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.