Rocket Yard Guide: Building the Best Mac Gaming Rig

prod_applemacpro2010When it comes to gaming on Macs, the most common criticism is saved for the hardware. But to go along with the thousands of games available for Mac, Apple also boasts some impressive hardware. While you could get yourself a MacBook Pro or an iMac and have a fine time playing many games, the Rocket Yard will show you how to construct the ultimate gaming rig for the most demanding Mac games.

The Mac of Choice
The first thing you’ll need is the Mac itself. But what is the basis for the most awesome Mac gaming rig out there? Apple’s Silver Mac Pro tower, of course.

Released as workstations, gamers quickly found out they could be used as powerhouse entertainment rigs. Many gamers still use them today to play the latest and greatest Mac titles many years after the latest model was released because of their upgradability. Apple sadly has moved away from easily upgradeable machines, but this doesn’t apply to the beloved Silver Tower Mac Pro, which is why we’ve selected it as our starting point.

Underneath the Hood
Despite being years removed from its release, the Silver Tower Mac Pro holds steady for one core reason: All of the major components can be replaced or upgraded to suit your needs including the CPU, GPU, hard drives and memory. And there is no tedious process to dissect your machine, you simply open the latch on the side and do what you want. OWC even offers step-by-step installation videos for many of the upgrades you might want to make yourself.

Fast Storage
prod_merc-accelsiore2_gall3The first thing you are going to need is a speedy and spacious hard drive to hold all those games you will be playing. SSDs are where it’s at to meet these requirements, so I suggest a 480GB or 1TB SSD for fantastic gaming speeds available. Of course, the Mac Pro tower has multiple HD bays so that you can put in more than one hard drive as well. And to take your gaming to an entirely new level, you can utilize the OWC Mercury Accelsior E2 PCI Express SSD. The Accelsior E2 dramatically reduces game level loading, object streaming, and save times for more playing and less waiting.

Boost Your Memory
The whole point of a power gaming machine is to be able to do whatever you want with it. Whether it means never having to close an app to keep up game performance, or even running multiple games at once. To achieve this, we are going to need RAM…lots of RAM. With that in mind, I suggest a minimum of 16GB, but you would be safer with at least 32GB to ensure you never run out. Of course, you can go even higher if you want with the plentiful upgrade space of the Silver Mac Pro.SAP100352MAC_gall2_fullPowerful Graphics Card
Now for the crown jewel of our list: the graphics card, or GPU. While the original graphics card that came with these machines might be dated, you can just slap in a Sapphire HD 7950 from AMD (above), and you are ready to go. Sporting a whopping 3GB of video memory with all the necessary gaming tech support you need, you’ll be playing the latest and greatest Mac games for years with this bad boy. You can read more about the Sapphire HD 7950 and what it can do for your Mac Pro here.

Accessorize
Now that your internal hardware is complete, it’s time to make sure you have the necessary accessories to game in comfort and ease.

Keyboards: Logitech, Razer, Das or Matias all make excellent keyboards. I prefer mechanical keyboards, but it is all up to individual preference. Be sure to do some research and pick up the device you need. After all, you will be spending major time on it gaming among other computer tasks.

razer_mouseMouse: Again, Logitech or Razer are often the kings of the crop here, though Corsair also does well. I suggest something like the Razer Mamba or Corsair M65 for all of your most intensive gaming sessions.

Sound
Don’t forget to pick yourself up a pair of headphones or speakers to hear all the glorious game audio from your sweet new rig. The Creative A550 5.1 Gaming Speakers are great if you don’t have to worry about disturbing anyone, but if you need to have enclosed sound have a look at a headset from Sennheiser or Audio Technica which are renowned for great audio.

That’s it! Your guide to building the ultimate Mac gaming machine is complete. Do you have your dream-machine built? If not, what do you use? Let us know in the comments.

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