Parallels 11 Benchmarks vs. Parallels 10 and Boot Camp

Posted by Jim Tanous on August 20, 2015
parallels 11 benchmarks

Virtual Machine Management

If you plan to use just a single virtual machine and leave it running most of the time, this section is probably not for you. However, for those users who frequently run or access lots of virtual machines, we wanted to see what improvement, if any, Parallels 11 brings when it comes to boot, suspend, resume, and shut down times.

As with the previous section for File Transfers, these tests were measured manually with a stop watch, and conducted five times each. The numbers in the chart below represent seconds, with a lower number equaling faster performance.

parallels 11 benchmarks vm management

Do you remember when we mentioned earlier how Parallels wasn’t going to support Windows 10 on older versions of the software, and that while it would likely work, it wouldn’t work well? Yeah, this is probably a good example of that. Despite double- and triple-checking everything, there was some serious issue with booting our Windows 10 VM under Parallels 10, with the cold boot taking nearly four times as long as Parallels 11.

Other VM management tasks were much closer, with Parallels 11 winning two out of the remaining three tests (and barely losing the third), but that initial boot with Parallels 10 was painful in comparison to Parallels 11. Again, however, without getting too caught up in the details, these numbers (even that 38+ seconds for Parallels 10) only really matter if you’re frequently starting up and switching between multiple virtual machines throughout the day. If you’re the typical user who boots or resumes their Windows VM once in the morning and leaves it running until the end of the day, the main takeaway is that Parallels 10 is pretty fast in most management situations, and Parallels 11 is even faster.

Table of Contents

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1. Introduction
2. Parallels 11 Feature Overview
3. Hardware, Software, and Testing Methodology
4. Geekbench
5. 3DMark (2013)
6. 3DMark06
7. Cinebench R15

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8. PCMark 8
9. Passmark PerformanceTest 8.0
10. x264 Encoding
11. x265 Encoding
12. File Transfers
13. Virtual Machine Management
14. Conclusions

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


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.

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