Parallels 3.0. Build 5060 (Beta) Vs. Fusion 1.0 Final

Discussion in 'Windows Guest OS Discussion' started by fredtheedit, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. fredtheedit


    Review: Parallels 3.0. Build 5060 (Beta) Vs. Fusion 1.0 Final.

    Hardware Used: June 2007 LED Backlit Mac Book Pro 15 Inch 2.2 Ghz 4 Gig Of Ram.

    I have been a long time user of Parallels since its incarnation to the Mac platform. Fusion then arrived and many excited people saying its stable and its performance is awesome. So I was curious. Here is what I found out.

    I used the Fusion product to see what was so different and the only thing I have to say is disk and video performance are great and yes my Mac seems to breathe easier because it’s not pushed hard with consistent CPU usage especially being idle but to me even with that said it still doesn’t warrant me to jump ship from using the Parallels product.

    For me Parallels feels better with all of its features and it has so much more to offer like “Smart Select†and “Coherenceâ€. These features are great and solid. Unity feels like a cumbersome way to use windows integrated with OSX. I don’t like the floating panel in Fusion when using “Unity†and forcing the task bar to disappear without my preference for it to remain made me feel like wow, no control here. At least Parallels keeps in mind that folks want control over their software whether or not they want a feature turned on or off. What happened at VM Ware didn’t you know not everybody likes vanilla forced down their throat?

    The Fusion file sharing feature to me is sub par compared to Parallels. In Fusion you better be a tech or be very computer savvy to enable the sharing feature and let alone find where the actual sharing folder is on your XP partition so you can even share files between your Mac and Windows setup. Parallels makes sure that it covers the entire basis of ease of use and makes sharing anything Windows with your Mac easy and smooth as pie with the inclusion of the shared folder icon on the desktop of your Windows virtual machine. You could even choose to shut off the feature via the Parallels tools if you like.

    When it comes to the Audio side of things Fusion kept in pops and clicks and it became annoying. Audio needs improvement. Parallels always shined with this, even when it came to recording in my experience. Pro Audio always ended up great on Parallels. I just hope one day they will totally allow for Midi input then it will RULE! Fusion actually let me use my Midi Keyboard via USB. Parallels will make it better and soon Fusion will be like huh??

    The 2D Video in Fusion really shined though. The video was smooth and extremely responsive. Viewing everything from DVD movies, flash videos, windows media and quick time looked so good and smooth. That is the downside to Parallels. When playing video you get like these jerky slices when there is any kind of action involved. Hopefully, the Parallels team will put in place a much better 2D driver to make things so much better when it comes to video play back. I don’t use either VM solution for 3D video or gaming so sorry I can’t comment on that.

    Networking on Fusion was good like internet surfing. I think Parallels feels faster overall. Downloading and web pages snapped in rather quickly using Parallels. Again Parallels is so much better when sharing files with the Mac rather than Fusion. I think Fusion needs to revise what they are doing and look it how Parallels keeps the customer in mind when it comes to ease of use.

    CD / DVD Rom access on Fusion felt SUPER SLOW!!! On Parallels it is super fast and smooth. Copying files was like murder on wait time using Fusion. Weird because Parallels was super responsive using the same hardware.

    USB on Fusion felt more stable and most things worked great. Parallels some how gets slower when USB is turned on. Hopefully this will be improved.

    Using third party apps like “Virtue Desktop†or “Desktop Manger†software to flip your screen so you can use full screen setups with your virtual machine and your Mac on Fusion just didn’t work. It really sucked big time if you ask me. It would always reset the window from full screen to single windowed screen in Fusion. In Parallels it just works and works awesome too!! Never a problem there.

    Allocating up to 3.5 gigs of memory in Fusion ruled! Allocating two virtual processors is great too. Parallels says, “This is coming†so, Fusion will be again like huh?

    My experience with Parallels is great thus so far. Yes sometimes there are these bugs that rear their ugly heads but all in all Parallels is shaping up to be great. It’s all in time and Fusion may have better performance and other little things about it this time around but it feels dated and not so integrated with Mac OSX like Parallels does. That’s just my take on it. I feel comfortable with Parallels and it has been great to me on My 2.0 ghz Mac Book and 2.2 ghz Mac Book Pro. I prefer it because it has many great features and feels like they are going on the right track.

    Parallels has gotten a lot of heat lately with the inclusion of all these features not working up to par but man, if you were using “Virtual PC†from Connextix (Now a Microsoft abandon ware product) back in the day you would understand how Parallels is such a welcome!!!! You have no idea how crappy Virtual PC was and super SLOW and painful to use back then and yet people used it on Power PC based platforms. Back then it was all about how fast can we get it you know.

    Today we have near native speeds and something we couldn’t ever dream of. Maybe Parallels hasn’t delivered perfectly and maybe they push cool new technology in their product a little too fast but you know something? They provide us with a solution that is cool and better than just having one operating system running. Hopefully in time they will offer their solution with all the bugs worked out. Hey, it sure beats buying a real PC at a few hundred bucks. At least you’re running a cool virtual PC & Linux Box on your Mac for $80.00. Think about it.

    Many of you may say or think, this guy is a fan boy. Think what you want but I know that I am sticking with this product because to me it’s growing and moving towards greatness even with all of its quarks. It has never failed me. Fusion has to play catch up and even when they do finally catch up Parallels will have blossomed into the superior platform of virtualization solutions.

    Please share your experience. Thanks for reading.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2007
  2. mechcon


    Hahahaha I did a report at work too! not as hardcore as that thread, well done dude!
  3. whytyger


  4. iFrodo


    The explanation is:

    "One of the primary reasons why Fusion is faster here is that it supports up to two CPU cores"

    This comparison is to see how the VMs performs at their best, so CNet used 2 CPU core for the Fusion VM, while in Parallels there was only one CPU core used (as parallel doesn't support for more yet).

    A fair VM comparison would have been to put the same exact configuration, including at CPU cores level. I'm not sure that there would be a big difference between Fusion 1.0 with 1 CPU core and Parallels 3.0.
  5. fredtheedit



    I saw those things too but even with all that said my particular experience has been solid and responsive. Sure, I can agree that Parallels has many quarks and things that need attention but in my experience with the product against the competitor VMWare Fusion shows me that Parallels is a better product performing most of its functions well and there are other updates to follow through and bug fixes that will make this product eventually shine. Its most unfortunate that this product is running into the snags it has thus so far but in time things will pan out and the Parallels solution will be a great asset indeed to the Mac / Win community.

    I believe I was fair in my comparison of Fusion and Parallels and never denied that Parallels suffers certain ailments with its product but in all fairness Parallels to me is still a better product and when its all said and done will shape up to be what it was meant to be and that is a superior virtualization product overall.

    VMWare has done a nice job on their end, the software is stable and runs well but its first release is behind what Parallels is introducing. They seem to be the "Microsoft" Vs. "Apple" theme these days and take into account that they didn't innovate on this platform via the Mac. Parallels did this first with this type of solution on the Mac. At the very least if it wasn't for this team producing this product do you even seriously think VM Ware would of even jumped on the band wagon? Really, think about it. They so could of and didn't until Parallels took a stab at it and now the end result is this Fusion and Parallels choice.

    Seems like VMWare is taking notes from them and trying to implement the technology better. I don't know what the future holds for Parallels but hopefully it will be a much more robust and positive one at that. Besides, every persons experience varies here. I have seen positive situations and negative ones regarding the many folks using Parallels but in the end its about choice and what you choose will be what you use to be as productive as you need to be.

    Both products are good but for me at this time Parallels wins because of my real world usage results and all of its adjustable useful features that give me my great work flow.

    Consider what "iFrodo" posted on this thread as well. Those CNET tests also weren't fair.

    In time we will see what product will finally be the ultimate choice for features and usage.

    Thanks for your reply.
    Freddy " The Edit" Rivera
    "Music Evolved"
    "Trek Energized"
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2007
  6. jackybe67

    jackybe67 Kilo Poster

    Great review.

    Im a big parallels fan and i'm sure they will surprise us in next updates.....
  7. itsdapead


    Glib response: Looks like you should always back up your virtual machines before an upgrade... :)

    Seriously - Parallels has evolved quickly, they've pushed out new versions rapidly in order to steal a march on VMware - actively encouraging users to try pit beta versions - and stability has been an issue. VMWare have (and can afford to be) more conservative

    Its also clear that, in at least some cases, people have had a bad experience with Parallels' support.

    Trouble is, until/unless someone does a long-term, well-resourced, impartial test of Parallels vs. Fusion its very hard to get a realistic picture of whether or not Fusion is (as claimed by some) more reliable. "Evidence" is not the plural of "Anecdote". It will also be interesting to see how well VMWare's halo holds up now that they are actually selling a product.

    If you want to use a VM for cpu-intensive work with multi-core aware applications then Fusion's dual core support is going to make a big difference. Note the single-tasking example shows no significant difference between Fusion and Parallels; also note that they're using an 8-core Mac Pro - so there are plenty of cores to go around. On a 2-core machine , with the VM competing with OSX for the same two cores the advantage may not be so great. Personally, if I were doing some serious rendering work I'd use OSX native tools if poss. and if not, would use BootCamp - both of which would be far faster than any VM solution.

    Personally, I need Windows for things like checking my websites in IE, using MS Office for the odd document that doesn't open on the Mac, running Xara Xtreme (nothing as good on the Mac for vector graphics) and reading/writing NTFS format drives.

    For these, Parallels' tighter integration with OSX is far more important/useful than the extra performance.

    Couple of "killer" Parallels features:
    1. Plug in an NTFS drive while a windows VM is running and it appears - read/write on the OSX desktop.
    2. "Unity" in Fusion doesn't support dual monitors yet - "Coherence" does. Far more useful than drop-shadows and Expose support!
    3. Snapshots in Fusion are crippled (maybe so they can launch a premium version, like VMWare Workstation, later?) - only one, unnamed snapshot at a time. Parallels gives multiple, named snapshots.

    Some other issues are mixed:

    Fusion's linux tools include file sharing. Also, popular distros like Fedora 7 install straight off - on Parallels you usually have to faff about to get them working, remove corrupted startup/shutdown screens etc.
    ...on the other hand, there are other ways of sharing files that work in Parallels, and when you do install Parallels' linux graphics driver it dynamically resizes the Linux desktop to exactly fit the VM window, which is much nicer than Fusion (which flicks between a few pre-set screen sizes).

    I tried an "old" Windows game - Freelancer - on both. In Parallels, the startup splash screens and intro video failed to appear, but after that the main game (and cut scenes) were perfectly playable (bar a bit of dodgy rendering in some cut scenes). In fusion, the startup stuff and video played perfectly - but when the game proper started, the mouse didn't work. Anecdote, not evidence, of course - but Parallels wins that one.

    So, I don't think its a no-brain decision either way. Since I haven't had any terrible problems with Parallels (a suspended Windows session sometimes hangs on resume) and haven't needed to call on their their legendary support, I'm inclined to stick with them for a while longer.
  8. whytyger


    So, I don't think its a no-brain decision either way.

    Amen. And that's what makes a horse race. It's rather silly (though apparently gratifying to some) at this point to predict what either product will ultimately become, or the role it will occupy in the marketplace, especially when one is so far from the actual development or decision making process.

    Parallels has come dangerously close to self-destructing as a product and a company on several occasions through poor communication, sloppy coding and excessive risk taking; Fusion is playing it so safe they may be left in the weeds. But these are very young products in an emerging market. I think it's fun to see what will happen, and it's clear that they are competing valiantly against each other. We all benefit from this, just as we do from any real competition for our dollars as consumers and users.
  9. MarkHolbrook


    This is really the main reason in my opinion that Parallels is losing a few users here and there. Support, crappy update policy, risk taking, you said it all. But support is the real key.

    I think that many of the people that defected would still be here if Parallels acknowledged their issues in a timely fashion EVEN IF they didn't have a fix.

    I worked support back in the 80's for a new software product and it was hell... Many times people would call up literally screaming in my ear. But I found that most of these people simply need an acknowledgment. If I could tell them, "We've got your issue on the list... I'll keep you posted when we are close to a fix" they ALL calmed down and usually said, "er great... I'll be waiting!"

    Parallels has burned bridges through horrible support.

    Like the above I believe that VMWare versus Parallels is a GREAT thing. I mean how can we users lose? VMWare seems to have the edge in support and they are probably better at VM technology (hence the smoother portions of their code). Parallels spent alot of time (as was said) putting in bells and whistles. Many good ones at that. VMWare can easily add those and then it will be quite a race.

  10. MarkHolbrook


    With respect to the first item, the VM when used as a file on MacOS (in comparison to bootcamp partition) is just that... A file. ANY FILE can be corrupted for a multitude of reasons.

    We really can't be sure that it was Parallels 3.0 that trashed the VM. Let me give you a personal example:

    I had installed 3.0, everything was fine for several weeks then of course JUST BEFORE a trip I allowed Windows XP to auto-install several updates. It tried to restart and hung. I let it sit a very long time, finally I stopped the VM in Parallels knowing this was "risky". I then tried to restart it... TONS of errors, it would "flip the page" like it was going to boot, sit there about a minute not doing anything then BSOD.

    I restored my VM image from my recent back up and everything was fine. I repeated the process of installing the Windows updates, everything was fine.

    What caused the problem above? I have no idea... I don't think it was Parallels directly. IE some flaky code in Parallels. It could have been some very complex incompatibility.

    Trust me... these exist in Windows. I deal a fair amount with embedded XP. What a nightmare. If you look at the embedded XP news feed you'll see article after article where some obscure registry tweak fixes some strange problem.

    As far as the performance goes, I do think Fusion is faster. I tried to install Vista Ultimate in Parallels and it felt boggy. I installed the same version in Fusion and it is very usable. I wish it were faster but I've heard that Vista is an overbloated POS in itself.

  11. David5000


    I also think that if Parallels had the same level of support that VMWare does--just the same quality of answering questions and solving problems on the Forum that Pat Lee and others from VMWare provide--there would be many VMWare users who would have defected to Parallels long ago, putting a sizable dent in VMWare's market share. Why Parallels does not realize this is beyond me.

    Or, sadly, perhaps they do realize it and in fact think they are actually making progress in that direction, as they so often proclaim here with statements like, "We're improving our support" and "You'll see an improvement in our support soon," while it is obvious to anyone (except apparently Parallels) that their support is still vastly inferior to VMWare's.

  12. MarkHolbrook


    Vastly inferior seems 90% of the time to equal "non-existent".

    I've never paid for support with Parallels but I've read the threads on people that did and got zip.

    I wonder if a few of us dedicated Parallels users should start our own support database? Without Parallels official support we would be severely hindered but we could still do a MUCH better job of answering questions and providing possible solutions than they are.
  13. Uezi


    iFrodo, I think the basic concept of using 2 cores compared to 1 core is "fair": It's what fusion can do, otherwise they should have left out the "Quake 4" test to be "fair" too.
    They compared the products and yes, one runs 2 cores but no quake the other product utilizes only one core but runs quake...

    Nevertheless, the cnet-"review" is maybe the most horrible review of a product i've seen in my entire career in computer systems and software development.

    They made these two BIG mistakes:
    1. You don't run these kinds of tests on the highend system like a "8 core Mac Pro"; The most users use 2 cores in their iMacs, and Mac Book (Pros)... Only a few guys have the 4- and 8-cores and they surely could access an other "windows" system for non-mac stuff. How can I compare a result of a 8-core pro test with my mac book ?
    2. If you use an 8-core Mac Pro you should have MORE then 2GB of RAM !!!! If you don't have at least a Gig per core, the performance you get out of the cpu is absolutley lousy ! (You don't want to test how OS X does handle memory transfer performance)

    - Peter
  14. itsdapead


    Its not so much unfair as pointless - using an 8-core Mac, multi-processor-friendly benchmarks and software that is available for native OSX (OK, you may be stuck with the Windows version of CS3 you got from work, but iTunes?!)

    If you have an 8-core Mac and are doing a lot of work with high-end graphics/video software (most of which is now designed to exploit multiple cores) and must] use a VM (rather than Bootcamp or OSX native apps) then, yes, Fusion's dual-core support is a big advantage, end of story.

    However, a far more typical scenario is likely to be running CS3 under OSX alongside a Windows VM running Outlook and IE and letting you write to NTFS devices - in which case Parallels' better OSX integration might be more valuable than any speed increase.

    The article does actually say, at the end, that for office-type applications, you probably won't see a difference.

    Well, 32bit windows can't use more than about 3GB on a real PC, and Boot Camp only supports 2GB on a Mac Pro, so that might have skewed the comparison.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2007
  15. sidssp


    Why? If you compare the performance of a V8 engine car to a 4-cylinder, would you say "it is not fair, we should shut down 4 of the cylinders in the V8 and I am sure they will perform the same"?
  16. whytyger


    Point well taken. Perhaps another apt metaphor would be a comparison of vehicles with and without four wheel drive. On smooth roads you wouldn't see much difference; but on wet or snowy roads, or on dirt tracks, the difference would be substantial and important.
  17. KaiserX


    Crap on a Craker!

    I cant take it anymore!

    HD DVD vs Blu Ray, Coke vs Pepsi, Black vs White

    Now Parallels vs Fusion. Ya know, if you're going to have a debate about two virtualization products vs each other on the Mac, this isn't that bad. Because ya know, it seems just a while back we (old-school Mac'rs) were having a similar debate about SoftWindows vs VirtualPC. If you don't remember that, thank your lucky butts! Pain....

    Anyway, thanks for the review. I've bought and tested (testing) both and I have seen similar results.
  18. whytyger


    Way to go! No one is forcing us to take sides just yet, and if they do, we should resist ferociously. Let those ponies run.
  19. itsdapead


    Oh no, not the car metaphors...

    ...but if what you want is something for shopping and commuting, things like maneuverability, fuel economy, luggage space and ease of parking would be much more important considerations that the never-to-be-used ability to drive up the side of a mountain or do 0-60 in 3 seconds.

    I mean, its not as if someone who only needs a car for taking the kids to school is going to buy a massive, gas guzzling SUV that takes up two parking spaces, or drive to work in an overpowered sports car that barely has room to stow a briefcase, is it?

    Oh, wait... :)
  20. whytyger


    It is certainly true that metaphors can be used to confuse and obfuscate, as this poster has just shown, especially when pursued too far. They can also be used to clarify, as I (and others) were attempting to do.

    In the present case, as dual-core systems become the norm, applications that are multiprocessor aware begin to proliferate. Hence a VM that can take advantage of dual cores is not without incremental value. The same is true of four wheel drive, which is of benefit in many situations outside climbing the side of a mountain--in a rain storm, for example.

    This doesn't mean that everyone must have Fusion (or four wheel drive), any more than the better integration with the Mac interface under Coherence means everyone must have Parallels. Ideally, people would make an informed, and rational, decision.

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