Mac Pro owners running Windows on Parallels please advise

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by GadgetAddict, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. GadgetAddict macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #1
    If I could I would get rid of everything related to Microsoft but unfortunately I need to use Windows applications for my work. Specifically, Autocad Civil 3D, Revit Architecture and a bunch of structural engineering programs.
    I have tried running these applications on Parallels on Mac systems such as MacBook Pro Mid 2009 (2.93 C2D, 4gb ram) but was not satisfied with the performance. Autocad was lagging even when working in 2D. I don't even have to talk about Revit...
    I never had the opportunity to test this on more powerful systems and this is where I need your advice. Is it possible for the Mac Pro to run these applications on Parallels seamlessly? That is, as if you were running Windows on a PC? What is more important CPU, RAM, GPU?

    To catch up with a few possible comments, a) I don't want to run Windows via bootcamp, b) I am aware that Autacad is coming to Mac OS but I need the extra features of Civil 3D and Revit.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated... Thanks!
     
  2. PenguinMac macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    #2
    While I can't speak directly to the programs you're using, I run Parallels 6 on a 6-core 3.33 Mac Pro and it flies. I setup Windows 7 64-bit on it's own 1TB Boot Camp drive so there's no disk translation needed - Windows runs on a native NTFS drive which should help with disk-intensive operations vs. using a virtual disk. (The only problem is you need an NTFS backup disk - many Windows files will not copy properly to HFS+.) I then allocated Windows 4 cores of my 12, and 4GB RAM of my 12GB. I have a video editing program, TMPGenc XPress, for editing/rendering MPEG2 files with Dolby Digital audio, and it runs as fast or faster than on my Dell (see my sig), using all 4 cores I've given it through Parallels. So I've been very happy with this virtual machine configuration.
     
  3. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    The difference between a native and virtualised system is definitely noticeable.

    I'm currently working with 3DS Max in a virtual Win7 machine and it's not very nice (I'm to lazy to restart into Windows though :p).

    The VM I use is my BootCamp Windows installation and I configured it with 4 processors and 4GB RAM.

    The problem is not the processor power or RAM usage though, the problem is 3D graphics in a VM. Keep in mind that you've got only a single video card in your system that has to be shared between the native and the virtualised system and that results in the bad performance.

    So for graphics related work (which AutoCad definitely is) I wouldn't recommend a virtual machine. Just run Windows natively on your machine.
     
  4. GadgetAddict thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #4
    Thank you both for your input!

    Here's what I get. A Mac Pro configuration with 8 cores or more and 8 gigs of ram or more can allocate enough resources to the VM to run processing intensive applications (like the ones PenguinMac is using) without a hitch. However when it comes to graphic intensive programs the performance is not perfect. Using my plain logic and as Transporteur noted, the GPU seems to be the bottleneck.

    So here comes the (stupid?) question; how about a configuration with 2 graphic cards? Would that solve the problem?
     
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #5
    No. You can't allocate a physical graphics card to a VM.
     
  6. DualShock macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #6
    What version of Parallels did you initially try those Autodesk apps on?

    Newer versions supposedly have *much* better hardware accelerated DirectX/OpenGL implementations. That's a big deal when it comes to Autodesk apps, since they rely on DirectX or OpenGL to function.

    Also, Autodesk themselves recommends Parallels when running their apps in a VM:

    http://usa.autodesk.com/products/mac-compatible-products (see right column)

    You could also check out the Autodesk messageboards. Maybe someone there is more familiar with your scenario.
     
  7. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    #7
    If you mean me, I use the latest version of VMWare Fusion.

    I switched from Parallels 4 about two years ago because it sucked compared to VMWare.

    But good point. Let me try the Trial version of Parallels and migrate the VM.
    I'll report later today. :D
     
  8. DualShock macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #8
    Actually I meant the OP. But I guess I meant you also since you're in the same boat as the OP. :D
     
  9. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Wow! 3DS Max runs perfectly smooth with Parallels 6!
    A huge improvement over VMWare 3. Time to go back to Parallels!

    Thank you very much for the heads up DualShock!
     
  10. GadgetAddict thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #10
    Last time I tried it (about a year ago) it was Parallels 4 or 5, I don't remember. But again, it was on a MacBook Pro with 4gb of ram.

    So would everyone agree that the new 8-core Mac Pro and Parallels 6 would do the job without any problems?
     

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