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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Alternative Operating Systems > VMware fusion vs. Parallels

VMware fusion vs. Parallels
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Jun 8, 2007, 08:55 PM
 
With the seemingly endless problems being posted on the parallels forum and not too few threads of those jumping ship to fusion (probably just empty threats) I figured I'd give fusion a try even if its still in beta. I guess beta 4 just hit the streets and I installed it. It had a great little feature to auto install my XP.

Weird thing is I was able to activate it, even though I had already activated under parallels. I understand I have a license for a single computer but I thought it was going to give me grief. I'll have to fire up parallels and see if that's still kosher.

Anyways how many users here have tried both. So far I'm liking it, seems fast. I'm not sure if its as fast as parallels or faster. Time will only tell about the stability. It would be pretty easy to beat parallels on the stability front. I've had it crash on me way too many times (ver 2.5 I'm staying away from 3.0)

Thoughts suggestions, insight?
     
cgc
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Jun 8, 2007, 09:07 PM
 
I prefer Fusion over Parallels and have Ubuntu 7.04 installed along with XP. Parallels still makes you jump through hoops to install Ubuntu 7.04 and doesn't even list Ubuntu 6 as supported.
     
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Jun 8, 2007, 09:48 PM
 
I'm still playing with it so the jury is out.

So far I've d/l my vpn software and able to connect into work but then I can already do that with parallels. speed and stability are the two may things I want and with the ability to allocate both cpus over to it, should help performance.
     
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Jun 10, 2007, 08:56 PM
 
I was hoping for more opinions or reviews of the two...

personally I've tried both, I haven't even given BootCamp a second thought... I have no desire to reboot to use Windows for any tasks I need windows for.

Parallels coherence (whatever its called) mode is nice, but aside from that I'm hard pressed to find a benefit to Parallels over VMWare. If I'm going to have to pay for one or the other, VMWare has a long standing tradition of working amazingly well. I've used it for probably a month running Windows XP Pro and Ubuntu. XP Pro works great, I had a bit of trouble with slowness, then I gave my MBP more RAM, now it works as well as can be expected for a virtual instance of Windows. Ubuntu is the same. Eventually I'll try gaming via VMWare, honestly that's one of the only reasons I even wanted Windows, aside from being a sandbox for client issues.
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Jun 10, 2007, 09:28 PM
 
I was waiting a little longer before I posted my impression. I only started using VMWare beta4 today.

I've been a Parallels fanboi since the beginning and I finally decided to try VMWare because of their 'unity' feature.

I'm impressed so far. I used VMWare converter to convert my Parallels disk. I'll give a slight nod to Parallels for speed within the virtual machine. VMWare can completely freeze OSX portion for a few seconds. However VMWare resumes from suspended state MUCH faster then Parallels and is more consistent. Parallels (for me) would resume quickly 1 out of 10 times.

Unity. Outstanding! Makes coherence look bad and makes Windows XP look better. All popup windows, menus, pop-up tips now have a nice OSX shadow to them. I like how you can dock individual windows and use Expose to sort out individual programs. It's not perfect, but it's getting there. Both VMWare and Parallels need to figure out a way to loose the main application in the dock when you activate Unity or Coherence. It makes apple-tab frustrating sometimes.

Networking: Parallels is still ahead on this one. When I go back and forth from work Parallels can refresh and give me a new IP address. So far I've had to repair or disable my Network connection to get a new IP address (yes I was at work today )

I'll continue to use VMWare for a while and see how it goes.

Overall VMWare feels more 'polished' to me, I think Parallels may be in for some serious competition
-Toyin
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Jun 11, 2007, 08:09 AM
 
Thanks for the review.

I'm still comparing both, thanks for the heads up regarding the converter - I was unaware of that RTFM I suppose

I'm still on the fence. Parallels is ok, but perhaps I've gotten used to the instability. Just yesterday my whole Mac just spontaneously reboot while I was in parallels - that never happened before and I not only lost the work I was doing in winblows but also OSX

That should have been enough to convince me but I did get a BSOD in vmware - not sure if that's a windows issue or a vmware issue

Speed is relative and processor wise vmware seems to be faster but (it could be me) the screen redraw in vmware seems a little slower. Since I didn't run that converter utility I'm solwly reloading my applications and I'm almost done but I will check it out. I'm not sure what that will do to that activations on windows and office 2007.

Thanks for the info
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Jun 11, 2007, 08:43 AM
 
Another annoying thing about VMWare Fusion is that it won't hide windows properly.

Re-activation was simple. Both Windows XP professional and Office XP Proffesional reactivated over the web with no questions.
-Toyin
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Jun 11, 2007, 09:31 AM
 
I'm hoping for OS X Xen support announced today.
     
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Jun 11, 2007, 05:20 PM
 
The worst part in Parallels is their support. No emails are being answered for weeks. Paid phone support ends up on answering machines etc.

I have a full upgrade license yet I never got my upgrade and an email to support was only answered once with the instruction to buy the new version and when I quote my license I get no reply.

Just read their forums in case you want to use the software in a more professional manner ,,, before you pay ...
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Jun 13, 2007, 02:29 PM
 
Well had to switch back to Parallels after a few days. VMWare Fusion just seems to buggy.

My issues
. Window re-draw is definitely slower and flickers more then Parallels
. Unity is cool but BUGGY!. Try minimizing a few windows to the dock. Then launching a new application. All the minimized windows pop up out of the dock
. Unity. No ability to hide individual windows. Heck, no ability to hide all the windows
. Easy access to the Programs menu, but no easy access to the start menu.
. Network connection must be manually repaired every time you change locations. Parallels does this automatically
. VPN software I use from work takes a bit longer to connect under Fusion.
. Speed. Initially VMWare seemed fast, but it's gotten slower and slower. Launching Windows Media Player took over 5 minutes earlier today.
. Speed. Resuming from suspension seems to be taking longer and longer.
. Speed. VMWare can bring OS-X on my MacBook Pro (2gb ram) to a screeching halt

I never got to try Palm synchronization and other externals, so I can't answer to that.

I'll pre-order Fusion, since $40 is enough of an impulse buy and I have a feeling that in the long run it will be better then Parallels. But for now, I need Parallels.
-Toyin
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Jun 13, 2007, 05:07 PM
 
If your signature is right you got a MBP ? Weird .. otherwise I would have said it might be a hardware issue .. I just installed (to REALLY test it) two VMs on Fusion and installed a 64 Bit 2003 Enterprise Cluster (iSCSI) plus SQL2005 on that cluster .. ok, I didn't test Unity, but again, it is Beta and they won't push it to release it .. they always say (and write) that they TRY to release it at the end of August and that you even can get your money back if they delay ...

For me, Fusion is better than Parallels, simply for one reason and one reason only (at the moment): I can count on support !

(ok, and maybe I am a certified VMWare freak lol )
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Jun 13, 2007, 08:13 PM
 
One thing (there was others however) was Fusion's usb support.

for the most part my printer never worked in parallels, where as fusion it was a snap. That's not say fusion is without problems but if you consider that its beta and it runs better (not using unity) then parallels that's enough to convince me
     
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Jun 13, 2007, 09:59 PM
 
I feel like I'm in the twilight zone here.

Parallels works great with palm synchronization and works fine with a Lexmark windows only printer we have. I may uninstall and reinstall Fusion over the weekend
-Toyin
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Jun 15, 2007, 07:39 AM
 
I like that Coherence in Parallels gives you a real Start bar/taskbar as opposed to the drop down that Fusion does. My dock is on the side BTW.

What I like about Fusion is that I can load a VM on my mac, and then copy that over to my VMWare Server and have it run.

What I don't like about Fusion is how its drivers/tools trashed my XP bootcamp partition when I tried to use it as a VM.

I haven't had any issues with Parallels though, other than no Vista bootcamp support (I ditched Vista anyway) and I don't want to pay for ver 3 just yet.
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Jul 5, 2007, 05:38 PM
 
VMWare just announced Fusion 1.0 RC1 a couple of days ago. I downloaded the beta and pointed it to my Vista Boot Camp partition. Works nicely, Unity is wicked cool! Thinking about pre-ordering...
     
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Jul 5, 2007, 05:58 PM
 
Tried Fusion for a week exclusively, I really tried. I bumped the Ram up to 3gb on my Macbook Pro (2gb stick for $121.44 shipped from OWC). I uninstalled the Parallels tools (which were installed on my previous trials) and recreated a VMware virtual disk.

Still not as good as Parallels for me. Speed is the major issue.
--Speed from a suspended state is painfully slower.
--Launching applications is slower.
--The GUI is significantly slower (which I'm sure is due to Unity).
--Selecting text is hit or miss
--Network issues persist and Fusion has a tendency to lock up my Airport. (Without fail I will loose my Airport signal if Fusion is running. I can't reconnect until I quit Fusion and restart Airport.)
--No quick access to the start menu or the taskbar (which you need if you want to repair networking problems, change printers...etc).

Generally I found it harder to use Fusion and Unity vs Parallels and Coherence. I'll wait for the final Fusion to make my final judgement.
-Toyin
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Jul 6, 2007, 06:44 PM
 
Could anyone comment on 3d accelerations and how does Fusion compare to Parallels in this area?

Thanks
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Jul 7, 2007, 11:56 AM
 
I did some testing but don't have my numbers. What I found was Fusion beta 4 was marginally (< 10%) faster than Parallels 3.0 on GeekBench but Fusion couldn't even run the graphics benchmarks due to not having a good graphics emulation.

In spite of this, I registered Fusion with the pre-order price and love it as I can install all flavors of Linux (especially Ubuntu 7.04) and get timely support from the vendor. Parallels tech support is non-existent.
     
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Jul 11, 2007, 01:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacosNerd View Post
With the seemingly endless problems being posted on the parallels forum and not too few threads of those jumping ship to fusion (probably just empty threats) I figured I'd give fusion a try even if its still in beta. I guess beta 4 just hit the streets and I installed it. It had a great little feature to auto install my XP.

Weird thing is I was able to activate it, even though I had already activated under parallels. I understand I have a license for a single computer but I thought it was going to give me grief. I'll have to fire up parallels and see if that's still kosher.

Anyways how many users here have tried both. So far I'm liking it, seems fast. I'm not sure if its as fast as parallels or faster. Time will only tell about the stability. It would be pretty easy to beat parallels on the stability front. I've had it crash on me way too many times (ver 2.5 I'm staying away from 3.0)

Thoughts suggestions, insight?
Does your version of XP still work with Parallels? I'm think of switching to Fusion, and am in a similar situation to you.
     
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Jul 11, 2007, 01:39 PM
 
Yes but I only had one VM running at any given time and I've for the most part given parallels the heave ho. I wasn't maintaining two XP environments. Once I started to switch over to fusion, I stopped updating the parallels xp environment. I was thinking that activation thing might give me a little grief if tried to update the same version twice.
     
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Jul 11, 2007, 01:53 PM
 
I've activated and used both with no issues (except for if one is launched while other is running....very interesting...kernel panic 100% of the time )

The 1st time I had problems is when I tried to up the Ram on my Parallels machine yesterday. It gave me a message that I had used the windows code too many times. So I went back to an earlier snapshot of the hard drive and set up and everything is fine.

I tried the RC1 of fusion and still prefer Parallels. While Unity is getting better there are still some bugs which I'm sure will be worked out. Speed is markedly improved and launch from suspended state is faster then Parallels....most of the time. Occasionally it will take forever to launch. It also still kills my airport signal if it's left running.

So still Parallels for me which continues to be rock solid.
-Toyin
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Aug 3, 2007, 10:04 AM
 
VMWare Fusion jumps from $40 to $80 on Sunday. Does anyone have any final comparisons between it and Parallels before I force a decision on myself? And can Fusion attach to an install of XP on a bootcamp partition like Parallels can? I'd like to be able to boot up fully in Windows when playing games.

Thanks!
     
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Aug 3, 2007, 10:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Turias View Post
VMWare Fusion jumps from $40 to $80 on Sunday. Does anyone have any final comparisons between it and Parallels before I force a decision on myself? And can Fusion attach to an install of XP on a bootcamp partition like Parallels can? I'd like to be able to boot up fully in Windows when playing games.

Thanks!
Wait for the benchmarks in about 10 days or so. I would wait until Leopard comes out to see which performs better after that. Remember though, Leopard will allow you to switch back and forth to OS X from Windows without rebooting.
     
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Aug 3, 2007, 10:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by PaperNotes View Post
Wait for the benchmarks in about 10 days or so. I would wait until Leopard comes out to see which performs better after that. Remember though, Leopard will allow you to switch back and forth to OS X from Windows without rebooting.
Sunday is in two days, not 10.

That feature has been revoked from Leopard. It is not present in the betas.

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Aug 3, 2007, 12:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by - - e r i k - - View Post
Sunday is in two days, not 10.

That feature has been revoked from Leopard. It is not present in the betas.
I meant 10 days as in wait a week and a half until everyone who can benchmark and review it does. That feature hasn't been revoked from Leopard as far as I know. It won't appear as a menu item if Windows isn't installed. Who told you it isn't present and did they have Windows installed?
     
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Aug 3, 2007, 12:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Turias View Post
VMWare Fusion jumps from $40 to $80 on Sunday. Does anyone have any final comparisons between it and Parallels before I force a decision on myself? And can Fusion attach to an install of XP on a bootcamp partition like Parallels can? I'd like to be able to boot up fully in Windows when playing games.

Thanks!
It certainly works with a Vista bootcamp install, so I'd imagine it would work with XP, no?

Looks like I may have to pull the trigger in the next day or so...
     
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Aug 9, 2007, 09:34 AM
 
We did a speed test and Parallels was faster than VMWare Fusion in every test so far. We are working on a dual processor test and will be posting those results soon.

Parallels vs VMWare Test Results

Let me know if there is anything else you would like us to test or post on the subject.
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Aug 9, 2007, 10:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by dprichard View Post
We did a speed test and Parallels was faster than VMWare Fusion in every test so far. We are working on a dual processor test and will be posting those results soon.

Parallels vs VMWare Test Results

Let me know if there is anything else you would like us to test or post on the subject.
Welcome to the MacNN Forums! Just for the record, who is "we" in your post?

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Aug 9, 2007, 01:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by dprichard View Post
We did a speed test and Parallels was faster than VMWare Fusion in every test so far. We are working on a dual processor test and will be posting those results soon.

Parallels vs VMWare Test Results

Let me know if there is anything else you would like us to test or post on the subject.
I would appreciate test of specific apps to see the differences. Secondly, I'd like to know if there are differences when using a virtual drive as opposed to using a Boot Camp partition.

Thanks.
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Aug 9, 2007, 01:45 PM
 
I'm not sure about the benchmark in the sense that they disabled one of the processors within VMware's setting to make it a "fair fight" While I understand the logic behind that, it fails the real world test. Personally I'm going to measure the performance of both apps by using settings that will enable both of them run optimally. Take it another way, say parallels handles memory management better, would you decrease that setting to make it a fair fight.

additionally I'm not sure what (or how) vmware does the virtual cpu thing, so by turning one off , how does that truly effect performance and how is that comparable to parallels.

The results are extremely close, while parallels did win out, the margin of victory is so slim, I'm not sure if most users would notice a difference even if you enabled the second processor within vmware.
     
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Aug 9, 2007, 02:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Toyin View Post
I tried the RC1 of fusion and still prefer Parallels. While Unity is getting better there are still some bugs which I'm sure will be worked out. Speed is markedly improved and launch from suspended state is faster then Parallels....most of the time. Occasionally it will take forever to launch. It also still kills my airport signal if it's left running.

So still Parallels for me which continues to be rock solid.
I'm disappointed with the final release of Fusion. It seems slower then Parallels and has inconsistent performance. The GUI is sluggish and application launch times are slower. Window management also needs work. With Parallels I can command-tab, to a running windows app then press Q or H to hide or quit that app. No such luck with Fusion. Fusion also won't quit or hide using keyboard commands. Minimizing windows, while cool is still buggy. The new beta of Parallels with improved coherence mode (drop shadows, expose support), is still the choice for me.
-Toyin
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Aug 9, 2007, 05:32 PM
 
I tried Parallels and kept encountering the "failed to allocate specified amount of memory" bug. I also like the fact that Fusion gives the option to use 2 cores and up to 8GB of RAM. I just hope it proves to be realatively bug-free...
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Aug 9, 2007, 10:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by chefpastry View Post
I tried Parallels and kept encountering the "failed to allocate specified amount of memory" bug. I also like the fact that Fusion gives the option to use 2 cores and up to 8GB of RAM. I just hope it proves to be realatively bug-free...
I think I read something about this. How much memory are you giving parallels. More than 1.3 GB? I think they said they were working on a fix for that error but that it was a design limitation issue, and not simply a bug fix.
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Aug 10, 2007, 02:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by TheMosco View Post
I think I read something about this. How much memory are you giving parallels. More than 1.3 GB? I think they said they were working on a fix for that error but that it was a design limitation issue, and not simply a bug fix.
Yes, I was trying to give my virtual machine 1.5GB (the max allowed by Parallels). I think this bug/design limitation has been around for a while...

I have 14GB of RAM in my Mac Pro. It seems rediculous that they have such a restricting limitation that still hasn't been corrected...
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Aug 11, 2007, 01:17 PM
 
So has anyone who has switched from Parallels to VMWare Fusion been happy with the change?
     
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Aug 14, 2007, 04:26 AM
 
yap ...i m happy with vmware because..last time i used parallels..to boot bootcamp vista ...the sounds sucks...when playing mp3..unlike vmware...the songs that i played...no cripled at all...it has more mature driver and everything......the speed is still ok..
     
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Aug 16, 2007, 07:00 PM
 
Check out this review and see how badly Fusion puts the smack down on Parallels.
     
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Aug 16, 2007, 07:16 PM
 
I saw it, but I'm not surprised. Parallels 3.0 should not have been rushed out the door. I was having problems with 2.5 and instead of addressing issues, they threw in more stuff, over promised and under delivered.
     
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Aug 16, 2007, 07:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by shinji View Post
So has anyone who has switched from Parallels to VMWare Fusion been happy with the change?
I am. I like Fusion better.
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Aug 16, 2007, 11:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by cgc View Post
Check out this review and see how badly Fusion puts the smack down on Parallels.
I'd be curious to see the same tests with Windows XP professional. On my system Parallels feels much quicker.
-Toyin
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Aug 17, 2007, 06:35 PM
 
I bought Parallels when it was released and recently upgraded to version 3. Parallels has been stable for me and I've never had to contact tech support. Just out curiosity I download the Fusion demo and tried for a week. I liked enough that I purchased a license. I haven't done any benchmarks but Fusion definitely felt faster to me. Most notably Fusion seems to put less drag OS X. I am running it on first generation MacBook 1.8 GHz w/2 GB RAM.
     
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Aug 17, 2007, 10:29 PM
 
I've tried both. When I mount the bootcamp partition in OS X, and I try to watch videos on that partition it stutters when using Fusion and plays smooth when using Parallels.

Also, there have been a few times where Fusion just quit and there have been a few times where Fusion froze. I've never had these issues with Parallels. But Parallels is not without its own quirks either... It has porblems with memory. If I quit Parallels and try to re-launch it, it won't boot the VM.
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Aug 18, 2007, 07:10 AM
 
I don't know why I keep trying Fusion. It must be all the glowing reports, but I tried it again yesterday, and for me it just plain sucks. I'm on a MBP with 3gb of RAM. Both Fusion and Parallels are given 1gb of RAM to use. I'm using Windows XP professional with virtual drives. I also use both in Coherence/Unity mode. Full screen or windowed mode is not an option any more. What are my pet peeves?

1. Speed. Fusion redraws noticeable slower then Parallels. Application launch is markedly slower. Typing is usually delayed. Networking is ridiculously slower. (ie logging into my VPN takes Parallels 2-3 seconds and 10 seconds in Fusion). Fusion is faster resuming from a suspended state, but then molasses after that.

2. Resources. I don't even notice Parallels is running. With Fusion/Unity, my OSX applications come to a crawl. Yesterday I called it quits when Fusion had my processors running at 90-97% running Cisco vpn, IE, and Microsoft Outlook. In Parallels I have these 3 running all the time and don't feel any lag in my OSX applications.

3. Unity vs Coherence. Not even close. Unity is BUGGY. Minimize to dock is the only advantage it has over Coherence at this point and it doesn't work properly. You can't hide individual applications. Cmd-tab while not the greatest in Coherence is real hit or miss with Unity.

4. GUI. Aside from the slow redraws, Fusion windows have more contrast and look 'over done' to me.

5. Network. Don't know why, but Fusion ALWAYS kills my airport after several hours of use.

Sorry for the rant, but everyone keeps praising Fusion, and I've found Parallels to be rock solid. I haven't needed tech support.
-Toyin
13" MBA 1.8ghz i7
"It's all about the rims that ya got, and the rims that ya coulda had"
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Aug 18, 2007, 09:17 AM
 
Toyin, as I stated in my previous post, Parallels has been slightly better for me as well. My biggest gripe about Parallels is the memory issues. I have a Mac Pro with 14GB of RAM and I'd like to be able to allocate more than 1.5GB of RAM to the Virtual Machine. Also, I consistently get the following message from Parallels:

"Parallels Desktop failed to allocate the specified amount of memory.
Please restart Parallels Desktop and try again. To avoid this problem in the future choose from the menu: Parallels Desktop > Preferences. On the Memory tab select the "Enable virtual memory preallocation" option."

As far as I know, there's no fix for this. The only thing one can do is lower the RAM allocation to the VM and/or reboot.
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Aug 18, 2007, 10:14 AM
 
Sorry, rant wasn't towards you. There's so much negativity towards Parallels (which was in the market WAY before fusion) and raves about VMware's Fusion. I just don't see it.
-Toyin
13" MBA 1.8ghz i7
"It's all about the rims that ya got, and the rims that ya coulda had"
S.T. 1995
     
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Aug 19, 2007, 10:03 PM
 
Here's something I just found out... I have Bootcamp/XP installed on an external 2.5" USB drive. Fusion will not boot from this partition while Parallels does.
Mac Pro 3.2x8 - 48GB - EVGA GTX 680 - Apple Remote - Dell 3007WFP-HC
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Aug 19, 2007, 10:24 PM
 
What? How do you install bootcamp on an external drive when apple's utility will only work with internal drives?

(unless you cloned something to an external drive?)
     
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Aug 19, 2007, 11:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
What? How do you install bootcamp on an external drive when apple's utility will only work with internal drives?

(unless you cloned something to an external drive?)
I did it to the internal drive before replacing it with a larger one. Then put it in to a SATA to USB external enclosure.

I figured I don't use XP most of the time on my MacBook anyway, so having it in an external drive would be fine and saved me a few bucks from having to spend on an even larger internal replacement.
Mac Pro 3.2x8 - 48GB - EVGA GTX 680 - Apple Remote - Dell 3007WFP-HC
MacBook 2GHz - C2D - 8GB - GF 9400M
Mac mini 2.33GHz C2D - 4GB - GMA950 - 2 Drobos - SS4200 (unRAID)
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Aug 20, 2007, 10:17 AM
 
So do you actually get the machine to boot into Windows? Do you need some sleight of hand to convince it to work? Windows re-enumerates all the USB ports during the boot process, so any binding of a drive to a port is lost-and so am I! I really want to know how you're doing this!

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Aug 20, 2007, 11:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
So do you actually get the machine to boot into Windows? Do you need some sleight of hand to convince it to work? Windows re-enumerates all the USB ports during the boot process, so any binding of a drive to a port is lost-and so am I! I really want to know how you're doing this!
Here are some links that explain it far better than I ever can...

http://guides.macrumors.com/Boot_Cam...External_Drive

http://forum.onmac.net/showthread.ph...ead.php?t=1015
Mac Pro 3.2x8 - 48GB - EVGA GTX 680 - Apple Remote - Dell 3007WFP-HC
MacBook 2GHz - C2D - 8GB - GF 9400M
Mac mini 2.33GHz C2D - 4GB - GMA950 - 2 Drobos - SS4200 (unRAID)
iPhone 5 + iPhone 4 S⃣
     
 
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