VMware Fusion 3 (Mac)
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- VMware Fusion 3 provides the ultimate Windows experience on the Mac
- Optimized for Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard
- 64-bit native and advanced 3D graphics
- Windows 7 support including Windows Aero and Flip 3D animations
- Ultra-fast Migration Assistant for Windows to transfer your entire PC to your Mac wirelessly or using an Ethernet cable
There is a newer version of this item:
- Platform: Mac OS X Intel
- Media: CD-ROM
- Item Quantity: 1
With VMware Fusion, run the most demanding Mac and Windows applications side-by-side at maximum speeds without rebooting. With over 50 new features and a new ultra-fast Migration Assistant for Windows, it’s never been easier to run Windows on your Mac.
Top Customer Reviews
After almost 4 years now, and a former Parallels For Mac purchaser/owner, VMWare Fusion versions 2 and 3 have served me extremely well.
I made the transition from Vers. 2 to Vers. 3 last December. And along the way, I've been able to test out most of the new Corel Software available (and their still only Windows-based, with the exception of WinZip) for 2010 and Fusion allows XP to install them flawlessly.
I've had Fusion for several years now and not once-- not once-- have I ever had to reboot because the virtual OS froze or became corrupted. I had Parallels Desktop for 6 months and it literally stopped working. I uninstalled and reinstalled Parallels 3 times before I gave up and searched for a new virtual OS. That was money and time down the drain. Never again.
I don't know about Fusion and Win 7 (and I don't know about Fusion and any kind of high tech gaming,) but I do know that for word processing applications like MS Office, Corel WordPerfect Suite and OpenOffice as well as graphic art programs like Photoshop and CorelDraw, and for web-based animation like Swish Max, VMWare Fusion 3 is the only way to go. It works flawlessly and it works every time.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
First, know that VMWare is the virtualization standard, regardless of your infrastructure. They have tons of products designed to allow you to virtualize your machines on a variety of different configurations. Even if you don't have an OS, there's a VMWare product that can help you. They're a jack of all trades - unfortunately, they are an expert at nothing. But they are still the gold standard, and the interoperability of the VMs is effectively what makes them a viable option...again, depending on what you intend to use it for.
Say you're working a class for college. The professor distributes a VM that has a basic operating system to use as a lab. 99% of the time that VM has been created in one of the VMWare products. Think Adobe PDF here - yes, you could use third party apps to "convert" the document into something you can use, but the Adobe Reader is going to handle it the best. VMWare is such an application. If the VM was created in a VMWare application - ANY VMWare application, just about - you can then open it seamlessly into your VMWare Fusion product. Most you would then need to do is reinstall VMWare Tools for compatibility reasons, but the application will work.
It is this versatility that makes VMWare Fusion stand out. As its own application it's not the greatest; there are a lot of limitations to customization of the VM, but it will get the job done. I want to note the biggest thing about VMWare vs. Parallels: Windows 7. You see, Windows 7 actually puts more work on the graphics card to show you the shiny interface that you see, so if you have full Aero on, it's a tax on your system if the card can't handle it. Parallels and VMWare use virtual graphics cards based on your actual graphics card; Parallels' version gets stressed, but remains relatively stable and snappy. VMWare, on the other hand, slows down quite a bit when using the Aero engine. This is a bit troubling, because no matter what you do you can't change this. It doesn't matter how much RAM you give the VM or what type of MacBook or whatever you have - it's always slow. The only thing I've seen that affects it is a faster hard drive, but still, Parallels beats it by far.
Where VMWare also excels is with the older NTFS versions of Windows: 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista. These technologies work quite well in Fusion - Parallels can also handle them, but again, interoperability and distribution are the keys here. If you're in an IT class that uses VMs chances are it's got Server 2003 running, and having Fusion handy will be a boon to your work. Parallels does support conversion of the VM, but it's not a clean or easy process to do.
One thing I need to add to this: VMWare's stability is by far and away superior to that of Parallels by a long shot, especially with the recent 3.1 release. What this means simply is this: If you want speed and don't really care about stability or support, Parallels won't let you down, but if you're willing to take a speed hit if it means your VM remains stable and well supported, go with VMWare. Hopefully that's clear to all. I realized afterwards I didn't clarify that point well.
In short, do I recommend it? If you're in school, or you work in an environment that uses VMs or you are constantly called upon to create VMs, or for whatever other reason VMWare is part of your daily life, yes. If you're just doing this for yourself, VMWare will be easier to get into than Parallels, is more stable, and better supported. Parallels is more powerful, faster and more seamless than VMWare. Food for thought.
You may have read that upon upgrading to version 3.1 I was elated by the apparent performance boosts. However, after using the Windows 7 virtual machine more extensively, I have to say that the performance increase is only superficial. Upon a fresh install of Windows 7 32 bit, the virtual machine runs beautifully and aero works great. BUT, once you install other programs and begin to run them, VMWare shows its true face (at least on my computer). Programs hang the virtual machine and my Mac OS constantly. I think the performance is actually worse than before, and I have some friends that also think the performance went down with the upgrade. I would say that both Parallels and Oracle's Virtual Box have the edge. But as usual, I recommend that you download the trial from their websites and see which programs runs the best on your computer. I think that computer configurations matter heavily when it comes to running virtual machines, so see which one works best for you and your needs.
Also, no matter what version Amazon ships, know that the new version can be downloaded for free. (If you want it.) All 1.x to 1.x upgrades are free for both VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop.
And here are the specs on my computer: MacBook Pro Early 2008. Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz. Snow Leopard 10.6.4. 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM. 512GB nVidia GeForce 8600M GT.
Version 3.0 Original Reviews:
VMWare Fusion 3 has been hit and miss so far this morning. Running Windows Vista Enterprise 32bit is wonderful. It is much smoother and faster than it was in Fusion 2. However, Windows 7 Professional 64bit runs very choppy. Opening any program takes a few seconds, and it is much slower than when I run Vista. (And this is with a clean install of Win7 with a new Fusion 3 virtual machine.)
Here is what I have found really surprising: for the past month I have been using Parallels Desktop 5 beta. With Parallels' new beta you can also run the aero interface, but I found it to run much better with both Vista and especially with Windows 7 than it does with Fusion 3. The overall Windows Experience Index was much better for both Vista and 7 in Parallel Desktop 5 beta than in Fusion 3 now. Currently, I am getting a rating of 2.9 in Vista and I got a rating of 2.1 in Win 7. Within Parallels 5 beta, I was getting an overall experience index rating of 4.5 and 4.9, and that was with a beta copy!
If you are running Windows Vista with VMWare Fusion 2, then you may wish to upgrade for the added speed increase. It feels a lot faster for me. However, 64bit Windows 7 is very slow and clunky. Even with the enhancements off, the OS still ran slow. I might suggest waiting for Parallels 5 to come out if you will be using 64bit Windows 7, as the current beta ran that OS much, much better.
Another issue that I would like to point out is this: the promo video says that you can now play full HD videos with the new updated graphics engine. I tried this out in the 64bit Win 7, and it was extremely choppy. However, my Windows Vista virtual machine plays videos very smoothly.
I recommend you download the trial from VMWare's website and test it out before you decide to buy.
A recent problem that I have discovered is that while Fusion 3 "allows" me to expand or reduce the size of my Windows partition hard drive, the changes are not apparent once the OS is booted. I originally set Windows Vista to 20GB, and now I only have 47MB of space left on the drive. After expanding the drive to 40GB, it still only shows up as 20GB in Vista and says that the drive is full. I will have to contact VMWare to find a possible solution. - The problem is solved after running the "Extend Volume Wizard" in Vista. With Parallels 4 I never had to do this. Thanks to Evan H. Appelman for posting a link to a help article for me. It would be nice if VMWare had included a popup or some form of instruction telling you to run the EV wizard after changing the virtual machine hard drive size.
Today Parallels released Desktop 5. To me, I see a performance increase in using the same virtual machines within Parallels 5 than Fusion 3. Parallels 5 also give me a better overall Windows Experience Index. In Windows 7 64bit, I am getting an overall experience rating of 4.5. Win 7 also feels more responsive in Parallels 5 than Fusion 3. I like Parallels so much better in fact, that I have removed VMWare Fusion 3 from my computer. For me it is Parallels Desktop 5. I recommend, as always, for you to download the trials from both VMWare and Parallels, and see which you prefer. Also, if you already have VMWare Fusion 2, then I would say save some money and just upgrade to 3; the same goes to those who have Parallels 4.
What I found was that Fusion 3 did indeed offer a faster, more responsive experience in every Windows operating system I tried from Windows Server 2008 to Vista to Windows 7. To add a caveat, the performance was actually very slow until I installed the latest version of VMWare tools on each system (a necessity for all versions of VMWare Fusion), which I suspect may be the source of the performance problems other reviewers mentioned when first trying Fusion 3, but after VMWare tools installation, everything ran a bit faster than with the previous version of Fusion.
I also ran "Windows Experience" tests on both my old PC-migrated Vista VM and a fresh installation of Windows 7 and whereas the old score was 1.0 (terrible) for both systems because of (lack of) 3D performance, the new scores came in at 2.7 for my old Vista migration and 3.5 for the fresh copy of Windows 7 with the weak point still being 3D capabilities. Not bad. More than enough to run Aero for sure, and perhaps enough to support older 3D games. I wouldn't get my hopes up for being able to run Modern Warfare 2 in a VM on your Mac with any sort of tolerable frame rate, however.
In general, I always liked how VMWare feels like a more native Mac application than other virtualization solutions and "Unity", the ability to run a Windows app in Mac OS X as if it were a Mac-native app, is even improved and more integrated in this latest version! VMWare has a long history of making great virtualization software with some of the widest support of operating systems, and Fusion 3 takes a good thing and makes it even better.
Overall I think it's the best virtualization solution for the Mac in general, and its performance enhancements make it a worthwhile upgrade for current users of VMWare Fusion 2.
What isn't there is professional SW quality. I'm a retired engineer and expert. The network/internet interface changed. After some panic, and a few toggles between NAT & Bridged in the network settings, I finally got 3.0 & 3.0.1 to reconnect to the internet, via my MacBook Pro's stock network firmware. No help from VMWare customer support. See next paragraph. My experience, with complex product applications tells me that when basic functionality begins to evolve, from release to release, it means that bugs are multiplying and development is beginning to create as many bugs as they fix. (Been there for 35 years, so I know about this phenomena.)
The real scary feature, of VMWare. They will not support their product unless you pay. I mean pay in addition to the price of version 3.0. See their web site under support. They claim they will support non paying/subscribing customers via email. When my Windows frame quit between 3.0 & 3.0.1, I received one vague email. I responded, detailing my observations. I required more specific instructions of what I was to try and what information I was to supply. NOTHING. My email disappeared into the internet ether. Not to mention 48 hours delay between request and initial (& only) response.
If Windows on your Mac is just a toy, go ahead and deal with VMWare. If you need Windows apps, and don't mind being extorted for an endless subscription for support that should come with the product, that should not have defects to begin with, go ahead and deal with VMWare. If you are offended by petty theft and extortion, maybe its time to look at competitors.
Update: I just upgraded to 3.1 vs 3.01/2. I was terrified, because during upgrades things traditionally go south. It worked. I was seasoned enough in Fusion to wait patiently for it to figure out it had to automatically update VMWare Tools. It did. It still communicates to the internet, via my bridged com setting. The list of bug fixes in the rel. notes is remarkable. Maybe VMWare is getting serious about being a professional software company. When they stop extorting support, then we will know.