PC/Windows Gaming on iMac - BootCamp? VirtualBox?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by thither, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. thither macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2009
    Hi all...

    So I'm switching my old PC desktop out for a new iMac which is on the way (it's the new i7 2.93 27" model, with a 1TB drive and no SSD, and I've got a 2x4GB RAM pack coming in as well so I'll have 12GB RAM).

    Mostly I'm going to be doing software development on this thing (java, most likely) but I've also been getting back into playing PC games recently and I wonder if anyone can give me advice about setting that up. I already have a few Steam Mac games that I've played on my Hackintosh netbook, but I also own a lot of Windows-only games (from Steam and from a few other digital distributors, like Impulse and GoG), so I'm definitely going to be booting into Windows for some things.

    I'm a little new to both Bootcamp and VirtualBox/VMWare/Parallels, having mostly used Macs in "pure Mac" mode before. Can someone give me advice on what I should do to get my Windows games up and running on the iMac? Should I just carve out a section of my hard drive, dedicate it to Windows, and reboot into it when I want to play some games? Or should I set up a virtual machine to run the games inside? Will running a game inside of a VM hurt my gaming performance enough that rebooting will be necessary? Which of the three major VM clients is preferred for gaming? (Also, if I do set up a separate Windows partition in Bootcamp, can I run it as a VM in OS/X?)

    I don't need incredibly good performance out of my games in order to be happy, and I'm not super into FPS eye-candy sorts of games, but I'm hoping to at be able to run some modern titles acceptably well, since the RAM and processor are up for it (no idea if the GPU is, but it's not exactly like I have a choice there). Anyways, any advice is appreciated, and pointers to some informative sites that cover this sort of material would also be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. tonyunreal macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2010
    You can hardly play any game under Virtualbox, so if you want some serious gaming, use Bootcamp.

    As for myself, I find it more enjoyable to stay under OSX and play with what I have(WoW, Valve Games, Plants vs Zombies, Sam & Max etc.).
  3. Deedolito macrumors regular


    Aug 19, 2010
    Running Win7 with BootCamp you'll have a 6 of 7.9 performance index for the GPU, not to mention the > 7 index for CPU & RAM.

    Pretty decent for gaming IMO. I guess you will have a lot of fun with your machine there :D

    EDIT: Make sure that you allocate enought space for the Win7 partition, depending on how many games you will want to have on the HDD at the same time. Some programs are really hungry for space...

    IT's really a piece of cake to setup your machine with the BootCamp assistant, just follow the guide you can print out and you're on the safe side. Don't know if you can run the BootCamp partition as a VM, but as tony said, it won't be that useful for gaming anyway.
  4. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    Set up a BootCamp partition and configure Parallels to also use it. The less demanding games will play just fine in Parallels saving you a restart, but you'll need to reboot the machine into BootCamp to play the more graphics intensive ones. Don't bother with VirtualBox. It's not optimised for graphics.
  5. jrcsh6 macrumors 6502


    Jul 1, 2008
    not to hijack.... but it i'm going to do windows 7 ultimate 64 bit, and install age of empire 2 (don't laugh), and run a remote desktop for work, and use some heavy websites for work. what might be a good partition? i did 32 last night and didn't do the windows install yet but i'm thinking i am not going to need 32gb. is there any reason to have excess?
    i'm only using windows for the occasional age of empire game and fairly regular work stuff. no programs, just web based stuff and a remote desktop to a server

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