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So I am a software guy who is pretty oblivious when it comes to personal computer hardware. I really want to ditch my old pc for a macbook, but I'm not really sure of the right hardware specs I should be searching for.

The most intensive work I'll be doing is running lots of vagrant vms with virtualbox (max of about 15ish). So what specs should I be looking for: cpu, ram, storage, cores, ect? Which specs are the most important?

If this might be a better question for SuperUser let me know and I'll try to migrate the post there.

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  • Any update on this? I'm interested in maybe getting an iMac Pro w/ Windows 10 running in a VM for development. I already do this on my 2013 iMac but my build is showing its age (everything is running super slow now). I'm curious to know how you did and if there's anything you wish you did differently. Jun 18, 2018 at 17:25

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Depends on specs and activity of the boxes. 15x one core and 512MB RAM will run on a Core i5 and 16GB RAM. If the boxes are going to need more RAM, you'll need to run fewer boxes at a time. A VM typically requires about 100MB RAM on the hypervisor side, macOS and any tools you might have running also need some memory, so those are the constraints of the system you'd be working with. More RAM isn't an option, it's soldered on, and 16GB is the limit.

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In a sense your question will invite opinions rather than facts, but here are my thoughts based on my experiences.

In a sense it depends on the type of vagrant boxes you intend to run, especially since they're no longer tied to VirtualBox. However, for me I've always found the most important hardware requirement for any virtualisation was the amount of physical RAM I had installed. So make sure you invest in a MacBook with (or capable of having) plenty of RAM.

Beyond that I would say a lot gets down to your software settings for your vagrant boxes. Here are some interesting reads that may be of interest:

  1. How to make vagrant performance not suck
  2. Vagrant VirtualBox extremely slow despite 8GB RAM SSD HD 2.53Ghz core 2 duo

I hope this helps!

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