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Head-to-Head Comparison Between Parallels and VMware Virtualization on the Mac

In the latest round of performance testing, MacTech takes a look at Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMware Fusion.  In the article, Head-to-Head: Parallels Desktop for Mac vs. VMware Fusion, MacTech said it performed more than 3500 tests on both single- and multi-processor desktop and mobile Mac models.  It also looked at both 32- and 64-bit performance of Microsoft Windows XP and Windows 7 as virtual guest operating systems.

But don't get this "test" confused with a product review of either virtualization platform.  Instead, MacTech says, "To be clear, this article is not a product review; it's a benchmarking analysis (although we were morally obligated to comment on some of the 3D graphics and games <g>). The article's purpose is to assess performance (including issues we found if something didn't work right), and not product features, user interface, etc... You should use feature and support information in conjunction with the below benchmarking results to make your product choice."

Having tried both virtualization programs, I can say that both are excellent products.  However with this latest round of deep testing from MacTech, they found that Parallels Desktop was the clear winner of these benchmark tests - running an average of nearly 30% faster than its competitor over the course of the entire test suite.  It writes:

"When we look at the major subgroups of our comprehensive test suite, Parallels is the clear winner running each group of tests 5-127% faster than VMware's solution. Overall, Parallels Desktop 5 runs 30% faster with Windows XP, and 43% faster with Windows 7, than VMware Fusion 3.0.1."

Parallels greatest gains seem to come from its improved graphics, gaming, and 3D performance.  Parallels also seemed to shine on a number of other speed tests such as with file and network I/O.  It appears as though for the moment, Parallels is taking better advantage of hardware acceleration where available.

When it comes to RAM in a virtual machine, the testing found that more is not always better.  It states: 

"Clearly, machines with more memory take longer to restore and that accounts for some of the differences (remember, we selected RAM configurations based on VMware Fusion's default). One thing to remember as a virtualization user is that if you are going in and out of a VM often, you may want to think about using less RAM, not more. In fact, you should just use as little as you need any way for the best experience under either virtualized environment. (We suggest 512MB to 1GB for most people.)"

Read the entire 8 page review to found out more,

Published Thursday, February 11, 2010 6:08 AM by David Marshall
Head-to-Head Comparison Between Parallels and VMware … | VirtualizationDir - Top Virtualization Providers, News and Resources - (Author's Link) - February 11, 2010 9:58 AM
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Head-to-Head Comparison – Parallels and VMware Virtualization on the Mac « Virtual Guru's Blog – Home of Virtualization Workshops - (Author's Link) - February 15, 2010 2:49 AM
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