Bootcamp from USB3 External Hard Drive for Gaming

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by BluAffiliate, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. BluAffiliate macrumors regular

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    #1
  2. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #2
  3. BluAffiliate thread starter macrumors regular

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  4. ckmaes macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Works well for me on my iMac 5K with AMD 580. Look further down in the comments section where somebody attempts to clarify the process. These instructions, in the comments, were easier to follow for me. There's a setting you need to check in VirtualBox that the main instructions missed.

    I also didn't realise that you can still download the appropriate Boot Camp drivers for your iMac by using the menu option in Boot Camp.

    As far as performance goes, I'm only just done updating Windows, installing drivers, etc...
     
  5. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #5
    The fact that you made it so far is a good sign. I will see if I get time this weekend to try this. I was planning to do an internal bootcamp, but would prefer to toy around with this approach first as I have an external SSD lying around somewhere.
     
  6. vkd, Jul 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017

    vkd Suspended

    vkd

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    #6
    I'd like to hear if anyone successfully used this process but with W8 instead of W10


    Another thing is, what if two partitions were created on the external drive and a separate installation of Windows on each of them, then a boot manager used. How would that work?
     
  7. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000

    Nunyabinez

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    #7
    I can't imagine that gaming from a virtual machine is going to be a satisfactory experience. The biggest problem that you'll encounter is that you will be using the virtual machine's video drivers and not the card's native drivers. If you were in Boot Camp, at least you would have the real drivers.

    I also have a retina iMac and for a brief time ran boot camp on it to play games. The GPU in the iMacs is a mobile GPU and getting a decent driver even within Boot Camp Windows is very difficult and they are seldomly updated.

    But the worst part, was as soon as I started to game, the fans on the video card started to scream. Given the poor ventilation on the iMac, I decided it wasn't worth it to shorten the life span of a device that I couldn't easily replace the video card in, or anything else that might be affected by the extreme heat.

    So, there are ways to even boot into Boot Camp on an external drive, and I'm sorry if I discourage you, but I think you will be spending a lot of time on what will be ultimately a fruitless effort to game on an iMac.
     
  8. vkd Suspended

    vkd

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    #8
    Nvidia are now producing web drivers for macOS and they update regularly so not a problem if you're not on an AMD Radeon.

    As for your other stuff, seems to be the product of an overly-exaggerated, highly-productive imagination, not to mention pessimistic. Here we are optimistic and revel in pushing the boundaries and limits, thanks.
     
  9. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000

    Nunyabinez

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    #9
    What you call pessimistic, I call actual experience. Clearly, you don't really know what you are talking about, but don't let that stop you from criticizing those who do.

    A virtual machine does not use anyone's drivers, It uses a generic driver written by the company to be as compatible as possible, like the generic drivers in the Windows install disk.

    But feel free to flail at this, and hopefully other people will see that tying to help you is just inviting a snarky response and they won't bother.
     
  10. BluAffiliate thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    The virtual machine is only to install Windows/Bootcamp. You'll be booting into Windows directly just running it off the external drive, not actually gaming using virtual machine.
     
  11. vkd Suspended

    vkd

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    #11
    Sorry to upset you so, Nunyabinez. As you yourself started off:
    which indicates speculation, which is an imaginative process. And again, as the Thread Starter just confirmed:

    which indicates that you appear to have got your wires crossed. Thanks for your input though.
     
  12. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000

    Nunyabinez

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    #12
    Welcome to my ignore list.
     
  13. antonis, Sep 1, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017

    antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    #13
    While I had the 2013 mac pro I was using a Lacie thunderbolt ssd drive to run windows 8.0 and later 8.1 so I could save the valuable internal ssd space for Mac OS. This method has nothing to do with bootcamp or virtualisation. After the procedure is completed, you boot windows natively just like a PC (bootcamp actually does the same, but it will work only with the internal drive). The whole point of this procedure is to trick windows to "think" that they are booting from an internal drive (because normally they do not support external drives as system disks).

    Also worth mentioning; this method does not need a boot manager since Mac has already one. Holding down alt key while booting (and as long as your external windows ssd is connected) gives you the option to choose between booting windows or macOS (or, in other words, from the external or the internal disk, respectively).

    After booting windows, you can install the bootcamp driver pack, but regarding GPU drivers you might be better with the ones from AMD (they are significantly faster and they get constantly updated, unlike the ones apple provides).

    The external SSD can be connected via thunderbolt or USB 3.0 (with the former obviously being faster). Anything else will not work.

    The instructions I followed can be found here.

    Regards.
     
  14. Gjwilly, Sep 1, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017

    Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    #14
    I just finished installing with this method.
    Like someone above said, the guide does have a few mistakes and forgotten steps so use the corrected version provided by one of the commenters.
    https://medium.com/@SteveAA/hi-guys...tbe-able-a-few-with-their-errors-dafec1e44d12

    And the download link for the Bootcamp Support Software is no longer valid so I used Brigadier to obtain the correct version for my MacBook.
    https://github.com/timsutton/brigadier

    I tried using Bootcamp Assistant but it kept failing saying the software was unavailable.

    If you're using a 2017 MacBook (or any MacBook?) you'll need a USB mouse to complete the Windows setup because you won't have a working trackpad nor keyboard until you install the Bootcamp drivers.
    You won't need a keyboard because Windows 10 provides an on-screen keyboard.
     
  15. Sunshoopa macrumors regular

    Sunshoopa

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    #15
    Just going to chime in and say it’s not going to shorten the life cycle of your iMac by anything that matters.

    I’ve played tens of thousands of hours of gaming via Windows boot camp and Parallels with demanding games such as Skyrim that ran the fans at near max all the time. The iMac is 7 years old now and my brother is still using it (I got a gaming PC now). They’re made to handle the heat.
     
  16. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #16
    This method has a lot of steps. I used another one that is simpler, but requires having a windows PC or Boot Camp (on an internal HDD, that is).
    Basically, you use Rufus under Windows to install Windows To Go on the USB drive. The Windows To Go option is available if you downloaded the Windows 10 .iso form a non-windows machine.
     
  17. maxxblade macrumors newbie

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    #17
    With my macbook air, I actually used a USB2 external hard drive case + a 3.5" HDD setup to play Sonic Mania.

    While its not a very demanding game, windows works really well except it takes a bit of time to boot. As long as its not a rapid loading game(with expansive open worlds like some MMO's, stalker games come to mind.) it should work although loading times will be longer.

    Though I guess this can be mitigated by using USB3 instead of 2.
     
  18. neliason macrumors regular

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    Oct 1, 2015
    #18
    Thanks! Just today I was talking with a relative who wants Windows for games. I thought an external drive would be a better experience than partitioning.

    I’m curious, what is the difference in Bootcamp and the Apple boot loader? I’ve never used Bootcamp. If you have set up Bootcamp does it just mean it always presents you with an option of what OS to boot and then, if you don’t respond, loads the default? Is the difference just in being presented an opportunity to select the OS versus having to press the Alt key on boot to select an external drive?
     
  19. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    #19
    No difference. Bootcamp is practically the process of dividing your internal storage without erasing macOS, so you end up with 2 partitions. After that, there's no difference in the way you choose what OS to boot, because the result is the same; you have 2 partitions with 2 different operating systems.

    Regardless the method you chose for this, installing bootcamp utilities on the windows side allows you to choose the default OS that will boot (if you don't press the Alt key). And regardless the method you chose, pressing the Alt key will give you the option to choose the OS to boot.

    TL;DR You can use bootcamp to divide your internal macOS drive, or the above method to install windows on an external one. After this step is done, there's no difference of how you install windows and how you operate your 2 partitions after that.
     

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