Parallels Desktop 5 and VMWare Fusion 3 were both released in the last week, and as usual I tried both. I find that Parallels is noticeably faster running Windows 7, and it doesn’t slow down my MacBook Pro like VMware does.
When running a Windows 7 VM with 768M RAM allocated, VMWare uses 1GB of physical RAM and at least 20% CPU most of the time. Parallels uses around 632M and almost no CPU time when idle.
Parallels Coherence mode still looks a lot cleaner than VMWare’s Unity. Parallels starts up cleanly in Unity, while VMWare can’t switch to Unity until the virtual machine is fully booted & the VMWare tools are loaded. Dragging windows in Unity tends to be ugly, with desktop artifacts appearing, while dragging seems faster & cleaner in Parallels.
Parallels 5 adds a new crystal view, which resembles Coherence plus it makes the Parallels application disappear completely, with an icon added to the menu bar that lets you launch Windows applications.