Thursday, November 12, 2009

Parallels or Fusion continued

I have been switching between Parallels 5 and Fusion 3 over the last few days.    I'm not a geek so this is not a technical review of these products. I may end up deciding on the wrong one.

I need Windows at work so I've been testing these on Windows 7 public beta, an pretty early build 7100.   First of all I did a layman test using Windows Experience Index.

This is Fusion 3


This is Parallels 5


Parallels have a obvious win on graphics, I can feel that even I have not tried games or any fancy 3D business graphics. Having said this I didn't feel any slowness in graphic response when using Fusion.

Next is about memory usage, below is fusion 3


This is Parallels 5


I also looked at the Activity Monitor showing all processes I noticed that VMWare assigned a memory block of 2.35G with 25 threads to the guest OS whereas Parallels uses 217M with 35 threads. Other applications opened in Parallels have their separate processes and 'real memory' consumed. Which way is better I don't know.

Fusion 3 is native 64-bit as advertised while Parallels is sort of hybrid according to some information on the net.

Parallels is feature rich, my view, however for me I just don't need those fancy view features such as below.


I normally use a single window, full screen or 'use all displays in full screen', that's all. Talking about screen the 17 days trial copy I am using has a serious flaw which is that the screen would flicker from time to time and CPU load would spike to maximum for a second or two. That's pretty annoying if it happens in the middle of my typing.

[Edited: Parallels is certainly marginally superior than Fusion on graphics, e.g. it boots faster bringing me to network login screen in about 50 seconds, Fusion takes longer to boot and once I logged in there'll be 10~20 seconds of black screen. Desktop widgets are all placed on the wrong edge of the screen when boot up is done.]

Apart from Windows 7 I also tested them with Ubuntu 9.10, Parallels works well with the enhanced graphic supported, such as below, while Fusion 3 doesn't.



  1. I find your analysis very useful, as I'm testing Parallels 5.0 and Fusion 3.0, too.

    I'd like to perform the tests you did on my MBP 2.5GHz 3GBRAM.
    What software did you use to come up with the graphics in your post?


  2. Doing screen capture easily is one of the nice things running VM, I used screen capture available in OS X, i.e. 'command+shift+4' to capture a window of the screen from the Windows 7 then the image will be saved on my OS X desktop.

  3. Thanks. More to the point, what was the Windows program(s) that you ran under Windows 7 to generate the performance stats? Is is a standard Windows accessory?

  4. It's under 'Control Panel' then find 'Performance Information and Tools'. You could simply type 'experience index ...' at the search box after clicking the start button