New iMac: Question about BootCamp and Parallels

Discussion in 'iMac' started by CasterlyRock, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. CasterlyRock macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    Hello there. I am new here so I apologize if I posted in the incorrect forum.

    I just got a new Imac. I had my previous one for approximately 5 1/2 years.

    I got the newest $2000 one. Here are the specs. I didn't add anything to it because I used all my money to get that one standard.

    3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
    Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    8GB (two 4GB) memory
    1TB hard drive1
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX with 1GB

    Now I don't know anything about boot camp or parallels. However, I have started reading about it and I am have several stupid questions as I read more about them.

    Also, the only reason I need the windows is to play games with my friends. I've been essentially sequestered from them because I'm the only mac user and can't play the games they do because they are windows only. Everything else I intend to use a mac for.

    First, am I understanding this correctly? Basically both programs have a sort of partitioning system that allows you to give a certain amount of (space? whats the right word here) to each operating system, mac and windows.

    1. My first question is probably very simple. Now, I assume the more space you give to each os, the better it would operate? Now if this is how it works, doesn't it just simply cut your computer's specs in half essentially? I mean, I'm obviously probably not understanding it right. I guess the main question I'm trying to ask is, just how much does partitioning affect the given systems and how does it affect them? I mean does it affect just how much space you have? Does it cut your memory in half? How does it affect other parts of the system such as graphics cards and stuff? Is it going to severely affect the windows games I play on my mac because I'm partitioning the os?

    2. If I plan on only using windows to play games, is parallels or bootcamp better? It seems interesting to not have to reboot the whole computer just to play a game, and it seems more efficient to just be able to start a game with mac in the background. Is that how parallels works? If I were to start my mac up under parallels, would I have essentially my same setup and main menu screen, dashboard, and everything else as I have it on my mac currently. Except if I click a steam game that is windows only, I can just play it using windows, even though I am essentially running mac as everything else. Am I understanding this correctly?

    In regards to how bootcamp works, you have mac as it is now, and when you don't want to use it and want to play a game, you reboot into windows and basically have a barebones windows os with the game installed on that, with the windows background and desktop and everything else it has. Is this correct?

    So to me, going off my flawed/minimal understanding of how these programs work, parallels seems like the better option. But I would like to be corrected on this if I'm wrong. It would be greatly appreciated.

    3. The last question I have is in regards to either program. If I use my mac for everything and windows just to play games, what would be an ideal partition ratio to go with. Should I allow more space on windows to make the games run better? Do I just need a little space on my mac considering I only do simple tasks on it such as going on the internet, writing papers, and other simple stuff?

    I apologize for my long and probably difficult to understand post. But it would be great to get some great people here to give me a better understanding of everything.

    Thanks and have a fantastic day!
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Windows and Mac OS X are operating systems, not programs. Programs or applications can run within an operating system.

    If you use Boot Camp Assistant to partition your Mac to install Windows on a separate partition, you can only use one operating system (OS) at a time, thus no other resources than the storage device (HDD in your case) will be cut in half.
    You have 8 GB in Windows and you have 8 GB in Mac OS X, you have 3.2 GHz in Mac OS X and 3.2 GHz in Windows. The same goes for the graphics card and the rest.

    Boot Camp, as using Windows as Virtual Machine (VM) in Parallels will not allow you to play games smoothly, as tow additional layers are between game and hardware (Mac OS X and Parallels).


    You have 1 TB of storage capacity, thus calculate 20 GB for Windows and 5 to 20 GB per game you want to install, thus 250 GB should suffice.

    Also consider getting an external HDD to backup your Mac OS X partition and maybe even your Windows partition.

    Further reading: Booting Windows on the Mac

    To learn more about Mac OS X: Helpful Information for Any Mac User by GGJstudios

    What is a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)? - measured in Bytes (B), MegaBytes (MB), GigaBytes (GB) and TeraBytes (TB)
    What Is a Solid State Drive (SSD)?
    Another article about SSD technology

    What is a CPU? - measured in MegaHertz (MHz) and GigaHertz (GHz)
    What is RAM? - measured again in MB and GB
  3. CasterlyRock thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    I know that, I'm not a total idiot haha. I was referring to boot camp and parallels as the "programs" in that sentence. I referred to the operating systems of mac and windows in the last part of the sentence. I apologize for not using the correct sentence structure here.

    Thank you for clearing this up for me. I understand this under the premise of using boot camp. However, how does this affect a program such as parallels? You might have answered it but I missed it in your post. If I did, I apologize.

    I don't quite understand what you are saying here. Could you rephrase this for someone who is a layperson such as myself? Are you saying both bootcamp and parallels will cause games to not run smoothly or just parallels? If so, is there really a point for someone like me getting this, just to play windows games if they won't run efficiently? In short, is it worth getting or does either program really affect the games that much?

    Thanks so much for your post. I will read those links, and I appreciate how fast you were to respond to me!
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    You have not missed it.
    If you run Windows in Parallels, you set the VM settings to use one to four cores of your i5 CPU and you also set the amount of RAM.
    Parallels also has some GPU acceleration which you can enable, but running CPU and GPU intensive games in a VM will be slower than running them natively via Windows on a Boot Camp partition.

    Sorry, my bad, was a bit too fast.

    Boot Camp will allow you to run Windows natively on your Mac and uses its full hardware resources. Games, if supported by the hardware, will run as if they would run on a similar specced Windows computer.
    Parallels will not allow you to do it.

    With Boot Camp you have
    hardware <> Windows <> game​
    where <> means the part of speaking to each other, thus with Parallels or running Windows as VM you have
    hardware <> Mac OS X <> Parallels <> Windows <> game​
    thus two additional layers have been added between game and hardware.

    Is that understandable?
  5. CasterlyRock thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    Thank you for your post. I can understand it.

    Just my last question for you, I apologize.

    So I am correct in understanding that you state boot camp is better than parallels for games because it has less layers to go through.

    But does this mean that boot camp is or is not okay when it comes to running games? Or is it not even worth it?

    Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.
  6. tomwvr macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2012
    Frederick Maryland
    1) BOOTCAMP is the only way to play games in windows - installing windows in bootcamp gives you two machines in one - you decide which system you want to boot into when you start up.

    I would not recommend playing games in Parallels

    It is like running a windows game in DOS BOX

  7. CasterlyRock thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
  8. CasterlyRock thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    Okay thank you everyone for the great help so far. I really appreciate it.

    So I have decided to go with bootcamp. A few more questions, if you don't mind.

    1. Bootcamp is already installed in my mac, correct? I don't have to buy anything extra to complete this whole process besides the windows os? Therefore it's free as opposed to parallels?

    2. Where exactly do I buy the windows os? Is windows 7 the generally accepted os to buy? I hear windows 8 is no good from various forums and the two friends I have. I don't think I can buy it in a store like best buy because they told me they only offer upgrades.

    So do I have to buy it online? I tried to go to the windows site but they only have the buy option for windows 8, not windows 7. So I assume I have to get it elsewhere? Can anyone recommended a place to buy it from?

    I have never bought products online before. I know that's odd, so I don't really know of a legitimate site to go to besides their actual home site.

    Anyways, thanks for the help so far. Some information regarding the above questions would be very helpful as well.

    Thanks and have a fantastic day!
  9. CasterlyRock thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    Hello again. I'm sorry for the three posts in a row, but I keep needing to update on my situation.

    So I did end up buying Windows 8 because the stores I have tried to go to only sell windows 8.

    Now I don't think this is going to be too big of a deal right, if my windows partition is purely made for gaming? All I am simply going to do with it is to reboot windows and start a game and reboot back to mac when I'm done. This shouldn't cause any problems should it?

    My last question regarding bootcamp as I have started opening it up...

    There are three option to choose from:

    1. Create a windows 7 or later install disk
    2. Download the lastest support software from apple
    3. Install windows 7 or later version.

    I think I should just click on section 3, in fact on the mac website tutorial it only has the last option (#3) checked, and not the previous 2. Is this correct?

    Next, (I know I asked this before and I hope someone can help me with this further), the next step is in regards to the actual partitioning. Now it's currently set to (979 GB, 947 GB free for Mac) and (20GB for Windows)

    What would be an ideal partition for a work mac and a gaming windows. Should I choose a lot of windows partition and little mac since I won't don't power extensive tasks on it? On the other had, when I was reading some other posts on the matter, they said you need no more than around 130 GB for the windows size. Is this correct? This is probably my biggest problem right now that I haven't figured out yet.

    Lastly, A dumb question and laugh at me all you want. I never realized that this version of iMac doesn't come with a cd tray because of the need to make it slimmer. Someone told me I have to buy the optical drive seperate.

    Is this the one they are referring too? This is a USB drive that apple sells and will it be useful for installing the hard disc copy into the mac (as well as anything else I need that's on a cd and not digital?

    Thanks for your help and I hope you all have a great day!
  10. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    Just a thought mate: Although it's a free country and I am sure no-one minds you asking your questions here, nevertheless you have to type it all out and then wait for a reply which might take hours/days or never come.

    Why don't you just Google about all this stuff and find your own answers in minutes?

    For example: "dvd drive for 2012 imac"

    I tend to only ask questions when I am really stuck because 99% of the time the answers are already out there if I look for them.
  11. Tikatika macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2012
    Northern California
    I have found this thread very informative because I am a new MAC user and have the same exact questions. OP, I purchased the Apple SuperDrive and it is great. I know you can get USB drives less expensive.

    Don't stop asking questions. Someday, you'll be able to pay it forward when you have all the knowledge :)
  12. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    I wasn't suggesting he should stop. Merely observing that it's taken him ages to type all that stuff, and he still hadn't got an answer. Whereas 20 seconds on Google and he would have done. Up to them though, it's a free country.
  13. CasterlyRock thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    Thank you for the help everyone. I finally got it up in running. However, in regards to your post Chippy, I did indeed google my questions in an attempt to answer these questions myself. The problem is that I have had much better answers to my questions by actually talking to a person on forums, as new issues arise, as I get further into the process. Like I said, I am ignorant when it comes to computers and the guides on the internet regarding such things as this and even the guide apple gives you, goes over my head. I was looking for a person to provide an easier-to-understand tone to their posts so I can understand it better.

    Like I said, I finally got everything working so far. I can go back and forth between mac and windows.

    So, thanks for all the help everyone, I really appreciate it. Have a great day.

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