MBA - VMWare Windows 7 Performance

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by bigdaddyc188, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2009
    Hey guys & gals -

    Quick question on your experience running vmware and windows 7 on the MBA. I currently have an i7 17" MBP with 8gb ram 7200 drive and need a thinner device to travel with and one of my big needs is to periodically run W7 under VMware and was curious of you experience in terms of performance for lightweight work and application development (no graphic, music or video editing).

    Thanks for your feedback!
  2. macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    I came from many years of Windows laptop use, and had the same concern. I was very pleasantly surprised by the performance - the SSD especially makes it feel quite snappy...
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    I use VM Fusion 4 on a 2010 13" MBA for OneNote and a few other MS apps and it works very well. I save the virtual state, and it takes about 10-15 seconds to come up. No lag in the apps.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2009
    Québec, Canada
    Last night I was playing Magic the gathering online and using Explorer trough VmWare Fusion (W7 Bootcamp) and using heavy Excel sheet on Office X Copy paste over 2500 lines and google Chrome on mac side... Connected on a thunderbolt display and I was quite happy with how fine everything was going..
  5. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    I recently installed Windows 7 via VirtualBox (free) on my i5/4GB/128GB 11in and it works awesomely. Originally I was only running Windows XP, for fear that Windows 7 would be too resource hungry, but decided to try out Windows 7 for the fun of it.

    Apps I use in it include Chrome, Matlab, LTSpice, PCSpim, SMOK, and Microsoft Office. Weirdly, browsing in Chrome in my Windows VM is just as fast, if not faster than browsing in Safari outside of my VM. Go figure.

    I dedicated 20GB to the VM, 1.5GB RAM, and 2 cores. I also gave it a boost in video RAM. It works well and I'm splendidly surprised. The SSD really helps. I get pretty decent scores in the Windows Experience grader thingy too. A lot better than my scores on my Sony Vaio (that cost more than twice what I paid for my 11in MBA) that I had up until last summer, that's for sure!
  6. macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2008
    Southern California
    If by application development you mean coding and compiling, I'd be a bit concerned about the the RAM limitations. I think you'd be better off doing boot camp and loading Windows as its own full install. Running it as a VM through VMware or Parallels is going to limit the amount of RAM and CPU you can actually devote to the Windows environment. I run Win7 on Parallels in coherence mode simply for the vSphere client, and between that and Outlook 2011 I use almost all of the memory. It might be a different story when the 2012 refresh happens assuming they jam 8GB into the machine, but for now I don't think it would make sense. Not to mention you're probably going to be running the CPU and memory at full clock for most of those compiling jobs, so you're going to have a toasty system and low battery life.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2010
    VMWare user here also. Use my VM on my domain at work, and for vsphere stuff. Works pretty darn fast, no problems.
  8. macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    I run a Win7 Pro VM on VMWare as well. Using 1GB of RAM for it and it runs quite smoothly - even Visual Studio.

    I do most of my work on my MBA though. My VM has PowerShell Server installed and I ssh into my VM from the MBA terminal. I edit my files using TextWrangler on the MBA and I compile/run C# code and PowerShell scripts through the SSH terminal. This gives me full access to our Windows network and our hosted Office 365 environment - all from the MBA console.

    I also use OneNote, Visio, Visual Studio (for some things), SharePoint WorkSpace and a couple admin tools with GUIs all on the VM. I run it in Unity mode and it's like a single device instead of two.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2010
    Intriguing idea bogatyr! You and I have very similar workflow, but I haven't thought of the PowerShell Server.
  10. macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    If you get it, you have to modify some of the base settings. Turn off impersonation, set the service to run under your domain user account and add a registry entry setting this value under it's key:

    String: SupportedTerminals
    Value: *=vt100

    Then the terminal window has to be a max of 80 characters wide.

    This is my second Mac, only had it a couple weeks and only had my first mac (personal MBP 13") a few weeks. I definitely love it and as an I.T. Manager of a 100% (99.999% now) Windows environment, it still works perfectly.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2010
    Yeah, I am in the same situation. There are 6k computers in our enterprise, 3 are macs. Mine (MBA), regional IT manager in Ca (15 mbp) and his assistant (13 mbp).

    We are always looking for cool integration tips.
  12. macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2010
    I have had no issues running win 7 pro 64-bit as a vm using fusion. I used the default settings from vmware and it functions well for my needs. To be honest, I only use it for MS Visio and Project routinely. If you plan to use resource intensive applications, you may want to bump up the virtual RAM to 1.5 GB if you have 4GB of physical RAM.

    I did that with a Win 8 vm and it too is working well.

    Good Luck

  13. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2010
    I havent tried Win 8 yet. May be a reason to upgrade my SSD with an OWC 240 gig drive! LOL.
  14. macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2011
    Wirelessly posted

    Vmware is good but not too great for gaming. But i found it slow
  15. macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    Any virtual machine isn't going to be great for any current games. Older games though, they seem to run fine. I run EQ, UO, U7, and M&M V on it with no issues.

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