Boot Camp vs. VM Ware Fusion

I bought a MacBook Pro a few months ago and I absolutely love it. But I didn’t really like the idea of having to reboot each time I time wanted to switch between OS-X and XP, so I bought VM Ware Fusion. I feel a little dumb for not having fully considered the ramifications of doing that.

When you boot up XP with Boot Camp it gets the entire processor. When you boot up XP in VM Fusion it only gets a portion of the processor. Duh. So when I’m running Rhino I get some lag when I’m in ghosted view and rendering takes somewhat longer.

It seems like it would be pretty straightforward to switch over to Boot Camp, so I’ve been reconsidering it.

I was curious about other opinions on the matter. Fusion or Boot Camp? Why? Is it in fact easy to switch over or are there some tricky bits?



I tried VMWare and Parallels, and Parallels ran Solidworks much better. However, recent builds have broken it and made it slow- build 5160 is the only one that works right. On a Mac Pro Solidworks is usable, but obviously it’s much, much faster running on native Windows.

Having never used VM Ware Fusion I cant not speak regarding its performance. However I will tell you that setting up Boot camp is relatively easy when using boot camp assistant.

There is a good FAQ and support page on boot camp at apple’s web page Boot Camp Assistant User Guide for Mac - Apple Support

So, has anyone had the opportunity to use some kind of processor-intensive software (rhino, solidworks, alias, etc…) on Windows from Bootcamp and then from either Fusion or Parallels?

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try both methods for a comparison. Probably won’t have that chance until September.

Yes. Not surprisingly, it’s slower in Parallels. SW isn’t very processor intensive though, it’s mostly GPU intensive. Parallels (and VMWare) can’t access the GPU directly, so they are relatively slow. It’s usable as long as you’re not in a big assembly. 2D performance (say in a big drawing) is also pretty weak.

I run XP via boot-camp on my mac book pro at work and also on my mac pro at home…

Primarily I stay in XP at work to keep everything in the same place, it can get annoying rebooting just to use OS X. At home I run OS X for music/recording etc… if I want to run CAD just a simple reboot.

With that said, go with bootcamp. You do not want to sacrifice power and performance with CAD… this will always come back to get you.

This hasn’t been pointed out…

I have an XP installation on my MBP via Bootcamp. When I installed VMware Fusion, it gave me the option to use my bootcamp partition as my virtual machine.

Basically, I can boot into windows via bootcamp, or if I don’t need the full speed and graphics, I can boot the partition in VMware as a virtual machine.

I get the best of both worlds. In VMware, there are a few disabled features when using the bootcamp partition instead of a disk image, no suspend for example.

That is bleeding brilliant!

It’s odd that I don’t recall being given that option when I set up VMware… :confused:

I’m going to look into getting set up that way.


I’ve just read that you can actually suspend a VM that uses a boot camp partition. It’s just that the SUSPEND feature is disabled by default. You can enable it, BUT if you were to suspend a VM and then try and reboot in XP through boot camp you corrupt the install and have to reinstall.

Did you have to reactivate XP in BC and in VM more than once? Some people say they had to activate windows once in BC and once in VM and that was it, while others say that they have had to activate, and reactivate, and reactivate. I’ve also read that if you have office installed on the XP side then it also keeps requiring reactivation.

VMware all the way

parallels crashed my brand new MBP AFTER A DAY and I had to return it
i use VMware with Rhino and all is basically well
except sometimes I have a clipboard problem
has anyone else experienced this?!

The only clipboard problem I have is that it gets full and bogs things down. I just save the file periodically, close it and then reopen it. That tends to clear things up.

I timed my machine against a friends. Identical machines. The only difference is that I was running Fusion and he was running Boot Camp. Rendering time in Flamingo was faster on his machine, but not by a whole hell of a lot. I am building a laptop stand with a big 'ol fan in it for mine though. I plan on heating my apartment with my MBP this winter.

I plan on heating my apartment with my MBP this winter.

ain’t it the truth!

glad to hear you have it up and working!

P.S. I only had to activate in bootcamp.