Remote desktop instead of VM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by blwade, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. blwade macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2014
    I am looking into buying a new MBP. I have settled on a 13", but am still having a hard time deciding 256/16 and 512/8... 512/16 is a little bit more than I'd like to spend...

    Part of my problem is that I will want to run VMs.. and the big VM that has me concerned is Windows. I worry about running out of space on my hard drive with the 256/16 and run out of RAM when using 512/8.. So, I had a friend suggest using a desktop for Windows to remote into. I have a desktop already (that will eventually get some upgrades if I go this route). I signed up for No-IP and am considering trying this out.. and then maybe I will be fine with 512/8 mbp.

    I know I will be limited to when I have wifi access and the speed of that connection, but I think I could live with that. I thought it seemed like a good solution for my dilemma.

    Anyone else doing this? Have any tips?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If you have a Windows desktop, you can use TeamViewer to control that desktop remotely from your Mac. Since TeamViewer is free for personal use, you can try that and see if the workflow works well for you.

    TeamViewer is free for personal use and works with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Ubuntu, iPhone, iPad, etc. It's very secure and private and quite simple to set up and use (no messing around with ports), which comes in handy if providing remote support to those who aren't very computer literate. You can talk them through the setup on their end and be connected to them in less than a minute. I prefer it over LogMeIn because it includes free file transfers between computers, a feature I use frequently. Also, TeamViewer doesn't affect audio settings on OS X, as many have reported that LogMeIn does.
  3. Rigby, Mar 26, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015

    Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    It depends a lot on what you will be doing with it. I use a 256/16 MBP for working with VMs. After OS and applications installations, I had about 200GB left.

    A Windows 8 VM with some essentials such as MS Office can be less than 20GB in size with some optimization (disable hibernation, set a small page file, perhaps remove unused language packs and drivers before installation). Actual document files are all stored on the Mac file system and accessed from inside the VM through shared folders. Of course I use a sparse disk image format for the virtual HDD, so the image file only occupies as much space as is actually occupied by the files in Windows (i.e. not the maximum disk size).

    Besides Windows, I use a number of Linux VMs for development. One of them is ~40GB in size, the others are much smaller (<5GB). So, I have no problem fitting all of this onto the SSD. Remember that you can use differential images (linked clones) if you need to run several instances of a VM.

    In summary, if you pay a little attention, running several VMs from a 256GB SSD is not a big issue.
  4. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    One more vote for Teamviewer. I use it all the time to gain remote access to several of my VMs. Wifi access these days is ubiquitous where I am, and on the rare occasion that it's not available, I tether to my cell phone (but I haven't had to do that in over a year now.)
  5. blwade thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2014
    So, I can set this up on my desktop and access it from anywhere? I saw something that said the other computer would have to accept the request?

    I would like to have access even when not on my home network. If it does this, I'm assuming i wouldn't have to worry about my dynamic IP like I will with Remote Desktop?
  6. totten76 macrumors regular


    Mar 12, 2015
    It's been a little bit since I used TeamViewer, but if I remember correctly, if you have the IP and password and you have an option checked on the host computer, you can take control without having to accept. Even multiple years back TeamViewer was pretty exceptional. I can only imagine how much more its improved.
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Using an RDP solution isn't really that good, because the UX just isn't fluid.

    For me, I store my VMs in a Transcend 960GB JetDrive external SSD to save space in my internal 512GB SSD.
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    You can set up a computer to have TeamViewer launch at startup and always be ready for unattended access with a secure password. It works with a static or dynamic IP and is quite secure. You can access the computer from anywhere in the world that you have an internet connection. You can even do so from an iPad, if you want. I manage several remote computers this way.
  9. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I've tried both microsoft's remote desktop and VM in Virtualbox to run MS Office 2010. Remote desktop works well, especially if the host is using Windows 8.1. Windows 7 works fine, but it is not as smooth. The best part of remote desktop is that it uses virtually zero resources on your computer. The bad news is that your host can't be used while it is hosting a virtual desktop, and you are relying on a good connection to LAN/internet to connect. Virtualbox runs surprisingly well with Windows 7 and 8.1. When idle or using MS Office, it uses a very minor amount of CPU. Windows updates or anything intensive will cause the fans to kick in. I ended up settling on the VM option, but remote desktop is good too as long as you can live with its limitations.
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    I have a programmer friend

    Who does all his travelling work by remote accessing his works servers using an ipad mini with a keyboard!!! It is certainly possible.

    Or if you go 512 8gb then you can bootcamp windows and have the full eperience, when it takes only 25 seconds to restart into windows as it does now it's not such a chore...
  11. wct097 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2010
    I use a combination of the two for a variety of reasons. Working only over remote desktop sucks, especially if you're not on the same network (over the internet).

    My original MBP had a 128gb SSD and it barely sufficed for a basic W7 VM. 256gb is much more usable. My current work VM is up to about 105gb without snapshots. With snapshots, it grows to around 170gb.

    I have my VM loaded down now, because I have the space to spare (512gb/16gb). If I was limited, I'd have to limit what is installed. I have 5 versions of Visual Studio, 3 versions of SQL Server, Eclipse, Office, Quickbooks, Adobe CS4, and many other development related tools that I use on occasion.

    In terms of memory, I only use 4gb for my VM and could probably live with 8gb if I didn't run multiple VMs on occasion.
  12. blwade thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2014
    Thanks for the info. That's helpful.

    I wasn't thinking about the faster boot times with the ssd when using bootcamp... I do think I would like to have access to both at the same time though.


    Thanks for sharing. I was evaluating my hard drive on my 2009 mbp and have about 390gb of space used... not sure how much of that I kept for VMs... it was a 1 TB drive, so I probably gave generously! (My computer has been down for a little while, so it has been a little bit since I've used the VMs).

    I probably would only very rarely be running more than one VM at once (especially if one of them is Windows)... 8gb would be enough? I guess I'm fed up with 4gb of ram on my work machine and was hoping to allocate a little bit more on the VM! ;)
  13. wct097 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2010
    It really depends on what you're doing with your VMs. In my case, I do development work. 4gb and 1 core is enough for most of what I do. Unlike my desktop workstation though, I'm not usually surfing the web, listening to music, and doing a bunch of other non-work stuff on the VM while using it for work.

    I could probably squeeze a little more performance out of it with another core or 3 and double the memory, but when I'm working on the MBP, it's usually when I'm not at my desk and battery life becomes a concern.
  14. Giev macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2013
    I went through a similair thing, but ultimately decided to spend the extra on the 512/16 combo.

    The thing with VMs, is they use a lot of space (hard disk space, and for me persoanlly Memory for the allocated RAM as I almost never shutdown a VM, always suspend). But also, I personally want my tools to be there "when" I need it, and it was too much compromise to have it accessible remotely. I just cannot be sure I have always WiFi, if its a proper connection, etc.

    I tend to use my WIndows VM not as frequent as before (for Visio and some excel these days) but when I need it, I want it there. I want to be able to edit files on the move, train,plane etc. The convinience for me was worth the extra cost.

    However everyone has dfferent requirements. If you really feel that you dont need it locally, I would really suggest using the Microsoft RDP client (Free on Mac App Store). Its by far better than TeamViewer/etc in my opinion.
  15. blwade thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2014
    I might do the 8/512 combo then... this way I could use a VM and run it locally, but if I decide to do it remote, I'll have more space for other things. I don't travel much so most of the time I would just be remoting in from home so I could work on sitting on my couch instead of at a desk.

    I guess I can try out both TeamViewer and Microsoft's RDP. The problem with the RDP is that I have to use no-ip or something similar to handle my dynamic IP - unless there is another way around it that I don't know about.
  16. Giev macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2013
    If you don't use your VMs on regualr basis, just put it ona USB3 HDD and fire it when you need it. That is of course if you dont need it regularly.

    If I absolutely ahd to choose beyween 256/16 and 512/8, I would go for 16GB of RAM. I feel that RAM is a must have for running VMs. You can live with 8, but then you will have limited RAM for both the VM and the host.

    256GB is still lots of space for day to day use. RIght now with loads of Apps installed here is waht I have:
    - Appplications: 63 GB (including around 30 GB of games!)
    - Windoes VM (Parallels): 48 GB
    - All VMs combined:218 Gig (that is alot, but I need it for my specific needs (mobile lab)

    So realisticly, and putting my other VMs asside, I "need" about 100 GB of storage. The rest can be used for some music, docuemtns and frequently accessed files.

Share This Page