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MacTech: Parallels 6 beats Fusion 3.1 for PC emulation

updated 10:05 pm EST, Wed January 5, 2011

Parallels particularly strong in graphics and 3D

Parallels Desktop v6 was found faster than VMWare's Fusion v3.1 in 84 percent of more than 4,000 general benchmark tests conducted by MacTech Magazine, the publication announced, owing mainly to much more robust and faster graphics and 3D, an area where -- tested separately -- Parallels was found to be faster 92 percent of the time over its rival.

Both products -- as well as some others not tested -- give Mac users the ability to run Windows and its native programs within a window in the Mac environment. This differs from Apple's own "Bootcamp" approach, which is generally considered faster still but runs only one chosen OS at a time, and requires a restart of the computer to change operating systems.

Owing mainly to its much faster graphics engine, Parallels was judged to be at least 10 percent faster in 61 percent of the general tests, and at least somewhat faster than Fusion in 84 percent of the general tests. Parallels also bested Fusion in disk tasks such as wired or wireless file copying and booting a virtual machine from a cold start.

The magazine's tests are intended strictly for benchmarking rather than an overall product review; there may be other factors in both programs (such as, for example, USB peripheral compatibility) that changes the equation for some users -- but overall, and particularly for those users who require fast graphics and 3D in their Window emulation, the magazine calls Parallels the "clear winner" over Fusion.

The entire test, with individual benchmarks and testing methodologies, is available from the MacTech website.

by MacNN Staff



  1. facebook_Mikhail

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011


    When it works...

    Just don't forget to add, that Parallels wins, when it actually works.

    And usually, first releases of new versions are a huge PITA. Then again, even after updates, some things just plain don't work (like I totally unable to install Japanese version of Windows XP there, and I think it drags since version 4..).

    On the other hand, Fusion might be slower, but it is much more stable and "just works", which is very important for me, since I use the software for work and have no time or desire to troubleshoot another potentially broken update from Parallels guys.

    But on the other hand, my folks run Windows games for their grandchildren in Parallels, since it seems to render everything faster.

    So, for stability there's Fusion. For speed, there's Parallels.

  1. JackWebb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sticking with Fusion

    I had both for a while and for what I was doing I didn't perceive a difference in speed. In fact it was an early MacTech showdown with Parallels the winner that encouraged me to try Parallels. Both programs have been making speed improvements. Parallels was okay but there were some things not quite a pure such as Parallels having to add two extra network interfaces to my Network settings in System Preferences. Perhaps that's changed now. But for some reason between the smoothness of operations of the apparently less demanding programs in XP and the fact that the upgrade paths were cheaper for me for Fusion, I stuck with Fusion for 3 Macs. I run 4 OS's on my main computer and I hardly have to think about it.

  1. shawnde

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I love it ... I've tested it with Windows XP, and 7, and compared it (unscientifically) with my day to day work (testing websites in Explorer), and VirtualBox was faster than BOTH, Fusion (by a long shot) and Parallels (slightly).

    I find VirtualBox to be really smooth with installing OS's, and pretty darn stable, even compared to Fusion. They don't have all the bells and whistles, but I don't care for the Unity view or whatever, and I don't care for DirectX support.

    Frankly, if you're concerned with performance (gamers) and want DirectX support, you should just use Bootcamp. Best of all, VirtualBox if FREE.

  1. facebook_Kevin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011


    Parallels is for Mac users that are Windows users.

    I say this because Parallels works great and best with whatever the current version of Windows is. Not XP, 98, Linux, or non english versions.

    It's an app so that Mac users who need or want current Windows on their Macs running the best, can.

  1. MacnnReader

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's all about stability

    It's no good when you are in a production environment, Parallels wants to update, and then it crashes and burns. I just love the look that the marketing person gives me when this happens.
    ; )

    So every time I hear about how Parallels is faster than Fusion, that's my first question. "How's the stability?"

    Fusion has always been ROCK SOLID.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not to pile-on, but...

    Fusion is king where I work. We gave up on Parallels after 5 versions, where at least half the updates required hours of 'fixing' to get the users back up and running. Fusion has not once left us high-n-dry. Maybe it is speedier for games, but if you factor in time spent getting the setup to work again, I'm doubtful. But in our working environment speedier graphics is way, way down the list on what's important. Thank you VMware Fusion.

    Maybe a better headline is in order...

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