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Parallels 11 Benchmarks vs. Parallels 10 and Boot Camp

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

parallels 11 benchmarks 3dmark header

3DMark (2013)

Futuremark’s 3DMark is the latest in a long line of industry-standard gaming benchmark suites. It offers a range of tests that can evaluate the performance of everything from a low-power tablet to a $15,000 quad-SLI gaming PC, and looks at a CPU’s ability to handle gaming-related physics calculations in addition to pure GPU performance.

Both Parallels 10 and Parallels 11 offer DirectX graphics support, but only up to the older DirectX 10 standard. This limited the tests that were available to us as part of the 3DMark suite, but we ran every compatible test, which included, in order of increasing complexity, Ice Storm, Ice Storm Extreme, and Cloud Gate.

parallels 11 benchmarks 3dmark ice storm

Starting first with the entry-level Ice Storm, we see that Parallels 11 doesn’t do much to close the graphics gap this year. In fact, despite repeated tests to verify, Parallels 11 actually came in slightly behind Parallels 10 in terms of graphics performance. The CPU-bound Physics tests are much closer, however, and lend support to the relatively small difference in performance revealed in the preceding Geekbench tests.

parallels 11 benchmarks 3dmark ice storm extreme

The Ice Storm Extreme test is the same basic script as the standard Ice Storm test, but it increases the resolution to 1080p and utilizes higher quality textures and lighting effects, and is therefore harder on the GPU and system. With that in mind, we once again see the huge performance gap between the Parallels VMs and native performance, and also again see the odd trend of Parallels 11 performing slightly behind Parallels 10.

parallels 11 benchmarks 3dmark cloud gateOur final test is Cloud Gate, which is a more complex benchmark that takes full advantage of DirectX 10. While this is a relatively old test for modern PC gaming hardware, it represents the most demanding workload that we can throw at our Parallels virtual machines and their limited graphics capabilities.

The Cloud Gate results shouldn’t be surprising based on the first two tests. Native performance enjoys a huge lead, while Parallels 11 still somehow falls behind Parallels 10 in every category. This doesn’t mean that users looking for the best gaming performance should necessarily stick with Parallels 10, but it’s an interesting result that’s more than just a simple anomaly, as illustrated in the aging 3DMark06 test, which is next.

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]

[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
[/one_half_last]

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.

Reply
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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