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I'm planning on purchasing my first Mac in the coming weeks.

27" iMac quad core i7 with 16GB RAM. [I still hate that you can't choose your video card while customizing an iMac]

I use parallels at work and it's pretty nice, but I'm curious if you'd be able to play a video game that way, or if you should use something like boot camp.

Thanks.

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Don't forget, we also have apple.stackexchange.com for apple questions too! –  Jeshii Feb 10 '11 at 16:19
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Parallels is a Virtual Machine, BootCamp allows you to run Windows directly on your hardware. Boot Camp will give you better performance. Some games run fine through parallels, others do not.

http://gigaom.com/apple/hands-on-gaming-with-parallels-desktop-6/

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+1 to BootCamp. Do it native. I had nothing but trouble using VMWare Fusion (another virtual machine) for things like this. –  Jeshii Feb 10 '11 at 16:18
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It's horses for courses. Boot Camp will give you better performance, which is likely important if you want to play the latest games, but Parallels will give you convenience of not having to restart to play games, and will likely be sufficient if you want to play older or more casual games.

If you already have a copy of Parallels (or a demo), give it a try, and see if things are good enough. Another alternative is CrossOver, which doesn't require restarting or have the overhead of running Windows on top of OS X, but can sometimes be incompatible with programs. Again, there is a free demo, and an extensive knowledge base of what programs do and don't work.

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