Virtual Box or Buy Parallels/ Fusion?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MaxMike, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. MaxMike macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2009
    On my new MacBook Pro, I am still at a loss for some Windows only applications (Cisco Packet Tracer, games, etc). I want to try to run Windows on my new machine, but I'd rather not use Boot Camp like I do on my Mac mini, just since I'd rather not restart to switch OSes. I tried Virtual Box on my mini, but I never got all of the drivers on before I uninstalled it, so I didn't get a chance to try it fully. Is the performance at least decent for this MBP with the freeware or is it a much better idea to get Parallels or VMWare Fusion? I'd be loading on Win7 Ultimate 64-bit.
  2. Jaimi macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2009
    Fusion gave me the best performance for games. However, games under VM can sometimes have issues. I recommend to install bootcamp, and then use vmWare fustion to boot the bootcamp partition as a VM. This will give you good performance, but in the case you want to play a game that just doesn't work right or is just a tad bit slow, you can always boot windows natively.
  3. macdroid macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2011
    I really like Virtual Box whenever I am running Windows, but I have yet to make Virtual Box run ok on my new 2011 MBP.
  4. Pballer110 macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2010
    I believe fusion/parallels is much more stable then virtual box. I use Fusion and haven't had any issues.
  5. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Depending on what you are running, my recommendation almost always to go with Parallels or Fusion
  6. saxon48 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2010
    I'm a big fan of Parallels, myself. Runs like a charm, and is very good at handling games.
  7. bcrawfo2 macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2010
    I tried Virtualbox last week on my new MBP 2011 2.2ghz 8 gig ram and had terrible (unusable) performance. I was on a train without internet access and didn't research it.
    Parallels gave me great performance.
    My experience on my OSX86 machine was similar with both Parallels and Virtualbox, so not sure what the deal is.
  8. Deeps macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2011
    Nottingham, UK
    Beat me to it! :D
  9. terzinator macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    I've used VMWare Fusion for 3+ years, and it's performed perfectly. But I'm guessing they're both good.

    I think you'll get folks who will recommend what they're using, but who don't have experience with the other software. (Like me... never tried Parallels.)

    I've yet to hear from those who have heartily endorsing one over the other who have used BOTH.
  10. wingsabr macrumors 6502


    Dec 13, 2008
    Virtual Box was stupid slow on my 2011 17in. I ended up deleting it and just using bootcamp.
  11. MrFlynn macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2010
    I run Win 7x64, server 2003 and Fedora 14 in Fusion 3 all at the same time and switch between them with spaces. I use it all day at work on my new system and it screems. You can't go wrong with VMware when it comes to virtualization...those guys own the space.

    One thing to take note of...when you set up Fusion 3 (if you go that route), make SURE you set up the VM to "Allocate predefined disk space." It will speed the vm up about 300%, opposed to allowing the vm to span.
  12. sk3tch macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2003
    Has anyone that uses VMware Fusion 3 ever noticed any adverse affects in gaming after you've installed the VMware Tools, etc.? I.E. when I boot into a pure Windows environment (not in VMware Fusion 3) to game later on, will it affect performance or will it be OK?
  13. Tailpike1153 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2004
    Bellevue, WA
    I fell into VirtualBox because it was free. But it has performed remarkably well with all the abuse I've done to my vms.
  14. eagle63 macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
    Now, by "games" I assume you're referring to pretty light-weight games right? For example, I'm looking to run LOTRO (lord of the rings online) on my MBP and I assume that there's no chance that this is even remotely possible in any kind of VM'd instance of windows... Or is it?
  15. VTMac macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2008
    I've used all 3. I was an original beta tester of both Parallels and Fusion. I tried Virtual Box for about 3 months before abandoning it. Here's my take:

    VMWare Fusion - Most stable. I'd choose this for primarily productivity applications and light gaming. Word, IE, Visual Studio. if I need it to work, that's my go to.

    Parallels - Fastest. Parallels, in my experience is the fastest of the bunch. It sometimes seems they achieve that by taking shortcuts with quality. It's not unstable, but it's not rock solid either. If I was primarily using it for game, browser, or other activities that didn't matter if they bombed, I'd pick Parallels.

    Virtual Box - I'm pretty technically savvy. I spent 3 months experimenting with Virtual Box and eventually got everything working correctly. (It was working day, but getting everything working the way I wanted took a bit of twidling.) But it was way more effort than casual users are likely to endure. It's not bad (in fact it's quite good considering the price) but given that you can typically find both Parallels and Fusion on sale for $20-40, I'd choose one of the other 2. Free is great, but in this case I think the other 2 products more than make up for their cost relative to VBox.

    All IMO, of course.
  16. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    Never noticed any effect on gaming in particular, but allowing VMWare fusion to install its tools and shortcuts onto your bootcamp install will cause Windows to boot much slower. I think it has something to do with the network drives it sets up, although I'm not entirely sure.

    One problem I found with VMWare when compared to Parallels is that the dynamic disk sizing for VMWare is pitiful. I had a Windows XP install with only about 6 gigs of virtual hard drive in use, yet the VM file size was over 17gb.
  17. MrFlynn macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2010
    Rumors are abounding about VMWare Fusion 4. Apparently it's going to be a big step forward in performance, with a number of features added as well. Among them is a "Virtual Doorman" that monitors the VM from outside looking for the injection of malicious code and ties to the API framework of idea.
  18. Cantisama macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2011
    Been using Virtual Box for years on non-mac hardware. Tried it on my 2011 mbp, horribly slow. So slow I couldn't get through the install of Ubuntu 10.04. I will have to try out VMWare and Parallels.
  19. jlc1978 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    I have both and recommend either. Nest bet is to checkout and see what's on sale. I've picked up not for under $10 after rebates.
  20. djasterix macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2010
    Paradise City
    Both are great, but I like Fusion 3 the most...
  21. Mac-key macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    what's the word on when 4 will be out? I haven't seen or heard any rumors
  22. macdroid macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2011
    Sometime during Q1. I was about to take advantage of the existing rebate program, but it's ending today, so I am guessing the new version will be out soon.

    I tried Virtual Box, but due to a bug in the 4.x release, it is not usable in 64-bit environments without disabling some features or booting into 32-bit mode.
  23. ovrkast macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    I'm currently running Parallels 6 with Windows 7. I'm noticing that when running this VM environment, my MacBook Pro 15" gets really hot at the bottom base of the unit. Is this normal since it's requiring more resources to run Win7? I'm seeing temperatures floating around 72C :eek: Any tweaks to the VM to alleviate the heat? I've got 8GB RAM and dedicated 3GB to Win7.

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