What works best for MBa, Parallels or VMWare?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by nph, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. nph macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2005

    Given that there is a memory limitation on the MBA what in your view works best for Windows (XP or Vista) Parallels or VMWare?
    I am thinking memory foot print and speed.

  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    It is personal preference... both have their fans
    Both do the job very well

    You should download the trial of both (and VirtualBox - free) and try them yourself

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  3. DAMAC3 macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2009
    Noblesville, IN
    I use VMWare myself. I have never tried Parallels. I came over to Mac as a PC user and had used VMWare quite a bit for PC. I wouldn't recommend doing much with Vista because it really needs at least 2GB of RAM itself to function at a reasonable level IMO. I run Windows 7 through VMWare and bootcamp. It does a great job. I also have a virtual machine set up with TinyXP. It is great because it is supposed to only use 40MB of RAM, so most of the RAM you dedicate to the virtual machine can drive programs instead of a bloated OS. I've been meaning to try Parallels, but I haven't gotten around to it yet since I've had good luck with VMWare.
  4. dudeitsjay macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2009
    Using parallels 4.0 vista ultimate 32bit. It works, but its slow and often freezes. SSDers might have better luck with it, since most of the lag comes from opening up apps inside vista.
  5. n0de macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2005
    Vista is going to be a dog in parallels, virtualbox or vmware - it just requires too many resources to virtualize on a MBA well.

    I have tried all three. If you are going virtual only I would try virtualbox first. It is free, from Sun and is very quick.

    If you are going to run a VM off of a bootcamp partition, or need absolute reliability use Parallels.

    Both VMware and Parallels have a few gotcha's in the settings that will make or break your performance.

    Only use 1 processor, optimize for OSX, use no more than 768MB Ram, use a minimum of 64MB video ram - these settings make my VM run as fast as my dual core Dell running naively. I know a couple seem counter intuitive, but any variance will kill performance.
  6. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Your point is right on track, OP. The problem with either, is that the MBA only has 2 GB of RAM. Sharing 2 GB of RAM is problematic. Set aside the fact that the MBA only has 120 or 128 GB of drive space to begin with.

    To me, installing Windows on an MBA feels like WASTING SPACE. If I absolutely had to install Windows on my MBA, I think I would install Vista Basic and use Boot Camp only. It sucks to have to leave OS X to get to Windows, but 1 GB of Windows and 1 GB for OS X is no fun.

    Hopefully the rev C MBA has 4 GB of RAM. I think since Adamo has 4 GB of RAM, the next MBA will at least have an option for 4 GB of RAM.

    Good luck with Windows on your MBA.
  7. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Only 2GB RAM is my biggest concern as well. To anybody wanting to run Windows on an Air, check out nLite for XP and vLite for Vista. You have to have a windows machine to use them, but they allow you to strip out bits of Windows that aren't necessary for you. This is a legal way of accomplishing what TinyXP and TinyVista do illegally, since you aren't cracking anything and you are providing your own CD key. I have been tweaking Vista Ultimate for when I get an Air, and I have my installation down to taking up 3GB of storage space and using a baseline of 160MB of RAM. So allocating 512 to the VM should be plenty when I run it for real.

    I stripped it down pretty bare - No Media Center, Themes, Games, Drivers or a lot of other things. I tweaked the Services to make it run under less memory.

    Scottsdale, I am hoping for 4GB and the glass trackpad in REV C. If it had a 256 GB SSD and hit 2.0+ GHz that wouldn't be bad either. :)
  8. zsnow macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2009
    i use parallels for windows xp. work ok so far. I use vmware fusion 4 before. from my eye Parallels is better than vmware in term of speed.
    just can't watch movies in xp though. the cpu got 100% and heat up fast.
  9. dudeitsjay macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2009
    Running 2 gigs of ram is more than adequate for your average multitasker on windows xp or vista. Tweaking your services sets windows xp to boot with 250mb ram usage, as windows vista does 300mb. Add that to 256mb already used by the 9400mb and you've got roughly 1.5gigs of ram to use. That is more than plenty, if you're bootcamping and have the two oses running separately.
    I've tried the latest parallels 4.0, and I loved the integration and fluidity. Absolutely excellent if it were on the macbook pros and not the MBA. Too little ram if you run a VM. The SSD drive will help a lot, but in the end, you really can't do much with VMs. Running chrome, vuze, and ventrilo on parallels, with ichat, safari, and mail booked my ram to the max and caused ridiculous lag. I'd imagine the same for fusion as well.

    I plan on bootcamping it this weekend as I've already done away with parallels. Loved it, but it wasn't going to work out with just 2 gigs of ram.
  10. dugbug macrumors 65816


    Aug 23, 2008
    Somewhere in Florida
  11. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Which is where my problem would end up coming from. I would want to run them simultaneously, you know, AutoCAD and all...
  12. andrewp macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    May be a little off-topic, but you gotta love the way the four finger swipe switches between windows and OSX ;)
  13. philstone macrumors 6502


    Oct 13, 2008
    Jersey, Channel Isles
    Not sure if its allowed here or not, but serioulsy look at TinyXP, I´ve just installed in on my Fusion and its brilliant! I only use Windows to administer our telephone system which is insistent on IE6 or 7 and for that its perfect but so far its handled everything else I´ve thrown at it as well...

    More info http://techome.wordpress.com/2008/07/07/xp-is-dead-long-live-tinyxp/
  14. jtmav macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2007
    I run VMWare on XP on my Rev B 1.8, 128ssd. It works very well. I would recommend test driving the free trial.
    Good luck
  15. dudeitsjay macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2009
    Just looked up tinyxp and it does <400mb install and <55mb ram usage. That is perfect for the limitations to the MBA. I'll actually give it a try with bootcamp this weekend and see the results. Of course, you should do this with a legitimate copy of windows xp and do the hours of individual registry hacks/mods yourself ;).
  16. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    That's what nLite is for. http://www.nliteos.com/
  17. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    Correction: most of the lag comes from that craptasticly slow hard drive in the MBA.
  18. macsation macrumors member


    Apr 7, 2009
    Washington, DC
    Have MB Air 1.6/80 Refurb. Was running Fusion since I got it.

    Gotta tell ya...ran like a dog. Slow and delayed.

    Just tried the latest Parallels and zoooomm. Wow what a difference. No drag, hesitation.

    Definitely recommend it over VMWare
  19. nph thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2005
    What version of Fusion, 1 or 2?
    Have seen some reports saying v1 is way faster but also the opposite, MacWorld says v2 is way faster than v1...
  20. macsation macrumors member


    Apr 7, 2009
    Washington, DC
    Fusion 2, and Parallels 4.
  21. dudeitsjay macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2009
    Read the quote you're trying to correct. SSDers are better off... kind of exactly what I said...
  22. zsnow macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2009
    I use parallels4 and looks faster than vmf2. I installed xp sp3 and windows7 on it. both works fine
    only annoying thing is that the parallels associate files like when you open a rar file, it will run windows xp and open it....

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