Buying an iMac for gaming development

I am a developer but totally new into the gaming development.
I am about to start using the Unreal Engine in order to start developing games mainly for iOS platform.
I am thinking of buying a new Mac and I would like to ask you whether the iMac which I refer bellow can run the Unreal Engine for gaming development.

iMac specs:

27-inch 5K
4.0 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
16GB 1867MHz LDDR3 SDRAM-2x8GB (future upgrade to 32GB)
512GB Flash Storage
AMD Radeon R9 M395 - 2GB GDDR5

For unreal development, mac with same hardware as PC perform much worse (for working with Unreal Editor).

All you need mac for Ios development with unreal is signing game files >FOR STORE< and uploading to app store.
Everything else until your game is ready to sell can be done on PC. You can deploy to your devices and you can create development builds.

As to that mac specs I am not sure, on PC this would be enough to develop mobile games. Whole thing is totally different if you want to build desktop quality games (all with precomputing lights, huge maps and rest of all that), for that even on windows this hardware is bit lacking.

I strongly recommend that you develop on a PC for 2 reasons:

  1. Graphics card and processor can be swapped out eventually to handle the up-coming graphics.
  2. Can ultimately handle a LOT more graphical power than any Mac can.

All of this depends on the price of the PC, but it still would be on par with what your iMac would cost. Still your choice of course :smiley:

I would recommend a PC too.
Much better in the long run if I do say so myself!

Remember Metal for Desktop coming in 4.11 so performance is supposed to be 70% better or so on Mac.

It’s still a bad idea to buy a computer hoping that it will get 70% better performance sometime in the future. A lot of developers for Apple and iOS related projects do everything on a PC, and then uses a Mac Mini or cheap Mac product just to finish up and submit the project.

I was actually chatting to a guy last week who does this exact thing. Cheapest Mac Mini to finalise the project.

So, you believe that an iMac is not a good choice.
Is the Mac Pro capable for this job?

For any Mac Pro that you get, there is an equivalently priced PC/custom build that is twice as capable.

So i just purchased the top of the line iMac and i must admit its not great for working on Unreal. I have since purchased an MSI laptop with a GTX 980M graphics card and it outperforms the iMac all the time.

If its unreal you want to use for game dev go with a PC.

Probably not what you want to hear and not what i wanted to hear after buying a brand new iMac either :frowning:

How is the MSI? I’m looking to get a laptop in Feb*, and that is one of the ones I’m thinking of getting.

*And you know Nvidia and AMD are waiting until March to release their new stuff. :frowning:

This is the laptop i bought

Its fantastic. Compiling and building lighting is a breeze on it. I have struggled to make the fans come on even during some very heavy scenes.

If you can wait though its always worth seeing what they bring out in March, could be a very big jump so try to hold on if you can.

To the record, you could run UE editor even on a MBA mid 2013 11"… there is a low spec and sure if you are on the top spec you will get top spec…

+1, although mine is slightly different to yours.

As an iOS developer since 2008, I’d have to add my vote for getting a PC. The moment you try to stretch the GPU on a mac worlds collide. I went ahead and built a new PC for this stuff and have been extremely happy. I can actually play games AND build them without the system barfing all over the place.

I suggest you return the iMac as soon as possible, I’ve gone a year regretting my Mac purchase and it’s just such a bummer.

jonny2027 It is not

It is about luxury mostly… I mean imagine how much they will charge if they put the latest high end video card out there? or titans?? if putting such low specs the prices are the triple of a own build PC (with the same specs as a imac)… now imagine the same for mobility… they use intel graphics which I only use if I really need to for example… the weeek that shadow complex was released for free I installed it, but I seend my titan to unplug something I break on the video connectors, so I was using the intel from my i5 skylake… it was able to open the menu, but when I hit play, it crashed. Now I just opened it (I have my titan back) and it works like a charm with all up dx11 and so on.

Also if you see the mobile line, they have not put a single dedicated graphic card like for maybe more than 4 years now (for mba)… I mean not even a Radeon graphics card.

Also you dont need to buy the latest new, you can always buy a used mac for make the latest build, if it takes to much time, you can let it in the night for test in the morning xD… or ask a friend who own a mac for a little rental of a day :P…

10-20 years ago prosumers and pros were Apple’s core user base. At the edge of collapse in the late 90s, the return of Steve Jobs and their subsqeuent transition to Intel rescued Apple. However, due to the overwhelming success of the iPhone and iPad in the past ten years, Macs have now become consumer devices - for ease-of-use, status, style, luxury, convenience, lower virus risk or any/all of those. Macs can only be considered by prosumers for 2D work… and even then you’d have to choose quite carefully.

That said, OS X is still rock-solid if you are doing anything app, business, browser-based, coding or (2D) design-oriented. Macs still have the edge in high-stress and deadline-heavy situations, you don’t have the bugbear of drivers or updates suddenly sending Windows into a tailspin at the most inopportune moments.

But sadly in terms of the processing power we need, particularly in GPU and GPGPU scenarios, and because Macs are still globally priced based on the US dollar, PCs are the go-to solution now for prosumers and 3D pros (Macs haven’t had stock Quadro solutions for quite a while now, and indeed no decent desktop or mobile GPUs across their range for quite a while too). The Mac Pro is an anomaly that’s best left undiscussed.

I’m on an iMac right now (OS X and Win 10, running Win 10 as I type this), there’s nothing to stop you dual booting using Boot Camp if you wanted to go that route, and I have UE4 installed on both, and it works on both. Performance on OSX is a little lower as of 4.10.1, I haven’t tried 4.11 Preview at all and that’s not based on hard data, just my perception from using both. UE4 also runs at Shader Model 4 level on OSX due to Apple not updating OpenGL at all over the last 3 major versions, off the top of my head the OS ships Open GL 4.1 (“with extensions”).

If you wanted a system for development in UE4 and UE4 alone then I’d suggest a Windows based system right now, however if you wanted a Mac for any other reason then you have to weigh up pros and cons for your particular use case.

I’ve been trying to migrate away from Windows for 2 years now and have mostly been successful, games are the only thing keeping me here and that’s more for playing them than making them.

(Edit: I also have a custom built windows PC running Win 7 and an Ubuntu box in the “naughty corner” because I made a typo, but those systems aren’t really relevant to the question)

Just jumping in here, 4.11 is definitely much better on my iMac with the metal stuff - 4.11 is a little unstable right now but it’s very promising for Mac dev.