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Parallels 11 Benchmarks vs. Parallels 10 and Boot Camp

Parallels 11 Benchmarks vs. Parallels 10 and Boot Camp

computer folders

File Transfers

An important factor in the user experience of any virtual machine is file transfer performance. As we discovered last year, free virtualization software like VirtualBox really lags behind commercial options from Parallels and VMware when it comes to file management, and depending on your workflow, that could be a deal breaker.

This test (and the Virtual Machine Management test that follows) are a little different in that they don’t include Boot Camp performance. This is because we’ll be testing copying files between the VM and the host operating system, and that activity has no equivalent for a native Windows installation.

Our file tests are divided into two groups: a large file transfer (a 4GB Windows 10 installation ISO) and a small file transfer (4,096 4KB files). The numbers in the chart represent the time in seconds that it took for each transfer, with lower numbers equaling faster performance. Note that unlike our standard tests that rely on computer-generated results, these tests were measured manually with a stopwatch. As a result, we performed each test five times instead of the usual three iterations, in order to minimize the impact of human error. Also note that we performed a complete restart in between each test to avoid any operating system caching that could artificially improve the times.

parallels 11 benchmarks large file transfer

For these file transfer tests, “Within VM” indicates a file transfer from one location of the virtual machine’s virtual drive to another (i.e., from the Windows 10 Downloads folder to the Windows 10 Desktop). Similarly, “To Host” is a file transfer in which a file is copied from the virtual machine to the OS X host, and “To VM” is, you guessed it, copying a file from the OS X host to the Windows 10 virtual machine.

Based on the chart above, we can see that while Parallels 10 and Parallels 11 are roughly equivalent in to/from host transfers, Parallels 11 is significantly better at transferring large files within itself. This is important for any users looking to manage video or audio files, software images, or any other large files from directly in their virtual machines.

parallels 11 benchmarks small file transfer

Copying one large sequential file is one thing, but what about throwing thousands of tiny files at the system, each of which must be individually processed? Here, Parallels 10 and Parallels 11 trade blows, with Parallels 10 securing a victory by a second or so in two of the three tests. The important takeaway here, however, is that both Parallels 10 and Parallels 11 handled the task quite well, but it’s another knock against Parallels 11 on the performance front that it can’t beat its year-old predecessor.

Table of Contents

[one_half padding=”0 5px 20px 0″]
1. Introduction
2. Parallels 11 Feature Overview
3. Hardware, Software, and Testing Methodology
4. Geekbench
5. 3DMark (2013)
6. 3DMark06
7. Cinebench R15

[one_half_last padding=”0 0px 20px 5px”]
8. PCMark 8
9. Passmark PerformanceTest 8.0
10. x264 Encoding
11. x265 Encoding
12. File Transfers
13. Virtual Machine Management
14. Conclusions

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8 thoughts on “Parallels 11 Benchmarks vs. Parallels 10 and Boot Camp”

Asheesh says:
Hi Jim! Thanks for the detailed article however.

I have bought a Macbook Pro (i7, 16 GB, 500 GB) and have got a Parallels free. I want to use MS Visio and Project which only run on Windows. I wanted to check if there would be considerable difference in performance if i were to use in MS Visio and Project on Parallels, instead of using Boot Camp?
Also, i am planning to buy the Office 2016. Should i be buying the Mac Version or the Windows version (that has Access and a couple of other softwares at the same price ) and run it on Parallels?
Much appreciate your guidance.

Jarrel Benedict says:
Hi! I’ve used Visio on both Boot Camp and Parallels and there aren’t substantial performance difference although it appears to run a little (and I mean a little) faster on Boot Camp (probably because Boot Camp utilizes all of the Mac hardware–RAM, CPU–at its disposal. For the Office Suite, I recommend the Windows version. It comes with more software and features. You can search for a spec comparison of the different versions of Office 2016 to see the difference among them.
wimver says:
I’ve been a Parallels 9 user and was about to upgrade to VMWare Fusion 8 after reading several reviews. Also because I did not like it I had to pay to upgrade my Parallels license if I wanted to upgrade Mac OS to OS X El Captain… I don’t like this kind of “you have to”‘s. So I was holding my credit card ready in my hand, ready to pay for Fusion 8. Especially with their Parallels to VMWare upgrade offering. But I thought: let’s try it fist; so I installed the trial of Fusion 8… This was so disappointing for me… First I imported the existing Parallels virtual machine and converted it which went really smooth. But then… Starting up time: disappointing by all means. I first thought: OK, maybe VMWare tools have to be installed first; but no: even after rebooting several times: boot-up time kept on being disappointing. Then… opening a Visual Studio project: disappointing. I’m not even talking about compiling some code: very disappointing. It just took so much much much longer time then it did in Parallels 9! So now; I just upgrade to Parallels 11: I love it! Boot-up time, Visual Studio performance, … I love it. It’s even better than Parallels 9. The only thing I don’t love is that I had to upgrade. But for my point of view it’s obvious: Parallels beats VMWare Fusion.
Yiannis Tsentas says:
How to Install Windows 10 from iso on old MacBook running El Capitan
Martin Pritchard says:
Simon Cook says:
I’m not upgrading Parallels any more. I’ve always done it begrudgingly as they withhold updating old versions for new OS compatibility so if you stay current with your OS X installation you are forced to upgrade every two years. But now they have reduced the capability on Parallels Desktop 11 with only 8GB VMs to try to force users to an expensive subscription model, it is the last straw for me and I’ll be switching to VMWare. I run Revit for uni and it is useless with 8GB of RAM and as a student being forced to a pro subscription edition is outrageous.
Bob Kresek says:
WARNING BEFORE UPGRADING. In the past, Parallels would allow a limited number of activations on one license, such that you could install it on your desktop and laptop. They have changed that policy with Parallels 11, so that you only get one computer activation per license. So if you have multiple computers, you might want to hold off as long as possible before upgrading unless you want to purchase a license for each machine. I have heard that VMware allows three machines per license, so you might want to look at that before purchasing Parallels.
batmobil says:
Great feature, thorough and interesting. I have been using Parallels 10 for a long time, and I did notice the performance increase in Parallels 11 during regular usage (Windows 7/64 on MacBook Pro i7/16GB RAM early 2015), so the improvements translates to more than just numbers. :)
WillCroPoint says:
Don’t you think that the Parallels 11 “graphics engine” may be optimized for Metal and might get quite better results on El Capitan?
TekRevue says:
It’s possible, but I think they would have pointed that out in either their marketing materials or press briefing. Either way, we’ll definitely test Parallels 11 further on the final version of 10.11 and publish results if they’re notably different.

Comments are closed.

Jim Tanous

Aug 20, 2015

676 Articles Published