VMWare Fusion iMac/MacBook Pro Options

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bielen, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. bielen macrumors regular

    May 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    I currently own a 2.4ghz MacBook Pro (Late 2008) with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB 7200rpm drive. This particular MBP is limited to 6GB of recognized RAM.

    I run VMWare Fusion and while it works, but the overall MBP becomes sluggish when I have Fusion running various Window apps including SQL Server, Visual Studio, IIS and other web development tools. I also use Dreamweaver CS4 and Photoshop CS4 (average user) on the Mac side.

    Would it be cost effective to upgrade the MBP to 6GB of RAM and and an SSD for Fusion or should I sell the MBP and get a new MBP (2.53 I5) or 3.60GHz Intel Core i5 21.5" iMac ($1699) or the 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 27" iMac?

    I don't necessarily need the 27" monitor, but would buy if the Hyperthreading or TurboBoost make a significant different with Fusion. My overall goal is to improve Fusion performance.

    Any info is appreciated.
  2. JodyK macrumors 6502a


    Jan 29, 2010
    Northern Atlanta suburbs
    I can say I understand your frustration with Fusion bringing down overall system performance. I used to run it on a first gen MacBook Air 1.8 but with the SSD. I currently have the i7 MBP with 8GB of ram but have had several models in between. A ram upgrade and an SSD with def make a difference. When going from 2gb to 4gb on a 13 inch pro I did see a difference. Would the sheer computing power of an imac with the i7 be a bigger difference than an upgrade of 2gb of ram and an ssd with your current MBP .... I would say yes.

    Good luck!
  3. Migra macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2010
    I have a MBP C2D@2.26 with 4GB RAM, I run VMWare Fusion with Windows 7 for my Visual Studio, SQL, Office, BUT It would be AWESOME if I could install VS2010, SQL 2008 and Office 2010 on Windows 2000, the fact is that the fastest Windows is 2000, much over XP, Vista and 7, I installed it on Fusion assigning it 1GB of RAM and 1 core for processing and it starts in 20 seconds and shuts down in 3 seconds, so, imagine if it could run modern software! Bootcamp wouldn't be needed, I'll make a comparison video to YouTube it so you see Windows 2000 vs Windows 7 VMWared
  4. bielen thread starter macrumors regular

    May 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    My thought is to sell the MacBook Pro now while it still has a decent bit of value. I did find going from 2GB to 4GB did help overall system performance.

    I'm leaning toward the iMac route. I have the iPad for portability and do have a Windows laptop should I really need to do something remotely.

    I currently run XP, but want to move to Windows 7 and SQL 2008. I also like to have a few test environments for IE6 and IE7.

    Overall, I'm just tired of the beach ball.
  5. Penn Jennings macrumors 6502

    Apr 22, 2010
    I'm wondering, when you are running all of your applications, what does Activity Monitor report your memory and CPU usage to be?

    The answer to those questions will answer YOUR question.

    If you are not maxing the CPU but your swap is huge and you are paging like crazy an i7 will not help you.

    If your CPUs are maxed, or close AND memory usage is under 4 GB, then the i7 will help a lot. Although I very much doubt that this will be true.

    I run VMs all the time on my MBP. I had to go from 4 GB to 8 GB because the performance was horrible. The difference was like night and day. Sadly, you would only gain a 2 GB improvement but that could the very noticeable difference. I have never used VM Fusion but I have used Parallels 5 and Virtual Box. I found VB to be easier on system resource than Fusion. Another option might be to try a different Virtual Machine before spending over a thousand dollars.... Unless you are stuck with Fusion.

    In my experience, CPU is rarely the issue when it comes to VMs... it's almost always memory when the host has 4 GB of less. VMs are one of the best reasons to go Mac Pro. In your case. I think ANY 2010 Mac with 8 GB would rock. Maybe try the 2 GB upgrade first... thats cheap. Check the return policy, if it doesn't work maybe you can return it.

    If you are don't feel like going through all of those steps, I'd go to a 2010 MBP with 8 GB. The proc in it won't make a big difference for your applications. SSDs always rock though.

    Just my 2 cents.
  6. hydro macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2011
    Also thinking of switching from MBP to iMac 27

    Hello bielen, I was wondering what your decision was? Did you swap the MacBook Pro for an iMac 27? I'm in a very similar situation to you. I have a Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro 17" (mid-2009 model) with 4 GB of RAM and a 7200 RPM 500 GB internal drive. I am thinking of either upgrading to 8 GB of RAM and an internal SSD, or possibly instead selling my MBPro (it still has Apple Care) and getting an iMac 27". I also have an iPad for light travel. I run VMWare Fusion quite a bit (not so much for Windows but usually more for Linux). The 27" iMac with the optional 256 GB SSD inside is very appealing (I'm a data scientist so having the 27" screen real estate is also quite appealing). I currently use my MacBook Pro like a desktop replacement (I hardly ever move it around and its connected to and drives a second monitor). Some people say the iMac 27 is not as nice compared to a Mac Pro tower but the tower is definitely overkill for my needs (I'm not a photographer or video editor). But virtual machines? I can't live without them and I plan on utilizing cloud based virtual systems more and more too (whereby, for example, I could prep and create a vm on my Mac and then upload an image to, say, Amazon for EC2 use). I'd love to hear from anyone who has been in the same situation of trying to figure out MacBook Pro v.s. iMac. Thank you!
  7. Tonsko macrumors 6502


    Aug 19, 2010
    I would definitely do the RAM upgrade first and see how everything runs. Had 2010 2.66 13" MBP, and could only run 1 VM at a time (W7, 1.5Gb allocated), but it ran fine. Trying to run more than 1 brought the system to a standstill. Upgraded to 8Gb, and now it can run 3 with memory to spare.

    So... upgrade your RAM and allocate another half gig or gig to the guest OS and see how you get on. Should make a huge difference.

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