VMWare gaming on a Mac Pro with Nvidia 285?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MatthewKing, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. MatthewKing macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2008
    I am considering a Mac Pro to replace my 2007 Macbook Pro. At the moment I have that, and a gaming PC, the cost to replace both would come in at about £2800 which puts me firmly in Mac Pro territory, and having one computer would be more convenient on several fronts.

    The spec that I am considering is a Quad Core 2.93ghz, 8GB Mac Pro with an Nvidia 285 (when they're available).

    I was wondering, with that setup, is gaming on VmWare an option? I know I can always use bootcamp but I miss the simplicity of just launching games directly, then getting back to work without messing about rebooting the computer, or switching cables (as I have to with my macbook pro + gaming pc).

    The games I usually play at the moment are: BF2, CoD4, Tiberium Wars, Supreme Commander, Dawn of War, Age of Empires III - but I would like to play some newer titles too with the Mac Pro.

    Is it viable? I would think I could give the VmWare instance 3GB of ram, 2 cores - and with the 285 that should work pretty well?

    Any feedback appreciated.

  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Gaming with any VM, if it's more than Solitaire, don't bother. You will need to Bootcamp.
  3. MatthewKing thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2008
    Well.. VMWare have built native directx support in for that purpose, so I would assume its achievable with the right hardware. A friend of mine tried out Tiberium wars on his late 2007 model Macbook Pro yesterday, and was able to play it in low settings.

    So I would guess that the Mac Pro with its superior spec would do it, but that's all I have to base it on at the moment.

    I would assume if someone is able to do it on a 4870 then it will work on the 285 too, and probably to a better level.
  4. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Most stuff will work...to a point.

    If you're going to have good hardware there's no point in watering it down hugely using it via VM.

    VMware emulates the video card. Don't be fooled by any marketing blurb. Games will be crap.

    Bootcamp is the way to go. VM's are more for applications.
  5. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    Forget it. VMware is slow enough for normal tasks.
  6. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Parallels 4.0 has a virtual graphics card, totally irrelevant what graphics card you have, apart from the amount of graphics memory you can dedicate to the VM, I'm sure vmfusion is the same.

    W/ parallels, AoE3 TAD runs OK not great though, a little laggy,
    No AA, and only high on shader compared to Very High

    I'd never try CoD4!

    Kind Regards
  7. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Yup! VMWare or Parallels can't cut games that need a frame rate - not even with the most awesome GFX card. Bootcamp is really needed for games just like edesignuk said.
  8. MatthewKing thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2008
    Oh well.. it was a nice thought while it lasted! :(

    Thanks for the feedback all.
  9. macz1 macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2007
    The only game I saw run well and smoothly on very high settings through VMware was Max Payne II... If you want to game with a virtual machine you will probably have to stick to old 3d games.
    Unless some majur updates of VMware will improve DirectX emulation in future.... But it will never be as good as starting windows natively.
  10. NoNameBrand macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2005
    Halifax, Canada
    If your desires are humble and expectations low, it works great!

    I play Left4Dead, TF2, and Red Orchestra (UE2.5 game) using Fusion/XP Home on my 2006 Mac Pro/ATI 3870. The two Steam-based games are very sluggish when they first load (also: avoid cutscenes), but after a minute it settles down to be very playable. I play in a window at some small resolution.

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