Mac virtualization: VMware Fusion vs. Parallels Desktop for Mac

“Both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion deliver on the core goal of allowing Macintosh users to run Windows applications without needing to reboot their computers.,” Ryan Faas reports for Computerworld.

Faas reports, “The biggest difference between them right now is that Parallels Inc.’s product is finished while VMware Inc.’s Fusion is still in beta testing. In fact, Parallels recently announced the availability of the third beta version of the next release of its software, which includes support for upgrading a virtual Windows XP system to Windows Vista, among other features.”

“The fact that Fusion is still in beta is rather evident. Several configuration dialogs include the sentence, ‘This device will be editable in a future release,’ and there are some minor stability problems,” Faas reports.

Faas reports, “Performance is another major difference, and it is linked to the fact that Fusion is still in beta. Although the time it takes to install or boot Windows or to run most applications is similar between both Parallels and Fusion, some actions that involve redrawing the screen are slower in Fusion, sometimes resulting in a sluggish feel by comparison.”

“Running benchmark tests within similarly configured virtual machines under each application reveals dramatic differences in some processor and graphics functions. (Parallels’ scores for graphics performance are almost double those of Fusion.) The most likely cause for these differences is explained in a Fusion alert dialog that informs users that it is running in a debug mode that reduces performance and that can’t be disabled in the current release,” Faas reports. “The finished version of Fusion will tell a fuller tale on the performance front.”

Fass looks at the competing Mac virtualization products in the following areas:

• Setup
• Ease of use
• Advanced configuration
• USB device access
• Overall impressions
• Explainer: Virtualization Vs. Boot Camp

Full article here.


  1. Sounds like Parallels still has them whipped at this point. Not to even mention that those of us that have been around since the beginning (April/May 2006) were able to buy a Parallels license for only $39 at that time.

  2. The EULA prohibits you from running the Vista Home and Home Premium versions in a virtualisation environment. It’s okay to run Vista Ultimate and the various Enterprise and Business versions.

    Just a way for Microsoft to milk more money out of its users.

    Now, the actual question is, why would you want to upgrade XP to Vista, in any case?

  3. @ Midnight

    “…Now, the actual question is, why would you want to upgrade XP to Vista, in any case?..”

    Upgrade ???

    I thought it was more like a “downgrade” !! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Cross Over is still beta, but I was able to run an old copy of Office97 on it no problem, also use it for an obscure piece of software.
    It is such a kick to see some of my PC buddies looks when I show them Im running Windoze software on my Mac- without Windoze.

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