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Parallels Vs Boot Camp Vs Remote Desktop To A Local/remote Machine


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I thought I'd offer a first-hand perspective on what I've found to be the optimal way to interact with Windows based programs (specifically UBot Studio) while using a Mac.

 

Three popular options are: Parallels, Boot Camp, and obtaining Microsoft's remote desktop connection software from the App store and then remotely connecting to a local/remote machine that's running the Windows operating system.

 

I've done all three, and here is what I've discovered (again, this is subjective, but potentially useful):

 

Parallels

 

My iMac only has 8 gigabytes of 2133 MHz DDR4 memory, and unfortunately my model doesn't make it particularly easy to upgrade to having additional memory. I've still been able to successfully use Parallels, and have opted to use Windows 7 Professional within the Parallels virtualized environment. I realize that at this point Windows 7 is no longer supported, but the the reason why I still have opted to use it in Parallels is because it continues to allow the use of UBot Studio's FTP commands and functions. (As noted in Bug #1210 and Bug #1271, all of UBot Studio's FTP commands and functions stopped working on Windows 10).

 

The challenge that I've occasionally encountered is that heavy use of Parallels increases the memory pressure inside MacOS, and will sporadically result in the entire system becoming somewhat unstable and sluggish. This challenge is likely easy to overcome with an internal memory upgrade to 12 or 16 gigabytes of 2133 MHz DDR4 memory, but that options is challenging on my iMac 2017. As a result of this, I relatively recently decided to build a standalone PC that would enable me to run Windows on an entirely separate (non-virtualized) environment.

 

Remote Desktop To A Local/Remote Machine

 

I built a spare PC using some spare computer parts. The machine runs on an Intel 3.4 GHz Core i3-4130 microprocessor and 32 gigabytes of 1600 MHz DDR3 memory. It has an approximately 1 terabyte SSD drive and uses a newly purchased Windows 10 Professional license. This machine is located nearby, but not right where my iMac is located. Downloading the Microsoft remote desktop connection software from the App store was quick and easy, and setting everything up was relatively easy as well. 

 

The real benefit to this setup is that now I have a dedicated machine that can run UBot Studio without sapping away any of the relatively modest resources that my iMac is built with. I should also mention, I use my iMac for a lot of things that are MacOS specific, so it's rare that I'd have nothing but Parallels open. This means that the overall use of system resources on my iMac can sporadically cause challenges. There *is* a bit of a performance hit with the standalone PC. The iMac is running with an Intel 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 (7th generation, as I recall, compared to the 4th generation Core i3 on the standalone PC). Even though MacOS throttles the performance of the CPU to manage heat, it still completes certain things within UBot Studio a lot faster (defined as approximately 20+ percent faster) than the spare machine. Given that UBot Studio is a 32-bit application, the memory consumption is, to the best of my knowledge, capped at 4 gigabytes. However, even when I allocate just 2 gigabytes of iMac 2133 DDR4 memory to the virtual machine, I notice that things can become a bit sluggish.

 

Boot Camp

 

The best way to think of Boot Camp is as a mechanism that lets you reboot your iMac and have Windows be the default/standard operating system. You basically have the option of being in MacOS, or alternatively, being in Windows. You can't use Boot Camp and magically be in both the MacOS and Windows operating systems at the same time. That's the biggest drawback to Boot Camp, from my perspective. So, if I wanted to use UBot Studio on my iMac, then I'd need to boot into Windows and that's all I could use.

 

Conclusion

 

In my experience, the emerging winner for my situation is to use Remote Desktop on my iMac to access a standalone local machine that's running Windows 10 professional. It doesn't have to be a local machine, I should add. It's relatively simple to have a 3rd party remote hosting platform wherein you can access a Windows system that way. Not a bad choice per se if you're disinterested in having a second computer.

 

This isn't intended to be an exhaustive analysis, but rather a quick summary of my experience using all three of the aforementioned mechanisms through which to use UBot Studio while also using a Mac.

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