Parallels says new Mac virtualization app keeps edge over VMware

Touts study showing 64-bit Windows 7 runs 22% faster on Parallels than Fusion

Parallels Inc. released the latest version of its Windows virtualization software for Mac computers on Wednesday, which it claims remains faster and more powerful than VMware Inc.'s rival app.

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac boasts 70 new features, including compatibility with the latest, highest-end versions of Windows 7 and Mac OS X, full support for Windows' enhanced graphics user interface, Aero, and deeper integration between Windows and Mac such that users won't notice when switching back and forth between the environments.

Many of those features and improvements, such as the deeper Windows-Mac integration, are also available in VMware Fusion 3.0 , which was launched last month.

The difference, according to Parallels' CEO Serguei Beloussov, is that Parallels deploys these features in a better and faster way than Fusion.

For instance, in addition to debuting a new Crystal mode that completely replaces Windows user interface elements with the Mac's, Parallels 5.0 also lets virtualized Windows apps be controlled by Apple's multi-touch trackpad gestures such as pinch, swipe and rotate. Users can also cut and paste formatted text and layouts between applications running in Windows or Linux guests and the native Mac OS X.

Beloussov also cited a study by Crimson Consulting commissioned by Parallels that shows the 64-bit version of Windows 7 to run 22% faster on a MacBook Pro using Parallels than on Fusion. Parallels also transmits data over networks and USB faster than Fusion, he said, displays graphics and video better and uses less Mac CPU cycles, resulting in better battery life.

One user of the Parallels 5 beta who agrees is Simon Loffler, an Australian Web designer.

"The UI is so much better. Everything feels tighter and better thought-out, and the config buttons on the bottom of the VM window are intuitive yet minimal," he said."[Parallels 5.0 also] seems to require less resources than Parallels 4.0, as OS X runs slightly smoother."

Despite an intermittent problem with the driver for a Logitech steering wheel for games, Loffler rated the new version "overall, a very nice upgrade from Parallels 4" that he said "totally beats" VMware's Fusion 2 (Loffler hasn't used Fusion 3).

Parallels 5 lists for $79.99 and includes several other utilities from Kaspersky and Acronis. An upgrade version costs $49.99.

First introduced in mid-2006 shortly after Apple released its Intel-based Macs, Parallels for Mac has two million users.

Parallels beat VMware to market by a year. Though a much smaller company than VMware, Parallels relies heavily on Mac virtualization sales (about out one-fifth of total revenue) and thus invests accordingly, says Beloussov.

"The virtualization engine for all our products originates from the Mac," he said. By contrast, VMware invests more in its server virtualization because that is where it makes most of its money, Beloussov said. "They don't optimize for the Mac," he said.

Besides Fusion, Parallels Desktop also competes with Apple's Boot Camp feature, which lets Mac users boot Windows or Mac OS X (though not run them simultaneously).

Apple has not yet updated Boot Camp for Windows 7, and has not released a new version for a year and a half.

Beloussov argues that Apple is slowly pulling back on its Boot Camp efforts. He claims that virtualization software such as Parallels are already so streamlined today that most Windows apps will run faster virtually than natively via Boot Camp.

Parallels is also readying a new version of its Mac virtualization product that will be aimed at developers, he said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ParallelsMacApplevirtualiation

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?