Houston Chronicle: Monday’s update pushes Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac past VMWare’s Fusion 3

Run Windows on Mac OS X with no reboot!Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac’s initial release had a lot to recommend it, but it was quite buggy. It felt like a beta rather than finished software. By contrast, the most recent release of its top competitor, VMware Fusion 3, felt polished and finished. I decided to wait for an update to Parallels 5, which came on Monday,” Dwight Silverman reports for The Houston Chronicle.

“And boy, am I glad I did. Parallels 5 now is a much better product. In its ongoing game of leapfrog with VMware, Parallels has taken the lead,” Silverman reports.

“In terms of speed, with Aero enabled, Parallels is noticeably faster than Fusion in all its various modes — in a window, full screen, Coherence (in which Windows programs float free on the Mac desktop) and a hybrid mode called Crystal. Even on my iMac, which uses an older ATI Radeon 2600 HD graphics processor, Coherence running Aero is a remarkably smoother experience than VMware Fusion’s similar Unity mode,” Silverman reports. “VMware released its own update recently that improves its Unity/Aero performance in Fusion 3, but Parallels 5 still runs circles around it.”

Silverman reports, “At this point, if I am asked whether I prefer VMware Fusion 3 or Parallels 5 for running Windows on your Mac, I’d have to recommend the latter. But stay tuned. The way this competition is shaping up, that could change with the next updated build.”

Full review here.


  1. parallels 5 is great. The coherence feature is great. I was quite impressed on how much better experience Parallels 5 was over VMfusion 3. But everyone has their choice of cake, so don’t bash each other on which is better.

  2. I’d like to repeat this:

    Parallels is designed by people as tasteless as Microsoft. (Or almost) The thing puts shortcuts on your desktop, and two files in your Application folder, and places files all over your system. Even after uninstalling, there are still hidden files I find sometimes on my drive. It’s so called “helper” starts everytime you start your machine, and recreates the “Parallels” folder in your Documents folder in every profile, which is not something you can switch off.

    Faster maybe, but a complete mess nonetheless.

    VMWare all the way. Nicer, cleaner and easier.

  3. To encourage competition in this arena (and to make sure I always have the best available), I’ve purchased Parallels for my wife’s Mac and VMWare Fusion for mine. Both are good applications, allowing us to enter the world of Windows for those rare MS-only apps that we occasionally must run.

    We’re not heavy users for virtualization so I can’t pass judgement on the finer points. Both get the job done and both are much improved over their initial release.

  4. Question…

    I’m using winXP with Fusion 2.x, and have no ambitions whatsoever to use Vista or Win7. My question is: will Fusion 3.x make things run smoother or quicker running XP – or is the boost only felt when running the newer Windows environments?

  5. I have always felt that Parallels was faster than Fusion, but I absolutely HATE the way they try to integrate the guest OS in to Mac OS X. I only need it to run two or three apps and want the guest OS as sandboxed as possible but Parallels makes this extremely difficult.

    It sucks to right-click on a file in Mac OS X and under “Open with” be presented with a ton of Windows apps!

  6. Maybe you should try reading the text displayed on the intermittent windows during install, instead of simply pressing “Next”. Then you wouldn’t have this problem. I know I don’t.

    mw: RATE. It’s pathetic how people rate products based on their ignorance. sheesh.

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