Windows on the MBA - Parallels or Fusion performance experience?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cantona2k, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. cantona2k macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2008
    Hi all,

    i am seriously considering switching from a Sony TZ Windows machine to a MBA. I am finally sick of windows and also the TZ's ultralow power processor (1,06Ghz).

    Due to my clients i need to work with quite some windows applications continuously (that's what held me back from switching so far).
    I mainly need to use Office applications, nothing special and performance intensive like CAD, Photoshop etc...

    I am considering the 1.8, 64GB SSD version but I'm a bit unsure about its performance running Parallels or Fusion on it.
    I think a Bootcamp partition will bring down HD space to zero so that's probably not an option....

    Do you think the MBA will guarantee me "sufficient" power to work in a "snappy" office environment without hickups?

    What would you recommend for my scenario? Fusion or Paralles with XP?

    Thanks for any input!
  2. sadilak macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    VMWare of course. Again that is my opinion. Some people like Parallels and some like VMWare. I have been a VM Ware user for atleast 4+ years and have had no issues whatsoever

    As for the MBA Option
    Get the HDD version of the MBA. TThe 64 GB SSD is not worth the cost. If you are serious about having windows + Mac, then maybe you should the beefed up Macbook. If cost is not an issue, get the Macbook Pro. Also, I am not sure if you will be happy with the Macbook Air in a office environment. Remember that you have only one USB port and no Disc slots. If I were you, I would not consider the macbook Air.

    Also why is your TZ Vaio Slow? If you are running XP , then you should be fine. The problem is not with Windows. Make sure that you stop all unnecessary services that start at boot time and also change your virus scanner to Avast. Plus manually start the virus scanner services. I am in a corporate environment and I really dont feel the need to start my virus scanner unless I am browsing a real shady website.
  3. saisrujan macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2007
    I use XP with VMWare and work on an office environment with atleast 5-6 applications open at the same time in XP, and Firefox + iTunes open on the OS X side. Everything is snappy, with occasional beachballs in OS X once or twice a day.

    Do not try vista using virtualization on MBA. I have tried and was not satisfied with the performance. If Vista is what you want to install, do it using boot-camp and boot into Vista.

    I use 1.6/80 and I don't see a reason why you need to spend $1300 more just to run Windows. Of course, if you can afford it and don't believe SSD prices will fall in the near future, go for it.
  4. wordy macrumors regular


    Feb 26, 2008
    I run XP with Parallels without issue. I love MS OneNote, which isn't available in Office for Mac, so I have that installed too. Not sure about your other apps, but the virtual XP drive is only about 2.5GiB, which is very manageable, even on the SSD.
  5. Adokimus macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Not to convince you to stay with windows, but a lot of reason the Vaio TZ runs slower is because Sony loads it up with trial software and useless applications, plus unlockable movies and other crap. On top of that, they put vista on it, and while I actually like vista in some ways, it does run slower than XP. Those two things are just too much for the low-voltage processor. Since Sony doesn't give you the machine with any install discs anyway, my advice is to go to and find a cheap copy of windows XP Professional. After a clean instal, see if that does the trick.

    If not... PM me if you would like to sell the TZ.

    Hope that helps!
  6. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    I use XP under Parallels on my 1.8 SSD. Performance is excellent but I don't do Office. But nothing compares to XP under Parallels on my MP. OMG. restarts in ~5 secs!
  7. CalMin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 8, 2007
    I run VMware with XP. Performs great although I have only run and only plan to run MS Office with this configuration. I'd be wary running vista because the MBA only has 2 gigs and that's what Vista needs on it's own.
  8. mcvaughan macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2007
    Houston, TX
    On my MBP I use Fusion and on my Air I just installed Parallels. It's probably the SSD and/or the fresh XP install, but Parallels screams on my Air. I think the speed between the two is comparable, so you can't go wrong either way. I already had a copy of Parallels and then got the special pricing on Fusion during the beta for $40. For some things, such as managing devices, I prefer Fusion, but I feel Parallels is a bit more stable of a product. It may not have the advanced processor support of Fusion, but I feel Parallels is more at home on a Mac than Fusion. IMO... I know VMware create solid products, and I use VMware Workstation on a PC on various tasks at work.
  9. kanon14 macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2008
    Hong Kong
    My Air is the 1.8/SSD model and I run xp with Fusion. Like saisrujan, I have various applications opened on both OSX and XP and it runs very smooth. Go with either hdd option and I don't think there will be a huge difference. With SSD I think you can load up the XP faster but that's about it.
  10. johnkountz Guest


    Nov 3, 2007
    Office for Mac makes Windows unnecessary

    Stupid question, apologies in advance.

    Why run MS Office in a Windows emulator when you can run it native on the Mac?
  11. wordy macrumors regular


    Feb 26, 2008
    I do it because I love OneNote which isn't in the Office for Mac package. I suspect most of the other people that do it do so because Excel for Mac is quite crippled.
  12. Beliyaal macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2008
  13. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I run Windows 2003 on an external drive under Fusion on my 1.8 SSD and it runs brilliantly. I use it for Windows development so I've got Visual Studio, SQL Server and BizTalk on there. The virtual machine started life as a real IBM ThinkPad (1.8 Centrino single core) and it's at least as fast as it used to be when it was a "real" machine.
  14. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    I have the 1.8 SSD and I run both Parallels and Fusion on it. I prefer Parallels for two main reasons:

    1. It consumes less resource in my experience. This is just from watching the processor utilisation when Parallels is running vs. Fusion. Neither one taxes the processor that much, but Fusion is consistently higher when running similar applications.

    2. Parallels consumes much less space for some reason. Parallels app is 24mb compared to 130mb for the Fusion app. I've no idea why the massive difference. Of course there are some other apps installed with Parallels:

    Explorer - 11mb
    Image Tool - 17mb
    Transporter - 14.5mb
    + various documents

    I don't believe most people would need to carry these around with them so they could be transferred to an external drive or USB stick for that matter for the occasional use.

    Which leads to the obvious question - why do I have Fusion at all. Sadly my imported work laptop will only work in Fusion, and Parallels support (try as they may) have never been able to work out why. So I have two full Windows VM's on my Air (yes, huge waste of space) - the Fusion VM for work and the Parallels VM for personal use. I'm still looking for a way to import the Fusion VM into Parallels.

    Hope it helps, but happy to answer any questions.
  15. cantona2k thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies so far!
    Xp is the obvious choice of course after my Vista experiences...

    Regarding Win Office: i heard/ read that Mac Office is still pretty much behing Office 2007 so that's why i would like to go the

    Also exchanging e.g. ppt presentations with clients between Mac Office and Win Office is something i am not 100% convinced in.
    I heard of several problems converting ppt's into Mac and back (at least for the "old" 2004 Mac Office...)
  16. Mr.Green macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2008
    That's the reason I keep XP and Office 2007 on VMWare. Fusion runs fine on my Air. The reason I like fusion is that I have VMWare on my PC and I can load up the same image. It also was the first to support both cores.
  17. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    I do a TON of powerpoint presentations and you WILL get formatting errors between office 2004/08 for mac and office 2003/XP/07. I use office 2007 and save all files as 1997-2003 documents - it is the industry standard and is the ONLY way you can ensure correct formatting. Real office users do not use office for mac if they need to share files - it is a world of problems.
  18. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    Because my school's stupid and we need to use Word and Powerpoint and such and since I rarely use it, I don't want it clustering in my OSX's perfectly organized drive.
  19. sadilak macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Because office for windows is much better than office for mac. Moreover, I work in a corporate environment and MS Office is free for me. Ignoring the free part, Office runs better in Vista/XP than on Mac . iWork 08 is a shade worse than Office 08 for mac.

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