Want Your Experience with VMs on Mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Val-kyrie, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. Val-kyrie macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    I am looking at setting up a home server on the current-gen Mini. The refurb store has a 2.3GHz i7 with 4GB RAM and 1TB drive for $679, to which I would add another HDD or SSD and 16GB RAM.

    I would like to run a Win 8 VM with Office 2013 on the Mini. (This VM is just for Office docs.)

    Unless I purchase another router for my upstairs office (where I would prefer to hook up the Mini), I would have to connect the Mini wirelessly to my (ASUS RT-N66U) router which is currently on the main floor in the living room near the cable box.

    So my question is whether a wireless connection would make accessing a VM on the Mini too slow to use for creating Office documents?

    I (would) use VMWare Fusion and have toyed with the idea of using the Mini as an ESXi server, but this latter function is new to me and I am still learning about it, and I would still want to use it as an OS X server.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. PilotWoo macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2006
    I do something similar. Multiple VM's on a Mini running in Fusion. I access my VM's on the local network using Remote Desktop (Windows) or VNC/SSH (Unix), and it works great. For remote access from the internet to these machines, use Teamviewer or similar.

    You could use wireless and it would be fine, however I user powerline networking to connect the Mini upstairs to the router downstairs, without running cables. The latest ones will run at 500/600Mbs, giving you plenty of bandwidth, and much more than Wifi. Put the VM's on SSD storage and they fly.
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I'm a little confused as to why wifi would matter for the VM? Are you going to be accessing the VM via screen sharing/remote desktop?

    As long as you allocate an adequate amount of RAM (at least 4GB for Windows 7/8) then there really won't be any difference between a stand alone PC and a VM at least for "basic" tasks (office, surfing the net, etc. etc.).
  4. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Not at all. I've got a late 2009 Mac mini server (about 1/4 the speed of the current model) which has a Windows XP VM with Parallels running Quicken, about the same screen updating requirements as Office. Using Microsoft Remote Desktop it's snappy at home over Wifi and reasonably fast even accessing remotely from hotel Wifi using VPN. Windows Remote Desktop is very efficient, much more so than the VNC technology used in Apple Screen Sharing.
  5. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    I run Win7 on VMWare Fusion in a 2014 Mini and control it via WiFi from my MBA using VNC. Works fine. Unless you are opening/manipulating large files (videos, data bases or hi res jpegs), then Office stuff is usually low bandwidth related so you should be OK.

    If you want to move Video around, then I would urge you to look for a LAN connection (PowerLine may well be OK for you for this)
  6. Val-kyrie thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    Thank you for all of your responses.

    It sounds like using the Mini will be sufficient to provide access to a Windows VM. This is mostly just for the occasional use for myself, my spouse, or my daughter for occasional MS Office document creation, but it will only be accessed by one user at a time.
  7. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    I use Oracle's Virtualbox with no problems.
  8. illusionx macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2014
    Brossard, QC
    I suggest upgrading the ram at at least 8gb of ram. 16gb if you can afford so you can run more than 1 vm.
  9. QWERTYMac7 macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2012
    I have a 2011 MM and run Windows 7 in Parallels.

    I would advise against Office 2013, track down a 2010 copy on Amazon.

    You'll be better off with 2010...
  10. SpinalTap macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2003
    Bournville, UK
    On my 2012 Mac Mini Server, I have BootCamp on HD2. Parallels is installed on HD1 (which is my primary drive).

    Parallels then calls on Windows 7 and all my Windows apps from BootCamp on HD2.

    However, on my daughter's 2011 MacBook Pro (with SSD) I have installed CrossOver 13. With an SSD installed, Windows apps launch almost instantly. If you didn't already know, CrossOver 13 allows you to run most Windows apps - and all Windows games - at native speed, but without requiring a copy of the Windows OS.

    Try-before-you-buy with their trial version - at codeweavers.com
  11. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    Just FYI, it is $60 for that software, which is not too far from what windows costs.

    There are other benefits outside of that though.
  12. SpinalTap macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2003
    Bournville, UK
    CrossOver 13 is only $38 - without the need to additionally buy Windows.

    Education users can obtain CrossOver for much less than this.

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