Running Windows VMs on a MacBook...will it work for me?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ZapNZs, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    My 2011 MBP15 has a defective GPU, and while I will eventually purchase another MBP15, I would prefer to wait until an option with 32GB of RAM becomes available, as I often run multiple VMs at the same time on both of my 15-inch MBPs (plus it gives me time to save for a large expenditure as such). For now, my main VM machine is my fully specced mid-2014 MBPr-15, set up as a desktop replacement driving two 1080p IPS displays, connected to about 15 TBs of externals via both USB and TB2, and four different printers/scanners. My point in noting that is to illustrate how disconnecting it each time for use on the go is quite a pain in the rear. So I am looking for something to use on the go, and figure either the lighter MacBook or MacBook Air 13 might be a good choice. I would probably buy refurbished, and if the MBA I would probably go for the i7 with 8GB of RAM, or if the MB then the m5 (obviously with 8GB of RAM), and if possible I would prefer to run 10.11 as the physical host OS.

    I need to run several VMs on the mobile machine, including Win 10 Pro x64, 8.1 Pro x64, 7 Pro x64, XP Pro x86, NT 4.0 x86, and possibly Snow Leopard Server. I can get by without running more than one VM simultaneously, and I will strip down the visual settings so that system resources are not spent on animation (and, if need be, disable most indexing services and other background processes I wouldn't be in dire need of.) I will be running mySQL, ABBYY FlexiCapture Pro, and Stata multicore (usually not simultaneously) and possibly SQL+ via MS Access. I will be using VMWare Fusion 8.5.3, and possible VirtualBox. I can get by with AV/AM software that only provides on-demand scanning.

    Does anyone have experience using the newer MacBook for running VMs or any of those Apps? I know it is going to be a boat load slower than my 2011 MBP, but will it still be usable? Looking at bench results, it appears that there is less difference between the newer Core m5 on the MacBook and the Core i5 on the MacBook Air than I previously thought. Any thoughts?
  2. jeme macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2009
    I am wondering the same but will not be running nearly as much as you.
  3. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    You'd probably be better off with the nTB MacBook Pro 13" model. While the Turbo Boost speeds of the m5 aren't much different from the Core i5 in the nTB MacBook Pro, the latter can sustain those speeds longer without throttling because it has active cooling. I use an m5 MacBook, but don't do anything really taxing in Windows (primarily Quicken).
  4. HolidaySeason macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2013
    When I went from a haswell 13" MBPro to a 2016 12" my VMs ran like crap. Thankfully I didn't need them anymore.
  5. Picapau21 macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2015
    I use parallels to run Windows 10 with no issues on an M7 rMB.

    I have used virtual box in the past but not on this rMB. It tends to run a bit slower than Parallels but still usable.

    I dont tax the VM too much though and only really use it to get into a work VPN which doesn't work on os x.
  6. where is it macrumors 6502

    where is it

    Jun 19, 2012
    My Windows 10 runs perfectly on Parallels 12. Running Lumion, Unity and other 3D software flawlessly...
  7. djinn macrumors 68000


    Oct 4, 2003
    Would the m5 run a VM with Windows 10 and Visual Basic 2015? I have a programming class in school that requires windows for VB. *sigh* Just need to compile some sample code for the class. Nothing hardcore.
  8. c0ppo macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2013
    Yes it would. Without any problems. I run Win10 + VS, using Parallels, and it works like a charm.
  9. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    My main use of VMs is for development (including several instances of Visual Studio 2015 at once) and I've run Windows 10, windows 7 and server 2012 VMs (in fusion) on my base model 2016 rMB

    Only having 8gb RAM means you can't really run multiple VMs at once and I keep the memory allocated to the VM to 4GB but performance wise it was much, much better than I expected - I think the fast SSD certainly helps!
  10. djinn macrumors 68000


    Oct 4, 2003
    Thanks for the replies. This is mainly a college laptop and I cringed to find out my programming was visual basic.
  11. SSpiro macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    This is good news.
  12. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    I have a 2010 macbook.

    I have run windows server 2003 and xp in virtual box ok.
    I have ssd, 8GB ram and 2.4GHz core2duo.

    these work enough to do what I need at work.
    some my tools are windows only so had install vm on my mac

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11 January 25, 2017