Boot Camp vs Parallels vs VMware Fusion Benchmarks

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    MacTech performed an exhaustive set of benchmarks comparing Parallels, VMWare Fusion and Boot Camp to run Windows on a Mac. To tackle this problem, MacTech undertook a huge benchmarking project starting in September. The goal was to see how Boot Camp, VMware Fusion, and Parallels performed on different levels of Mac hardware, covering both Windows XP and Vista, and comparing that to a baseline PC running Windows.
    Doing such an exhaustive comparison resulted in 19 configurations tested with over 2500 tests to be completed. They tested 3 different broad scenarios: one step tests, multi-step tasks between Mac OS X and Windows, and quantitiative benchmarks on a MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro and a Fujitsu Lifebook A6025.

    One Step Tests: In XP, Parallels is 17% faster than VMWare Fusion on XP and 1% faster than Boot Camp. In Vista, VMware Fusion ran 46% slower than Boot Camp, and Parallels ran 44% slower than VMware Fusion.
    Multi Step (Cross platform) Tasks: Parallels was 6x faster than VMWare on XP, and 5.2x faster on Vista.

    A number of application specific benchmarks were also undertaken using Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Internet Explorer and more. These results are detailed in their article along with relevant graphs.

    Their final conclusion, however, sums up the results as follows:... both VMware Fusion and Parallels performed well, and were a good user experience. That said, Parallels was somewhat faster in general than VMware Fusion for XP. If you want the best virtualization performance for Vista, then VMware Fusion is your choice. Of course, if you are not interested in coexistance with Mac OS X, naturally, Boot Camp is your best option.

    Note: both Parallels and VMware Fusion have been updated since these benchmarks were performed. Since VMware has multi-core support, the author speculates that specific multi-core tasks may perform better on VMware than Parallels, but these scenarios were not tested. In the tests they did perform, however, they saw no speed advantage from VMware's multicore support. That being said these earlier Crave benchmarks suggest that the VMware multicore support is a substantial advantage when performing their multimedia multitasking test.

    Article Link: Boot Camp vs Parallels vs VMware Fusion Benchmarks
  2. macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Definitely worth knowing these benchmarks.

    Good work Parallels.
  3. macrumors regular

    May 30, 2002
    i suppose as a comparison of the 3 mac products it makes sense, but i don't understand a benchmark of a 1.86 machine when the Apple machines are substantially faster. calling any of the apple solutions faster than windows seem inappropriate unless the benchmark machine is the same speed--or at least much closer to it. and testing a desktop against a laptop? why not benchmark a desktop win machine?
  4. macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2007
    I originally thought that I had made a mistake when buying parallels as VMware was a lot cheaper. Guess i did make the right decision.
  5. macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2005
    Fairfax, VA
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2005
    Salt Lake City
    The article says this was done in September. And from the article it states:

    "We tested VMware Fusion 1.0 (51348)"

    Since then, VMware Fusion 1.1 has been released and I've noticed a huge speed increase.

    I used Parallels at one point (before version 3.0 came out) and it wasn't something I was happy with. I never used version 3.0, so maybe the user experience is better now.

    But having put VMware Fusion through my own paces, XP, Fedora 7 and Vista are all very fast on my 2gb MBP 15" CD. Having Windows for the few things I need it for, available at just a few clicks, is nice.

    I'd like to see them go through the same benchmarks and tests with the latest version of Fusion. I bet the results will be a lot better when compared to Parallels.
  7. macrumors 68020

    Feb 22, 2006
    the only key thing they left out was gaming i think thats another key thing people will wanna look at too :confused:
  8. macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2007
    Wait... faster than Boot Camp?
  9. macrumors 68040


    Nov 13, 2003
    Yeah i noticed doesn't make sense.
  10. macrumors 68000


    Aug 11, 2003
    This is really good to know. Both virtualization products have their strong points, but since I only use XP Pro and I have absolutely no plans of "upgrading" (I use that term very loosely) to Vista, Parallels is definitely the way to go for me then at least anyway.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2005

    >In XP, Parallels is 17% faster than VMWare Fusion on XP and 1% faster than >Boot Camp. In Vista, VMware Fusion ran 46% slower than Boot Camp, and >Parallels ran 44% slower than VMware Fusion.

    Ohmy! can someone do the math for me? Who wrote this? Thanks for making us all think very hard.
  12. macrumors 65816

    Jan 20, 2003
    I wanted really bad to like Parallels, but it has a serious bug that prohibited me from purchasing it. I had to unplug my external hard drive every time I wanted to start up Parallels. I tried beta versions, stable, etc. All gave this error and would not boot until I unmounted my drives.

    That was a showstopper and drove me to Fusion, which I admit is slower (even the latest version).

    Oh well. Easier than having to reboot into BootCamp every time.
  13. macrumors newbie


    Jan 17, 2007
    I've been using Fusion since i bought my macbook last month and i am quite pleased with the performance so far. I am sticking to what I have.. no need for a change.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2007
    the 13 colonies
    All I kept hearing was that VM Fusion was faster than Parallels as well as more stable...:confused:

    I am a prospective post-MWSF Mac owner, and I was sure I was getting Fusion..but this casts it into doubt.

    Do people recommend starting using Vista after SP1? I don't want to "downgrade" by buying XP which will probably within a year start to really become obsolete and then have to "upgrade" to Vista all over again....
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2007
    So, on average:

    Under Vista "...Parallels runs 44% slower than VMware Fusion."
    i.e. Parallels time = (1+0.44) * Vista VMware Fusion time
    But later in the article "VMware Fusion is 44% faster than Vista under Parallels"
    i.e. VMware Fusion time = (1-0.44) * Parallels time
    or rearranged: Parallels time = 1.79 * Vista VMware Fusion time

    I'm too lazy to look in the actual spreadsheet to find out what the sloppy writer actually meant.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2006
    Parallels was a rip off from v2 to v3.
    v2 is like crap compared to VMWare and awfully slow in my experience.
    We did not upgrade to v3 and switched to VMWare.
    1.1 is good. I bet VMWare will catch up with the speed, if Parallels is faster now.
  17. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    So they compared an old Version of VMware to Parallels and found that a few months ago Paralles was faster. I wonder which is faster if you compare the current version of each? I think the new version of Fusion s better. Also VMWare is multi-platform if you need that.

    There are other solution they did not test. "wine", I imagine would be the best if it worked for the programs you need to run. And what about QEMU read more about Wine at
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2005
    Salt Lake City
    VMware Fusion has a 30 day trial. I spent most of that pushing the limits of what I was doing (mostly MS Access, Visio and a few other Windows programs) and was quite pleased with having that month before making the purchase.
  19. macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    Horse puckeys. I own the latest versions of both Parallels and Fusion and can say without a doubt that Fusion is faster and more efficient than Parallels when used with XP. Maybe if you only use Fusion with one core (Parallels is limited to a single core) then it's slower, but with the option to use both cores enabled it's not even close. Plus the amount of CPU Fusion uses when idle is significantly lower than Parallels.
  20. macrumors 65816


    Aug 4, 2007
    definitely would have helped. I'm about to get a MBP after MacWorld SanFran, and gaming is quite an important thing for me :)

    I'll stick with bootcamp hehe.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2005
    Salt Lake City
    Form the article:

    "VMware Fusion is designed from the ground up to be separated from the host OS. Some have called this "sand boxed". It has the benefit of keeping things very clean, and intuitive ... but most importantly secure. You have to make real efforts for one OS to affect the other."

    I understand what they are saying, but reading this from an interactive perspective could be misleading.

    Fusion has a feature called Unity, which allows you to run Windows programs alongside the OS X, even placing them in the dock. Once you get the hang of how this works, it's nice to be able to run a single program you need, it sits there right next to Entourage and Safari and allows both to run pretty seamless.

    I know Parallels has a similar feature, but having tried both, Fusion still wins out for me.

    I understand the functionality they are doing in their testing, showing how certain file formats interact with the various programs under OS X or Windows, but to me, it's seems they are leaving a few stones unturned.

    I know these tests and benchmarks are meant to show how the various solutions work, but in this day and age of quickly updated software, results can seem outdated in a matter of months.
  22. macrumors 68000

    Sep 25, 2004
    I agree.. VM Fusion is much, much faster than Parallels. I own both.. have deleted Parallels since I purchased Fusion.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2006
    The high desert, USA

  24. macrumors regular

    May 30, 2002
    What I'd REALLY like to see is a way for my "hardware" not to change when I switch from Parallels to Bootcamp or vice versa. I've already had to call Microsoft once due to "too many activations" and I'm getting really sick of it.

    And lets talk about what really matters: which allows you to run WoW the best? Native OS X, native under bootcamp, or *shudder* virtualized?

  25. macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    So with updates to both programs (not Boot Camp) are these results useless? Or would they be a marker?

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