Gaming & the new iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by doxavita, May 3, 2011.

  1. doxavita macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2010
    If I just buy Parallels 6 and a Windows 7 licence. Is that all I need for gaming with the AMD Radeon 6970M? Or do I need to install separate drivers (within Windows) to make full use of the new GPU? Perhaps some update within Parallels? How does it work?

    There seems to be some gaming options with CrossOver as well, would that work as well?
  2. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
  3. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    With Windows gaming, I'd just go straight through Boot Camp. you can install the drivers that come with the bootcamp drivers and shouldnt be any issue, you can also install the AMD catalyst control panel to adjust graphics too (if it isnt already installed via the Apple bootcamp drivers).
    I think youll have better options for adjustment and full use and power of the Mac via BootCamp.
  4. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2010
    Never used bootcamp before (I use parallels), but I can install the Catalyst drivers via parallels too, right? Sure it's a bit faster on BootCamp, but games can run fine too this way, I think. So will I need other drivers?
  5. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    No. Parallels will be sharing the resources with both OSX and windows. It may be able to play some really old games fine, but any thing with in the last few years will not play fine (if at all) in parallels.
  6. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2010
    Hmm, did not know that. So I can just create a small partition just for recent games via BootCamp then?
  7. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    Yep, easy to do too.
  8. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2010
    Really wish I would had been able to play with recent games via Parallels :(
  9. flipster macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    Just use Bootcamp. You'll get far better results with it
  10. sab165 macrumors member


    May 15, 2008
    I've been tinkering with this idea for some time now. Unfortunately, you cannot change the drivers that Parallels uses to run the virtual machine. Parallels uses it's own drivers to virtualize each of the hardware components so this means that parallels never actually sees what GPU you're using, instead it sees a virtual one based on the drivers installed by Parallels.

    I benchmarked my GPU in win7 using Parallels and Bootcamp. For Parallels I used the built in GPU and the discrete GPU, and for Bootcamp I used the discrete (because that's the only one available under Bootcamp). Bootcamp benchmarks much higher than Parallels in every way possible.

    What really made me angry about Parallels though is that when you change from the built in GPU to the discrete GPU there is no change in performance under Parallels.

    I realize that there is no GPU switching on the iMac, but my point in explaining all of that was to demonstrate that Parallels could care less what GPU you are using. From my experience it seems that Parallels cares more about raw power from the CPU than anything. That said, listen to these folks giving advice because they know their stuff, Bootcamp is where it's at for gaming on a Mac.
  11. Hibernia macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2011
    Am hopng to buy a new mac in the next few days , was waiting for this update to arrive first.

    Looking at the specs i'm torn between the entry lvl 21" or the entry lvl 27".
    I can afford the bigger screen but the main use will be games and i'm not sure how they would run on the 27" in native res and if the Graphics card used in the new Macs may struggle with the higher pixel count?

    Would i be better with the 21" for primarily gaming do you think?

    My current PC setup uses a 23" monitor so i wasnt really wanting to downgrade screen size but would if games looked and played better on it.

    When i say primarily games it's really just City of Heroes (Mac version) and the upcoming Star Wars MMO which i believe i will need Bootcamp to get it to run and imagine it will be a little more graphical demanding being new than the 6 year old Heroes game.

    Any gamers out there that can offer any words of wisdom i would be glad to hear your thoughts.
  12. raoul1219 macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2011
    According to the previous poster, I will install windows over bootcamp for gaming.

    I will buy a win7 licence 64 bit ? or will XP do ?
    I do not think so because of directX

    Bootcamp 250GB should be enough for my flight simulator and driving games

    where will the 250GB be ? in the beginning of the drive (fast sectors?)
    can the size be changed later on ?
  13. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Don't even try Parallels. Running Windows natively isn't just a little better, it's a huge difference. Virtual machines use virtual graphics cards.

    You could do what I do, that is, install Windows 7 natively (using the BootCamp Assistant) and connect that partition to Parallels later. So you have one partition that you can boot into natively, or run side by side with your Mac as a VM.

    I'd recommend Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, if you're able.
  14. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    You're correct, the 27" model which has a 2560x1440 resolution will have a lower frame rate in the same games than if it was a 21.5" model with a 1920x1080 resolution. It really depends if you want to play on lower settings with a big beautiful screen, or on higher settings with a smaller but still great screen.

    The ideal setup would be the $1999 model with the 6970 graphics, if you could afford it. That's one nice graphics card.
  15. Sunday Ironfoot macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2011
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I thought it was possible to install Win 7 via bootcamp, then later run the bootcamp instance via Parallels , so you can switch between running Windows 7 on bootcamp (natively) and Parallels (VM). Correct?

    Other questions:

    Running natively (Bootcamp) will give you significantly faster gaming performance than via a VM. In fact Windows will be faster in general.

    Definitely choose Windows 7 (64bit) over WinXP. Windows 7 has later versions of DirectX (it goes to 11 :cool: ), WinXP is stuck on DirectX 9 I believe. Win Vista is a horrible bloated mess, avoid.

    Don't obsess over running games at their native resolution, so if you want the 27" then go for it. Crysis 2, Portal 2 etc. will still look great at less than 2560x1440. Remember Xbox/PS3 games only run at 1280x720 spread out over a 40-50" screen. Older games you could probably get away with running at 2560x1440 away.
  16. Dute macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    2560x1440 is very taxing on ANY GPU. Depending on the game, especially newer ones, you will probably end up dropping down the resolution in order to max out some other settings. WoW for example, will stutter at 2560 (not badly, but it will) with ultra settings, but run MUCH smoother at 1920 with maxed settings.
  17. galliano macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2011
    Yep, for me Boot Camp is only when gaming.

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