Which is better, Boot Camp or Parallels?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by dsnort, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. dsnort macrumors 68000

    dsnort

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    #1
    Still fairly new to Mac, have a few PC apps and games I'd like to keep. What are the advantages of each way of putting XP on a Mac? I have a 2 Ghz Dual Core iMac and a black Macbook, each with 1 Gig memory.
     
  2. realityisterror macrumors 65816

    realityisterror

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    #2
    Boot Camp requires you to reboot into Windows. The performance is on par with a "Windows computer"

    Parallels allows you to run Windows inside of OS X (at the same time). I haven't used it, but performance is still about 80-90%.

    Boot Camp would be best for gaming, but Parallels should be adequate for most everything else.
     
  3. Bern macrumors 68000

    Bern

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    #3
    I chose Bootcamp. Whilst I know what Parallels is I'm not too sure it would be suitable for me. I use graphic intensive software like Painter IX which can get pretty full on when I'm working on a painting (which are usually poster sized). I'm not sure how well I could work with this in Parallels.

    I assume because Bootcamp allows you to install Windows natively onto your hard drive as opposed to emulating like Parrallels does (albeit far better than past emulation software) the use of Windows and associated software will be a lot more efficient?

    The way I read it is Parallels is software running an OS within itself within an existing OS. So that sounds quite ram intensive to me.

    If anyone else could offer a clearer explanation that would be great.
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #4
    Yes, *the* biggest advantage of Bootcamp is native access to graphics hardware, etc. (I.E. full DirectX support). And, of course, it's cheaper than Parallels because you need only pay for XP, and not XP+Parallels.

    If you use software that offloads to the graphics card, you probably want BootCamp. If you are playing games, for example, you almost MUST use BC. Otherwise I would use Parallels personally.

    As for the paint software, I'm not so sure. It depends heavily on how it's programmed. But in general, yes, it's pretty likely that having a soft-emulated video card in Parallels will be suboptimal. Unless / until someone devises a way to virtualize access to the real graphics hardware.
     
  5. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #5
    Agree.

    I think it also depends on how much you use Windows based software. If it is for the occasional use, then Parallels is fine and works well.

    Parallels also needs RAM memory so plan on upgrading if you want faster performance.

    If on the other hand you are mostly using Windows apps then using Boot Camp is nice because you basically boot into a native Windows machine.

    FWIW, on my iMac I use both! :)
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    This still requires you to maintain two separate XP instances, right? One in a disk image for Parallels and one in a partition for BC? How are you handling this? Do you have a FAT32 data partition or something like that, that all the OS instances can see?
     
  7. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

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    #7
    If you don't need accelerated motion 3-D graphics (games primarily), and your USB devices work under Parallels, then for most applications, Parallels is better simply because you can run it under OS X rather than rebooting every time you need the other OS, and you can easily share data between the two. Both are great, but Parallels would get my vote for most applications.
     
  8. ansalmo macrumors regular

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    #8
    For my needs (running apps like Autoroute and Visual Studio), Parallels is more convenient than Bootcamp. I can boot XP in Parallels in approx 15-20 seconds on my Macbook, and shut it down in around 10. That's a lot better than having to reboot the Macbook twice just to change OS to XP and back.
     
  9. Hoef macrumors 6502a

    Hoef

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    #9
    I really like parallels .... Only use it to login to our corporate network and perform the usual stuff. I would hae to reboot all the time.
     
  10. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

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    #10
    Enabling Hibernate works a lot better. ;)
     
  11. dsnort thread starter macrumors 68000

    dsnort

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    #11
    Thanks for the feed back, one more variable to consider. I would definately have to go out and buy an XP disc for bootcamp, but it is my understanding that parallels can run some of the older versions. I have XP home with service pack 1. With parallels, couldn't I load this, and then download SP2 from the MS update site? Or load this and then buy the upgrade version of XP Pro with SP2, saving some serious cheese, ( which I would then spend on more Apple products, help me, I'm addicted :eek: ).
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #12
    Is this possible now? I didn't think there was a way to hibernate OS X that resulted in the system going to the bootloader. And I didn't think there was in Windows either, although I'm a lot less sure about that.
     
  13. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

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    #13
    I know in Windows you can, and someone around here mentioned it would be in Leopard.

    Just go into the power settings in control panel and (I believe), click on the tab that says Advanced. Then go to enable Hibernate. :)
     
  14. ansalmo macrumors regular

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    #14
    I haven't actually tried it, but I can't imagine there'll be any problem running any version of Windows under Parallels. You can run several other OS variants under Parallels, e.g. BSDs, Linux, etc, in much the same way as you can with VMware, VirtualPC, Virtual Server, QEMU etc, so I can't see there being a problem with earlier XP versions.

    Why not download the Parallels demo and try it?
     
  15. dsnort thread starter macrumors 68000

    dsnort

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    #15
    AUUUGH!!!! My wife tossed out my documentation on the XP!!:eek: No product code!!!!:mad: Divorce imminent!!!!:(
     
  16. Timepass macrumors 65816

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    #16

    oddly enough call M$ they are normally quite willing to help on a thing like this. If they dont give you a new product code oh well but most of the time you can get one though them by just calling there tech support.
     
  17. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #17
    Correct.

    I have tried the FAT32 partition via BC. Very easy to set up. I have not tried a NTFS partition and probably won't since the Mac OS cannot write to it.

    When Windows XP is running, you cannot see the Mac partition via Windows Explorer.

    When the Mac OS is running, you can see the Windows partition (at least the FAT32 one and I would assume a NTFS formatted one as well) on the desktop.

    To pass files back and forth, I made a shortcut on the desktop to MyDocuments on the FAT32 partition. Works pretty well.

    Overall, I like Parallels better since it can be running at the same time and it is quicker to switch back and forth.

    Plus with the Parallel's option, you can easily make a back up via CCC. With BC, I have yet to figure a way to make a backup like you can on a PC with Ghost or Drive Image.
     
  18. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

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    #18
    Are you talking about making a backup of Windows? That's easy. Just copy everything on your Windows partition to your portable hard drive (files at least, OS cd can be used again).
     
  19. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #19
    also, i think parallels is safer. it doesn't even use a real HDD! it uses some kind of image, which is just a file that can easily be deleted.dont wanna give anyone ideas, but somebdy could write a virus that impliments HFS+ in windows then deletes all HFS+ partitions. that'd really stink. fortunately, im still on PPC:cool:
     
  20. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

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    #20
    That would be kind of difficult because Windows cannot communicate with the Mac OS. Even if the virus got on your computer and when you restarted in OS X and the file decided to spontaneously execute, it'd probably make changes to system files (which would probably prompt you prior to that). As Firefox is 99.9% safer than IE, and more than likely you are going to use the former, the chance of this being caught is significantly lower.

    Besides, one would have to intentionally develop of virus capable of doing that, and who's going to bother, really.
     
  21. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #21
    You cannot backup a Windows partition by simply copying all of the files to another hard drive. Format the drive and then copy the files back.

    You must use a backup utility to do. Personally I've used Ghost and Drive Image.

    Currently programs such as Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) which work great with a Mac volume will not copy non Mac volumes such as FAT32 or NTFS. I expect they may be updated in the future to do this.

    Please see this thread if you have another idea:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=210187
     
  22. realityisterror macrumors 65816

    realityisterror

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    #22
    CNET published a good article that I just stumbled across comparing Parallels and Boot Camp to native OS X software. It might be valuable to someone to see just how much of a difference there is between BC and ||.

    Parallels was smoked in all tests except one: Boot time :rolleyes:

    c-linky
     
  23. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

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    #23
    Wow....you can literally hear CNET's bias chirping in the background of the first paragraph. I wanted to throw a hissy fit.

    Boot time is sort of an issue, but most people that work in offices generally have two computers (their notebook and their desktop). And if you're working with piecharts and heavy graphics and you need to do it in a Windows environment, then they'll do it in the Windows environment, natively.
     
  24. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #24
    Thanks for the link.

    Again, I think it all depends on what you are going to do which will determine which solution is better for you.

    Both have their Pros and Cons. Speed is but one criteria.
     
  25. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #25
    Yes -- thanks for bringing this up. I had already seen it, but it's such an illuminating article. :)
     

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