Performance: Boot Camp VM vs Imported VM?

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration' started by BradfordC, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. BradfordC


    I am trying to decide whether to run Parallels from my existing Windows boot camp partition or just to Import Boot Camp to a new VM in order to delete the partition and free up space.

    I know there are limitations for using the boot camp partition (cannot pause, cannot snapshot, cannot compress, etc), but I am curious if there are also any notable performance differences between running a Boot Camp VM vs a Imported parallels VM. Do they utilize resources differently? Do they load differently?

    I saw mentioned on the Parallels site: "Use the Boot Camp partition as a bootable volume disk in Parallels Desktop to run high-performance PC-only software at full speed in a Mac’s native hardware environment, access all of your system settings, peripheral devices, files and folders in your Parallels Desktop virtual machine."

    Does this imply that running Parallels in Mac OSX from the boot camp partition performs as well as booting up Windows in boot camp directly (and hence superior to a virtual disk drive)?

    Aside from speed and performance, are there any other pros and cons I should consider in making my decision?

    Thanks in advance for any input.
  2. GuidoW


    I am interested in the same issue!

    It would be really nice if someone could give a answer.

    I am running my BootCamp Win7 sometimes natively via BootCamp and sometimes via Parallels. But booting it up in Parallels it really takes a loooooooong time to boot up (more than 5 Minutes until I am able to work). Starting a program takes a very long time too.

    So I set up a new Win7 in a VM using a virtual HDD. This one feels way faster and also boots up way faster. But I am not finished yet installing the same programs etc. to have a compare - able system for testing.
  3. charlene-r


    Yes, it would be great if someone would answer especially when you can't even just call someone at Parallels and ask them.

    I am about to install Windows 7 64 bit after using Windows XP Professional in P v6. The most important issue I face is optimizing performance. I'd like to know what the absolute best way is to install and use Windows in Parallels is to squeeze out every possible bit (pun intended) of performance. Any reply would be helpful. Thanks.
  4. DanaK


    boot camp you have to re-boot to access it, where at parallels you have the VM running right there along side of your mac OS. bootcamp and the VM both will take up space on your hard drive, so there they are similar.

    with the VM running you are sharing resources: memory slices, printers, etc. Bootcamp you can have the same printers and it has a dedicated amount of memory to the max of your mac because you are booting directly into "IT" verses having "IT" running in a window while the Mac OS is running.

    I run win7x64 on a mac pro with 2 GB of memory, 768 is allocated to the parallels VM running. its not FAST FAST (because of the low memory allocation) but it works and its not frustrating. Just remember RAM is the #1 thing that will slow your system to a crawl. I would recommend at least a processor that no more than a few years old with 2-4gb (more if you budget can afford it) of ram.
  5. ripeart


    In the scenario you described a VM will not have the same performance as bare metal. A VM is more about convenience rather than speed/power.

    In general, if a VM had the same assigned resources a dedicated machine had, the dedicated machine will appear to run faster.
  6. DanaK


    if this was directed at me, then you need to re-read my post, if this was directed in general then: agreed

  7. Tobianic


    you should always get better performance on bare metal than within a VM, and that's it. Where are you running CPUBurn on the Hyper-V server? Within the VM?
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  8. megavolt17

    megavolt17 Product Expert

    With Parallels 5 performance was slower when running Windows in Parallels from the Boot Camp partition vs running it from the virtual hard drive. With each version there seems to have been less and less impact on speed using the Boot Camp partition as the Windows source vs using a virtual hard drive.

    Regarding the speed of booting directly to Windows using Boot Camp vs Parallels running Windows there really is not a significant difference any longer, but it depends on what you are running. Word processing, Internet surfing, etc. is about as fast. Games that run under Parallels do take a performance hit running in Parallels vs running in Windows from Boot Camp. On a fast machine with enough RAM the games that play are still quite playable. I have a MacBook Pro with 8 Gigs or RAM and other than a mild decrease in frame rate (I would estimate as a 10-15%) there is really no difference in most games that work.

    Compatibility has gotten better with each version as well, but there still are games that hit the hardware directly or use "tricks" to speed up the graphics that are not compatible with Parallels. There is also the occasional odd program (like for updating my Skype phone) that does not seem able to work properly from the emulation. I have found that switching Parallels to Full Screen mode lets most games play; from Coherence or Crystal some games crash when starting. This is good to know if you are having trouble running a Windows program.

    Boot Camp is a real PC in every sense. Anything will run on a PC it will run on a Mac using Boot Camp. I keep my Windows 7 on a Boot Camp partition for those few things that won't run on Parallels, or for games if I want a bit more FPS. I also find the mouse scrolls better/smoother under Boot Camp than under Parallels which helps me get a better score for some games!

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