updated 03:00 am EST, Wed November 4, 2009
Crystal mode makes Windows disappear, 300 percent
The Parallels 5 launch marks the latest salvo in the ongoing battle for those who run Windows on their Macs. The virtualization software has been updated with significant interface and speed improvements aimed at keeping the company's market share lead over the recently updated VMware Fusion. The new software adds substantial interface improvements, allowing users to choose how much, or how little, they want to see of the Windows interface. Parallels 5 is faster, while graphics performance has been substantially increased.
Several new features make the Windows environment seem more Mac-like. Horizontal scrolling, Active Corners and Apple trackpad gestures -- including pinch, swipe and rotate -- work with Windows applications. Parallels 5 also includes support for Apple's new Magic Mouse.
Windows applications can be launched from a folder in the Dock or from a pull-down Start menu at the top right corner of the screen. Copy and Paste commands allow users to move formatted text and layouts between Mac, Windows and Linux documents with a high degree of accuracy. Multiple monitor support allows users to run Windows on one screen and Mac OS X on another, or run applications from both operating systems on two screens.
Under the hood, Parallels 5 boasts a 300 percent speed boost for VM operations and up to 7 times faster performance with 3D graphics. Support for Aero in Windows 7 and Vista has also been added. Graphics performance is boosted with added support for Open GL 2.1 and Direct X 9EX with Shader Model 3. Using technology from Intel -- an investor in Parallels -- the software includes support for 8 virtual CPUs, 64-bit Windows and Snow Leopard Server 64-bit.
Parallels Desktop 5 works with Widows 7 and Mac OS 10.4.11 or higher (including Snow Leopard) and is available now for $80.00. The package includes a one-year subscription to Parallels Internet Security by Kapersy, Acronis Disk Director 10.0 and True Image Home 2010 backup software. Current Parallels owners can upgrade for $50. Those who purchased Parallels 4 on or after October 1 are eligible for a free upgrade.