Parallels 7: Bootcamp or Virtual Drive?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by NMF, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    Hey all. I'm going to purchase Parallels 7 soon and I was wondering which method gives the best performance: boot camp or virtual drive?

    I currently have no bootcamp partition, so it makes no difference to me which route to take. I just want to do whatever gives the best performance. I might try to play some games in Parallels, we'll see.

    Obviously the bootcamp method is nice in case I ever actually want to boot into Windows (that would still be possible, right?) but I doubt I'd do that very much. I don't have an SSD and I'm impatient. :eek:

    I've read that it was better to use virtual drive with previous versions of Parallels, but I couldn't find any info on Parallels 7.

    Please advise! Thanks. :D
  2. NMF thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
  3. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2011
    If performance is your biggest concern, then you need to go the Boot Camp route. I've tried all of the major virtual machines and I've tried Boot Camp. Virtual machines are convenient because you don't have to reboot every time you want to use Windows. However, they are typically slow and hog memory (RAM). Boot Camp is less convenient because you have to reboot every time you want to use Windows. However, the performance is much greater than that of a virtual machine. In Boot Camp you are running the operating system by itself with no virtualization. If you have any interest in gaming, then Boot Camp is a must.
  4. NMF thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    I guess I'm not being clear enough. I'm not asking whether I should use actual bootcamp. I'm not willing to use bootcamp, period.

    I'm asking whether I should use the bootcamp partition with Parallels or create a new virtual machine with Parallels. Either way I'm using Parallels. I just want to know what the best way to use Parallels is.

    Basically, does loading from bootcamp partition give better performance than creating a new virtual machine? No? What's the preferred method for installing then? I can't find this information anywhere.
  5. MacAttack85 macrumors newbie


    Mar 11, 2009
    Gold Coast

    I use both, same environment. Importing Bootcamp into parallels is easy.

    If I am doing something RAM and CPU intensive I will use Win7 with Bootcamp.

    Need to do something quickly, I will use parallels.
  6. MJL, Dec 10, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011

    MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    I cannot for the life of me understand why someone would buy Parallels, full stop.

    I just spend a total of a week in time spread out over a month trying to get it to work with a vanilla Lion install and a vanilla Parallels install and a vanilla Windows 7 Professionals install and kept on having crashes and errors. Lets not even talk about the mouse not tracking in Vista (both Business and Ultimate) and even the good old XP standby would not run without errors. Even tried Windwows 7 Home. I do not know whats up with those guys; if I buy software then the least I expect that it runs without errors on a plain clean install (both OS X and guest where guest is at least recent like Windows 7. I can forgive things like Windows 2000, Win 98 or ME....)

    Support is totally clueless and nothing got elevated to some more technical person.

    In the end I got VMware fusion and it ran out of the box with both vanilla stuff and highly customised installs (both OS X and Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Vista Ultimate, XP Professional) without any errors what so ever. To top it off - I orginally installed Windows 7 as only the only OS on the internal drive under MBR. This gives for Windows two partitions: the 100 Mb system reserved and the actual Windows 7 partition. I then did a restore of OS X on the rest of the internal HDD (so it is actually running on a MBR partitioned HDD rather than GUID) and VMware happily saw the Windows 7 partition as a bootcamp install and used it. (and Parallels could not even see it....)

    I have been in the IT industry for a long time and personally I would not even dare to handout Parallels for free as a beta version.
  7. SithTracy macrumors newbie


    Apr 1, 2011
    S.E. Wisconsin
    I picked up Parallels 7 from Amazon a week or two ago when it when on special for a hair over $30 US. Works fine for my few needs. Instead of installing the CD-ROM release, I went straight to the site and downloaded the latest release. So far, so good, though I am certain VMWare fusion will perform admirably as well. I've got 8GB on my MBP and don't think I would bother virtual-izing anything with any less RAM than that. I basically use Windows for Photodex ProShow Producer and it runs slower than a windows desktop, sure, but fine when I am not near a desktop PC workstation. That said, take it with a grain of salt as I have only been toying with it for a few days... and a few hours here and there. YMMV. Personally, I don't think it is worth the retail price of $79.99 (or the upgrade price of $49.99 for that matter). If it was not basically the $30, I would have stuck with BootCamp.

    I can see advantages of having a Windows environment accessible for some casual use and running some applications. A friend of mine swears by VMWare Fusion on his MBP, but Parallels is not bad at all. Not that impressed with Coherence mode. Suspect that is a Windows only mode; at some point I will need an Ubuntu VM and I suspect it will not work with that mode. I do expect that Linux flavor to perform better than Windows in virtual space though.

    If your a PC gamer, stick with BootCamp though... Don't bother with visualization.
  8. greythorne macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2008
    Performance wise i don't think it makes a difference. However you may want to consult Parallels documentation.

    I had used bootcamp with Vmware and didn't noticed any performance.

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