MacOS – increase performance of virtual machines on the 27″ imac

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I'm using a 27" iMac (i7, 8GB RAM) at work and normally run two or three virtual machines at the same time, which hurts the performance of each virtual machine.

I've learned on these forums the best way to increase virtual machine performance (aside from RAM) is to have them running on a separate hard drive from the one the OS is on. Of course with the iMac you can only have one hard drive and not even an SAS or solid state drive (well you could probably take it apart and put one in yourself but I wouldn't be permitted to do that).

That being said, do you think it would help to run one or more virtual machines from a firewire external drive (or a usb 2.0)?

Thanks for your input!

Best Answer

I have found that running VMs from a USB drive seriously hurts performance because of the bottleneck of the USB drive. I recently set up a USB drive and a Firewire drive in a RAID0 array and running Virtual Machines off that is far better than running them off just the USB drive was.

For improved performance, get a NAS device. The iMac has 1000BaseT ethernet so running VMs off a network share is also relatively fast. You can even make your own cheap NAS device with linux and a RAID array.

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