Is 4GB of RAM enough for a virtual machine parallel?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Saga1234, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Saga1234 macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2013
    Hi all, I'm thinking of buying a 13" MBA. But I have one concern: Is 4GB of RAM enough to run windows/linux (One at a time) side by side with mac? The tasks I will be doing aren't exactly too memory intensive (Programming mostly), but still do you think 4GB is enough for the mac to maintain it's speed and performance? The budget is tight as it is and I don't think I can go up to 8GB without dropping down the screen size.

    Also, which would ease up on the memory more: Windows 7 or Windows 8?

    Thanks all.
  2. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    not sure about 7, but i can say that i ran xp in VMware on my 2008 macbook w/ 4 gigs for years without much of a problem. obviously more is better, but i would upgrade the HD to 256 first before ram if under the budget gun.

    i know that's not a tonne of help but i would emphasize the wisdom in upgrading the HD at the very least.
  3. Saga1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2013
    Thanks, yeah I forgot to mention that the 226GB SSD is an absolute must it is indeed much more important than the RAM for me (I'm looking at the most expensive model which is nearly pushing it as it is).

    And I mean XP doesn't use much more RAM than 7 (No idea how much 8 uses, although probably less), so hopefully is shouldn't give much of a problem.
  4. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    you get 14 days to return it so there's always that:D
  5. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Is it enough? Yea, you could perhaps get by with 4GB running OSX and Windows simultaneously, but if parallels is going to be one of your primary uses, I would really recommend getting 8GB.

    This way you can run OSX, Windows, AND Linux simultaneously.

    Understand from your post that budget is critical. I would really recommend saving up that $100 even if it takes an extra month of wait.

    Running vm means you have to allocate fixed ram, so you're going to want to give windows 2GB.

    Don't forget you can't increase RAM later. Like poster above said, you have 14 days to return (if your country allows it), so that's also an option- pick up the 4GB and try it out.

    Still, I'd say 8GB is definitely a good ideal to run windows on parallels.
    But if you really need to go with 4GB, there's bootcamp as well which will be plenty.
  6. john556 macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2012
    I use parallels for win7 with 4GB, but I'm running low with Visual Studio 2012 running in it. It really depends on how much memory is set aside for parallels. I would defiantly upgrade to 8GB if at all possible. My next mac will have at least 8GB.
  7. Sassers macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2012
    For what its worth - we recently switched to Mac Minis at my office, and use Windows 7 through Parallels to run Quickbooks & Microsoft Office (2007, I think). Originally we had 4 gb ram installed in each but increased it after a few days to 8 gb because pageouts were frequent. I'm not sure if it was due to the size of Quickbooks, or MS Office, but the RAM increase has completely eliminated page outs and everything works much smoother now.

    I'd definitely recommend going with 8 GB if you can afford it.
  8. Saga1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2013
    Okay, thanks all. I'll probably just save for the 8GB then.

    But I have another plan; when and if the Haswell rMBPs release in October, is there a good chance I could get the decent 3rd gen one for around $1400 in the refurbished section? That way I'm getting even more amazing specs for just $100 more. (There's one here currently for $1500 which is the 2nd best rMBP model)
  9. john556 macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2012
    Are you talking about the 13 rMBP? If so, the 13 will see the greatest increase with Haswell iGPU. I'm actually considering it.
  10. Saga1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2013
    Yes, if the budget allows it with the increased RAM. 11" is just too small.
  11. john556 macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2012
    I guess it depends on how much code you need to compile. Are you going to school or actually working on commercial projects?
  12. Saga1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2013
  13. john556 macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2012
    I doubt seriously much of the code you will write will require much to compile until maybe your third or fourth year. Even then it will be divided up into segments for the most part.

    Honestly, I think you could get by with 4GB, but 8GB would open it up. Keep in mind SSD space goes quick with parallels unless you run it from an external drive, but that slows it down considerably. You could save some money saving files externally though.

    Parallels requires you to specify the number of cores and speed of your virtual machine. I run win7 at 1GH with one core and 1GB of ram. Thus far the only issue I have experienced was with Eclipse emulating android while in win7. So a virtual machine within one. Even then it ran sufficiently to test some basic java. Keep in mind this is on a mid12 MBA i5 with 4GB.

    Also Windows loves batteries regardless if it is parallels or bootcamp.
  14. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    4GB is barely adequate. You can get away with it but will be happier with more RAM if you use VMs much.
  15. Aegelward macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sorry to hijack, but didn't want to start another throwaway thread

    2013 refurbs just popped up on the store for me and i've started considering one, espessily with the considerable discount.

    But they only have 4gb models, i'd be mainly using it for general use, light gaming and software devlopment. 4gb was sufficent in my previous macbook... but the GPU in the 2013 is taking up a much more considerable chunk of it's memory.

    Wait, go for it, or just spend the extra couple of hundred on a new one?
  16. Saga1234, Sep 28, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013

    Saga1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2013
    I see..
    I think I'll get the 8GB one then as it has to last me the full four years. Could also get a refurbished rMBP once the Haswell ones release for around the same price of the new Air. Thanks for your help.

    EDIT: Looking at the refurbished store now. There is a rMBP (Second best June 2012 model) for €1600. Quad Core, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD. Perfect. The only problem is the cost although €1000 cheaper than a new one it is still a little bit too much. Any chance of the price dropping on it once the new ones release?
  17. john556 macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2012
    Maybe, but chances are they will disappear quick if they do drop the price any. That is still a powerful machine for the next 3-4 years.

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