Parallels or VMWare...

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by gangst, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. gangst macrumors 6502a

    Dec 27, 2004

    Just been doing some quick research into which is better as I need to buy one or the other to run some Windows software on my mac...nothing fancy just some C+ stuff.

    I don't play PC games so anything I use will be web based or essential software.

    From the reviews I;ve read about half favour Parallels and about half favour VMWare...

    I'm inclined to go with VMWare, but want to know what the killer features are of each and why one is better. I'm new to virtualization so was hoping one of the more knowledgeable members could point me in the right direction.

    Many thanks,

  2. cryingrobot macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2008
    Ive been using Parallels for a few years on a couple different machines and the word flaky comes to mind when trying to describe the software. I have never used VM so I cant comment. Also, keep in mind that there is a third option (virtual box I think is the name) that is free and seems to have its fair share of fans among the begrudging virtualization users.

    I have upgraded all the way from the early 3.0 to the current 4.0. The software is expensive and its one license per machine so keep that in mind. Also, I recall they also charged me an upgrade charge for a later version of 3.0 that just fixed things that were broken in the earlier version.

    Its flaky because installations and behavior of the software seem to vary for no apparent reason. I was unable to install the 4.0 upgrade for some reason and the forums suggested I keep trying. Although it seems insane I kept trying the same install a couple of times more and for some reason it just stuck at one point and installed. I also installed on my Macbook and that went much more smoothly. That being said, I think the 4.0 version is actually worse in terms of performance from the last 3.0 version and the only reason I havent reverted back is that I simply do not know how the software will behave on a reinstall since it is so flaky.

    There are a number of option in Parallels for CPU usage, Ram, Video memory etc. but honestly these seem like placebo buttons. Having played around with these, there are only two modes you can set: working and not.

    Fortunately, the flakiness seems to be limited to options such as parallel tools and installations. Once you get it up, and running, it pretty much runs like a slow PC with a terrible graphics card...but stable. I basically only use it for MS office and it performs fine.

    The only other reason I would care about virtualization is gaming but forget any 3d gaming for now. Even the games that work are going to run so slow that its not worthwhile playing.
  3. cryingrobot macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2008
    Just one more thing

    This is one of those places (and there are lots) in the tech industry where the need is obvious. If someone were to create a virtualization solution that actually worked properly they would make a fortune.

    Maybe its not a software answer. Maybe the answer is a hardware card that you can plug into a PCI port that lets you open up a windows box and access all of the hardware on the Mac.
  4. jlpoore89 macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2009
    Beaumont, Texas
    They offer free trials of both of them. It is still good to get some advice from people, but your best choice is to try them both and see which one YOU like best.

    VMWare Fusion Trial
    Parallels for Mac 4.0 Trial

    P.S.- You do have to create user accounts with both companies to use their trials because they email you the trial product key.

    I personally prefer VMWare as I have had no problems at all with it. And I have used both VMWare and Parallels and VM seems much more stable.
  5. jywv8 macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2003
    I've tried both. I prefer VMWare Fusion by a mile. For me, Parallels was so slow to the point of being unusable. Windows XP on Fusion runs faster than it does on my old Dell laptop.

    I use Fusion to run Visual Studio and Code Warrior (to compile Windows versions of our applications) and the usual browsers (for cross-platform testing).

    I have zero complaints. I am very impressed with Fusion and would recommend it to anyone.
  6. dkeninitz macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2003
    Germantown, MD
    I haven't tried Parallels, but have been using Fusion for about 8 months and am very impressed. I initially chose Fusion over Parallels based on fairly extensive research, including some fairly comprehensive mag reviews comparing the two. Frankly, I was expecting virtualization to be a nightmare, or at least flaky, but have had the opposite experience. VMware has worked flawlessly for me.
  7. Maxpilot macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2009
    I write Windows applications with Visual Studio C++ on my MacBook Pro using VMWare and Windows XP. Works like a champ.
  8. Nordichund macrumors 6502

    Aug 21, 2007
    Oslo, Norway
    I am so fed up with Parallels that I am going to reinstall Boot Camp and reinstall Windows. Everything. Sometimes Parallels just seems to have a mind of its own. Also I have NEVER been able to update Parallels on both my machines. Actually, I have started to hate Parallels as much as I hate Windows.
  9. Rodus macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2008
    Midlands, UK
    Before you pay for either try Suns free Virtual Box, and see if it meets your needs.
  10. G4scott macrumors 68020


    Jan 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I second this.

    My MBP arrives later today, but I installed Virtual Box and had Vista (UGH!) up and running on my Windows 7 box in about as long as it takes to install Vista.

    If it doesn't suit your needs, the most you've wasted is a bit of your time, as it's open source.
  11. ymarker macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2009
    There has been speculation in the past (further fueled by screen caps from the closed beta) that vmware will be introducing aero in their newest incarnation.

    Personally, I'd like to see in the newer VM coming out:
    1) Aero working w/o using bootcamp. Yes I like eye candy.
    2) Grand central dispatch - better use of my two cores when running VM.
    3) Greater use of opencl. Surely the 9400m can make better use of this, even more so in a VM env.
    4) Lower cpu usage when Idle.
    5) Better memory mgmt. When your VM re-starts reclaim the inactive memory first rather than taking a block at a time and having to rely on paging out / hdd. This really has to improve.

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