organize those windows. The iMac has much faster hardware than the mini and for a beginning developer it might just be a more fiscally responsible decision. Let him get his feet wet before splurging on Mac Pro is what I would say. In addition, Macs have great resale values so anything he buys today he should be able to unload fairly easily in order to upgrade later on.



    I'll also mention that a refurb MacPro or used Mac Pro might be worth looking into.
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