MB Air VMWare Fusion 5 Performance

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by surfearth, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. surfearth macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    Long time reader, first time poster here.

    I'm forced to use a Windows in a VM each day to log in to my corporate VPN. Overall, I am really satisfied with VMWare Fusion 5/Windows 8 performance on my 2012 MB Air Ultimate.

    I am curious to know what Windows Experience Scores other users receive on their MB Air's running Windows in a VM? By far the weakest link on my VM is the Gaming Graphics subscore of 4.8 (this is with 2 CPU's and 4GB of ram allocated to the VM and 3D graphics enabled). I am wondering if there are any settings I can tweak to improve this (I've seen PC's with Intel HD4000 scoring ~6.4 on the same metric).

    My full scores are:
    Processor: 6.7
    Memory: 7.6
    Graphics: 5.5
    Gaming Graphics: 4.8
    Hard Drive: 7.9
    Overall Score: 4.8

    In case it is relevant, I have Fusion 5.02 and the latest MB Air graphics update installed.
  2. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Since you are running it on an Air you shouldn't be using more than 1 virtual cpu per vm. The Air uses a dual core cpu and VMware recommends to calculate the amount of virtual cpus as follows: amount of physical cores/2. Not following this rule of thumb can and in most cases will lead to performance issues.

    Memory needs to be set carefully as well. The Air has a max of 8GB so you could set a vm to use 4GB but that means you'll have 4GB for OS X. From that 4GB 512MB will be used for the Intel HD 4000 thus you'll have only 3.5GB of memory. Raising the 512MB to 768MB will probably lead to that score of 6.4. Unfortunately you can't set how much VRAM is being used by the system, it is done automatically.

    My scores are nearly the same as yours. I have the vm set to use only 1 cpu and 2GB of memory. My score for cpu is 5.3 and for mem it is 5.5. The other scores are identical to yours. I am also running Fusion 5.0.2 and that latest Air update.
  3. surfearth thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    thanks for the advice on settings; i was unaware of VMWare's guidance.

    since i mainly do office apps and webmail from IE in the VM, i adjusted my settings downward as you suggested (1 CPU, 2GB Ram). on my i7 model air, the only scores that changed were CPU (6.6) and Memory (5.5). performance seems entirely satisfactory and i have more ram on my mac side and possibly better battery life too (since less CPU is likely to be used).
  4. kidwithdimples macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2007
    I don't think you should worry about these specs much. On my custom windows desktop I had 8GB and still got a low score. I usually ignore that.
  5. doubletap macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2009
    I run my Win8 vm with 1GB of memory and still get an overall score of 4.5.

    VMs on the MBA just fly.

  6. wditters macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2012
    Actually your mileage will vary. I am forced to run a Windows XP environment in VM Fusion, and it is noticeably faster when I configure the VM with 2 vCPUs instead of 1. W8 on the other hand shows no noticeable performance increase with 2vCPUs. I think it all comes down to experimenting a bit.
  7. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Actually no. Nearly all (about 99%) of the performance problems come from setting too many vCPUs than the machine can handle. VMware is not encouraging the use of vCPUs and is actively doing so on their forums, the technical documentation on their website and the help centre in Fusion itself. The latter has the following text if you hit the question mark button in the vCPU settings window:

    Or simply put: if there is no need to use multiple vCPUs, DON'T use them. You may need it when you want to test multicore/multicpu/multithreaded stuff but in most cases it is unnecessary. In some cases you may see a small performance increase...until your cpu is going to do a bit more. Then the machine (physical and virtual) will slow down tremendously and cause erratic behaviour.

    Something similar goes for memory although it isn't as bad as the vCPU thing is. Just assign what you need (meet the minimum requirements for the guest OS) and not what you can possibly assign to the machine. The latter is just asking for trouble.

    Btw, the above applies to ALL of the VMware virtualisation products, not just Fusion.

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