What's the merit of a Bootcamp partition if I use virtual machine only?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by genome2k, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. genome2k macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Hi Guys.

    First i do NOT have a bootcamp as I had always thought that I would not need a Bootcamp partition as long as I do not need to boot into windows directly (the real boot). As I always boot into Mac OS, and when i need some windows app, I use VMware 3. I installed a Windows XP with it, and all the win software I needed.

    And I have also been look into WINE. Since I heard WINE could be a more efficient app to run windows softwares. But I still haven't totally figured how to play with it. So I was watching some youtube clips demonstrating how to use WINE and other virtual machines for running windows apps on mac.

    And I noticed those guys all had a Bootcamp partition installed a Windows. And they run their windows app from the bootcamp. And even VMware Fushion 3 detects if you have a bootcamp partition too.

    There was a video showing how to use Wine/Winebottler to run the CPU-Z for windows, but his files was on a Bootcamp windows. The CPU-Z was working perfect as it is natively from a windows box. But when I do it with Winebottler the CPU-Z window could show but most hardware information was not shown (left in blank -- I tried to read the SPD info of my RAMs) . Here, the only difference is i run the Wine from Mac's own filesystem and there was no Bootcamp.

    So i am wondering if the problem was i did not have a boot camp?

    So the questions:

    1. what's the merit of having a bootcamp with an actual windows installation comparing to pure virtual machine install on Mac, given the premise that i will only boot into Mac and use WIndows apps only from a virtual machine from Mac OS -- consider I use VMware Fusion 3 and WINE?

    2. For VMware Fusion 3, what's the difference between (i) use a windows installed on a bootcamp (ii) a Windows installed to VWware ?

    3. For windows apps like CPU-Z that needs low level hardware access (like reading your CPU info and your RAM chip manufacturer information), does a boot camp windows does any good?
  2. jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    None, IMO.

    Some testing suggests, in fact, that VMWare will run SLOWER on a bootcamp partition than on a VMWare container.

    And you tie-up disk space dedicated to the bootcamp partition that otherwise would only be allocated when needed. (e.g. when you add stuff to the Windows file system.)

    I think you may be a bit confused about WINE. It has nothing to do with VMWare. You'd use Wine without VMWare or any other "virtual" solution. It's a library that allows you to run many Windows programs directly on OSX (or Linux).

    The only reason for installing a bootcamp partition would be if you do need to boot directly to Windows.

    See above. Possibly slower disk access using the bootcamp partition.

    Normally, VMWare uses a special Windows driver that stores the equivalent of a Windows filesystem inside of a "container" file in your OSX system. This container file can grow (automatically) or shrink (manually) as your needs change.

    No. Unless you actually boot-up Windows directly using Bootcamp.
  3. jzuena macrumors 6502a


    Feb 21, 2007
    Lexington, MA, USA
    The biggest benefit to running Windows directly from bootcamp is when using software that needs to directly access hardware. Games that use Direct-X can run faster when not run in virtualization. There are probably other cases, but getting good frame rates in games is the biggest reason people list for running directly from bootcamp. Anything that will run under Wine will probably run at a good speed under VMware as well. I have a few games running under Wine just so I don't have to start Windows to play them, but you don't need to have both VMware and an install of Wine.

    If you already have a bootcamp partition anyway, VMware (and Parallels) let you use it as a virtual machine under OSX as well, so you don't have to install yet another copy of Windows and install software in both places.

    CPU-Z will get the correct information on your CPU, since VMware does allow the real CPU to be seen from virtual machines. Other items like your motherboard type, BIOS version and memory won't show up correctly in CPU-Z. Windows also won't report the correct type of network card in device manager when run under VMware.
  4. genome2k thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Thanks Jzuena and Jtara, for your detailed explanation.

    But yes I do understand that WINE has nothing to do with VMware and I do not need WINE for VMWARE. I probably didn't write clearly enough and sorry for the confusion.

    I'd been using VMware for a while before i first heard of WINE. I have been recently interested in WINE because in VMware you need an actual Windows installation, which means you need a valid and full windows license. But all i have is an OEM Windows XP license from an old pc -- it could be installed into VMware but it would not fully function like it does on the pc - the windows could run but some Windows Update items wouldn't install.

    Therefore WINE is particular appealing because it does not require an actual windows installation yet it can somehow run Windows apps. I do not understand its mechanism yet but I'm looking at it as I hope i could use WINE to replace VMware, if that's ever possible.

    My questions about bootcamp was raised because in those video tutorials I found on youtube all of them had a bootcamp windows. And it looked like to me that WINE somehow utilized the bootcamp windows.

    As for CPU-Z. What i actually wanted to do was to read the RAM SPD info (manufacturer information, in particular) -- as Mac's System Profiler only gives a weird code name (like "Manufacturer: 0x80CE"). And i also heard it could do some diagnostics and benchmark. And it seems there is no Mac OS alternative that does everything CPU-Z can do. Regarding this I may have a few additional questions:

    1. If i have a bootcamp windows and I boot into that, will that make CPU-Z fully capable of everything it can do on a real PC?

    2. What is a typical bootcamp partition size, if you want to install Windows XP or Windows 7, respectively? (i won't install large apps like games - i only need a minimal windows system plus some small applications)

    3. You guys happen to know how to find out about the RAM manufacturer with that code (like "Manufacturer: 0x80CE") the System Profiler provides? Is there a list to interpret these codes into actual manufacturer names?

    Thanks a lot:eek:
  5. davids8477 macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2008
    Another benefit of NOT using Bootcamp is that with VMWARE you can SUSPEND the Windows - rather that shut it down. This makes for fast access when you need windows again. A few seconds rather than the usual long Windows boot up.
  6. genome2k thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2010

    Thanks David. I get it. :)

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