New iMac, Bootcamp and playing games - Chris Ullrich dot net

New iMac, Bootcamp and playing games


after moving into the new place i realized that it was a great opportunity to get rid of stuff i really don’t need and could do without or could substitute something else for. so, out went the big g5 tower (to my bro, sam). out went the big pc tower (to my friend shaun) and in came the new 20″ intel iMac from Apple. not just any new 20″ intel iMac mind you. i sprung for the extra video ram (doubled it to 256 megs) and maxed out the ram to 2gb. a must, really. ram is pretty cheap these days and is a great way to improve performance for not that much money. if you have the means i definitely suggest maxing out the ram in any Mac you purchase. you won’t be sorry you did.

what does this all mean and why should you care? you might not unless you enjoy the occasional game of half-life 2 or other pc only game. or, you want to run outlook or some other pc app that has no mac counterpart. like the macbook, i decided to install bootcamp and use the iMac as my new windows machine on the desktop. i did this mostly to see if it would replace my pc tower as a gaming machine. the short answer is yes. absolutely.

in fact, using the iMac booted into windows xp provided a superior gaming experience than i previously had on my windows gaming box. the iMac performed very very well. so, it has replaced two machines for me and now i have much more room on my desk to pile up other stuff i need to get to. so, if you are looking for a great gaming machine and want to play pc games and mac games, the intel iMac is a great choice. it also does other stuff like check email, browse the internet and normal computer things.

i have not tried it with very many other pc games yet. i felt that half-life 2 was a good game to start with given that the system requirement of the game are quite high. it a beautiful game to see and it looks great on the 20″ monitor of the iMac and its even in widescreen 16 x 9. very cool. i won’t go into the whole installing boot camp procedure here as its kinda boring. suffice to say that i installed it and used it in the normal way without any changes. installed windows xp w/sp2 without a problem and was in windows and running soon afterward.

the one change that turned out to greatly improve things was that i ditched the ati drivers that bootcamp puts on the driver install cd and instead used other video drivers from the super genius over at omega. these drivers rock. much better than the lame ones that bootcamp wants you to use. after making this change i got greater frame rates and no freezes or anything.

to be honest, i had no freezes prior to replacing the drivers but i did see the increased performance from these drivers that i hoped. so, if you go to all the trouble to do all of this, be sure to get the omega drivers and use them. one other note. you can’t install drivers that you get from the ati website so don’t bother downloading them at all. even though the video card in the 20″ imac is technically an ati x1600 it doesn’t mean you can actually use the drivers from ati. you can use the omega ones and you should.

so over the last couple of months i have cut the number of computers i have at home in half. two laptops into one: the macbook. and two desktops into one: the iMac. not to mention that the iMac runs so much quieter and cooler than the g5 tower its not even funny. the g5, while a great machine, is really hot and really noisy. now i can actually enjoy music in my office again and not have to turn it way up to drown out the sounds of the g5 tower. i am much happier now.

in other news, i made a couple of posts at Laist lately and will also be heading down to san diego in july to cover the big san diego comic con. i haven’t been in several years and this will be my first time in a long time mostly as an observer and attendee. the last couple of times i was there with a film project or something and was too busy to really look around.

so this time should be fun. although, its not all fun. there will be a little business too. i will be making a few notes for Laist as well as meeting with a few people regarding some upcoming projects that i can’t talk about at the moment. very secret and all that you know. suffice to say that i might be going back into yet another business i was in a long time ago. at least a little bit. or, maybe more than a little bit. what can i say? i like to keep busy.

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