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View Full Version : Bootcamp Vs Parallels Vs Fusion?




Paperboy2010
Mar 4, 2010, 09:25 AM
OK, so I'm thinking of getting a new MBA (Rev D whenever it comes out) to replace my Dell Latitude. I think I understand that I can have a part of my HD partitioned for PC use, but I'm not sure.

I believe all of the programs I mentioned above can be used to run PC programs on a Mac, but with Bootcamp, I'd have to shutdown and restart every time I'd want to run a PC program...is that true?

What I need to know is how easy is it to use any of these three programs? Do the VM products allow you to run Mac / PC programs simultaneously? Would I need to shutdown / restart to run a VM emulator? If not, why does bootcamp exist since it seems a bit cumbersome.

I appreciate any clarity anyone can lend...I really want to make the switch, but I need to be able to do some PC things.

Thanks for any replies...



MacDawg
Mar 4, 2010, 09:30 AM
This will give you the basics you need to know (http://guides.macrumors.com/A_Beginner%27s_Guide_to_Running_Windows_on_a_Mac)

Bootcamp allows you to run natively, but requires you to boot into Windows
Parallels, Fusion, VirtualBox allow you to run virtualized along with OSX, but slower

You can set up Bootcamp and run it from virtualization as well

It depends on what you are wanting to use Windows for
Office? You can run virtualized
Intense graphics, etc.? You will want to Bootcamp
Games? Bootcamp or buy a Windows PC

Paperboy2010
Mar 4, 2010, 09:37 AM
This will give you the basics you need to know (http://guides.macrumors.com/A_Beginner%27s_Guide_to_Running_Windows_on_a_Mac)

Bootcamp allows you to run natively, but requires you to boot into Windows
Parallels, Fusion, VirtualBox allow you to run virtualized along with OSX, but slower

You can set up Bootcamp and run it from virtualization as well

It depends on what you are wanting to use Windows for
Office? You can run virtualized
Intense graphics, etc.? You will want to Bootcamp
Games? Bootcamp or buy a Windows PC

Thanks so much for your quick response...mostly, I need to run some stock trading software in a PC environment...I don't know if the VM products would be robust enough to run that. While I know this is incredibly ignorant of me, when you say it allows you run 'natively' what does that mean?

MacDawg
Mar 4, 2010, 09:48 AM
Thanks so much for your quick response...mostly, I need to run some stock trading software in a PC environment...I don't know if the VM products would be robust enough to run that. While I know this is incredibly ignorant of me, when you say it allows you run 'natively' what does that mean?

It runs just like a Windows PC at native speed, etc. because it IS a Windows PC when you boot into Windows... it is not virtualized

You can download the trial versions of Parallels and Fusion to test them
VirtualBox is free

You can also try Crossover, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that

If you scroll through this Forum you will find a lot of information comparing Parallels and Fusion
I prefer Fusion personally

Paperboy2010
Mar 4, 2010, 10:09 AM
It runs just like a Windows PC at native speed, etc. because it IS a Windows PC when you boot into Windows... it is not virtualized

You can download the trial versions of Parallels and Fusion to test them
VirtualBox is free

You can also try Crossover, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that

If you scroll through this Forum you will find a lot of information comparing Parallels and Fusion
I prefer Fusion personally

Thanks Mac!

That wiki is very handy as well...

CylonGlitch
Mar 4, 2010, 10:38 AM
Same thread, different location : http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=871731&highlight=bootcamp+parallels+fusion

Some good information there to check out.

mgoblue2635
Mar 6, 2011, 11:10 PM
I am running parallels and am very unimpressed with a MBP with the 2.66 Ghz processor and 4GB of ram. It runs maybe at 75% of the speed windows normally runs at, and windows is usually pretty slow. Since windows takes most of the available ram neither side can run very fast, and after quitting parallels I usually have to restart my computer anyway because it is faster than waiting for the memory to completely reallocate back to the mac side. I don't even use parallels for anything very intensive, an honestly I am considering just using bootcamp. With a much slower processor and less ram on a MBA I would definitely recommend bootcamp.

SirStrumalot
Mar 7, 2011, 12:19 AM
To be honest, I've tried both and wouldn't recommend Parallels or any virtualization unless you're a light user of Windows because it eats up a lot of system resources trying to run both operating systems side-by-side. Bootcamp works much better, and in my case I only ever have use for one operating system at a time. Of course, sometimes it's absolutely required but in those cases I would recommend having 8GBs of RAM (4 would work but not optimally IMO).

CCKY
Mar 7, 2011, 03:40 AM
I am wondering if Bootcamp or VM is better for streaming videos in Windows?
Typically, I want to run this Windows program called PPStream, it is like a program that lets you watch internet video on the fly.

I hope VM is sufficient to run the program but I thought it would be best to ask you guys here :p

cdcastillo
Mar 7, 2011, 05:14 AM
... I prefer Fusion personally

Another vote for fusion. It has a mode that the OP would find useful, Unity, where you can run the Windows apps right next to the mac apps, in the same Mac OS X environment.

It's been a long time since I tried parallels, and I don't know if they have a similar mode nowadays, but they didn't when I needed it.

waynep
Mar 7, 2011, 07:53 AM
While I agree Fusion is the best virtualization product I am using VirtualBox 4.0.4 which is the newest version. It has a mode similar to Unity in Fusion called Seamless Mode. I am finding that it works well and for my needs I may stick with it. I have been using it for about a week.

bo-waleed
Mar 8, 2011, 04:28 AM
hi guys what is the best option for me ??

i will use windows xp and will use it mainly for ms word and an app called the the completion library.

i have 4GB ram on my MBP.

how much ram should i use for Parallels ?

LIVEFRMNYC
Mar 21, 2011, 08:18 PM
I run W7 on Parrallels and it runs very quickly & smooth, feels very native. Besides gaming(which I don't do on PC, I'm a console person) & maybe video conversion(which I haven't tried on Parrallels yet), I don't know of any Windows programs which Parrallels shouldn't be able to handle as long as you allow proper specs.

I run W7 on 1GB(1024MB), 256MB Graphics, and 1CPU.

Oh and you will love coherence mode. You'll be running Windows programs on your mac desktop.

Also, you should clone your Windows partition from your PC. Then you can just throw it on Parrallels instead on having to install from scratch.







I am running parallels and am very unimpressed with a MBP with the 2.66 Ghz processor and 4GB of ram. It runs maybe at 75% of the speed windows normally runs at, and windows is usually pretty slow. Since windows takes most of the available ram neither side can run very fast, and after quitting parallels I usually have to restart my computer anyway because it is faster than waiting for the memory to completely reallocate back to the mac side. I don't even use parallels for anything very intensive, an honestly I am considering just using bootcamp. With a much slower processor and less ram on a MBA I would definitely recommend bootcamp.

To be honest, I've tried both and wouldn't recommend Parallels or any virtualization unless you're a light user of Windows because it eats up a lot of system resources trying to run both operating systems side-by-side. Bootcamp works much better, and in my case I only ever have use for one operating system at a time. Of course, sometimes it's absolutely required but in those cases I would recommend having 8GBs of RAM (4 would work but not optimally IMO).

Did you guys select both CPUs or just one? That could be the problem. I don't seem to have any lag or slowdowns with CPU just selected at 1.

Sounds Good
Apr 5, 2011, 03:55 PM
Hey guys, question about Bootcamp:

Let's say we've got Windows Photoshop on the Bootcamp side and we just created an image. Now we want to use the image in a program that resides on the Mac side. How do we do this?

Thanks...

balamw
Apr 5, 2011, 04:47 PM
Hey guys, question about Bootcamp:

Let's say we've got Windows Photoshop on the Bootcamp side and we just created an image. Now we want to use the image in a program that resides on the Mac side. How do we do this?

Thanks...

Under OS X you have read only NTFS drivers that would let you locate the file on your BC partition and copy it to your Mac OS X partition for use. You also have drivers for Windows that let you do the opposite.

B

terzinator
Apr 6, 2011, 11:23 AM
I've often wondered why use Bootcamp instead of Fusion, etc...

My current machine is a late 2007 MBP 15" with 4GB RAM, and I'm using Fusion to run WinXP and it really works fine. No problems at all. I run SQL server and Visual Studio and Office and a few other database maintenance programs, and I've never had issues. On the mac side, I have all my movies, music and photos, and run Photoshop/Illustrator, etc... 2GB RAM devoted to each side.

I don't do graphics-intensive stuff, nor do I game.

I just got a 2011 MBP 15" 8GB RAM, and plan to do the same thing, using Fusion to run Win7 -- and now I'll have 4GB RAM for each side. (Just installing stuff on it now, so I haven't put it through its paces yet.)

I haven't tried Bootcamp, because I want to be able to run both OS's at the same time. And so far, Fusion seems to work flawlessly.

balamw
Apr 6, 2011, 11:30 AM
I've often wondered why use Bootcamp instead of Fusion, etc...

Only when you need native performance levels, as for the things you say you don't do. Gaming. CAD. Engineering software....

Since Parallels and Fusion both can boot your Boot Camp install, it's not mutually exclusive. If you install Boot Camp because you need it, even occasionally, you can still use Windows in a VM when you don't need full speed.

B

terzinator
Apr 6, 2011, 01:21 PM
Cool. I'll have to check out a bootcamp tutorial and get the skinny...

So once Bootcamp is installed, you just choose which OS (or virtual machine) to boot from?

h1r0ll3r
Apr 8, 2011, 09:36 AM
To be honest, I've tried both and wouldn't recommend Parallels or any virtualization unless you're a light user of Windows because it eats up a lot of system resources trying to run both operating systems side-by-side. Bootcamp works much better, and in my case I only ever have use for one operating system at a time. Of course, sometimes it's absolutely required but in those cases I would recommend having 8GBs of RAM (4 would work but not optimally IMO).

Agreed. I HAD to install Parallels specifically because my company uses MS CRM and it ONLY works in IE :confused: I originally had a boot camp install however once we switched to CRM, I had to have both running at the same time since logging in and out of boot camp wasn't a option for me. I have 8GB in my machine and Parallels is pretty sluggish still.

Cool. I'll have to check out a bootcamp tutorial and get the skinny...

So once Bootcamp is installed, you just choose which OS (or virtual machine) to boot from?

Google Bootpicker and install on your laptop. Then you'll be able to pick which OS you want to use when your laptop starts up.

VTMac
Apr 8, 2011, 11:46 AM
Agreed. I HAD to install Parallels specifically because my company uses MS CRM and it ONLY works in IE :confused: I originally had a boot camp install however once we switched to CRM, I had to have both running at the same time since logging in and out of boot camp wasn't a option for me. I have 8GB in my machine and Parallels is pretty sluggish still. .

You guys saying Parallels/Fusion are "sluggish" are doing something extraordinarily wrong. Unless you are doing something disk IO or Graphics intensive both Parallels and Fusion will provide performance that is about 95% of native speed. This covers pretty much all desktop productivity type applications.

I have an old MBP core duo with only 2 GB of ram and Fusion flies on that box. The key to all virtualization is proper configuration. Every machine I've encountered where an end user says it's "slow" has turned out to be grossly misconfigured. The two most common mistakes are:

1) Using "dual cpu" or "dual core" settings. NEVER EVER EVER do this on a dual core CPU. It will basically guarantee that neither the OSX side nor the Windows side will work well. They will spend all their time fighting over the CPUs.

2) Allocation of WAY WAY WAY too much RAM to the virtual machine. The less RAM you can allocate, the better performance you will get. I know it's sounds counterintuitive but here is what happens. Windows is running "on top" of OSX. That means it ultimately relies on OSX for all disk IOs, network calls, graphics calls etc. Basically everything except simple CPU calculations. Because of this, any memory you allocate to Windows is less memory OSX has to do work on behalf of Windows. Most XP users will get great performance with as little as 512MB of ram for basic office productivity (Outlook, Word, Excel). (I've got some users that only use IE that run XP on 384MB and it flat flies.) The best way to get the right amount is to start a little high, say 1GB, work with that for awhile, then back it down 128MB at a time until you see a reduction in performance. The last setting before that reduction in performance is the correct setting for your workload.

If you care about wiz bang UI eye candy than Aero, then yes, just stick with Bootcamp. If you are a gamer, stick with boot camp. If you are running database applications, stick with bootcamp.

But most office workers do none of that.

balamw
Apr 8, 2011, 11:52 AM
2) Allocation of WAY WAY WAY too much RAM to the virtual machine. The less RAM you can allocate, the better performance you will get. I know it's sounds counterintuitive but here is what happens. Windows is running "on top" of OSX. That means it ultimately relies on OSX for all disk IOs, network calls, graphics calls etc. Basically everything except simple CPU calculations. Because of this, any memory you allocate to Windows is less memory OSX has to do work on behalf of Windows. Most XP users will get great performance with as little as 512MB of ram for basic office productivity (Outlook, Word, Excel).

There's a sweet spot in a shared resource. You can't starve the VM client of RAM and you can't starve the VM host either. Once either starts to page out to the HDD performance will degrade.

It's generally better to add physical RAM and let the VM have more than enough RAM than it is to try and eke out every 128 KB. That's why, for W7 VMs, I recommend having 4 GB of physical RAM and allocating 2 GB to the VM. If you are happy with that performance, you can dial it back, but not until you give it room to breathe.

B