Parallels vs. Fusion (11.6")

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Rezox, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Rezox macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2010
    I have the 11.6" model and was wondering if I would realize better performance from Parallels or VMWare Fusion. Every ounce of performance matters so I want to make the right buy the first time. I have been using Fusion on my iMac and it runs well, but the new Parallels Desktop 6 has some cool new features with the iPhone and iPad integration; they also claim better performance over VMWare.

    I would like to know if anyone has tested Parallels on the 11.6 and VMWare and if so, what are the results?

    Secondly, is it better to boot a VM off of the Bootcamp partition or straight VM for performance?

    Thanks :)
  2. JimKirk macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2009
    Parallels kills deep sleep

    Your deep sleep will be hosed. You'll lose 8% every night in standby.
  3. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    I've used both and now strictly using Parallels. Parallels 6 smokes Fusion 3.0 in performance. You better have 4GB of ram or you'll choke your Mac.
  4. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    I have the latest versions of both Fusion and Parallels on my MB and Parallels uses less resources than Fusion and performs far better so it's a win win as virtual machines go.

    I hope you got the 1.6/4gb/128gb version of the MBA though as any VM will tax a MBAs resources.

    You might see better performance using bootcamp but rebooting into each OS is no fun and in another thread I read that Apple may not be distributing the bootcamp drivers for older windows versions but I do not know if that's true.
  5. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    ^ Agreed totally. I've found some anomalies with Parallels and trying to run Visual Studio but otherwise I think Parallels is better. It just seems more stable.

    I have found that Fusion seems to offer better bells and whistles when it comes to drivers, however. Parallels doesn't offer as many up-to-date versions choosing rather to stick with older, stable drivers.
  6. PreetinderBajwa macrumors regular

    May 30, 2009
    Not Biased yet

    I have Parallels 6 on my MBP 17" and Fusion 3.1 on the Maxed out MBA 11.6". My personal observation is that Fusion 3.1 is less of a resource hog knowing its running on and ULV MBA with 4GB RAM.

    My Paralells 6 installation is a resource hog despite having 8GB RAM on my MBP.

    But then its just my observation not scientific testing.

    oh BTW I got the Fusion 3 for $ 9.99 as I had an old Parallels 5 serial and Fusion 3.1 were offering a special price if you migrate to Fusion. Otherwise I might have had to buy another parallels 6!
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've used both and while parallels is faster, its also buggier and produced a Kernel Panics. Their support is also rather poor. I prefer VMware, they have a rock solid product, the updates don't create more problems and generally speaking I'm very satisfied.

    Which one you choose is really a matter of choice, parallels, is faster and if you play games or need better directx implementation, then yeah go with that. VMware is a good choice given its stability.
  8. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I've used both Parallels and Fusion (and have the latest versions of both). Up until Parallels 5, I gave the nod to Fusion, but Parallels 5 ran Windows faster. That's still the case under Parallels 6, but I think it is less stable.

    The advantage of using a Boot Camp partition as a virtual machine is that you have the option of booting into Windows natively for maximum performance. The disadvantage is that you lose the ability to suspend/hibernate your virtual machine (since doing so would cause conflicts if you tried to boot into Boot Camp when your VM is in suspense). If you don't plan to use Boot Camp, then just install it as a VM. Note that only Windows 7 can be installed on a Boot Camp partition in the new Airs.

    Also, I would recommend the 4GB model. If that's what you have, give Windows 1.75GB and see how that works.
  9. Altered3 macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2010
    In my experience, Fusion is less of a resource hog and more stable than Parallels, should give you better battery life. However, if you plan on 3D gaming in Windows, Parallels is dramatically superior. I'd say if you mainly plan on doing MS Office and the like, Fusion would work best, and you might be able to get one of those cheap $10 upgrade offers mentioned above.
  10. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    I'm not sure if this translates to any actual product advantages, but VMWare also makes virtual machine software that is used on some of the servers in the telecom environment. As such, it has to be absolutely stable as some of the functions it supports are mission critical. So I'm not surprised when I see the comments stating that VMWare is pretty stable. I use it and consider it to be a great product.

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