iMac 2.4GHz / 2.8GHz for Virtualisation

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ICEBreaker, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. ICEBreaker macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2007
    Dear forum members,

    I've looked through a lot of threads about the purchasing decisions for the iMac. However, I could not find one which specifically addresses virtualisation.

    I have been a PC user for decades, but have been enamoured by the allure of the iMac. Nonetheless, there are many Windows programs that I need to use, and as such, virtualisation is required. I have not decided on Parallels Desktop of VMware Fusion, but I am leaning towards Fusion since it is less of a performance hit, so I've read.

    Originally, I was planning to get the 2.4GHz version upgrading it to 2GB RAM, since I do not perform much processor intensive tasks, such as video editing. But having read about how virtualisation can impact the performance of the iMac, I was wondering whether 2.4GHz is enough. One of the reasons I am going for a Mac is because I am sick of how slow PCs can get after a year or so. I want applications to open quickly, and for interactive tasks to be responsive and smooth. Apple seems to lead in this area.

    Does anyone have any experience with the 2.4GHz (2GB) version using Parallels or Fusion, and did they experience sluggishness? Thank you for your help!
  2. chv400 macrumors 6502

    Dec 16, 2003
    Houston, TX
    I use a MacBook Pro with a 2ghz Core Duo and 1.5 GB of RAM.

    Parallels was VERY sluggish when I first installed it with Windows 2000, however this was because my computer only had 1GB of RAM at the time (512 was allocated to running windows). It would be horrendously slow until it could finish swapping files between RAM and VM (~2 minutes). However once I installed another 512 MB of RAM bringing my total up to 1.5 GB things are significantly (I'm talking a HUGE improvement) better.

    For example, back when I had only 1 GB I was forced to leave the computer alone while Parallels booted, now with 1.5 GB applications remain throughout the booting process.

    Since you are going with 2 GB you shouldn't have a problem, not to mention the fact you'll have a faster CPU.
  3. snickelfritz macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2003
    Tucson AZ
    Why do you need virtualization?
    You can simply install Windows on your iMac in dual-boot configuration, using Bootcamp.
    It should run Windows as well as any PC.
  4. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    I use Fusion a lot, and went for a 2.8 with 4gb. It really depends on what you need to run.

    If you want to run lots of apps in windows and lots of apps in osx at the same time, or if you will run anything that needs lots of CPU power, definitely go for the 2.8.

    I think the main thing is RAM and disk though. Seeing as windows and OSX will be fighting for disk access, if you're going to run stuff that uses the disk a lot on either it's worth getting an external HDD of some kind - I run OSX off the internal disk, Windows off the internal disk too (as I use it through bootcamp - fusion picks up the partition and you can use it in both), and linux off a firewire disk (linux is the main one I use in fusion).

    For RAM, you need to consider how much you will use in OSX and how much in windows. They don't share RAM at all, so if you need 1gb for OSX (which is a reasonable minimum for general usage) and 1gb for windows you'll want 2gb in total. I went for 4gb as I sometimes run several virtual machines at once (windows xp, 2003 server, linux server and linux client all at once, with 512mb each!).

    Having said all that, I've not really noticed any slow downs, and at times I've been running say windows xp, linux server, and then done some photo editing in aperture under osx - and it ran fine.
  5. ICEBreaker thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2007
    chv400: Thanks for sharing your experience on this matter. I suppose if you had no problems on the Macbook with 1.5GB, it should be OK on the 2.4GHz with 2GB. I suppose you are right, the real issue is whether there is enough RAM. I hope 2GB is enough.

    psonice: Thanks for the info. With an impressive system like yours, no wonder why you had no problems! And thanks for pointing out that the OS X and the virtual machine does not share RAM.

    snickelfritz: Why virtualisation? Same as everyone else - to run Mac and Win programs at the same time.

    Anyone else with 2.4GHz and 2GB RAM config, who has used Parallels / Fusion?
  6. Bobioden macrumors 68000


    Sep 23, 2007
  7. ICEBreaker thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2007
    Thanks Bobioden for the advice. Wow, just $30 for 1GB? Cool.
  8. cheapa55 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2007
    I am in the same situation and I'll be buying 2.8ghz with 1gb ram and then buy 2x2gb to make it 4gb. This is to future proof the machine for the next couple of years. and buy fusion for virtualization.

    if you can afford the extra few hundred, buy the max to be on the safe side and have no regrets. But seems like 2.4ghz with 4gb will be plenty for now.

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