VM Ware (Windows on Mac) - 13" vs. 15"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by yukari, May 26, 2015.

  1. yukari macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #1
    Is there any significantly noticeably difference in performance between 13" (duo core) versus 15" (quadro core) MBPs?

    I am considering getting a 13" rMBP to replace my aging 15" cMBP (2011), but I run a quite of bit of Windows 7 using VM Ware Fusion as I need to switch between Windows and OS X frequently.

    If the difference is quite significant, I will stick with quadrocore 15".

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Phoenix
    #2
    While I have not used fusion I do use Parallels quite a bit and I have to imagine the settings a similar. In the settings I'm able to choose how may cores I want to allocate to windows. With the 13 inch your only getting 2 cores. Two hyper threaded if you get the i7 config so it would like 4 but its really not. With the 15 your getting 4 cores hyper threaded to 8. So you could technically assign 2 cores with the 15 inch and sill have 2 for the mac, almost making it as if you had two 13's (minus the emulation overhead). Plus the 15 comes with 16GB ram, so give it 8 gives of ram mac still has 8 GB. They would have to share the GPU but it would work out well. Pretty much end up being twice as fast as you can assign more cores to the emulation.
     
  3. duervo macrumors 68000

    duervo

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    #3
    I do A LOT of VM work with mine, so keep that in mind here, but I prefer the 15" due to the quad core CPU.

    I had a 13" before, for the 2 week return period, and found it just sucked at running my VMs.

    Life was better when I returned it and got the 15".

    I have at least 4-6 VMs runing simultaneously, though. 3 with 2 vCPU, and the rest with 1. Mix of Linux and Windows.

    I would be surprised if your usage is similar to mine, so you may be ok with the dual core in the 13", but probably only if you stick to VMs with a single vCPU. I wouldn't try any with more than that in it, unless I was prepared to experience possible increased latency across the board.
     
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    Mar 14, 2008
    #4
    Bit of a pet peeve of mine, but it's dual, not duo, and quad, not quadro.

    Depending on what you do in Windows, you're more likely to run into lack of RAM rather than lack of CPU power.
     
  5. mcmul macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2009
    #5
    This. It really comes comes to your disk speed and RAM allocation.
     
  6. yukari thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 29, 2010
    #6
    My mistake.

    So CPU is not the bottleneck when it comes to speed? I usually run one VM and OS X side-by-side. So as long as I get 16 GB of RAM, I shouldn't notice any significant difference in speed?
     
  7. SE43 macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2015
    #7
    I have 2015 13" rMBP with i5 2.9 and also opted for the 16gb and runs Parallels fine for me (Windows 8.1).
     
  8. wct097 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 30, 2010
    #8
    I don't think you'd see a lot of difference if you're running one VM. It would be very rare for me to set up a VM running more than 2 vCPUs which should be fine on a dual core machine. The real issue here is what you're doing with the VM. If you're using it to do something processor intensive, then it may make a difference. If you're just "running Windows", it probably won't make a difference.
     
  9. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    Mar 14, 2008
    #9
    Like I said, it depends what you are using the VM for.

    For things such as documents and spreadsheets, then no, the CPU will not be a limiting factor.
     
  10. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

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    Dec 30, 2010
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    I come from a land down-under...
    #10
    With VMs, memory > disk speed > cpu power

    CPU is generally the least significant factor in VM performance, unless you're hammering the VM. Some people think "more is better" and give their VMs 4 or 6 vCPUs - this is seldom helpful, and in fact is a detriment if you run more than one VM because the hypervisor has to wait until it can schedule time for all of those vCPUs. VMWare generally recommends starting with 1 vCPU and increasing if CPU load gets too high (say > 70%). For a Windows VM with lots of concurrent apps, you might want to start with 2 vCPUs to get decent performance on both the Windows UI and the apps you're running.

    In my experience, the top priority is RAM. VMs tend to become really sluggish if they start using disk swap space - an SSD helps enormously, but best to ensure that you've got enough RAM allocated for the VM and avoid memory balooning / oversubscription if possible.

    Fast disk storage is the next factor - SSDs have made a huge difference to VM performance. It's generally OK to run the VM guest on the same SSD as the host OS these days, but if you can have two SSDs - one for host, one for guest, it will be better. Hard to do on a laptop, though! Internal SSDs (Sata III, PCIe) are better, but I've had good performance with fast USB 3 enclosures with Sata III SSDs inside them. Thunderbolt would be a bit better.

    I upgraded my 8GB i7 MBA 13 to a 16GB rMBP 15 mostly for the VMs - I need to run 2 or 3 large VMs simultaneously and 8GB wasn't doing it for me. I could have upgraded to a rMBP 13, but thought, "hey, lets just get the quad core to get more VM grunt", and I don't regret it (apart from carrying it!)
     
  11. yukari thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #11
    On a somewhat tangent topic, is there a significant difference in VM Ware's Fusion program running windows if the VM file is on SSD or HDD?

    I would imagine opening and closing Fusion will have a significant speed difference but what about actual performance if I have 16 GB of RAM?
     
  12. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    Mar 14, 2008
    #12
    Disk access operations from within the VM itself will be much faster if it is on a SSD.
     
  13. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #13
    1. Windows 7 will not handle the HiDPI screen and will look appalling on the rMBP.
    2. What work do you perform in your Windows VM?
     
  14. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #14
    Windows 7 on Parallels looks fine.
     
  15. yukari thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #15
    1. Ooh. That's no good.
    2. My work has programs that only runs on Windows based PC's and not on Mac. Since a comparable program is not available on Mac, I am force to have access to a PC whenever I need to use these programs. Some are proprietary database management systems etc.
     
  16. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #16
    Just use Windows 8.1.
     
  17. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    Feb 25, 2012
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    #17
    Or don't and wait for Windows 10 ;)

    ----------

    I hate Parallels, both the company and the product.
     
  18. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #18
    I hate Parallels as well because I work for VMware :D

    Rivalry aside, I've to admit that Parallels does a good job when it comes to building the hardware acceleration drivers for the VM. VMware doesn't really do as good of a job for Fusion, but that's because it's more corporate-oriented rather than consumer-oriented (I don't work with anything related to Fusion though, I'm more of an ESXi and vSphere dev).
     
  19. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    Feb 25, 2012
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    Sydney, Australia
    #19
    I'd take the convenience of portability of VMs over the benefits of Parallels anyday. Its immensely useful being able to run a VMWare disk image on any of their virtualisation platforms.
     
  20. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #20
    It's also easy to run it on a Vbox hypervisor, because VMDK is also supported on it.
     

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