How well does Parallels run on MBA 2011?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by enigma2k, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. enigma2k macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010

    I am interested in using Parallels on my MBA 13" 2011 with 4GB ram.

    I am wonder, however, how well it works. Does it make the fan go up or does it stay at 2000rpm?
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    It runs extremely smoothly, as far as I'm concerned (I have the 11" i7). If you start running a lot of OS X or Windows programs in the background, it will get the fans running, but merely booting up Windows doesn't seem to kick the fans into high gear.
  3. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    Agreed with the last poster - Parallels is great. It actually ran very well on last years MBA, so it's even smoother on the 2011 models.
  4. SHIPARCH macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2011
    Hello, first post here. :cool:

    I also have the same question. I will be buying a 13" i7 Ultimate MacBook Air and need to run Parallels in order to run a CPU intensive program named Revit on Windows; does Parallels 6 slow down the program since two OS's are running simultaneously or would Boot Camp be a better option for higher CPU usage?
  5. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    The beauty of Parallels is that you can have both solutions. You run Bootcamp and install Windows 7. Then you boot into OSX and install Parallels. When you install Parallels it will give you the option to create your virtual machine from your Bootcamp partition. So now you can run Parallels under OSX OR you can reboot and boot into the same Windows install in pure Windows mode.

    Best of both worlds.
  6. BlueRibbon macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2011
    I use Parallels 6 on MBP and totally hate it. It was fast for the first 6 months or so, now the Windows 7 in Parallels takes 5-10 minutes to "wake up" and gets slower and slower. Also makes the MBP run extremely hot and noisy :mad: My co-worker loved his VMWare Fusion, but after several months, that one bogged down and he stopped using that too. So on my new MBA, installed boot camp instead, and didn't even want to bother any virtual machines.
  7. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    The problem there is Windows not your vm system.

  8. macau macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2010
    I run Parallels 6 / XP on my new MBA 13/i7. It's great. I mostly use it for VS2008, and other windows based development platforms. I also have a few old apps that are only Windows.

    Previously I was running Parallels 3 on an old white Macbook running OSX 10.4, so I had to upgrade to Parallels 6 so it would run with OSX 10.7. The only hassle I had was importing the old disk image, but eventually that worked.

    I really appreciate the extra speed over my old setup. Everything compiles and starts up quicker.

    I only wish they'd integrate it better with TimeMachine. That part is a bit flakey at present. It only appears to backup the hard disk image if you shut down and restart the windows machine. Plus it doesn't do incremental backups i.e. even if you change one file on the windows disk image, the entire image needs to be backed by time machine.

    Overall, it's a big improvement, and just fine for my design/development work.
  9. christophermdia macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2008
    I run win 7 on Parallels on an i7 13" MBA and it runs great, smooth and without hiccups.....I love having win 7 available should i need it, which is mainly because of Internet Explorer....
  10. agentfrick macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2011
    Louisville, KY
    Running Parallels 6 on an 11.6" i5 4GB RAM and it runs greats no slow downs and the fans have been quiet.
  11. skeevewiz macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Hi, I run Parallels every day and the fan rarely goes above 2000...heat goes up from 40-45 C to 60-70 C. Haven't used it for more than 30 minutes at a time, extended use could cause the fan to kick in.

    And it works AWESOME. Very smart product.
  12. switch to mac macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Parallels - ready boost


    Can an SD-card be used to "ready boost" windows 7 in parallels?
  13. macfairwood macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2011
    i want to ask should i install win7 32bit or 64bit ?
  14. dilgit macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2010
    I have Window 7 64bit installed with Parallels 6 on my new iMac 27"(2011) top of the line 3.4GHz, 16GB Ram, 256GB SSD sata 3, as well as on my MacBook Pro 2011 13" i7 2.7GHz, 8GB Ram and 250GB SSD sata 3. On both, Windows 64bit is running smoothly with no problems what so ever. I intend to do the same on my new MacBook Air 13" I'm getting next week. No Bootcamp for me!!! Just Parallels virtual machine.
  15. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    If you are just going to run it in Parallels, then 32-bit is fine since you likely won't give Windows more than 2GB. 64-bit may be slightly better if you use Boot Camp since it will allow Windows 7 to access all of your 3.625GB of available system RAM (384MB is used by the HD 3000 graphics). 32-bit might only access about 3.25GB of it. But either version will run on whatever setup you have. I have 64-bit in my Boot Camp partition, and it's fine even when I access it through Parallels.
  16. bluez3 macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    i dont think you will get good results with Revit in a virtual environment. Minimum ram requirements for revit is already 4gb. you gotta leave ram for os x to run host to the parallels virtual environment, so you can't allocate all 4gb to parallels.

    you would want to run it in boot camp so windows has control of all 4gb, or look for a different laptop that can handle more ram. we run revit on workstations with 12-16gb and even that still stutters on medium sized projects.

    if you really want to stick with the MBair you can try using remote desktop to remote control a properly configured work station. we've done that, and revit works amazingly more fluid than autocad over remote desktop.
  17. enigma2k thread starter macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    Is there a way to rip Windows7 so it won't take too much space. I just need to run Internet Explorer for development and I don't need anything else.
  18. SHIPARCH macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2011
    Thanks bluez3, that's been my dilemma with the Air. I was originally planning on getting a 15" MacBook Pro with the highest possible specs and a 256 GB SSD but the rumors of a new Pro model along with the better Air won me over, specially when spending $3k on a laptop which will soon be outdated. Also carrying the Pro around all day everyday to school and back.

    I will begin graduate architecture school next month so that's what I need the computer for; the largest Revit files I will work on will be between 50 MB and 75 MB, maximum 100 MB but I doubt they'll get there. How do you think the HD3000 graphics card will handle rendering? My current Vista Vaio FZ with 3 GB Ram and an Nvidia 8400 GM card handled my files quite well with little lag.
  19. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Does IE need to be running in Win7 or would XP serve just as well?
  20. bluez3 macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Recognizing my Macbook air is not equipped to handle revit, and autodesk's cost prohibative licensing fees to get a copy of my own, I've never run revit natively on my MacBook air, only thru remote desktop to my office workstation. Only way I suppose that works fine is because the workstation is doing the grunt work number crunching, and the air is merely being a conduit to display what the other machine is rendering.

    I imagine if revit's 3d rendering engine is anything similar to a modern 3d game, a dedicated graphics processor will be necessary, preferably with 1gb of video ram or more.
  21. P0stalTek macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2011
    This is actually a great question which I'd love to hear the answer to. Also, in the same vein, how about thumb drives?
  22. enigma2k thread starter macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    I must be Windows 7, because XP won't run IE9
  23. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    There's no need to Ready Boost Windows 7 running on an SSD. It would actually slow it down, since page swaps to the SD card are slower than page swaps to the SSD. Windows 7 is smart enough to realize this and won't let you activate it. Ready Boost is only useful if you are running Windows 7 with too little RAM and and on a system with a slow hard drive.
  24. LightOnAHill macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2010

    THANK YOU!!!

    This is just what I was wondering. I've been too busy to get to finishing my bootcamp install, but I'm really glad I can access the same "windows instance" via either reboot or parallels. This is epic tight, I can't wait for saturday when I'm going to get my nerd on and finish this!!!
  25. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010

    Be sure to run Parallels Tools once you set it up to use your Boot Camp partition. You'll also need to activate Windows a second time (the first time you load it up in Parallels). Parallels Tools will prevent you needing to keep reactivating it. What happens is that Boot Camp shows Windows all your raw hardware, while Parallels shows a "virtual" hardware layer that doesn't match up (e.g. less RAM, a "different" graphics card, etc.).

    Also remember not to use Hibernate in either Boot Camp or Parallels, and don't try to "suspend" your virtual machine, either. That could cause problems, for instance, if you hibernated in Parallels and attempted to restart in Boot Camp.

    Other than that, though, a Boot Camp partition works great as a virtual machine. That's what I do. I usually use Parallels, but when I need more speed, or know for sure I don't need to run OS X applications, I can just go into Boot Camp.

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