Question sent in by one of my regular clients:
As you know, I use VMware Fusion 2 to run Windows apps on my Snow Leopard Mac. The main software tool I use in Windows (XP, by the way) is QuickBooks. Before the end of the month, I need to update all my devices – laptop, iPhone, and iPad – so that they sync using iCloud, since Apple is stopping support of MobileMe. In order to run iCloud on my computer, I need to upgrade the OS from Snow Leopard to Lion. If I upgrade to Lion, I also need to upgrade Fusion from version 2 to 4, especially if I later decide to upgrade from XP to Windows 7. After reading the article links that you provided earlier, I gather that even though Windows 7 under Fusion 4 will most likely run fine with 4GB of memory on my Mac, Lion itself may not. Would buying a new computer be advisable, or can I keep my current system and just put more memory into it?
“Your mileage may vary” is certainly applicable regarding how satisfied you’ll be with your laptop’s performance when it’s running QuickBooks, VMware, and Mac OS X 10.7 using 4GB of memory. Right now we just don’t know. My recommendation is to try out the Lion setup with 4GB of memory with a backup plan to upgrade the laptop to 6GB if the need presents itself. To upgrade your RAM configuration, you would simply swap out one of your 2GB boards and replace it with a 4GB chip that you can buy from a third-party vendor like Other World Computing.