Is MacBook Air 13" 256GB BTO , 4GBram 2.1GHz C2D capable of running virtual Machine?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by humuslokiy, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. humuslokiy macrumors newbie

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    Hong Kong, China
    #1
    Hey guys, :)

    I am an IT student who is studying Vmware, Oracle11g, MCITP, Linux ,CCNA, and etc.. Is it good to have a "Built To Order MacBook Air 13"" (256GB SSD 4GBram 2.1GHz C2D ) to run a windows server 2008 virtual machine with oracle 11gR1 installed on it?

    Or is it better to run that VM on a mac book pro 17" (Core i7 2.66CPU, 4GB ram ,500GB 5400rpm harddrive)? or 7200rpm HD?

    Air got a faster Storage drive (SSD) but slower CPU.
    Pro got a faster Cpu but slower storage drive (HD drive).

    I am so confused><.....:confused:
    Pro or air which one has a better performance for running that vm?
    Which one's battery life last longer for running that vm?

    thanks><

    p.s. sorry for my bad English><
     
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #2
    I can't say I've run Windows Server 2008, but I can say that the MacBook Air 2.13GHz with 4GB RAM runs Windows 7 Pro 64-bit quite well for me in Parallels Desktop 6 (and Boot Camp for that matter).

    I gave Windows 7 1.75GB of RAM and 2 CPUs, though I could easily have given it 1 CPU for what I use it for (the occasional web site that needs Internet Explorer, and Quicken for Windows).
     
  3. humuslokiy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thx for your reply! :D Is your battery life decreased significantly for running that vm?
     
  4. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #4
    I haven't had it long enough to know for sure (I just got it last week and mostly run off AC). However, in general battery life is lower in Windows 7 than in OS X, even in Boot Camp, because OS X is optimized for the Mac's hardware and Windows 7 isn't.

    I suspect that the MacBook Pro might have longer battery life because the Core i7 has more advanced power management, and processes more efficiently than the Core 2 Duo.
     
  5. humuslokiy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    icic >v< thx a lot!
     
  6. davebach172 macrumors newbie

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    #6
    i wont be much help as i run xp in VMWare on a standard 13" mba - it runs very well indeed and theres no issue running an intensive app like Bloomberg.

    how much memory does server 2008 demand as a baseline? I run SBS2008 as a VM on my work desktop and that will only install with 4gb allocated - just wondering if theres a similar requirement on Server 2008?
     
  7. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #7
    Here are the requirements:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/cc196364.aspx

    A 13" MacBook Air 2.13GHz should have enough power to run it.
     
  8. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    Virginia
    #8
    By the nature of running a VM, it's safe to say that battery life is going to be impacted. Just as it would be if you ran any CPU hungry app. I wanted to say that it depends on what you are doing in the VM, but in practical terms, a Windows VM is always going to be relatively busy, as it will run background tasks (like Virus Scans) anytime it thinks you aren't busy. I actually see my CPU usage go up when I have a VM running but am actively using an OS X application, because Windows thinks it's a good time to clean up after itself.

    as far as MBA vs MBP, it really depends on your workload, but as a student, you are most likely just going to be doing some relatively light stuff in a learning mode. In this case, the critical components are going to be RAM and Storage.

    RAM is simple - more is always better, but 4GB is sufficient to run OSX + one Windows VM. I wouldn't bother trying to run multiple VMS concurrently.

    Storage is more complicated. An SSD is faster, and your VM will perform better because of that, just like any other Application. The biggest benefit that I have noticed is that Suspend & Resume of the VM are very fast, which is a very good thing. On the other hand an SSD will have less available space in most cases, which means you will have to be more judicious in the disk space you provide to each VM. 7200RPM will be somewhat faster than 5400RPM, but is usually smaller in capacity, but really, neither one is even close to an SSD performance wise.

    I use VMWare Fusion rather than Parallels, but they both offer very similar functionality. I would suggest that if you are concerned with Battery life while running a VM, get familiar with Suspend/Resume and use it to flip the VM on and off as you actually need it.
     
  9. humuslokiy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Thanks to all you guys helped me out!

    Thanks to all you guys helped me out! Especially for this detailed explanation!! ^^"~ :apple::cool:
     
  10. neteng101 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Given the VM is not running just a client OS but a server based one and you might want to do more in the future, having RAM capacity beyond 4GB could prove useful down the road (no way to do this on the MBA), which is something to consider. SSD will of course help speed up the VM considerably.
     
  11. chapmac macrumors member

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    #11
    Panch0 - really interested in this. I use an XP VM on my current 2.2Ghz Macbook with 4Gb RAM which I am considering retiring for a new 13" MBA. In my normal usage there are basically 2 things that will bog the machine down and set the fans spinning. One is watching flash based video ('nuff said!) and the other is suspending and resuming my VM. I normally do this several times a day to conserve battery life and find that it typically takes 20-30 seconds to suspend or resume and during this time will normally kick the fans in if I am resuming. The processor will often max out too during this time and I often see it running significantly over 100%. It will then settle down after a minute or so and I will get very good performance running typical light load office stuff. How does this compare with your experience on the MBA?
     
  12. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    My experience is actually with a 2008 MBP 15" with 4GB & SSD. my comments about Suspend / Resume are relative to the same system with a 7200RPM HDD.

    Yes, I see CPU pick up during resume as VMWare in the VM wires things up, but it's usually over before my fans kick in. In any case, I find this better than letting windows sit around 'idle' so that Symantec EndPoint Protection will decide it wants to do a full system scan which will most definitely make my fans spin!

    I'm seeing Suspend take ~10 Seconds and Resume is about the same, but on Resume, windows will do some additional work after it starts, so the CPU spike is in the 20-30 second range you mentioned. With the stock 7200RPM HDD, it was much longer.

    The settings of your VM may affect your suspend/resume results. I have allocated my Win7 pro / 32 bit VM 1 virtual CPU and 1GB RAM. I find this sufficient for my needs.

    That's actually pretty surprising as I recently started using Visual Studio 2010 on this VM. The only time that it feels slow is when I launch a project for debugging; starting the debugger takes maybe 30 seconds, and some page loads are a bit slow, but it's not 'unusable'. That's with a local copy of SQL Server Express, the Web Server built into VS and the IDE itself all running in 1GB.
     
  13. humuslokiy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    :D

    In fact,right now, i am having 4 choices ...
    1. Buy a Mac book air 13" BTO 2.1 GHz C2D CPU, 4GB Ram (14048HKD///1801USD)
    2. Buy a new Mac Book pro 17" BTO 2.66GHz Core i7, 4GB ram 7200 Hard drive (20,000HKD///2564USD) ( i would probably spend extra money 200USD to upgrade to 8GB ram)
    3. Buy a cheaper second hand mac book pro 17" (half price of the above which can save me 10,000HKD=1282USD) (2.8GHz* core i7, 4GB of ram , 500GB HD) (so that i "may/may not" use the money saved to buy 512GB SSD(mum won't let me.))
    4. Mac Rumor Buyer's guide says that the macbook pro series is about to be upgraded.... should i just wait for a "period time???" until update?



    1. don't have future proof, but it's light in weight, cool , and just released
    2. have future proof (i may have to run multiple virtual machines simultaneously in the future), also have a cool look, but it's about to be upgraded
    3. mum dont like secondhand stuff, thus may not pay for that
    4. drives me crazy -0- i don't want to regret after a few months that i actually pay for an old-version expensive notebook ...

    p.s. it's 0:33 in HKG and 8:33 in the Pacific area
    Oh.. it's time for bed see you guys @@
     
  14. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #14
    I guess the questions are when do you need the notebook and how long do you want to keep it? If you don't need it yet, you might want to wait to see what Apple has in store for the MacBook Pro in January or February, particularly the 13" model.

    If you don't need future proofing, then I think the MacBook Air would be fine. If you want some protection for the future but can't wait for the next Pro, then the current Pro might be a good choice.
     
  15. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #15
    How is it that you're considering either a 13" MBA or a 17" MBP and nothing in between? The 13" MBA is going to give you the same desktop workspace as a 15.4" MBP. The 17" MBP is going to be a heck of a lot heavier to carry around. The MBA is ultramobile while the 17" MBP is really a desktop replacement. I just feel it should be a no brainer that the MBA is the way to go. 4 GB RAM is plenty for what you want and a VM will not be a problem for the MBA. The MBA is going to feel a lot faster than the 17" MBP due to the SSD.

    Either will do what you want, but it really comes down to what do you want? Do you want a huge 17" MBP and are you primarily just going to leave it on a desk or are you really considering carrying around a 17" MBP? That is an ultimate fail, as the 17" MBP is too big to use like that. Heck, a 15.4" MBP is too big for certain situations like on an airplane or train ride. The MBA is the ultimate Mac ever in my opinion, but I am looking for ultraportable that I can carry everywhere and yet do everything I want technologically. What you need to decide is the size and weight you want to carry around and that will make your decision as to which computer to buy, as either will do what you want fine. The MBA will do most stuff faster too.
     
  16. chapmac macrumors member

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    UK
    #16
    Panch0 - many thanks for the reply, very useful info thanks.

    humuslokiy - for what its worth if you ever plan to run multiple VM then I would suggest that you go the MBP instead of the Air. I have occasionally run two VMs on my Macbook with 4GB RAM (OSX + Win XP + Ubuntu) and my experience is that you will run out of RAM very quickly, and swapping = significant slowdown. While the SSD will certainly help to limit the problem I would go with the machine that you can upgrade to 8GB RAM and then you will be in pretty safe territory.

    D.
     
  17. bamf macrumors 6502

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    Feb 14, 2008
    #17
    Your issue is not going to be the RAM necessary for Windows server, it's the RAM necessary to run Oracle on a Windows server in a VM. If you need any sort of performance from Oracle in that VM, you are probably going to want more than 2GB of RAM dedicated to the VM.

    Also, the battery life will be impacted with a VM running. I've got both a 15" i5 MBP and an MBA, and I can tell you that the battery is significantly reduced on both when I have VMs spun up.

    I know you want something light and cool, but I think your better option is to go with something that can be upgraded to 8GB of RAM. If you are using Oracle, chances are you'll need a client VM spun up at the same time to test against the DB. You're not going to like how that works on an MBA IMHO.

    Note: This is coming from someone who's been an MCSE for 15 years, so I do have a good deal of experience running VMs (and not just on a Mac).
     
  18. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #18
    The Pro will certainly have both better performance and longer battery life.

    On the other hand, the Air should be just fine for all but the most strenuous use. I have an original MacBook Pro (32-bit only 2.0 GHz Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, stock 100 GB 7200 RPM hard drive,) and it runs Windows Server 2008 (not R2, which is 64-bit only,) as well as Windows 7 (same basic codebase as 2008 R2,) just fine Via Parallels.

    The Pro's biggest benefits are RAM (which means you can add more to the VM, for your workload, the more the better,) and HyperThreading. HyperThreading really does help a LOT on dual-core processors.
     
  19. humuslokiy thread starter macrumors newbie

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  20. SammySlim macrumors member

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    #20
    FWIW, I am running Ubuntu under VirtualBox just fine in a 1.4, 2GB MBA 11 for heaven's sake. Pretty snappy, actually. :) Not to worry about an MBA maxed-out ability to run any of these in a VM.

    Cheers
     
  21. masterslacker macrumors member

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    Jan 16, 2009
    #21
    I'm running VMware Fusion w/ RedHat 4 64bit. It runs a bit faster than when I had it on my 2009 MBP 17". This is due the speed of the SSD. I made a smaller partition due to limited disk but the MBA is just a travel companion. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance and for my personal use I will connected to a power source while running it.
     

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