Parallels Desktop, not VMware Fusion, is the best virtualization software for most Mac users

Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac is lets you seamlessly run Windows and Mac applications side-by-side

“If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of running Windows on your Mac, you’ve probably asked yourself which is the right virtualization software for you: Parallels Desktop for Mac or VMware Fusion,” John Brownlee reports for Cult of Mac. “Both have their vigorous defenders, but which one gives the best performance?”

“The guys over at MacTech have put together an incredibly throrough series of benchmarking tests, comprised of over three thousand tests,” Brownlee reports. “The result? A 9,200 word piece they are calling a treatise that — at least in my view — conclusively crowns Parallels as the king of virtualization software.”

Brownlee reports, “Like I said, it’s incredibly thorough, and while MacTech insists it isn’t a ‘product review,’ the benchmarks certainly make a compelling case that Parallels is the better product for most users. It’s also, unfortunately, the more expensive product, costing $79.99 compared to VMware Fusion’s $49.99 sticker price.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You get what you pay for, it would seem.

Advertisement: Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac – Run windows on your Mac – Faster

Related articles:
Parallels Desktop 8 updated with expanded support for Windows 8 – November 8, 2012
Macworld UK reviews Parallels Desktop 8.0: Does a slicker job than VMWare’s Fusion – September 20, 2012
Mossberg reviews Parallels Desktop 8: Works well; superior to VMWare Fusion – September 13, 2012
CNET reviews Parallels Desktop 8: New features put it above competitors – September 6, 2012
Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac now available – September 4, 2012


    1. I had problem after problem after problem with VirtualBox. I am always astounded when others say that it works, let alone that even comes close to the performance of even old version of VMware or Parallels.

  1. I’m sorry, I have both products. I bought Parralells based on a similar review last year, and then decided to try VMWare because if an introductory offer. I no longer use Parallels, it seems a lot mor intrusive to me and as far as performance, I’ve noticed no apparent edge. To be honest I have found that VMware draws Windows 7 aero view much quicker and accurately. I run them on a PowerBook Pro 2.6 ghz core 2 duo with 4 gig of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory. Running OS X 10.8.2.. This is my experience and like most things a lot depends on personal preference. Guess I just prefer VMware.

    1. Thanks for the info. I’d been hearing/reading lately that Parallels is better than VMWare. I use VMWare (I need to run windows one day on my MBP and just randomly selected Fusion without doing any comparison) and was worried that I had made a huge mistake. From what you are saying, it seems like there is not a big enough difference for me to put any effort into changing.

      1. I own both and clearly parallels is slightly faster. Aside from that I cannot give up the ability of creating a VMware on my Mac tweakinging the setitings to get things just right them moving it to my VMware vsphere server. I can’t do that as easy as I can with VMware fusion. Having said that if parallels came up with thier own enterprise class bare metal virtual server. I would take a serious look. Until then being able to build, test and then enterprise deploy to my clients VMware vsphere server wins. If the goal is to run windows on your Mac boot camp rocks. If you just need more scalability VMware is the choice.

        Nuff said

    2. I completely agree with Rougedog, I have used both and right now I am using VMware Fusion only because of a special discount I received. I haven’t noticed any speed “advantages” that Parallels offers and I am using VMware Fusion 4 which isn’t the latest version that is significantly faster.

  2. I must agree. I used VMware Fusion for two years. Extensively. I could fry an egg on my Santa Rosa MBP when running Windoze XP Schmo. The interface was clunky.

    When I upgraded to a new MBP two months ago, I decided to move to move to Parallels. There is simply no comparison. It runs Windoze 7 at near native speeds. Its interface and respect for Mac and OS-X conventions is amazing. I have found bugs with Convergence Mode, but in all respects. Parallels is far beyond VMware Fusions and dare I say it – a joy to use.

    Parallels wins hands-down.

  3. Parallels is awful. every time I shutdown a VM, the Parallels kernel driver brings down the whole machine, only non-hardware related crash I’ve seen in years. Combine that with constant ads, and it’s a pretty horrible experience. Will -never- recommend it again.

  4. I will never use Parallels again. I used it a few years ago and needed support. It was so bad that I will never use them again. VMWare might not be as good but they have a better support system.

  5. I’ve used Parallels and VMware Fusion, but my vote goes to VirtualBox. Can’t beat the price/performance ratio on that one! Price: Free. Performance: Just fine, thank you.

  6. To be honest I have expunged Windows completely from my Mac. I can’t stand the sight of it and can’t stand it polluting my Mac. I know it’s in a separate partition but still, the thought that Windows is somehow inhabiting the same hard drive as OS X repels me.

    Anyway to cut a long story short, I use Windows, if I have to, in its own separate netbook and have been much happier expelling it to a dusty corner of my office where the netbook lives.

  7. In our own tests, in our own facility, using the benchmarks that WE know to be the most important ones, VMware Fusion outperforms Parallels by a wide margin. And like some of the either comments here, Parallels support was ridiculously bad.

    And, Windows XP and Windows 7 run at near native speeds. Seed is never an issue.

  8. I have to echo other people’s comments here about Parallels support.

    Parallels has had a long-standing bug whereby after having used Parallels (and quit it) certain MacBook Pro models would eventually end up with a background Parallels process eating 100% CPU, slowing down your machine, and eating your battery. This often happened after waking from sleep. There was no easy way to fix the issue without resorting to using the CLI, and then the fix was temporary and usually resulted in you not being able to use Parallels again without rebooting OS X. This bug I believe existed from Parallels 4, maybe earlier. It was never fixed.

    I’ve no idea whether this bug has been fixed in Parallels 7. I’d be willing to bet that it hasn’t though. I’m certainly not going to pay for a fix for a serious bug that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

    If they were serious about support they’d have fixed this bug years ago.

    I’m also inclined to think that their tendency of so frequently demanding users pay for upgrades is poor, although VMware are nearly as bad in that respect.

  9. I use VMWare Fusion 5. I only need it for running a few various subtitle applications, MKVToolNix, some VOB Joiner and .ssa subs batch making application. It’s good enough for the software I use and gives me no problems whatsoever. I might try Virtual Box and see how that is.

  10. It’s odd to see a community that typically eschews comparisons based primarily on performance jump straight to the “it’s faster” argument.

    I understand there are many use cases but I would typically place priority on stability and data integrity, not performance. While I don’t have statistics to back up a claim for VMWare Fusion, the company at least has significant corporate heritage.

  11. I was so unhappy with Parallels that I switched to VMWare. After many problems with both running hot, slowly, or not at all, I moved onto Oracle’s free software called VirtualBox. It has regular, free updates and meets my needs.

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