Is the Macbook Pro Too Powerful For Me?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by questionwonder, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. questionwonder, Nov 1, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016

    questionwonder macrumors member

    May 6, 2013
    I currently have a mid 2013 Macbook Air with 8Gb Ram that I primarily use for Visual Studio 2015 development in a Win10 VM. The machine runs soso, it will slow down after running VS for a while, as VS consumes vast amounts of memory. So I end up having to shut down VS and restart the VM every couple of hours. I was telling my self that the next machine I get will be silent, have 16Gb Ram and a Retina screen, like the current Macbook but more RAM. But comparing the Geekbench specs of the newest Macbook relative to my model, it's only slightly faster and might not give me enough oomph running VS.

    But looking at the specs of the new Macbook Pro 13inch I think it's too much for what I need! So what should I do? Should I wait for the next Mackbook (probably Kaby Lake) and hope I can get it with 16Gb, should I just get a Macbook Pro 13 and be happy spending the money, wait for something else, OR wait for the next version of Visual Studio, which supposedly uses far less memory, according to Microsoft and keep my Air for another year or two?

    FYI - My VM is Fusion 8.1.1 and my Win10 install has almost nothing running on startup.
  2. Feenician macrumors 603


    Jun 13, 2016
    It's all guess work without detailed measurement but it sounds like you may be over extending RAM on your VM, your host, or both and ending up swapping.

    How much of that 8gb do you assign to the VM? Do you use other Mac apps at the same time?

    Do you see yellow or red memory pressure in activity monitor on the Mac?

    In task manager on the vm do you appear to be out of RAM?
  3. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    VS has some serious performance issues now. The next version should address these with much better compile times and less resource use while editing.
  4. questionwonder thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2013
    Without the VM running it shows 4.22 Gb mem used in Activity Monitor and 1.17Gb Cached files. With the VM running, with the VM settings set to use 2 cores and 3096Mb of RAM. After I start up I see 6.44Gb used in Activity Monitor. Then I start Visual Studio and see a little more use at first.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 1, 2016 ---
    Do you know the release date for the next version?
  5. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    Have you considered running Windows on its own via bootcamp rather than in a VM?

    I have a 2010 MBP with 8GB of RAM and it doesn't run Windows on top of OSX well at all, but if I boot it directly to Windows it runs better than OSX El Cap even.

    It works so long as you don't have to use them both at the same time (or switch frequently).
  6. Feenician, Nov 1, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016

    Feenician macrumors 603


    Jun 13, 2016
    Yes I think you're probably swapping on the OS X host. Are you assigning 4Gb to the VM? VMWARE uses a technique called memory ballooning that means when you start a vm and aren't running anything on it it uses less than the amount you assign. As you use programs in the VM vmware requests more, up to the limit assigned.

    I'm guessing that if you reboot the Mac, don't start up any programs other than vmware and just work in that you'd be ok-ish with a 4Gb vm (or at least ok if you were running visual Studio in a 4gb real machine, which I think is still not great).

    With that said I think you'd benefit greatly from a 16gb machine and the extra oomph of an MBP. Airs use low power chips (so does the entry level new mbp but appears much faster). In your boots I'd consider the higher end new 13" or the 15". There's also the option of getting the 2015 15" refurb. The older cpu doesn't lose much ground on the new Skylake models, it has a fast SSD in there even by today's standards and is a really solid machine. I regularly run cpu intensive VM's on it with 10-12gb assigned to the VM and it doesn't break a sweat.
  7. jeremiah256 macrumors 65816


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    I use VMs frequently and also use Visual Studio. Both Altis and Feenician are correct. Using Windows 10 via Bootcamp will give you a better experience and if you need to use Windows VMs for other reasons, 16GBs makes ever life so much easier.
  8. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    only read the title

    depends on how much you can bench

    an odd question anyways... "too powerful" usually isn't an issue... "too expensive" is usually the issue

    if a 2013 macbook air runs a bit slow for you, the 2015 macbook pro would be a slight upgrade, but the 2016 would be even better... save for the insane price
  9. Feenician macrumors 603


    Jun 13, 2016
    Oh Boot Camp. I forgot to mention this. One of the great things about VMWare is being able to run your Boot Camp partition virtually as well as by rebooting. Just need a light(er) workload and don't want to reboot? Fire up your Boot Camp partition in VMware. Need the full oomph of all your hardware? Reboot and run natively.

    I haven't run that way in a while but AFAIK it still works fine in the latest version of VMWare Fusion and it is pretty freaking neat :D
  10. UndercoverDotNetGuy macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2016
    Hopefully this will get you some help in deciding.

    I'm running on MBP 13 2015 Early with i5 2.7Ghz 8GB ram.

    Using Windows 10 + VS 2015 through Vmware.

    Running smoothly for single WCF service or WPF GUI debugging.
    Get's too slow after 3 concurrent debuggers are running.
    Two Visual Studio instances are open at all times.
    Max two debuggers running for two seperate projects.

    Two logical cores (1 physycal) allocated to VM with 3.5GB of ram.

    P.S running constantly on 3 monitor setup (internal 1680x1050 + two 1920x1200 external monitors)
    OSX running Safari with multiple tabs, spotify, skype, and Current for FB messenger + Airmail.

    Running smooth enough for everyday work for me.

    P.S VM is running of a bootcamp partition. If you are in a huge ***** and need to run a million debuggers + full mem dumps then reboot to WIN and enjoy the full power.... (99 of time that is called a ******** of FPS games for me lol)

    Vmware and Parallels both support running from bootcamp partition.
    Parallels has some integration stuff for Vmware so check that out also. I did not care about that, but it is a thing to consider.
  11. questionwonder thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2013
    Is there any way I can use my VMWare Win10 VM and load that into bootcamp without doing a new clean Win10 install into that new bootcamp partition?
  12. Feenician macrumors 603


    Jun 13, 2016
    No, I'm afraid not. At least no non-crazy unsupported way (you could probably do something with imaging but I wouldn't even try). The other way around is the supported method. Make a Boot Camp partition and share that with VMWare.
  13. wegster macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2006
    Betting the same as someone has mentioned - once you're running and using VS, you're into swap/virtual memory on OSX. I won't say it's not possible as I ran VMs for years on 8GB w/OSX, but VMs + real use across both the host OS/OSX and in the VM will generally benefit from both RAM and well as the improvements made in SSD performance.

    On the 2013 Air, you don't say what disk size (seems performance improved nom the larger models), but moving off the Air at even ~700MB/sec will be doubled or more by moving to a newer 2015 or 2016 system.

    You didn't give much in the way of configuration details - single virtual CPU for W10 or ? How much of your disk is full?
    You'll pick up at least 25% CPU performance in moving to even a 2015 13" MBP (geekbench #s, real world may be higher). Personally, depending on what else you run on the system both on OS X and in the VM, I'd be looking for a used 2014 or 2015 15" for the quad core, but YMMV.
  14. UndercoverDotNetGuy macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2016
    There are ways for that, but they are quite nasty and not 100% predictable.
    Easier and most of the times faster just to reinstall... :D

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