vm performance on 13 macbook

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by keiji11, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. keiji11 macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2018
    Hi there I need some advice about the performance of running parallels on 13 macbook pro.
    I am using a 12 macbook 2015 base model at the moment but recently I need to run some windows only apps so I installed parallels on my mac. The ram I assign is 1:1 but its quiet lagy the cpu and ram is running at 90% most of the time according to the activity monitor.
    So I am planning to get a 13 macbook pro and I am looking at 3 options.

    1. used 13 macbook pro 2017 n/tb 8G/256G 40battery cycle warranty till jun2019 $1,090

    2. new 13 macbook pro 2018 tb 8G/256G from discount B&H $1,599

    3. refurbish 13 macbook pro 2017 n/tb 16G/256G $1,499

    Most of the review is saying 16G ram is the best for running vm but I wonder if a faster cpu will help the performance in running vm as 16G is really expensive. I live in hong kong at the moment where apple store will not offer refund where most countries offer 14days refund.
    I want to get the cheapest one as it seems to be a good deal but is 8G ram enough?

  2. drdaz macrumors member


    Aug 23, 2017
    The articles are right. When running VM's, more RAM is definitely better - you're typically running a whole extra 'computer' (OS really) in the VM, so you need memory for it to run in.

    The processors in the Pro line will almost certainly be better at VM's than the Macbook generally, particularly the 2018 models with the extra cores, but I'd still go for the extra RAM if at all possible with this type of use.
  3. sosumi99 macrumors 6502


    Oct 27, 2003
    What drdaz said. The extra RAM will help you more than a faster CPU will.

    Also, make sure you are configuring your Parallels VM properly. Allocating “too much” resource to it can actually slow it down.

    The following blog post is a bit old, but it still holds true in my experience. I run VMs on a 12 inch MacBook with 8 GB of RAM, so I really feel it when misconfiguration slows down performance.

  4. casperghst42 macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2006
    In my experience it is RAM, SSD and CPU - in that order. If you don't have enough RAM, then you seriously need SSD, and if you don't have enough RAM and no SSD then you need a seriously beefy CPU.

    Today less than 16GB Memory is not worth it, if you need more than one virtual machine.

    This is virtualization on different platforms with different virtualization solutions from VMware to KVM.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Even with a single VM, it can be constrained.
  6. drdaz macrumors member


    Aug 23, 2017
    No CPU will fix this situation :)
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    Of the three choices you posted, I actually think choice 3 might serve the best (if you wish to run virtual machines).

    The 16gb of RAM is definitely a plus.

    Also, regarding a 2017 v 2018:
    Apple now extends the warranty for the 2017 keyboard for FOUR YEARS.
    If the keyboard fails, that means you receive a whole new topcase -- including a new battery -- during the extended warranty period.

    This means the 2017's have become "better warranted against failure" than the 2018s.

    That "tips the balance" in favor of the 16gb 2017, in my opinion...
  8. matram macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2011
    You do not say anything about the amount of RAM you have assigned to your Win VM?

    I run test VM with Win10 and Win7 with 2 and 1 GB respectively. Those size VM should work in 8 GB.

    My development VM, Win 7 with Visual Studio, runs with 8 GB of memory. I also found that Visual Studio requires a fair bit of CPU power to be responsive so I switched from a 2-core 13" (2014) to a 4-core 15" (2016).

    So I guess the answer to what is best for you depends a lot on what you will be running in your VM. But I do agree with the general sentiment that memory is always
  9. casperghst42 macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2006
    It does if you also have a fast disk ... not to the same extend as memory does, but it does have an impact.
  10. salivan macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2015
    I ran multiple VMs on my MacBook Pro 2014 8gb few month ago. Never saw slow down.
    But I mostly use headless linux VMs, few times I had to use windows I didn't see any slow down either.

    I use virtual box.
  11. keiji11 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2018
    thanks for your advice. What's the cpu in your macbook pro?
  12. salivan macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2015
    It was base cpu, I don't remember anymore.
  13. keiji11 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2018
    finally i got the 13 macbook pro 2015 8g/256g used for usd650.
    I'm amazed it's still very solid on this 3 years old machine. It runs parallel very smooth no problem at all. Accept for the speakers the one on the 12 macbook is the winner.
  14. Webster's Mac macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2016
    Yea the Pro will run VMs a lot better.
  15. salivan macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2015
    Yeah, its really funny when loads of pips recommend maxed out Macs for running VM, when base ones work perfectly.

    I currently have 16gb ram machine, and never use more than 8gb, even with few VMs on.

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15 September 2, 2018