VmWare question before I buy new Macbook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by NYU02, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. NYU02 macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    I'm looking to buy a new Macbook air (not sure 11 or 13inch) but before I buy I wanted to know how well windows runs using Vmware on the air. Do I need to buy 4gigs? I wanted to pick it up at best buy but they only come with 2 gig, can you upgrade after? Also, are flash SSD as fast as traditional SSDs?

  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Unfortunately, you can't upgrade the RAM at all. Whatever you buy is soldered on. I have a 4GB version and it runs Windows 7 64-bit in Parallels 6 quite well. I have even tried it giving Windows 7 1GB of RAM (I normally give it 1.75GB) and it is OK.

    The SSD in the Air is a middle-of-the-road performer. Sandforce models (e.g. OWC or Corsair) are a bit faster, but the Toshiba drive runs a lot quicker than the Samsung drives used in the older MacBook Airs, and about the same as Intel models.
  3. NYU02 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
  4. DFTU101 macrumors member

    May 16, 2008
    I also have the 13 inch 2010 MBA with 4 gigs of RAM. I run VMware fusion on it for Quicken. It runs adequately as would most software like Word, Excel, etc. I would definitely recommend getting the 4 gig model if you are looking to run Fusion or Parallels. Would also get at least 128 GB model (64 would be a bit tight for both Mac OS & Windows) in the 11 inch (if that is the screen size you want).
  5. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    It will probably be OK because the SSD is fairly quick, but there will definitely be lots of page-outs and you would be better off with 4GB. What version of Windows do you plan to run? XP or 7? I'd go with the 32-bit version if you only have 2GB of RAM.
  6. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Depends on your definition of "fine".
    Will you be able to launch a VM, run Windows and some applications? Yes you will.

    Will you wish you had 4GB? Yes you will.

    Will you kick yourself for not getting the upgrade? Maybe, but maybe not. It depends on your usage in many ways.

    Personally, I run VMWare Fusion pretty much all day at work. I bounce between OS X and Windows apps all day long. At this moment, I have 2 versions of Visual Studio, SQL Server management studio, IE (yuck) and OneNote open in Windows. That's about normal, and I don't really feel like I'm taking a big performance hit from a dedicated system, except when I do things like launch a debugging session or otherwise start compiling things - moving around in editors is fine. In OS X, I generally have several browser windows (Safari, Chrome and Firefox all at once usually) all with many tabs per window, mail, Word, Excel, sometimes Eclipse and maybe a text editor (UltraEdit).

    I have a 2008 15"MBP with 4GB RAM, 2.8 C2D and an Intel SSD. I think this is very comparable to the new MBA - the only thing that's somewhat faster is the CPU. My workload pretty much fills up 4GB RAM most of the time - currently I have 48MB 'Free Memory', although I do have 734MB "Inactive". I would NOT want to try this on 2GB RAM and I would really LIKE to have more then 4GB; however, for me, 4GB is exactly adequate.

    If you keep less stuff open than I do, 2GB may be adequate for you, but I could never recommend less than 4GB for anyone who intends to run Fusion or Parallels as part of their normal work load.
  7. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    Get the 4 gigs. 1 gig for the vm and one for the mac isn't enough. I have an older imac(white plastic) on which I run a windoze 2k vm. With 2 gig of memory the computer was slow, with 3 gig it's fine. I also have a new 13" base mbp. With the original 4 gig of memory it was fine for one xp vm, but with an ubuntu vm running along side it the machine slowed down. 4 more gig took care of that. Vm's are memory hogs, and paging out will slow the whole system down, not just the vm.
  8. NYU02 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    I will prob run windows 7 professional 32bit and I will literally use it for one financial program. I wanted to pick it up at best buy or apple but they don't keep 4gigs in stock - That's the only reason i'm considering 2gigs.
  9. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Apple stores have some 4GB configurations in stock, as do some resellers.
  10. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    For that one financial program, would it not make more sense to use Win XP? You can use unity model, so you won't even see the Win OS at all. I have a 2GB 11", running Win XP and it's fine. I tried both VMW Fusion and Parallels Desktop. Parallel 6 is noticeably faster than Fusion 3.x. The start up time is less than half.
  11. SammySlim macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2010
    For one program, 2 GB is fine. I run Ubuntu under Virtual Box in 1 GB and its fine. I also agree that using XP will require less memory and will likely be easier to run in 2 GB than will Win 7 -- however, I have been running Win7 in my MBA and before it, my 2007 13-inch blackbook, using 1 GB (out of 2) and it always worked fine. I never felt I had an issue.

    Having more RAM is never a bad idea but it is not essential IMO.

  12. double329 macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2008
    I am using the current Fusion version 3.x on my MBA 13 Ultimate. I just happen to have the Win2k3 Server VM image from ESX server at work. I put it in my MBA. I got to say that the VM is running pretty snappy in MBA. I also have Win 7 x64 Ultimate and it running pretty good but not as snappy as Win2k3 server. I was just using the VM with typical office app. It ran beautifully. :p

Share This Page