Virtual Machine Performance: VMWare or VirtualBox

I am new to virtual machines, so I have a few [read: a lot of] questions:

What kind of performance can you get out of a virtual machine? Can anyone link to some benchmarks comparing a virtual machine running Windows 7 to a native Windows 7 machine? I’ve googled, but found nothing useful.

What hardware components factor into virtual machine performance? Does more RAM improve VM performance? How about GPUs?

Can you run autoCAD or Adobe CS4 in a virtual machine and actually be able to use the programs and all their features?

For a business computer that needed to run autoCAD or Adobe CS4, what VM program would be the best if price were not the issue?

What would you say is the minimum system set-up to be able to run the above programs on a regular basis?

These questions have been in my head for months, so hopefully I can find at least a few answers from the wise people here. Adobe CS4 and autoCAD are the only programs keeping me and my business from being completely free from Microsoft, so if possible I would like to sever all ties as soon as possible. Not having to dual boot windows would be a step in the right direction.

Also was reading about Parallels for Linux and Windows, anyone used this platform? How does it compare to VMWare and VB?

Anyone used the extreme workstation version of parallels? That looks like you could run just about every OS out there all at the same time all at native speeds. It is a beast of a program, from what I can tell.

I dont know on Windows, but VBox is like 3 times faster on linux than VMWare.

Lots of questions there… Haven’t used VMWare for years, so all that follows is based on intensive use of Virtualbox: I need MS Office and Adobe CS almost every day (although CS3 rather than CS4, but that shouldn’t make any difference) for some more demanding tasks, even though I try to make do with OOo and Scribus/Gimp/Inkscape as much as I can.
In principle, VB is up to running every Windows program, with only minimal performance penalty. I certainly have no real issues under XP. Windows 7 and Vista are more noticeably sluggish but still very usable (and you don’t get Aero eye candy of course, at least not yet). Giving the VM plenty of RAM helps, as does a fast, multi-core CPU.
All my hardware peripherals work fine, and I can easily share data between the OSs. For all intents and purposes, Virtualbox on a fast Linux machine gives you a Windows box entirely capable of professional/business use, minus 3D acceleration and some speed. I don’t know of any benchmarks, but subjective experience suggests a speed penalty of perhaps 20% in graphics-intensive applications such as Photoshop, less in others, and none at all in MS Office.

Isn’t there a non-free version of virtualbox that has 3d acceleration? Thought I heard that somewhere.

Would you say the performance of Windows XP in VB on a loaded machine with an i7 processor and lots of ram would be as usable as native xp on an older core 2 processor with just a couple gigs of RAM?

Yes, there is (experimental) 3D acceleration but it doesn’t give you Aero.

Would you say the performance of Windows XP in VB on a loaded machine with an i7 processor and lots of ram would be as usable as native xp on an older core 2 processor with just a couple gigs of RAM?

More or less. Impossible to quantify, depends a lot on the task. But XP flies on all but the most ancient hardware anyway.

Yes, we run Parallels in our environment to host virtual servers (Windows & openSUSE). It does its thing and the remote administration is really good. I’m not sure if Vbox has similar capability there.

The one disappointment is that Parallels can’t host or run on 64bit OS’s.

On a desktop or laptop, I would take VBox over anything else.

I have been running vmware server - vmware player and Virtural box on Opensuse 11.2 64bit with 8gigs mem I have recently changed from vmware server to Player - Player is outstanding. Virtual box is outstanding also. Both only allocate 128 meg for video it makes no difference how much video memory your machine has. Video functions in XP running in the vm’s appears to be faster in vmware Player (I recently streamed a netflix movie and in Player it ran as well as in actual XP. It’s nearly as good in Vbox. I actually like both VM’s, however, Vmware products seem more mature to me, but this is just an opinion so take it for what its worth? Both VM’s are free so try each and make up your own mind. Have a good CPU, dual core or better and a lot of ram and these will perform very well. I’m also running windows 7 Pro 64 bit in Vmware player and its just like running it raw - very good. I’m running Adobe InDesign CS2 in the windows 7 vm with no problems. In the end you’ll never know until you try it.

I will ask the three of you (palladium, MDArchos and gogalthorp) to raise your interactins to an adult level.

Plus in case there are young ppl on the forums, I’ll sanitize the smutty language.

Any more silly comments and there will be moderator action to cool the situation.