VMware Fusion 8 really impressed us this year, and we were surprised by both its new features and its relatively consistent performance gains over its predecessor. We can give you a teaser from our forthcoming VM Benchmark Showdown and report that Fusion 8 doesn’t win every performance battle with Parallels 11, but it comes in very strong this year, and is a no-brainer upgrade for Fusion 7 customers looking for support for the latest operating systems or significantly improved graphics performance and capabilities.
However, if you’re happy virtualizing older operating systems such as Windows 7, don’t need to access demanding 3D games or graphics software, and don’t need or want Fusion 8’s Windows 7 USB 3.0 support, there may not be a need to upgrade.
It’s important to keep in mind when reviewing the Fusion 8 benchmarks on the preceding pages that, while we’re looking for absolute performance, you may only need acceptable performance to run those one or two Windows apps required for work or school. In that case, Fusion 7 remains a completely viable option, and the gains brought by Fusion 8 don’t diminish its predecessor’s capabilities when it comes to basic apps and tasks.
So, in short, VMware Fusion 8 is hands down the best version of Fusion yet, with notable and sometimes dramatic improvements over Fusion 7. But, depending on your specific workflow and needs, its improved performance may not be worth the upgrade price, as Fusion 7 remains a very competent choice for many virtualized tasks.
We’ll soon see how Fusion 8 fares when compared directly to Parallels 11 and VirtualBox. Until then, you can purchase Fusion 8 from the VMware online store, or download a free 30-day trial.
A Word on Battery Life
As we mentioned in our Parallels 11 benchmarks, and as you may have noticed, we haven’t covered battery life as part of these Fusion 8 benchmarks, primarily due to time constraints. Our battery life testing process is thorough and subject to the same repetitions as all of our other tests. We didn’t want to delay getting these other Fusion 8 benchmarks in your hands while we spend days repeating lengthy battery life tests, so we’re saving those results for our final 2015 VM Benchmark Showdown, which will be released shortly.
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