iMac Pro - Parallels or VMware Fusion

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by OBirder, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. OBirder macrumors 6502

    OBirder

    Joined:
    May 13, 2015
    #1
    While I used Macbook and iOS devices for quite a while, I just moved as my main machine from a 6 core i7 Windows to iMac Pro (10 core, 64 GB RAM). I couldn't be happier with the switch with the power of the machine and how quiet it is.

    However I have instances where I still need some Windows functionality.

    I don't need it for gaming, but for e.g. some functionality e.g. in MS office which is not available in the Mac version; business software e.g. accounting etc.
    The most CPU intense software is a proprietary encrypt/decrypt engine for large files which we only have a reliable version for Windows platform.

    Having no prior experience and never have used Bootcamp based on research so far, for this I probably don't want to use Bootcamp. Even if the encrypt/decrypt takes a few minutes longer I would assume it could run it in the background without noticeable slowing down my work on the Mac OS side.

    It seems that some of the current iMac Pro owners are using virtual windows setup.

    Any comments regarding performance on the iMac Pro for VMware Fusion or Parallels would be appreciated. Especially the allocation of cores etc. and what your experience is in performance impact of the Mac OS side of things.

    Any recommendation for standard vs. pro version of the software?
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    #2
    I use the Standard VMware Fusion on a 2013 MacBook Pro with 16GB and run a couple of VMs including Windows 10 and Linux Ubuntu with no issues.
    Parallels has its fans also, and both seem to perform well and are comparable
    You won't go wrong with either one, but both have trial versions to check out yourself

    Play around with the settings and see what works for you
    Underpowering and overpowering your VMs will both have a negative affect, so find the sweet spot
    For me it is 2 cores and 4GB RAM but your mileage may vary
     
  3. flimpy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    #3
    I was using parallels for ~7 years and I got sick and tired of the fact that you always have to buy an upgraded version whenever Apple upgrades their MacOS. Is it the same deal with VMware products?
     
  4. wardie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    #4
    +1 to the above. Yes both vendors are quite bad at that. Typically you don’t _have_ t upgrade but the seem to release new versions per OS with a paid upgrade path (not a lot of discount). I used to use Parallels and switched to VMware. I’ve got Windows 10 and XP machines (iMac i7 not the pro). Between the two, I tended to find Parallels more user-oriented to integrating the experience into OSX whereas VMW was a bit more tech focused and better running in isolation. But that’s personal preferences you can try them both out. One thing to bear in mind of course is as it’s a separate virtualised physical machine you’ll need separate licences for S/W including windows etc. Pretty clever stuff all round. I’ve not ran benchmarks to measure the relative performance hit between native and VM but Win10 certainly is pretty snappy. I have boot camp but never use it - so much nicer to be able to switch between the two at flick of a screen left/right command. Hope that helps.
     
  5. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #5
    In the past I mainly used Parallels Desktop. It works very well and I never needed Boot Camp. However starting with version 12.1, Parallels cut RAM support to 8GB and CPU to 4 cores, unless you subscribe to their service. This caused many people to move to VMWare.

    Note this was a free "point update" to current Parallels owners, yet it removed functionality they'd already paid for.

    Discussion and complaints: https://forum.parallels.com/threads/12-1-kills-ram-allocation-8gb-for-non-pro-version.338853/

    There are licensing differences. If you have more than one Mac, you must have a Parallels license for each one. That means if you need more than 8GB or 4 cores in the vm, you must have a separate *subscription* for each Parallels license.

    By contrast the basic VMWare Fusion license has no RAM or CPU core limitations for a vm. A single VMWare Fusion license can be installed on all the Macs you own for personal non-business use.

    Even though I still have Parallels on one Mac, I will probably try VMWare on my iMac Pro. Parallels is a very polished product but I don't want to pay $100 per year just to avoid the limitation they activated in version 12.1. I also have several Macs and I don't want to pay a separate subscription fee for each one.

    If you only need intermittent access to Windows, only have one Mac, and the 8GB and 4 core limitation aren't an issue, the regular non-Pro Parallels Desktop is available for a one-time non-subscription purchase of $79. But if any of those are factors, maybe VMWare Fusion is best.

    They both have free trials.
     
  6. BeatCrazy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #6
    Why not give Oracle’s VirtualBox (free) a try? I’m new to the VM game, and wasn’t in the mood to spend recurring money on a license, as my Windows use is minimal.
     
  7. ThatSandWyrm macrumors regular

    ThatSandWyrm

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2017
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #7
    Worse, they "upgrade" the software without really adding any new features. The #1 complaint/desire for users of both VMs is the lack of DirectX 11 support. They both blame it on OpenGL not supporting compute shaders, but how long has Metal been out now? The truth is that their user base is running mostly office apps, and they don't want to dedicate resources to pleasing gamers and graphics developers.
     
  8. jeyf macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    #8
    vmWare
    one you increase the HDrive size for a virtual machine you can not set it back down
    on macOS host no guest vmWare unity screen mode
     
  9. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

    SecuritySteve

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Location:
    California
    #9
    As a heavy VM user, I tend to find that when it comes to Mac VMs, Parallels takes the cake in terms of performance. I have only run Windows VMs for a very select set of specialized tasks, which are not performance intensive. However the mac VMs that I run are way faster on parallels.

    If you're just looking to run office applications on a Windows VM, I wouldn't worry about one or the other. Both will suit your needs decently. I do believe that Parallels is a bit more user friendly for Windows VMs in coherence mode, but other than that slight difference its a wash.
     
  10. D.T. macrumors G3

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #10
    I have an extra dedicated Windows machine (if I'm inclined to fire it up), and honestly, when I'm in "windows mode", I've got to where I just like to go all in and use Bootcamp (running W10 Pro/64), all my "cross OS" development resources are in DropBox, I use Chrome on both OSs so everything stays in sync, etc.

    All that being said, I _do_ occasionally like to fire up a VM from BC while in MacOS, and I've used Parallels for years, typically upgrade every 2nd or 3rd major release, I'm currently on 10, and it doesn't support virtualizing my Bootcamp install any longer.

    They of course want $49 (haven't seen a $39 offer yet ...), so just like you, I thought this seemed like a good time to re-review VMWare fusion (there's several cheap options to buy), and like mentioned above, I'm a little cranky over the license/feature change by Parallels. I installed it the other day, setup a VM using BC, I need to install the support tools as the VM display is janky, but if it works well, I'm switching.
     
  11. OBirder thread starter macrumors 6502

    OBirder

    Joined:
    May 13, 2015
    #11
    Thanks for the great information. Based on the pricing politics I am inclined to give VMWare Fusion a try.
     
  12. anonymous161 macrumors 6502

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    Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
    #12
    I'm going to throw my hat behind VirtualBox as well. Regardless of price (again, Free!) it has been a flexible and easy to use VM. I've run Ubuntu, Win server 2008 and 2012, and windows 10 pro and all have been fantastic on my 2016 MBP 2ghz with 8gb. You set a drive size when you spin up, but space isn't allocated until it's actually needed.
     
  13. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #13
    I had too many issues with Virtualbox over the years. One time, it corrupted my virtual disk.

    It's always been slower and lacking new features than VMware or Parallels too. I finally gave in and went elsewhere.
     
  14. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    #14
    I use VirtualBox as well as Fusion, but my VirtualBox are just to play with
    Simple enough to set up and spin up a Linux distro for free, but when it comes to my work, I want to rely on Fusion
    If your needs are simple VB can be a reasonable choice, but the more complex the harder it is to rely on it in my experience
     
  15. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #15
    True, I consider it a gamble at best. I was testing a simple standalone database server and a VirtualBox patch corrupted my virtual disk.
     
  16. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #16
    I've used VirtualBox a lot over the last few years and have never had a problem. It's an excellent choice for casual VM usage, IMO. I do have to say that it seems (subjectively) to run Winders quite a bit slower than bare metal or VMware. (I use VBox for linux guests most of the time, and it seems to run them just fine.) Integration with OS/X is also a bit quirky, although it certainly works. When I use VirtualBox, I'm doing DBMS development and have never had an issue. From what I can tell, if your primary VM usage involves transferring back and forth between Windows and OS/X, you should at least give Parallels a chance.
     
  17. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #17
    If gaming via virtualization is your forté, then Parallels. Otherwise, for business, both provide good tools and capabilities.
     
  18. Mr. Zarniwoop macrumors demi-god

    Mr. Zarniwoop

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    #18
    Parallels Desktop is on sale today ($80 new license, $50 upgrade) with lots of other apps bundled.

    https://www.parallels.com/promo-premium-mac-app-bundle/

    Doesn't look like the Pro version though, which is subscription, so if the limits of the Desktop version matter to you (limited to 8 GB vRAM, 4 vCPUs for each VM) then this deal is less attractive.
     
  19. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #19
    I've used both the latest version of Parallels and VMWare Fusion. I think Parallels is a little more polished but they both get the job done. Yesterday I installed a finicky Windows app requiring a device driver for USB-to-serial conversion and it worked fine on VMWare on my iMac Pro.

    For a regular iMac, Parallels is fine. But since this thread is about the iMP, the Parallels thread/memory restriction is more significant. To go beyond 8GB RAM in the Windows VM you'd have to pay Parallels $100 a year.

    If you have multiple Macs, say also a laptop, you have to buy a separate Parallels license for that. With VMWare you can use it on all machines you personally own or control for non-business use. Also on the iMac Pro, VMWare allows assigning whatever # of CPU cores and memory to the VM you wish.
     
  20. Mr. Zarniwoop macrumors demi-god

    Mr. Zarniwoop

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    #20
    Looks like the current bundle is a choice between perpetual license of Parallels Desktop (no upgrades) or 1 year of Pro (including upgrades) for the bundle price.
     
  21. OBirder thread starter macrumors 6502

    OBirder

    Joined:
    May 13, 2015
    #21
    I just wanted to update this thread with my experience. Based on great feedback and considering Parallels licensing policy I started with VMware Fusion.
    Installation went well. I only had a Win 7 Ultimate Upgrade disk which was used as an upgrade to XP at the time. VWware took the key without needing to install a prior version first. I played around with memory and assigning cores. All worked decently well.
    However I had difficulties keeping consistent WiFI internet connections. While the Mac OS side had constant connection, the connection on the VM side was shaky with IP conflicts. No matter what I did, it was running for a short time and then connection lost. So I couldn't get the proprietary encrypt/decrypt engine to work, which does require a overseas VPN authentication connection.

    Next I tried Parallels. Install was smooth as well. However it didn't took my Upgrade Key without first using a prior version. So the install took longer. Once setup the experience was smoother than VMware. The WiFi Internet connection worked without a hiccup. The encrypt/decrypt engine immediately worked. I used the max. 8 GB of RAM and 4 cores. The speed was in the Parallels session just about the same as on my prior 6 core i7 Win 7 (2012) machine. So quite impressed.
    I stayed with the standard version of Parallels and picked up for $59.99 a Parallels perpetual license from Amazon.

    The only thing I dislike with this setup is the Microsoft behavior. I have a Office 365 subscription. Only need PowerPoint on the Windows side since it has some functionality not available on the Mac side (but displays correct on Mac, iPhone, iPad). But you only can install the whole package: Access, Excel, PP, Outlook, Publisher ... - what a waste :-(

    Thanks again for everybody's comments.
     
  22. Booch21 macrumors regular

    Booch21

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    Oct 13, 2010
    #22
    Ditto. I made a minimal Boot Camp setup to stop the madness.
     

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21 February 13, 2018