virtualbox & ssd

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by tildesley, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. tildesley macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2009

    i've used Fusion in the past & it left one large file on my hard drive. I want to switch to using Virtualbox which I guess runs the same way, this is the first time I've used it with an SSD though.

    Is this recommended with an SSD? my thinking is, say I make a 32gb virtual disc, doesn't everything I exit the virtual system, it write back 32gb of data? or is my understanding of everything wrong :)

  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Virtualbox claims to support the same file formats as parallels and perhaps (though I don't remember at the moment) vmware fusion. I have mine set up in virtualbox's native format. My win xp install gobbles up about 15 gig of my Macintosh HD and my win 7 install gobbles up another 8 gb or so.

    When windows is running, it's writing to what it thinks is a hard disk which turns out to be the virtualbox (or other) file. I would think you could plug in a usb disk and have virtualbox use that for windows if you don't want it hammering your SSD all the time.
  3. tildesley thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2009
    so when its writing, it's writing the whole file or just the bits it needs to? as much as I would love to think it writes just the bits it wants to, I have a suspicion it is writing the whole damn thing which would mean my SSD life would be pretty much shot after a while, I the usb idea but I fear it would be too slow :(
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Why not use an external drive for your virtual Windows?

    Virtual Windows as mentioned is a very large file that is constantly being modified. Also, I would imagine that it uses that file for its "swap file" space as well (Paging).

    FIrewire 800, USB 3, Thunderbolt are good options for external connections. If you are worried about reasonable speed, consider Western Digital's Velociraptor drives in an enclosure. They run at about 10,000 rpm. An alternative of course is the WD Black series or an enclosure with typical drives ran in RAID (striped).
  5. waynep macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2009
    It does not re-write the whole things. I have used VirtualBox, Fusion and VMware workstation. It writes the parts that changed. There is usually a setting that you can use to break up the large disk image file into multiple pieces as well. Not sure there is an advantage to that . . . Might be but I have never used it.

    The external drive would help with performance but if you have the space, it shouldn't hurt your SDD. I would put it on mine if I had an SSD.

    Yes everything is in there, swap file etc. It's the entire contents of the Win hard drive.
  6. tildesley thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2009
    settle on the usb2 external hdd disc idea, its pretty quick, well faster than I expected. Would a usb3 flash drive or sdcard be any quicker do you think? (I'm on a cMBP12)

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