How do *you* play video games on your Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by zooby, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. zooby, Apr 15, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  2. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Didn't have BootCamp on my iMac, but Elite Dangerous was the game that pushed me to install it. Buy Windows 8.1 & a big USB stick to help install it. Buy a Warthog HOTAS controller, and TrackIR too.

    I've gone from "no idea what games are even out on PC" to "almost never booting into OSX any more". My next computer may be a PC now, even though I've been exclusively a Mac user/owner for 25 years.

    Anyhow, I've never tried CrossOver / WINE.. Virtualisation might work ok for slower strategy games etc. but I doubt if its an option for anything more demanding. Years ago I played some PC games via emulation, and was very happy with the performance, but I don't think that'd work any more! ;)
  3. panjandrum macrumors 6502


    Sep 22, 2009
    United States
    Generally speaking gaming performance is better for the Windows versions of games (plus, of course, you have a much wider selection of games in the first place). I have historically run a Bootcamp install on my MacPro 1,1 with upgraded video card, but a couple years back I just built a dedicated Win7 gaming rig and that's worked well for me.

    However, both myself and my daughter game on Mac Laptops using Bootcamp with excellent success. Since you are concerned about space, here is what I did on her system (13" Retina MacBook Pro):

    a) Internal storage (256gb) split 75/25 (ish) between Mac and Bootcamp. Mac OS, Applications, and user files installed on Mac partition. Windows 7 on the Bootcamp partition.

    b) 256gb high-speed XDSC card ($110), reformatted and split 50/50 Mac and Windows (NTFS). Games for Mac (plus other big files) installed to Mac portion. Windows Games (windows is only used for games) installed to Windows portion.

    Works great and was an inexpensive solution. She runs DAO, DA2, Fallout 3, FNV, Skyrim, etc. etc. and it all runs great, speed-wise feels as if she's running purely off the internal SSD.

    Hopefully that gives you some good ideas. (BTW, I've never seen a single game run well in virtualization, period. I'm sure it works OK for some older games, but gave both Parallels and Fusion another chance recently and both failed spectacurarly even on somewhat older games such as DAO).
  4. Freis968 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2007
    Ocoee, Florida
    #4 other way for me that is acceptable.
  5. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    Phoenix, USA
    I have a 256GB SSD inside a USB 3.0 enclosure for "bootcamp."

    I know in the old days with linux as my main OS, I would get around a 10fps performance drop using WINE which I didn't think was too bad. But I am not sure how good WINE is on OSX.
  6. sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    Luckily most of the games I play on steam are Mac compatible! I find boot camp real inconvenient to have to reboot just to play games. For those two windows only games I play, I use parallels and reduce the graphics.
  7. iLukeJoseph macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2011
  8. MichealHeitz macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2018

    Totally agreed
  9. MacBH928 macrumors 68040


    May 17, 2008
    Does this setup work on MBP 2015? Is it better to format in NTFS or exFat? Won't this setup damage the SD card slot on the longer run?
  10. ikir macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2007
    I always play native on macOS. Metal is a game changer finally.
    Check my eGPU setup:
  11. panjandrum macrumors 6502


    Sep 22, 2009
    United States
    Sure, that's great for the casual gamer and I hope publishers continue to produce Mac ports, and BETTER Mac ports. But until then there is still a massive, and I do mean MASSIVE performance penalty when running the Mac port of a game instead the Windows version on identical hardware. That's just the (unfortunate) truth of software optimization. I actually just posted this (somewhat off-topic piece) the other day in a different thread (about the whole Steam fiasco and Apple's reasoning behind denying their iOS ):

    "I fully agree that Apple has little interest in gaming (much to their detriment), but the situation is more complicated than that; Apple would have to pour massive resources into achieving "gaming parity" with PCs due to software optimization alone. The same title running under Windows will perform much better than the Mac version on the identical piece of hardware. Sometimes the difference is marginally tolerable (Divinity Original Sin, which runs maybe 1.5x faster in Windows) and sometimes it's unbearable (Pillars of Eternity, which seems to run at least 4x times faster in Windows - which is a shocker since this game should be very light in terms of CPU/GPU resource requirements). If forced to pull a number out of my arse I would say to assume you will get around 1/2 the performance out of the Mac version of a game. That means, if Apple really wanted to take on gaming in a serious manner they would have to produce hardware with double the performance of Windows PCs just to achieve performance parity. Is this really Apple's fault? Well, no, there are a lot of places to point fingers (poor programmers producing poor ports, rushed ports, Microshaft killing Open GL with their Direct X initiative way back when it looked like cross-platform gaming would become a reality, etc.), but it is the unfortunate reality of the situation."

    I used those as examples because I specifically wanted to play those two games on the Mac side so I could just hop in and play them casually while also doing other stuff on my Mac, as a Mac. But I really can't. Why? Well because performance of the Mac versions is so poor compared to the Windows versions that I just always reboot in Windows. Pillars, for example, runs absolutely butter-smooth at a (purposefully capped) 30fps at insane resolutions (2560x1440) in Windows 10 at max quality. It never drops below that and will even run at 2880x1800 with only the extremely rare drop to 28fps. The Mac version? Well, running at 1280x800 with max quality graphics it struggles clear down into the low to mid 20's. Divinity Original Sin EE isn't nearly so bad, but even it runs butter-smooth at maxed graphics quality at 30fps (again purposefully capped) at 1920x1200 (MacBookPro 15" retina users may need to use CRU to enable that resolution and also use GPU scaling in your AMD control panel - which also means installing real AMD GPU drivers instead of Apple's ancient and lame versions), and the Mac version runs OK with a few minor quality reductions in the graphics and at 1680x1050. So YMMV, but there is always a penalty for running the Mac version over the Windows version. Plus you simply don't have access to the vast majority of games. Are you playing the Mac version of FO4? DAI? Witcher 3? Is your T500 working properly in AC? In PCars 2?

    It's great to have enthusiasm for a platform. Personally I wish the computing world was currently a race between the Amiga and the Atari ST/TT series (both of which were easily a decade ahead of PCs and Macs back in the day). But if you really want to game you are doing yourself a serious disservice by not going with the Bootcamp solution (or just building yourself a Windows gaming rig, which really isn't that serious of an investment).
  12. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Step 1. Go to, on my mac, and buy a game for PC (hurry, before the sale ends!)
    Step 2. Download and play it on my PC, when I get home.
  13. chrixxa macrumors newbie


    Mar 24, 2002
    orlando florida
  14. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    Games would be better for PC. and more variety..

    But most would run run Boot-camp, or VM (Bootcamp preferred), but i've even played Descent 3 and oldish game in Fusion, and Need for speed games (under cover) and they play at full frame rate. Could see any losses there.

    Probably due in part of graphics drivers in VM increase speed, and performance/better caching..

    Boot camp would always be better due to raw hardware, but i've found virtual machines today are really not that far behind anymore either. It's only the latest games really which i need Bootcamp for.

    The only side effect are "Windows only" games, but i've started converting some over using WINE anyway, and still play on Mac at full speed.

    So really, Bootcamp for me is becoming less and less and WINE, more and more.

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13 April 15, 2015