VMware Fusion 4 vs Parallels Desktop 7

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ChaosAngel, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. ChaosAngel macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2005
    Hi all,

    I've seen quite a few posts asking for guidance regarding VMware Fusion 4 and Parallels Desktop 7. As a big user of virtual environments I have also been wondering which product is best. As a result I ran a number of benchmarks across both platforms and I thought I would share the results:


    Overall I found that Fusion outperformed Parallels, but only by the smallest of margins. In fact, I'm not convinced that you could tell any real world differences.

    For a full breakdown of the results (Windows Experience Index, Super Pi and PCMark 7) be sure to hit the link above. I would also be happy to run any additional benchmarks upon request.

    Hope it helps. :D
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    That's freaky close.

    I'd like to see a cost breakdown between the two over the last 5 years; it seems VMWare has cost me less in that time than Parallels, but I haven't kept close track.

  3. SaSaSushi, Sep 18, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011

    SaSaSushi macrumors 601


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Wow, you buy both Fusion and Parallels?! You can't run them on the same machine very well.

    I switched from Fusion to Parallels along about Parallels V4 and I haven't looked back. Yes, the upgrades are pricy at $49 and on about a once per year frequency. I got Parallels 6 in last year's MUpromo bundle though so I got a bunch of other good stuff along with the deal.

    Parallels 6 was rock solid and with the new speed improvements, OS X virtualization and Lion features like full-screen V7 is even better. I can highly recommend it.

    I'm glad to see Fusion finally released 4.0 and that the performance seems to be much improved. It was about time.
  4. ChaosAngel thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2005
    Hi SaSaSushi,

    I was actually surprised, VMWF and Parallels both installed fine, without any conflicts. Regarding buying them both, I use them at work (so thankfully it's not my money), but you can also grab the free trials if you want to test.

    Overall I think this is a rare "win, win" for the consumer, as both products are so tight that price will become the deciding factor for most. Hopefully this will result in price war, though deals and discounts, etc.


  5. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2011
    On balance I find Parallels the more user friendly and better integrated of the two.
  6. SaSaSushi macrumors 601


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Thanks, Matt, but my question about buying both was actually directed to robgendreau who was pondering the money he's spent on both Fusion and Parallels over the years.

    I wanted to thank you for the excellent head-to-head of Fusion and Parallels. Yours is the first I can find although I'm sure there will be many to follow.
  7. SaSaSushi macrumors 601


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Having not tried Fusion 4 (as mentioned I purchased Parallels 7), the consensus of the reviews I've read thus far seem to concur with this opinion. In particular, the ease of use of Parallels and that the full-screen support in VMWare Fusion 4 isn't using the Lion APIs and so doesn't feel like native Lion integration.
  8. ChaosAngel thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2005
    That's actually a great point. Although VMWF can go full-screen and plays nice with Mission Control / Spaces, it does not use the standard Lion UI. Parallels on the other hand does.

    Although this doesn't really impact daily usage, it is nice to see that the Parallels team have used the official APIs. I wonder why VMWare didn't?


    Thanks SaSaSushi, I found the same, which is what forced me to do a bit of my own analysis.

    Hopefully we will see some other reviews soon.
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I saw that blog as well and my opinion in comparing the two is that performance is nearly identical at this point.

    I think VMware Fusion has some advantages that I prefer like stability and it seems to handle linux better. Then there's their support much much better then parallels.
  10. jamesr19 macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2009
    Nice review there! I have thought that Parallels has been faster than VMWare in previous years, but they have definitely picked up their game judging by your review! I got my Parallels 6 in the MacUpdate Promo too so was definitely worthwhile (was a replacement for VMWare 3 i got for free of uni) and I think unless Uni provides VMWare 4 for free i'd upgrade to Parallels 7 than buy VMWare 4.

    It would be great to see how Lion performs as a VM under each of the apps as this is one of the main reasons an upgrade in version would be useful!
  11. Fafafoooey macrumors member


    Jun 13, 2007
    Parallels. I tried a Lion guest OS on both and VMWare post installing VMWare Tools causes a hang up with the video at the log in screen, rendering it useless. This is with a fresh Lion install. Parallels, no problems.
  12. ChaosAngel thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2005
    Interesting. Might be worth posting on the VMware support forum, they are normally very good at responding.

    I will do my best to install Lion as a guest on both VMWF and Parallels sometime this week. I would be interested to see if there are any performance differences?
  13. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Parallels' Lion integration is exactly why I think Parallels wins this round.

    Although I don't really use virtualization (all I use Windows for, when it boils down to it, is gaming).
  14. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    I upgraded to Parallels 7 for $29.99 using a Fusion 2 serial number.

    Parallels 7 is faster and the graphics are better. You can now allocate up to 1 gig of video memory.

    The only issue was my Windows 7 did not authenticate a genuine first book. A subsequent boot and all was well.
  15. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    I installed a Lion guest on VMF4 with VMware tools on my iMac (running Snow Leopard host OS) and have had no problems with it.
  16. nmcbride macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2011
    I happened to buy both. No need really I just figured each would probably be better at something over the other.

    As far as performance goes they both seem to be really close however VMware Fusion seems to be just a bit better. However they do both of some cons in my opinion.

    Lion ran fine in both Parellels and Fusion for me.

    VMware Fusion:
    - no opengl support in linux and they said they aren't really working towards it
    - not a fan of the whole windows resizing into each other affect (atleast it is better then it was in the beta)

    - seems to be in bed with microsoft
    If you already have a button to their "convenience store" and in said store there are versions of windows you can buy, I don't see a need to have a big 'buy windows' button again above it. Seems like they just needed to add another button. This isn't the only place they have two things doing the same thing on the same window. (see below)

    - confusing ui
    I thought the 'install windows from cd' was pre-setup specifically for doing a windows 'easy install' and I wanted to install a linux distro from cd. Took me a minute to figure out I had to click 'install windows' to install linux. It should say like "Install OS from CD".

    In the Virtual Machine List window both 'new' and 'download appliance' go back to the same window.

    Apparently there are only three appliances? It is very possible it's just because i've never used parellels before but even on their site i could only find stuff for parellels server.

    Participate in Customer Experience Program is enabled by default.

    These are just random thoughts from using them both for the first time.


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