OS X Parallels 9 vs. Fusion 6

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by StelFoog, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. StelFoog macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013
    Hi, I'm quite the gamer and I can get most of my gaming needs un-needed(?) on my Mac. But there's a few games that I love playing (Just Cause 2, BattleBlock Theater and Skyrim among others) that can't be played on Mac so I have to use Boot Camp which becomes anoying when I want to play one game (like Civ V) that I play on my Mac one day and a Windows only game another day.

    I would like to know witch one performs best in gaming overall, I don't care about things like the dictionary i parallels because I'll use my Mac for everything but Windows only gaming.

  2. glutenenvy macrumors regular


    Sep 6, 2011
    Your best gaming option is boot camp. Full access to the hardware is the best option for graphic and processor intensive games.

    I believe parallels and fusion both have demos, which you should check out for your particular games. People like both.

    I've used both parallels and fusion. Fusion I've have literally used 99.99% more than parallels and I still have had less emulator related crashes with Fusion.
  3. StelFoog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013
    Thanks, but I know that very well, I'm just wondering which is best of the bad. Also, Parallels 10, does anyone know if there's any gaming improvments?
  4. Washac macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    I used to run Bootcamp but stopped I found it a complete pain in the, well you know, so I setup Parallels 9 by way of having it all in the same place, although I do run it on another bootable drive just incase.

    I also only need it for games, and so far it has run most everything I have thrown at it, It runs Skyrim OK, but I do find Skyrim runs better in a wine wrapper anyway.

    Also using Parallels you can just do your normal back up with whatever you use, goodbye to super sloooowwwwww Winclone, also you can just use ClamXav for virus checking, no more crazy windows virus checkers. As I say I only play games under it, no browsing, no mail, just games so windows viri should not get downloaded anyway.

    Not looked into Parallels 10 as yet.

    I tried running Fusion but me being me could not even get it to run, no idea why.
  5. hiddenmarkov macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2014
    I can't do a parallels vs. fusion. I jsut used parallels from day 1.

    If not a max FPS and max pretty gamer kind of person parallels has worked well enough for me. I lower some features at times. Not a deal breaker for me, I did this even when on a windows box. game depending all the nice small details can be craknked down if not really needed. Whizzing the view around on a FPS I don't miss seeing the dimples on the surface of a model as an example.

    Would bootcamp be better, yes. I game with stuff in background mac side. So game parallels then game windowed mode very common for me to bounce around easier.

    Have not tried skyrim but have run some later fallouts from bethesda and they run decent. I would say maybe a bit buggy sometimes....but they run like that on pure windows boxes. After community fix it mods applied only things got better (just like on windows). your FPS will take a dip though, fallout:NV (which is close to skyrim imo based on windows play) can get sluggish when busy. Not too bad but you will notice it most likely.

    Only catch I know of with some games (bethesda especially) is if you like to use console (only way I know to get FPS on screen...and well if a mission bugged console reset usually a fix with bethesda games) you have to set a specifc keyboard for the VM to use the ~ key.

    Parallels will by default (on a US system anyway) go to US Keyboard (parallels) in the windows vm. ~ will not work in game. You have to change it to vanilla US english (assuming US anyway, not sure of other regions issues uf any).
  6. vigilant macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    i use a lot of VM software day to day. If you want to game just do Bootcamp. You won't get what you want at all with VM's.

    VM's abstract out generic pools of resources away from the Mac it's running, and give them to Windows while you are using it. This is a very very broad explanation of it.

    So for example, if you use a MacBook Pro Retina 13, you have an Intel Iris processor. It's probably DirectX 11 compatible, and can do an adequate job of running games on your Mac when booted directly into Bootcamp/Windows. VMware or Parallels will use a well created but less then ideal generic video driver. You won't get the closer to metal performance you'd get with with a straight install of Windows.

    Theres many other instances of things similar that you'll face. If you have a powerful Mac you will probably get better results but it will always be less then just booting into Windows for things like gaming.

    On the other hand, for productivity work, VM's are the best way to handle compatibility.

    I have both the newest versions of VMware, and Parallels. VMware does a truly excellent job of virtualizing Windows. If you want something that works a bit tighter into your day to day work flow though, Parallels is the way to go. i can give many many reasons why, but Parallels all the way.

    Parallels before version 9 was incredibly unreliable, and unstable. But Parallels 9 is incredibly stable, and useful and just plain faster on modern hardware. i expect VMware will close the gap soon though.
  7. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    Neither. They both suck.

    Use Bootcamp. You will not enjoy playing games under Fusion or Parallel. They may run, but only barely, and they won't be enjoyably playable.

  8. Washac macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    Sorry, but I have to disagree that they barely run, steam Skyrim runs fine, Witcher when I played it ran fine, and the games I play are enjoyable and playable, I think specs of the base machine come into this.

    The real answer for the OP is try Parallels you get a trial time with it, and if it does not perform as you would like then remove it.
  9. Rian Gray macrumors regular

    Rian Gray

    Jul 13, 2011
    NJ, United States
    I would recommend Parallels. It's available somewhere along with the app bundle, a decent price of ~$20 coming with at least 4 other apps. I actually ended up getting 3 different Parallels serial keys. :)

    At any rate, I think Parallels became a lot more solid and stable compared to couple of years back. In my experience, Parallels provided almost always faster VM environment. It was always its instability that brought me back to Fusion. Since Parallels 9 or 10, I think Fusion is now relatively unstable.

    I'm sure both of them have 14 days trial periods, why don't you give them a shot? I had some of my colleagues who couldn't make a move to Parallels because some of softwares were simply not working on Linux. Didn't ask any further, but it still matters whether your needs are fulfilled or not.
  10. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    Okay, so go check out the differences between Portal 2 running inside a VM, and Portal 2 running under Bootcamp. There are tons of issues where shaders are degraded to boost performance under the VM, but run at full quality under Bootcamp.

    The short version is that it doesn't matter what you configure the settings inside your game to on a VM, because the emulated graphics card only supports a small subset of what your actual GPU supports on the Mac side. Tons and tons of effects are simply "lost in translation", even if you have the game set to ultra/extreme on the VM. You won't notice this until you compare it to the Bootcamp version running natively (or the Mac native version of that game, if it exists).

    Either way, you are subjecting yourself to a substandard experience by running games inside a VM. It's ok for older titles (+5 years old), but for anything newer you won't be getting the full experience.

  11. itsamacthing macrumors 6502a

    Sep 26, 2011
    I would never install Parallels on my system again:
    1. Parallels installs an a kernel extension that I find causes instability
    2. They are greedy about upgrades, I bought it and within 3 months they upgraded and I got no free upgrade.
    3. VMWARE is the market leader in virtualization

    On the other hand, VMWARE causes networking issues with SMB.

    I don't like either. I run a Windows 8.1 virtual machine that on my Hyper-V host that I use. But before I had that, I used to have a Mini supped up with memory and SSD running headless as my go to Windows Remote Desktop.
  12. TheBeverage macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2014
    Really? Nevermind Skyrim, I can't even get Oblivion to run properly in a Wine wrapper, though it gets close. Skyrim was at about 15fps on all low settings.
  13. Washac macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    I should have followed that up with compared to running it under Parallels.
  14. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    I've been using Parallels with a Windows XP SP3 install for 2 years now with no problems. I have not seen issues with instability or crashing at all. It's been perfectly fine. I've stuck with Parallels 8 because if you examine performance data, the upgrade to version 9 was not significant and the cost not justified for an upgrade. For now, it is fine but I will look into version 10 at some point coming up to see if there is a substantial performance boost or not that will perceptibly improve the gaming experience which is all I use it for.

    I do tend to prefer Wine (using Wineskin) for Windows games on my iMac over a virtual machine although for some older ones where performance isn't a consideration sometimes I opt for Parallels simply because it is less work. Yes, I am that lazy. ;-)

    I have found Parallels works quite well but of course there are tradeoffs to be made in settings due to the performance hit you will always take when running in a virtual machine. For older games this is irrelevant but for newer ones it can be significant depending on the game which is where ideally, Wine comes in.

    Considering the variety of games I can play between native OS X releases, Windows games with Wine or Parallels and oldies with Boxer, I am not up for reboots. That said, I respect that the tradeoffs are an individual call but I do think people who prefer bootcamp sometimes do tend to overstate the tradeoffs as if bootcamp is the only real option and everything else sucks beyond belief. That really is just not true. But everyone needs to try these options for themselves to make their own choice they can be happy with is what it comes down to. Letting other people tell you what you are okay with or how you should play isn't the way to go in my humble opinion.

    Last but not least, it is very important to note that no solution short of a bootcamp Windows install is going to provide you with 100% compatibility. Wine works with many games but it also does not work well or even at all with many games. Parallels I've found offers improved compatibility over Wine at times but at the cost of performance typically. Not all games are going to work with Parallels either. A lot will but not everything. So, hopefully this info and that provided by others here will help you to make your own best choice.

    I agree very much with the earlier suggestion to install Parallels and try it out. It costs you nothing to do this and you can see for yourself how your games work with it.
  15. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    For the games you play. Considering the operating system you're virtualizing, you're not getting the full benefit of what the game and your hardware have to offer. That's fine if it works for you, but don't forget that XP is dead and buried once and for all. You can count on zero to next-to-zero support in the future, at least as far as games are concerned.
  16. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    I don't need support for XP. It just runs DX9 games and that's fine. I didn't bother to mention it but I do also have a Win7 virtual machine setup as well which will ultimately replace the XP one.

    I already mentioned the idea of tradeoffs and it being a subjective call. I'm well aware that for newer titles I am making some concessions. I'm fine with that. For older titles, I am making no concessions at all and I do have plenty of those to play as well.
  17. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I have both. It isn't a question of which VM product is better for me, it is an issue with Microsoft and their insane activation process that makes moving Windows a real pain.

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