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.
- 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. [↩]