VM Performance on MBPRs

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Slivortal, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #1
    So, I'm in the market for a new computer, and one of my biggest gripes about my current 13" '09 MBP is that VM performance is TERRIBLE. At just 1 VM and no real user processes, the VM I have lags horribly and uses all it's virtual CPU. This is pretty bad, especially when I ideally want to be running 2+ VMs all with intensive processes.

    So, for you MBPR users out there, how are virtual machines working on your box (especially in multiples)? I'm especially interested in those running freeware like VirtualBox or VMWare Player. Also, does the graphics computation hinder the VMs/OSs on those VMs?

    By "intensive processes" I'm mainly referring to running web browsers while running text editors with multiple Terminals running multiple processes.
     
  2. johnhalsted macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    #2
    Im currently on the 2.6 16gb rMBP, using windows 7 in coherence mode in parallels and it works perfectly, no problems at all, apps work fine, i even play the odd game through it, although the games are old it still works great!
     
  3. 7even macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #3
    I can run Windows 7 or XP in VirtualBox; they start in under 20 seconds, and run quickly even if I give them only 2 gigs RAM. Quite usable. If you put the VM to sleep, it stops and resumes in under 5 seconds.
     
  4. dhartung02 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #4
    With the multiple cores and up to 16 gigs of ram you should be able to run a couple VM's pretty easily.
     
  5. Slivortal thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #5
    As I'm considering the 2.3/16/256, this should be the case in theory - but I just wanted to make sure it will. I NEED them to work for efficient programming across multiple platforms (that's why I'm upgrading). I'd like an RMBP, but unless I see solid proof that it can stand up to what I see as somewhat heavy usage, I'll need to look for another laptop.

    Also, everyone else seems to be virtualizing Windows out there - any Linux users? The end goal would be able to virtualize Windows and 1 or 2 of several Linux distros (Ubuntu/Mint/Fedora), or FreeBSD.
     
  6. notyourattorney macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #6
    I've upgraded from a 2011 Air to a rMBP (the 2.6 GHz/512 GB model with 8GB RAM) in part for better VM performance (but mainly for the screen).

    The Air would run Windows on Parallels well enough (occasional mysterious sluggishness, nothing too bad, provided I didn't have a bunch of Mac apps open at the same time), but about 25% of the time the fans would blow like mad, and it just ruined battery life.

    rMBP is a notable improvement. Have not had it fire up the fans to audible levels at all, and obviously 8GB RAM is plenty. Windows has a built in DPI scaling that, while not as sophisticated as Apple's, also doesn't require apps to be aware, so it neatly scales up UI elements when I'm in a higher res mode.

    One tip, the video card switching system is Mac OSX specific, so Parallels (and I assume all VM software) turns on the discrete card all the time, which is bad for battery life. This is easily remedied, just install the excellent gfxCardStatus app (which you want anyway) and force the machine to the integrated graphics before you launch the VM.
     
  7. Andrmgic macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #7
    with my early 2011 MBP upgraded to 16GB of ram, I was able to run 7 virtual machines at once without much trouble..

    6 of them assigned 1GB of ram a piece and one 2003 R2 server with 512MB assigned..

    I was running them all off of a single 3TB hdd connected via thunderbolt.. it worked very well.
     
  8. brand macrumors 601

    brand

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #8
    RAM?
    Hard Drive?
     
  9. whiteonline macrumors 6502

    whiteonline

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    California, USA
    #9
    +1

    The biggest improvement will come with the VM residing on a fast HDD or SSD (and of course, proper amount of RAM).
     
  10. Slivortal thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #10
    I understand this is usually the case. However, when I VM, the amount of virtual CPU used quickly hits 100%, while the amount of allotted RAM stays consistent at c. 300 MB. Maybe the HDD/SSD split matters, because I've never had the fortune of using an SSD before.
     
  11. brand macrumors 601

    brand

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #11
    The questions still stand:

    RAM?
    Hard Drive?
     
  12. Slivortal thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #12
    1 GB of RAM on the VM out of 4 on the machine. However, I know that's not the bottleneck through activity monitor/top (as explained above).

    The storage is HDD - 5400 RPM, I think? It's whatever was standard in the '09 models.
     
  13. ugp macrumors 65816

    ugp

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Inverness, Florida
    #13
    On a regular 2012 MBP it runs no problem. Gave it access to all cores and 4GB of RAM with 256MB of Video RAM. Running a SSD in my MBP super fast start up speeds. Specs are in Sig below. Shouldn't be any different with the Retina model.

    http://youtu.be/ETdnuqlL-_4
     
  14. brand macrumors 601

    brand

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #14
    That is a hugh part of your problem.
     
  15. Slivortal thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #15
    That it may be, but it seemed like the CPU within the virtual machine was throttling more than anything (according to activity monitor/top). If the HDD is the main problem, does that mean that the Retina would be no better than say an MBA for my desired tasks?
     
  16. dhartung02 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #16
    Thats pretty impressive! What Thunderbolt drive did you have?
     
  17. Andrmgic macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #17
  18. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #18
    There's no reason for your existing problem. I ran a single VM on my late '08 MBP for years with 4GB RAM and the 5400RPM hard drive. Something's going on.

    Now, if I needed to run more than one VM it was an issue. I can run 3 fairly comfortably on my 2011 entry level 13" with 8GB and SSD.
     
  19. astrorider macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    #19
    You know you can buy from Apple and return in the 14 day window if it doesn't work out perfectly for your needs? IMO, that would seem to provide the most "solid proof" considering your specific VM and application needs.
     
  20. rjg125, Jun 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012

    rjg125 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    #20

    My two cents. I just bought a 512gb SSD, 2.6, 8GB rMBP and I am completely in love. I do web design and most of my VM work is browser testing on both Windows 7 and Vista running IE 8 and IE9. That said, my use of VM is mainly a daily refresh game on browsers to see changes on CSS/HTML/JavaScrit as I program. So for that alone I am seeing that 8GB is adequate. Can it be better, yes, but it does not feel like I am on a slow machine at all. It actually feels snappy and quick on both environments as I swap between the two. I am using Parallels 7 and Windows 7 and Vista look amazing.

    I am attaching images of my settings for the Display on Lion and a screen shot of Vista. Probably best to work off your power cord if you go for 8GB ram though.
     

    Attached Files:

  21. Falundir macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    #21
    Is anyone doing heavy IO and processing tasks in these configurations:

    1. Windows 7 in Parallels
    Or
    2. Windows 7 in Bootcamp

    If so I'm very curious to your results.
     
  22. phyrexia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #22
    I sometimes run two VMs at once with no issues on my machine (2.2ghz i7, 16gb ram, SSD) so I think you should have no issues.
     
  23. ZipZap macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #23
    For VM's.....16gigs does not matter.
    Performance comes from the SSD.

    To the OP, upgrade your MBP to and SSD and your issues will end.

    I run a Win 7 VM in 1 gig on a MBA 13. No problem.
     
  24. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #24
    Thanks for posting those. Looking forward to trying this, never used a Mac before and I currently run my accounts on an XP virtual machine in Win7 (old software, would be over $1000 to upgrade, don't see the need). So I'd ideally like to run a virtual XP machine to do this on the MBPr. And, like you, I do web stuff (but only as a hobby) so I need to keep an eye on IE/FF/Chrome in Windows. And, most likely, I will be playing a few old Windows games. Still can't give up TrackMania or Age of Empires II. I suspect that running these in Windows XP will probably be quicker and take up less space than having a W7 virtual machine.

    MBP due on Friday...
     
  25. Slivortal thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #25
    It all depends on what you use the VMs for. But especially, if you want to run more than a single VM, RAM does become an important factor.

    Also, even if I were to add an SSD, would that change the fact that my VM is using all of its virtual CPU by merely existing?
     

Share This Page