Parallel To All

I’ve been using Par­al­lels on my iMac ever since I got that machine back in Jan­u­ary. Like most every­one else I’ve read on the pro­gram, I’ve been very impressed with it’s abil­i­ty to run dif­fer­ent OS’s with­in the OS X envi­ron­ment.

I’ve been run­ning Ubun­tu (Lin­ux) 6.06, Win­dows XP Pro SP2, and Win­dows Vista Ulti­mate with­out too much trou­ble. All are snap­py and respon­sive, espe­cial­ly Win­dows XP. I’m not sure about this, but I sus­pect that Par­al­lels 2.x has some extra fea­tures under the hood to par­tic­u­lar­ly improve the Win­dows expe­ri­ence in terms of speed. It hon­est­ly feels like using a Win­dows machine when switched to full-screen mode. Ubun­tu is also nice, but it did­n’t have the easy-con­fig­u­ra­tion instal­la­tion fea­tures that Win­dows instal­la­tion has. I’m not kid­ding when I say this: it is eas­i­er to install Win­dows in Par­al­lels on a Mac than it is on a Intel or AMD pur­pose-built box.

Vista is a bit of a dif­fer­ent sto­ry when it comes to per­for­mance (instal­la­tion was equal­ly easy, though). None of the fan­cy, 3D Aero affects are there. Even the 2D graph­ics are pret­ty slug­gish. After first load­ing, I decid­ed to test dri­ve the most impor­tant fea­ture of any Win­dows instal­la­tion: soli­taire1. The enhanced graph­ics of Win­dows soli­taire made the game dif­fi­cult to play – cards not drag­ging and drop­ping as they are sup­posed to. Even with the native Intel proces­sor and 1GB of RAM allot­ed to the vir­tu­al machine, the emu­lat­ed graph­ics could­n’t keep up. Need­less to say, Vista was a bit of a dis­ap­point­ment on Par­al­lels.

Well, just yes­ter­day evening, the Par­al­lels team announced ver­sion 3 of the Mac Desk­top prod­uct. This ver­sion includes 3D graph­ics sup­port, which as you can guess is some­thing I was antic­i­pat­ing in this release. While they are tout­ing the abil­i­ty to play games (which is also great­ly missed, don’t get me wrong), being able to ful­ly expe­ri­ence Microsoft­’s newest OS in all it’s glassy glo­ry is going to help sell copies of Par­al­lels (as well as macs in gen­er­al).

Now, if I can only con­vince my com­pa­ny to buy me a mac­book with Par­al­lels & Win­dows for work. I think my IT guy is on board with that (right, Scott?). The one thing I’d do dif­fer­ent with that, though, is to install Win­dows using Boot­Camp and then use Par­al­lels to access the Boot­Camp par­ti­tion (yeah, you can do that.). That way it can run as an entire­ly native Win­dows machine should the need arise, but oth­er­wise can have the Par­al­lels best-of-both-worlds good­ness.

  1. Trey and I were dis­cussing how great it is that Win­dows includes games peo­ple actu­al­ly play in the OS. The inclu­sion of card games should­n’t be too big of a sur­prise to us, giv­en Bill Gates’ love of play­ing cards. []