Is Parallels the best?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by iCollegeGirl, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. iCollegeGirl macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2009
    I'm making the jump from a lifetime PC user to a MBP and couldn't be more excited! I have a few questions so thanks in advance for your input.

    I am a college student and really need OneNote, so therefore I need Office for Windows. I don't want to do Bootcamp. (I prefer having both Mac and Windows running at the same time because it seems like using Bootcamp all the time would almost defeat the purpose...) What do you recommend? Parallels, or any other software?

    Is the Parallels student version for $40 the same as the full-blown version for $80 (just a student discount)?

    Do I need 4gb instead of the standard 2gb? (I've read that on here.)

    Will Parallels (or other similar program) cause the computer to run slowly?

    Finally (whew! :p) do I need antivirus software for Windows if I will strictly limit myself to using Office?

    Thank you so much! I'm SO EXCITED! :D
  2. LoganT macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    Personally, I think VMWare Fusion is the best. You don't need 4 GBs of RAM, but RAM is cheap (I'm talking 40 dollars for 4 GBs). Also if you want you can install Windows using Boot Camp and VMWare Fusion will be able to use your Boot Camp drive. You would do this if you wanted to use Boot Camp to run games or something, but wanted to use VMWare for applications like Office. And no you really don't need virus protection, but Little Snitch might be good, but not necessary.
  3. rwilliams macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    Parallels has worked very well for me, although I have to say that their support for Ubuntu has been abysmal (specifically, the installation of Parallels Tools). But for running Windows, I have no complaints whatsoever.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Actually I think VMware Fusion is the best.
    Great performance, stable environment (parallels produced BSODs and Kernel Panics for me)
    Great support.

    I also like (when I boot into Ubuntu) Virtual Box, its free and the current version may be better on OSX. I tried using the older version but the performance was sub par. It may not be a viable alternative especially since its free :)
  5. EmperorDarius macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2009
    I think that Crossover would be more suitable as it runs Office perfectly and doesn't need additional RAM to run the whole OS.
  6. Buzz Bumble Guest

    Oct 19, 2008
    New Zealand
    No it doesn't. Or at least the version of Crossover we tried not too long ago didn't run Office "perfectly". It had all sorts of weird problems running an Access database that did work perfectly on a real Windows PC.

    We had to switch to Parallels Desktop to get the database working properly. Parallels seems to be fine (we haven't tried VMWare, so can't say which is best), although it refuses to work with the secutiry software of the USB Flash drive.
  7. TYancy macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2009
    I prefer VMWare Fusion as well. In addition to being able to switch between Windows and Mac, you can also work in unity mode, in which Windows apps appear in the OSX dock and Windows apps operate within the Mac environment.

    A note of caution about running Windows on Mac. You will obviously need to be just as concerned about Windows viruses as if you were running Windows on a PC. VMWare comes with a free one year subscription to McAfee antivirus, which is a nice bonus. I would exercise some caution, however, if you were thinking about buying a competing product or with the top end, all-inclusive version of McAfee, and for the following reason:

    If the program you choose is not exclusively targeted at virus protection and it also includes hardware diagnostic and repair tools, it will assume that you are using a real PC hardware and not a Mac. Running such a repair tool can trash your Windows system, requiring a reinstallation. Stick with antivirus apps from McAfee, Symantec or another high-profile companies and avoid Windows harware diagnostic tools.
  8. tekio macrumors regular

    May 31, 2009
  9. erikistired macrumors 6502


    Apr 21, 2006
    i bought parallels, and if i did it over again i'd get vmware fusion this time. i would at least get avg or avast free antivirus for windows, you can still get a virus there and either of those work fine. memory is cheap, 4gbs will make sure both os x and your VM have plenty of memory.
  10. TwoSpot macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2009
    New Jersey
    +1 on VMWare Fusion. Parallels works well too. I prefer VMWare because they have been in the VM business for a longtime. I was using VMWare on the PC in the late 90's when Windows 2000 came out. Network Sniffers at that time would not run in 2000, only Windows 98. VMWare was the solution. Setup a win98 VM and run the sniffer in that.

    As everyone else said, RAM is cheap, bump it to 4GB. If you can't, you'll still get by ok.

    Lastly, definitely get Virus protection for the Windows VM. You can still get them. Congrats on the switch. I switched in 2007 and love it. I still use PC's too. Windows 7 is a big improvement.
  11. radesousa macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2006
    I'm using Boot Camp but for those using those virtual OS software, is there a noticeable slowdown? I understand the software divides the CPU by half, i.e., each OS using half of the CPU's core.
  12. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No it doesn't and in fact VMware allows you to access both cpus. To OSX, vmware (and parallels for that matter) are just applications running and to that end, they receive a portion of the cpu just like any other application. The application can be made more multi-core aware and leverage both cpus if need be, but the bottom line is that its an application to OSX.

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