Parallels vs Bootcamp for Windows 8?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by raptorstv, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. raptorstv, Dec 11, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012

    raptorstv macrumors 6502

    Mar 24, 2011
    I am considering purchasing Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac and install it on my rMBP 15" 256GB. I don't know very much about the pros and cons of using Parallels vs Bootcamp... My purpose for downloading windows is to:
    - use MS Office
    - play games
    - install accounting/tax softwares

    How much will setting up a Bootcamp for windows cost me in comparison? I can see on Parallels' website that it will cost me $80 to download...
  2. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    Boot Camp is 100% free. It comes pre-loaded as part of OS X's base software installations and the only 'cost' is Windows itself.

    With Parallel's, you pay $80 on top of the cost of Windows itself. But the cons don't end there:
    1) Decreased performance: You have to 'allocate' processing cores and memory specifically to Parallel's that comes out of what's available for OSX. Meaning, you tell OSX to give your Windows 1-4 GB of ram and whatever's left over is needed for OSX to continue in the background. You also tell it how many cores to use.

    2) Significantly less GPU power: Parallel's runs GPU emulation drivers to 'simulate' a dedicated GPU for Windows which further cuts your performance down. You essentially get a 50% Windows PC and whatever GPU it is emulating is also 50%.

    The advantages:
    It runs in OSX. You simply press certain hotkeys and you can switch back to OSX in mere seconds. You can save state on the machine and quickly pause it to gain back resources for OSX. Because it's virtual, you can easily manipulate the virtual hard drive space for it to give yourself more space on the fly. However, Parallel's is MOSTLY for people who need to run non-graphics intensive software such as Windows exclusive production software or maybe AutoCAD or MATLab or ChemDraw or other science software that is Windows exclusive. Parallel's WAS NOT designed with gamers in mind.

    The advantages of Boot Camp:
    1) 100% hardware support. You're essentially booting into a Windows computer when you use boot camp and gaming performance, Windows performance is stellar. It's in some cases better than Windows performance on a Windows computer.

    2) It's free. Boot Camp is free with OSX, you just need to 'buy' Windows 7 or Windows 8. Parallel's costs money.

    3) It uses all the hardware toward Windows. You don't lose performance by having a separate partition.

    4) You can see your OSX files. It automatically loads your Mac hard drive as a secondary drive in Windows so you can view videos, documents and downloads from OSX on Windows as long as the file extensions are compatible (most times they are).

    The disadvantages:
    You have to shut down/restart and completely exit OSX.
    You lose hard drive space. You have to repartition your drive for Windows and the partition sizes, in most cases, are semi-permanent. While you can repartition, the last time I tried I 100% lost my Windows partition and all my games and had to reinstall.

    You only have 256GB of SSD space. I would recommend having an external hard drive that you use for Boot Camp and reserve all that glorious good SSD space for good old OSX.
  3. iFanboy Guest

    Cost wise, Bootcamp is free, so you just need a windows license.

    With parallels you need a windows license and to purchase parallels obviously.

    Personal experience? I'd go with parallels, but it won't be suitable for gaming so it depends on how important that is to you.

    For me, I hate the windows experience but want some windows programs, so parallels is awesome - I just get the program window and even doc icons for that program. Office 2013 preview runs awesome - miles better than office for mac :)
  4. raptorstv thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 24, 2011
    Thanks!!! Do you know how large is the file size for windows 8?
  5. celticfc482 macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Adding to this, can anyone tell me where to get an ISO file for windows 8 from. I cant seem to find one at all. Also I currently upgraded from windows 7 to 8 on my dell. Is it possible to use the same product key to activate windows 8 on a mac. If not where can I buy a key from. I have been on the Microsoft website and the only option it gives you is to upgrade from windows 7 which clearly isn't possible with the mac. I cant find an option to buy windows 8 straight.

    Help would be much appreciated, Thanks
  6. raptorstv thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 24, 2011
    Holy... You sure is correct! Office 2013 looks freakin' awesome!
  7. richnyc macrumors regular


    Nov 8, 2012
    Not sure, if this helps but if you need to get anything else for your computer, you might be ale to get Parallels from OWC for only $35.00. That's how I got it, check it out: Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac
  8. skippymac macrumors 6502a


    Jun 9, 2010
    Hampshire, UK
    I use vmware fusion for my win7 partition. I prefer fusion to parallels but they're very similar.

    I'd recommend one or the other for convenience's sake as you don't have to reboot, and you can always do what most people do with these programs and have bootcamp set up and the VM (virtual machine) running the bootcamp partition from within OS X

    This gives you the best of both worlds, power and performance from bootcamp, ease of use, convenience and a nice way to transfer files between machines with VM software.

    Of course this comes at the same cost as your chosen VM software, so as a final note I would say this: If you're going to need a lot of power and performance (eg. playing games) from your win partition, don't bother with VM software unless you have money to burn, as you'll spend most of your time on bootcamp. If you're also doing a reasonable amount of things like MS office or less cpu intensive tasks, go for the VM software :)


    I got an upgrade license for win7 and installed it as a preview, then reinstalled it with the product key, and it hasn't complained. Not guaranteeing this method nor vouching for the morality of it but it's a possible workaround.
  9. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    Windows 8 will take up about 8-10GB in installation once it's fully updated. I would recommend at least 30GB if you plan on installing software/games. Borderlands 2 and Windows 7 put me at about 12GB of 20 and I didn't have enough space to install Aion. :( I upped my partition to 50GB but keep in mind, I have a 500GB hard drive and an SSD specifically for OSX. I use 50GB of the 500GB specifically for Windows because I don't care how long Windows takes to load or how long apps take to load on it. My SSD is only for my baby and that's it.

    Also, if gaming is even slightly a priority, do NOT run Parallel's OR Fusion. TRUST ME. Gaming on either is TERRIBLE. Might as well just run Wine versions of Windows games.
  10. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    Boot Camp users of Windows 8 be warned: Apple has no drivers available for this.
  11. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    That's true. I recommend going with Windows 7 for the time being. Full driver support and honestly, it's a better OS. Windows 8 has been only getting good reviews when you have a touch screen.
  12. Snowshiro macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Absolutely agree. I installed Windows 8 on my Mac and within a week it was removed and replaced with Windows 7 again. It's dreadful without a touchscreen, and even with one the UI is really poorly thought out with having to constantly switch between Metro and desktop to do anything worthwhile.

    On the subject of Parallel's being $80. I've bought about 4 or 5 copies over the years and never paid much more than about $30ish. Parallels is one of the most frequently discounted pieces of software I've ever seen. Just look around and you're bound to find some special offers.

    By the way - to echo what someone said before: OP, you can run Bootcamp AND Parallels. You just reboot into full native Windows when you want to run games, but if you're just using Office or something less taxing on the hardware, you can boot into Windows under Parallels and there's no need to restart. Both use the same partition and the same base OS files, so if you make a change in one, it'll be available in the other.
  13. celticfc482 macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Does anyone have a link to a windows 8 iso file?

  14. Justinhub2003 macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    Cincinnati Oh
    I personally believe Bootcamp is always the better route.

    Its native and it runs amazing. I have Win 8 on my MBP now (though it barely gets used).

    If performance means a lot too you,then go bootcamp


    Some people have had success installing the Windows 8 upgrade purchase to their Mac.

    I didnt want to chance it so I bought the Windows 8 system builder and it cost me around 120$


    Actually its easy to get WIndows 8 working with bootcamp.

    When you setup bootcamp, download the windows support files onto an external drive.

    Then when you install windows 8 open the file and click on the .exe and a button will highlight in the ribbon for "troubleshoot"

    Click troubleshoot and select that this app was working on a prior version of windows and select Windows 7.

    Then follow the prompts and it will install the drivers as normal.

    Then 2 finger scroll works, wifi works, bluetooth works.... EVERYthing works just like it does with Win7.

    Just make sure to disable Windows 8 auto brightness feature as it gets wonky and lowers the brightness weirdly
  15. iFanboy Guest

    You can get a downloadable .iso when you buy it. You are not allowed to discuss illegal downloading here.
  16. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    You can download it from the MS homepage if you have a Key.
  17. nles macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2010
    Running Bootcamp and Parallels Windows 8 on my 15" retina.

    For gaming section I will boot to windows.

    For microsoft access and office I will use parallels, or some other software that is not CPU taxing.

    Windows8 not stable yet, Wi-Fi always hanged when connecting to hotspot.
  18. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    Cost you nothing with bootcamp.
  19. celticfc482 macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2012
    I thought you could download it and input/buy a key after its bought. I wasn't meaning to download it illegally sorry.
  20. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    Yes you can use the same product key to update. But you will have to get an iso file once you upgrade.
  21. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    You need a copy of windows in both cases, so parallels will cost you $80 + a windows lisence.
  22. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    Not sure I follow what you are saying.

    I downloaded the new drivers from windows drivers from apple and they are working fine with windows8.


    Agreed. haven't had any issues with windows8 on my rMBP, plus I disagree with it only being useful with a touchscreen. The live titles are really just a bloated start menu an once I started working from that point of view, it was simple to navigate.
  23. Technodynamic macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2012
    I've used VMFusion before with a previous MacBook. It seemed to work well. A little resource hungry in VM mode but that was to be expected. Alternatively I could reboot and run into Windows natively, so best of both worlds no?

    I am VERY close to doing this now. I just cleared space on my SSD.

    Windows 8 users: What is a good amount of space to allocate to Win 8... Figure I'll have Office installed, maybe set aside 12 GB for 1 game, swap file space and a few GB of extras. Will 40-45 GB cut it?
  24. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
  25. celticfc482 macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Not sure if many of you will know this but I shall ask anyway.

    Like I said before I have windows 8 on my current laptop. So I just used the product key for that and downloaded it again (windows 8 pro) and saved it to my desktop as an ISO file. It said at the end to remember the product key because I will need it if I create a new partition when I install windows 8.

    Does that mean I can just take that ISO file I made and put it on the macbook and load up parallels and use that and my product key to activate windows?

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