Talking tech since 2003

I received an email from one of our community members (Briafter) and he wants to know is it better to run XP/Vista in VMware Fusion or Bootcamp and why? He also wanted to know some good Mac software recommendations for his new Mac Pro.

Before we start I’m going to post the specs of his Mac Pro below:

2 2.8GHz Quad Core Xeon Processors
2 GB of Memory from Apple and another 8GB Purchased Separately
320GB HDD with a 1TB that I already have and a 320GB to go with that to so 1,640GB
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT 512MB (Because I have two 22” monitors)
2 16x Superdrives
Wireless Keyboard
Wireless Mighty Mouse
AirPort Extreme Card

Briafter also writes:

Now I still need to use Windows Vista for sound dubbing because I have Adobe Audition, so what would be the better choice for running it, a virtual machine like VMware Fusion (I believe that is what you are using) or Boot Camp. Which will be better to carry out my tasks.

Based on the hardware of his new machine and what he is planning to do with XP/Vista I would recommend he just stick an XP installation on a virtual machine (using VMware Fusion) allocate maybe 1GB of RAM and possibly two cores. Which would leave him with 6 cores and 9GB of RAM for OSX (whenever the VM is open at least) – more than enough. I should also note you can mount a Bootcamp partition with VMware Fusion, however, if you’re starting directly with VMware Fusion just have it create a virtual disk.

Bootcamp is nice for an Apple machine like a Macbook or Mac Mini which are not as powerful as the Macbook Pro’s, iMac’s, or Mac Pro’s. However, you can still run a virtual machine on a Macbook or Mac Mini – it just may be more of a pleasant experience if you allocated your entire system to running XP or Vista or even a Linux distribution. And that’s not say, you shouldn’t bother running Bootcamp on a Mac Pro – its just the need is not as great especially when you have plenty of RAM and 8 cores to work with.

Why am I recommending XP over Vista?  I have tried using Vista in a virtual machine on my Mac Pro – it works, however, XP works much better than Vista in a VM mainly due to the sheer amount of resources Vista requires as compared to XP.

As for the applications I’d recommend right off the bat:

Audio Hijack Pro – Virtual Audio Mixer
ExpanDrive – SFTP Client for uploading files to a remote server
Secrets – OSX system tweaking tool
Adium – Multi-protocol Instant Messenger client for OSX
Coversutra – Manage iTunes without leaving your current application
VMWare Fusion – Virtual machine software which allows you to seamlessly integrate other operating systems within OSX


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