Bootcamp vs VM performance & memory?

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by Bmuse, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Bmuse

    Bmuse Bit Poster

    build 1970
    WinXP MCE
    Macbook C2D, 2GB

    Hi all,

    As I've gotten into several web projects, I find myself running (in Parallels) Photoshop CS2, Dreamweaver, CorelDraw, and sometimes Illustrator or Flash, simultaneously. (Not to mention having Firefox open, plus a couple other apps I'll run & close as needed.) Needless to say, this slows the system down to much less than a crawl. It gets to the point where I'll click something and watch the HD indicator zoom and zoom before anything happens. (Ironically, this is exactly why I was dumping my Windows laptop in the first place.)

    As I've struggled, it occurs to me that by ditching my 2GB Gateway laptop for Parallels on my 2GB Macbook, I've actually cut my memory in half, with Windows being allocated 1GB. :( The obvious solution, I guess, is to run XP through Bootcamp.

    I've been hesitant, because I like having access to OmniOutliner Pro and other Mac apps as I need them. I've seen several posts and benchmarks that there isn't much of a speed gain with big apps, but I'd love to give them the full 2GB of system memory.

    So, here are my questions:

    1. I assume using Bootcamp gives Windows the full 2GB of memory, as well as the full speed of the processors?
    2. I've read about some real difficulties with exporting a Parallels VM to Bootcamp. As much as I dread doing a complete reinstall of all my apps and settings, is that the easiest and safest way to go?
    3. After I've created the Bootcamp partition and reinstalled everything, do I delete my current VM and then install the latest Parallels beta, to point it to my Bootcamp XP?

    Thanks very much for any insight! I really don't want to mess this up.
  2. sidssp


    1. yes.
    2. reinstalling is the easiest and safest.
    3. no. you don't need to delete your current VM. You can run them separately. But there are advantages of creating a Windows VM pointing to Boot Camp XP.

    First of all, you don't need to install programs twice. Programs installed in Boot Camp XP will automatically appear in VM. You can run the same program either from Boot Camp XP or from VM. This is important because some programs don't allow multiple installation and you might need to buy a separate license for the second install.

    Secondly, in a regular VM, files are stored in Parallels disk image which is a proprietary format file used by Parallels to emulate Windows partitions. If something go wrong in Parallels, you might have a hard time accessing data in the disk image file.

    On the other hand, a VM pointing to Boot Camp XP can save files in Boot Camp partition without using disk image file. Boot Camp partition is just regular NTFS or FAT32 which is much easier to get to without Parallels.
  3. tomservo291


    MacBook Pro Core Duo 1.83Ghz with 2GB RAM

    First of all, of course you will have "full access" to the RAM and CPU's when running XP in Boot Camp. Boot Camp is simply a program that safely partitions your drive and modifies the EFI boot loader to accomodate Windows XP. Once this is done, its no different then dual booting on any other machine (I.E. XP/Linux)

    I run XP at work through boot camp. I do this because I do software development in Java. I have to run multiple JVM's simeltaneously (large JVM's such as Eclipse, Eclipse running Weblogic, and up to 3 WebLogic servers simeltaneously [clustered environent.])

    Obviously for something like this, you can't do virtualization...

    But when I'm at home and I do web dev, graphics, and other forms of light development/work, I run my Boot Camp installation of XP through Parallels, with 728MB of RAM dedicated (You would be surprised, you may get better performance from XP in Parallels if you take it down below 1GB.)

    I quite enjoy having this flexibility with Parallels, but I constantly make back ups of all my work, personal and email files (anything that is non-replaceable,) and store them on an external hard drive. I've had dual booting nightmares in the past, and this is a dangerous road Parallels is tromping down, with high potential for memory corruption.

    It's worth while, but I would not say with 100% confidence that you could not worry about your files. Always make backups!

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