Mossberg reviews VMware Fusion 2.0: Beats Parallels for Mac users who slum it with Windows

“There are two common methods for running Microsoft Windows and Windows programs on an Apple Macintosh, and one of those methods just got better and easier,” Walt Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“The first approach uses a feature called Boot Camp that comes free on every new Mac. Using Boot Camp, the entire Mac is turned into a Windows PC, with the full capabilities and speed of a standard Windows machine. No trace of the Mac operating system is left running,” Mossberg reports. “The downside is that you can’t run Windows and Mac programs side by side.”

Mossberg reports, “The second approach uses one of two third-party programs to create a virtual Windows PC inside your Mac. This faux Windows machine runs at normal speeds and can operate simultaneously with the Mac’s own operating system. Programs native to each operating system can run side by side. The downside is that, because Windows doesn’t get complete control of the computer’s hardware, it isn’t quite as fast as in Boot Camp, and a few of its functions, like 3D graphics, don’t work as well.”

“This latter method is enabled by two excellent, closely matched $80 programs: Parallels, from a Swiss-based company of the same name, and Fusion, from VMWare (VMW), a U.S. company,” Mossberg reports. “It is Fusion that just got better, because VMWare just issued version 2.0 of the product with lots of new features, some of which let it catch up to the older Parallels and some of which push it ahead.”

Mossberg reports, “I’ve been testing Fusion 2.0 for a couple of weeks on two different Macs, and using it to run both Windows XP and Windows Vista. My verdict is that while you won’t go wrong with Parallels, Fusion edges it out as the better product.”

Read the full review here.

25 Comments

  1. I’ve found Fusion 2.0 to be a real resource hog compared to Fusion 1.0. I’ve seen more beach balls and hang ups that I’ve ever seen before now that I run 2.0. I haven’t installed my Parallels 3.0 update yet. I’ll report back with a further comparison.

    Mac mini 1.83GHz w/ 2GB RAM.

  2. This seems tempting to replace Parallels with Fusion. However, I hear Parallels 4 is in private beta. If so, I’m wondering how it will stack up against Fusion.

    Anybody know when to expect Parallels 4?

  3. I much rather take the 30 seconds to reboot into Windows. Yeah, you can’t run the Windows apps side-by-side with Mac apps, but I can only imagine limited need for that functionality. Besides, why would you need to run Windows except for games, anyway? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Switched to Fusion 2 from Parallels 3.x; been running Parallels 4 Beta 2, and it sucks compared to Fusion 2.

    Migration to Parallels Beta is horrible; migration from Parallels 3.x to Fusion 2 was simple and fast.

    Why do I run Winblows? I’m a webmaster and I have to see how badly Exploder mangles web pages & then ‘fix’ them to make Exploder’s crappy renderer do what Firefrox and Safari naturally do — conform to the HTML/www standards.

  5. I am on the private beta for Parallels 4 (I run XP on it), it looks pretty good and stacks up well against VMWare 2.0 which I also use (Vista). Both I have configured to do Visual Studio 08 development stuff and both do well. To date VMWare has had better performance due to its ability to address more processor cores. But it seems that with the release of Parallels 4 things will improve for them. And the UI of Parallels is still a lot better that VMWare for those who care about that stuff.

  6. I am considering installing XP Pro w/SP2 on my Mac for the purpose of playing games. That is the only reason why I would want to install Windows on my Macintosh.

    For me there is no reason to want to share files/folders between the two and even if I do, a USB storage stick works, I think, or even my network attached storage will do.

    So Boot Camp seems the better option and can I ask for MDN readers opinions?

    My Windows using friends, yes I do have some, recommend I ignore Vista and get XP Pro.

  7. Everyone’s talking about Windows here, but I use Fusion to run various Linuxes to try them out, and VMWare has had better support for Linuxes that Parallels, especially in USB device support, memory cards, USB network cards, etc.

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