I'm moving over to a .NET project and am going to be working with Visual Studio 2013. I'm a Mac user and going to be working mostly front end. My current setup is an early 2011 MacBook Pro 15" with the following specs:

  • CPU: 2,2GHz Intel Core i7
  • Memory: 8GB 1333 MHz DDR3
  • Gfx: AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1024 MB
  • Hard drive: 160GB Solid state SATA drive

I would like to continue to run OS X with Visual Studio running in Parallels. I have not tested Visual Studio on my current setup, but I suspect it would run sluggishly. Does anyone have any experience with this, and can you point me in the direction of some recommended hardware specs? My project leader has asked for specs, so that we can either upgrade my current setup or get a new machine.

Any experiences would be appreciated :)

  • Considering how Visual Studio 2013 is still an x86 application, there’s no need to go all-out.
    – Daniel B
    Jun 23, 2014 at 18:53
  • Before you spend money on new hardware. I suggest you try it on your current setup. I mean outside of some additional memory and a slightly better CPU there isn't much that will make Visual Studio run faster in a virtual machine.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 20, 2014 at 9:55

3 Answers 3


Windows and Parallels runs fine on pretty much any machine with sufficient RAM (4GB upwards). I've worked on (smaller) projects on a white 2006 MacBook and I found it to be absolutely usable so minimum requirements really are not an issue. It's just about how patient you are and how much you can benefit from faster building-times etc. As with native system what brings you the biggest boost will be Flash Memory instead of a HardDiskDrive in most cases. Also, think about how much RAM you want to use for your virtual machine and add at least 2GB to be reserved for OS X.

  • Thanks to both of you for your answers, I'll get the environment up and running on this setup and see how that turns out. I'll post my results here. Jun 25, 2014 at 11:32

Obviously, get a fully loaded current MacBook Pro if that's an option.

If not, upgrade the RAM in your system to 16GB, which you can do pretty cheaply. Additionally, you're likely going to need a larger HD.

I'd also install the Windows as a Bootcamp partition and then add it as a Parallels VW, so you have the option of running in straight Windows for large compiles and such.

Good luck, MB


Forgot to add an answer, here it is a bit late:

I tested Visual Studio on my Macbook with parallels, things did not run as quick as I wanted. Since it was no problem for me to get a brand new good specced windows computer from my workplace, I did that. I got a Lenovo Thinkpad W540 and things are running very well. I had to give up osx of course, but better than having a slow system.

  • What RAM does the new machine have?
    – suspectus
    Sep 1, 2015 at 12:09
  • Sorry. The specs of my machine: CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4800MQ CPU @ 2.70GHz 2.69GHz RAM: 16,0 GB And I'm currently running windows 8.1 Enterprise Sep 2, 2015 at 10:07
  • At the moment I'm running quite a lot of applications, including two visual studios. And I'm using 84% of my RAM. Sep 2, 2015 at 10:10

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