2011 MBP 13" for Virtual Machines (3-4+ at same time)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hellfire88, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. hellfire88 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    #1
    Hi All,
    Did a quick search but didnt find any previous posts very similar to my quick question. I just got an early 2011 MBP 13" (Core i5-2410m 2.3GHz dual-core). I am looking to set up some Virtual Machines for MCITP Certification training purposes (3-4 Microsoft Server 2008/Win7 VMs). I do have a pretty powerful gaming PC, but since I don't game much anymore, I'm looking to sell it.

    My question is, does anyone out there run 3-4 VMs simultaneously on a dual-core i5 MBP 13"? The VMs won't have too heavy of a load per se, but will most likely be on at the same time. I also like to have 30+ tabs in Firefox open at the same time (yea I know, I need to re-evaluate my browsing habits lol). Can a Core i5-2410m dual-core CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD handle this with decent speed? Or would I need to upgrade to a quad-core CPU for best results? Basically I'm entertaining the idea of a 2011 MBP 13" being my only PC for web browsing + VM training. Looking for any real-world experiences before I buy the VMWare Fusion license. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    Its doable, but performance will be rather poor given the dual core setup.

    I'd recommend a quad core, with gobs of ram. I've run two VMs on my MBP (dual core C2D) and performance suffered a lot
     
  3. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #3
    I'm assuming you're going to want "reasonable" performance across all the machines (including your native OSX side). I'm going to say, you might want to very seriously consider going with a 3rd party 16GB RAM upgrade.

    Even if you went with a "minimum suggested" memory allocation for each VM, you're looking at 3-4 x 1.5-2GB/ea, plus having something left over for OSX.

    Great use for a VM setup, being able to simulate a whole network on a single machine, configure domains, accounts, security, AD, etc.
     
  4. hellfire88 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    #4
    Thanks a lot guys for the prompt response. I guess VMWare/Parallels gives free 30day trials so I can just download and give it a try to gauge the performance. I really want to just downsize to one computer since having 2, I feel like I'm under-utilizing the other. Plus, I don't really game on PC anymore so it makes more and more sense for me to sell my desktop ASAP while it has some value :).

    A decent laptop would make more sense as my only PC for when I need the portability (and its nice to sit on the couch with the wife in the living room while browsing forums instead of hiding in my office). It'd be a shame if this 13" MBP can't handle it adequently, but then again, can't expect too much from a dual-core CPU. May have to upgrade to a 15" MBP or *gasp* switch back to a Windows laptop (just simply way cheaper for the specs).

    D.T.: Yea I'm hoping to finally knock out my certs and VM seems the most efficient way to go for training/home-lab purposes :)
     
  5. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #5
    Stop with all this dual core nonsense when you're running 4x VMs plus the host OS the only thing that matters is RAM and I/O. Obviously no one is going to be happily running 4 vms on the internal 5400 RPM drive. You'll preferrebly get some type of thunderbolt raid solution but thats if time = money such as myself. In the interim one can get buy with running the OS + 1, maybe two VMs off the internal disk and using an external firewire to run the others.

    But at the end of the day its not like you're building a brand new domain controller for production use in an environment that's expected to handle hundred of thousands of authentication entries daily. You can run as it is but it won't be pretty. 8 GBs of ram + SSD or external drive and youll be all right.

    <-------MCITP Windoze Server + VMware ESXi extraordinaire
     
  6. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #6
    Cool, good luck!

    FWIW, I'm running a Parallels (v6) Win7 VM on my quad 2.3Ghz MBP, 8GB RAM (7.2K HDD) and it runs very good. I've got 4GB allocated to it, running VS2010, and usually a DB tool, a DB and IIS, so it's a totally self-contained dev setup.

    On the OSX side I usually have running Mail, iCal, iTunes a few other system utils, Chrome with a tons of tabs open.

    I actually ported over my old Windows machine using the migration tool, so it's basically my old setup in an VM which is pretty cool, didn't even have to reinstall anything :)
     
  7. bdinger macrumors member

    bdinger

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    #7
    Seconded, thirded, fourth-ed.

    I'd say that if you ran your VM's off a external hdd in a FW enclosure (the latter of which you could get from new egg in not a bad price) and had 8GB of RAM, it would be acceptable. 16GB, which I just got for $139, would be ideal.

    YMMV, but that's the route I'd go. I'd also use VirtualBox instead of Parallels or VMWare.

     
  8. ammarr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    #8
    I have managed to run 3 windows (for IE 7, 8, 9 testing) + 1 linux vm (web server) for web development and it was just fine. This is with an SSD and 8 gb ram. The windows VMs had 1 gb ram each, with the server having another 512.

    It should be simple enough for you to figure out - if the ram that you've given to all the VMs exceeds the total that you have available, then you might have a lot of paging. Otherwise, you should be fine.
     
  9. hellfire88 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    #9
    Thanks again guys for the responses. I do have 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD so I'll give it a shot sometime this week and see how the performance is.
     
  10. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    I run a couple VM's with an iMac an Core i3 CPU. They ran even beeter on my MBP with the i5 and Intel SSD, both have 8GB RAM.
     
  11. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #11
    I do this almost everyday on a quad core with 16GB of RAM and a 180 SSD and 500 GB firewire drive. I noticed the biggest constraint for me was the memory. If they are sitting idle you might be fine, most of mine are active though, so I needed the 16GB as page-outs were killing me, I could reset in the morning and easily have 40-50GB worth of page outs by the end of the day with 8GB. Now with 16GB I haven't restarted/ reset my page-out counters in days and am at just above 500 MB for total page-outs.

    I use VMWare Fusion as it works with all of the images my company uses (we use lots of VMWare images and this allows me to trade easily).
     
  12. dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #12
    You might want to try it before saying things like this. It is well known that the cpu does very little in performance when it comes to virtualisation. There are only 2 major variables that make a huge difference, especially when running multiple vm's: I/O (aka your disk) and amount of memory. Make sure that you have 8GB of memory and an ssd and the vm's will almost fly. I have a rather old ssd in my mid 2010 MBP with the dual core i5 2.4 GHz (the cheapest 15" version at the time) and with 8GB of memory. Running 8 vm's at the same time is no problem with this configuration, running 4 would be quite easy. Of course it depends a bit on what the vm's will be doing but generally speaking the performance will be enough. The 2011 13" MBP has a faster cpu btw.

    Probably because I/O is a big problem or you've appointed too many vCPUs to the vm. This is a well known cause for performance issues with vm's. You can only appoint half the amount of physical cores/cpus as vCPUs: if you have 4 physical cores/cpus you can appoint a max of 2 to a vm. You can not tell vm software for OS X on what cpu/core it should run, they'll sort that out automatically. The vCPU option does something else (seems to be a very common misunderstanding). It merely is another cpu for the vm.

    Both Parallels and VMware have guides on how to setup vm's properly. Be sure to read them. Don't overdo it with the amount of memory and vCPUs because it will cause very big performance problems for both the vm's as well as OS X!
     
  13. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #13
    I Would like to know how you have your VM's configured. I think that you may have them open, but I don't believe that you actually have 8 VM's concurrently running on a single dual core processor and they are doing any real work. One of my active VM machines running Outlook utilizes about 10% of a core maintaining a connection to the exchange server, and this is on my quad core with just one VM running at the time. The same VM machine running on my 2.3 C2D mini server chokes the server and tasks the CPU more so than the quad core (running it at about 20% with 8GB of memory on the system).
     
  14. SurferMan, Jan 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012

    SurferMan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    Location:
    South FL
    #14
    More ram and you should be good to go like others mentioned. I only have 4GB but run Virtual Box with Win7 flawlessly while going back and forth mainly trading on the platforms I use (forex etc) as I've never liked os/x for that, but 4GB wouldn't handle multiple VM's running especially if each one is doing something intensive. You already have an SSD so that helps.

    Give Virtual Box a try, I didn't see a need to pay for Parallels or VMware after trying, since VB does basically the same thing and it's free from Oracle which is pretty cool.
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #15
    And you might want to finish reading my post. I infact have run multiple VMs and found the dual core to be rather poor, where as my quad core handled it much better
     

Share This Page