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Parallels 11 Benchmarks vs. Parallels 10 and Boot Camp

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

Conclusions

While this year’s Parallels update doesn’t “wow” us when it comes to performance, it’s still nice to see some noticeable performance improvements in certain categories, although we’re a bit disappointed to see graphics performance seemingly hit a wall. Parallels has led the graphics race for several generations, but the last few versions have offered little to no improvement, and there’s no sign that the Parallels engineers will be able to take us past DirectX 10 any time soon.

This may be all that we can reasonably expect, of course, and we were encouraged to see the several tests where Parallels 11 nearly matched native performance. Features aside, the average user experience with Parallels 11 for common tasks like Office, Web testing, or Windows-only productivity software is going to be very good, and the convenience of not having to reboot into Boot Camp will likely outweigh any performance delta between the VM and native Windows.

But it also seems that we’re entering a virtualization arms race based almost exclusively on features, and Parallels 11 doesn’t disappoint in that category. Easy access to Cortana (for those who want to use that feature), the ingenious application of Quick Look to Windows files, and the continued refinement of longtime features like Coherence and the ability to share online services between operating systems all make Parallels 11 an attractive upgrade for those who need to use the software every day.

A Word on Battery Life

As we mentioned near the beginning of this article, we haven’t covered battery life here, and it’s all due to time constraints. We conduct battery life testing thoroughly, performing multiple rounds for each test. Factor in the time it takes to drain the battery, the time it takes to charge it back up, the prep time in between, and the number of iterations, and you’re looking at days, if not weeks, to properly and accurately evaluate the impact of these products on your MacBook’s battery life.

Battery Life

But that doesn’t mean such tests aren’t coming. We’re already planning our tests, and we’ll likely end up publishing battery life numbers for all virtualization products once Fusion 8 is released and we update our 2014 VM Benchmark Showdown. So stay tuned!

Pricing and Availability

If you were convinced by these benchmarks that Parallels Desktop 11 is right for you, you can pick it up right now from the Parallels website. New users can purchase the “standard” version of Parallels Desktop for a one-time $79.99 purchase, while the Pro and Business editions are each available for a yearly subscription fee of $99.99. Existing Parallels customers running version 9 or higher can upgrade to Parallels Desktop 11 for $49.99, or choose to upgrade to the Pro edition for the same $49.99, although it’s important to remember that the Pro pricing is a yearly subscription fee that will renew the following year at the regular $99.99 price.

Update: That last statement was incorrect on subscription pricing. Parallels has confirmed that if an existing user of Parallels 9 and up chooses to upgrade to the Pro version, they will be eligible for discounted pricing of $49.99 per year for the life of their membership. This makes the Pro version much more competitive for users who require the additional features it provides.

All versions of Parallels 11 are also available via a free 2-week trial, letting users evaluate the new version tiers to determine which edition is best for their needs.

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.

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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.
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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.
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Yiannis Tsentas says:
How to Install Windows 10 from iso on old MacBook running El Capitan

http://tsentas.net/install-windows-10-from-iso-on-old-macbook-running-el-capitan/

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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.
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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.
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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. 🙂
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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?
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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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