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Titanium PB 15" 867 - 768MB RAM - Virtual PC Performance?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by ejdtennis, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. macrumors newbie


    This is my first post here so bear with me:

    I am considering the purchase of a 15" G4 PowerBook (867 Mhz - 768MB RAM). This would be my first Mac and I would use it mainly for simple web surfing/email/word processing. I do have some concerns/questions:

    - For work, I still need Windows, so I would need to run VirtualPC 6.0 - Windows XP Pro. Would performance be tolerable given the above setup?

    (I would be running an online help authoring tool (RoboHelp) that sits on top of MS Word for Windows. This requires a bit more horsepower than Word alone, but nothing like a graphics program.)

    - I gather that the 15" is still a "Titanium" Powerbook and the 12" and 17" are "Aluminum". Other than AirPort Extreme capability, what are the major features that I am losing by going with the older model?

    Sorry for the questions. I really want to wait for an updated 15" but am getting frustrated. However, if Virtual PC will be terribly slow on this older PB, I may just get both and iBook and a cheap Windows machine.

    Thanks for any input you can provide.


  2. macrumors regular

    I run VPC 6 w/ Win XP Pro on a 1ghz 15" PowerBook w/ 1gb of memory. In a word, it's sloowwwww....

    You can speed it up a bit by allocating more system memory to VPC and XP, but then your Mac applications will suffer (and the PB ain't no speed demon to begin with, even with native OS X applications). I only allocate 256mb of my 1gb to VPC, and it pretty much crawls as a result. One option is to shut down VPC when you're not using it, which releases the memory, but it takes so long for the whole thing to boot -- first VPC, then XP, then your applications, that you'll tire of that pretty quick. I don't run anything too demanding under VPC, mostly ACT! and Visio, but I hate using it because of the performance issues. I don't have a choice, though, because I need to use ACT!, Visio and Access in my work.

    The combination of not having OS X native versions of these programs available and my lousy experiences w/ Apple's support and service have convinced me to go back to PC's permanently (the PB is my first and last Mac).
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Two issues:

    1) VPC performance: Having used Windows emulators for about 8 years now, I have decided this is a personal thing--how slow is too slow; how fast is fast enough--these things depend on you. Also, the previous poster doesn't seem to understand that Windows doesn't have to boot most of the time--it essentially goes to sleep, waking again the next time you run VPC. There are other things you can do to improve performance. Search the forums for threads on this.

    Overall, I run VPC as little as possible, but it works when I need it to. If you need to run it for long stretches of time every day, you will probably not be happy.

    One other thought on this--if you have access to an Apple store, try VPC at one of them. They run XP on the machines that have it. That will give you some idea of the performance.

    2) TiBook 867: I have a TiBook 667 and am very happy with it in most respects. The only thing that bugs me on a regular basis is airport reception. It's fair. My wife's iBook blows it away. The newer 12" and 17" seem to fix this issue by putting the antenna in the monitor. Oh, and you lose the built-in bluetooth connectivity. Frankly, though, I like my little USB bluetooth connector. It works just great.

    Hope this was helpful.


    p.s., dkeninitz--too bad your experience was bad. While the transition can be rough (depending on your computer needs), it's usually more than worth it.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Just get an iBook and a PC tower, if you want to use WinXP. VPC is slow. (I have a PB 800 512MB, and didn't even try to use XP in VPC. Only Windows 98 /95)

    But Mac and PC do not leave peacefully together. It's not a Mac's fault, he's trying his best. It is just that Windows is a bit egoistic.

    Maybe you could try to find an alternative to the tool you are using?
  5. macrumors G4

    First off--VPC 6 is native. As such, you don't have to allocate memory. MacOS X does that. You don't have to shut it down. It behaves just like any other MacOS X application. You don't have to quite your application, Win XP, and then VPC. You can quit VPC. It will save your application in place and start-up right left off the next time you launch VPC. You can even set it to start-up whenever you login to your Mac.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    One other thing I would suggest is using Mac programs whenever possible. While Visio is nice, I prefer OmniGraffle Pro. It can import from and export to Visio, has a great interface, and is very intuitive.

  7. macrumors regular

    I already do everything you've described. Regarding allocating memory, VPC requests you set a maximum allocation when you first install it. I set it at 256mb because I didn't want any more memory than that being allotted to VPC/XP. Since I run XP on numerous Windows machines, I can attest that it's a memory hog; it would love to have my whole PB 1gb if it could. I use a minimum of 512mb on my Wintel machines, most have 1gb.

    Bottom line for me is, programs running under VPC/XP are slow -- about the equivalent of running them under XP on a 400mhz P3 w/ 256K of RAM -- and my other Mac apps run slower when VPC is open. So, the Mac addicts here can say what they want, but if the original poster is looking to make a PowerBook his main machine, with a heavy emphasis on running Windows programs, then I think he's making a mistake. Frankly, an 867 mhz Wintel machine with 768K of RAM wouldn't exactly be a speed demon for running XP.

    Re: Omnigraffle, I have it and occasionally use it, but it doesn't seamlessly import Visio files in their native format - it does XML only. I find that Mac adherent's generally prefer the Mac counterpart of PC programs (and vice versa - it's human nature), so I think PC users should take recommendations with a grain of salt (I personally don't think OmniGraffle begins to compare with Visio, but hey, that's a personal thing.)

  8. macrumors 68030


    One thing that alot of people dont do to XP is turn off alot of the frills that make it run so slowly. XP has a built-in setting for slow computers that turns off all the fancy shading etc. On my 1ghz PowerBook its slow, but in no way unusable.
  9. Moderator emeritus


    Check out the this thread for some people's performance on VPC6.
  10. macrumors member

    try win2k...

    /me looks over at the iBook 600 running win 2k...

    Yep, it's slow - but then again it ain't my primary dev machine either... And it's not as slow as I thought it would be either... I also don't benefit from Altivec.

    Though I did know a guy who used his powerbook (using winNT) to actually Develop windows software ;)

    Funny, I also found my book zippier than a PII lappy with Word and Excel.

    I know other guys have talked about mac Equivalents, but I can say that sometimes your hands can be tied with what your requirements are - that's why things like VPC exist...

    -- Dan :D
    P.S. I like the tip about diabling all the eye-candy. If you don't have XP - try using tweakUI if you don't like poking around to disable things like menu fade-in (2k) or scroll-in (98).
  11. macrumors 68020

    Your problem is really XP. I use VPC on a 500MHz Powerbook, and performance is quite good for the few apps I use. Why? Because I use Windows 98.

    Windows XP is a pig, even on PCs. It's amazing how slowly it runs even on 2GHz P4s. If you need NT compatibility, Windows 2000 is your best choice. It still has a lot of overhead, but it's a lot better than XP, and less buggy as well.

    I have and use PCs as well as Macs, and I wouldn't put XP on them if you gave it to me.
  12. macrumors member

    Interesting... I don't think I'd ever use XP on VPC, but seriously, I only ever got one bluescreen with XP and it was on an early beta...

    It's interesting to see people's different experiences with XP - ranging from 'great' to 'sucks'... However, I've got the feeling this also depends on what version of XP they're running:- Pro or Home... I only use pro so that may be why I haven't had any probs...

    Is there any way to tweak XP on the services/processes side in order to get it to play nicer with VPC? Once you turn off the eye-candy I see most of the performance probs are with unwanted/needed services being started...

    ... of Course we should all be using OS X anyway ;)

    -- Dan :D
  13. macrumors 6502a


    dosnt vp6 run much better in os9?
  14. macrumors regular

    Interesting...that's about how I feel about Win98. Has all the stability of a third-world dicator:) I'm curious though: what Windows platform will you run when 98 is no longer supported, by software developers as well as MS?

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