Looking at MacBook Pro Options. Will be Running VMs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Internaut, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. Internaut macrumors 6502a

    My current Mac is a 2011 MacBook Air (13") and I'm starting to look at options for an upgrade. No rush, but with the current pound/dollar exchange rate I suspect prices will be going up here in the UK. I have a 6% discount through beloved employer. A retina MacBook pro seems the obvious choice for me, as I need two USB 3 ports for backing up one 2TB disk to another. As I edit photos (Lightroom and Photoshop), the retina display seems to make sense. I think the 13" model should be fine for me.

    But here's a question: How well do MacBook's run VMs? My corporate Dell From Hell struggles to run more than one VM at a time. I have in mind a small lab setup. Nothing heavy - I'm talking of running two Linux VMs at a time, to test out various ideas. I'm not a software developer (well haven't been, since the turn of the century), but I do a lot of shell scripting (Bash, with awk, expect and other common UNIX tools). How well is a MacBook with a dual core processor going to cope with this?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think the 15" MBP would be a better choice in running VMs, first its a quad core, and its an i7. I think you may need something better suited to running more then one VM.

    My 2012 rMBP which is a 15" model, runs VMs very nicely.
  3. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    My 15" 2012 cMBP also runs VMs very well. If my initial requirement in buying a machine, is running multiple VMs, I'd do a little research into how well dual cores perform - regardless of MAC/PC. I doubt you will get a good feel, by simply asking in here, as most local folks I recall talking about multiple VMs, pretty much went with the 15" model.

    Good luck!!
  4. Internaut thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Thanks for responding. Almost pulled the trigger on the 15" but then actually got to do some testing on a colleague's Retina MacBook (the dinky 12" one with no ports - gorgeous but limited). The 13" Pro will comfortably do what I need.
  5. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    Excellent. I hope you enjoy your eventual purchase.
  6. SoundsEclectic macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2016
    Go with the 15". Although I mainly run 1 VM which is a Windows 10 work VM with MS Direct Access for seamless internal network access, I do run an Ubuntu VM at the same time and it's pretty smooth.
  7. ErnstStavroBlohard macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2016
  8. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
    Would recommend the 15" over 13" myself, @Internaut.

    @ErnstStavroBlohard: VMware Fusion on an OS X host; VMware ESXi on bare metal. Though looking at Hyper-V Server or Windows Server w/ Hyper-V to take advantage of functionality only available with a 4-digit VMware vSphere license.
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    It depends on what you want to do. If its a light server in one VM and some testing in another one, a 13" with 8GB might be absolutely sufficient (especially if you choose an appropriate distribution and avoid running GIU in the VM), even though 16GB might be a safer choice. I think that the dual-core will be a limitation only if you want to do a lot of stuff in the VMs at the same time.
  10. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    VM's like RAM. Unless what you do in them is very processor intensive, a dual core should fare quite well.

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