Are you a multitasker that wants to dabble in two operating systems at one time? On a Mac, that generally means using virtualization software, which is what I do. Currently, I’m using Parallels Desktop 4 for Mac, but I’m looking to upgrade in the near future. Version 5 launched today and offers some appealing features and performance gains:
- Full support for Aero in Windows Vista and 7 through Windows WDDM driver, including Aero Flip 3D
- Virtual machine size automatically optimized for best performance with Parallels Compressor
- A more Mac-like experience in Windows applications through Apple Trackpad Gestures technology (pinch, swipe, rotate and more), horizontal scrolling and the application of Full Screen active corners and curl page effect
- Copy & Paste fidelity for formatted text and complete layouts including images, even between Windows and Linux guest OS
- Freedom and flexibility to run Windows and Mac applications across multiple monitors
- 7 times better graphic performance for games and 3D applications than the previous version with Direct X 9Ex with Shader Model 3 and OpenGL 2.1 suppor
- Full hardware resources can be utilized with support for 8 virtual CPUs, 64 bit Windows and Snow Leopard Server 64 bit
Folks that bought Parallels Desktop 4 on or after October 1 qualify for a free upgrade to version 5. For the rest of us, an upgrade is $49.99 while a new, full license is $79.99.
Although running Windows natively on a Mac through Boot Camp offers an overall better experience, running Windows in a virtual machine is more than usable. I personally like the flexibility it offers over an either / or solution like Boot Camp. And Parallels isn’t the only game in town — be sure to check out VMWare’s Fusion or the free VirtualBox software from Sun. I’m half-tempted to upgrade my license of Parallels just to see the multitouch gestures on the Windows side — Parallels says that even four finger gestures are supported.