OS Neutral Who uses parallels for games??

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by backinblack875, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. backinblack875 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2010
    1) Im upgrading my SSD to a larger size soon and instead of doing bootcamp again i was thinking of using parallels for windows/gaming for easier use. My question is how well does it perform with gaming?? No lag with high end games on high settings??

    I have rMBP mid 2012. 16gb RAM, 2.3GHz i7, Intel HD4000 as well as a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M w/ 1GB VRAM.

    i have no problem with any games via bootcamp and can run them all on high, but don't know the level of decrease in performance of parallels.

    2) Also, How does partitioning work on parallels?? do you still need to set off a specific amount of HD space?? can you change the amount afterwards?? or does Mac and windows share the entire SSD for parallels?

  2. Washac, Mar 13, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015

    Washac macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    Without going into to much detail which I am rubbish at this what I do.

    Parallels is only as good as the spec of the machine it runs on, better the spec better Parallels runs things, goes without saying I suppose.

    In the first instance I throw all games at Parallels, if they run at a reasonable level then I am happy, I'm easily pleased its a game after all. If absolutely no joy under Parallels and I really want/need to play the game then I Bootcamp it.
  3. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    I really cannot recommend gaming in a virtualised OS. Some people can get by with it with moderate success, but for a true experience that is hassle free, do yourself a favour and run the game native.
  4. backinblack875 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2010
    *EDIT: Nevermind
  5. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    You can always create your bootcamp partition and start it from within parallels, like a virtual machine.

    If the performance is acceptable for your games, it's all good. If it is not, you can just boot to your bootcamp partition and run it natively.

    Why not having the best of both worlds ?
  6. backinblack875 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2010
    figured as much. wasn't sure if anyone had success with it


    oh ok never thought of this/ knew it was possible. So the bootcamp is where the actual partition/windows is?? and parallels would just be a "virtual window" to it?? it wouldn't be 2 separate partitions or anything?
  7. Ainze macrumors regular


    Feb 28, 2010
    This is how it works when you run your current Bootcamp partition as a virtual machine.

    You also have the option of creating a brand new installation, in which case the HD is just stored as a file on your Mac partition. This file can be moved around just like any other file, put it on a different drive, back it up, whatever. These files can be set to dynamically expand (so they only take up as much space as they need to, and get bigger as necessary), and can be set to have a maximum size also of your choosing.

    A lot of people dismiss virtualised gaming, but it's not the doom-and-gloom solution that they claim it to be. Yes, it's often not that great an option, but when it works, it can be a great method to use. I personally use a whole bunch of options, depending on what game I'm trying to play, including Boot Camp, Parallels, native and WINE. My motto is to use the right tool for the right job.
  8. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    Yes, when you create a new virtual machine, you can tell to parallels that you don't want to create a new virtual hard disk, but use the bootcamp partition instead. That way, you can use bootcamp via parallels. And it (bootcamp) will still be available to use it normally, as well.
  9. Dirtyharry50, Mar 13, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015

    Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    Parallels can offer convenience for many titles but it is hit or miss, even with older games. In my experience many games I've tried worked fine however, I limited that to games pre-2010, in fact more like pre-2008. For the most part whatever I installed worked well but again, not every time. I like it because I have a lot of classic games to play and it is convenient to run them in a Windows XP virtual machine where I can control how many CPU cores are available which for certain classics is very helpful.

    So for my purposes, it's been great.

    However, if you primarily want to run newer games I would not expect it to work well enough to be worth the expense personally. It's obsolete every two years so you buy into what amounts to a subscription although with admittedly long intervals to continue using it over the long haul. The other issue for newer titles is going to be performance but this can vary. In any event, you are never going to get the same performance from a virtual environment that you will from a native install of Windows. It simply isn't possible to avoid some overhead there. Whether it matters or is perceptible depends on how demanding the game happens to be. For me, that's a non-issue because of what I run there typically but personally I would not even install a new release that I know is demanding there. I'd go right to bootcamp if it was so important to me that I was willing to reboot for it which in my own case is increasingly rare but that's another story for another thread.

    I get the impression you are primarily playing newer stuff and if you are even though I've found an XP virtual environment useful I wouldn't recommend it for you. If you want to play Windows titles on your Mac that are recent you really need bootcamp. You cannot depend on Windows in a VM to always work. In fact, you can depend on it not working sometimes.

    So that's the story. It can be a useful tool in a Mac gamer's box of tricks in some cases but not all.

    On a bright note, your reboots will be fast with an SSD disk anyway so I'd just go the bootcamp route and save money, time and hassle.

    Just one last thing, the touted feature of being able to boot your bootcamp install in Parallels does not always work well in my experience and in the experience of others. It is interesting that some have no problem with this from what I understand but others certainly do as did I. The problem was Windows trying to validate itself in both environments and failing on the second attempt. In other words, the bootcamp install validated fine but trying to access it via Parallels running on OS X it would try to validate again because it detected different hardware, the virtual machine "hardware." It would fail this attempt because the validation was already used by the bootcamp install. A call to Microsoft led me to be informed that they don't support this. They actually wanted me to purchase a second license to run Windows in a VM on the hardware. I am not making this up. I then contacted Parallels of course since they advertise this feature working. They told me they could not help it if Microsoft would not allow it but their feature did actually work they pointed out. Well, yeah. It does work if some of us don't mind paying for another license to utilize it! Again, I am not making this up. Truth being stranger than fiction and me not accepting defeat easily, I persisted in screwing around with this issue for way too many hours and I don't even remember how I finally got it to work but eventually I did.

    So, there's that. On the Mac I have now, I didn't even bother with that. By the way, that was not Windows XP I was trying that with. I only run that in OS X. It isn't even supported in bootcamp on my system. That was with Windows 7 which I preferred over Windows 8. I own licenses for both. They are the last Windows licenses I will ever pay for but again, that's for another time to talk about that. ;-)
  10. Ledgem macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    I use Parallels for gaming with indie titles. The most graphically-advanced was probably Fairy Bloom Freesia, which is 3D-rendered; all the rest were 2D cell-shaded or pixel art games. None of these had any issues. On the other hand, I tried playing The Witcher (the first one) about two years ago and the system couldn't handle it. To be fair, I think that was on Parallels 7 or 8; graphical performance was improved in version 9 (the current version, 10, doesn't seem to provide much benefit according to benchmarks). Given how terrible the Mac "port" of that game was, perhaps I should give it another go in Parallels to see how it does.

    For reference, I'm using a Late 2011 MacBook Pro with an AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 512 MB of RAM.

    If you're just going straight Parallels, no partitioning is required. Parallels creates a single file, and that's your virtual machine. As long as it isn't actively running, you're free to move it around to other hard drives if you please; Parallels will note that the file was moved or copied, and otherwise it'll function as if nothing happened. You specify how much space you want the virtual machine to have in total, and it will grow over time to reach that size (specifying that you want it to have 100 GB won't result in a 100 GB file being created; install 90 GB worth of games and the file will grow to that size). If you free up space on the virtual machine, the virtual machine size can be reduced. And of course, you can increase the size of the virtual machine after it has been created, as well.

    I'm not quite as familiar with what's involved when you want to use Boot Camp with a Parallels virtual machine or vice versa. The flexibility about moving and resizing the virtual machine is likely lost.
  11. Eightarmedpet macrumors regular


    Dec 23, 2013
    London's famous London
    What games do you run on high? I have the same machine and I don't think I get such good performance?
  12. Kasalic macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    One word of warning if you decide to go the Bootcamp route and then create a Parallels VM using the bootcamp is this:-

    Do NOT suspend the Parallels VM if you are going to reboot into windows through bootcamp, make sure you shut it down before you reboot.

    Failure to do this can result in data loss/corruption.

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11 March 13, 2015