Parallels or VMware?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by majordude, Sep 14, 2007.


Which do you use for Windows?

  1. Parallels

    15 vote(s)
  2. VMware Fusion

    28 vote(s)
  3. Boot Camp (by itself)

    4 vote(s)
  4. Boot Camp with Parallels

    13 vote(s)
  5. Boot Camp with VMWare Fusion

    22 vote(s)
  1. majordude macrumors 68020


    Apr 28, 2007
    Which performs better for you, Parallels or VMware? Do you use Boot Camp?
  2. majordude thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 28, 2007
    Do you run the Boot Camp partition in VMware or a separate XP inside of VMware?
  3. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    bootcamp partition from within vmware. no separate file.
  4. brkirch macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2001
    Parallels actually performs slightly better for me, and the Windows UI seems slightly more responsive in Parallels than in Fusion.

    Comparison of Parallels Desktop 3.0 and VMWare Fusion*

    Both have:
    -Fast CPU virtualization
    -A feature for Windows OS integration
    -CPU usage of ~5-10% when idle
    -Shared folders in Windows
    -Mouse synchronization
    -$80 retail price
    -Boot Camp support
    -USB 2.0 support
    -Limited DirectX 8.1 support
    -Online support forums
    -A free fully functional trial available

    -dual core support
    -64-bit guest OS support
    -compatibility with other VMWare products
    -better support
    -very few updates, in fact none yet since 1.0 (this is bad because if you start having a serious problem because of a bug in Fusion, you are stuck waiting for the next update)
    -very few features (many features that are in Workstation are missing, and the feature set does not match up to Parallels)
    -no guarantee of any new features without a paid upgrade
    -no information about if certain features will be added, and when to expect them to be added
    -slow graphics, even with experimental 3D acceleration

    -Faster graphics (2D and 3D)
    -More configurable
    -More features (SmartSelect, mount Windows disks on desktop when the VM is running or when it is off, OpenGL support, etc.)
    -Frequent feature updates
    -Some idea of the future roadmap is given (Parallels says that future updates to Parallels 3 will add Aero support in Vista, dual core support)
    -Updates are so frequent that bugs are often introduced (which you may or may not encounter or notice)
    -Poor phone/email support

    Overall I don't recommend Fusion because the usability for the average user is actually worse despite VMWare's attempt to make the interface simple. For integration between OS X and Windows that just simply works, Parallels is much better for the average user. On the other hand, if you have a higher computer proficiency level, Parallels provides configuration options and tools for you to do what you want. Fusion may have the configuration options you want hidden away somewhere, but good luck finding them! Even things in Fusion that should be simple (such as adding an existing virtual disk file to a VM) require opening up the VM configuration in a text editor and making the changes manually.

    Some people recommend VMWare Fusion for stability, but the latest version of Parallels Desktop does not appear to have any known stability issues. You really should take advantage of the free trials though and use your experience with the trial versions of Parallels and Fusion to make a decision.

    *Comparisons are based off the latest publicly available versions of Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion as of 9/15/07
  5. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I've tried both Parallels and Fusion with my Bootcamp partition. I usually leave my computer on 24/7 and want my virtual machine to do the same. However, Fusion always crashes after running a few days because it loses it's connection with the Bootcamp partition and the only way get it running again is with a restart. Parallels will just keep running and running.

    Secondly, I mount the virtual machine's drive on my OS X desktop to have access to file that are located there. When I try to play videos, under Fusion, there's noticable stuttering in the video. No such problems with Parallels.

    Although the difference is slight, in my opinion, Parallels feels faster to me.

    My vote goes to Parallels.
  6. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2006
    Berlin, Germany
    Virtual Machine Alternative: VirtualBox

    I just installed VirtualBox from

    I have not done much testing, but the initial feeling is quite good. It does not seem to add much load to the system. Installation was very easy and it does support system snapshots.
    Best of all: it is free :eek: for personal and educational use!!!

    The current version is 1.4.1 beta2 for the Mac, the other releases are already advanced to 1.5

    Maybe somebody with access to VMware and Parallels could do some testing against it.

    Could the poll be extended to include VirtualBox?
  7. ewinemiller macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2001
    west of Philly
    I started using Parallels, then switched to Fusion because of the bugs and the bad performance. Recently I tried Parallels again after the latest speed patch. It's still a pig, still creates a massive file each time you boot, and still suffers from the same annoying bug I reported two versions ago. My vote goes for Fusion.
  8. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have had way better luck with VMWare. Now they have Intel giving them money for R&D.
  9. user13 macrumors regular


    Dec 22, 2006
    I chose Parallels traditionally and it works slightly better for me. I like the GUI and the app overall. I use it mainly for everyday work
  10. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    I like VMWare more, i only use it when i need something fast and it seems to work better for that. If i need some heavy using i will just boot into bootcamp.
  11. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I voted for Parallels but I'm strongly considering switching to VMware. Parallels just feels hacked together to me and has given me a handful of kernel panics. Just not sure how much better VMware will be and if switching the VM will be much of a hassle.
  12. DeadSirius macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2006
    Real simple:

    Demo of Parallels would not work at all. No answers from staff at their forums, but a lot of smartasses instead.

    Demo of Fusion worked immediately, and never failed. It found my Boot Camp partition right away. No support required yet.

    I made the full Fusion purchase this week, $40 including the rebate.
  13. rhproductions macrumors newbie


    Oct 18, 2007

    Im using it right now full screen in one "space" and have leopard on the other. Its great to be able to switch back and forth so easily this way
  14. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    I've used both. I use VMWare because of wider range of OS support. Not much between them otherwise....
  15. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    I'm all about Bootcamp, as I use XP for MS Office 2007 for work.

    I experimented with Parallels on my iMac using the BC partition, but it screwed up somehow and I lost XP totally. So I wasn't going to dare try it on my work computer.

    So I tried VMware - amazing - super fast, easy to setup and use, very stable and no problems. I love Unity, very easy drag and drop stuff which I need.

    My vote is for VMware and Bootcamp. I'm just waiting to see how it goes with Leopard (I have the disc but I haven't installed it yet because I don't know if I'll lose VMware!).

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