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Parallels Desktop 4.0 boosts speed, graphics support

updated 12:25 pm EST, Tue November 11, 2008

Parallels Desktop 4.0 out

Parallels has officially released Parallels Desktop 4.0, the latest edition of its virtualization software for the Mac. The program lets users run operating systems such as Windows and Linux within Mac OS X, eliminating the need to dual-boot. The fourth edition is said to improve integration with operating systems, in particular Windows, as it now supports graphics technologies such as DirectX 9, Pixel Shader 2.0 and OpenGL 2.0; these are de facto in many modern Windows games.

The developer says it has also redesigned the interface, and made substantial improvements to the underlying engine, boosting performance by as much as 50 percent. It should also consume 15 to 30 percent fewer resources than before, and use a technology called the Adaptive Hypervisor to shift them where needed for virtualization performance.

Desktop is being bundled with Parallels Internet Security for protection against malware and privacy threats, along with backup and disk utility software from Acronis. At present only the English version of Desktop 4.0 is available, at a cost of $80 new, or $40 as an upgrade from earlier versions. It requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later, along with an Intel Mac and a minimum 1GB of RAM; 2GB or more is recommended however, particularly when trying to run Windows Vista or Mac OS X Server.

by MacNN Staff



  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    my parallels stopped work

    My Parallels stopped working and they have not been able to fix it. Gets a crash dump when starting. Started out of the blue

  1. sailin74

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too little

    Too late. Already moved to VMware. Was slow and crashy, and didn't work right with my CAC card. I don't think I'll be spending $40 to go back, esp since I'll have to use another MSFT authentication.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No problems here

    Seems like most people only post when there are problems, but I want to say I haven't had any significant problems with Parallels. I have to remember to reboot my computer, though, any time I update the software, or it refuses to load properly.

  1. Toyin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Me too

    Another very happy Parallels user. I own both programs and find VMWare to be slower, buggier, less intuitive, and more of a resource hog. Every update of VMWare I give it a try, because of all these glowing reviews. I always head back to Parallels.

  1. thedude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Works great

    The funny thing is I have been using parallels on a mac mini for over 2 years and have had really no issues with it. Gaming aside every office tool works great. I have had 3.0 on my mini since it was released without much problem. However on my macbookpro I haven't been as happy with it. Starts up slower takes forever to load the VM and just really doesn't seem to work right. VMware however much it sucked in version 1.0.... network nightmare.... seems to have fixed most of the problems in v2.0 but were nice enough to give it away for free as the 1.0 product was not really ready IMHO. But if you are looking for a great product and are new to the VM game I would go with virtual box. You can get it from and it is free. Does not have all the bells and whistles of parallels or vmware, but it will get the job done very nicely especially if you only need windows for office type apps.thedude

  1. TheBum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Works good here too

    I've been using Parallels 3.x to run a radio-controlled aircraft simulator (Phoenix) from a Boot Camp partition and it has worked well enough for me to run it almost exclusively in Parallels (as opposed to rebooting the computer into Windows). Phoenix makes heavy use of DirectX and the experimental DirectX support in Parallels 3.x has been able to handle it, although with some unsupported features (antialiasing and shadows mainly). I'm eager to see how well it handles Parallels 4.0's DirectX support.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    To high

    Charging users $40 to upgrade is too steep. That's over half the cost of the 3.0 version. I bought v3.0 but I'll be damned if I'll pay another $40 just to go to version 4.

  1. mpantoja

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mouse installation issues

    It appears that if you upgrade to Parallels 4.0 and your original virtual machine was VirtualPC, then you will not be able to install the mouse driver included in Parallels Tools. That leaves you with an incomplete installation and a non-functional mouse. This was not an issue in 3.0, but discussions on the Parallels forums have yet to find a solution other than reinstalling Windows from scratch.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Aw c'mon, it's only $40

    and you get 50 new features. That's less than a dollar a feature. ;)

    There's one thing I really like about virtualPC programs and that's their ability to take snapshots. Whenever I start a virtual session I take a snapshot and there's nothing it can't recover from that I've ever found. I'm using older versions of both Parallel Desktop and Fusion, but I prefer Fusion because it seem to run faster.

    My dream machine would be the top-of-the-line Mac Pro Eight Core and either virtual PC program to run Windows and OSX side by side with minimal speed slowdown. I can't wait until the Intel i7 is running on the Mac Pro. No way I'd ever think of using a computer that can't run both OSX and Windows.

  1. bhuot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    my experience

    I am happy with Vmware Fusion 2.0 - running Ubuntu 8.10, Suse 11, PC-BSD 7, and Open Solaris 2008.0 on a new iMac with 4 GB of RAM. I give 512 MB of RAM to each one and they run great. The reason why I chose Vmware over Parallels is so I can download already installed virtual machines, so I don't need to install them. My sister is running Windows XP in Parallels and seems to be happy with it on her last generation Intel Mac Book with 2 GB of RAM.

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