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Fusion vs. Parallel vs. Boot Camp for Windows 7. Probably a dumb question.

5094 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Jan 9, 2010 8:12 PM by Clay Wagner RSS
Clay Wagner Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 9, 2010 7:59 AM
OK, here is my question. I want to install Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro. The primary reason is to run Excel 2007 for work. Not intensive games or anything like that. Excel for Mac does not always transfer well to Excel users at the office, and I spend double time reformatting, etc. Anyway, I wanted to know do you have to use bootcamp along with Fusion or Parallels Desktop 5 or can I use one of these independently? It looks like on Parallels website that it is independent. Of course bootcamp is free, but I really am tired of waiting for these drivers (Something we all agree on.) If I use Fusion or Parallels, which do you recommend? Again, all I am really doing is running office documents.
Here are my system specs:

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,5
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.26 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
Boot ROM Version: MBP55.00AC.B03
SMC Version (system): 1.47f2
Serial Number (system): WQ937*66D
Hardware UUID: 84DA3741-0B85-5107-8281-CE2E623D4A6E
Sudden Motion Sensor:
State: Enabled

Thanks again for any comments!!

<Edited by Host>

Clay Wagner
iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • JDThree Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    You could handle it in almost any variation you want. With only 2GB of RAM though, the virtual machine will not be very snappy. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably just do boot camp, since it's going to be just as quick to boot with the option key and select windows to do excel stuff, then reboot back to mac when you're done, since it'd be free and give you the best performance.

    If you're not too worried about it running slow (1GB for the virtual machine would be pushing my patience to the limits and i wouldn't run it with any less, nor would I take any MORE away from OS X) then you could go with just a virtual machine, no need to boot camp it at all if you didn't want to, just do a normal virtual machine build from within whichever app you chose. So if that speed issue isn't a problem, just to do MS Excel sometimes in a windows environment, I'd just do the virtual machine only, save having to partition the drive at all with boot camp and such.

    Now, there's a lot of back and forth on the current versions of parallels and fusion. I spent a week or so with both when each new version was released testing, because I do have a boot camp windows 7 partition and sometimes do it virtually rather than booting into it (but I have 4GB of RAM so it's a little more usable for me). I found that my experiences paralleled a lot of the people out there. Parallels had a bit better graphics response, but fusion for me boots it quicker, and i have no problems at all running anything I want with it. Parallels I had some performance issues outside of the video subsystem that just frustrated me too much. Both have their flavor of a "coherence" or whatever they call it mode, where you could actually not even have the virtual machine "visible", you'd just see your Excel application running on your dock like any native OS X app does. And they both did a good job of that for me (that's actually how I run my Outlook since I really can't stand Entourage).

    So any answer will be a "valid" answer, but you're really the only one who can say whats going to be the "right" one for you.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • LRMIII Calculating status...
    I have the exact same issue as Clay Wagner. Just need Excel and that notes program that comes with MS Office. And I apologize, I don't know jack about computers.

    My question is whether there is any disadvantage to loading VMWare now if I plan to use boot camp later? The reason I ask is that I understand that, if I wait, I can bootcamp a copy of windows and then use VMWare to access it. That way I'd have the choice when working in OSX of virtualization or boot camp. (and I'd probably mostly use boot camp, I hate things that don't run well)

    But if I load VM Ware now and then want boot camp in late January, will I then have 2 copies of Windows installed? Will that make things difficult and/or buggy?

    Thanks for the help...
    MBP 13 2.53, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,595 points)
    Just take your Windows Home Premium 7 32-bit and setup a Boot Camp partition and give it a go. No one except someone with same MBP setup can tell you what issues they have with 7.

    If you run into trouble, which I doubt, set it aside and play with (free) Sun VirtualBox and use the time for playing and experimenting. Sun doesn't talk to or read Boot Camp.

    Just only activate Windows when you have decided what you are going to use. That is your only real issue.
    Mac Pro 8800GT 10K VelociRaptor, Mac OS X (10.6.1), Windows 7 i7 3.2GHz GTX 260-216
  • JDThree Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    If you are planning on using your windows license for boot camp later, you'd be best off waiting to make that a virtual machine AFTER you boot camp it, so that if you go into boot camp or if you go into the virutal machine from OS X, you'll be on the same "machine". If you setup a virtual only windows 7 install using parallels or fusion, when you do boot camp, you'll end up with a second install of windows 7.
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.2)


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