Rookie RAM question. How much needed for guest OS

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by tommytahoe, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. tommytahoe

    tommytahoe

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    13
    Hi,
    Just starting out here with Parallels for Mac. I have an iMac Intel Core Duo, with the almost bare minimum of 512 MB memory. I haven't needed much more, since I'm rarely using high-octane, or multiple, applications at the same time. But now as i try to start up my first guest OS (Windows)in Parallels, I would like to know how much RAM-space I need to give to it. Anyone know like the minimum needed, as a starting point for me?
    Plus, the hard drive space dedicated to the Guest OS, in my VM, seems pretty darn small. Is it of the expanding variety?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. BlueSkyISdotCOM

    BlueSkyISdotCOM Bit Poster

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    68
    In my opinion, 1 GB is the least amount of RAM any Intel Mac should have regardless of what you are using it for.

    I dedicate 756 MB RAM to Parallels, but I only run 1 VM (Windows XP Pro SP2) and I only use Windows web browsers to test my sites.
     
  3. VTMac

    VTMac

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    340
    First 512M isn't going to be usable with Parallels. It will function, but it will be slow as molasses. I really think 1G is the minimum and I'd seriously consider 1.5G. Having said that, the rule of thumb is to always allocate the minimum amount of Ram to your VM (and Parallels) that is necessary to get good performance. In my case, I only use MS Office apps, and we 256 meg allocated I get better performance than I do on my Dell Latitude C400 with 512M. I know others who do development and allocated 512M-768M and get great performance. So the best answer is to experiment and find the minimum Ram setting for your VM that doesn't result in degraded performance.

    There is no one right amount.

    The only constant is that the more you allocate to your VMs, the less OSX has for itself. And because Parallels ultimately relies on OSX for most of it's services, allocated Ram to a VM that isn't being used, will definitely result in degraded OSX and by consequence, degraded VM performance.
     
  4. tommytahoe

    tommytahoe

    Messages:
    13
    Thanks guys,
    I figured 512 MB was on the low end as it was, since I get the ol' beach ball when I'm running Office X, DVD player, etc at same time. With Parallels on, things might get hairy. I'll check to make sure, but looks as if it's high time I bumped my iMac up to 1GB minimum.

    Thanks!
     
  5. MarkHolbrook

    MarkHolbrook

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    350
    I look at it this way... Windows XP *BARELY* runs in 512. If you are asking OS X to run and oh by the way lets squeeze WinXP in there too in 512 I think you are asking for trouble.

    I know memory is expensive but it is still your cheapest performance boost. As soon as you can afford it. Max out your machine. You will be amazed!
     
  6. BlueSkyISdotCOM

    BlueSkyISdotCOM Bit Poster

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    68
    Yep, at 1 GB your beach ball will probably spin a little faster.
     
  7. BenInBlack

    BenInBlack

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    372
    2 GB and What's a beach ball ;-)

    My answer with experience with running serveral VMs at the same time as normal Mac stuff like email, calendar,skype,iChat,Word,FireFox with 8 tabs opens,NavCat,DragThing

    you need 2 gig of ram at least
     
  8. joem

    joem

    Messages:
    1,247
    On the remote chance that that was a serious question, it's the multicolored spinning segmented mouse pointer used to indicate system busy.
     
  9. DrXenon

    DrXenon

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    3
    I'm considering buying a Macbook Pro, but I must be able to use MS Office applications on XP as a guest OS. I have heard from coworkers with Macs that Parallels requires massive amounts of memory, with 2 GB not being enough sometimes. Is this true?

    For reference, I currently use a 1 GB XP box with an Athlon 3200 processor, and I'm perfectly happy with that.
     
  10. davide

    davide

    Messages:
    52
    Have your coworkerd actually used Parallels or are they just opining? I have 2g of ram on my MBP and run XP and 2 Linux VM at the same time I run apps in Mac OS.

    If they're actually using Parallels ask to see it in action.
     
  11. MarkHolbrook

    MarkHolbrook

    Messages:
    350
    So far 2gb is the most you can put in a MBP. Rumors have it that there is a 2gb chip which is pin compatible but no one has opted to try them out for fear of spending lots of $$$ to find out they don't work.

    Regardless I run 2gb and set my WinXP VM at 640mb and it seems quite happy with MS office programs. But I'm not loading them up a ton. Just doing a few things like email and stuff. You could always allocate more, you'd just rob from OS X.
     
  12. kgregc

    kgregc

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    73
    First off, OS X wants lots of memory... Running Parallels/Win on top of that means you are going to get very disappointing performance with only 512Mb (2 x 256Mb, right?). I'm running a 2Ghz C2D iMac with 1Gb and I get acceptable performance, but I will be biting the bullet and getting 2Gb very soon (2 x 1Gb..Arghhh!). A 1Gb stick, to give you 1.256Gb, is not expensive, and you should see good performance with it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
  13. VTMac

    VTMac

    Messages:
    340

    Your coworkers are full of it. I replaced a 1.2 G P4 with 768M of Ram with my MBP with 2G + Parallels with 256M allocated. And 90% of the time XP in Parallels is as faster or faster than my old machine. For the record I use it for primarily for Office and for holding web conferences.
     
  14. DrXenon

    DrXenon

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    3
    I'm not sure that there's nothing to the claim that Parallels requires lotsa memory; I googled "parallels memory usage" or similar and found lots of complaints about this.

    My coworkers really used Parallels but say they gave up on it months ago because it was unusable with "normal" amounts of memory. Perhaps things have changed since then; do Apple stores typically have display computers loaded with Parallels and MS Office so people can try it out?
     
  15. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi

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    16
    Your VM will require whatever you _need_ for you standard Windows installation. I found 512MB very acceptable for Office and light web-browsing on XP. On the Mac side, you'll need at least as much, just for overhead, and your Mac apps.

    I'd say 1GB minimum, 1.5GB is ideal.

    Most Apple stores I've seen don't have pre-installed Windows VMs.

    Regardless, it probably won't feel quite as fast as your Athlon 3200. Both disk I/O and video tend to take a hit on all VMs.
     
  16. andybrawer

    andybrawer

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    6
    I haven't seen it an an Apple store, but I have seen it at nearly every CompUSA that I've been to in their Apple section.
     
  17. DrXenon

    DrXenon

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    3
    Thanks for the feedback. We don't have CompUSA here in Canada but I called a local Apple dealer and he said he would install Parallels and Office on an iMac (which I think comes with a similar CPU) for me to try out.
     
  18. davide

    davide

    Messages:
    52
    He's going to have to install the MS OS as well. That's a generoud dealer if he'd willing to burn up an XP license.
     
  19. spike1911

    spike1911

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    9
    Hi,

    i have a 2GHz 2GB RAM Macbook Pro running parallels from the beta version.
    I am a windows/oracle developer. I run Oracle RDBMS, Oracle Developer, Office 2003 all inside parallels (XP Pro SP2) and it is as fast as my former Toshiba M200 laptop (1.6GHz centrino)!

    But get the large RAM it always helps!
    By the time i bought my macbook 1gb ram was like $100 - this has gotten more expensive but RAM is the best help for a machine to run flawlessly!

    I can really recommend the Mac OS parallels combination - best of both worlds!

    And you know what? Time by time you need lesser windows programs - all my private stuff is already done in Mac OS X only!
     

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