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.
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.
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Windows 7 to run Aero Peek as you get a more accurate rating on the Windows Performance Index (version 4 features outdated graphics drivers that disable Aero Peek due to the Windows Performance Index graphics rating of 1.0 regardless of hardware).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.
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/