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iMac Question

Posted on 2013-05-20
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Last Modified: 2013-06-01
Hi, I just made the switch from my PC of many years to a brand new iMac. Wow, what a beautiful machine!!!

However, I still have some applications that are Windows based and need to continue to run them. I can't switch them to the Mac version, because it would be cost prohibitive (over $2K to buy the Mac versions).

I have a 3TB SATA drive with 32GB Ram. I would like to either repartition part of the drive (about 500GB) for Windows 7 and load all my apps into that partition and dual boot, or maybe run a virtual session of Windows 7.

My question is which is better and why? Should I dual boot or should I run a virtual Windows session?

If someone can help me understand the different issues with each and which is better, I would greatly appreciate your help.

Thank you,
Fulano
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Question by:Mr_Fulano
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Expert Comment

by:btdownloads7
ID: 39183444
Dual-booting is by far the better option in terms of performance and the overall experience. However, you would have to restart your iMac every time that you want to switch between the OSes.

Using something like Parallels or VMWare Fusion gets around this issue, but performance (both with all of the iMac  and Windows software) takes a pretty big hit.

You just have to decide what's more important to you
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39183497
I'd keep the old Windows machine to run the things that are necessary.
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Author Comment

by:Mr_Fulano
ID: 39183518
Hi btdownloads7, thanks for the advice. I was thinking along the same lines, but didn't know for sure.

Fulano
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Author Comment

by:Mr_Fulano
ID: 39183520
Hi Dave, I thought of that, but that would be too cumbersome to have 2 machines. I currently have 3 monitors on my PC, so I would have 4 in total on my desktop. -- Way too many. It would look to messy.

For a while I'm going to try and run one monitor on my PC and run dual machines, but I think in time I'll want to switch completely to the iMac.

Thanks for the advice.
Fulano
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39183545
I have 8 machines in this room including a MacBook Pro and an Ubuntu Linux machine.  They all run different software and they all have web servers on them.  I make them talk to each other at times.  I also have 12 other machines that have special purposes that I use occasionally but I keep them out of the way.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Eoin OSullivan earned 500 total points
ID: 39183603
If the iMac has 8Gb+ of RAM then Parallels and Fusion will work pretty well.  I've been using Parallels for years and the performance is excellent if you're doing non-CPU intensive stuff with business applications .. you might see slower performance with gaming or heavy graphic applications but remember the CPU in the iMac is probably a few years newer and faster than the PC you are replacing.

I'd probably install the VM on the Hard Drive of the iMac rather than running it from an external drive .. and if you use Parallels you can partition the HD .. and then dual boot or run as VM from within OSX so you get the best of both worlds.

I gave up dual booting a few years ago as it was rarely worth the hassle and the performance as a VM under OSX was perfectly adequate for my needs.
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Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 39184179
One option is to keep the PC and set it up to accept a remote desktop connection. You can then control the PC from the Mac using either the Microsoft RDP client for Mac ( https://www.microsoft.com/mac/remote-desktop-client ) or CoRD ( http://cord.sourceforge.net ). That way, the PC will show up on the Mac monitor and be controlled by the Mac keyboard.

There will be virtually no performance hit because all the processing of the Windows apps will be done on the PC. All that happens on the Mac is that it sends keyboard and mouse instructions over your LAN to the PC and in turn received screen redraws.
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Expert Comment

by:Robert Saylor
ID: 39184215
Hi, one of our staff members had a Windows XP machine and an iMac both on her desk. The has to keep Windows for UPS worldship. I recently installed VMware fusion and she is loving it. The Mac is a little slower now but not by much. The VMware unify view is really nice as it seamless integrates the Windows applications on the Mac. You can also doc the Windows launch icons on the Mac launch bar and you can tell VMware to keep the Windows task bar. We put the Windows one on the left side of the screen and the Mac doc on the bottom. Very nice product for those Windows dependent applications.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 39184565
Just buy and use parallels.  You can get a 30-day eval too.  Added benefit, you can do things like double-click on a spreadsheet attachement in the mac mail, and it will launch windows excel if you like.

But don't even think about using any virtualization unless you max out your RAM.
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Author Comment

by:Mr_Fulano
ID: 39196792
Hi all, you've all provided very good and detailed advice. My iMac will have a 3TB HDD and 32 GB of RAM, so if I did run Parallel or Fusion, I think the 32GB of RAM could handle that.

At first I thought it would be better to use Boot Camp, but the more I think about it and the more advice I get, the more it seems that Boot Camp may not be the most effective choice, given that I typically switch between application and will continue to do so under both platforms.

I'm leaning  more towards a Parallel or a Fusion approach. So, the question then become - which one is better? Parallel or Fusion?

Thank you,
Fulano
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Expert Comment

by:btdownloads7
ID: 39196796
Since you have 32GB of RAM, then installting a virtual OS is probably the better choice. I prefer Parallels because it's got a better UI, but the two of them are very similar, so you really can't go wrong with either one.
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Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 39196953
You can google for comparisons of Parallels and Fusion, but at the moment, the consensus seems to be that Parallels if faster.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 39196960
I've used both.  Parallels is far and beyond better. Period. Like comparing Vista and Win7. It goes beyond speed.  Features, time-machine support, using apps on Mac or windows with same filesystem at same time, etc..

Buy parallels and save yourself the time of learning how much better it is than fusion and having to uninstall fusion.
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Author Comment

by:Mr_Fulano
ID: 39213205
Thank you all. I've made the decision to use a virtual OS and via Parallels.

Thank you all,
Fulano
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Author Closing Comment

by:Mr_Fulano
ID: 39213211
Thank you for the solution. I think you were the first to suggest it would not be a performance hit with the amount of RAM I have.
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