Can I play Neverwinter Nights in Parallels Desktop?
I'm completely ignorant of mac systems but I'm learning quickly that macs are cool, and mac os x is excellent, but it seems I have to use Windows for a few things (less so over time as I buy mac versions of my normal applications) but I also like to play games (Nothing busts stress like a quick Quake break). Before I bought the macbook on a whim yesterday, I had also bought Neverwinter Nights 2 to play on my PC. I'd like to play this on my new macbook pro - the specs seem to be more than sufficient, but I don't know the best way to do it. Is it possible to run a hardware hungry PC game in a window using the Parallels Desktop software? Or should I forget all about it and play this game on my PC instead?
I asked my friends over at Parallels about your question, and here's what they had to say:
Parallels Desktop for Mac virtualizes PC hardware inside the Virtual Machine and generally it is able to run most of the PC applications with correct guest OS installed, but please take into account the following limitations:
- VM doesn't support 3D hardware graphics acceleration so 3D graphics rendering in VM is only possible in software mode. Virtual video adapter is generic VESA 3.0 compatible device. Most of the modern computer games utilizing 3D graphics won't run inside VM due to this limitation.
- VM virtualized video adapter only supports single monitor mode.
- VM doesn't provide direct access to the physical CD/DVD drive on the Mac and it causes problems with CD/DVD burning, CD/DVD playback and CD/DVD copy protection software.
- Mac pointing device and keyboard are virtualized as generic PS/2 devices in VM and some of their advanced features may be unavailable, 3rd party drivers won't be able to properly access the devices in guest OS.
- You may experience low performance with old 16-bit applications, DOS programs in particular if Virtual Machine is running with VT-x support turned on. You can disable VT-x support by clicking on the /"Acceleration"/ link in the main Parallels Desktop for Mac configuration window and unchecking /"Enable Intel VT-x support"/ option.
In summary, it could be impossible to run modern games (if they require hardware 3D
(Dave again: you might want to investigate the capabilities of Apple's Boot Camp solution too, but, again, if you're really pushing the limits of PC hardware with your latest set of games, you might well need to play 'em on a PC. Perhaps someone who reads this discussion could share their own experiences running hardware-intensive PC games on the Macbook Pro?)
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Written by Dave Taylor
boot camp, mac os x, macbook, neverwinter nights, parallels, quake
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Reader Comments To Date: 11
Though what you said about Parallels (or any other virtualization software) is very likely correct, I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that running Boot camp shouldn't be a problem at all.
From what I understand, if you partition your disk and install Windows on one of the partitions, all you're doing is turning your Macbook pro into a PC. Knowing that Macbooks are among the fastest laptops to run Windows, that means you've got an asskicking pc right there.
And I'm pretty sure you can get some awesome graphics cards with the MB Pro as well. Maybe I'm missing some other hardware incompatibility but I don't think so.
I have a MBP and let me share my experiences with Windows-based games.
The vast majority of modern games require a 3D accelerator (i.e. a 3D card), which Parallels Desktop can not provide. It is on the Parallels Developers' To-Do list, but it's unknown when or if it will show up. Games that do not require a 3D accelerator, such as older games, may work in Parallels, but many do not.
With that said, Apple offers a free piece of software called Boot Camp, which lets you partition your Mac's hard drive, and install XP on it. When you reboot to XP, it's running directly on your hardware, no virtualization/emulation/anything. It's honest-to-goodness Windows XP, which means games (and other software) works great. As long as your MBP meets the minimum requirements for your game, it should run just fine via Boot Camp. The only real downside to Boot Camp, is that your Mac must be rebooted to Windows to use it, and rebooted back to OS X when you're done.
Parallels also recently upped the ante supporting Boot Camp partitions in their most recent build of Parallels Desktop. This means you no longer have to have a separate installation of XP for Parallels, and a separate one for Boot Camp. You can use the same installation for both. However, with that said, it is in beta, and a little rough around the edges with BC support at the moment, and you still can't run 3D accelerated games while using Parallels, but at least you don't have to manage two different installations of XP.
I have the MBP, the newest update from Parallels, 2GB of RAM, and hundreds of $$$ of PC games that don't work. Do I have to re-partition for the free BC or can I just go download it from Apple and it will see the VM partition already there and...bada bing, bada boom, I'm playin' again?
If not, any suggestions?
Hi, I posted the original question, and I've had a little more time to love my macbook pro since then. As an exercise I installed Windows XP using Boot Camp, and I ran Neverwinter Nights 2 on there. There's a buglet or two, but these are the fault of the game rather than the environment. Otherwise it runs well. In general, windows runs like a dream in boot camp, and I've turfed out all my existing PC hardware because it runs windows significantly more slowly than my new macbook pro. An additional note - as a photographer, I use Photoshop extensively. It runs faster in windows on my mac than it ever did on my other pc systems, but the mac trial version runs faster still under macos x. When my next upgrades come around, I'll be buying mac versions of everything. Hopefully Garmin will have released a mac version of their GPS software by then. Another query -anyone know when Boot Camp will be capable of supporting a Windows Vista installation? Again, the hardware is more than sufficient for the Aero interface.
there's a neverwinter nights port for os x, and i'm pretty sure it's by bioware. it's a beta, but it works fine.
boot camp is able to run windows vista, however, there is a lot off fuss over it. it hasn't been 'officially' announced but heres a link on how to wrangle boot camp drivers into windows vista "http://www.geocities.com/nja469/" i've tried it, and it takes a LOT of time. And i dont recomment going to vista yet, until apple creates official vista drivers on boot camp..
I have tried playing games using Parallels but the graphic specs are too low. Instead I installed Boot Camp on my MacBook 13 inch and with Windows installed there I can play for example Dreamfall - the longest journey. The graphics aren't the best, but to be honest I'm just happy I can play anything at all on my Mac :P
Yes Vista is real nice and uses graphics card abilities real well. It does run fine with Boot Camp and with Parallels when you get the drivers straightened out. I do recommend people wait for official drivers from Apple, honestly!
Unless you know your game software app was designed with Vista in mind, I would not bother using Windows Vista.. any version with traditional games for Win XP unless you know exactly how it will run beforehand. The graphics subsystems in Vista are brand new and when it comes to 3D graphics, if a game isn't designed specifically for Vista it will perform poorly, if at all!
Enjoy Vista, I'm going back to Tiger now, k, thnx
Parallels 3 is out with its support for 3D hardware graphics acceleration and it also provides direct access to the physical CD/DVD drive on the Mac. Google it and enjoy!
If you want to do a Windows XP installation using Bootcamp, how can you deauthorize a previous registration of a WinXP license that was installed on another computer? I have a desktop PC with a legitimate WinXP licence, but I believe I need to deauthorize this installation before using the WinXP disc on my MacBook Pro. Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
i can,t get to play fifa 08 with out requires grapics acceleration
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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