Fusion vs Parallels in Sierra. what is the best bet

roadkill401

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Original poster
Jan 11, 2015
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I have had my mac for 1.5 years now and been stuck on the fence between which one to buy. Both are on sale right now and I saw from another thread that both seem to work with the pre-release beta of Sierra that went out to the devs.

I can't afford to keep buying different software, so I'd rather get it right the first time and have a software that works. I have had VERY bad luck with Yosemite and El Capitan, so I hope that if I upgrade to Sierra, I can have an OS that works reliably on my 2014 iMac 5k and not need to upgrade again.

Any help of why one is better that the other from people who use it would be appreciated.
 
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andeify

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Jun 10, 2012
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I used Parallels for 3 years and switched to VMware Fusion about a year ago after Parallels introduced multiple ugly icons for every virtual machine running. Fusion is just as good as Parallels, is cheaper and looks nicer too (in my opinion).
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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I have been a long-time VMware supporter. But they laid off their entire US Fusion Development team in January. So I don't think I would bet on that horse anymore.
Agreed, I'm done with Fusion, jerk move on their part.
[doublepost=1466073710][/doublepost]
Also, don't forget that we can use the free and open source https://www.virtualbox.org. It may not have the same performance, but is good enough.
That's come a long way and I'm impressed with it.
 

wombat94

macrumors member
Oct 15, 2010
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I have been a long-time VMware supporter. But they laid off their entire US Fusion Development team in January. So I don't think I would bet on that horse anymore.
I'm not totally disagreeing with you, but I think it is important to note that they laid off their entire DESKTOP VM development team - Fusion and VMWare Workstation. It wasn't a matter of them abandoning Mac.

The fact is that the desktop virtualization market is tiny compared to the corporate infrastructure/server virtualization market.

We'll see what happens with Sierra and Fusion, but for now, I still prefer it to Parallels or Virtual Box and I have used all three pretty extensively.
 

haravikk

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2005
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I vote WINE.

It's not for everyone, but if something you want to run will run on WINE, it may actually run better than under virtualisation. For games you can now use PlayOnMac to get access to a bunch of simplified wizards that others have created with working configurations, so that cuts down on the effort as well, while non-game applications tend to work fairly well (since they have less graphical requirements to stumble over).


When that doesn't work though then I currently use VMWare Fusion, but like others I'm concerned that it no longer has a future with the development team laid off. My biggest issue is that I setup a proper UEFI Windows installation (GUID partitioning only, none of the MBR tricks Bootcamp uses), however while VMWare Fusion works just fine with this, Parallels never has and still doesn't in the latest version.

I haven't tried VirtualBox in a while though, so perhaps it's time to give it another chance.
 

dBeats

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Jun 21, 2011
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I've been a parallels user for 5 years. Whenever I had an issue someone from engineering contacted me. They have always been great and I've never had a problem that wasn't resolved. It's kind of neat to see your fix in the update notes once in a while knowing they took the time to understand your problem and fix it. The code these days is basically rock solid.
 

rockyromero

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2015
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We'll see what happens with Sierra and Fusion, but for now, I still prefer it to Parallels or Virtual Box and I have used all three pretty extensively.
I've only used Fusion.

Hopefully, Fusion works the same with Sierra, otherwise I'll stay with what I have.

VMware is big enough to make the necessary modifications.

 

Gjwilly

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May 1, 2011
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I have been a long-time VMware supporter. But they laid off their entire US Fusion Development team in January. So I don't think I would bet on that horse anymore.
There've been one or two Fusion updates since the layoffs though so it doesn't look like they've abandoned it completely.
 
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haravikk

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May 1, 2005
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So I tried both Parallels and VirtualBox again; Parallels continues its tradition of not working with a non-Bootcamp Windows partition (I installed Windows first to ensure it runs without any trickery from Bootcamp) so that seems to be out.

VirtualBox meanwhile isn't really an option either as it's raw-disk support is incapable of privilege escalation (asking for an admin password) which means it can't access disks at all. The old way around this was to change the permissions of /dev/disk0 or whatever you needed access to, but this of course doesn't work anymore due to System Integrity Protection, so disabling it is the only way to make this work until VirtualBox is changed to ask for root access like VMWare Fusion does.

Shame :(
 

hfg

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Dec 1, 2006
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I have been using VMware Fusion on several machines (cMacPro, iMac, MacMini) for years now, and it is working great for me. I have it linked to my bootable installations of Windows 10 on both internal "bootcamp" SSD and external SSD drives containing Windows. The current release seems to handle the dual-activation effectively without having to call Microsoft to get both access methods activated.
 

rockyromero

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Jul 11, 2015
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I have been using VMware Fusion on several machines (cMacPro, iMac, MacMini) for years now, and it is working great for me. I have it linked to my bootable installations of Windows 10 on both internal "bootcamp" SSD and external SSD drives containing Windows. The current release seems to handle the dual-activation effectively without having to call Microsoft to get both access methods activated.
How many partitions are you running on the MP?

 

hfg

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Dec 1, 2006
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Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
How many partitions are you running on the MP?

My cMacPro has a 1TB SSD (Apple PCIe) for OS X, and another 512GB SSD for Windows 10 (on a Velocity DUO card) plus 3 hard disks in the normal disk-trays. No partitions on the SSD disks.

The iMacs have a similar configuration with a single large SSD internally and a 512 GB Windows SSD in an external Thunderbolt enclosure.

The Mac Minis have a partitioned SSD with Windows and OS X sharing the 512GB SSD. On one there is a separate hard disk for media libraries, and on the other one the OS X portion of the SSD is joined with the hard disk in a Fusion configuration.

I recall Windows used to have a 4-partition limit on a single disk (including the OS X hidden partitions) ... but I don't know if that is still an issue with the current release of Windows 10.
 
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rockyromero

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Jul 11, 2015
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I recall Windows used to have a 4-partition limit on a single disk (including the OS X hidden partitions) ... but I don't know if that is still an issue with the current release of Windows 10.
Is this mean four W10 partitions on a single license?

 

hfg

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Dec 1, 2006
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Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
Is this mean four W10 partitions on a single license?

No .... it meant that Windows boot wouldn't look past the extra partitions in order to find the executable environment. Since OS X maintains 3 partitions, Windows can be on the 4th, which will run OK. There was also a Windows 2.2 TB limit which precluded installing it on large OS X partitioned drives.

As I have said, I am not a Windows expert by any means, so this may have been resolved in the current release environment of Windows. I just haven't cared enough to study it further as my installation runs as-is for the few things I run under Windows.
 

Absrnd

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Apr 15, 2010
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Flatland
Just a heads up that Parallels always has a big fix to work on the latest Mac OS, and that is you have to buy the upgrade :)
otherwise you won't get the full function in Sierra.

Their trick is to have every body buy the latest version with discount, and you still have to buy the upgrade and makes is more expensive.

Parallels has the most paid upgrades I know of, I have stopped using it.
 
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twistofmatt

macrumors member
Aug 17, 2013
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No .... it meant that Windows boot wouldn't look past the extra partitions in order to find the executable environment. Since OS X maintains 3 partitions, Windows can be on the 4th, which will run OK. There was also a Windows 2.2 TB limit which precluded installing it on large OS X partitioned drives.

As I have said, I am not a Windows expert by any means, so this may have been resolved in the current release environment of Windows. I just haven't cared enough to study it further as my installation runs as-is for the few things I run under Windows.
The 2 TB limit was a limitation of MBR formatting. If you use GPT it will see larger drives.
 

hfg

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Dec 1, 2006
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Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
The 2 TB limit was a limitation of MBR formatting. If you use GPT it will see larger drives.
That's good to know ... thanks.

Is there still an issue with >4 partitions with GPT?

Does that mean users here with the 3TB Fusion drive can more easily install Windows with BootCamp? (i.e. not having to put it in the middle of their hard drive)
 

twistofmatt

macrumors member
Aug 17, 2013
44
6
That's good to know ... thanks.

Is there still an issue with >4 partitions with GPT?

Does that mean users here with the 3TB Fusion drive can more easily install Windows with BootCamp? (i.e. not having to put it in the middle of their hard drive)
From what I understand, GPT can see up to 128 partitions.
 

IHelpId10t5

macrumors 6502
Nov 28, 2014
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Also, don't forget that we can use the free and open source https://www.virtualbox.org. It may not have the same performance, but is good enough.
I second VirtualBox. Not only is it free but its simplicity is a positive.

With Parallels, I used to find myself spending unreasonable amounts of time disabling all of the troublesome Mac/Win integration features. In my opinion a VM should behave as an independent machine with NO integration or cooperation with the host OS. This is just common sense security.
 

Marshall73

macrumors 68000
Apr 20, 2015
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I had parallels for a few years but it wasn't reliable enough so I'm on VMware Pro now, it's super stable and let's me talk to our clients rigs.
 
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