I am in a bit of a bind. I have been contracted to create a small suite of applications for Android, iOS and WP7. Currently I am also on the market for a new notebook for development.

Now the issue I have is I can either buy a consumer grade macbook and a laptop or I could just buy an 8gb Ram, SSD, i7 mackbook and virtualise windows 7.

I have never used a mac or macbook before so before I go purchase anything I would like to know what your thoughts are on this. Has anyone any experience with this?

4 Answers 4


I'm not in quite the same bind as you, but I do development on both Linux and Windows environments. I've found that its easier (from a portability, convenience, and backup perspective) to have a single powerful machine with VMs for non-host operating systems than it is to maintain separate machines for every OS that I use.

If I were in your place, I would choose to get the most powerful Macbook Pro I could afford, then install Windows in a VM to do Windows Phone development. If you must run Windows natively, then you can do that too on a Mac, since they're using Intel CPUs now.

  • Cool, Thanks for the help! Nice to see someone is doing it too.
    – DeanMc
    Feb 22, 2011 at 15:28
  • I have a Mac utilizing a dual-boot environment. That being said, most of my development (non-iOS) is done in a *NIX environment (Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora)
    – aqua
    Feb 23, 2011 at 0:40
  • I can highly recommend developing and testing as far as possible in VMs and not the host OS. The ease of rolling back and duplicating your development environment and not mixing it up with you "administration environment" (aka. email, browsing, calendaring etc.) is a huge productivity booster. Also on a modern Laptop with lots of RAM and a SSD you wont notice a difference (compiling a large Template heavy C++ code base might be different though). Apr 25, 2011 at 11:43
  • Mac is *Nix, being Debian linux, refactored and on the darwin kernel
    – tjons
    Oct 8, 2013 at 17:55
  • @TJonS It isn't. Mac uses FreeBSD userspace tools running on top of Darwin.
    – quanticle
    Oct 19, 2013 at 22:13

You might also look into dual-booting. That way you don't have to worry about the virtualization process slowing down your WP7 emulator.

I hope it's a big contract if you're buying a new machine just to work on it.

  • Big enough, the cost will also be spread over other development projects.
    – DeanMc
    Feb 22, 2011 at 15:27

I use a Macbook Pro for contract work and it works great. I run Windows XP and Windows 7 using Parallels.

Save money and buy the 8GB of memory from crucial.com - I would highly recommend 8GB though. I just upgraded from 4 to 8 and the system no longer slows down with multiple virtual machines open.

  • Get all the RAM you can afford that the machine can hold.
    – user1249
    Feb 22, 2011 at 15:25
  • I understand 8gb is the max right?
    – DeanMc
    Feb 22, 2011 at 15:28
  • @DeanMc, depends on the model. I believe it is so for the 2009-10 range.
    – user1249
    Feb 22, 2011 at 15:49

The MacBook Pro's are very nice machines. I like mine a lot.

I have found VMWare Fusion to be a very nice product for running Windows (it can run a dual boot Windows virtualized) as well as all the various Linux'es I will ever need.

  • Cheers, they look like nice machines, the backlight keyboard is a great idea!
    – DeanMc
    Feb 22, 2011 at 15:34

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