Gaming on Parallels: bootcamp partition or virtual drive?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by NMF, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. NMF, Dec 10, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011

    NMF macrumors 6502a

    NMF

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    #1
    Hey all. I posted this in the "Windows on Mac" forum but no one is helping me, so I thought I might try here. I'm going to purchase Parallels 7 soon and I was wondering which method gives the best performance: boot camp or virtual drive?

    It makes no difference to me which route to take. I just want to do whatever gives the best performance. Obviously the bootcamp method is nice in case I ever actually want to boot into Windows but I doubt I'd do that very much (if ever). I don't have an SSD and I'm impatient. I'm aware that booting into Windows would give the best performance, but again, I'm not willing to do that. If a game doesn't run passably in Parallels then I'll simply buy it on console or not play it.

    I've read that it was better to use virtual drive with previous versions of Parallels, but I couldn't find any info on Parallels 7. I feel like there should be easy-to-find information regarding this, with graphs and comparison tests etc for me to look at. Where is that?

    Please advise! Thanks
     
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #2
    Most games require full access. Bootcamp will give you best performance. Running Windows in a VM... won't. I hope you like your console, or don't like gaming.
     
  3. NMF thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NMF

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    #3
    Yeah this isn't true anymore, plenty of games run fine in Parallels 7 from what I've read, especially on the 2011 27" with 2GB 6970M. I know it won't be as good as bootcamp, but I'm not willing to restart my machine every time I want to play a game, so it doesn't really matter how bootcamp is.

    I'm not asking whether I should use Parallels or not. I'm going to use Parallels. With that in mind, I'm asking which way is best: loading from the bootcamp partition or creating a virtual drive?
     
  4. DoghouseMike macrumors regular

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    Jan 18, 2011
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    UK
    #4
    Probably doesn't make a huge difference, and a virtual drive will give you more options if you don't plan on booting into windows itself. You'll have to check, but I imagine a virtual drive can be anywhere, so you could have that on an external firewire/thunderbolt drive, which would give you better performance.
    Ya might want to take a look over at portingteam.com too. The wineskin thing is gonna be faster than running through parallels, and you don't have to buy windows
     
  5. NMF thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NMF

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    Oct 27, 2011
    #5
    Ah, so it's be better to install to a FW800 drive? Interesting. I might look in to that. Thunderbolt is still to expensive though.

    Looking like I'm going with virtual drive, thanks.
     
  6. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    #6
    I've used some older versions of Parallels and VMWare... and gaming along with pretty much everything else ran better on a virtual drive over using an actual bootcamped install of Windows. If you are not going to use Bootcamp to install Windows for gaming, then I'd suggest just using a virtual drive.

    My number 1 way to play Windows games.. I port them myself using Wineskin. If that doesn't work, or work good enough, then I look for ports other people has made which usually end up being Cider hacks (which is how I play Skyrim right now). These methods are usually MUCH MUCH faster than Parallels, but isn't quite as easy to get things going as Parallels... Parallels 7 with Win7 is my last alternative... if it doesn't work that way, then I simply don't play the game.
     
  7. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

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    Australia
    #7
    No, it sucks for gaming compared to Boot Camp.

    I'd use a virtual drive, I've had Parallels screw up my Boot Camp partition in the past.
     
  8. doh123 macrumors 65816

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    Dec 28, 2009
    #8
    thats completely subjective.
     
  9. NMF thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NMF

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    Oct 27, 2011
    #9
    Yeah, I started looking in to that with Skyrim and wasted about 3 hours trying to learn until I caught myself. I switched to Mac to avoid doing crap like that! :cool: If I was going to take all that time to get things running smoothly then I might as well just build another gaming PC.

    Looks like I'm going with a virtual drive, thanks for the tips. I'll install via bootcamp first, update all my drivers, and create the VM.
     
  10. DoghouseMike macrumors regular

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    Jan 18, 2011
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    UK
    #10
    Oh yea, the other thing with virtual drives is that you can change their size pretty easily, where resizing a bootcamp partition is no fun at all.
     
  11. doh123 macrumors 65816

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    Dec 28, 2009
    #11
    Its worth learning the basics... will help for every game you want to use.

    Skyrim is extra easy to get running if you install it in Windows (I installed it in Win7 in Parallels7) and then just copy the installed files over into the Cider wrapper in the right spot... and your done and ready to play.
     
  12. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

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    #12
    Or dependent on the game...
     
  13. Rodus macrumors 6502a

    Rodus

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    #13
    Older games run ok in Parallels, I often play Dawn of War that way, but anything modern, BF3, Crysis 2, Metro 2033, Skyrim, etc, etc. Will all play like crap, this is not subjective it's a fact. Doesn't matter what graphics card you have, the virtual machine cant use it.
    If you are playing older or undemanding games then parallels is great. Anything modern that you don't want to either look terrible or run like a slideshow then you need to Boot Camp or buy a console.
     
  14. doh123 macrumors 65816

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    Dec 28, 2009
    #14
    I think people misunderstand what I mean by subjective...

    Its subjective as to which is better. To some people running half resolution at much lower graphics settings is actually better since they aren't having to give up OSX and boot into and keep track of a whole direct Windows install just to play a game or two. Which is better is subjective to the person. FOr the gamers who want Max FPS and settings and that is beyond all other importances, sure just using a Windows PC (aka Bootcamp) is the way to play Windows games.

    In fact many "current" games run fine in Parallels... but like I said before its not my first choice since Wineskin or even Cider hacks will get much higher performance than Parallels.
     
  15. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    Jan 16, 2008
    #15
    Really comes down to, what is acceptable versus what is optimal.

    I use Parallels for patching games and loading new ones while I do other work, I only swap to bootcamp when I know I have a good play session ahead of me.

    I can track my mail on my iPad (or K.Fire) if need be, let alone surf there too if I don't trust surfing in Windows
     
  16. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

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    Location:
    Australia
    #16
    What matters it that it needs to be specified, not just "it runs fine" without mention of a quality setting or whatever.
     

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