macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 17, 2012
I just ordered a new 27" iMac 3.1 Core i5 and Radeon 6970m GPU. I am planning to setup bootcamp on this system to run certain Windows games such as EverQuest 2.

However, I have some games I'd like to play that don't run so well on Windows 7, for example the original StarCraft. As far as I know this runs well with WINE and maybe I will try that. I also own Diablo II and Warcraft III and would like to play those on my Mac in whatever is the most convenient way that works well.

So I wondered if anyone uses Parallels for some games to avoid bothering to reboot into Windows, etc. Does it support accelerated graphics? What games do you play with it and why versus other alternatives?

I do own a valid Windows XP license I could use with Parallels so that part of this wouldn't cost me anything. Actually, I have Windows 7 now as well since I bought a new copy of that specifically for use with Bootcamp.

Thanks for any info about whether Parallels has its uses at times for gaming or not.


macrumors 65816
Apr 17, 2007
For Solitaire and Minsweeper, Absolutely. Maybe even some Pinball and or Farmville. But, more seriously, even though the 3D has improved (a little bit) on Parallels, it's mostly to support better video and Aero glass effects. Even if you could get a game to install, it would be unusable. So, even if your needs are modest (say, Sims 3 or something like that), its not going to happen without BootCamp. WOW might run, albeit like a slideshow.


macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
I do believe Parallells have a 30 day trial, so try it.
For a few years old games it should work fine.


macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
It will work fine for older games, from the ~ Quake 4 era. Anything newer and you start running into problems.


macrumors 65816
Dec 28, 2009
Depends on the game and your computer...

Its capable of running things nice enough to play.

I can run Star Wars the Old Republic at 1280x800 with maxed out graphics options and pull 60 fps on my 17" MBP... more than playable, it runs nice... so don't let all the people who ell you it sucks no matter what, most are just repeating information without having any first hand knowledge.

Remember though its usually a bit slower (to a lot slower) than normal Wine... but it does use Wine code to handle Direct3D to OpenGL translation, so its still limited to DX9.... but its much more compatible and more likely for your game to work right than using normal Wine... since you have a real Windows OS running.


Aug 23, 2005
^ yep. It's surprisingly more efficient these days than you'd imagine. Those that dismiss it nonchalantly do so without prob using latest revision or at all.

If you game in-frequently and are not addicted to running native resolutions and high settings as much as possible, then parallels gaming is viable.

But, if you are going to the effort of installing Windows, I'd suggest you do it via Bootcamp in the first place regardless. You can then install Parallels and get it to use your Bootcamp partition.

That way you are only installing windows once for both and will be able to see which gives you greater satisfaction.

Dr McKay

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2010
My friend plays some games in Parallels like GTA: San Andreas and it runs fine, granted he allocates 6 of his 12GB to the VM. It's only modern games which it starts to struggle.


macrumors 68020
Jun 22, 2010
It works great with most games, even newer games. You just have to drop the settings a lot. You'll still get better performance in bootcamp though.


macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2010
I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it on my 6770m 15" earlier in the year. SWTOR ran perfectly, at 1680x1050, with good settings. ~40+ fps.

Based on that one example, and knowing how poorly optimized SWTOR really is, I can't see you having a problem with too many games if you have a decent mac.

I did have mouse related issues, however, and that was the main reason I started just using boot camp for SWTOR. Constantly spinning camera was annoying.


macrumors 68040
Jun 25, 2007
St. Paul, Minnesota
I played League of Legends with my MacBook Pro (with the specs in the sig), medium settings, 1680x1050 resolution, Parallels 7, Windows 7 64-bit edition with two cores, 4 GB of RAM, and 512mb of VRAM allocated to the virtual machine; ran perfectly.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution would only run well with low settings and resolution, however.


macrumors 6502
May 2, 2009
I play the odd bit of Dragon Age:Origins though Parallels. It's playable, just, with all the settings set on low.


macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2010
I was playing EQ II on my Core 2 Duo based MBP. The Nvidia 320m GPU in my 13" model is no benchmark monster, but when gaming in Parallels, the emulated GPU for Windows (regardless if you're running Windows 7 or not) is limited to Direct X 9.

So pretty pictures are out of the question there along with games that require a more advanced "graphics card" on your Windows installation. There's always hope in future updates, but when it comes down to it, gaming in Parallels is nearly half to a third of the performance you would see just running a BootCamp partition.

That didn't stop me from trying some benchmarks though :cool:

Even then, I got to enjoy one of my personal favorites from long ago. Dungeon Keeper 2 (which was amazingly smooth but also old). Those with new Macs with Lion pre-installed, using Parallels is the best way to go for a Warcraft III fix whilst avoiding the piracy issues of downloading a complete UB install for OS X.
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macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
on my iMac in parallels i play Starwars : The Old Republic, most Valve Games, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Skyrim, Dragon Age, Mass effect 1, 2 and 3, and many other steam games, the virtual machine is 64bit win 7, given 4 GB ram and 1 GB video Ram, and i often play whilst having hand break encode TV or DVDs to apple TV format, so far, the only issue I've had is with batman Arkham city, which looks fine, and runs fine, until you turn around, when it slows to a crawl.

so id say, parallels is now good for gaming, on modern iMac hardware, but you still get a better result "most" of the time in bootcamp.


macrumors member
Jun 5, 2008
Well I have the same configuration as the original poster has ordered. I must say I am surprised at how well Parallels work on this thing. I can get almost all games playable at quite decent resolution and textures. The only game I have had bigger issues with is Deus Ex: Human revolutions. Skyrim f.eks ran playable at 1920x1200 on my secondary monitor. This was with mid settings. I will not say it ran perfect, but more than well enough for me to not reboot into windows.


macrumors newbie
Feb 2, 2010
I am able to play stars mmo no problem with parallels 8! Super thrilled. I even got the mouse problem fixed. I'm totally able to do flashpoints, raids, everything and I'm the healer so I cannot have anything wrong.

Super stoked!!

My specs:

3.4 GHz Intel Core i7
Memory: 16gb 1333 MHz ddr3 (yes when I ordered it I wanted the best ram)
and the new Mountain Lion
I think I got the highest ram on the video card also.

I'm using Razer mouse and Keyboard,


macrumors 6502
May 28, 2010
Austin, TX
I'm running Win7 through Parallels 7, and playing Torchlight 2 (released 9/20/2012) with no problems (mind you, I close out everything else (old habits) before launching the game, but it's pretty nice to not have to reboot into Windows to play the game).


macrumors member
Sep 25, 2012
Lyon, France
What I would suggest is installing windows with bootcamp and then use parallels with that same partition.

- If you have the patience, you use bootcamp and play at Max specs
- If you don't, you use parallels and use a lower resolution and lower settings.

I did that with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and no, it is not a VERY demanding game. But has nice graphics.

It played great in my iMac using bootcamp, and play only ok using parallels.

However, the performance on parallels was acceptable. Saying that parallels just sucks is not truth anymore. You can easily play older games and even some newer ones with lower specs.

My 2 cents...
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