running macOS VM on windows machine for unique situation

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by s-hatland, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. s-hatland macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2014
    firstly, i thought this the most appropriate place to pose this question, if it not, please let me know and i'll move to a better spot.

    here's my "unique situation". i'm looking to build a pc for my tv. i've got a vast steam library and the best way for it to run would be, obviously, on a PC with the latest tech. however, i MUCH prefer macOS for everything else; media, music, streaming, interface, etc. So, my thinking is that i can build a PC, install windows/steam, then install macOS as a VM on windows, so that most of the time i'm using the macOS VM, but when i want to game, i can easily switch over to the PC side and steam would have full access to the hardware side of things for the 'heavy lifting'. the only things i would be doing on the macOS side is, again, streaming content, browsing, playing music, etc (bonus points if i could use affinity's suite of software and possibly garageband in the VM without too much performance hit- but not necessary).

    1. is this stupid? is there a better way for seamlessness between having/using macOS and steam/pc?
    2. what's the best virtualization software and recommended minimum PC specs?
    3. how well does macOS run in a decent PC machine in a VM, especially if all i'm doing is light duty stuff?
    4. anything i'm missing or not thinking about? limitations, etc?

    much appreciation for any insights, comments and suggestions - thanks!

    (edit: minor grammars)
  2. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    1. Not necessarily stupid, but not in accordance with the EULA. But that’s a matter of “your computer, your choice.” An (expensive) alternative is to spec up a Mac that can play your most liked games acceptably, provided they are in the Steam catalog for macOS. This may become more viable, if not less expensive, if Steam elects to port its Proton subsystem to macOS.
    2. On the PC side of things VMware is king. Hardware-wise, get what you need to run your games.
    3. VMs work fine on good hardware. If you’re dependent on exact timing and minimal latency (like when making multi-track music), you may not be 100% satisfied by this solution, though: That’s probably the second reason for why you’re thinking of a PC running a Mac VM and not a Mac running a Windows VM for gaming.
    4. You’ll probably arrive at a situation where jumping between systems on the same computer gets old; especially if, as you’re gaming, you’ll want to stop and unload the VM on a regular basis. You will likely encounter situations where macOS in a VM isn’t as “nice” as running the system on Apple hardware. Then again whatever the result, you will have a nice gaming PC.
  3. s-hatland thread starter macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2014
    thank you for the response and sorry for the late reply. so are you saying that when i'm running the macOS VM, those resources would be "locked" so if i wanted them for gaming, i'd have to quit the VM for maximum performance? knowing that, it wouldn't be quite as seamless as i'm imagining. my thinking was to have the VM running full screen all the time, and when i wanted, could switch to another "space" or "desktop" that would be running steam big picture. after looking a bit more around the web, it seems lots of macOS VMs are having issues with screen resolution and fullscreening the VM as well, which just isn't as user friendly or ideal as i was hoping. again thank you for the input, it's much appreciated.
  4. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    That’s exactly how it works: The VM will reserve a (configurable) amount of your memory, and regularly request a slice of your CPU time.

    Technically, VMs work best when each machine on a host (or the host itself) rarely needs all of its allotted compute power and when the sum of CPU usage on the host rarely exceeds 80%. Servers and productivity applications usually work well in these circumstances, but gaming and other high performance computing tasks kinda wreck that by often wanting all available resources.

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3 December 14, 2018