Vista on an MBA? Boot Camp or Virtualize? 32-bit or 64-bit?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by DrivinWest, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. DrivinWest macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    #1
    Hey all,

    I need a new computer for school. As a Mac guy through and through, the thought of doing my non-class related activities on a PC upsets me to no end (No 1Password? No thanks!). I've all but decided to get an MBA to use during my pursuit of *ahem* an MBA! Alas, I'm going to have to run either XP or Vista on my machine for MS' Office* and a few Windows-only applications. I already have a copy of Vista Ultimate so I'm leaning towards that.

    My concerns:

    1) I'm wondering if I should use a Boot Camp install or just go virtual. This question stems from my lack of experience with Vista's virtualized performance on an MBA. Can anybody attest to how it runs? I can't think of any reason why I'd need to run anything natively as the vast majority of the time I'll simply be using Office 2007*. That said, I'll likely be using these programs in parallel. Virtualizing Vista appeals as I'd like to be as efficient with the disk space as possible, create machine images to protect for viruses and crashes, and have Time Machine backup my Vista "file" automatically. But if it's gonna run like a pig, Boot Camp is the only solution.

    2) Boot Camp and virtualized, is there any advantage to 32-bit vs. 64-bit on an MBA? I know 64-bit can use 4GB of RAM but that's not an issue with the MBA. I have both Parallels 3.0 and Fusion (anxiously awaiting 2.0). Obviously, if I go with 64-bit I'll need to use Fusion.

    Many thanks in advance,
    DW

    *I know I could use Office 2008 for Mac but as I need to run other Windows-only tools I'd rather keep all my school stuff in one machine
     
  2. ZiggyPastorius macrumors 68040

    ZiggyPastorius

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Berklee College of Music
    #2
    I don't know anything about the bit operating systems, but, I can tell you, virtualisation is a HUGE resource hog. If you do use this for your classes, expect your MBA to be loud, possibly overheat, run kind of irritably (possibly), and not be ideal. Boot camp would be the preferred way to go, in my opinion. Less risk, more stable, et cetera.

    Edit: And don't forget to incorporate your battery life, which is going to be affected a lot more.
     
  3. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #3
    ^^^ Agree with above poster.

    Virtual Machine = suck. I mean Boot Camp just takes an extra few seconds to load, is free, and runs at native speeds. Unless you'd be going back and forth from Windows to Leopard A LOT (where productivity is priority number one), don't bother.

    And I'll throw down my vote for Vista 64. It works fantastic, but I could understand if you'd rather go 32. The MBA RAM limit is 2GB right? But still, I was running Vista 64 on my MBP with only 2GB of RAM for a while, and it was still blazing fast. Either way, good luck.
     
  4. DrivinWest thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    #4
    Thanks to both of you guys for the replies! I'm leaning towards a small (slipstreamed?) Boot Camp install with Fusion installed on the OS X side just in case I need quick access.

    One question regarding Vista being "blazing fast" - is 64-bit supposed to be faster than 32-bit? I know the technical differences between the two but don't know the 1st thing about the practical differences.
     
  5. Eric. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    #5
    There won't be any difference between 32- and 64-bit unless you have 4GB of RAM. You may run into compatibility problems more often with 64-bit, but I've only found one or two popular programs with issues. Namely ZoneAlarm not making a 64-bit compatible firewall.

    For a Macbook Air go with 32-bit.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    I have a 2.16Ghz white iMac with 3GB RAM. Windows XP runs very well inside VMware's Fusion. I can run the MS Office suite in XP and still run some Mac Apps and it does not slow down. It is stable and runs for weeks. The key to running VMware is to have enough RAM to run both OSes. 2GB is a practical minimum.

    Question: Why not run the Mac version of MS Office?
     
  7. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #7
    I would totally agree with you, but 64-bit just "feels" faster. Maybe it's all my head, but it felt like night and day for me (before I had Vista 32 and at one point XP 32 installed).:p

    Again, whatever you do, go for Vista. You'll be very pleased with it.
     
  8. jerryrock macrumors 6502

    jerryrock

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    Sep 11, 2007
    Location:
    Amsterdam, NY
    #8
  9. DrivinWest thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    #9
    I need MS OneNote which only comes with the Windows version of Office.
     
  10. DrivinWest thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    #10
    By "supported" do they mean supported in case you have questions for Apple - or only those machines actually work. Obviously Vista 64-bit runs on non MacPro and MacBook Pro machines.
     
  11. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #11
    Any non-2008 updated Mac (any Mac that wasn't updated in 2008) is not "supported" as far as Vista 64 goes. This is very stupid, as any Mac since like 2006 can support Vista 64, Apple just needs to get it's ass in gear and actually fix that. Yes, I say fix, because it's a problem that shouldn't exist.

    However, I've heard numorous stories about people just downloading the Boot Camp drivers that came with the early 2008 Mac Pro's, installing Vista 64 on their Mac, then installing the Mac Pro drivers they downloaded, and having everything work fine.
     

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