Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quicken?

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RooseveltG
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Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quicken?

Post by RooseveltG »

I am relatively new to the Apple world and am using a Macbook Air 2011 with 4 GB of RAM. To use quicken, I have to allocate 1.5 GB to a virtual Windows machine; leaving only 2.5 GB for the Mac OS. Parallels and Windows take too long to load. My machine is mostly docked or used in a condo (not for travel).

I am considering either a Macbook Air 2012 with 8 GB of RAM or a Macbook Pro 15" Retina (SSD, 16 GB of RAM) to replace my current MBA.

Would a Macbook Air be sufficient or is it worth moving up to the Macbook Pro to run Parallels and Windows? I don't video edit but clearly need more RAM.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Roosevelt.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by redhounds »

For your application, the MacBook Pro is definitely the way to go. The MacBook Air is great for travel (as is the iPad), but running Parallels is considerably "clunkier" on the Air vs. the Pro.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by etherscreen78 »

get the pro for sure in this case.

also and perhaps more important, check out vmware fusion instead of parallels.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by sscritic »

There are two other solutions:

1) I wash dishes and I drive my car, but I don't do both at the same time. When you want to run quicken, run quicken; when you are finished, stop parallels and go back to reading bogleheads. I use quicken about 10 minutes a day. How much time do you spend on quicken?
[About taking too long to load: start loading and go get a cup of coffee. This was the standard recommendation for anyone using OS/2 back in the day.]

2) Get quicken 2007 for Mac. Then you don't need parallels. You lose some details in the data on conversion and you lose some functionality, but when I converted it was functionality that I didn't use.

Edit: for a newer machine, you want Quicken 2007 for Lion (previous versions won't run on Lion or Mountain Lion).
Last edited by sscritic on Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by bertilak »

If you are going to buy second computer, a really cheap PC with Windows will be entirely adequate for Quicken. I'd get a laptop, something in the $500-$600 range.

Best Buy has a good Toshiba selection. I got my current one from them as a floor model. Saved over $100. Others may also have similar deals. When I was buying, Best Buy beat out Amazon for price and selection (even w/o getting a floor model) but that may be old news by now.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by livesoft »

I use a Macbook Pro with VMWare to run Windows XP. The laptop has 8 Gbyte of memory. I see no special performance problems with either Mac OSX nor Windows XP on this hardware. It works well and fast. Indeed, I always have Windows running even if I am not using it. And all the Windows programs I use run without any problems whatsoever. It really works. I don't understand why you need to "allocate" memory at all. Mac OSX and VMware/Windows just use memory as needed. That's what an operating system is supposed to do for you.

One of the many hats I wear is software developer for a memory- and CPU-intensive task with lots of real-time 3D graphics, so take what I write with a grain of salt.
Last edited by livesoft on Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by BYUvol »

RooseveltG wrote:I am relatively new to the Apple world and am using a Macbook Air 2011 with 4 GB of RAM. To use quicken, I have to allocate 1.5 GB to a virtual Windows machine; leaving only 2.5 GB for the Mac OS. Parallels and Windows take too long to load. My machine is mostly docked or used in a condo (not for travel).

I am considering either a Macbook Air 2012 with 8 GB of RAM or a Macbook Pro 15" Retina (SSD, 16 GB of RAM) to replace my current MBA.

Would a Macbook Air be sufficient or is it worth moving up to the Macbook Pro to run Parallels and Windows? I don't video edit but clearly need more RAM.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Roosevelt.
The extremely high resolutions of the Retina display cause applications to use alot more memory. Users have complained about such simple things as scrolling in a web browser being jerky due to it (although this is more how the integrated GPU shares system memory, while the discrete card is inactive). I would expect running a VM in the background is going to exacerbate the problem, unless you are religious about only having 1 app open at a time. The 16 gigs of ram on a retina display isn't going to get you as far as it would on a conventional display.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by LiamLC »

If cost is not an issue, then obviously a MBP is a better computer. However, the new MBAs should be able to handle it as well. I don't recommend getting a new computer just for this, however, instead you should just try to dual boot windows and osx using bootcamp. It will work much better if you run it natively. Furthermore, if you are going to buy a computer for the use of windows, why not get a PC? It is much cheaper and will run windows much better than a VM or dual booted with the apple drivers.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by JupiterJones »

You could try BootCamp instead of Parallels. That way you'd actually be running Windows on the hardware, rather than in a virtual machine within Mac OS. I'd imagine there's be a performance improvement--although you'd have to reboot each time you wanted to switch to/from Quicken, which is a bit of a pain.

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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by KyleAAA »

Why can't you just shut down parallels when you're done with Quicken? It only takes up memory if it's actually running.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by livesoft »

I see no reason to run bootcamp. We are talking about quicken here, not some mission-critical real-time operating system need. The Macs will have no problem running Windows simultaneously with Mac OSX. The chip is Quad Core anyways, right?
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by topos »

You might also try to disable any "seamless" integration features between parallel virtual environment and Mac OS. Basically, run Windows with parallel as it were a separate computer with little integration with OS X as possible.
My experience is that those feature slow down considerably the virtual machine. It makes the system looks much less responsive. That's probably even more true on a 2011 Mac book air that has no dedicated graphic card.
I do think 4 GB ram should be plenty to run OS x and virtualized Windows for simple thing like Quicken .Also make sure you close many apps on OS X before running parallel.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by cowgs »

Hello,
You are asking an excellent question about Macbook Pro vs Macbook Air (MBA) for running Parallels Desktop (PD) and Quicken for Windows.

I've been running a 2011 model MBA 1.86Mhz 4 gigs of RAM laptop, with Parallels Desktop (PD) and Quicken 2012 for Windows installed. The MBA is by far my preferred computer for PD and Quicken for Windows. Currently, in this house I probably have 8 late model Mac computers including a 24" iMacs, Macbook Pros 15" and 13" laptops, 3 Mac Pros, and two MBA.

The MBA both have solid state drives (SSD) and that make them faster at most things than even the Mac Pros (except for video editing work). For more light weight work such as running PD and Quicken for Windows, I choose the MBA over any other Mac I own.

I've now been running the various version of PD with Quicken for Windows on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 and 8 (beta). PD and Quicken for Windows never crashes, is probably faster than my Mac OS X version of Quicken 2007 (For Mac OS X Mountain Lion) and Quicken Essentials. I run all three versions of Intuit money management programs on my MBA all open at the same time and I don't detect any slow down. My main computer used to be a Mac Pro 8 core desktop with 2 24" monitors but I hardly ever turn it on any more; it takes too long to boot-up, load programs, etc. The MBAs with SSD are just so much faster, and running PD and Quicken for Windows with 4 gigs of RAM is no problem at all. The MBA is the best Mac I have ever owned since I started buying Apple stuff in 1986.

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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by tran_man007 »

I just purchased a Macbook Air (released June 2012) after using Windows for years. I use an open source (and more importantly free!) virtualization program called Virtualbox. I use it to run Windows 7 just to use Quicken. I have 4GB of RAM and it runs perfectly fine. My impression is that in the end: pick the laptop you want and you'll find a way to run Quicken.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by southerndoc »

I have a 13" MacBook Air (2012, i7 2.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD). It runs VMWare Fusion just fine.

However, I would make these recommendations (hopefully you haven't purchased your computer yet):

1. MacBook Pro if you mainly are going to use it as a desktop.

2. Skip the Retina. Why do you need it for surfing the web and using Quicken? I would stick with the standard display unless you do some heavy photo editing. It's not worth the price premium right now.

3. Go with 8GB of RAM. If you get the Air, you'll need to order it with 8 GB. If you get a MBP, I think you can upgrade it yourself unless Apple changed their memory configurations on the MBP's this year. (The Airs memory is soldered onto the board.)

4. With the extra money left over by skipping the Retina display, buy a desktop monitor and connect it via the Thunderbolt connection. You can purchase a dock, Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad, and basically have a desktop while you're at home.

5. Take a look at iBank. It doesn't handle investments very well, but it's a great alternative to Quicken and runs natively on the Mac.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by Fletch »

My experience with a mid-2009 MacBook Pro:

Came with 4GB ram and Snow Leopard version of OSX. I upgraded OSX to Lion and installed Parallels and Quicken. Too slow for my taste. I installed 8GB ram - slowness problem solved. I allocated 3 GB ram to Windows 7 (on Parallels) and left 5GB for OSX (now using Mt. Lion version of OSX).

Not really related but I also replaced the original 320GB 5400rpm harddrive with a 750GB 7200rpm harddrive - also improved interface responsiveness and speed but not as much as the additional ram did. I purchased the additional ram and harddrive from OWC http://www.macsales.com/ and it was an easy upgrade. However, make sure you have a backup of all your data if you replace the harddrive so you can reinstall easily.

My opinion, if you buy a new computer, get as much ram and harddrive capacity as you can afford. I keep all my photos and music on the MacBook and it takes a lot of room and iPhoto uses a lot of memory if you have a large library.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by RooseveltG »

Thanks for all the responses.

I compared iBank to Money Dance and think the former has a much nicer interface. The real problem is minimal functionality with regard to investing when compared to Quicken 2012.

My real question was whether an 8 GB Macbook Air was up to the task of running Parallels/Windows and Quicken without having to shut down all the Apple programs. Clearly what I have will work but I am looking for a better solution (although at a higher cost). Is the Macbook Pro/Retina with an SSD going to be faster than a Macbook Air with 8 GB of RAM?

Roosevelt.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by livesoft »

RooseveltG wrote:Thanks for all the responses.
...
My real question was whether an 8 GB Macbook Air was up to the task of running Parallels/Windows and Quicken without having to shut down all the Apple programs. Clearly what I have will work but I am looking for a better solution (although at a higher cost). Is the Macbook Pro/Retina with an SSD going to be faster than a Macbook Air with 8 GB of RAM?

Roosevelt.
And you got your answers in the responses above.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by RooseveltG »

To be honest, the answers varied!

They ranged from what you have is good enough (true) and a Macbook Pro would be faster (also true).

So it really comes down to "need, willingness and ability" to buy a new computer.

Roosevelt.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by KyleAAA »

RooseveltG wrote: My real question was whether an 8 GB Macbook Air was up to the task of running Parallels/Windows and Quicken without having to shut down all the Apple programs. Clearly what I have will work but I am looking for a better solution (although at a higher cost). Is the Macbook Pro/Retina with an SSD going to be faster than a Macbook Air with 8 GB of RAM?
Absolutely. The SSD makes all the difference in the world. I'd still get the 8GB RAM, though. Retina display is pretty pointless, IMO. You won't really be able to tell a difference unless you're right up on it. With the phones and ipads you kinda can, a little, but that's just because you tend to hold those devices closer to your face than you would a laptop anyway.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by topos »

The SSD makes all the difference in the world.
Indeed, SSD makes a big difference. But the 2011 Mac Book Air already has SSD instead of hardrive. So switiching to Mac Book pro is not going to make any difference in that area. Cheaper Mac book pro actually stll comes with hard drive.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by danwhite77 »

Don't know if this helps, but here's my experience: I was a longtime PC / Quicken user and then switched to Mac about three years ago. To keep using Quicken, I used Bootcamp and partitioned my hard drive between Mac and PC exclusively for that purpose. This year, my Mac (for the first time) experienced very real problems. This happened immediately after Quicken had crashed while I was running Windows on my Mac. After that, the reboot into Mac mode simply didn't work. After troubleshooting, I guessed that the Quicken crash screwed up my Windows partition which screwed up my Mac. I formatted the Windows partition and it turns out I was right - the problem immediately ceased and hasn't come back. So basically, the only time my Mac has ever experienced a problem, it was because of Windows. As a result: (1) I will never install Windows on my Mac ever again in any form and (2) I have stopped using Quicken.

So, FWIW, the epilogue is that I stopped using Quicken (which worked great when it worked as intended, which wasn't very often) and instead I just copy-paste amounts into a google drive spreadsheet. I miss (somewhat) the hyper-accuracy of Quicken, but I can accomplish 90% of that accuracy with 10% of the effort just copy-pasting amounts into a spreadsheet instead of going through the oftentimes frustrating automatic update process with Quicken.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by sscritic »

topos wrote:
The SSD makes all the difference in the world.
Indeed, SSD makes a big difference. But the 2011 Mac Book Air already has SSD instead of hardrive. So switiching to Mac Book pro is not going to make any difference in that area. Cheaper Mac book pro actually stll comes with hard drive.
The question was faster.
Is the Macbook Pro/Retina with an SSD going to be faster than a Macbook Air with 8 GB of RAM?
SSD = SSD, but the Pro has a faster processor, so I think saying the Pro with SSD is faster than an Air with SSD is correct.

P.S. even the cheapest Pro (13", 2.5 i5) can be configured with SSD (which I agree means it isn't the cheapest any more, but it is still the "cheap" model).
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by RooseveltG »

The 15" Macbook Pro also offers a quad core processor and dedicated graphics card. It is my understanding that the graphics card does not kick in unless the integrated graphics chip is maxed out.

Also, the Retina display Macbook Pro is much lighter than the non-retina display. IF I wanted to use it as a laptop, that would be real advantage.

I am not sure how much of a speed increase you gain with a quad core processor and dedicated graphics chip.

Roosevelt.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by BH13 »

As you indicated in your original post, for the purposes of running Quicken in a Windows virtual machine, you need lots of RAM and a fast disk.

If cost is no object, the best Mac laptop will be a fully spec'd retina MBP with 16 GB RAM. I believe that will be overkill. Retina display will not help in any way for Quicken. CPU is less relevant for your needs than a fast disk & RAM. GPU is not a factor at all.

A more reasonable upgrade that will provide a decent speed increase will be the 2012 MBA i5 with 8GB of RAM. The 2012 MBA SSD is twice as fast as the 2011 MBA SSD. Not all SSD's are the same:http://osxdaily.com/2012/06/19/macbook- ... -air-2011/

Also doubling the RAM to 8 GB will allow you to run other Mac applications without constraining the Windows environment.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by Norbert Schlenker »

I'm curious to know why bertilak's proposal upthread - that the OP buy a Windows laptop for the sole purpose of running Quicken - has been ignored. I'm assuming some unexplained subtext for RooseveltG, either a desire to have the newest device or to minimize device quantities.

If it's the first, I make no judgment. People are entitled to spend their money on the toys they want.

If it's the second, I question the need to shoehorn a somewhat incompatible task onto the single device. My wife has a Macbook Pro. I suppose I could use it edge on when I want drive nails but I usually get a hammer instead. She tells me the base of the MBP gets quite warm if video is being played and the battery is charging simultaneously, but she puts the kettle on the stove to make tea. "Running Quicken" is a task. Use the right tool for the job.

BTW, Quicken needs no fancy or expensive hardware. A two year old Windows laptop off craigslist @ $100-200 will do the job nicely. Unless it's possible to flog a one year old Air for something within $100-200 of a newer model with better specs, a second Windows laptop is also less expensive.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by RooseveltG »

BH 13: Good analysis. I did not the MBA 2012 SSD was twice as fast as the 2011 model. (It also has double the ram and the faster Intel graphics 4000 processor).

Norbert:
There are good reasons for having Mac and Windows/Quicken in one machine. I often cut and paste transactions from Vanguard's web site directly into quicken. I also want access to spreadsheets on my Mac.

Finally, it is unwieldy to have a Windows laptop next to a Macbook. I understand the WIndows computer is a more economical solution, but not the most practical or elegant one.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts.

Roosevelt.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by Epsilon Delta »

RooseveltG wrote:BH 13: Good analysis. I did not the MBA 2012 SSD was twice as fast as the 2011 model. (It also has double the ram and the faster Intel graphics 4000 processor).

Norbert:
There are good reasons for having Mac and Windows/Quicken in one machine. I often cut and paste transactions from Vanguard's web site directly into quicken. I also want access to spreadsheets on my Mac.

Finally, it is unwieldy to have a Windows laptop next to a Macbook. I understand the WIndows computer is a more economical solution, but not the most practical or elegant one.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts.

Roosevelt.
You could get the windows machine and use remote desktop or a terminal emulator to run quicken on it. You can still cut and paste, and you can leave the windows box in your server room.
:P :P :P
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by RooseveltG »

Sounds pretty "techie" to me!

Roosevelt.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by jasonlitka »

RooseveltG wrote:I am relatively new to the Apple world and am using a Macbook Air 2011 with 4 GB of RAM. To use quicken, I have to allocate 1.5 GB to a virtual Windows machine; leaving only 2.5 GB for the Mac OS. Parallels and Windows take too long to load. My machine is mostly docked or used in a condo (not for travel).

I am considering either a Macbook Air 2012 with 8 GB of RAM or a Macbook Pro 15" Retina (SSD, 16 GB of RAM) to replace my current MBA.

Would a Macbook Air be sufficient or is it worth moving up to the Macbook Pro to run Parallels and Windows? I don't video edit but clearly need more RAM.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Roosevelt.
My rMBP screams but you should know that since Windows doesn't support HiDPI screens very well running BootCamp or Parallels won't look very good. It gets the job done though.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by abuss368 »

Unfortunately for Apple, their laptops and desktops will never be mainstream in the business with their pricing.
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by JupiterJones »

abuss368 wrote:Unfortunately for Apple, their laptops and desktops will never be mainstream in the business with their pricing.
I think the fact that Apple is now worth more than Microsoft and IBM combined shows how unfortunate not being "mainstream in the business" is for them. :D

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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by ddb »

JupiterJones wrote:
abuss368 wrote:Unfortunately for Apple, their laptops and desktops will never be mainstream in the business with their pricing.
I think the fact that Apple is now worth more than Microsoft and IBM combined shows how unfortunate not being "mainstream in the business" is for them. :D

JJ
How much of Apple's recent growth do you attribute to their "laptops and desktops" line of products?

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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by FabLab »

ddb wrote:
JupiterJones wrote:
abuss368 wrote:Unfortunately for Apple, their laptops and desktops will never be mainstream in the business with their pricing.
I think the fact that Apple is now worth more than Microsoft and IBM combined shows how unfortunate not being "mainstream in the business" is for them. :D

JJ
How much of Apple's recent growth do you attribute to their "laptops and desktops" line of products?

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How much of this post is germane to the OP's question: "Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quicken?"
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Re: Apple Experts: Macbook Air vs Pro to run Parallels/Quick

Post by abuss368 »

JupiterJones wrote:
abuss368 wrote:Unfortunately for Apple, their laptops and desktops will never be mainstream in the business with their pricing.
I think the fact that Apple is now worth more than Microsoft and IBM combined shows how unfortunate not being "mainstream in the business" is for them. :D

JJ

Hi JupiterJones,

In an effort not to steer this thread in another direction, I have started a new thread at this link that you may find interesting:

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 2&t=103386

Best.
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