Parallels or VMWare Fusion

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by VladM, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. VladM macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2008
    Talking about the most recent versions here. I have Parallels at the moment, and am running a WindowsXP VM in there. Not bad, but I am wondering if VMWare may be better?

    Anyone that's used both that can give some impressions?
  2. sgtbob macrumors regular


    Sep 10, 2008
    I've used Parallel and Fusion and both are good; however, it is a personal preference that I have with Fusion and am quite happy with it running Ubuntu and Windows XP. The only drawback I have with any of the VM software, is that I believe (and others have not been able to verify this) the 'time machine' backs up only the Mac data. So, I have a second external Hard that I backup Windows and Ubuntu data. A bit of a pain, but it eems to work pretty well that way for me.

  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    VMware's advantage is that it runs on Mac, Linux and Windows. IF you have say a Mac and a Linux PC then you can move the virtual machne images between the two computers. Parallels runs only on the Mac.

    Also look at Sun's "Virtual Box". It also runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux but it's a free download from Sun. Can't beat the price.
  4. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    I use Fusion. I've heard Parallels is a bit bloated, but don't know from experience. Fusion always runs fast enough and seems stable - granted, I don't use it exhaustively.
  5. Muzz112 macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2009
    United Kingdom
    I've just uninstalled VMware today, its good until you need to do high graphics programs like solidworks and autoCAD.

    Best possible solution to get windows on a MAC is Bootcamp, much better graphics, a much more stable environment for programs!
  6. slabman macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Plano TX
    Hmmmm...that's interesting. I ran AutoCad on Parallels and finally got soooooo tired of waiting for files to load that I gave it up. Installed VMWare and now AutoCad works like a champ! Faster and less buggy too! I'd never go back to Parallels.:mad:
  7. Lurchdubious macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2008
    I had the last version of Parallels, and now the most recent version of Fusion. VMWare is much, Much better, IMO. Haven't had any problems at all since I made the switch.
  8. MAC-PRO-DEMON macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2008
    Up north in Yorkshire :)
    This is just my version of this debate...

    As I run 2 Mac Pro's.... one with 32GB and the with 16GB I give my Vista Ultimate 64-BIT VM's 2 Virtual Cores, and 8GB RAM and 6GB respectively...

    You can definitely notice the difference in VM-Ware when you start to go to more and more powerful hardware....

    On my MacBook Pro, however I have tried out both and it is normally Parallels that wins in the speed factor... but only by a whisker to the untrained eye....

    I much prefer the unity feature in VM-Ware... even if it uses more ram.. (It can never have enough :D)

    As I never really switch off/suspend the VM's I don't get an idea of boot performance....

    My only concern when running it is that Safari 4 can become really unresponsive sometimes.... and I end up in Chrome on my VM o_O

    That's my idea of it..
  9. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    I've found Parallels to be best, especially in more 3D intensive applications.
  10. Leto-Parallels macrumors member


    Nov 7, 2008
    Hi all,
    If there's anybody curious about comparing what's out there, check out the free trial of Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac. It has the full functionality of the full version, just with 15-day limit.

    As far as info on the software, feel free to ask here or e-mail directly at with questions. The feature page is HERE with all sorts of information.

    Since you're comparing both Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac and VMWare Fusion 2.0, you might want to check out a recent benchmark test which MacTech performed to compare the two side by side.
  11. slabman macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Plano TX
    To those who are running the latest VMWare...Do we know that the newest version 2.0 is NOT buggy? I went down that road with Parallels and have regretted it ever since. Never did get that app to work well.
  12. milk242 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2007
    I find that vmware fusion is easier to use compared the parallels. Also when I install parallels tools for my bootcamp partition it always hangs and never completes while vmware fusion just works. One thing I don't like about vmware fusion is the fact that it creates duplicates of my bootcamp drive.
  13. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Time Machine does back up your virtual machines.

    The thing is, the virtual machines are inside "monolithic" files. One whole virtual machine is inside a file. So each time you made even the tiniest change to your virtual machine (even just booting it up) will make Time Machine back the whole thing up. Yes, tens of gigabytes, the whole thing.

    I just exclude the virtual machines from my Time Machine backups to avoid this. But if you need the virtual machines backed up, then I agree, seeking a different solution is best.
  14. ceezy3000 macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2009
    The Valley!!
    ive had both parallels 4.0 and vmware fusion2 (both current) and i can tell uparallels is much better. vmware used to be much better with performance but parallels caught up and beat it in performance.i recomend parallels. vmware fusion is twice the size of parallels so i dont know how someone said parallels is bl0ated
  15. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Parallels is bloated. VMWare Fusion takes up 400MB of HDD space and Parallels Desktop takes 450MB of HDD space. This info was grabbed from their official websites. In my personal experience, Parallels is like Vista and all of the eye-candy. Fusion is like XP, solid and robust. Parallels was a bit confusing while Fusion just worked easier. Both programs roughly take about the same amount of HDD space, that is 400-500MB. But Fusion has more features and compatibility with Windows, Linux and Mac. If you have a VM in Fusion on Mac, you can copy the VM file to a Linux or Windows running Fusion and run the VM no problems. Parallels is just on Mac, with no Windows or Linux compatibility whatsoever.

    Oh, and Fusion upgrades are FREE (ex. 1.0 to 2.0 versions) while Parallels makes you pay full price for the new versions (3.0 to 4.0 was around $70).
  16. slabman macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Plano TX
    "The thing is, the virtual machines are inside "monolithic" files. One whole virtual machine is inside a file. So each time you made even the tiniest change to your virtual machine (even just booting it up) will make Time Machine back the whole thing up. Yes, tens of gigabytes, the whole thing."

    No wonder my backup drive fills so quickly. :eek: ...500 GB just doesn't do much as far as backups are concerned. Guess I need to change that.
  17. SHIFTLife macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2008
    Exclude the VM file and just take single backups once a week or so.
  18. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I find that VMware is about performance and reliability along with efficiency. Parallels has more to do with frills like eye candy.
  19. Leto-Parallels macrumors member


    Nov 7, 2008
    alphaod, I'm not sure what you mean by eye candy – I guess as the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Have you tried up to date versions of both products? Visually the two applications are comparable, that's why we do invite people to compare them for themselves.

    The difference is that many people, including 3rd party testers, have found that Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac has a solid edge in performance and ease of use. The footprint of Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac is proven to be smaller, dynamically sharing and assigning RAM as your VM needs it, just like the Adaptive Hypervisor shares CPU resources. VMware Fusion 2.0 on the other hand treats RAM like my little brother treats his Halloween candy, hogging the full amount allocated, regardless of whether it's even using it to run Windows or Linux apps.

    As for what SnowLeopard2008 mentioned, Parallels only charges for major upgrades in the software, just like Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac was completely new base code from 3.0, and introduced unique features like the ones I mentioned above. Any build updates released for version 4.0 are totally free, and 3.0 continues to be a supported product as well. Also, any product is only as good as the company standing behind it. Parallels offers free email support (while VMware charges for it except installation support) and we also offer paid phone support (while Vmware doesn’t offer any at all)

    Where cross-platform migration is concerned, Fusion is VMware's Mac virtualization product and doesn't run on Windows or Linux. You might be confusing it with their Workstation product, but that's a business-class software and will run you about $200, and it doesn't run on the Mac.
  20. Malfoy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 1, 2005

    What I think the one person who mentioned cross platform means (and I could be wrong) is that the images of the OSes you make in fusion can be used in VM's products on other OSes. I don't use them on other OSes so I can't say one way or the other.
  21. pjarvi macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2006
    Round Lake, IL
    According to this article:

    Parallels is available for Ubuntu Linux.

    I personally use VMWare Fusion, but mainly because I bought it on sale at Fry's. I'm also setting up a Linux box with VMWare Server, but that's because it is free for personal use. The only advice I could really give would be to think about what apps/games you intend to run in the virtual machine, and check for reviews that cover your particular needs. Both will work perfectly fine for basic apps.
  22. Memorial1 macrumors newbie

    Apr 17, 2009
    "no vote" to Parallels

    I've used Parallels for 1.5 years(just went from 3.0 to 4.0). and I'm about ready to ditch it. I have an iMac, and once Parallels was installed and you're in coherence mode,the cursor would hang and hang and hang. Their remedies(adjust memory allocation plus one other)provide modest improvement but the final outcome is that it just degrades performance(speed) BIGTIME. Parallels support is good if you can reach them on the phone which is RARE. support via email is easier(upon registration on their website). if I had done more homework prior to initial purchase, I would have known about VM Fusion, etc.

    Parallels 4.0 = more cursor hang:(
  23. Saladinos macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    I used to use Parallels, but switched to Fusion, even though Parallels offers better support for the X3100 in my MacBook.

    I didn't like the fact that Parallels messed around with applications to open documents with and installed new virtual network interfaces. IMO, it interfered with OSX too much, and I found the interface to not be quite as pleasant as VMWare.

    I also gave VirtualBox a try, but it is unable to mount a BootCamp partition, so I didn't use it for very long. Now I've removed my BootCamp partition, I may try it again some day if it offers some benefit over VMWare.

    I would like VMWare to be updated, though. They seem to be inactive. I'd like better 3D support with support for the MacBook's X3100, perhaps WDDM drivers for Aero Glass support in Vista/Windows 7. I'd also like VMWare to press Microsoft in to changing its activation mechanism to allow you to boot the same installation of Windows in a virtual machine and natively. Perhaps a protocol that allows Windows to talk to VMWare and determine the characteristics of the native machine, so it can check that it's the same machine that was activated. Of course, this is a potential vector for activation bypassing, but I'm sure VMWare and Microsoft can come up with a secure mechanism.
  24. fishkorp macrumors 68020


    Apr 10, 2006
    Ellicott City, MD
    Inactive? There have been 2 updates to the product in an 8 day span?

    VMware Fusion 2.0.4
    Latest Version: 2.0.4 | 2009/04/10 | Build: 159196

    VMware Fusion 2.0.3
    Version: 2.0.3 | 2009/04/02 | Build: 156731

    VMware Fusion 2.0.2
    Version: 2.0.2 | 2009/02/11 | Build: 147997
  25. jc1350 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    A note about VMWare Fusion's VMs

    Unless they changed it recently, the VMs in Fusion cannot be used with other versions of VMWare.

    I had a trial version of Fusion (I played with v1 and v2 and I don't remember under which version I did this) and copied the VM to a Linux system running VMWare and it wouldn't accept the Fusion-created VM. It said it was from an incompatible version.

    I use Parallels (recently upgraded to v4) as I prefer its coherence mode over Fusion's "unity" mode. The main reason: with Parallels I can have the standard start/task bar at the bottom and it automatically avoids the Dock area. Fusion's Unity doesn't and hides the task bar behind the Dock. I'm finicky in that I don't like moving either to the sides or top. However, I'm finding Parallels 4 to be slower on my system than v3.

    I'm starting to play with VirtualBox now (free is cheaper than $40 upgrades). It too has a "coherence/unity" mode, but it didn't work well with a Linux VM.

Share This Page