4 GB of RAM enough for VM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Gata, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Gata macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2010
    Would 4 GB of RAM be enough to run Windows 7, assuming that I have a 32-bit edition of Windows 7 Professional and that I devote 2 GB of memory to it? Or would it be better if I were to BootCamp it in 64-bit mode and take advantage of ll the RAM?

    I'm planning to run CS3.

    Photoshop-Some basic text and photo editing, though I do sometimes work on really big pictures (i.e. 5000x5000) for the sake of quality and then downscale it.

    Flash- I use it once in a while to make 3-4 minute animations with about 25-40 objects on the screen at any one time, with most in motion. When I do this, I usually do it at around 1080p (so as to retain the quality of the bitmap elements when I change video sizes, and so that I can make it smaller without a quality loss) and export every once in a while to mp4 @ 60 fps.

    Illustrator- Usually, just a simple drawing or two, though I sometimes make 3d letters (see screenshot), and import them into flash to animate.
    An example of a simple letter (based off of Adobe's Flash's F)

    Dreamweaver- Rarely used,but make websites once in a while, with a lot of pictures and some flash.

    Adobe Flash Encoder- Used once in a while.

    I'd prefer to work in a VM, but I can't have that come at a significant impact on performance. So, should I bootcamp it w/ 64-bit and 4 gb of ram or vm it in 32-bitw/ 2 GB of RAM?
    Any advice would be appreciated.:)

    Attached Files:

    • FLA.jpg
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  2. karupspc macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2008

    Here's what I discovered when using Vmware Fusion 3.1 (fresh installation)

    All of my virtual machines are Windows XP SP3. Allocated 1GB memory each.
    At any given time, I could have one or both vm's running for testing apps. But usually one machine is on.

    2010 MBP 13" 2.66 8GB memory booted into 32-bit mode. I know that Vmware Fusion runs 32bit mode but the VDMK runs in 64 bit (check Activity monitor > All processes).
    Under 32 bit mode, amazingly with 8GB memory (iTunes running in background) and a Windows XP virtual machine running Activity Monitor shows only 200-300MB free memory.

    If I reboot to 64 bit mode then using the identical apps and virtual machine after 30 minutes I check Activity Monitor, it shows nearly 3GB free memory.

    My suggestion is to keep an eye on Activity Monitor for memory usage.
  3. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    I run virtual machines with only 2GB of total ram available and I run Windows 7 with them.

    The apps I use include: Sony Acid, Sony Vegas, Visual Studio 2010 and IE mainly. They run very well with only 512MB dedicated for Windows 7 and with Aero on. I think you'll be fine, so long as your hard drive is fast (5400RPM at least)
  4. Jof macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2008
    2GB for windows could be ok, but 2GB left for the rest of OSX? Less likely. I use >6GB almost every day because of my VMs.

    Running out of ram regularly is a miserable experience.
  5. robotmonkey macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2010
    Probably pushing it with 4 (still do-able), 6 should be fine, 8 may be overkill.
  6. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003
    I live in VM land and I can tell you that 8 Gig is where it is at. I program in Visual Studio on a Windows XP Pro VM and I would never go less than 8 Gig.

    Now the next issue with 8 Gig is how to deal with the swap file in XP? I want to reduce my HD access while flipping between my VM and OS X. Well, if you assign 2 to 3 Gig of memory to the VM, disable the swapfile in XP. It makes the VM scream since you greatly reduce the disk access in XP.

    Speaking of VMs....

    I was a huge fan of Virtualbox up until the fine folks at Oracle came and bought SUN out....

    Virutalbox was upgraded to from 3.1.8 (which was awesome) to 3.2.x and it just plain sucks... Visual Studio 2010 wont run at all and Office 2010 has issues - both 3.1.8 and 3.2.x.

    I'm thinking of switching to VMWare Fusion. If you haven't picked a VM yet keep this in mind about VB.


  7. gonzaload1987 macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2009
    What about parallels? Have you ever try it? The las version is just awesome and the integration with os is fantastic and no configuration is required
  8. robotmonkey macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2010
  9. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003
    Thanks for the info! I forgot about Parallel. You seem to be pretty happy with it. Has it been good for you? Do you know if you can load 64 bit Host OS's on it?

  10. Azathoth macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2009
    4GB 2010 MBP here.

    Allocating 2GB or RAM to Fusion 3.1 running Windows 7 (32bit Home) made the OS X part run slowly, lots of Beachballing.

    I reduced Windows 7 memory to 512MB and it runs well with firefox and Agilent ADS design software (50 000 dollar engineering program), and OS X remains usable.

    Windows 7 will boot and can use Firefox in 256MB (tested myself), so 1.5GB should be ok for the whole system - I ran Win7 on my 2.5GB PC laptop for years and it ran everything I threw at it (ok, until I started doing full 3D EM simulations that would hit the pagefile)

    Could you get a number of the Adobe programs licensed to run under OS X? That would lighten the load (and perhaps make the workflow easier.

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