"Typical" performance of Virtual PC

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ozone, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. ozone macrumors 6502

    ozone

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    Ontario, Canada
    #1
    I've looked at a few posts and noticed that people say Virtual PC 6.1 is "slow" especially if running Windows XP. Can anybody comment on the relative performance of Virtual PC for non-gaming applications; for example, running Outlook; a small specialized Windows only viewer; and other dedicated but not necessarily demanding apps.

    I also don't suppose anybody knows how much faster Virtual PC 7 is supposed to be?

    Thanks.
     
  2. brap macrumors 68000

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    May 10, 2004
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    Nottingham
    #2
    It all depends on what you're running it on. A G4/1.5 Powerbook will run better than a flower power iMac :D
    It's usable (and fairly well so) with Virtual Memory disabled, the best OS to use is by far Windows 2000. This means you have to have >640MB minimum in your Mac for OS X and Windows to be able to run effectively with minimal disk reads - it's these which really, really slow the process down. The emulated CPU is actually quite good.

    I was able to use 6.1 in my iBook G4/800/640 with Windows 2000 relatively snappily for Visual Studio (6 and net), even to the point of getting some DOS games to work properly. Basically, offload everything to memory as much as you can, and you'll be fine. There are plenty of other threads on this topic, have a quick search.
     
  3. csubear macrumors 6502a

    csubear

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    Aug 22, 2003
    #3
    Running VPC (win 2k) on my 1.33 rev c 12" powerbook (768MB Ram) is okay. Its not setting any windows speed records but it is usable. I personal run some VHDL, and micro-controller software. Its not CPU intensive, so everything is okay.

    I used to run it on my old 900Mhz Ibook. It was OKAY. But it got annoying after a while.

    VPC says that you can use USB devices, but every one that i have tried has failed miserably (NetMB, Bluetooth Adapter, NEC cell phone). But things like USB serial ports work. (most of the time)
     
  4. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a

    NusuniAdmin

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    Nov 19, 2003
    #4
    i used to run windows 98 se on my 500 mhz g3 wiht vpc 6.1...it ran pretty decent amazingly enough. Of course i had crap loads of optimization settings and such :p
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    May 19, 2002
    #5
    I though I usually hear it rated as slow, painful, frustrating, or annoying.
     
  6. vga4life macrumors 6502

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    Jun 16, 2004
    #6
    vpc 6.1 is adequate for those purposes.

    I recommend running Windows 98SE and assigning the virtual pc the maximum 512 megs of RAM - this obviously requires you to have much more than 512 megs of physical RAM in your Mac.

    I find performance in basic applications to be just fine on my 1.25 GHz emac with 1.5 GB physical RAM. It feels like a fast P-II for most tasks.

    -vga4life
     
  7. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a

    NusuniAdmin

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    #7
    uh dude.....emac 1.25 ghz only supports up to 1024 megs of ram (1 gig).....lol
     
  8. FredAkbar macrumors 6502a

    FredAkbar

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    #8
    For me (see my sig for my Mac specs) VPC 6 is extra-slow mainly with graphics (everyone will agree with that) and reading from its hard drive. I used to use it to run Windows XP and I would open something like iMesh (a p2p app) and I could literally sit there watching my computer for several minutes before it showed the slightest sign of opening iMesh. But once it was loaded, actual execution and reading from RAM is pretty fast.

    Now I run Win98 SE instead of XP in it, and it seems a lot faster (still fairly slow though, of course).

    The problem with running Windows 2000 or XP in VPC is that those OSes like to use so much RAM (just like OS X). For good performance with 2000 or XP you should let VPC give them at least 512 MB of RAM. But with anything less than a gig of RAM on your Mac, that could just slow your whole computer down (including VPC since that's an app running in OS X just like any other app) since OS X likes to hog a bunch of RAM as well.
     
  9. Kevin Nelson macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    #9
    Quite Happy

    I am using a G4 powerbook 867 w/640 megs ram.
    I use XP all day for work, no special tweaking done except for turning the sound off, as has been suggested.
    Works Great for me, I use a CAD program and can chug along nicely.
    IE works well too. Is it fast? Not too bad and not "painfully slow" Just kind of an easygoing pace like an old Pentium. Like they say, if you need that much speed you probably need to get a windows machine to run those programs anyway.
    As for me, I am happy to use it as I can get my work done in a reasonable fashion and all on one machine.
    Like many others I am anxiously awaiting VPC 7 and will happily plunk down th upgrade fee for any improvement to speed. Small price to pay for a program I use 52 weeks of the year. That's atround $2.00 a week per year for those following along at home or about .40 cents per workday. I could feed 8 of those starving kids for what I am paying for this, arrgh!
    Now I am pissed. (I am still gonna buy it though)
     
  10. porovaara macrumors regular

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    Mar 7, 2002
    Location:
    sf
    #10
    False, they support up to 2 gig.

    I use VPC with windows 2k everyday to do domain controller modifications (minor) and other basic windows tasks. The performance is okay, something along the lines of 1/4 my cpu (1.25ghz albook). However this is after a good deal of tuning for w2k.

    Set VPC to 256 megs of memory.

    Inside of w2k make sure your colours are set to the same amount as the mac desktop, even if you are in full screen mode.

    Turn off all shadows and visual effects in w2k.

    Go into services on the w2k install and disable absolutely everything you are sure you don't need. Uninstall things like Office if you are going to use them as they can greatly affect boot time and memory usage.
     
  11. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #11
    slow slow slow slow slow slow slow slow.
    hehe.

    run the bare minimum OS you need in VPC. and the more RAM and the more powerful the Mac, the better.
    if you REALLY need to do some serious stuff, just go and buy yourself a $300 PC. Odds are it'll be faster and all that stuff :)

    XP on a 800mhz P3 was faster than XP in VPC on a 1ghz PowerBook G4 with a gig of ram, if that means anything to you ;) :p
     
  12. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

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    #12
    ubergeek... your's was exactly the assessment I was looking for! Thanks!
     
  13. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    sunny los angeles
    #13
    likethe general feel of the whole thing...and running apps like vs.net and photoshop is just suicide...
    but hey glad you liked it :)
     
  14. neoelectronaut macrumors 68020

    neoelectronaut

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    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Southeastern Louisiana
    #14
    I was hoping I'd be able to play Jedi Knight, who's requirements were Pentium 90, 16MB ram, etc...but alas, it was a bad experience. :(
     
  15. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #15
    Not when you buy 1GB DIMMs from here:

    http://www.transintl.com/store/category.cfm?Category=2497

    I bet you think the emac only supports video mirroring on an external monitor, too.

    I love my dual-head, 1.5GB RAM 1.25GHz emac. Best $1000 computer I've ever bought.

    -vga4life
     
  16. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a

    NusuniAdmin

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    #16
    ah one of those dimms. Similer to what they had for the ibook g4 (or wus it the g3..). I looked around on abouty 10 different ram sites (including ramseeker) for a 1 gig dimm for emac 1.25 ghz but failed. Thats why i assumed it only supported a gig

    And i know that the emac can do video extension and such.
     
  17. Whigga Spitta macrumors 6502

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    Apr 21, 2004
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    Can you say Chi-City??
    #17
    We just picked up an iBook for around the house (i would like to get my family to convert). My dad uses a PC in his home office, but got along JUST FINE with a 300Mhz Micron computer running Windows 95. We recently put an old Dell 1 Ghz computer down there too and he uses the same programs. Will there be ANY speed differences running Windows 98 in VPC on an iBook 1.2 Ghz w/ 512 RAM as opposed to the 300 Mhz Windows 95 machine?
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    Unfortunately, I have a similar question to you all.

    I hear that using older versions of VPC work better. Can I load any version of Windows onto any version of VPC, or does the OS come with VPC? I want to use something decently fast, so WinXP in combo with VPC is out. I want to use VPC 7 when it comes out, and pair it with Win98 if possible. But is this possible?

    I'm asking now because I may be doing lots and lots of programming in the future, and it'll probably be completely in Windows. Maybe not, I'm not sure yet, but chances are it will be on Windows. Judging from what has been said, and from all the stuff I've read about VPC, Win98 works well and will function like a Pentium II 200MHz. It won't take advantage of the graphics card or something like that, so what you do can't be too graphics intensive. I hear VPC 7 may have better graphics capability, which would make VPC much more usable than before.

    And seeing as how programming usually doesn't require a lot of graphics, I'm guessing that I'll be able to program in VPC, right? Anyone?
     
  19. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

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    Dress Rosa
    #19
    This screen should give you some idea.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Grover macrumors member

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    May 14, 2004
    #20
    http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/virtualpc/virtualpc.aspx?pid=comingsoon

    You can get separate OS Packs, get VPC with an OS pack included or install retail versions of Windows. VPC behaves like a physical PC - you create a new machine, insert the boot media, start up and install. You can get a bare version and (try to) install whatever x86 OS you have. The OS packs are cheaper than the full retail versions but obviously are tied to VPC. I don't think that's as good a deal for non-XP OSes because you might give up on VPC and want to install it on real hardware. Since XP marries itself to the hardware, with it you're kind of out of luck either way.

    I have had good luck with VPC 6 for OS X installing non-MS operating systems. Last weekend, however, I tried installing SUSE 9.1 and Fedora 2 on the current version of VPC for Windows. Neither worked correctly (although Fedora Core 1 had.) The setup wizard does not now explicitly include non-MS OSes so they're probably not spending much time on compatibility with them. Since VPC 7 for Mac will be the first full MS version I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing happen. Even when non-MS OSes do work, they're not too useful because there are no accelerated "extensions" for them. The GUIs run really, really, really slowly. I have tried non-GUI Linux installations and that can work OK if you just want to run, say, Apache, MySQL and PHP.

    In terms of what OS you'd want to use, if you're serious about doing any coding with MS tools then you're basically going to have to use 2000 or XP. Windows 98 may run faster but you'll find that tools like VS .NET and XMLSpy either won't install or will complain because of the lack of Unicode support. The tools channel you to the latest versions of everything. Take a look at MSDN and you'll see that it's unlikely that you'd want to try coding - especially .NET - in Windows 98. For Windows development I run XP Professional on a PC and use RDC to control it. Over wired Ethernet there is sometimes a little lag (especially at Cinema Display resolutions) but it works OK.

    There's another very important limitation of VPC that played a large part in my decision to move to a physical PC - none of the dopey "activation" scehemes that I've tried work with it. If you've got some activation-protected software that you have to use then you need a physical PC.

    I still use VPC for both Windows and OS X almost every day, though. I've got VMs set up with SQL Server and IIs that I use for testing. When I'm done, I just revert back to the previous state and I'm ready to go again. If you don't have to use Windows tools, you can minimize VPC to the dock, share the development folder and code in OS X. It's also great for browser testing and doing things you could probably never afford with real hardware like simulating network configurations.

    My wife uses VPC on her machine (1 GHz G4 with 256 RAM for VPC) to run Quicken and Netobjects Fusion for Windows. It's a little slow - by which I mean that you'll sometimes have to wait for screen redraws. If you're a patient person, you're OK. It's hard to compare to a Pentium - my sense is that processing speed is equivalent to a Pentium II 400-500 but video performance is slower. Calculations seem to happen quickly but screen refresh can lag. If MS gets closer to native video performance with VPC7 that will be a huge usability improvement.

    One last word on performance. I use Windows 2000 for VPC. I tried XP and as others have said it is incredibly slow. Slow to the extent that when you click on a menu in Visual Studio, you can pause a beat and then watch it draw itself. That's even with all the XP visual tricks turned off and with the "classic" Windows GUI. With the exact same VM settings Windows 2000 is quite useable. There really is that much of a speed difference - at least on my hardware.
     
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #21
    I'm actually not sure what type of programming it is. There's a PhD offer for someone who wants to do image manipulation and take care of patient motion in medical (PET) imaging. When a patient moves during a 5 second scan, it kills resolution. Even when they try to keep still, patient motion still exists. Resolution isn't horrible, but it could be better. They want someone to actually reduce the effects of patient motion in digital images. I'd probably be told what theories they have to accomplish this, and then I "only" need to figure out how to write this program.

    Anyway, I've done limited university programming, taken some classes where I programmed in Matlab and C, but this seriously sounds out of my league, so I may give up on the idea of this particular PhD offer. The math may not be that bad, but trying to figure out how it works in a programming environment will be tough. I've multiplied matrices in Matlab, and I can do all the things involving arrays and such, and my (wild) guess would be that this is the type of programming I'd have to do. Not sure, though.

    Anyway, it'll definitely be unrelated to Windows programming, and I was just thinking about the possibility of needing a PC if I attempted this project, but then thought, "Wait, how about VPC 7!!" If it processes as fast as a PIII 400MHz or so, then that's decent. I'll just get a 1GB stick of RAM to up it to 1.25 GB total, and that should be fine on my 1GHz G4. I just hope MS doesn't up the requirements or make it more bloated somehow. :eek:
     
  22. Mac Lad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Location:
    Big Easy, Louisiana
    #22
    I have VPC 6.1 with WinXP installed on my 1Ghz 12" PowerBook. I must say that it's pretty slooow.... The system says that my comp. is P1 or P2 processor or something. But, maybe it's because I'm only allocating 384MB of RAM into it. I was very eager to use AutoCad on VPC, but even the installation process takes forever....

    I wonder if putting more RAM (like 512MB) will speed it up, unfortunately I only have a total of 768MB on my Mac... Oh well...
     

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