Is there any reason to run Boot Camp nowadays?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by mossme89, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. mossme89 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    #1
    Since virtualization has improved greatly and computers are so good nowadays that any slight performance loss by running Windows on top of OS X is negligible.

    I'm trying to decide whether or not to install Boot Camp Windows 10 on my 2015 MBP. Oh yeah, I know when I had my older Macbook Pro, the 2008 unibody model a few years back, that Boot Camp would run hot. The fans would always be on high, the computer would get hot and the battery would drain fast. Seemed to be because of bad drivers and optimization. Is this still an issue?
     
  2. afir93, Apr 7, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018

    afir93 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    #2
    Well, one big advantage of Boot Camp is that it's completely free (given that you have a Windows license) and doesn't require you to keep your virtualization software up-to-date. I don't know what the current state of free virtualization tools like VirtualBox is, but the virtualization softwares that take the most advantage of running Windows on a virtual machine like Parallels aren't cheap last time I checked and require regular paid upgrades which might not be worth it if you don't use it enough.

    With Boot Camp, you get your windows license from somewhere, install it on your Mac and are good to go. No need to pay for anything else, no need to update any virtualization software that might otherwise become incompatible with a macOS or Windows update.

    Virtualization without doubt has its fair share of advantages, but I suppose it comes down to how often you use Windows and what for. In professional workflows for certain Windows apps that you might want to run side-by-side with Mac apps, or where you quickly want to share files between your Mac and Windows apps: sure, virtualization wins. But for me as a more occasional windows user who doesn't use it for any real workflows, my Boot Camp partition is enough for me. For me, paying $50 or so per year only to have Parallels remain compatible with the newest systems would be overkill for how little I would actually use it. With Boot Camp, I don't have to quiver whether or not Windows will one day become incompatible through a macOS-update, it's always just a restart away when I need it and doesn't require my attention when I don't.

    On my 2014" 5k iMac I personally can't confirm the fan and temperature issues you're describing, Windows 10 on Boot Camp runs very smoothly. That said, if you're looking to do some more CPU/GPU-intensive tasks then Apple's Boot Camp drivers aren't exactly the best, there are some good third-party drivers out there however on the web.
     
  3. NoBoMac macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    #3
    Re: VirtualBox: I use it, after using VMware for several years, and am generally happy with it. Yes, not as feature rich, polished, fast as VMware, but, I only keep a Windows VM around for the odd/unlikely time I need to do something where it ONLY works in Windows (eg. my employer at the time had an internal website that only worked in Internet Explorer) and is free, so no more having to fork over $50 every couple of years.

    In my scenario, I keep my VM on an external drive and pull it up every other month to do a software update, and then make a copy of it on a different external drive. It's there when I need it without it wasting space on my Mac's drive.

    I'd only go Boot Camp route if doing (obviously) something that requires pure CPU/GPU horsepower of a "bare metal" setup.
     
  4. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #4
    I have used VMware for years instead of Bootcamp.

    Yes, you pay for upgrades (unless you use VirtualBox), but I usually skip a version between upgrades with no issues. Yes, a new version comes out with each new macOS version, but I haven't found an upgrade to be absolutely essential to maintain compatibility.

    I run a few different VMs including Ubuntu, Windows 10 and Windows 7 and can run them all concurrently, something I can't do with Bootcamp.

    My main reason for virtualizing over Bootcamp is convenience.
    I don't have to reboot to use a VM and I can spin up or delete VMs easily without fussing with partitions, drivers, etc.

    I use a 2013 15" MBP with 16GB RAM and run 2 external monitors plus the native monitor. One monitor is for my Windows 10 VM with Ubuntu on a separate desktop behind it for easy access. The other 2 monitors are for my macOS. I can run a separate network connection for my Mac and my VMs allowing me to VPN to work on my Windows 10 while keeping a separate network connection for my Mac.

    To me, Bootcamp is something I wouldn't even consider.
     
  5. jerryk macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #5
    I always assumed that gamers used it because of higher performance than VMs and access to eGPUs.

    FWIW, Parallels with Windows 10 makes my 2015 MBP 15" run like a dog.
     
  6. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #6
    My opinion: If you're a dedicated gamer, buy a PC. Otherwise I agree with member "MacDawg" that virtualization is the way to go.
     
  7. Shirasaki macrumors 604

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #7
    The performance overhead when using VirtualBox or parallel cannot be ignored still, and it is very significant.
    However, for regular use, it more comes down to personal preference as stated in all previous posts.
    I would still choose boot camp instead of VirtualBox because my Mac is way too weak to run a virtual machine without stopping using macOS.
     
  8. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #8
    I'm not surprised that "freeware" virtualization has some performance issues, but I have VMware Workstation on all of my laptops and workstations - and it's fine for everything that I do (I don't do 3D games).

    In fact, I spend more of my time in VMs than on the bare OS (mostly Win10 1709, but some Ubuntu 16.04.4 systems). I move from system to system fairly often - and it's so much more convenient to install the apps on a VM and copy the VM to a new system, than reinstalling from scratch.

    Of course, it might be significant that my laptops have 20 GiB to 32 GiB of RAM, and the desktops have 32 GiB to 128 GiB. VMs do need lots of RAM!
     
  9. Shirasaki macrumors 604

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #9
    And a lot of processing powers as well. For low end machines, VM is not a viable solution. It is only good when machine is powerful enough.
     
  10. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #10
    Well, my 2013 15" MBP with i7 and 16GB RAM runs with 2 VMs all of the time and I have no performance issues at all
     
  11. AidenShaw, Apr 7, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #11
    Can you describe your configuration, and what you're trying to do in VMs?

    I've been clear in saying that VMs might not be viable on systems with minimal RAM - but let us know what you consider to be "low end". (I think that 64 GiB is "low end" for a workstation.)

    One other issue, which is more of a "user error" than a VM issue, is to not give the VM too many virtual cores. I learned that giving the VM more virtual cores than half of the logical cores on the host would lead to very erratic performance on both the host and the VM.

    I run VMs on my ultrabooks, which are hardly "high end", with no problems. It simply means that you need to set the amount of virtual RAM and the number of virtual cores appropriately for the host system.

    To simply say that "for low end machines, VM is not a viable solution" is simply nonsense - unless your definition of "low end machine" is a single core system with 512 MiB of RAM.
     
  12. Shirasaki macrumors 604

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #12
    My current MacBook Air is an early-2014 model with only 4GB ram. I consider this as low end machine. I don’t run VM because I need 2GB to run a decent windows, meaning I cannot use many applications on host machine.
    What I am trying to do is running a wide range of incompatible software on my virtual machine, including some games and Microsoft Office. My experience is never great.
    Well, for a workstation, 64GB seems could be considered as low end machine.
     
  13. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #13
    LOL - yes, 4 GiB on the host is seriously below the comfort zone for running VMs.
     
  14. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #14
    If you are a gamer forget VMs. Bootcamp is the only way.
     
  15. D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #15
    As with most of these sorts of questions, the answer is: it depends :)

    I'm going to leave gaming out of the discussion, for most "serious" gaming, and for that matter, any graphic intensive tasks like AR/VR, you're probably going to want to look at a PC (with the implied high perf GPU - full disclosure: I have a notebook with 64GB RAM and a GTX-1080 for xR work as I needed something powerful but portable, and even as a fan of Apple products, recognized they didn't have the product I needed).

    @MacDawg has a pretty terrific response about using a [commercial] VM product. I'd just echo most of this comments, it's super convenient, easy to have several variants of the same OS for testing, can [easily] backup (local, cloud, it's just a file) and mostly decent enough performance.

    However, I'd suggest it's also more than just a technical consideration , I'd say it depends on _how_ you want to work.

    I personally I prefer MacOS as my primary computing platform - all my personal work like managing/editing photos, music, etc., and all my dev work that's not an MS stack (native mobile for iOS and Android, Python, GO, ML related work [some C++]), all my Docker instances I run from mOS, other VMs, I come from a *NIX background so I spend a significant amount of time in terminal :) I might fire up several VMs over the course of any given day to cross check some code, run a service specific to some other OS, etc.

    That being said, I sometimes I really prefer the full "isolation" and more-or-less native Windows experience from my MBP, without any concerns about another layer (even if that's decently transparent). I'll fire up W10 in BC, running nice dual Dell displays, even using an MS mouse (+ dongle), DrB or G-Drive for some sharing across OSs, a couple of external drives in exFAT that's R/W across MacOS and Windows. Really the only thing I do is a couple of small keyboard tweaks to make things consistent.

    One thing to keep in mind: the commercial VM products from VMWare and Parallels allow you to create a VM instance from a Bootcamp install. So when you want a quick instance of Windows for something lightweight, and you'd prefer to keep your host OS up and running, use the VM, but like me, if you sometimes want a more native experience, use the same install via a reboot and Alt-OS_select and you're good-to-go.
     
  16. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #16
    Simply not true. I play all my games in 1440p at either Ultra or Very High in Windows with no issues at all - iMac 27" 4.2GHz i7 Radeon PRO 8Gb. DCS, Fallout 4, Elite Dangerous, Dishonored 2, Deux Ex, etc.
     
  17. D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #17
    The context of my post was his machine, a 2015 MBP, with at most an M370X, which is maybe _ok_ for a game dialed back and certainly not anywhere in the ballpark as an AR/VR platform.
     
  18. ACD0236 macrumors member

    ACD0236

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2016
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #18
    My experience with BootCamp is limited to Win 10 Pro running on a 2012 MacBook Pro and now on a 2017 iMac. After using macOS/OS X for many years, I mainly use and I prefer Windows, both for personal and work-related stuff, but the quality of Apple hardware is undeniable and something I realized I didn't want to sacrifice.

    So far, my experience has been fairly positive. The installation is straightforward, the systems boot up rapidly and the experience is generally good. You don't have any performance overhead and the solution is completely free (except, of course, for the Windows license).

    However, I still wouldn't recommend to run Windows 10 on an Apple laptop via Bootcamp. In my experience the trackpad drivers and power management optimization have been mediocre at best. Brightness management of the monitor was also not so good, and hooking up the Apple Thunderbolt Display required a reboot (sometimes two) as it was not plug and play.

    Given that I used my MacBook Pro in clamshell mode 95% of the time the trackpad and power management were almost never an issue, but you might want to consider those things.

    From an user perspective I think the biggest problem remains about the drivers: when I fire up Windows on the iMac it sometimes makes my eyes explode by setting the brightness to the maximum (but clicking on the brightness button in the notification area does adjust this immediately), with every driver update from Apple the damn scaling gets set back to 300% or so, and with the last update, which I applied yesterday, Duet Display causes an immediate reboot when connected (but the Magic Keyboard and Mouse started working again, as they didn't out of the box when I first setup the Windows partition).

    So: if you're willing to deal with the occasional hiccups caused by the poor driver updates, and the inevitable conflicts between Apple's driver updates and Windows' ones, I recommend BootCamp as a pure, hundred percent Windows 10 experience where you can get the best of both worlds (Windows software and Apple hardware), while still being able to use macOS every time you see fit.

    Getting BootCamp to work and deleting the Windows partition, reverting everything back to a full macOS disk is not a lot more complicated than setting up and deleting a VM (in fact, for me it was easier as I didn't have to dig into cores and RAM settings, which I intuitively comprehend but they would have required additional time to get properly configured).
     
  19. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Location:
    No longer logging into MR
    #19
    I have the same machine running Sierra and have no issues with Win10.
     
  20. D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #20
    re: Trackpad drivers, have you looked at Trackpad++ ?

    http://trackpad.forbootcamp.org/

    Really terrific option to get way better functionality under BC (with the Apple hardware). FWIW, I'm using a custom mouse driver in MacOS, so that I've got a much better feature set with the MS Mouse.
     
  21. ACD0236, Apr 11, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018

    ACD0236 macrumors member

    ACD0236

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2016
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #21
    Thank you for the suggestion! I tried it once I installed Windows for the first time, but since it forced Windows to boot in test mode and I rarely used the laptop, well... as a laptop, I removed it. Now I had to transfer the license from the MBP to the iMac, so I would try it again should I purchase a Magic Trackpad one day!

    Wouldn't be bad to have more advanced drivers from Apple, but I understand it could not be one of their top priorities and making things work on Windows just as they do on macOS could maybe be difficult from a technical standpoint.
     
  22. D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #22
    @ACD0236

    I really use my MBP like you, pretty much 90-95% in clamshell mode, but on the occasion I am in "notebook mode", in Win10, it's nice to have. Funny enough, I do have a MTP on my desk too (I've been using it with a mouse in MacOS, it's actually pretty neat), but I should connect it to Windows and try it with TP++.
     
  23. ACD0236 macrumors member

    ACD0236

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2016
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #23
    Well, that would be reeeeally nice... mouse + trackpad could get better than even a touch interface for some tasks!
     

Share This Page