Vista or XP under Parallells?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 27, 2007
Last Mac I had was one of those unfortunate all in one 5400s back in the day. It wasn't missed, and I moved into PCs, currently running a rather stylish little Shuttle XPC.

However, things move on, Steve is back in charge after the dark days and the Mac is once again a desirable pc. To replace my Shuttle with a modern equivalent would cost £900 - £1000, and that is without a monitor, hence the Mac seems even more attractive.

I need to retain PC compatability, and want to do so on the fly, so should I buy an iMac, I would install Parallells in preference to using Bootcamp.

But, which OS would be a more usable choice - XP or Vista? To retain the dual memory speed advantage, I would prefer to add only an additional 1gig of extra ram. So would Vista be memory hungry and grab most of this memory? Would XP be the lighter, quicker OS to run in these circumstances?

Perhaps some of you guys out there have already tried the above with your white iMacs and can feed back.

I appreciate your thoughts. Also, if you think this thread would be better posted on one of the other forums, please advise.


macrumors 603
Apr 29, 2005
San Francisco
Use XP. Vista is just crap.
EDIT: I give this opinion based on using Vista on a native PC at work. And it isn't very good, I don't base this opinion on the performance you would achieve on an Intel Mac because it doesn't matter. Vista is just not very good. And XP is much more decent (and faster).


macrumors 6502
May 12, 2007
I think you sort of answered your own question. If you want maximum stability, compatibility, and speed---go with XP. The only real reason to choose Vista at this point would be to "future proof" your setup, but you can always upgrade (?) to Vista in a couple of years when it gets more mature. This will be my strategy when my new iMac arrives (it's on the way:D).

Conventional wisdom has been that Microsoft OSs don't really get stable and mature until SP2 or so. While this is highly debatable, what is certainly true is that Vista is quite young and will have some "issues" not caught during beta testing. It is also far more resource-intensive; there are many machines in service today that run XP quite well but that would be grossly underpowered for Vista. If you plan to use Windows as your secondary OS, I see little reason to pay the performance penalty merely to enjoy the nice eye candy in Vista. XP has more patches than an Amish quilt, but it is by now fairly stable and secure and will run smoking fast on the new iMacs (at least natively under Bootcamp; I'm not so sure under Parallels).


macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2004
I have Vista Home Premium on my MBP and it runs very well. In fact IMO it runs smoother than XP Pro did. However I must mention that I have no Windows native software installed because I really only need it for validating web sites in IE and Firefox.

Do keep in mind though if you're going to use Parallels then you won't be able to use Vista Home Basic or Vista Home Premium as M$ disabled the ability to use them with virtualisation software.