Best Windows for gaming on iMac

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Fallinangel, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. Fallinangel macrumors regular


    Dec 21, 2005

    I'm going to get an iMac 3.06 GHz with 4 GB of RAM and a nVidia GeForce 8800GS! Mac OS X will be used for everything except gaming.

    1. Which Windows version is better suited for gaming (Crysis, Half-Life 2), Windows XP (SP3) or Vista (SP1)?
    2. Are there drivers for the graphics card? If not, is gaming even possible???
    3. Would you recommend a 32- or 64-bit OS?
    4. How big should the BootCamp partition for Windows be (with space for ~5 game installs), is 250 GB enough?
    5. Do you have any other recommendations?

    UPDATE: I'm going to install Vista! However, I still don't know if I should get the 32 or 64 bit version!

    Thank you.
  2. jmnikricket macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2008
    Definitely go with XP SP3 (or even SP2 over Vista). It takes up less hard drive space, uses less ram, is overall more stable, and does not have a ton of driver problems like Vista. I think Vista also has a problem with using more than 3GB of ram; I'm not sure the specifics, but you may want to google it to make sure. I've had no problems running Crysis on 2GB of ram with XP, but I'm told you need 4GB for Vista to get the same performance.

    250GB will be more than enough for any 5 games, but depending on their install size, 150GB would probably even be more than sufficient.

    As for video drivers, after installing bootcamp and windows, you can insert your OS X Install Disc 1 after booting into windows, and it will install various applications and drivers, like an Apple software updater and the most important in my opinion giving functionality to your keyboard eject button, but also including video drivers for your card. I have an 8800GT myself, so I'm not sure about the availability of driver updates on nVidia's website for the GS, but just using Apple's default drivers you will definitely be able to play games fine.

    I obviously have very little experience with Windows, and have only used 32 bit, so I can't help you there.
  3. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I'd recommend Windows XP with either SP2 or SP3 (plus any post-SP updates, of course).

    Both XP and Vista in 32-bit mode will only address 3-3.5GB of RAM. To get all 4GB, you will need 64-bit XP or Vista. However, XP x64 is a dog (and not supported by Apple through BootCamp) and Vista x64 is slower then XP x32 (at least on my iMac and MBP as well as a PC with the same hardware as a Mac Pro).

    Apple's Boot Camp includes drivers for XP/Vista x32 and Vista x64. You can also use more recent Windows drivers in Boot Camp that you can download direct from nVidia or
  4. shoolie macrumors member

    May 15, 2008
    I have the same iMac except with 2gbs of ram, and I've been using vista home premium 64-bit. So far the performance has been great except with a few games. Bioshock runs smoothly with everything on high, half-life 2 runs great as well and so does team fortress 2. The only game I've had some issues with would be counter-strike source, depending on the map it will run very slowly. For example office is impossible to play at times, but dust and dust2 play with out a hitch.

    Also vista 64-bit is not supported by apple on iMacs, so what I basically had to do was download macbook pro bootcamp drivers to be able to install bootcamp.
  5. aki macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2004
    every1 will give different answers but heres mine.....

    i tried vista64 first but as another poster said no apple bootcamp drivers and i wanted "just works" so i did vista32

    many people hate vista but thereis no imac i have 3.06 with 4gb runs vista fast and no problems with driver or any such thing

    after sp1 vista game performance and xp is about same

    plus vista is a better os than xp not like osx but still its better easier to use

    for hd partition 250gb should be ok but in my case i have small vista32 partition and install most softwares/games to external hd there is no speed problem and its cleaner 4 me

    oooooone day u will want vista64 and all the ram for games but not yet its no problem crysis or anything actually i hate crysis why is it popular??but it runs ok :)

    oh and about video card driver update u can do it with special .inf but u dont need to i havent and no problem with any game
  6. Stridder44 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2003
    Agreed. I was skeptical at first too, but Vista 64 is awesome. Games and Apps work amazingly, and fast. The fps difference between Vista and XP is minimal (we're talking 1 fps here). And, despite what many may say, there is actually a lot of changes in Vista.

    Besides, XP is old as hell, and a dinosaur of an OS. I have no idea why people still hold their grudges, but whatever. They're only hurting themselves.
  7. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    definitely vista, you have 4GB RAM, 3GHZ CPU, whats the point worrying about memory anyway

    Vista has DX 10, will be future proof as far as game is concerned, why stick to no future-XP?
  8. muldul macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Sussex, England, UK
    get sp2, not sp3 as i found on my windows laptop that sp3 makes your machine glitchy and i crashes. This is not just me, others have said of similar instances
  9. hitnrun7 Guest

    Jul 3, 2008
    In my experience, vista runs some games better. Keep in mind this is on an actual pc, although it shouldn't matter...

    Crysis for example, i was locked at medium settings in XP and when i went to Vista i was able to do high\medium with an increase in framerate.
  10. andychris02 macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2007
    Dublin, Ireland (at the moment)
    I have XP SP2 on my iMac and I can tell you that I've had no problems with it at all. I have being playing Crysis (set High all the way apart from shadows, on Low) and it runs with no issues and at a pretty solid fps. I can say the same for Gears of War, CoD4, Assassins Creed and the like.

    I only got XP because of friends that use PC's recommending it to me over Vista but at the end of the day it all comes down to personal choice, not being very clued in on PC's (always been a Mac person) I went with the advice from the people who I knew would know as a couple of them are IT people.

    I suppose that either version is going to have it's ups and downs, and as someone said on this thread, Vista will be more future proof at the end of the day.
  11. jaybonner macrumors newbie


    Nov 12, 2003
    XP for earlier iMacs

    I have an iMac 2.3 24 inch with 256 Video RAM. Vista is a dog on this machine. I have 2 gigs ram and when I switched from XP to Vista I immediately had video bog down and very long load times. I could not play Gears of War, COD4 was barely playable and Crysis was ok. With the other submissions here giving Vista a glowing recommendation at their 3.06 speed, I would say go for the Vista. But if you have an earlier iMac with slower processors, beware. One caveat, if you have an older iMac - XP is not for this world much longer and being neglected by Microsoft, so grab a copy from ebay now, and you should have a great experience for a few years more.
  12. insanepilot macrumors newbie


    Jul 18, 2008
    Mt. City, TN
    Vista is really good for graphics. I don't have it on my iMac, but I have a friend who's got a PC with a quad core and four GB RAM with a 2800HD Pro 512 MB, and the graphics difference between XP DX9 and Vista's DX10 compatibality is very significant. Popular Science has got a very informative article on DX10; I'd give you the link, but am finding it a little hard to find right now. It's somewhere in
  13. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Use XP unless DirectX 10 is of importance.

    By the time I find DirectX 10 to be important, Windows 7 will be out ;)

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