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I'm planning on buying a new Macbook Pro (13 inch) as my primary work computer. I do a lot of .NET development, so I will have to have Windows running in a VM inside macOS (Parallels).

I'm currently considering the 2Ghz dual core i5 processor, 8gb RAM and 512gb SSD. Will I be able to run Windows 10 within Parallels and still get a smooth experience? I will mostly be using Visual Studio (possibly two or more instances).

My biggest concern is regarding the 8 gigabytes of RAM - will that be insufficient?

Does anybody here use a similar setup and could provide some information on whether it would work just fine or if I should get 16gb of RAM? Because of tax laws in my country, there is a cap on how much the company is willing to let me spend on a computer. Basically I have to choose between

  1. 256GB SSD and 16GB of RAM
  2. 512 GB SSD and 8GB of RAM

256GB SSD will almost definitely not be enough, so I feel that I have no choice but to prioritise that. If I add both a 512gb ssd and 16gb of RAM, it will exceed the amount I'm allowed to spend.

  • Can you use an external drive? If it was me, I'd prioritize the most RAM as possible. Drive space is cheap and easier to swap with a bigger drive when it gets full. – fsb Jan 3 '17 at 21:48
  • I think macOS + Windows + all applications I need to install will eat up almost everything. And it sucks to have to always carry around an external drive :/ – msk Jan 3 '17 at 21:57
  • The MBP has soldered RAM; once you buy it you can't upgrade it. I still recommend getting 16GB RAM and use cloud storage or a portable SSD. Even portable disk drives are small enough for a pocket. – fsb Jan 3 '17 at 22:02
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Yes, you can run macOS as well as Windows in VM on that computer and get a reasonably smooth experience.

Remember that "smooth" is subjective. If you're compiling the odd C# desktop app, using the debugger, etc. - that's going to work fine.

If you want to run a heavy stack with all sorts of services (SQL Servers, logging platforms, indexing systems, etc.) and have a huge project with many subcomponents - the ride isn't going to be as smooth.

The worst case scenario with 8 GB of RAM is that you're going to be using a lot of swap space. It will slow things down - but not as bad as on an old computer, as the SSD on the new MacBook Pro is quite fast.

I would recommend booting up your current development environment and check the memory usage. That would give you a good indication of whether to prioritise disk or RAM.

  • Thank you for your response! I mostly work with relatively small web services (ASP.NET Web API). I will indeed check the memory consumption of my current development environment :) – msk Jan 3 '17 at 22:10
  • I have a similar concern, though in my case I'm planning to get a 16gb RAM, and a core i7 3.5hz (specs can be found here: everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/…). I am a heavy user of both Mac & windows, and yes my VS projects usually contain SQL's etc., currently, I use MacBook pro 15" with 16gb RAM and a quad core i7, I want to get the latest 13", but is it going to run smooth like it runs now? is it just a question of RAM or the "duo core" or "quad core" is also a key factor? – Itai Spector Aug 25 '17 at 6:57
  • Both are limiting factors. Use for example Activity Monitor to profile the performance characteristics of your current system - does it primarily use a single core while you use your projects, or does it succesfully use multiple cores most of the time? Use that to judge whether dual vs. quad-core will make a difference for you. Note that it currently looks like the next generation 13" MBP will have a quad-core processor, as Intel just released quad-cores in that CPU class. It is impossible for us to judge how it will compare to your current system without knowing what that is. – jksoegaard Aug 25 '17 at 7:18

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