MacBook Air for virtualization

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Bibo72, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Bibo72 macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2012
    For my new work i'll need to buy a notebook. The weight and the better display will suggest to buy a 13"/128gb/i5 Air for my without-office work.
    My doubt is that i will have to virtualize Windows for a not intensive MS project usage and need to install Autocad just for drawings check and/or quick changes.
    It will be used 90/95% with MS Office and e-mail and 5/10% for virtualization ( i was suggest ed to use VMWare fusion).
    At home i have a iMac that's anough for video, Photoshop music and intensive CAD drawing.
    Will i ADSL to much to an Air?
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    It sounds like the Air should be just fine. My only question is 128GB vs 256GB SSD.

    Also, VMWare is a good choice.
  3. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular


    Feb 18, 2012
    VMware has always been more stable for me while Parallels seems a little faster. I, for one, prefer stability over a marginal speed boost. If you are still finding that you need more speed, then natively installing via Boot Camp would be a better option. Just remember that you're limited on storage and using VMware, the size of Windows will grow or shrink according to your space needs whereas with Boot Camp, you'll need to partition your drive which will permanently dedicate a set size for your Windows installation. If you go that route, only set it to just enough space you think you'll need for Windows. As a bonus, if you like, you can even run Boot Camp through VMware if you're lazy and don't to only boot into Windows.
  4. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    VMWare Fusion 4.1 and Parallels Desktop 7 have largely closed the performance and stability gaps that previously existed between the two products. Go with either one. I use Parallels Desktop on a Core i7-equipped 11" (primarily for Quicken) and it works well.
  5. thankins macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2007
    No one has ran into issues with the 4GBs of RAM?
  6. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    I virtualize Windows XP on my 2011 i5/4GB/128GB RAM using Virtualbox (free) and it runs just dandy. I run Mathcad, LTSpice, PCSpim, Microsoft Office, and Chrome. I just gave it 10GB of space (dynamically expanding, I reckon) and 1GB of RAM. No issues :)
  7. Bibo72 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2012
    Nice to hear that some of you are using Air for Virtualization. No one had problems with this?
    Some tech issues:
    1) How many GB does XP+office+Project+Virtualization software will roughly occupy?
    2) I will have to run MSProject/CAD on XP and office(several files)+e-mail on OSX. Will 4GB ram be enough?
    3) Is it possible to use a external USB support for the virtualization?
    4) will
    I will not be able to use Bootcamp because i will need to use together XP+OSX
  8. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010

    Parallels Desktop takes up about 300MB. I think VMWare Fusion is about the same. Look up XP, Office, and Project on MS' website, but I think XP itself takes up about 5GB. In any case, since you are running a virtual machine, it will expand and contract as necessary to accommodate Windows and your applications.

    By 3), do you mean is it possible to run a virtual machine from an external USB device? I think so, but it will be slower since the MacBook Air has only USB 2.0. You might consider the new Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt adapters (they are $99 plus the cost of a hard drive and the $50 TB cable) if you are looking for an external solution.

    However, if you are simply asking whether or not the virtual machine can access an external USB device, then yes, both Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion support this for most devices. For your printer, internet, and network the VM will use your Mac's setup.

    While 8GB would be nice, the SSD helps make page swaps more manageable. I allocate 1.5GB of RAM to Windows 7. Parallels defaults to 1CPU and 1GB of RAM, which is fine for many tasks (and is less taxing on OS X), but I have found my setup to be a bit snappier since I usually don't have anything significant running on OS X when I open up Parallels (maybe Safari and/or Outlook 2011).
  9. Kasalic macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    For the occasional use you are putting it too I think you'll be fine with 4GB. As has been said, the SSD will speed up things, but I personally find 4GB is not enough to concurrently run Mac OS and Windows 7 side by side as smoothly as I would like.
  10. DDustiNN macrumors 68000


    Jan 27, 2011
    Do any of the VM solutions run as a full-screen app?

    For example, I would like to use the three-finger gesture to switch screens, and be able to switch back and forth immediately between a Lion desktop and a Windows 7 desktop.

    I also like the idea of dynamically allocating disk space, since I have no idea how much I would end up using/needing.

    What do you guys suggest for a VM product based on those criteria?
  11. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Both Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion support Lion's full screen mode.
  12. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    Virtualbox supports this. I swipe between OSX and Windows frequently with ease.

    Honestly, I'd try Virtualbox first to get a feel for virtualization since there's no monetary risk involved. If it doesn't suit your needs (and I don't see why it wouldn't), then go ahead and shell out for VMware or Parallels 7. I'm not sure if they have trials or not though.

    I've tried Parallels 7 before and didn't like it at all. Went back to Virtualbox.
  13. LiesForTheLiars macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2011
    I'm also a Virtual Box fan. The fact that it's free is a bonus. I think it works just as well, if not better than the paid alternatives.
  14. DDustiNN macrumors 68000


    Jan 27, 2011
    The only problem is that I'm worried about reusing my Windows 7 product key. It says I'm allowed to install it on two computers... so I assume that each time I install it (Boot Camp, or any of the different virtual machines), it would count as an extra "use" of the key... which would suck. So I'm just trying to get everything figured out before I just jump in and try something I may not like, haha...

    How about smoothness? I know if you dual-boot using Boot Camp, Windows 7 will run perfectly fine and smooth. The only experience I've had with virtualization was on my previous laptop, where I used VMWare Workstation to run Snow Leopard. It was laggy and not exactly smooth, but it worked. Would I have the same issues with Windows 7 in a VM on my MBA? (2011 13" MBA i5 1.7, 256 GB SSD, 4 GB RAM). I don't expect heavy use in Win7 (no games or anything).
  15. Bibo72 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2012
    Yesterday i bought my MBA.
    I hope i will be able to try VirtualBox asap and tell you how does it work.
    I will start trying external SD card to check speed
  16. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Will work, but 4gb ram is limiting. You'll be able to run one or two VMs depending on the spec you give them, but if you haven't bought an air yet and are planning to run heavier vm workloads, a 13" pro would be better at it with 8 or 16gb of RAM.
  17. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Parallels runs beautifully on the MBA....I was even able to run Oblivion on it quite smoothly!

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