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I have a Windows 7 desktop for gaming, a big bulky tower with a nice graphics card. I'd like to sit out on my porch rather than inside while the weather is nice and play games. I have a high end Macbook Pro. What are my options? I figure either remote desktop over the LAN on the Macbook or maybe wireless video, keyboard and mouse. Something so I don't have to physically move the PC.

The sort of games range from things like Skyrim to SW:TOR to Torchlight 2.

What are my options? They have to do a better than running Boot Camp on the Macbook (MacBookPro8,1 i7 2.7 Ghz but Intel Graphics 3000). I realize there's a lot of issues involved in running a game over a remote desktop with a decent frame rate, I'm interested in a practical answer with real experience behind them. Ideally something that works on a OS X so I don't have to reboot into Windows.

Update: Using the Macbook as the display is not a hard requirement. I don't mind dragging out a small monitor.

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4 Answers

Your options are really limited without the scope that has been set. Having tried Remote PC options to game over the network, I have found that I always go back to just sitting in front of the old lug under the desk.

However, you are in luck since there are KVM switch options out there that will allow you to sit outside while gaming and have the same experience as sitting in front the the desk. I've used KVM switches extensively while gaming and have had zero issues with it. Just get a powered one and cables long enough depending on how far away you are going to be. It will help prevent any issues with the electricity voltage being with every foot that it travels, which would be the only issue with running wires any amount of distance as it does degrade the higher the chance of problems.

I am unaware of wireless options, though I am sure they are out there, that will allow the same setup as the KVM. My suggestion here would stem from the plethora of wireless devices I've used in both business and personal scenarios. Do a lot of research before you buy, if you can try before you buy all the better. You may run into the same issue with very long cables, degradation of the signal.

Since you asked for real world experience, that is all I have to offer you.

Happy Gaming =D

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Found some interesting dedicated HDMI wireless hardware. –  Schwern Oct 12 '12 at 7:20
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This is a very interesting question and depending on how you approach it - can be unfeasible.

They do make remote KVM devices, sometimes called DRACs (Dell Remote Access Card) - though I don't know what the quality is especially for gaming or video. I imagine as long as the bandwidth was available it could be as if you were sitting in front of it. I think gigabit to the server/gaming machine and Wireless N or better to your remote (wireless) console.

This is of course an expensive solution.

A more financially feasible solution could involve:

http://www.networktechinc.com/cat5-vga.html

Combined with:

http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-F5D7330-802-11g-Wireless-Ethernet/dp/B00020H1TG

And finally with a wireless keyboard/mouse (hang the receiver outside the window to make sure the signal can get to it). And you should be able to comfortably sit outside with a monitor and play your favorite games while your tower stays inside. Though the one thing you may want to do is setup a KVM so that with the keyboard you can switch between "outside" and "inside" monitor without having to mess with cables.

If you are that attached to the MacBook there MAY be an adapter for you to view a VGA monitor on your laptop. Then you COULD use synergy to control your desktop. The one thing I want to say is that I have noticed synergy on a wireless connection can be a bit unreliable.

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Video over cat-5 I hadn't known about! Seems it works with HDMI as well, solving the audio problem. There's "passive" (dozens of dollars) and "active" (hundreds of dollars) versions. Throw a wireless bridge in between... And I hadn't considered doing a/v over special hardware but input over the LAN. Thanks, this gives me a lot to chew on. –  Schwern Oct 12 '12 at 7:09
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I believe this is possible using a software based solution, and not only from your PC / Mac but from your tablet / phone.

I am really surprised that SplashTop doesn't get mentioned more often in these discussions, they claim to have the best performing remote access application. But anyway that is another discussion.

So, among other things SplashTop allows you to play 3D intensive games, such as Skyrim, on a remote device. This isn't limited to a PC / Mac but a tablet or phone as well.

Here is a marketing video displaying their gaming capabilities: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdTULDTLs7A

Here are some "Real World" YouTube videos that demonstrate this:

Dirt 3 on Acer Iconia a100 tablet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMM-6ltL8LY

Skyrim on iPad & Android: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leyx3pFzrHY

JustCause 2 with xbox 360 controller on iPad Mini: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2mLUlI_w_Q

Allegedly, Dragon Age 2 over WAN, 300KM apart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9w7bLyOBUU

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@AngelBrighteyes' answer sent me off on a hunt for dedicated video-over-wireless hardware and I found some interesting options.

VGA, DVI and HDMI can all go over CAT-5 in either "passive" or "active" modes. Not sure what the difference is except "passive" is ~$30 and "active" is ~$300. With some a little bit of extra 802.11 hardware you can probably make that wireless.

Then I found dedicated HDMI over wireless hardware claiming to be able to do 1080p but with a range of only 30 feet. Depending on where I put the PC and my butt that might work. Lugging a small monitor outside is not a problem.

The final piece is either a wireless USB hub or a wireless keyboard and mouse with a very good range. I would likely opt for the hub as it would allow me to use any device and I could spend the money on one piece of quality kit.

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