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maflynn
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Fusion/Windows 7 advice & questions for a newbie

Hey guys (and gals) I've been mostly a linux user lately so I've more or less missed the boat on windows 7 but I'm looking to load it on my MBP but I have some newbie questions if people can help. I've tried doing a search but I think my terminology or lack of proper terms got in my way.

Some background info, I'm using a 5,1 unibody MBP with 4 gig of ram which has Snow Leopard and VMware fusion 3.01.

I'm looking at what would work best with fusion in two ways, bootcamp vs a vmdk install and 64bit vs. 32bit..

First is there an advantage to running vmware fusion with bootcamp, that is tell fusion to use the bootcamp partition? Would I see a better performance boost if I instead of using the bootcamp created a vm (vmdk) within fusion?

Second question deals with 32bit vs. 64bit. I'm running 4gig of ram which I'll only dedicate 2gig in vmware. Is there any benefit (stability, or performance) to using the 64bit flavor within fusion (installed vm not bootcamp) or will I be better off with the 32bit install?

Third question - if I point fusion to use the bootcamp partition, is there any benefit for going with the 64bit or 32bit on that install. That is would fusion be providing more performance with the 32bit windows 7 bootcamp or vice versa (or it doesn't matter)

Fourth question It appears the fusion installs things when you use the bootcamp partition and I assume I'll need to install the tools as well. Will that pose any issues, or headaches when I physically boot into the bootcamp, i.e., device drivers for non-existent devices. What about the video, nvidia 9600m in bootcamp vs. the virtual gpu that fusion provides. I hate to see problems when I switch off and reboot into bootcamp.

Final question, will I be heading into activation hell if the bootcamp partition uses both cores, but I only dedicate one core in fusion when pointing fusion to use the bootcamp partition. I don't want to have to continually re-activate win7 because when I boot into bootcamp, it sees two cores but fusion only when.

Thanks in advance

Mike

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Mikero
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deep breath... OK... 😃


First is there an advantage to running vmware fusion with bootcamp


You get better performance out of .vmdk's in this instance. Using a physical disk that isn't the OS X volume would be better than BootCamp, but obviously only applicable on a Mac Pro. Reason being: with multiple partitions, the needle on the Hard Disk has to travel a long ways to seek to the second partition, going back and forth all the time between what Windows is doing and what Mac is doing. A .vmdk would, generally, comprise a contiguous space due to the Mac filesystem optimizing the block layer on the fly.

The benefit of using BootCamp is if you need to take advantage of the full hardware potential of the Mac within a dedicated Windows environment. Such a use could be for, say, playing high-quality, newer games (Call of Duty, anyone?), at higher resolutions / greater detail. Same goes for pretty much any Windows application which needs a beefy video system (OpenGL rendering, CAD, stuff like that)


Is there any benefit (stability, or performance) to using the 64bit flavor within fusion (installed vm not bootcamp) or will I be better off with the 32bit install?


I'd say no, there's no noticeable benefit to using 64 vs 32bit in a VM. Stick with 32, it's more compatible with software and any hardware you choose to give to Windows (driver support for 64bit stuff is generally OK, but there's no compelling reason to do this in a VM)


Third question - if I point fusion to use the bootcamp partition, is there any benefit for going with the 64bit or 32bit on that install.


Windows 7 isn't supported in BootCamp by Apple, so likely 64bit will not have 100% working drivers.


Fourth question It appears the fusion installs things when you use the bootcamp partition and I assume I'll need to install the tools as well.


We install Tools (drivers and helper application), as well as handling some stuff for activation. So, we keep some of the files that Windows uses to verify it has been activated, but because of the hardware change Windows has to activate twice. We save each activation, detect when Windows is running in our VM, and present the appropriate key and activation information to the OS (to prevent it from having to activate every single time you switch="


What about the video, nvidia 9600m in bootcamp vs. the virtual gpu that fusion provides. I hate to see problems when I switch off and reboot into bootcamp.


I've not heard of any issues relating to video not working when booted normally. Windows detects which hardware is present at startup, checks if it has the drivers, and goes from there.


Final question, will I be heading into activation hell if the bootcamp partition uses both cores, but I only dedicate one core in fusion when pointing fusion to use the bootcamp partition

No. Again, we keep the 'activated profile' and save it. When the OS is launched in Fusion, we use our activation profile. When you're booted natively, it uses which ever was created when you activated in Bootcamp.

The direct answer to 'should I use bootcamp or .vmdk' would be: Depends what you want to do with the VM. If it's general stuff, you're good... if you're a gamer or CAD designer, BootCamp is a good option. 😃

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Michael Roy - Product Marketing Engineer: Fusion & Workstation

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gbullman
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I can only address one of your questions. If you have no other need for BootCamp then your best strategy for running a VM under Fusion is the vmdk disk approach. My understanding is that its' performance is better than a comparable BootCamp VM running under Fusion because of the caching that is possible with vmdk disks. Typically there will be some software need that will drive you to BootCamp vs a Virtual Disk based VM. In my case I'm running only productivity software on Windows so I have never created a BootCamp partition. If you're a heavy gamer or need to run some demanding CAD or other graphics intensive software you might lean towards BootCamp (I have not had a chance to check out how much Fusion 3 improves hard core graphics performance over Fusion 2).

maflynn
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Thanks for the response, that kind of confirms my suspicions,

Now to have my other questions answered Smiley Happy

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derekn
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I think 32 vs 64bit is a preference to your guest VM. I run 32bit as I haven't seen the need for 64bit testing personally.

Unless you are trying to test or evaluate 64bit then I would stick with 32bit seeing how from your OP you stated you have been out of the windows world for a bit. I would think if you are just playing with Win7 then it probably won't serve as your main OS, assuming linux or mac will do that for you. So to waste those resources for 64bit might be a consideration.

-go easy
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maflynn
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I'm finding that the 32bit version of win7 under vmware to be faster then 64bit. Not sure why.

64bit

proc: 5.9

memory 5.5

graphic 4.7

gaming 3.9

disk 6.5

32bit

proc: 5.9

memory 5.5

graphic 5.9

gaming 3.9

disk 6.8

As you can see there is a larger boost in speed on the graphic metric on the 32bit then the 64bit. Curious

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tleveque
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How do you get those numbers?

I'm finding that the 32bit version of win7 under vmware to be faster then 64bit. Not sure why.

64bit

proc: 5.9

memory 5.5

graphic 4.7

gaming 3.9

disk 6.5

32bit

proc: 5.9

memory 5.5

graphic 5.9

gaming 3.9

disk 6.8

As you can see there is a larger boost in speed on the graphic metric on the 32bit then the 64bit. Curious

</div>

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maflynn
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Those numbers are the windows experience index. You can find it by going to the control panel -> Performance Information and Tools

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Mikero
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deep breath... OK... 😃


First is there an advantage to running vmware fusion with bootcamp


You get better performance out of .vmdk's in this instance. Using a physical disk that isn't the OS X volume would be better than BootCamp, but obviously only applicable on a Mac Pro. Reason being: with multiple partitions, the needle on the Hard Disk has to travel a long ways to seek to the second partition, going back and forth all the time between what Windows is doing and what Mac is doing. A .vmdk would, generally, comprise a contiguous space due to the Mac filesystem optimizing the block layer on the fly.

The benefit of using BootCamp is if you need to take advantage of the full hardware potential of the Mac within a dedicated Windows environment. Such a use could be for, say, playing high-quality, newer games (Call of Duty, anyone?), at higher resolutions / greater detail. Same goes for pretty much any Windows application which needs a beefy video system (OpenGL rendering, CAD, stuff like that)


Is there any benefit (stability, or performance) to using the 64bit flavor within fusion (installed vm not bootcamp) or will I be better off with the 32bit install?


I'd say no, there's no noticeable benefit to using 64 vs 32bit in a VM. Stick with 32, it's more compatible with software and any hardware you choose to give to Windows (driver support for 64bit stuff is generally OK, but there's no compelling reason to do this in a VM)


Third question - if I point fusion to use the bootcamp partition, is there any benefit for going with the 64bit or 32bit on that install.


Windows 7 isn't supported in BootCamp by Apple, so likely 64bit will not have 100% working drivers.


Fourth question It appears the fusion installs things when you use the bootcamp partition and I assume I'll need to install the tools as well.


We install Tools (drivers and helper application), as well as handling some stuff for activation. So, we keep some of the files that Windows uses to verify it has been activated, but because of the hardware change Windows has to activate twice. We save each activation, detect when Windows is running in our VM, and present the appropriate key and activation information to the OS (to prevent it from having to activate every single time you switch="


What about the video, nvidia 9600m in bootcamp vs. the virtual gpu that fusion provides. I hate to see problems when I switch off and reboot into bootcamp.


I've not heard of any issues relating to video not working when booted normally. Windows detects which hardware is present at startup, checks if it has the drivers, and goes from there.


Final question, will I be heading into activation hell if the bootcamp partition uses both cores, but I only dedicate one core in fusion when pointing fusion to use the bootcamp partition

No. Again, we keep the 'activated profile' and save it. When the OS is launched in Fusion, we use our activation profile. When you're booted natively, it uses which ever was created when you activated in Bootcamp.

The direct answer to 'should I use bootcamp or .vmdk' would be: Depends what you want to do with the VM. If it's general stuff, you're good... if you're a gamer or CAD designer, BootCamp is a good option. 😃

-
Michael Roy - Product Marketing Engineer: Fusion & Workstation
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maflynn
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Thank you for that detailed explanation. it was exactly was what I was looking for.

Based on that and the other posts, I'll be using a 32bit win7 vm for most of my work. I may create a bootcamp (will need to activate twice) down the road but for my needs sticking within OSX and running win7 as I need it, appears to be the correct approach. I see little benefit for the 64bit version at the moment but that can change down the road but for my needs, it appears 32bit the right decision.

Regards

Mike

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