Questions about Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion

Geek 2.0

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 28, 2007
I'm going to buy myself a iMac (FINALLY!) when Leopard comes out in October. I'm a gamer, and I want to know if I should go with Boot Camp or one of the two softwares. But I have some questions...

1. Since offers Parallels for a very cheap price if you buy a mac, then I want to know this... If I get Parallels, can I boot into Windows XP still or do I have to use Parallels? And also, can you put Windows applications on your dock like you can in VMWare Fusion? And can it run easily in the background? (I read somewhere in the forums that Fusion takes very little CPU, whereas Parallels takes up a lot of CPU and RAM)

2. I know it isn't the best idea to play games in one of the softwares, but if I do, how well do they run? I like to play Guild Wars, Battlefield 2142 and 1942, and some simple games like Age of Empires, and I want to know if it would be logical to play them while running Fusion or Parallels. I read that Parallels can run DirectX 9, whereas Fusion can only run DirectX 8.1, and BF2142 requires DirectX 9. Will VMWare fix that soon, or will it be a while?

3. Can I run both VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop? At, it only cost about $5 to get Parallels with your Mac. But if I want VMWare Fusion later, do I have to uninstall Parallels? And again I ask, can I run XP even if those 2 are installed?

NOTE: The iMac I'm buying is going to have 1GB of RAM when I buy it, but I'm upgrading to 2GB in December. It's going to be the 20" with 2.4 GHz, and the normal 256MB graphics and the 320GB HD.

I tried searching for these answers, but couldn't find them. Please give your opinion if you run one of these!


macrumors regular
Jun 7, 2007
1. To boot into windows, you will need to have installed windows via boot camp. Both parallels and vmware fusion will recognize the boot camp partition and can virtualize it. Thus, your best bet is to install windows via boot camp; you can then boot into windows when you want, or virtualize in osx when you want (with either parallels or vmware fusion)

2. Running games in virtualization will be very slow. Best bet is to boot into windows and play games there. Not logical to play the games you listed under virtualization.

3. I think you can have both programs installed, but not quite sure. Someone else may be better suited to answer that. My guess is that if you have a boot camp partition, then both programs will recognize it. However, if you don't, and you virtualize with both programs, then you'll have two separate image files.


macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2002
Houston Texas USA
For gaming Boot Camp is the only viable option. Virtualization carries too much of a performance penalty to be useful for any games more demanding than Solitaire.

Both VMware and Parallels have been experimenting with very limited 3d support, which purports to change this dynamic somewhat, but it's not something you'd want to rely on now and will probably never satisfy any but the most casual gamers even if implemented perfectly.

You can have both VMware and Parallels installed on a machine at the same time. No problem with that.


macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2001
1. Parallels won't prevent you from also using Boot Camp to run Windows XP. In fact, it can use the Boot Camp partition, eliminating the need for more than one Windows XP installation for Boot Camp and Parallels. Yes, you can put Windows applications in the dock with Parallels. Running it in the background is not a problem, I do it all the time. And there is an update coming very soon (probably within a week) that should reduce the idle CPU usage from ~30% to ~8%, which is about the same as the idle CPU VMWare Fusion uses. You can also get the beta before the update comes out if you want.

2. Both Parallels and Fusion are very limited in the games that they can run at the moment. Parallels is definitely making progress, but their DirectX support is still far from perfect (and DirectX 9 really isn't supported yet). There should still be some more significant free updates for Parallels to improve 3D support yet, so even if your games don't work now, there is a good chance they will work in future. VMWare won't say what they plan on doing, so there is no guarantee that there will be any free updates that improvement their 3D support.

3. You can install both if you want, although it might not be such a great idea to run them both at the same time. Also 1 GB of memory really isn't enough, so be sure to get that 2 GB upgrade ASAP.