Upgrade or not?  Parallels Desktop 5 vs. 4 and VMware Fusion 2 vs. 3

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac “One of the most frequent questions we’ve been getting recently is ‘Should I upgrade to Parallels Desktop 5?’ We decided to put Parallels Desktop 5 to the test and compare it to Parallels Desktop 4, the previous version,” Neil Ticktin reports for MacTech.

“The test was done on the current model MacBook Pro. Specifically, the MacBook Pro 15 inch 2.66GHz, with 4GB of RAM, 320GB 5400RPM hard drive, and the dual graphics processor configuration (NVIDIA 9400M + 9600M GT),” Ticktin reports. “The test was performed on Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2 with all the current updates from Apple applied. Parallels Desktop 4 Build 4.0.3848, and Parallels Desktop 5 Build 5.0.9220.”

Ticktin reports, “The difference in graphics performance between Parallels Desktop 4 and Parallels Desktop 5 is stunning. The first thought that came to everyone’s mind when seeing the two versions perform side by side was ‘Wow … simply wow.’ In answer the question ‘Should I upgrade to Parallels Desktop 5?’ In short, the answer is a resounding yes.”

Full article, with benchmarks, here.

In a sister article, Ticktin compares VMware Fusion 3 vs. 2 and reports, “We decided to put VMware Fusion 3 to the test and compare it to VMware Fusion 2, the previous version.

“The test was done on the current model MacBook Pro. Specifically, the MacBook Pro 15 inch 2.66GHz, with 4GB of RAM, 320GB 5400RPM hard drive, and the dual graphics processor configuration (NVIDIA 9400M + 9600M GT),” Ticktin reports. “The test was performed on Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2 with all the current updates from Apple applied. VMware Fusion 2.0.6, and VMware Fusion 3.0.1.”

Ticktin reports, “In answer the question ‘Should I upgrade to VMware Fusion 3?’ In short, the answer is a resounding yes. If for no other reason than the disk footprint, and the significant speed increases in launching the virtual machine and File IO, you should.”

Full article, with benchmarks, here.

21 Comments

  1. I switched to Fusion after using Parallels since it first came out. While I haven’t tried Parallels 5 I am supremely impressed with the speed and ease of use with Fusion. Plus it was much easier to set up my Student Discount with VMware. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. I use Fusion 3 and am quite pleased. My Aunt needed to run an old Windows education program on her shiny new MacBook Pro, so I setup a Windows XP VM on VirtualBox. I was quite impressed. Try VirtualBox first and see if you like it. If you need more horsepower or something more professional grade, move up to Fusion.

  3. VMWare Fusion, all the way. Will never ever use Parallels ever again. Parallels causes system freezes, kernel panics, and their tech support is NONEXISTENT! The customer support at Parallels is the WORST! On the other hand, VMWare Fusion is an outstanding product that works reliably, and their customer service is fantastic! Go VMWare Fusion!!

  4. the answer could be no. If you are using an older version of Windows that doesn’t use the latest graphics drivers or your graphics hardware is older, then Parallels 5 works exactly the same as Parallels 4.

    I run W2K on a iMac Core Duo. No improvement at all.

  5. I’ve tried out Fusion 3 and Parallels 5, and without a question Parallels kicks VMWare in the nuts when it comes to 3D game performance. I’m sure Fusion has its own pluses, but I’m more interested in a couple older games that don’t play well in Crossover, and under Parallels 5, the performance was near-native. Under Fusion… not even close.

    What it boils down to is what you intend to use it all for. Both have free trials, so it’s easy to decide for oneself.

  6. It’s all very nice to compare Parallels 4 to Parallels 5, and Fusion 2 to Fusion 3, but what if I am using Fusion 2 and am curious whether I should switch either Fusion 3 OR Parallels 5? HMMMM???? Can you please tell us about THAT?!

    I use my vm primarily to run Adobe FrameMaker, which is no longer available for the Mac, alas. My vm is running WinXP.

    And interestingly, I find that I like the Shift-Delete (instant, selective, permanent delete) function in Windows more than I like the all-or-nothing approach of the Trash function in Mac, so sometimes I use my Windows just for housekeeping. Unless there’s something about Trash that I haven’t learned yet. I switched to Mac in early 2007.

  7. I had Parallels 3 and found that it had problems. I switched to VMware 2. It was easy and it worked. I upgraded to VMware three and it was also easy. A relatively simple program as well. Since I had Parallels on my other computer, I upgraded to 5 and all the previous problems went away and am impressed by its speed.

    In other words, both are now good. One is simpler than the other.

    Windoze still sucks though!!!!

  8. I run W7 under parallels 5. At first it worked as advertised but now my system freezes almost every time I launch W7. I will do a W7 reinstall soon and see if that helps. I might have to look at VMWare again.

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