Last week VMware released the new 3.1 version of their Mac workstation virtualisation application and according to VMware it is better, stronger, and faster than ever before and it is a free update for all VMware Fusion 3 customers.

When I started my VMware Fusion 3 application it immediately offered to automatically download VMware Fusion 3.1.

 

The VMware press release states that VMware Fusion 3.1 provides 35% better end-to-end application performance compared to VMware Fusion 3.0. Windows applications launch faster and scrolling and 2D graphics in Windows Vista and 7 is almost 4x faster than VMware Fusion 3.0. Virtual machines suspend and resume faster and virtual machines are more responsive on resume.

As a relatively new Mac user I could not wait to try and indeed I can certainly confirm the ‘faster than ever‘-statement. Damn what an improvement.

So what else is new?

Graphics The graphics team redesigned the graphical part of VMware Fusion and delivered up to 5x better 3D graphics performance. It’s now possible to run a full Windows Aero interface on Windows Vista and Windows 7. To do so, Fusion 3.1 has hardware accelerated OpenGL 2.1 3D graphics for Windows Vista and Windows 7 guests.

So, how fast is fast? The graphics driver is so good it now supports AutoCAD 2011 on Windows 7!

Unity Unity is faster than in version 3 and Fusion 3.1 adds support for overlapping windows in Exposé and minimizing apps to the Dock. VMware Fusion supports Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s Dock Exposé for individual Windows applications so Windows apps work even more like Mac apps in Unity.

USB EasyConnect This option works really great. When connecting USB devices Fusion presents a pop-up asking the user if he/she wants to attach the USB device to the virtual machine or to the underlying host. This makes it easier than ever to assign a USB device to a virtual machine or your Mac and can even remember your preferred choice.

Larger Virtual Machines Added support for 8-way SMP and an increased virtual hard disk size from 950 GB to 2TB.

New guest operating systems VMware Fusion 3.1 adds support for new versions of RHEL 5.4, SUSE Linux 11 SP1, Ubuntu 8.0.4.4 and Ubuntu 10.04.

And this is just the stuff I tested. If you want to see the complete new features list for more details

The VMware Fusion update to version 3.1 is a free for all VMware Fusion 3 customers. If you’re not a VMware Fusion user yet you can download it here.

So I’m a happy new VMware Fusion user and to ‘prove’ that I’m not insane, today I read this article which states that VMware Fusion is an essential application for Mac users.

The author, Craig Grannell, said “For years, Windows in a window was a nightmarish, sluggish affair. But with the arrival of Intel Macs, virtualisation software has come a long way in a short time. VMware Fusion is our favourite … making it absurdly easy to get a virtual Windows PC running on your Mac. Switchers can run Windows-only apps; web designers can test in IE; no-one has to suffer the horrors of owning a real PC.”

In my opinion this is a great achievement from VMware to have Mac users run Windows on their Mac.