4GB enough for running Windows 7 via Parallels?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cherishzm, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2011
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    Considering a switch from 2010 17" MBP i7 8GB to ultimate 2011 13" MBA. Don't really need fast graphics processor but do need to have Windows 7 via Parellels run most of time due to work. Would 4GB sufficient for always running W7 VM?

    I would expect the overall speed to be similar bc I have SSD now in my 17 MBP..
  2. thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    BTW, I'm planning on using an external monitor at work so screen real estate won't be an issue... Hopefully I will not miss the AG 17" display I'm perfectly happy with. Just want to get something new and light..
  3. macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    not familiar with parrelels but some VM's need you to deticate a certain amount of RAM for it to use, is this the case and how much RAM do you have deticated to Parellels?
  4. macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2006
    Jersey City, NJ
    as the previous poster stated, it depends on how much RAM you will have dedicated to the VM. I have windows 7 running all the time in a VM, due to the nature of my work, and found myself having to dedicate 4GB to it because windows would pop up those messages saying i was low on memory, please close some apps. Once i did that, it was smooth sailing. I should note that i am on a MBP with 8GB of RAM, so i had plenty to spare.
  5. macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I run parallels on my 11.6" with 4GB ram just fine.
  6. thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I'm not using memory heavy programs W7 I assume. I use Internet Explorer, Quicbooks, and a couple more...Would 1GB enough for these?
  7. macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    Check the memory usage in activity monitor the next time you're working.

    Alternatively you could pull 4gig from your current mbp and see what happens.
  8. macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    I do light work in Win7 and 1GB seems to work OK - however, I'm not familiar with the memory req of Quickbooks.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2011
    More than enough - I run my application software, MS SQL Server, Internet Explorer and Tomcat Webserver on it. That said - I'm have less than 100MB RAM avaialble when I do this, but then again - if you would swap, you would swap onto the SSD.
  10. macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I do it fairly regularly with my 4GB 2011 MBA. I have 1.5GB allocated to Windows 7. On my MBP I would always leave Windows 7 running, but on my MBA I just make sure to close it when not using it so OSX can have the full 4GB. It isn't as nice as doing 6GB to OSX and 2GB to Win 7 on my MBP, but it works. The SSD's help with "virtual memory"....
  11. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    I run Quicken 2011 on my 2011 MacBook Air using Parallels Desktop 7. It works fine with 1GB, though I think it runs a little bit better when I allocate 1.5GB of RAM and give Parallels Desktop 2 out of the 4 virtual CPU cores. Note I usually do not run significant OS X software in the background when I am running Windows 7 (just Outlook and/or Safari most of the time), so you may see how well 1 CPU core and 1GB of RAM work if you do need to have OS X applications running at the same time.
  12. macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Worked perfectly on the 13" 2011 model that I had.
  13. macrumors member

    Feb 21, 2012
    i have a 13" mba w/ 4gb (low end) that I just bought 2 weeks ago running Parallels 7 with Windows 7 Pro 64bit just fine.
  14. macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2008
    Southern California
    I've got the 2011 13" and I use Parallels to run a couple Windows only apps for our VMWare environment and storage systems. I don't leave the Win7 virtual machine running all the time, but I'd say 20% of my day it is running to host vSphere or our internal management apps. The rest of the time it handles Outlook with my two mail accounts, web browsing and document editing just fine. I sometimes notice Outlook getting slow because it can be a memory hog itself. A simple restart of the app fixes that 90% of the time.
  15. macrumors 604


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    I use it for quicken and office and it runs grrrrrrrreat! ;)
  16. urkel, Mar 1, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012

    macrumors 68020

    Nov 3, 2008
    What about Windows 8? I tried the preview on an old laptop that fit the specs and it was unusably slow so I'm in the process of restoring that back to Win7. But I still want to give Win8 a shot so Im thinking if I should try it on my 11" MBA.

    (BTW, I'm feeling very positive about Win8 on Tablets, but from my limited use of then I'm really not understanding the split old/new UI and how it should all fit on a non-touch computer so I want to give it another shot on a good computer.)
  17. macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Win 8 ran perfectly fine on my MBA....its just buggy as hell and nothing works yet. But it was fast.
  18. macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2006
    Use Parallels to run Win 7 Ultimate on my MBA 13" i7. Use it almost exclusively for Quicken 2012. Works like a charm and is faster than the same setup on my iMac i7 with 8 gigs of ram. That SSD really makes a difference...
  19. macrumors 6502


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    Win7 on Parallels runs fine. I allocated 2GB RAM for it in the VM setup and it runs great.
  20. macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2010
    Glen of Newmill, Keith, Scotland
    I also run Windows 7 with Parallels, as Quicken 2004 is my most used program.

    No problems with speed even though I have a basic 11.6 MBA with 2gb.

  21. macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2012
    What about Mountain Lion?

    Great stuff above, really good info.

    Any ideas about what will happen when the new OS MOuntain Lion comes out and it's affect on RAM usage?

    In the market for new machine and trying to see if the 16GB MBP is worth the extra $$$. Trying to run parallels with Windows 7 and Office stuff( I know it's probably overkill, but then I'm covered for future stuff, right?!)
  22. macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2011
    Where I work, we have a lot of Macs and quite a few of them do run Parallels with Win 7.

    As a general 'rule of thumb', my opinion of the speed is, if you have a spinning Hard Drive, you need to give Parallels about 2 Gigs or more of RAM for it to be decent performance. If you have a SSD, you can get by with about 1.5 Gigs of RAM for Parallels. If you can give MORE Ram to Parallels than above, it gets better.

    Obviously, if you have a 4 Gig RAM Mac, giving it half or more of the RAM to run Parallels puts a crimp in what else you can run.

    But we have a few 2011 MB Airs (with 4 Gb RAM and an SSD) and they run Parallels / Win 7 just fine. Just don't expect to run a lot else at the same time.
  23. macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    My rule of thumb is if you're running VMs, you want to max your RAM.

    Especially with the MBAs - with 4GB, you have to do something like a 2/2 split, which means you really aren't doing anything well.
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    I've been running Windows 7 for two years on my 2010 MBA 11". Works fine. Granted, I don't anything particularly intense on it. The usual Office-related stuff, web browsing, etc.
  25. macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    I have a 8 / 256 / 1.7 and installed Windows 7 EOM (which was cheaper than regular versions), Parallels 7, and Office and have not seen any slowdown of any kind.

    I needed to have Windows Office for my sales program and other than less battery life, have seen nothing that raises a flag. I have set aside just under 2G for the Windows side and it seems to be more than fine.

    Good luck!


    I was told the same thing.....One of the main reasons I went with the 8. This is going to be my main computer and will need it for a few years to come.

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