Have I made a mistake?

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration' started by DelboyT, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. DelboyT

    DelboyT Bit Poster

    Currently awaiting delivery of a Mac Mini, i7, 16gb RAM (Yosemite) and purchased Parallels 10 to enable installation of a Win7-64bit VM.
    Reading with some concern some of the issues people are having regarding performance and find myself wondering if I have made a bad choice.
    I bought the Mac because I have always fancied one but WIndows I need for my day job which is primarily development of WIndows and Android apps.
    The one glimmer of hope is that most of the 'performance' threads seem to be from people that have upgraded either or both the OS X and Parallels onto older Mac's.
    Anyone using this config on new equipment and still getting the same performance issues?
  2. Peter_Jones

    Peter_Jones Bit Poster

    Delboy, I've been playing with Parallels all morning. When I finally got it working it was *ok* once I'd been in and played with the sliders that allocate how much of your mac's memory to dedicate to the thing. That said I'm just about to uninstall it. After all the faffing about (you can read about it in my thread) it turned out to be easier to network my old PC, and get a switching box so it can share the screen, mouse and keyboard. Not what I wanted, but hey, I'll live with it.
    Best of luck
  3. DelboyT

    DelboyT Bit Poster

    Peter, Thanks for the update
    Read your post, I am encouraged by the fact that you managed to get the VM running with acceptable performance.
    I spent some time today reading through the Parallels user manual, noticed the part about the memory balance so will pay special attention to that part.
    My Mac mini will arrive Friday so I will have the weekend to (hopefully) get it all up and running.
    I'll post the outcome of my labours on Monday.
  4. HonzaIl

    HonzaIl Bit Poster

    Not sure what the problems you refer to, but I run Parallels installations with VMs on multiple computers (including minis) and for office work and oterh non-game, no ultrahigh load stuff I have absolutely not problems. Closest to your setup is my 2013 mini i7 with 6Gb RAM/500GB SSD, it runs OSX 10.10 and W7-64 in parallels, and runs just smoothly and well.
    If you want to play games, well, that gets more difficult. Depends on the game (and mini's graphics is really low power).
    Realize, that for every post here which documents problems here, there are may be hundreds of users with no problems - people with no problems do not complain and rarely come here. The chances your setup will not work are small. Variability of the systems and software makes it impossible to predict the final functionality.
    Actually, it is important to have _realistic_ and reasonable expectations. My mini system on regular (spinning) drive was slow - but both OSX and VM - but once I swapped HD with SSD, it flies... But that has nothing to do with parallels and all to do with my hardware.
  5. DelboyT

    DelboyT Bit Poster

    Honzall, thanks for your time.
    I appreciate your comment re 'only people with problems post' but it did seem to me that there were quite a few compatibility/performance issues being raised for what are in both cases relatively new releases of the software.
    As I stated this is my first foray into the world of Mac so, having spent a small fortune to get there, I was looking for a bit of reassurance from people who were able to use my proposed configuration successfully.
    Your post has gone a long way to providing this so I will continue with renewed confidence.
    Like you I am not a gamer so no need to worry about that side of things.
    For my work (windows) I do need VPN's, mapped drives and email (SMTP) access but from what I am reading this should not be an issue.

    My slight concern now is regarding your 'on regular (spinning) drive was slow' comment - I did consider speccing an SSD but in the end decided to stay with the 1TB Fusion Drive.
    Have you any experience with this and do you believe this might cause me an issue?
  6. HonzaIl

    HonzaIl Bit Poster

    Macs have advantage - if it's not working, take it to genius bar at Apple store and they will fix it or help you. Not with Windows, but their side of the system yes. I was there last week and the guy was helping old grandmother setup her calendar, I think, while helping me with hardware issue on my system. Those guys seems smart, capable and Apple help more than others.
    Fusion drive (which is SSD + spinning drive smartly "raided" together) should provide for most used data speed of SSD, while for less used data spinning drive speeds. It's marriage of both and should be very good value for money. If you run the VM routinely, it will be on SSD and it should be fast. If you run it rarely, if may be moved to spinning drive and be slower. In my case I had spinning 5400rpm drive in my mini and changed to SSD - from ~80 Mb/sec to ~350Mb/s read/write speeds. Major difference, when you start something or want to save something.
    I do not have enough experience with Fusion drives and none with Apple original Fusion drive. My attempts with custom made ones are 50% success for now and it may simply be that there is something specific needed for the SSD - realize, that the Fusion drive SSD is running mostly at full capacity and typical SSDs do not like this. If Apple made their Fusion drives, they had to test them quite extensively and know, it will work.
  7. DelboyT

    DelboyT Bit Poster

    So, to answer my own question - No I do not think I have :)
    New Mac mini arrived one day early i7, 16gb ram, 1tb Fusion drive.
    Installed Parallels 10 without issue, immediately received an update notification which also installed without problems.
    I have been using my old laptop for 4 years+ so I decided that instead of copying the whole thing (including all the accumulated garbage) I would take a bit of time and install just what I needed.
    Step 1. Install an unused Win7 64 VM from disc.
    Step 2. Either copy from laptop or download applications (approx 25) that I needed, apply licenses etc.
    In all took best part of a day but pleased to say no real issues - I did run out of disk space for the VM, Parallels it seems thinks that 64 gb will be enough, but once I had found the correct screen I was able to increase this to a more usable size.
    During installation of Windows I had selected the 'developer' option (its what I do) and for this I noticed that Parallels had allocated 12 of the available Mb of RAM - again easily changed but seemed a bit steep as a default selection.
    Now I am not what you might class as a power user and will only be using the Mac for email, web and Office tasks but having used the machine for 2 days now I have to say that the performance of both Yosemite and Windows has been excellent.
    Booting the Mac takes no time at all and Windows starts quicker now that it ever did on my laptop.
    Everything that I need to share between Windows and OSX (VPN's, Mapping, mail etc) is working well - what I have not managed so far is to get the VM to automatically see the HASP dongles I use (software licensing) unless I unplug and re-insert them.
    No doubt there will be an option somewhere but being a first time Mac/Parallels/VM user I am finding the array of setting/menus and options available a bit daunting.
    Also, based on the adage 'why just spend a lot when you can easily spend a bit more' I also purchased an Airport Time Capsule - I was a bit sceptical when I read that if this as used as your network connection an improvement would be seen in download times but it does seem to me in fact there is.
    What I could not do was justify spending the thick end of £900 on the Apple Thunderbolt monitor instead I opted for an LG 34UM65-P wide screen - very pleased with this as it come with software to allows the display to be split into up to 4 segments - with a resolution of 2560 x 1080 and 'MacLook' enabled it certainly does the job.

    So far so good but I must say that what I have now seems to be all that I had hoped it would be, my thanks to those that responded with wise words and encouragement.:D
  8. HonzaIl

    HonzaIl Bit Poster

    Great news ... see, this is what is rarely seen here - good news report - even though it is probably most common for users...

    Few more words of "wisdom" (and sorry if I underestimated you):
    1. Make sure Time Machine backup is setup and running. Critical!!! Things on every system go wrong (Windows/Mac or Linux...) and Mac is _very_ easy to recover, if you have backup. Working Time Machine is excellent and free (well, cost of external drive). I have some issues with TM recently (10.10) when it seems to start failing backing up until next reboot, so check on it once in a while (reboot if necessary). Seems some sleep/drive switching issue.
    2. Do not backup using TM the Virtual machines or at least check the right checkboxes so TM is backing up VMs "incrementally". What I do is have external drive (TM drive is just fine if it is large enough, it can contain other stuff than the TM folder) and make ~weekly copy (using scheduled job with Carbon copy cloner) of my VMs to that. VMs can be simply copied/duplicated as if they were simply files. If something goes wrong with VM, I simply restore the latest copy and I am back in business in no time. Including failed Windows and program updates. Happened.
    3. That means, do NOT store any your data in the VM. All data belong to Mac Documents folders. Then they are in TM backups and you have _very_ nice backup and versioning system. Read about it if you need. It is nice and saved my ... few times.

    Cute thing is to run Windows applications in Coherence - my wife has now system where she really does not know which system given application is running in and it works for her. And that is achievement.


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