In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

Contemplating some computing changes

Recently have been thinking about some computing changes.

I switched over to a Mac almost a year and a half ago, and have been all Mac for a year now (Mac Pro desktop and Macbook Pro laptop). I have definitely fallen in love with my Mac and the tools on it. I absolutely love Spaces/Expose, Things, Quicksilver, TextMate, and the strong console environment (I'm a linux geek deep down too).

I still code in Windows though. During the day, I live in VMware Fusion. Fusion is a great app, but some of the annoyances of using VM so much are starting to catch up with me. First, I like to keep Outlook and coding separate, so I actually run two VMs all day long, one with XP and Outlook with 512mb ram, and then I code in a Windows 2008 VM with 2gb ram (I know 2gb is not helping).

My Mac Pro has 8gb of ram total, and while during the day I only have 2.5gb of VMs running, I constantly find the memory bar in iStatPro bumping up against full. I find that a little puzzling and is one reason I haven't gone beyond 2gb on the dev VM. Other than those VMs, I usually have Adium, Safari, TokBox, and sometimes a Terminal session open (I seem to use irb a lot, even if just as a calculator).

I'd like to find a better way to improve my life.

One possibility is to move my desktop back to Windows. I would certainly gain a lot of speed, getting full use of the ram and running native, but Spaces/Expose are so ingrained into my daily use, it would be hard to lose them. If I did though, I would still keep OS X on my laptop so I can still use Things, TextMate and some of the other Mac tools. Also, the reality is I don't really do much Ruby coding on my desktop. I always do Rails/Merb coding at night and its almost always on my laptop, in the living room.

In running prices, I think I could almost sell my Mac Pro and build a new Core i7 12gb SSD system for the same price. Sadly, Mac desktops have a huge premium. Though it is beyond me how they make dual Xeons so quiet.

The other option is to keep the Mac Pro, start running my dev VM with more ram and possibly upgrading to 16gb ram. An SSD or two is likely in my future as well, so I could have one for the OS and one for my dev VM. I would also need to find someway else of using Outlook, perhaps just running it on a spare PC and RDC to it or something.

One thing is for certain though, running my dev VM on my laptop is a painful experience. I've been playing with ASP.NET MVC lately and using my VM on my laptop is just annoying. I already have my MBP maxed out at 4gb ram, and it runs the same 2gb VM. But even aside from memory, virtualization uses more CPU which means more heat on the laptop and sometimes the fan goes wild even though I'm just doing basic stuff. In talking with Jayme though, he says he RDCs from his laptop to his desktop to code, so I could probably just have a small Windows XP VM and RDC into my desktop or into the dev VM on my desktop to make life easier.

As a trial though, I've installed Windows 7 RC x64 on my desktop with Boot Camp and will try it out this week or coding. I've installed Switcher, which seems like a nice replacement for Expose, but don't know about Spaces yet. Maybe I'll try a day or two with my dev VM bumped up to 4gb as well.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

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