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MBP: dual or quad i7 for VM?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 16, 2016

My trusty ThinkPad w/2nd gen Core i5 is almost 5 years old and showing age even after swapping to SSD; after all even the SATA standard is gen 2.

I see couple 2015 MBP in the refurbs section with the 16GB/1TB specs. Am I correct to assume that VM will benefit from more cores? Are there any benefits to having discrete gfx for primarily VM stuff?

I like the portability of MBP 13 but if my options are better with MBP 15 for VM due to the twice the cores and discrete gfx, then I may have to compromise ...


macrumors 68030
Sep 10, 2013
It depends a bit on how hard you tax the systems, but quad core with hyper threading much better from my experience. It effectively allows you to dedicate two CPU cores (four threads) to each the VM and the host.

A bit more important is RAM. I'd highly advise the 16GB that comes standard on the 15" so you can dedicate 8GB in each the host and the VM.

I don't think a dedicated GPU will make any difference when it comes to VMs... It only matters when you use software that requires more demand. Iris Pro is quite good for most usage though.

15" is just better to use, too :cool: I'm hauling around an older, thick 17" MBP. The current (and hopefully soon to be updated) 15" is hardly any more to carry... unless you plan on using it on city buses where you have little space, perhaps.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2007
I had a 13 inch 3 weeks ago while myhigh end 15 inch was being repaired and it was night and day performance.

I do picture 15 inch didn't lag....the 13 was a very, very noticeable downgrade.


macrumors 603
Sep 24, 2014
How much a quad will benefit the VM will be dependent on what you're doing in the VM. Then you need to calculate in the cost difference and decide. If you're VM usage is light meaning you jkust need to run a bit of non-OS X SW or an older piece of HW then you aren't going to benefit much from the added cores.

The cost difference between 13" and 15" is not insignificant


macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
Yep lowendlinux has the right of it, it depends what you are doing in the VM, a quad core will give more available performance but if all you do is run a 10 year old single core program on it it won't matter either way.


Staff member
May 3, 2009
but if my options are better with MBP 15 for VM due to the twice the cores and discrete gfx
Welcome to MacRumors o11o

I prefer the the 15" MBP for a couple of reasons, why you're on target about the 13" being more portable, the 15" has superior screen real estate which I think works well for many tasks. I also think the quad core i7 really is made for Vms. You can assign more resources to the VM to increase its efficiency and still use the host OS without as much of a performance hit.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 16, 2016
Thank you all for your input! Very much appreciated. As a consultant my VM needs will require simulation of networking with several servers and desktop guests.

I've chewed on your inputs and I think I am leaning towards a 15". I'm still young enough <ggg> to carry a 15" around so mobility in that sense is not a problem. With my use case my smartphone is powerful-enough while being mobile and pulling out the MBP from my briefcase can wait until I can sit down if I really need to.

Thank you again for your inputs - greatly appreciate it!
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