Parallels 5 vs. Boot Camp for W7?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jdegrauw, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. jdegrauw macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2010
    Hi all. I'm a PC graphics guy from way back who just succumbed to the Dark Side and got my FIRST Mac (17" MBP, 500G HDD, 8G RAM, OSX 10.6). ;-)

    I want to install Windows 7 (which I'll need to purchase) in order to install my PC version of the Abobe CS4 Suite and have a few questions. Any advice would be appreciated.

    - Do I use Parallels 5 or Boot Camp to install W7? If I use one, do I even need the other?

    - Do I assume I should purchase and install the 64-bit version of W7?

    - How large should the partition for W7 be?

    I'm sure there are questions I don't even know to ask, but it's a start! Thank you all in advance. John DeGrauw
  2. Sneakz macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Nice Mac. Probably should have waited a week or so. And I hope you didn't buy the RAM from Apple.

    Anyway you can use both boot camp and Parallels for Windows 7. Just install using boot camp and with Parallels, you can access the partition. 64 bit for sure. And partition size can be as large as you want. I usually keep mine down to whatever I need. If the OS+apps is going to be 25GB, I'll give it 30.
  3. ozreth macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2009
    IMO running Bootcamp is far superior to Parallels.

    Also, even though you are used to working in Windows, you should do yourself a favor and download the CS4 trial for mac and give it a shot. You are a graphics design guy and macs excel at the, you got this mac so you might as well go the whole nine yards : )
  4. celticpride678

    Feb 15, 2009
    Boston, MA
    I ran Windows 7 in both Boot Camp and Parallels. I can say by far, Boot Camp is faster simply because Boot Camp gets all system resources, while Parallels has to share between Mac OS X and Windows.

    64-bit Windows 7 is the way to go if you can.

    The lowest partiton size for Windows 7 should be 20 GB.

    NOTE: Boot Camp 3.0 drivers on Snow Leopard are not the greatest (Trackpad etc.). Also, Apple does not officially support Windows 7 in Boot Camp, so if there are issues, you are on your own. Parallels supports Windows 7 fully.
  5. Winters macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    I think you can actually switch adobe cs4 with a mac version.
  6. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    for a pretty CPU intense program you would want 100% of the resources available - therefore go with bootcamp.

    bootcamp turns you mac into a PC pretty much, it emulates the BIOS but everything else runs at 100% of the speed of the components. run a benchmark against a similar laptop PC and the numbers will be identical.

    parallels/vmware create virtualised environments. they run like a program underneath OSX, and take resources from OSX to give to the virtual machine. you must give the VM (virtual machine), say 2GB RAM, a virtual drive of your size choice (which only use their actual space being taken up - not a disk image), certain amounts of GPU RAM etc. this slows down your overall experience but makes it very easy to multitask and not have to restart (unlike bootcamp).

    these are both separate things, you do NOT need one to get the other. the choice is yours.

    personally, i would go both! best of both worlds. you can install bootcamp (dont register the w7 serial yet), then make parallels 5 install using the bootcamp information. then register bootcamp and they both work hand in hand. boot into bootcamp, and the desktop will be identical to the desktop that your VM would be in parallels. this gives you the best of both worlds IMO.

  7. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2009
    First of all it sounds like you don't even know the basics about all this so we should start from there. Boot Camp is free and comes with Mac. It's just a software that will allow you to install Windows so that you can choose to boot into either Mac or Windows. The benefit of booting into Windows is that your computer will run at or close to its full speed. This is good for software that requires a lot of processing power to work such as video games and I would consider Adobe CS4 Suite falling under that category especially if you open a few of those programs at the same time.

    Parallels and it's competitor VMWare Fusion allows you to run Mac and Windows at the same time. This is the most convenient since you don't have to restart your computer to boot into Windows just to use a few Windows programs. The downside with this is that running Parallel/Fusion will basically divide your computer in half or more accurately how much processing power you give to it. It's not too much of a problem if you aren't running intensive programs in Windows or if you have a really powerful Mac.

    I personally prefer having both Boot Camp and Parellels/Fusion installed since one compliments the other. I haven't tried it but I believe it's harder to later add a Boot Camp partition once you install the other programs, but it's very easy to install Windows under Boot Camp first and then install the other programs. Once you fully switch over to Mac then you probably won't boot into Windows as much so Parallels will be more important to you but it's nice to have options.

    If you have more questions then you should ask again since there is a lot to learn and it's easier if you don't learn all at once. ;)
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The question of parallels vs. bootcamp really depends on what you plan on doing and plan on running.

    Do you think you'll be in windows more then OSX. Will you be running demanding apps, like games or such?

    Bootcamp would be the better choice in that case.

    Parallel's (and vmware) strength comes from being able to run windows within OSX. You lose the ability to access hardware directly and directx/opengl performance is subpar to that of bootcamp.

    For bootcamp, I'd go with the 64bit version of windows, but if you plan on running windows in parallels, then the 32bit makes more sense - less overhead and you'll not be really taking advantage of the the 64bit OS provides.
  9. deesee76 macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    IMHO, it really depends on the spec of your mac and what you use windows for.

    Currently, I have the 2010 Macbook pro (15", Intel i7, 256GB SSD, 8G RAM, OSX 10.6), that's plenty of resources and processing power for a notebook. I have Vista via Parallels 5 (4GB for OSX and 4GB for Parallels)

    I rely on Parallels to gain quick access to a number of Windows only programs and IE specific web apps.

    I would stay away from Vista as it is common knowledge that it is bloated and resource intensive.

    XP and W7 is definitely your options if you to go down the virtual route (parallels vs VM Ware).

    Virtual OS certainly won't beat bootcamp in terms of performance.

    Bootcamp will leverage all of my system resources whereas Parallels is a virtual environment that shares the resources with your Mac OS.
  10. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    If this is just to run CS4, I'm pretty sure you can pay Adobe something like $25 and have your license switched from the Windows version to the Mac version.
  11. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    This is exactly what I did. I think it was more than $25 (I forgot exactly how much), but this is by far simpler than running a Win 7 on your MBP.
  12. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    May want to check out the post dates before you post, as this thread is from several months ago. Just a heads up
  13. KirkL macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2010
    United States
    1. Bootcamp if you want "native" performance, Parallels if you don't want to reboot to access Windows and don't mind a performance hit
    2. Yes, since you have more than 4 GB of RAM
    3. However long you need it to be.

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