Vmware Fusion 3 or Parallels 5 for a MBA RevC

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jimboutilier, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    I plan on heading back to a MBA 2.13/2/128 from a uMB 2.4/4/320 and will want to do some light VM work maybe an hour or two a week (mostly testing web software via various browsers and OS's - currently XP and Ubuntu, and the odd Office 2007 session in XP)

    I have used Parallels 4 (small and fast but fragile) and currently use Fusion 3 (rock solid but seems bigger and slower).

    Just asking for opinions from current MBA rev C and Fusion 3 or Parallels 5 users for their feelings on which they liked better and why..

  2. jrabbit macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    St. Louis, MO

    I highly recommend Sun's VirtualBox:

    * runs great (I have a MBA Rev. A)
    * uses less RAM for same VM setup than either Parallels or Fusion
    * it's FREE

    The only missing feature is a "Coherence" or "Unity" mode; but in my experience those were flaky (depending on the Windows application) anyway.
  3. doug.hall macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2005
    Is it possible to migrate a VM ware virtual machine into Suns VirtualBox?
  4. jrabbit macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    St. Louis, MO
  5. edcrusher macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2009
    Another good thing of Virtual Box is thats it does not install processes that suck your battery while your not using the app, parallels and vmware does it

    for your needs vbox will be fine, but if you need to run a windows version different than XP(vista, 7),get Parallels 5 it is very optimized for those OS.

    v machine migration is a pain in the ass(from anything else to vbox) and generally makes the vm slower :S

    Parallels 5 is a good option and Cristal mode is awesome
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you have several computers that run different OSes then VMware is the better of the two. VMware has products that run on Mac, Windows and Linux hosts. So, for example I have VMware on my iMac and on my Linux system. If I make a VM with Windows XP inside and keep that on a USB drive. I can run the VM on either of my two computers.

    Paralles only has the one product that run only on Macs.

    Sun's product is free. So it wins on price. But VMware is free on non-mac platforms
  7. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    VMWare Fusion has more memory footprint and seems to sap more CPU usage for me while Parallels 5 has less memory footprint and less CPU. On idle, Parallels uses 1% CPU, even iTunes or Kernel_Task use more than 1% on idle.

    VirtualBox has been iffy iffy for me. Sometimes it works great, other times it won't run or have some performance issue.

    Try out each of them and see for yourself.
  8. applesupergeek macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    What about stability issues for parallels? Have they been fixed with 5.0? Speed and heaviness have also been superior with parallels but stability has always been an issue and fusion has been vastly superior there.

    Has 5.0 addressed these issues in your experience?
  9. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    I have never experienced any instabilities with Parallels Desktop for Mac 3, 4 or 5, or VMWare Fusion 1, 2 or 3. The only bad experience I had was when Parallels wouldn't link my Windows 7 Partition in Parallels 5, but I'm not sure what happened there.
  10. alxgr macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2009
    Fusion 3 is stable, but is has many limitations. The integration features are not completely polished as it done in Parallels 5. I have not stability issues in Parallels 5. My Windows XP works great, no glitches or hangs, speed is good enough. What wrong in Parallels 5?
  11. applesupergeek macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Nothing is wrong, it's just that traditionally parallels gets some bad rap in terms of stability.
  12. hitekalex macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2008
    Chicago, USA
    Parallels 5 is the best of the bunch, if you stick with the basics (XP, or Vista/7 with Aero turned off). Performance wise it cannot be beaten - an XP VM boots in under 10 seconds on my MBA.

    VMware3 is solid, but lacks performance of Parallels.

    VirtualBox - performance is terrible, the only good thing about it is that it's free.
  13. nph macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2005
    Which is best to import a Vista Virtual machine?

    In Parallel 4 it used to create a virtual machine identical in size to the original drive even if only 50% was used. My PC had a 60G HD but only 25G was used.
    THe result was as follow:
    Parallel 4: Virtual macine size 60G (lousy for MBA)
    VMWare 2: Virtual machine size 25G,

    So for last gen it was an easy choice.

    Is this still the case otherwise Parallel 5 seem faster?

  14. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    Parallels compresses the VDisk automatically now... so I guess it'll be better.
  15. steagle macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2009
    It bears mentioning that Parallels still does not support 64-bit operating systems whereas Fusion 3 does. This was the biggest factor in my decision to go the Fusion route (though I still use traditional Boot Camp for Windows gaming). Parallels as a program is a bit faster and more elegant than Fusion, but when it comes to what really counts (available VM system memory, advanced applications and processing) then Fusion wins hands down.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've used parallels, VirtualBox and VMware.
    VirtualBox is free but it fails to provide the polish and nice integration that vmware or parallels offers.

    parallels has superior graphic drivers and you get better performance, but they tend to update the application more frequently and in doing so, typically breaks or causes instabilities. If you want to play games in VM then parallels is your program. I found support to be very lacking and they seem more interested in throwing in more features then making the existing features stable.

    vmware, does not have the same performance as parallels but they do have superior stability imo. They update the app less frequently but those updates are typically much more solid and they do seem more intent on making it better then just adding features. Plus the support is much much better then parallels.
  17. finiteyoda macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2007
    I'm in a similar boat as OP... trying to setup a Win7 VM for my girlfriend on the MBA she's getting for Christmas, but haven't been able to pick a clear winner between VMWare 3 and Paralles 5 yet. I've run some initial experiments on a leopard mac pro:

    VMWare: I really like the Fusion menu. Takes less real-estate than Parallel's combined menubar icon and Windows apps folder. Also combines both VM functions (preferences, suspend, and exiting unity) and Windows apps into a single menu, whereas Parallels I have to right-click for apps and left-click for a stripped down VM menu: Devices, Exit Crystal, and Quit. How hard would it have been to provide access to VM preferences, or other view modes, without requiring me to exit Crystal mode?? Took me forever to figure out that to suspend I needed to Quit, and then answer the pop-up dialog too. Also can't understand why the most common function (Start Menu) is assigned to the least-used mouse button...

    Parallels: Like others have said, graphics is more stable. My gf runs several apps that render their own UI's, and these have serious problems in Fusion (transparent overlays in Fusion appears as huge rectangles that can't be clicked thru, and dragging is a stuttering mess). Normal apps like IE or Word seem fine in both though. Hate the parallels icon overlays (the two orange bars), wish there was an option to turn it off, makes navigating through the Windows Applications folder an ugly mess.

    I'm really hoping that Fusion's rendering problems go away on Snow Leopard, or they issue a fix later. If so, I think it would definitely be the VM of choice for an end user who isn't very familiar with how VM's work, and just want to be able to run some simple Windows apps now and then, seamlessly on their mac. Curious what others think...

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