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

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 http://www.futuremark.com/

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

 
AAPL
$105.03
Apple Inc.
+0.20
MSFT
$46.01
Microsoft Corpora
+0.99
GOOG
$538.97
Google Inc.
-5.01

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OS X Server 4.0 - For OS X 10.10 Yosemit...
Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, develop software, host your own website, publish wikis, configure Mac, iPhone,... Read more
TotalFinder 1.6.12 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Tab-based... Read more
BusyCal 2.6.3 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. BusyCal's unique... Read more
calibre 2.7 - Complete e-library managem...
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... Read more
Skitch 2.7.3 - Take screenshots, annotat...
With Skitch, taking, annotating, and sharing screenshots or images is as fun as it is simple.Communicate and collaborate with images using Skitch and its intuitive, engaging drawing and annotating... Read more
Delicious Library 3.3.2 - Import, browse...
Delicious Library allows you to import, browse, and share all your books, movies, music, and video games with Delicious Library. Run your very own library from your home or office using our... Read more
Art Text 2.4.8 - Create high quality hea...
Art Text is an OS X application for creating high quality textual graphics, headings, logos, icons, Web site elements, and buttons. Thanks to multi-layer support, creating complex graphics is no... Read more
Live Interior 3D Pro 2.9.6 - Powerful an...
Live Interior 3D Pro is a powerful yet very intuitive interior designing application. View Video Tutorials It has every feature of Live Interior 3D Standard, plus some exclusive ones: Create multi... Read more
The Hit List 1.1.7 - Advanced reminder a...
The Hit List manages the daily chaos of your modern life. It's easy to learn - it's as easy as making lists. And it's powerful enough to let you plan, then forget, then act when the time is right.... Read more
jAlbum Pro 12.2.4 - Organize your digita...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for D...
Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for Developers Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Rami Ismail, Chief Executive of Business and Development at indie game studio | Read more »
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets Ne...
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets New Update – Say That Three Times Fast Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Rival Stars Basketball Review
Rival Stars Basketball Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RESTRICTIVE BUT FUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Rival Stars Basketball is a fun mixture of basketball and card collecting but its... | Read more »
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen o...
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen of Their Games Free For This Weekend Only Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
I Am Dolphin Review
I Am Dolphin Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEARLY FIN-TASTICUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Swim around and eat nearly everything that moves in I Am Dolphin, a fun Ecco-ish kind of game... | Read more »
nPlayer looks to be the ultimate choice...
Developed by Newin Inc, nPlayer may seem like your standard video player – but is aiming to be the best in its field by providing high quality video play performance and support for a huge number of video formats and codecs. User reviews include... | Read more »
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Wi...
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CLASSY STORYTELLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch is a sterling... | Read more »
A Few Days Left (Games)
A Few Days Left 1.01 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: Screenshots are in compliance to App Store's 4+ age rating! Please see App Preview for real game play! **Important: Make... | Read more »
Toca Boo (Education)
Toca Boo 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: BOO! Did I scare you!? My name is Bonnie and my family loves to spook! Do you want to scare them back? Follow me and I'll... | Read more »
Intuon (Games)
Intuon 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Join the battle with your intuition in a new hardcore game Intuon! How well do you trust your intuition? Can you find a needle in a... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Nimbus Note Cross=Platform Notes Utility
Nimbus Note will make sure you never forget or lose your valuable data again. Create and edit notes, save web pages, screenshots and any other type of data – and share it all with your friends and... Read more
NewerTech’s Snuglet Makes MagSafe 2 Power Con...
NewerTech has introduced the Snuglet, a precision-manufactured ring designed to sit inside your MagSafe 2 connector port, providing a more snug fit to prevent your power cable from unintentional... Read more
Apple Planning To Sacrifice Gross Margins To...
Digitimes Research’s Jim Hsiao says its analysts believe Apple is planning to sacrifice its gross margins to save its tablet business, which has recently fallen into decline. They project that Apple’... Read more
Who’s On Now? – First Instant-Connect Search...
It’s nighttime and your car has broken down on the side of the highway. You need a tow truck right away, so you open an app on your iPhone, search for the closest tow truck and send an instant... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $949,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $949.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $150 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $125 on Retina MacBook Pros
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available sta...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for up to $60 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $255... Read more
Textilus New Word, Notes and PDF Processor fo...
Textilus is new word-crunching, notes, and PDF processor designed exclusively for the iPad. I haven’t had time to thoroughly check it out yet, but it looks great and early reviews are positive.... Read more
WD My Passport Pro Bus-Powered Thunderbolt RA...
WD’s My Passport Pro RAID solution is powered by an integrated Thunderbolt cable for true portability and speeds as high as 233 MB/s. HighlightsOverviewSpecifications Transfer, Back Up And Edit In... Read more
Save with Best Buy’s College Student Deals
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through November 1st. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.