Parallels or VM Fusion 5 or ?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ApplNat, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. ApplNat macrumors member


    May 18, 2013
    Hi All,

    I'm going to be picking up a new MBA today, my first Mac in nearly 20 yrs. I already know I want to run Windows (either 7 or 8 I haven't decided which yet) as a virtual service. I know the 2 main software tools to accomplish this is Parallels and VM Fusion 5.

    Do y'all have any feelings about one versus the other? I've not used either before. My use of Windows is so I can run some programs and open documents as needed, along with my use of OSX. I don't do software dev, I don't do any coding, I'm a basic Windows end user/power user.


    Parallels or VM Fusion 5? (yes I already know Fusion 5 costs less).
  2. fenderbass146 macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    Northwest Indiana
    From what I have heard but may be dates parrellels is the better performer, however I overall like the user experience with VMware fusion better. And on a lighter note I hate the parallels icon in my dock
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
  4. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
  5. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Parallels is generally a little bit ahead on graphics performance, so better for gaming, but if you really care about gaming you use Boot Camp anyway.

    I prefer VM Ware Fusion. Parallels is a good product, but I had a very bad experience with a version upgrade and their tech support. As long as everything is running as expected, there is really very little to choose between the two. I find that I have more trust and confidence in VM Ware.

    You might also try virtualbox, which is a free open source alternative. If you go commercial, my vote is VM Ware./
  6. SDDave2007 macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2007
    I am running Win7 under VirtualBox on a 2006 MacPro.... while it seems to run just fine.... it is running at 1/2 the speed (according to GeekBench) that OSX runs on the same box.

    Win7/VirtualBox got a score around 2100+
    OSX native got 5400+

    But it has one BIG advantage... it is FREE
  7. ApplNat thread starter macrumors member


    May 18, 2013
    Right now I'm trying out VMWare Fusion 5. There's a bad screen flicker though and the only work-around I've found right now is to put the mouse in an "always gaming" mode, which makes the mouse slow, and run Win 7 64 in "single window" mode. Running it in unity bring on the flicker. Others have reported a screen flicker as well. Hope this can be resolved. Otherwise the software works well.
  8. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Every article I've read comparing the two say that Parallels is faster. I've tried both and can agree that Parallels felt a bit faster. However, I did not like the way Parallels tries to integrate Windows in to Mac OS X. For example, right-clicking on a text file, I am presented with "Open with" options for Windows apps. I want to sandbox Windows from Mac OS X as much as possible!! Trying to turn this off was extremely difficult and caused problems with in Mac OS X for me. Then, I tried to delete Parallels and it made my Boot Camp partition to BSOD. It ended up being a nightmare of an experience.

    With vmWare Fusion, I did not have any of those problems. Turning off the features that try to integrate Windows in to Mac OS X is just the matter of a few clicks. It has not caused any instabilities in my Boot Camp partition. I am more than willing to sacrifice the slight speed advantage that Parallels offered for the stability of Fusion.

    I have read many good things about the freeware app Virtual Box, but it does not work with Boot Camp partitions so I never tried it.

    * Note: My experience with Parallels is from several years ago and they may have corrected these issues. I have no idea. I am scared to ever try it again.
  9. mdgolom macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2006
    Depending on what you're going to do with Windows, you might want to consider Sun's VirtualBox since it's free. I've used it on Mac and Windows without any problems. It was powerful enough for me to build a SQL Server clustered environment.
  10. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    I've been running Fusion 5 since its release on a 2012 MBA. I use it all day for work and have never noticed a flicker in Unity Mode.

    My MBA has 8GB RAM and I've allocated 2GB to the VM. I've allocated a singe virtual CPU. The two 'advanced' checkboxes on the memory& cpu settings page are unchecked. 3D Acceleration is turned on under Displays.

    Believe it or not, a single virtual core will usually perform better than multiple, as you reduce resource contention.

    Running Win7 Pro, 32 bit

    Make sure you have up to date VMWare Tools installed on the virtual machine.
  11. ApplNat thread starter macrumors member


    May 18, 2013
    It's setup exactly as VMWare suggests and yes, VMWare tools is freshly loaded. The flickering is apparently a known issue occurring as others have reported it on their new 2013 MBAs too. Maybe something with the new chip or graphics or whoknowswhat. I'm running Win 7 Pro 64 bit.
  12. onekerato macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    VMWare Fusion 5 - for the simple reason that a licence allows you to install on all your machines whereas a Parallels licence is restricted to one Mac only.

    I've never had any problems with VMWare. It may be slower than Parallels for raw gaming performance - the folks at MacTech do detailed reviews every year. But for non-gaming needs, VMWare Fusion does absolutely great.

    Haven't tried Virtualbox - unfortunately a Windows licence is too precious to experiment with.

    And would definitely recommend Windows 7 over 8. I feel an OS should disappear into the background and let you work, not try to grab your attention all it can.


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