I’ve recently started playing Minecraft again, and my Mac can handle it “ok” but trying the larger modpacks like All of the Mods 6 makes me realize it’s a potato (All of the Mods 6 Slice of Pi, designed to be served by the Raspberry Pi works ok, not great).
I think I want to get a PC dedicated to gaming, but it’s been so long since I’ve bought anything in that area that I don’t even know where to start. I’m not looking for insane performance or price, just something “good enough” in the $500-$1k range. Is buying parts still the way to go? Get a Dell and stick RAM and a graphics card in it?
Even a last or 2 generations ago mid range (1060 or thereabouts) should be pretty solid, if you have a decent CPU and sufficient RAM for the mods, is my guess. Keep an eye out for those used, might be able to find one for not too crazy.
Otherwise, for a current generation, even the 3060, prices are insane. If you can even find one retail, even at MSRP it’s a good bit. It might actually be cheaper to look for a pre-built gaming system with a 3060 and skimp on the RAM and upgrade that yourself. Probably a pretty long lead time, to be honest though.
Don’t bother waiting for a GPU glut, is not going to happen for years, if ever again. Unless somehow all the GPU mining suddenly is impossible or all those cryptocoins disappear overnight.
If you want a GTX 980 (4GB?) or a 3GB GTX 1060, I could pry one free from F@H duty. I’ve got a couple more CPU-heavy boxes (a dual socket Xeon and a Broadwell eDRAM box) that I run, and that means I don’t really have the power to run both GPUs in the F@H/BOINC desktop.
Uh, unless you wanted to buy an old gaming/workstation grade desktop. That box does literally nothing beyond convert electrons into compute, and it’s old, inefficient, and doesn’t run an awful lot. Shipping would be a pain because it’s obscenely big. Let me go find specs on it.
Are you sure it’s GPU-bound and not CPU-bound? I haven’t played Minecraft, but I’ve watched coworkers play with ~2012 era GPUs without any trouble. This was several years ago before Microsoft bought them out, so I don’t know if that’s changed.
Also, have you checked thermals/clocks on the i7? Intel chips clock down to avoid frying themselves. Laptops are particularly terrible because everyone obsesses over size and weight, which leads vendors to ship laptops with terrible cooling solutions. It’s worth checking thermals/clocks to see whether you’re hitting the thermal cap.
That’s a good point check if it’s CPU bound. Although with the extra mods, might be somewhat less optimized than straight minecraft, which could include the GPU side.
That system of Syonyk’s probably would be pretty solid, although with the availability of curre t and last Gen CPUs, if you build a cheaper Ryzen 3000 series, and that 1060, you’ll have something to work with a lot of games for quite some time.
Thank you for all the suggestions! The CPU was a key - I was able to increase the memory allocated to Java and tune some of the CPU-heavy options and now I have workable FPS on Sevtech Ages.
Thank you Syonyk for the offer on the computer, but at this time I think it’s probably best to use what I have and wait - it’s probably a better use of my money trying to reduce power consumption on these servers I have.
Thank you! This was the key - for future reference anyone on a Mac can run pmset -g thermlog in terminal and watch it:
bombcar@lappy386 ~/Downloads $ pmset -g thermlog
Note: No thermal warning level has been recorded
Note: No performance warning level has been recorded
2021-06-03 09:31:08 -0500 CPU Power notify
CPU_Scheduler_Limit = 100
CPU_Available_CPUs = 8
CPU_Speed_Limit = 100
If that last line isn’t 100 it’s throttling - and it was throttling hard at times. So far putting a Duplo brick under the back and getting it a bit off the desk (and vacuuming out the ports) seems to be making it work much better.
Kind of annoying in an Apple™ way that there’s no normal indication of throttling beyond the fans running.
To be fair to Apple, I don’t think any OS gives an indication that the CPU is throttled. Laptops are all around just bad at thermals. The tank-like “desktop replacement” laptops do a bit better out of necessity, but they tend to fail earlier and are inferior to desktops in every metric except portability. The situation is exacerbated by Intel TDP figures being greater fiction than Alex Jones.
There was a Dell I was looking at a few years back, but it literally underperformed the same model in the previous generation because of the thermal cap. Despite a higher nominal frequency and more efficient CPU, under load it could barely hold at 2 GHz because the cooling was so bad.