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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Games under OSX or Windows via Bootcamp?


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jmekelb

 
Member Since: May 01, 2009
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Hello,
I've had my 2008 iMac for all of 16 hours now and so far, I'm impressed. I do have a question though.

Suppose a game is available for both OSX & Vista (WoW or Civ IV for example). Would I notice any difference in performance with either version?

I have the 2008 24" iMac with the 2.8 C2D and the ATI2600. I upgraded to 4 gig of ram and have Vista Ultimate running through Bootcamp.

Any input would be appreciated.
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chscag

 
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Your machine is certainly capable of running games in either OS X or Windows. My personal opinion on this is - if something is available for both OS X and Windows, I'll opt for the OS X version. After all, that's why I own a Mac.

Performance issue? Some folks seem to think the same game runs faster in Windows. It's very subjective. You'll have to test and draw your own conclusion.

However, there are many games which are Windows version only. For those games, a Boot Camp installation is a must since most games do not run well or at all in a VM. (Fusion or Parallels)

Regards.
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cwa107

 
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Most games are "ported" to Mac OS X using Cider, a program that basically translates Windows API calls to those of the native OS.

Regardless of how well it's done, there's always a degree of overhead with emulation of any kind. With that said, the differences should be negligible, but in general Windows should run games faster.

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Alexis

 
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Given the choice, always go for the Windows version.

Example - on my 2.4Ghz iMac with Radeon 2600, Guitar Hero 3 runs great under Windows XP.

It's virtually unplayable under OS X.
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wmprice1240

 
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It's a good question.

Being a relatively hard core gamer (and a diehard Mac user), there are a few technical things to keep in mind when it comes to games:

These days, games are typically developed using one of two graphics rendering/handling technologies:

DirectX (Windows only)
OpenGL (platform agnostic)

A majority of games out there these days are primarily written for DirectX. This is simply a financial reality for game companies wanting to develop for the platform with the largest install base. Any game written for DirectX and 'ported' to the Mac is typically going to run slower if it is using some form of API emulation software (ie Cider).

In contrast a game written using OpenGL performs much better because it can run 'natively' on the Mac platform. Doom3, which runs well on both Mac and Linux, is a good example of such a game. However, again because of the financial reasons (and some technical) a majority of games are written and optimized for DirectX.

Note, independent of the graphics technology in use, each OS handles games differently due to memory management, use of hardware etc.

While Mac gaming has made some strides in this area, at the end of the day (unfortunately), Windows is still king of the hill. Graphics drivers (the code that talks to your graphics card) are almost certainly optimized for Windows when it comes to games for the financial reasons listed above.

Fortunately for us there is BootCamp which makes the 'Macs aren't good for games' argument somewhat obsolete since you can always maintain a separate partition (as you have already done) and enjoy both OSX and Windows when necessary.
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Village Idiot

 
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I have a Vista partition on my MBP just for games...

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nZa

 
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Other than WoW, every game I have personally tested runs much faster under Windows.

WoW runs considerably faster and uses less RAM via OS X. I'm not sure why, just what I have personally seen.

edit: actually, this holds true for pretty much all Blizzard games now that I think about it, even going back to my WC2 days.
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TechieJustin

 
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in my opinion PC gaming is dead. The consoles are simply taking over.
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