Running VMs on MBP 15" 2016?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nph, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. nph macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I am running Windows 7 a Virtual Machine on my 2013 Macbook Air and it gets hot and fans runs quite a lot.
    It does have an upgraded i7 Processor and 8 Gig but still.
    Curious how the new 2016 MBP 15" is handling VMs running windows 7?
    Please note it is not Windows 7 in bootcamp I am interested in but in a VM.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    I've run windows 7 on my 2012 rMBP and it handled it like a champ, I can only imagine the 2016 model will handled it like a champ. Remember, the 15" MBP has quad cores, and 16GB of ram, so it has the resources
     
  3. daihard, Apr 12, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017

    daihard macrumors 6502a

    daihard

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    #3
    Mine's not 15-inch, but it's a 2016 MBP with an i7 and 16 GB RAM, and it can handle two VM guests (Windows 10 and Xubuntu 16.04) pretty nicely.
     
  4. unashamedgeek macrumors regular

    unashamedgeek

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    #4
    I have the 15" 2016 with VMware Fusion and run Windows 10 Pro and Kali at the same time and there are no hiccups. My Windows 10 VM outperforms my Surface Pro 3 across things like updates, launching office apps, etc.
     
  5. nph thread starter macrumors 6502a

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  6. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #6
    There is absolutely nothing sensible to say about it as this requires to understand what you are using the vm for and what the settings of the vm are (amount of vCPUs/cores, memory, etc.). I for one never had any issues with running such a vm on my 13" MBA 2012 but then again I used the default settings in VMware Fusion and never did much more than read some basic Office documents and use Outlook. And then I was also running some other vm's next to it.

    The same applies to the 15" MBP 2016. Run some complex things in Solidworks on a Windows 10 vm and the MBP is not going to like it that much (it will do the same thing as your MBA is doing).
     
  7. chevelleguy3 macrumors regular

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    #7
    What dyn ^ said.

    In my experience, I run a Windows 7 32-bit and a Windows 10 64-bit vm in Parallels and haven't had any issues. I use the Windows 7 VM with just the standard settings and use the Windows 10 VM with 4 vCPU's and 8GB of RAM. The Windows 10 will kick the fans up a bit but that's ok. It has never gotten hot and performance is great.
     
  8. nph thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    So what machine are you using it on chevelleguy3?
    Dyn, I tend to use it for some corporate SAP applications and other stuff that can get the fans to start running quite a bit. Also some Visual basic in Excel working on huge spreadsheets.
    A pity that Excel on Mac is not compatible 100% with Windows version.
     
  9. chevelleguy3 macrumors regular

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    #9
    I'm using a 2016 15" tbMBP 2.7 i7, 16GB RAM, 512SSD, Radeon Pro 455
     
  10. nph thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    So a base machine with 450 would be fine as well?
     
  11. chevelleguy3 macrumors regular

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    #11
    I don't see any reason why not. I've ran those same VM's on a base 15" 2014 model as well and they did just fine.
     
  12. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    #12
    At least in regards to Win 7 Pro 32-bit on my 2014 15-inch MacBook Pro with VMWare Fusion 8.5.x, GPU utilization is relatively low with most standard business software, regardless of graphics settings. It runs quite well on the base model 2016 13-inch as well. (It's worth noting I have most of the UI animations stripped from my Windows VMs given they just occupy more resources.)

    I say relatively because GPU utilization is much higher if I am running an OS X VM, to a point where the CPU sometimes has to throttle some when running on conjunction with other tasks, presumably due to heat generation. (With a 2016 15-inch, I imagine there will be a substantial improvement in that department.)
     
  13. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #13
    What exactly?

    That is perfectly normal with Excel 32-bit; run it natively on a machine the power of a CAD workstation and it will do the exact same thing. Excel 32-bit is not a very nice piece of software when it comes to performance and stability. The 64-bit version is a completely different story and you'd really want to use that version instead if you can. Not only is it more performant and stable, it also allows you to use far more resources and thus use for more complex worksheets. A lot of the people in BI use this version because of those reasons.
     
  14. KayM8 macrumors newbie

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    #14
    I actually run Windows 10 in a Parallels VM to game on my base 13" nTB.. so the 15" should fly through it. Fans don't kick in during boot/web browsing in VM unless I start gaming
     
  15. Conutz macrumors regular

    Conutz

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    #15
    A 15" is quad-core, providing better overall performance (as well as higher performance architecture, I would presume). You can allocate one or more cores to the VM, depending on requirements. I have a 2014 rMBP with 16GB RAM and 512SSD. I've run Windows XP, 7 Pro 10 VMs for development (Windows, ARM, SQL) and 3D CAD too, good performance all around. I tried the same with a 13", non-retina with SSD installed and it's a pain. Just after getting my notebook, I ran two VMs, one for development (7) and the other for real-time playback of analogue data through NI USB hardware (on XP for efficiency). It ran really well and didn't miss a beat - if the playback software is held up in any way, it aborts the task.

    If my 2014 runs so well, I can only imagine that the 2016 would laugh at it. I use VMware Fusion and am pleased with it.
     
  16. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #16
    If you are running the vm with the default settings it won't matter if you run it on the 13" or 15". The quad core CPU in the 15" only makes a difference when you are using more vCPUs (which you should really be careful off as this is usually the root cause of performance issues) or when you are running lots of other CPU intensive stuff besides the vm.

    Also don't overestimate current day computers. There is very little difference in CPU, memory and disk in the last 3~4 years. The biggest difference is with GPUs but in case of notebooks that only really applies to the dGPUs. It will be a little bit faster and certainly not in the realms of "laughing at it".
     
  17. Conutz macrumors regular

    Conutz

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    #17
    Respectfully disagree. The architecture on the 2016 is significantly faster than the previous models, just look at SSD for e.g. - it's not just down to CPU speed. With practical experience, my 2014 rMBP slaughtered my 2012 MBP with SSD.

    In my 6 years of experience running VMs, I wouldn't touch anything but a quad core, unless I'm doing something simple like word processing in the VM - in which case there are better options, like Crossover.
     
  18. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #18
    Ah a classic case of falling for marketing speak and not understanding what the specs actually mean ;)

    SSDs are marketed with sequential speeds which only make sense in servers. On desktops and notebooks these speeds mean absolutely nothing because the workload on these machines won't ever benefit from it (unless you really like moving around big files on your filesystem from one folder to another). What matters on desktops and notebooks are the random reads/writes and perhaps the latency. There are some improvements there but they aren't that big.
    The issue here is that virtualisation on macOS will not take use of the sequential speeds at all because the vm disks are broken down into small 2GB sized files. That's way too small for you to notice the high sequential speeds of the new SSD. The only advantage here lies in the latency but there are way too many other variables around that make a difference too so in reality you won't notice this at all.

    My practical experience matches the theoretical facts: my old 13" MBA 2012 is not faster when running vm's than my 2016 MBP. The only thing I noticed is that the 2016 machine stays silent whereas the 2012 machine is revving up the fan, especially when installing updates in several vm's.

    Also, you are over-exaggerating the quad core CPU here. The dual core CPUs are very powerful and perfectly fine for doing CPU intensive stuff such as running complex Excel sheets (and yes, these can get so complex that you actually need to have a CAD workstation with lots of memory and lots of cores). You far more on these dual cores than just Word. And no, you really do not want to use WINE/Crossover for that, it gives you a headache unlike when you run it on its native platform in a vm (and in most cases you could simply do with the Mac version anyway).
     
  19. mcomp112 macrumors regular

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    #19
    The 15 inch MBP runs VMs incredibly well. I run Parallels every day and have never had a lag or speed issue. Honestly, I find the Windows experience on a 15 inch MBP to be superior to a lot of dual-core Windows notebooks that lag and stutter in Excel for some unknown reason.

    The only thing I dislike about the VM experience on the 15 inch MBP is that starting up Windows activates the dGPU, which kills battery life and can cause the machine to get warm if used for too long without pause.
     
  20. dhw01 macrumors newbie

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    #20
    If you use Fusion, you have option to start with integrated graphics...no idea with overall power consumption...
     
  21. Conutz macrumors regular

    Conutz

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    #21
    @dyn not understanding specs or not, practical experience shows me that dual cores are not ideal for running a VM. A recent case on a freshly installed 2013 13" running Win 10 is an absolute pain - for simple word processing, excel sheets etc. Newer Airs are okay for the basics, if your usage is light and so is the OS, e.g. XP. Again, all practical experience.

    The other one, as mentioned, is my 2014 rMBP vs. my 2012 - slaughters it under the same usage.

    Again my practical experience says that I'd rather use Crossover alone if I could - the pain of running an entirely separate OS for tasks such as Visio, MS Project or some word processing, etc. is certainly not worth it. Power consumption, disk & memory usage, not to mention needing anti-virus software & perpetual updates...way more of a headache than using Crossover. I make a conscious decision to choose the Mac and MacOS as a platform, I only run Windows VMs because I absolutely have to.

    So, my advice to someone considering a new Mac for virtualisation is as follows. If you go the dual-core route, test it thoroughly during the return window - you don't want to be stuck with a machine for a number of years that's a pain to use and ultimately not up to the task.
     
  22. TheOkeland macrumors member

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    #22
    You are completely right. Using a dual-core ThinkPad at the moment, it isn't able to handle a single VM properly...
    With Linux as host, its slow, but at last it works in a way. Running Windows as host, no VM is possible, the machine just isn't able to handle it...
    Now waiting for the 2017-MBPs and I will buy a 15" model.
     
  23. Conutz macrumors regular

    Conutz

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    #23
    Objectively, you will not regret it.
     
  24. dyn, Apr 17, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017

    dyn macrumors 68030

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    #24
    That is not normal behaviour, something is seriously wrong. Usually these things are caused by people not understanding virtualisation and simply assigning way too many resources to the vm (somehow many people seem to think they have to assign all the cores of the physical CPU to the vm...the only thing that does is wreak absolute havoc regarding performance). The workload you are describing here should work fine on a 2006 MacBook with only 2GB of RAM!

    Check the assigned resources and make sure you have installed the guest additions/tools. Stick to the defaults when creating a vm.

    Lots of misconceptions there I see. Antivirus products have been on auto-update for years. The moment you have an internet connection will be the moment they start checking for updates (and pull if there is any). Windows has been on auto-update as well, especially since version 8 (people are actually criticising that they can't turn it off). You'd have to go and turn it all off (which is a complete migraine attack with Windows 8 and up) before it can even become a headache.

    In most scenarios the resource usage of a vm is higher than when using Crossover but the main reason why Crossover is an issue is that it has to fully support the software you want to run which it doesn't in most cases. You really have to check the compatibility list first and read the comments there and only use the version of the software that is listed there as working. Use a newer version (which quite a lot of people do with Adobe and Microsoft software since the subscription licensing) and things will fall apart. You don't into this when using a vm.

    My advice to anyone considering virtualisation: read up on what it is and how you use the software but most off all: don't ever change the defaults unless you absolutely know what you are doing! For 99% of the users it doesn't matter what CPU (dual core or quad core) is in the machine.


    Don't bother waiting because it won't run on that machine nor on the 2019, 2020, etc. models because you clearly messed something up. The current and previous dual core models are perfectly fine running multiple Linux vm's. CPU is hardly an issue with virtualisation, the most important things are memory and I/O. VMware has done some research on this topic and made a whitepaper about it. Sysadmins running various hypervisors are also seeing this same behaviour.

    As stated above, people who have performance issues usually have caused this themselves by assigning way too many resources to the vm; usually this is the amount of vCPUs. A rule of thumb here is that one cannot assign more than half the physical resources to the vm's because the other half is required for the host OS. That means that if you have a quad core CPU you can assign no more than 2 vCPUs to a vm. However, due to the way the hypervisor is handling the resources that the host OS assigns to it you can run more than 1 vm with such a setting. In other words: running 1 vm with 4 vCPUs is not possible but running 4 vm's with each one of them assigned 2 vCPUs is not a problem.

    Virtualisation == resource management! Even with Virtualbox, Parallels, Fusion/Workstation, not just the big stuff.

    My dual core 13" MBP 2016 can run 12 vm's quite easily. These vm's range from clients running Windows 10, Ubuntu 16.04.2, openSUSE Leap 42.2, couple of macOS ones to servers running on Debian 8 and FreeBSD 10. No problem with 16GB memory and the 1TB disk (the other SSDs will work just as well). Btw, I use VMware Fusion Pro 8.5 to do all this and use open-vm-tools in the unix/linux vm's because I like it better than the supplied VMware Tools (it comes with the package manager of the OS which makes it easier to install with unattended installations plus it also plays nice with kernel updates).

    Oh and another thing to mention: Virtualbox is free but it is also well known to be the slowest hypervisor on macOS as well as it having I/O issues (I/O can be very slow at times). Ditching that for Parallels, Fusion or even hypervisor.framework can make all the difference.
     
  25. TheOkeland macrumors member

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    #25
    You misunderstood me. On my current dual-core Thinkpad I can't run a SINGLE VM properly on Windows. With the given Hardware (maybe Driver conflicts or caused by proprietary drivers) Windows it self is not running really smooth.
    On Ubuntu, I can run a VM (assigning one CPU to the VM and about 3 of 8 GB of RAM), but again I have seen better performance on machines with worse specs.
    I know this isn't caused by the CPUs or ThinkPads in general, but my model has quite some problems with drivers.
     

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