Parallels vs VMWare vs Bootcamp vs Codeweavers Crossover Office revisited

Parallels vs VMWare vs Bootcamp vs Codeweavers Crossover Office revisited

I have reviewed these products in the past but I think they have rev’d enough times to make it worth my while to revisit them and see how far they have come. As a reminder, lets again review a couple of use cases that you might have:

  1. Native Microsoft Office (any version) support
  2. Latest Microsoft Office
  3. Microsoft Vista
  4. Games
  5. IE7

Again with the ideal requirements:

  1. Runs applications at full speed
  2. Executes them in such a way as they appear to be native applications
  3. Does not require a Window license

The simplest answer is to use Crossover Office to run applications that work with it, as when it works it satisfies the ideal requirements and then use Bootcamp when you absolutely have to have a true Windows machine. Crossover Office is now robust enough to run Outlook 2003 pretty well along with some older games like Counter Strike: Source though it doesn’t have support for the very latest software. There are cases that are in-between, for example you might not need full speed but you do need full compatibility, then either Parallels or VMWare Fusion ought to work for you, like when you want to run IE7 to view a website. If you are doing anything that requires high non-graphics speed and also high-compatibility like developing software, either VMWare or Bootcamp would be your best bet. VMWare allows you to use more than 1 processor and it out benchmarks Parallels. On the other hand, Parallels is a nicer application and its Coherence-mode (integrates Windows applications into the Mac desktop experience) is better than VMWare’s Unity mode. Neither VMWare nor Parallels run highly graphical twitch games to my satisfaction. Here is a little table to help you make your decision:

  • Crossover Office 6.2
  • When it works its the best option
  • Fast, well integrated, runs some games
  • Only option that doesn’t require a Windows license
  • According to CodeWeavers, will work even better under Leopard
  • Bootcamp
  • It is just Windows
  • Mac’s are really good Windows machines
  • Parallels Desktop 3.o (build 5160)
  • Easier to use than VMWare Fusion
  • Coherence is very mature
  • Does not really run games well
  • VMWare Fusion 1.0 (build 51348)
  • Faster than Parallels
  • Unity is OK
  • Lot’s of compatible VMWare appliances
  • Not much luck running games on it

Have any questions about the options? Since I have a license to all of them and use them all for various purposes I would be happy to answer any specific questions about the products.