I currently have a Mac, 2ghz and 2 gigs of ram, running OS X Leopard and Virtual Box with a Windows 7 Pro 32bit virtual machine.

Performance on the virtual machine is fine for minor tasks but is very clunky while trying to multi-task or develop in Visual Studio 2008.

What would be my best option for being able to use Visual Studio, keeping cost and time in mind?

1) Upgrade ram to 4 gigs ($100). Will this really improve my performance enough to use Visual Studio in a Windows 7 vm? Or am I just wasting time/money?

2) Reinstall/restore Windows 7 disk image as a Boot Camp partition. I assume this should improve my performance, yes?

3) Purchase VMWare fusion instead of VirtualBox. Does Fusion require less resources to run?

I am open to any suggestions.

Thanks in advance

  • Although the consensus here seems to be to just increase the amount of RAM for the virtual machine, before I'd add RAM it is important to note WHY the virtual machine is slow. What is the weakest element in the equation of Processor, Disk IO, or RAM? Next time the VM slows down I'd take a look at Task Manager and/or Perfmon. Mar 25, 2010 at 2:09

5 Answers 5


The more ram that you can dedicate to your virtual machine the better. Even one more gig of ram dedicted to your virtual machine will make it run better. You might also want to go through the services that are running in the background of the windows installation and turn off those that are not needed as those will free up more memory for you.

  • 1
    Definitely. More RAM is just about always the answer to improve VM performance. With Leopard and Windows 7, each OS really needs 2GB or so to be at all comfortable.
    – jerwood
    Jan 11, 2010 at 10:04

I'm using VMWare Fusion on a 4GB MacBook Pro, and I find the performance to be unacceptable. We have a very large codebase, with dozens of projects and hundreds of source files. On my co-workers' real Windows machines, a complete build takes a few minutes. For me, it takes over an hour.

So, I wouldn't recommend it for large-scale Visual Studio development. It might be fine for smaller-scale projects.

Parallels works a lot better with my setup.


I use Parallels to develop in Windows 7 with .NET on my Macbook Pro with 4GB of RAM, and I haven't experienced any significant performance issues. It's a breeze, and with coherence mode it's very unobtrusive. IMO it's a much better solution for doing development than using VMWare or VirtualBox on a Mac. I'd definitely recommend the RAM upgrade, it is absolutely the best bang for your buck these days, and with prices like they are, how can you resist?


I would use Bootcamp since that will run Windows natively, and VS is a bit of a resource hog.


I just started using vmware fusion on my intel iMac and so far the performance is good for some (minor) development in Visual C# Express

Another reason to try vmware fusion is they have good student pricing :)

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