VMware Fusion 3.1 Release Candidate

Yesterday the release candidate of VMware Fusion 3.1 was released together with the Release Candidate of VMware Workstation 7.1. Today We’ll be taking a look at the next version of VMware Fusion down here. As an avid Fusion user, I’ve been running Fusion 3.1 since the beta (released on march 16) and have enjoyed the experiance so far.

First let’s have a look at what are the main improvements, according to the release notes these are:

  • More Responsive: Much better responsiveness of resumed virtual machines and faster disk performance overall
  • Graphics Get Faster: Improved performance and better compatibility for both DirectX 9 and OpenGL 3D apps
  • Unity Better Than Ever: Support for overlapping Unity windows in Exposé and Dock Exposé
  • OVFTool 2: Import and export OVF packaged virtual machines and upload to vSphere with bundled OVFTool

There is a longer list onthe beta forum, this being:

  • More Powerful Graphics Performance for Games & 3D Apps: OpenGL 2.1 support for Windows Vista and Windows 7, DirectX 9.0 SM3 performance improvements, Windows Aero performance improvements, better OpenGL compatibility for modeling apps
  • Improved USB Support: USB “EasyConnect” makes it simple to assign a USB device to a virtual machine or your Mac and then remembers preferred settings for each USB device
  • Support for larger virtual machines: 8-way SMP support added, maximum virtual hard disk size increased from 950 GB to 2 TB
  • Improved Boot Camp Support: Improved disk performance for your Boot Camp VMs, better handling of disk configuration changes to avoid duplicate entries, option to avoid authentication dialogs when using a Boot Camp virtual machine
  • PC Migration Improvements: Migration status displayed on PC, now avoids port conflicts, guest account issues on Mac OS X now resolved
  • User Experience Improvement Program: VMware uses information obtained through the User Experience Improvement Program to improve the quality, reliability, and performance of our products and to plan our future development and testing. Participation in the program is voluntary and you can opt out at any time.
  • Many Additional UI Improvements and Various Fixes: See the VMware Fusion 3.1 Release Notes for more information.

The release notes down there have a long long list of fixes and improvements.

Ok, that sounds pretty good, but how is my experience with the new Fusion so far?

Well one of the more vocal complaints on the forums about Fusion 3.0 was about its performance. For some people Fusion didn’t perform well enough in comparison to a competitors product. This situation has clearly been one of the areas that received a lot of attention from the Fusion development team.  The latest 3.1 release candidate does indeed feel faster.  Is it a lot faster? Well the problem here is that this is hard to say, as a tester as the performance of a VM is a personal feeling and depends on your usage of the VM. From my point of view, Vista and Windows 7 are now much more responsive.  Alternative OS’s such as XP and Linux are a bit faster, but not stellar.

Let’s back that statement up by some pretty images. Here’s the performance index of a 32 bits  Vista VM running on Fusion 3.0

VMware Fusion 3.0 performance index rating

Here’s the performance index of the same VM on Fusion 3.1, the performance index hasn’t improved spectacularly, but the feel of the machine is certainly a lot smoother and faster.

VMware Fusion 3.1 RC Performance IndexThe main inprovement appears  with the  3D business and gaming graphics counter. For a better comparison, this VM was a boot camp VM in a previous life and the Graphics rating on the previous Macbook was only 3.1, so a 2.9 rating on a virtual machine isn’t that bad. Yes that is an apples and pears comparison as it was on different hardware, but it does help to paint a picture on how well a VM works.

Now if you really want to get value for money, you’d better use a decent OS 😉 here’s the performance index of a 64 bits Windows 7 VM. As you can see it is a big jump in performance in comparison to Vista.

VMware Fusion 3.1 RC Windows 7 Performance IndexAs you can see the hard disk rate and Aero rating figures are significantly better than the Vista report.

The performance ratings shown here are ALL on the same hardware.  Both VM’s are single CPU, the Vista VM has 1.1 GB memory assigned and the Windows 7 VM only 1 GB.

Finally here’s the list of the newly supported OS’s

New Guest Operating Systems Supported

  • Ubuntu 8.0.4.4: 32- and 64-bit
  • Ubuntu 10.04: 32- and 64-bit (currently in Beta)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit
  • RHEL 5.4: 32- and 64-bit

Hope you enjoyed the read!

Author: Wil van Antwerpen

Wil van Antwerpen is a software developer who loves to work on Open Source and dabble a bit with VMware products. He likes to help people out as that is a good way to learn more. He is the author of Vimalin Backup (https://vimalin.com) which is virtual machine backup software for VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation Pro.

3 thoughts on “VMware Fusion 3.1 Release Candidate”

  1. Sweet; I will download it today. I will have to say that my Windows 7 machine running in Fusion on my MacBook Pro leaves some to be desired. I have noticed slow recovery from stanby and it is pretty choppy for the first couple of minutes after I start it.

    I’ll check it out tonight!

    1. Hi,

      The slow recovery from standby should be fixed. Here’s a quote from the list of bug fixes:

      # Fixed a problem in which a virtual machine would be very slow or unresponsive after a resume
      # Fixed a problem in which antivirus software (AVG and others) would be slow after you resumed a virtual machine
      # Fixed a problem in which a shut down of a Windows 7 virtual machine was 50% slower with VMware Fusion 3.1 beta compared to VMware Fusion 3.0

      As for the choppy part when you boot windows, i’m afraid that’s typical windows behavior. It runs a lot in the background when you just booted and that has not changed. You can even see this happening on physical hardware.

      Do realize that this is pre-release software. I strongly suggest to make a backup copy of your VM before running it in Fusion 3.1 RC. Is it required? No, but it will save you when for example windows decides it wants to be reactivated. Depending on the version of windows you use, this might happen after you update vmware tools to the latest version.
      It is just good practice to have something to go back to before you start using a new version of any software. Anyways, enjoy and let us know your experience, here or in the beta forums.

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