When we bought our most recent computer, my plan was always to install Windows on it eventually. And now, with the VGHVI’s LOTRO symposia on the first week of every month, I’m thinking it might be time.

But I could use some advice from people who have done this before. Some context: I’m only planning to use this for games, and I have no intention of playing the latest and greatest Windows games on this machine: LOTRO aside, the most likely candidates are older games and indie games. And, frankly, I don’t expect to use it all that frequently even for those! With that in mind, some questions I have:

  • What’s the recommended approach? Pure Boot Camp, pure virtual machine, or Boot Camp accessible via a virtual machine?
  • What’s the current recommended virtual machine vendor for 3D graphics performance / stability? Last I was following this, Parallels seemed to be in the lead, but that sort of thing can change fast.
  • Am I correct in assuming Windows 7 Home Premium is the way to go?
  • Am I correct in thinking that having an XP license key alone isn’t good enough to qualify for upgrade pricing, I’d need an actual XP installation?
  • Am I correct in assuming 64 bit is the way to go?
  • Any mouse recommendations? For that matter, is a trackball a reasonable approach for FPSes? Not that I plan to dive into competitive multiplayer or anything, but I’m guessing that Apple’s mouse/trackpad won’t cut it for even basic Windows games…
  • How big a partition should I give it?
  • Any tips on finding a good price? Paying $280 for Windows + Parallels doesn’t exactly excite me… I see OEM links that claim to knock $100 off the price of Windows, but I’m worried that there are hidden gotchas there. (Hmm, digging around, sounds like drivers are harder to come by with OEM versions, but I guess Boot Camp and virtual machine solutions would each come with all the drivers they need?)
  • Anything else?

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide.

Post Revisions:

This post has not been revised since publication.