Saturday, September 18, 2010

OS Virtualization (Parallels Desktop/VMware Fusion) vs. Bootcamp

If your only computer is a Mac, and you have a need to run Windows, you're faced with two options: use OSX's Bootcamp and boot into Windows or use virtualization software, such as Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion.

Parallels Desktop 5 has been tested to be superior to VMware Fusion 3 (see comparison here) so I'll be talking about Parallels in this post.  Also, Parallels Desktop 6 was recently released on September 14 and features a 64 bit engine, surround sound 5.1, and superior 3D graphics rendering speeds.


Bootcamp:

Installing Windows 7 in Bootcamp is fairly straightforward.  After the installation is complete, reboot your computer and hold down the Option key to get the below screen.  Select your Windows partition to load Windows.

Hold down the Option button at reboot when you see the white screen to activate this menu.

The OSX installation disk does a good job of installing all the drivers needed for Windows 7.  The only problem child is the graphics driver.  When playing a video or a game, the computer begins to run very hot, and the fan is constantly on at full speed.

A software alternative is to download additional software to control fan speeds, or you can simply use a laptop cooling fan.  Nonetheless, the overheating issues are a problem and a hassle.

On the flip side, using Bootcamp to run Windows 7 is advantageous because all of your system's processing resources are dedicated to the running OS. 



Parallels Desktop:

I currently have Parallels Desktop 5 on my computer (I will be upgrading to version 6 soon), and the installation was also straightforward.  The graphics drivers work well, and I haven't experienced additional overheating.  Parallels also allows Windows 7 to run Aero Peek as you get a more accurate rating on the Windows Performance Index (version 4 features outdated graphics drivers that disable Aero Peek due to the Windows Performance Index graphics rating of 1.0 regardless of hardware).  The sound is a little softer compared to the volume in OSX; however, the difference is slightly noticeable.

When running the virtual machine, you can choose different views: window view, full screen view, and coherence.  The coherence view allows you to run the Windows programs as if they were standalone programs in OSX.  This is my favorite feature.

Coherence view in Parallels Desktop 6


Parallels gives you the option of customizing the system resources to the VM.  You can chose a single core or multiple cores and also choose how much RAM you want to dedicate to the VM.  

The only disadvantage to using Parallels to run Windows 7 is that you can never dedicate all of the hardware resources to the operating system since OSX is always running in the background; however, with customizable resource profiles and improved graphics performance in version 6, this should not be much of an issue.


The Verdict:

Parallels Desktop is such an efficient VM application that I removed my Bootcamp partition and haven't regretted it one bit.  Version 6 is aimed at PC gamers who have Macs and need maximal graphics performance.

If you absolutely have to run Windows on your Mac, Parallels Desktop is the best way to go.  If you just bought a Mac, miss your Windows functions, and have no specific application or gaming need for Windows, suck it up and learn OSX... after all, that's what this blog is for.

The price is $79.99, while the upgrade option (needs version 5) costs $49.99.  Parallels Desktop's product page is located here: http://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/

69 comments:

http://elpirato666.blogspot.com/ said...

Very interesting article. Thanks.

Michele said...

Great info!Really useful post!

Sara said...

thanks for the info, great post
keep up the good work.

Jemz said...

Quite expensive if you ask me...

S!

Alex DeLarge said...

why run Win on a Mac?

B. Heck said...

That's a nifty application there, don't know if it's worth the price though...

Djoni Vejn said...

parallel desktop seams cool ...

down2brasstax said...

great review. done very professionally. :)

MacPCharmony said...

@Alex Some reasons people run Windows on a Mac include: conforming to the MS Enterprise infrastructure, PC games not available on a Mac, and owning software licenses for Windows applications and not wanting to buy the Mac versions.

Mr. Black said...

A very good review, I've also heard parallels is the right choice.

Thanks for the information.

calypso said...

great info!

Nigma said...

or you can always use a pc

Dave said...

useful!

Potshot said...

I still say PC is better than mac!

Jessi D said...

Informative, thanks!

Mr. Smith said...

thanks for the tutorial bro.

Come At Me Bro said...

I like iDeneb!

MellowCoke said...

I still use Windows, however I do like the look and style Apple have for their products.

Christo bear said...

great info mate

niceonice said...

always nice to see a fellow computer enthusiast please keep more information coming =)

modest crisis said...

Was good to read your comparison on the two

Alucard said...

this is really usefull, *i actually saving your blog* u copy pasta this or all yours?
<3 u shud check my posts soon, got a new update

CetaPara said...

what about linux? *g*
just joking. ^^

Freshman said...

:o useful thing

Savage Nugget said...

Info i can use. :D

Monarch said...

Thanks for the info man

LoneIslander said...

Great Tips Bro

Naj said...

i use wvware for windows. i run xp in virtual machine.

chasityxo said...

cool info, thanks :)

Ishu said...

Woah Pararell looks sooo cool, kinda reminds me of Linux!

Daytona Jones said...

pretty used to os myself, used to use bootcamp on my old comp. and I have an xbox. this bahlogg is great thought!!!

miecak said...

Looks useful. Thanks :>

J Mo said...

Thanks for the tut/review, I've been using bootcamp and I love it

izmeer said...

Interesting

- Enfermo - said...

great information

From Ashes said...

great info dude, finally a mac blog i can follow and support

Oscar said...

very informative, iDeneb FTW

Miller said...

Thanks for the Advice on this matter.Hopeful I won't have to worry about not gaming on the Mac.

Splash87 said...

Nice review, I think I am going to recommend this to my cousin she has macbook and has been complaining lately that there needs to be a quicker way to swap between OSX and Win7.

Cynthia said...

But I think that you suffer performance loss with virtualisation, which would explain you're computer getting too hot, no?

Undertaker said...

People should just not buy a Mac to begin with.

Biff Tanner said...

Thanks mate great write up.
Cheers

Lewis Candler said...

thanks for the info!

I Starred It said...

Maybe the next iPad will run something closer to a full OS. would love to run some exe's on there. & everyone please check out my blog I got some computer-related stuff on there.

Shane said...

I use bootcamp, it's a very good program

Nona said...

always interesting :)

TLX317 said...

this is great info dude

UnseenSniper said...

Thx for the info!

BobComboBreaker said...

useful stuff. Thank you.

Dilly Skates said...

i agree with lewis

Jram said...

Or just go back to windows =)

Car Enthusiast said...

I will use this thanks!

The Loon said...

last time I did this, it kinda owned my pc.

Much Poopies! said...

count me in! >=(


smoochies n' poopies. :*

hunter time said...

my friend uses winfoo(i think) and it seems to work really well

Sethisto said...

Man i would just buy a second comp

The Nobody said...

thanks for the info on parallels, never heard of it before!

! Starcraft II ! said...

Is a mac worth the extra money?

Clash With Mr. Sax said...

Very informative. Thanks!

Alucard said...

hey just updated my blog agen :) wanted to check yours out and tell you to come look at mine <3

Jacob said...

nice mate

David Davidson said...

Oh god this is really expensive...

I'm not sure if I can justify the costs...

iMonei said...

nice will rememeber this

Laughing Vault said...

great info

Deep Thought said...

Awesome, pc head here.

BigBear said...

Great review, my friend wanted to buy one so now I can help him out!

problem.question said...

cool gonna try this on my hacantosh

Josh123 said...

wow wil ltry this

Rusty Cage said...

see, we all can get along after alll. i support you all the way

http://rustycageblog.blogspot.com/

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