Important Specs for nTB MBP When Using Parallels?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Freshjs59, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. Freshjs59 macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2016
    Hi All,

    First time post, long time browser! Need everyones help and expertise!

    Saw the touch bar macs yesterday at best buy and got kinda turned off. Touch bar quality does not seem as high as reviewed and perceived on pictures (not functionality but display quality, very blurry and not crisp) so i am planning on going the nTB route.

    I have always owned a 15" macbook so i have always lived with quad core and never had a dual core machine.

    Can you guys share with me what specs are most important in ordering the mac to get parallels functioning the best and with no lag? Is it the RAM, i5 vs i7, the graphics or dual vs quad core? Im very clueless in that area!

    I mostly use Office, Visio and Microsoft Project on the VM.

    I appreciate your help!
  2. Freshjs59 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2016
    Cant seem to find anything solid on google or the parrallels forums. please help out an ignorant apple fan :confused:
  3. luked14 macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    I'm in a similar situation, needing to use Parallels and trying to figure out if I should get a nTB or TB 13" or just spring for the 15". I think 16GB of RAM is a must, but CPU and GPU probably won't make a huge difference with VMs unless you're doing something graphics intensive.
  4. Freshjs59 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2016
    yea im thinking the same thing, but i guess the two big questions would be

    -is the additional .9Ghz from the 13" with touch bar a big difference maker, where it just makes more sense to buy that instead of upgrade the non TB
    -does quad core vs dual core make a major difference as well where buying the 13" would be a mistake?

    i used to run parallels all the time on my 15" 2012 MBP and it was great, but battery life sucked. Granted, future models of the MBP had significant boosts in battery life after 2012, plus windows 7 and older parallels, i feel its a different game when looking at recent versions and windows 10.
  5. WickedPorter macrumors regular


    Sep 28, 2012
    Quite a bit of Parallels experience here on quite a few Macs. Battery life will always "suck" with Parallels. Version 12 is a little better with battery.

    With your use case, CPU shouldn't matter much at all. I'd recommend a machine with 16GB of RAM, and dedicate 8GB to the VM.
  6. luked14 macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    The performance difference between the 2.0 nTB and 2.9 TB is pretty small. I think about 5% in single-core. But for only about $200 more with education discount, the extra features of the TB might be worth it depending on what you value.
  7. Qwe9203 macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2014
  8. jlc1978, Nov 16, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016

    jlc1978 macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2009
    I have a 2015 MBP with the 2.7 gHz i7 and discrete graphics, it is more than fast enough to run Parallels with Office / Visio / Project. Prior to that I ran Parallels on an early 2012 model and it ran quite fine. Thus, I suspect any 2016 will do fine, I'd max out the ram since you can't upgrade that later and I like to dedicate as much to Parallels as possible. I'd also get a large SSD since Parallels can easily eat up 50gbs. I've even run Parallels off an SD card with decent performance. Office doesn't really tax Parallels so any current MBP should do fine; it's really a question of budget. Buy the most ram / SSD size you can afford; I'd go that route before I went to a faster processor.

    As a side note, I use OmniGraffle instead of Visio, and while it is capable of exporting Viso files I've found they may or may not convert perfectly. I use iTask instead of project and it reads Project files fine. Unless you must use Visio / Project those are viable alternatives, especially since OmniGraffle exports pdfs so you can easily send the diagrams to someone if they don't need to edit them.
  9. Freshjs59 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2016
    Thanks for the feedback all! so technically - what does a processor impact when running parallels if i keep it on the low end model? i get the storage part and the ram, how it will allow you to run more things without struggling, but i guess dual core part is throwing me off
  10. Qwe9203 macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2014
    The CPU is a dual core with hyper threading (4 threads). CPU usage depends on the workload. But RAM and Storage will be used the most.
  11. protoxx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2013
    You start with needing enough ram. If you don't want to push the execution of your os or the os running in the vm into swap.

    The biggest way to get performance is not cpu speed but number of cpu's. With two operating systems running at the same time being able to service more threads simultaneously is what helps most.
  12. jlc1978 macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2009
    Unless you are trying to run multiple programs at once the cpu won't matter much. People focus to much, IMHO, on the processor when the real bottlenecks are ram and or disk space. You don't want to have to constantly delete stuff to free up disk space, for example if you have a lot of pictures, video etc. that are taking up space so you wind up with only 10 gbs or so of free space; or are constantly swapping out pages use to ram limitations.

    YMMV, but that is my experience.
  13. sguser macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2010
    It really depends what you plan to do in Windows. I have got a 2012 MacBook Air that has Windows VM with 2GB of ram located to it. I use it for Outlook/Office only. Even with 2GB of RAM the VM runs very smooth.

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