13" Pro vs 13" Air for Parallels/Bootcamp

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by bockscar, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. bockscar macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Planning to get my first Macbook. I'm currently torn between the 13" Pro and 13" Air. Both will be upgraded to 8GB RAM.

    Did a fair bit of reading/research.

    Based on benchmarks, the 13" Pro (2.9Ghz) is about 28% faster (Geekbench Benchmarks: 8590 for the 13" Pro and 6670 for the 13" Air). I will be doing engineering in uni. but I think the Air's performance will suffice for most software needs. And I can cope with a slower speed for the occasional use of such software cos at most i'll do the module for a semester and i wont use it again.

    But more importantly is running Windows on Mac. Did some reading on the difference between Bootcamp and Parallels.

    The HDD/SSD space difference between the two is the one that will decide which I will be getting.

    I will need to do a partition on my hard disk. Assuming I get a 13" Air with 256GB SSD, the usable space will probably be lower by about 10-20GB? Not sure of the exact amount cos I've never had a Mac and unsure how much space OSX takes up.

    Given that I will only use Windows 10% of the time, how much SSD space will be needed to install Windows and maybe a few programs? Would 50GB be sufficient? That will only leave me with at least 150GB SSD of free space on OSX.

    And partitions cant be increased/decreased without having to re-do the entire boot camp setup right?

    RAM - While I understand that HDD space will be partitioned? What about RAM. Will they be partitioned? Or will I get to fully utilize 8GB when I'm using OSX, and fully utilize 8GB when I'm using Windows. I notice that for Parallels they assign the amount of RAM.

    Based on youtube videos I've seen, it's like running Windows in OSX like an app.

    When installing the Windows via Parallels, we are asked to assign the RAM. If 2GB is assigned from a the 8GB ram, will that be permanent? Or if I'm not running parallels the full 8GB will be used by OSX and when I open Windows via Parallels only then will 2GB be assigned for separate use?


    In a nutshell, I'm deciding between the 13" Air and 13" Pro on its abilities to comfortably support Windows (either via Bootcamp or Parallel). And of course, I will need a Superdrive to install Windows on the Air but I just found a workaround to install via a USB flash drive.

    Thanks in advanced.
  2. Glockron macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2012
    :) I'm in exactly the same boat so I'll hang in here to see the responses.
    And - I'll pop in a little cheeky question of my own

    If I buy one Win 7 license (or 8 when it comes), and I use it for Parallels, can I then also use it for BootCamp if I want?
  3. NAYo2002, Jul 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012

    NAYo2002 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2011
    I use parallels with Windows 7 on an external HDD. I also only allocate 1GB of RAM and it runs just fine. Note: I only use windows for MS Project, so if you play games and such, you might want to allocate more RAM.

    You get the RAM back as soon as you quit the Parallels Desktop app. I have the 4GB Macbook Air and it runs OK with 3GB of remaining RAM when Parallels is running.

    Here's a video I made showing just that:


    You'll get the full spec of the machine in Bootcamp. It might be better for gaming and hardware intensive software. In all honesty though, Parallels with 2GB allocated should be more than enough for most educational purposes.

    Windows 7 Ultimate after all the updates will take about 16GB. MS Office Pro after updates is about another 10 GB so I'd at least provide Windows partition with 30GB + size of apps you want to run. For Macbook Air though, Parallels is going to be your best bet since the size of the Virtual Machine only grows on needed basic.

    Or you can do what I did with a USB 3.0 external HDD. This option works for me since I only want to be able to use Windows if I absolutely need it. I don't want want it taking up some of my limited 128GB SSD space because I don't even need to use Windows 95% of the time.
  4. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    I don't think you should even consider gaming via Parallels. It's not impossible but it's not pretty either.

    Both the 13" Pro and 13" Air will run virtualization fine, if you get 8GB ram at least. The 13" Pro has the ability to expand higher ram to 16GB (Maybe 32?) while the air is stuck. That's also something to consider.
  5. bockscar thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Appreciate the response. I will definitely look into putting the Windows on an external drive. Seems useful.

    Even if I dont do that I'll just set aside 40GB for Bootcamp.

    Still torn between the Parallels vs Bootcamp. I'll do some more research to see which will suit my educational needs.

    The video you showed was really helpful.

    Yeah I do intend to get at least 8GB on both the Pro and the Air. Not specifically for Virtualization but more of future-proof. It'll definitely help int he Virtualization as well.
  6. KevinN206 macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2009
    I got the Pro 13" simply because it's much more upgradeable. I also got a 256GB SSD drive for $190 separately and plan to use it on the Pro 13".

    My biggest gripe with the Pro 13" inch is the awful, awful resolution (especially when you paid $1400 includes AppleCare). It should not be less than the Air 13". In fact, it should be at least 1600x900 or greater.

Share This Page