InfoWorld Reviews Parallels Desktop 5, VMware Fusion 3 and VirtualBox 3.1

Posted on February 8, 2010 by

According to InfoWorld, Parallels Desktop 5 and VMware Fusion 3 have gotten faster, smarter, and optimized for Windows 7, while Sun’s VirtualBox 3.1 lags behind.

From InfoWorld:

The latest versions of the Mac virtualization products from Parallels, VMware, and Sunoffer significant improvements over previous versions, and all are worth the upgrade. They’re faster with better 3-D graphics, are better integrated with Mac OS X, and in two cases, are optimized for running all the features of Windows 7.

Overall, Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac is the top virtualizer for Mac OS X. VMware Fusion 3 is a close second, with Sun’s VirtualBox 3.1 running a distant third. VirtualBox has a few unique features and is free, but doesn’t support many Mac OS X features. Parallels Desktop 5 and VMware Fusion 3 also automate the installation of guest operating systems and support multiple monitors. Furthermore, these new versions add support for Windows 7 Aero features, such as Aero Peek and Aero Glass. VirtualBox doesn’t do any of these.

Parallels Desktop 5 provides the best overall performance. Not that VMware Fusion 3 is slow, but it can stumble with graphics-heavy tasks and uses more of the Mac’s processor, leaving less CPU bandwidth for Mac applications.

On interface and Mac OS X integration issues, the merits of Parallels and VMware are more subjective. Both do a good job of hiding the Windows desktop and integrating Windows applications in the Dock, Expose, and Spaces. Both are far more advanced than VirtualBox’s Seamless mode.

If you want to run Mac OS X Server in a virtual machine, however, VMware Fusion 3 is the clear choice, providing the most trouble-free and solid experience. Parallels can have trouble installing or importing Apple’s server in a virtual machine, and VirtualBox just doesn’t support it.

Read the entire article here.

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