TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Head-to-Head: Parallels Desktop for Mac vs. VMware Fusion

Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 01
Column Tag: Virtualization

Head-to-Head: Parallels Desktop for Mac vs. VMware Fusion

How do VMware Fusion 3 and Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac compare?

By Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher

Start | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

File and Network IO Tests

One of the common problems with File and Network IO Tests is caching. In fact, it's common for benchmarkers to think they are avoiding caching when in fact, they aren't. In the case of File and Network IO tests, there are two types of caching: at the host OS, and the guest OS. Furthermore, sometimes the caching can appear to happen even after restarts of both the host and guest OS.

The data set we used for testing was 4 files adding up to a total of 3.7GB. While avoiding caching, the same data files were used for all tests on all machines to keep things completely consistent. The benefit to the same set of files being used for all the copies is that you can see the differences between the different methods of copying. (Most of which were in the same relative time frame, except for copying to a USB Flash Drive. See the chart.)

Networking was done via the default NAT setup in both virtualized environments, and the defaults for disk setup for each application were used as well.

On the duplicate files, VMware performed significantly faster on the file copy after the copies had been done more than once (even with a full host and guest OS restart in between), sometimes even beating Parallels Desktop 5. However, since the test represents a more real world experience, the measurements are testing "Adam" tests - in other words, ones that are only done once and avoid caching.

Here were the results:

  • File copy - duplicate on local virtual hard drive

    • XP: Parallels Desktop 33.7% faster (54.2 seconds faster, fastest: 106.73 seconds)

    • Windows 7: Parallels Desktop 40.5% faster (63.1 seconds faster, fastest: 92.81 seconds)

  • File copy - to local Mac hard drive

    • XP: Parallels Desktop 9.3% faster (9.9 seconds faster, fastest: 96.94 seconds)

    • Windows 7: Parallels Desktop 32.3% faster (48.3 seconds faster, fastest: 101.22 seconds)

  • File copy - from local Mac hard drive

    • XP: Parallels Desktop 44% faster (80.3 seconds faster, fastest: 102.37 seconds)

    • Windows 7: Parallels Desktop 33.3% faster (51.6 seconds faster, fastest: 103.46 seconds)

  • File copy - to LAN Server

    • XP: Parallels Desktop 15.4% faster (43.5 seconds faster, fastest: 240 seconds)

    • Windows 7: Parallels Desktop 18.9% faster (47.9 seconds faster, fastest: 205.17 seconds)

  • File copy - from LAN Server

    • XP: Parallels Desktop 6.3% faster (12.9 seconds faster, fastest: 191.68 seconds)

    • Windows 7: Parallels Desktop 6.6% faster (10.2 seconds faster, fastest: 143.37 seconds)

  • File copy - to USB Flash Drive

    • XP: Parallels Desktop 8.9% faster (66.3 seconds faster, fastest: 679.31 seconds)

    • Windows 7: Parallels Desktop 3.6% faster (26.3 seconds faster, fastest: 703.85 seconds)

  • File copy - from USB Flash Drive

    • XP: Parallels Desktop 14.6% faster (35.1 seconds faster, fastest: 205.64 seconds)

    • Windows 7: Parallels Desktop 6.3% faster (12.4 seconds faster, fastest: 183.75 seconds)

Or shown much better on a graph, it looks like this:

Figure 11: Virtual Machine File and Network I/O Performance

3D and HD Graphics Tests

When we first started out to test 3D and HD Graphics, we were looking for ways to measure in a benchmark setting. What we found were a couple of things. First, in some cases, the performance on both platforms was so good; there was nothing that we could measure. Second, the common metric, frames per second, can be a poor method for measuring unless you have reliable and repeatable ways to measure this metric. Let's look at each case to explain.


3DMark06 by FutureMark is a globally recognized and comparable measurement of the 3D performance. Gamers use 3DMark as way to test their machines and tweak them for performance. See

There are 3 main aggregate scores. The most important of which is the 3DMark score. In addition, SM2.0 Score measures 3D ShaderModel 2.0 performance, and the HDR/SM3.0 Score measures the 3D ShaderModel 3.0 & HDR performance.

Clearly, if you are going to play games and be serious about it, then running in BootCamp is your best choice. However, Parallels Desktop is fairly close and of course, you don't have to reboot with a virtualization solution. VMware Fusion 3 did ok, and certainly was improved over VMware Fusion 2, but in 3DMark06 and other testing, there were places where frames were not fully rendered, or the screen simply flashed black at times. See the examples of a Snow Scene in 3DMark's "Deep Freeze" tests.

Figure 12: Deep Freeze Scene, Parallels Desktop

Figure 13: Deep Freeze Scene, VMware Fusion

As for VMware Fusion running 3DMark06 on the MacBook and MacBook Pro under Windows 7, it simply doesn't work for some of the tests. We queried both FutureMark and VMware tech support and confirmed this. Furthermore, under Windows 7 (both 32-bit and 64-bit) running with two virtual CPUs, 3DMark06 crashes (BSoD) under VMware Fusion. Interestingly, it works just fine with one virtual CPU on the exact same VM. Parallels Desktop had no issues in these configurations.

The MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro were the clear winners here. The extra graphics hardware horsepower are noticeably faster (e.g., used) in both virtualization solutions.

The results for 3DMark06 vary greatly by the hardware they are on because of the graphics hardware of each machine. As such, the best way to look at these is on charts. If you'd like to see the detailed results for each model, see the full spreadsheet with collected data points. This speed chart will give you an idea of some of the things that VMware Fusion did well in, and the overwhelming winner that Parallels Desktop is in this graphics competition.

Figure 14 (renumber): Details from 3DMark06 Suite of Tests

Start | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Suitcase Fusion 6 17.3.0 - Font manageme...
Suitcase Fusion 6 is the creative professional's font manager. Every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization... Read more
Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.2 - Multilingual wo...
Nisus Writer Pro is a powerful multilingual word processor, similar to its entry level products, but brings new features such as table of contents, indexing, bookmarks, widow and orphan control,... Read more
calibre 2.40.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Vivaldi - An advanced browser...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
OmniPlan 3.0 - Robust project management...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Yummy FTP 1.11 - FTP/SFTP/FTPS client fo...
Yummy FTP is an FTP + SFTP + FTPS file transfer client which focuses on speed, reliability and productivity. Whether you need to transfer a few files or a few thousand, schedule automatic backups, or... Read more
Tweetbot 2.1 - Popular Twitter client. (...
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
MacPilot 8.0 - Enable over 1,200 hidden...
MacPilot gives you the power of UNIX and the simplicity of Macintosh, which means a phenomenal amount of untapped power in your hands! Use MacPilot to unlock over 1,200 features, and access them all... Read more
Typinator 6.7 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 6.2 - Import, develop, a...
Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more

Balloony Land offers a fresh twist on th...
Balloony Land by Palringo offers a fresh twist on the match three genre and is out now on iOS and Android. First-off, you'll be popping balloons instead of crushing candy and the balloons will float up and fill the empty spaces instead of dropping... | Read more »
Graphic - vector illustration and design...
Graphic - vector illustration and design 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Autodesk Graphic is a powerful full-featured vector drawing and illustration application right in... | Read more »
Sago Mini Babies (Education)
Sago Mini Babies 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Introducing the Sago Mini babies. Boys and girls love caring for these adorable characters. Feed Robin her favorite mush... | Read more »
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip (H...
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip 1.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Healthcare & Fitness Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Super Sharp (Games)
Super Sharp 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Your finger has never been so sharp! Cut with skill to complete the 120 ingenious physics levels of Super Sharp and become a cut... | Read more »
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone...
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Assembly is the easiest most powerful design tool on the App Store. Create anything you can... | Read more »
Dub Dash (Games)
Dub Dash 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ARE YOU READY FOR THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE? UNIQUE SYMBIOSIS OF MUSIC AND GRAPHICS | Read more »
Leave Me Alone (Games)
Leave Me Alone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 33% off launch sale!!! Somewhere between the 1980s and 1990s there exists a world that never was. A world of skatepunks,... | Read more »
YAMGUN (Games)
YAMGUN 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The invasion has begun! Protect the walls of the citadel against waves of enemies! But watch out, you will soon run out of ammo...... | Read more »
Chesh (Games)
Chesh 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It’s like chess, only not at all. ***40% off for a limited time to celebrate our launch!*** Chesh is a game of skill, strategy, luck,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

TP-LINK Next-Gen Routers Support a Large Numb...
TP-LINK, specialists in consumer and business networking products, have announced the availability of Archer C2600, the company’s next-generation router featuring wireless AC, multi-user MIMO, and 4-... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Save up to $350 with Apple refurbished iMacs
Apple has Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $350 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $1949 $350 off MSRP - 27... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2818.99, $181 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3699... Read more
5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP, fre...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. They have the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149, $150 off MSRP... Read more
Twelve South Redesigns BookArc For Today’s Sm...
Twelve South has announced a redesigned version of their very first product, BookArc for MacBook. Tailored specifically for the newest generation of MacBooks, BookArc holds the new, smaller Apple... Read more
Phone 6s Tips & Tricks – Tips Book For iP...
Poole, United Kingdom based Tap Guides Ltd. has announced the release and immediate availability of iPhone 6s Tips & Tricks, an in-depth eBook available in the iBookstore that’s priced just $2.99... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $994,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $994.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $105 off MSRP. Price valid... Read more
Is The iPad Pro Really A Serious Laptop Repla...
Probably not, at least for productive professionals and other power users. Steve Jobs declared that we’d entered the “post-PC Era” with the advent of the original iPad in 2010, a phrase we don’t hear... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Desktop Analyst - KDS Staffing (Unit...
…work with some of the brightest engineers. Job Description Title: Apple Desktop AnalystPosition Type: Full-time PermanentLocation: White Plains, NYHot Points:Depth of Read more
*Apple* Retail Online, Customer Experience R...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail's Online Store sells Apple products to customers around the world. In addition to selling Apple products with unique services such Read more
Frameworks Engineer, *Apple* Watch - Apple...
**Job Summary** Join the team that is shaping the future of software development for Apple Watch! As a software engineer on the Apple Watch Frameworks team you will Read more
Senior Manager, Global Direct Marketing *App...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail is looking for an experienced Direct Marketing Leader to join its Marketing team. This position will take a leadership role in creating Read more
*Apple* Online Store Expansion - Apple (Unit...
**Job Summary** The Online Apple Store is seeking a person to lead its expansion into new countries. Based in Cupertino, CA, this person will develop and maintain an Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.