Is the best iMac able to run VR games in windows virtual machine?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by otakustay, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. otakustay macrumors newbie


    Dec 4, 2016
    Can I create a windows virtual machine (vmware or parallels, not bootcamp), give it suitable hardwares to run VR (oculus or HTC vive) games smoothly?

    If it can't, will mac pro be able to run this?
  2. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    Are you sure you really meant a VM? That sounds like a really good performance bottleneck compared to a native boot.
  3. otakustay thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 4, 2016
    Yes, I know bootcamp can have much better performance, but gaming for me is a minor requirement so I don't want to reboot my mac and lose all my working environment every time, since macOS does not have a hibernate function the only way I can try is virtual machine
  4. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Run VR, absolutely. Run it properly to give you the best immersion, no.

    Edit: Nevermind, thought you were talking bootcamp. In the case of a VM, likely not and hell no.
  5. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I believe the GTX 970 is a minimum spec for VR. So assuming I/O and driver support wasn't an issue you'd be pushing around the minimum specs.

    I wouldn't even bother with it.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    VR is just about the most graphically taxing consumer job you can ask of a computer and iMacs just aren't equipped to do it well. As a VM splits a computers resources then it will just not work, even in boot a,p it's not worth the effort you need a very fast graphics card to do it well that simple really. The next generation iMac will probably have graphics card up to the job and should be put in the next few months or so.
  7. otakustay thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 4, 2016
    Yes the next gen, I'm preparing for a next gen iMac + UltraFine 5K * 2 setup, so there would be very little room for an extra gaming PC, whether iMac/Mac Pro can drive VR games is quite important
  8. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Seriously consider a PC for even entertaining the idea of VR. An iMac running mobile AMD graphics (nVidia 10 series mobile is much more akin to their desktop GPUs) just won't cut it. Plus driver support is somewhat haphazard. If you can even get it to work you'll be left with a subpar experience. And when it comes to VR you need to get the FPS out of it or it just sucks and could cause motion sickness.

    VR is something you want to over spec for and avoid minimum requirements IMO.

    Mac Pro doesn't have enough VRAM currently to support all VR titles (3gb x 2 actually = 3gb). Maybe the next model but I'm not sure how those Firepros handle gaming anyway.

    I have a friend that uses a R9 390 (desktop) for VR with the HTC Vive and I would say its adequate but still leaves room for improvement when it comes to streaming or other various background task. The 390 is much more powerful then the iMacs current m395x and the Radeon Pro 460 found in the new MBP which I assume the iMac will see something similar next update. But regardless what they put in there its unlikely it will be up the specs for an enjoyable VR experience.

    VR in a VM?! Forget about it. It would be fun just building a PC capable of that, something you would see on LinusTechTips or something.

    It would be tough even building a hackintosh for the job. A graphics card required for VR gaming in Windows will make booting into OS X impossible (or at least tremendously difficult). A weird compromise would be using a 2011 Mac Pro with GTX 970 or better but again you'll be limited to the Windows partition. It would be tough to justify the amount of work required to get it to work and not just building a PC for it.

    However I don't want to be totally pessimistic, if you try it good luck and definitely post back!
  9. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    This guy says he has done it on Win 8.1 Bootcamp on a 2015 i7 395 4GB iMac using the Vive.

    --- Post Merged, Jul 14, 2017 ---
    Also some more info

    I am running the HTC Vive on my iMac retina with bootcamp. I have no problems doing so despite having a mobile graphics card. The experience is no different from when I used it on a pc with Gtx 970. I've played a number of games, including the blu, Brookhaven project and final approach. There is no perceivable lag and the experience is not affected by it. These are my specs: 4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz • 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB • 512GB Flash Storage • AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5. Also I use the thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort connection to the vive - initially had issues trying to display thru the Headset. Changed the settings to extended display with second display below 1st and it started working.

    shapipnew user|low karma account 1 point 1 year ago

    Vig2000 - i'm trying to do the same thing but can't get the htc vive to work with the mac (late 2015 imac 5k in bootcamp). The vive test said compatible in the middle of the yellow bar, but i can't get steamvr to work. It says no driver in the error report. I tried to update to latest driver which says it has htc vive support on the amd website, but the mac won't update, saying the card isn't detected (apparently a known problem that's been around for a while). How did you update the driver? Did you just use the amd bootcamp driver?

    • permalink
    • Vig200new user|low karma account 2 points 1 year ago

      I just used the bootcamp driver which works fine. I had same problem when trying to install AMD driver. So I gave up with that but the following worked for me. Go to the advanced display settings. Make sure you set the advanced display settings to extended display. You will see two displays, numbered 1 and 2. Arrange the second display so that it's under the first in the configuration. This brought the HTC vive to life. I was close to giving up but glad I didnt
      bigM15TER 1 point 1 year ago

      Thank you Vig200 you are the man/woman!

      shapipnew user|low karma account 1 point 1 year ago

      Thanks Vig200. I got it working on an imac27 5k in bootcamp. Works great! I ran through a bunch of the lab portals. I didn't notice any type of problems or feel sick, or anything like that.
      Vig200new user|low karma account 1 point 1 year ago

      Glad to hear it. Just make sure you do not update to the newest bootcamp driver. That causes the frame rate to drop for some reason. Ive had to roll back the bootcamp driver to get things to work again.

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