VMWare Fusion 2.0 Beta Available….. Looks Interesting So Far

When I wasn’t watching for news on the new iPhone 3G, I was checking out the new VMWare Fusion 2.0 beta. Since I run Parallels Desktop, I was interested in how it stacks up. Given the fact that it’s a beta, you can’t make hard and fast conclusions about it. But you can form some opinions. Here are mine:

  • There is experimental support for DirectX 9.0. They have support for Shader Model 2 (Fusion 1.1.3 supports DirectX 9.0 without pixel shaders). Shader Model 2 support means you can play SOME of those PC-only 3-D games in a Windows XP virtual machine (it’s an emulation so, don’t expect perfection).
  • It has multiple monitor support, so PC apps that require more than one monitor can leverage this feature.
  • You can take your virtual machines from Parallels Desktop and convert them into VMWare format virtual machines. (It should be noted that Parallels Desktop has had the ability to go the other way for some time).
  • Shared folders work better in this release.
  • You can now auto-start virtual machines when Fusion starts up and the virtual machines will even remember their windows settings.
  • It “feels” faster than Fusion 1.1.3. It’s also not as resource hungry as Parallels Desktop.

The only thing that stops me from using this is the USB support isn’t as good as Parallels Desktop. Things like memory sticks work fine, but my webcam and my MobiKEY didn’t work (they both work fine with Parallels Desktop). To be fair, that was the case with Fusion 1.1.3. Perhaps they’ll improve the USB support before it exits beta. Otherwise I may be tempted to stick with Parallels Desktop.

I wouldn’t recommend using this beta for anything important. But it’s worth experimenting with if you’re interested in running Windows on your Mac.

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