Experiences: Parallels vs Fusion on rMB

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by twynne, May 11, 2015.

  1. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    Hi all,

    I've searched the forum and found various posts mentioning Parallels and Fusion, but none that specifically addresses my query. There was one discussion (on another topic) that briefly discussed this and suggested that Fusion may perform better than Parallels on the new rMB.

    Now that many have their hands on the new machine, I'm wondering if anyone has any useful/relevant experience with both Parallels and Fusion. Which performs better? Which has less impact on battery?

    I'm currently a Parallels user, but I'm considering giving Fusion a try as it can also be used on multiple machines without purchasing additional licenses. If it also performs better and has a lower impact on battery consumption that's a bonus.

    Any feedback much appreciated. :)

  2. melb00m macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    I have used both in the past, and they pretty much perform exactly the same. No wonder, because whether virtualization works well or lousy pretty much only depends on the underlying hardware support for virtualization. The rMB does have hardware support, of course, all CPUs that came out in the last couple years do.

    Grab the one that you can get cheaper.
  3. elithrar macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2007
    Fusion is nice if you use dev tools like Docker Machine or Vagrant. Parallels support is often underdone.

    Otherwise there's little functional difference for day to day tasks.
  4. iRun26.2 macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2010
    I've heard that Fusion is more efficient (using less power than Parallels)
  5. Mattymoocow macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2010
    comes down to personal preference.
    I used to use Fusion and then tried Parallels, which i now prefer.
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Historically in speed tests Parallels outperformed Fusion, though the latter has closed the gap in recent years. Be aware that if you update your OS every year, after the second update you'll need to buy a new version of Parallels. E.g. Parallels 8 supported Mountain Lion and Mavericks. Parallels 9 supports Mavericks and Yosemite. Parallels 10 supports Yosemite and likely whatever comes next.
  7. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Most efficient use of resources is had by using BootCamp.
  8. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    Good observation. Crossover (a friendly Wine user interface) has to be upgraded at every OSX major update, and that's why I stopped using it.
  9. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    That only applies to graphics performance in Windows which is just about the only thing Parallels is aiming at. VMware is aiming at a solid virtualisation product that is able to run a multitude of operating systems. If you run anything other than Windows you're probably going to be better off with Fusion and even Virtualbox. They have much better support for those operating systems.

    They also have similar upgrading. At the moment you can use the product on 2 OS X versions so they'll last you about 2 years. After that upgrading is necessary with Parallels, Fusion might still run.

    Nowadays it simply comes down to personal preference and whether you're using non-Windows systems or not that will decide to go Parallels or Fusion. Do try them out and stick with the one you like best.
  10. matt2053 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2012
    Your biggest problem is going to be finding people who have both.

    Most people buy one or the other. Few people can make an honest comparison between the two.

    Ars Technica used to do yearly reviews comparing the latest version of each (along with virtualbox), but sadly they are now two years behind.
  11. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Good riddance if you ask me. The only thing they did was compare the new features Parallels announced to the new features VMware announced, heavily biased towards Windows. Later on they dared test Linux for a bit. It never was a proper review where they looked at the entire application. User experiences on this forum are a much much better comparison. There are actually people here able to compare both of the products unbiased. People who know how it runs with Windows or Linux or something else for example.
  12. Significant1 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2014
    My experience is that, while windows in parallels runs very well, it uses a lot more host os cpu, especially in background and therefor result in worse batterilife. That, and the way Parallels do business with upgrade and ads, made me after many years switch to Fusion. I decision I am very happy with, though my need for windows, has since diminished, due to job change.
  13. facrat macrumors member

    May 15, 2015
    My experience with the current versions of both with Windows 10 preview with same settings on 1.1GHz rMB from same ISO (2GB RAM, 2 CPU, 60GB, both running full screen):

    1. Fusion runs like a complete dog. Achingly slow to install, laggy to use for even simple tasks like resizing windows, and CPU use even when idling is excessive. A battery killer.

    2. Parallels installs quickly, runs smoothly with minimal lag, and the VM idles at 1/2% CPU. Pretty similar performance to the same on an i5 rMBP for productivity tasks, tbh.

    I'm also not too impressed by the updgrade fees for Parallels, and the fact that it's only a single license rather than for 3 machines like Fusion. But Parallels has come a long way with its performance optimizations in the latest versions.
  14. matt2053 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2012
    I disagree completely. Here's the last Ars comparison, from Parallels Desktop 9 and VMWare Fusion 6: http://arstechnica.com/information-...wdown-parallels-desktop-9-vs-vmware-fusion-6/

    That's far more that just a feature comparison. That's plenty of depth for this type of analysis. Virtualizing Windows, Mac, and Linux are all covered.

    Seriously, how many people do you think have used both Parallels 10 and VMWare 7? Most people who have used both will have used one generation from one platform, and another generation from the other platform.
  15. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    I have not tried the latest Fusion but I can say that Parallels 10 works really well so far on my 1.2/512 macBook. I have a Windows 10 Preview VM, a Chrome OS VM, an Ubuntu 14.04 VM and a Windows 7 SP1 64bit VM and all of them run really well for what I do with them--mostly just testing and playing with the various features to try them out and for reference when my customers call with issues. But CPU temp stays pretty reasonable and battery time, while worse, isn't that bad--maybe a 25% hit, but that's really just a guess. So far I am happy with it. I agree that the licensing & upgrade fees are a bit high, but it does seem to work well for what I need with little hassle. And that makes the cost okay for me.
  16. crucius macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2010
    Exactly my case. Parallels is running windows 10 pretty nicely while I couldn't eve make VMWare install it.
  17. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    One thing I recently came up against was that Parallels is a strictly old-school licence -- one copy on one machine and you're done. You can't install it on your rMB and use it separately from your desktop (even though obviously you are only using one copy at a time). Parallels is out for me for that reason (as my rMB is a portable machine only, not my main machine, and I'm not paying for two lots of new upgrades every two years). Gone back to VirtualBox on the rMB, which is working nicely for what I need it to do.

    I'm not sure what the licensing deal is with Fusion. Is it more like other Apple Store apps, where you can install on five machines or whatever, or at least on more than one machine to use non-simultaneously?
  18. Significant1 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2014
    Vmware is for 3 machines:
    Don't put to much into the other bulletpoints, they are not exactly neutral. (Also Parallels is now version 10)

    That said. When I used Parallels, I restored my iMac installation from timemachine onto my Macbook Pro and was able to use Parallels on two machines without problems.

    Until Windows 10 is out of beta, I don't put much value into people's experience running it.
  19. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Virtualbox is free, and it is suprisingly decent. It doesn't have the same performance as vmware or parallels, but it is more than sufficient for MS Office and other simple tasks. I encourage you to give it a try first before using a paid option. Also, each of the paid options have 30 day free trials.
  20. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Which exactly proves my point. The reviewer clearly states that he is not going through them from scratch and will only compare them where the new features overlap. It's the second paragraph below the test hardware list. There are some other reviews out there that are more in-depth and actually show what the software can do. Also, just about all of the reviews say something like: you need stability, get VMware; you need performance in Windows, especially graphics performance, get Parallels; since both come with trial versions do try them both out and use the one you like best; both have a similar feature set, the devil is in the details; and so on. A proper review doesn't favour one over the other because with the current versions it is simply impossible.

    Since the general advice is to try them all out and stick with the one you like best I'd say that a lot of people have tried them both out and tested them to a certain extend.

    Since Windows 10 is still in beta this changes with each new build that comes out. In this particular case Microsoft released a new build somewhere last year/beginning this year that didn't cause problems with installations in a vm. There have also been builds that caused some display issues which later builds have resolved. Until Windows 10 is released one should expect these kind of issues.
  21. legioxi macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2013
    I can only say that Fusion works great for me. I chose it because I can connect to my ESXi servers with it. Not because I've used Parallels and find Fusion better (I have only used Parallels to setup a Windows VM for my mom on her iMac).

    I'm able to run 4-5 VMs without an issue in Fusion. 90% of the time they are Linux VMs with 512MB-1GB of RAM and always 1 vCPU. However I was running 3 Windows VMs, each with 2GB RAM and 1 vCPU earlier today to test out my custom Vagrant boxes. They worked well, though Mission control lag was pretty high the rest of the computer was running OK.
  22. lite426 macrumors regular

    May 24, 2013
    Parallels ran Windows 10 great, but darn, the icons are so darn ugly that I would be unwilling to use it just for that alone.
  23. porterusaf macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2009
    Anyone else here tried running visual studio in a vm? (I know it's a resource hog) Just curious of the results.
  24. delfo macrumors newbie


    Aug 3, 2015
    Hi, i have installed both Fusion and Parallels (latest version) on my machine (15" rMBPRO late 2013) and i'm using it for developing software with Win 10 + VS 2015 (RTM versions).
    On Parallels all runs like a charm , the installation doesn't need any trick for Win 10 and VS 2015.
    In VmWare you need to do some workaround to get the Hyper-v emulator up and running and this is so annoying !!!
    The battery life is shorter in Parallels but if you develop with VS2015 i'll suggest this product.
    Hope this help.
  25. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Just be aware that if you are upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 in Parallels 10, do so from the direct link to the download on Microsoft's website, rather than from the Windows Upgrade App that shows up in the toolbar. That will throw out an error message that the Parallel's display driver is incompatible with Windows 10. However, in reality, it works fine.

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