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Parallels Desktop 4.0 gets better graphics, 50% speed boost

post #1 of 52
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Parallels on Tuesday announced the availability of version 4.0 of Parallels Desktop for Mac, a speedier and more feature rich version of its virtualization software that lets users to run Windows, Linux and other operating systems side-by-side with Mac OS X.

The new version of the software improves OS integration, performs up to 50% faster and incorporates a range of security, backup and power saving features.

Among the core advances introduced in version 4.0 are support for DirectX 9, DirectX Pixel Shader 2.0 and OpenGL 2.0, which deliver faster video performance, and Adaptive Hypervisor, which lets users dynamically allocate resources to Windows programs or Mac applications on the fly. Together, the features combine for more responsive applications and a virtualization engine that's optimized to consume 15-30% less resources than earlier versions.

Mac notebook users in particular should see up to a 20 percent improvement in their battery life thanks to the aforementioned improvements and another new feature called Parallels PowerSaver. Meanwhile, FastLane Architecture maximizes speed and performance by fully leveraging the latest Mac hardware, taking full advantage of up to 8-way true multi-core CPUs and 8 GB RAM per virtual machine.

“The growth, in both performance and ease of use, of desktop virtualization software is making it easier for Windows users to adopt Macintosh computers," said Michael Rose, Industry Analyst at the research firm, IDC. "The availability of this technology is one of many factors driving growth in the adoption of Mac desktops and notebooks, for which shipments have grown 46.6% between the first half of 2007 and the first half of 2008, according to our data."

Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac also bundles at no extra cost $175 worth of additional components to addresses the areas of security and backup. These include Parallels Internet Security powered by Kaspersky for anti-virus, firewall, scanner, recovery, filtering and identity protection as well as Acronis True Image Home backup and restore and Acronis Disk Director Suite disk management.

Adaptive Hypervisor lets you assign priority for allocation of Mac hardware resources to Windows programs or Mac applications..

Additional features specifically for Developers and IT administrators include Mac OS X Leopard Server and Windows Server OS support, VM Directory, CLI and Scripting support, SDK and API, PXE Boot, improved networking and VM Templates, and an iPhone remote control application that can turn virtual machines on and off.

In total, Parallels says version 4.0 introduces 50 new features, of which other notables include SmartGuard automated backup, Smart Connect for remembering preferred USB connections, full-hardware ACPI power management, additional Screenview modes, Clips for screenshots, Speech Recognition, Security Manager, a Safe Mode, a Shut Down Mode and Over 45 Supported Guest OSs.

Modality lets you Scale Windows right on your Mac desktop to monitor and view multiple VMs all on a single screen.

The release comes wrapped in a new interface that delivers an easily accessible list of virtual machines that include favorite apps on each machine. At any time, users can view settings for a virtual machine and customize the toolbar to have favorite actions show up as buttons.

Parallels Desktop 4.0 is the latest step taken by Parallels in its bid to keep up with and potentially outrun rival VMware, whose Fusion virtualization software has been well regarded for its overall performance. Together, the two companies have sold over 1.5 million copies of Mac virtualization software, which is expected to drive the Mac virtualization software market into a $15 million - $20 million business this year.

Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac is available for immediate download for $79.99 from Parallels' website. New users can test a free, fully-functional copy for 15 days. Current Parallels Desktop users can upgrade their existing software for only $39.99 – a 50% off promotional price available until November 30, 2008. Users that purchased version 3.0 on or after September 1, 2008, qualify for a free upgrade to version 4.0.

In September, AppleInsider revealed much of the Parallels Desktop 4.0 feature set in an exclusive report.

post #2 of 52
I'm not sure "50% speed boost" really tells us much. What we really want to know is: is it faster than Fusion?
post #3 of 52
With that kind of headline, there should be an actual review that proves the claims, not just the verbatim manufacturer's press release making them.
post #4 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

With that kind of headline, there should be an actual review that proves the claims, not just the verbatim manufacturer's press release making them.

I agree, this is just like an advert.
post #5 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Parallels on Tuesday announced the availability of version 4.0 of Parallels Desktop for Mac, a speedier and more feature rich version of its virtualization software that lets users to run Windows, Linux and other operating systems side-by-side with Mac OS X.

What I would like to know is if Windows needs to be reactivated. I use their version 2 (still good....) purchased the upgrade to V3, which was soemwhat buggy in the sense that Windows wanted to be reactivated with a blank screen. It was a known problem at the beginning fo V3. Afterwards I lost track of it - plus V2 was actually Ok for me all round.

IF there is a speed boost now - I would obviously take adavantage of it - plus my Kaspersky subscription will end in 3 months anyway - so you make the maths.

I do NOT wish to reinstall Windows (definite no no), if its a transparent reactivation no problem - but no white screens or anything please. I would like to know from users who actually did it - how painful is the upgrade path from V2 to the new V4 ?
post #6 of 52
There's one potentially useful fact in this article, namely that Parallels finally supports more than one core. They've been promising this for two years now, while VMWare Fusion actually had it. That in itself may be the reason for its newfound speed boost. I may give Parallels a try, since many reviews say it's more user-friendly than VMWare. Not looking forward to installing Windows and all my Windows apps again on yet another virtual machine, though.
post #7 of 52
What we really want to know IS.....

How it performs and fairs when compaired to VMWARE Fusion 2.0

Since Fusion 2.0 Has all of the features listed here.... I think we should really concentrate on Performance....

Is the Vitual support for 2 Processors "Virtual" like Fusion??? or Does it really speed things up.

I can read blurbs... and adverts.... but this is the info I need.
post #8 of 52
I'm not sure if I can justify .another. $39.95 for a supposed X upgrade. I've been using Parallels since the beginning and paying $39.95 every 7-9 months is not something I plan on continuing since I'm not renting this software.
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post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

I'm not sure if I can justify .another. $39.95 for a supposed X upgrade. I've been using Parallels since the beginning and paying $39.95 every 7-9 months is not something I plan on continuing since I'm not renting this software.

I tend to agree. It put me off from upgrading last time, and makes me consider alternatives when a vendor keeps charging me for a bug-fix or "missing feature" upgrade. At the same time, I appreciate that developer time isn't free and if they aren't even selling a million copies then it isn't like they are rolling hand over fist in cash.

The whole point of using a virtual machine that you don't have to re-install applications and that you have nice recovery options. The avoiding dual-boot is nice, but that isn't really what a VM should be limited to.
post #10 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by freelander51 View Post

What I would like to know is if Windows needs to be reactivated. I use their version 2 (still good....) purchased the upgrade to V3, which was soemwhat buggy in the sense that Windows wanted to be reactivated with a blank screen. It was a known problem at the beginning fo V3. Afterwards I lost track of it - plus V2 was actually Ok for me all round.

IF there is a speed boost now - I would obviously take adavantage of it - plus my Kaspersky subscription will end in 3 months anyway - so you make the maths.

I do NOT wish to reinstall Windows (definite no no), if its a transparent reactivation no problem - but no white screens or anything please. I would like to know from users who actually did it - how painful is the upgrade path from V2 to the new V4 ?

Yes, you have to re-activate windows. I just called them and it was very easy and automated. I downloaded the 2 week trial and I use a BootCamp partition and it is snappier, but I am just a casual Windows user on my mac...
post #11 of 52
Does it support Aero? The screen shots suggest that it still doesn't.
post #12 of 52
have been a saisfied Parallels user for about two years. I am participating in the Parallels 4 beta review and am pleased to report that this new software is great! Stable, very fast, new user interface, 3d directx 9.0, open GL, DirectX shaders, 32 and 64 bit operating systems, 256 video,8 gb ram, partition resizing FAT 32 support, are just some of the improvements. I think that this version will be available to the public within a few days.0

The install procedure is much improved and should go smoothly (occasionally Windows install acts up, but that is usually a Windows problem). (Follow the instructions exactly!) Parallels Tools take a while to install but should work well. If you have problems installing, rebooting the Mac seems to solve most of the problems. I upgraded my VM from 3.0 and did not have to reinstall Windows.

I think that many more games will now work in Parallels (my Roller Coaster Tycoon now runs flawlessly and fast compared to several problems before). Other beta users reported a lot of applications that will now work. I still do not think that every game will work, so don't be disappointed if your doesn't.

The configure tab is much improved over previous versions and there are lots of things you can configure. My computer worked well with the default settings. You can right-click on the mouse and configure the menu bar on the startup screen.

I use Windows for Quicken, EWallet (synching with Iphone), Microsoft Publisher (all 2007 products work well), and several Coffee Cup web applications, and several other applications that aren't available in Mac versions. All of these applications work well. If you sync with Ewallet, be sure you use default networking.

I particularly like the Coherence mode. It has been improved over Parallels 3 and integrated fine with Mac. I have lots of clip art on the windows side and I can access it on the Mac side as fast as Mac files (was much slower in previous version.)

The integrated help user manual is great -- and explains most that you need to know.

The supporting applications (Compressor, etc.) are much improved and there are lots of ways to back up -- including an automatic one similar to time machine.

I have also beta tested a new iphone application which will eventually integrate with Parallels 4. As of now it will turn on and off, suspend, and pause the VM. I think the uses will eventually be expanded.

I am using this in my Imac 2.16 gb 4gb memory machine with Windows XP home. I would recommend that you use Windows XP (less problems than Vista) and with the coherence mode you really don't need to see an interface -- use the superior Mac one!

I only have one minor problem with the application. Commercial videos will not display in Coherence mode but work fine in Windowed mode and Full Screen mode. Hopefully, this will get fixed in an update. I don't think that Aero is supported yet, but they are working on it.

I think they will still have a 30 day free trial (so no cost to give it a try). You won't be sorry.

And, no, I am not connected with Parallels in any way. Just like the product.
post #13 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyKrz View Post

Does it support Aero? The screen shots suggest that it still doesn't.

I'd like to know this as well, lets hope so

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post #14 of 52
I switched from Parallels to VMWare about 8 months back and I don't think I'll be switching back anytime soon. I just encountered too much flakiness with Parallels, and I actually lost some important files after it crashed one time (which is what prompted me to switch).

The kicker was being able to directly copy over a VMWare Linux VM set up by a coworker on their Windows PC and use it without problems with VMWare Fusion on my Mac. That pretty much sealed the deal.

If I need to play games, I have no problems rebooting into a full version of Windows to get maximum performance (which is usually necessary anyways if you play the very latest FPS titles). So the DirectX features aren't really a big deal. Overall stability is the most important thing for me. Obviously performance is important, but VMWare is quite good as well.
 
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post #15 of 52
One of the main reasons I switched to vmware fusion was case sensitivity on a networked drive. This alone prevented many of my older compilers from working properly. When you set up a data folder on the "MAC HD" (not inside the virtual drive) you need to be case sensitive when accessing it say from CMD.EXE on the virtual XP.
Example inside cmd.exe...
swicth to a folder on your MAC HD (ie not c: but say z:, in effect a networked drive
z\>dir P (then press tab repeatedly will cycle through folders...
it will only display folders beginning with UPPERCASE P

z\>dir p (then press tab repeatedly will cycle through folders...
it will only display folders beginning with lowercase P

Doesn't seem like much, but if like me you have to run Windows only to be able to continue to run older compilers and such, they wil breal the make utility because of this.
I do not have the problem with vmware

I only bought and tried Parallels 4.0 because I was lured with a shiny AD and a discount in my email this morning

BTW, I can not find the iPhone remote app for parallels anywhere.
post #16 of 52
I own both VMWare and Parallels. For me Parallels runs circles around Fusion. (MBP 3gb ram, 2.33ghz core2 using Windows XP). Last benchmarks I saw, had Parallels running circles around VMWare using XP. I recently tried VMWare's newest Fusion build and it still slower and it's routinely could bring my MBP to a halt. IMHO Parallels's Coherence is MUCH better integrated into dual OS work flow then Fusion's Unity.
For example:
. In coherence you can use cmd-tab to alternate between Mac and Windows programs
. In coherence you can drag and drop mac-side files onto Windows Dock icons and open files.
. Unity has no ability to hide individual windows. Heck, no ability to hide all the windows
. Unity gives you no easy access to the start menu.

I'm excited to try Parallels 4. Multiple processor awareness will make it faster, but I still think most of the slow downs is with the hard drive.
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post #17 of 52
Ok I know this is a Mac Lovers forum only but does this parallels software exist for PC as well? Or is it only for Mac?
post #18 of 52
I just got off the phone with support, because I was having a little trouble upgrading. I originally purchased the retail box for Parallels 2, then upgraded online to 3, and today, upgraded online to 4. Unfortunately, my original box is half a continent away, packed inside of another box from a recent move. Activating Parallels 4 with an upgrade key from Parallels 3 will not work; you must use an original product key (from your original purchase). Fortunately, Parallels stores this information on your hard drive. To retrieve the key, do the following:
  1. Open Terminal
  2. <tt>cd /Library/Parallels
  3. ls .parallels_license*
  4. cat .parallels_license_x.x
    where x.x is the lowest number from the ls list, greater than or equal to 2.5.

The file should look something like this:

Code:

[Main Settings]
License=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Owner=Me
Organization=MyCompany, Inc.



Use the key in the License line (don't worry about the absence of dashes).

HTH
post #19 of 52
Are there only certain versions of Windows that you can legally run on a virtual machine? If so, which of the myriad versions are legal?
post #20 of 52
I have been trying this release of Parallels for a few weeks, starting with RC1. I have no formal benchmarks, but the performance I get using Fusion 2.0 is much better on boot times, and vmware seems much zippier in general use. Parallels seems to pause quite often.

It's also doing something odd with the mouse, after I scroll a window in windows the mouse reverts to the mac side (small arrow). I have to click within Parallels again to continue.
post #21 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

Ok I know this is a Mac Lovers forum only but does this parallels software exist for PC as well? Or is it only for Mac?

They also have Parallels Workstation for Windows & Linux.
 
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post #22 of 52
this is not at all related to Parallels (although I do plan to download the fully functional trial version), but I just have to comment that everywhere I go lately (in Seattle), I see people with the new macbook/pro - not only that, but my aunt (who is about to get her job axed because of a buyout by a Canadian company) just asked me which Apple she should buy for her 16 year old daughter for Christmas. I have never tried to sell her on Apple - not once. Of course I advised the Aluminum MB entry model and it sounds like they're going to get it.

Anyway... back to Parallels :-)
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

Ok I know this is a Mac Lovers forum only but does this parallels software exist for PC as well? Or is it only for Mac?

VMWARE has windows versions
post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkAnotherMile View Post

Are there only certain versions of Windows that you can legally run on a virtual machine? If so, which of the myriad versions are legal?

I know Vista Ultimate is on that list.
post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

Ok I know this is a Mac Lovers forum only but does this parallels software exist for PC as well? Or is it only for Mac?

Yes. http://www.parallels.com/products/workstation/
post #26 of 52
I am a Parallels to VMFusion convert. I was with Parallels when the supported sucked and it was in beta and not working on the Mini. How times have changed. I used Parallels until Fusion came out. I tried Fusion and have not looked back.

Saying that, I will have to say that Fusion 2.0 is slower than the previous 1.x version for what I do and has some querks. Not anything that would make be go back. I am just waiting for the 2.x update to move on.

I am glad to see Parallels doing well because this means Fusion will leap frog them, hopefully sooner than later, and that is good for everyone.

We need some benchmarks between the two for sure for plain curiosity sake.
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post #27 of 52
I knew Parallels would respond BIG to VMWare. That's why I held off jumping ship like many of you did here. Let's face it, many of VMWare's new features in Fussion 3.0 were already found in Parallels 3.0, so they're playing catch up to some degree. Now this new version of Parallels really rocks in a big way and once again retakes the lead in terms of features and innovation.

I was tempted to jump ship for VMWare but I'm glad I held out. I can't wait to upgrade to Parallels 4.0
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Switching From Windows on Nov. 30th 2007
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MacBook Pro 13" 2011
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post #28 of 52
Upgraded to V. 4 and it still won't connect XP or Vista to my wireless network on my new MacBook. Since their support is offering no help, I may have to move to VMWare.
post #29 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by internetworld7 View Post

I knew Parallels would respond BIG to VMWare. That's why I held off jumping ship like many of you did here. Let's face it, many of VMWare's new features in Fussion 3.0 were already found in Parallels 3.0, so they're playing catch up to some degree. Now this new version of Parallels really rocks in a big way and once again retakes the lead in terms of features and innovation.

I was tempted to jump ship for VMWare but I'm glad I held out. I can't wait to upgrade to Parallels 4.0

As of the last Parallels release, I haven't tested 4.0 yet, I would say confidently that Fusion is a better product all the way around. Starting with the multi processor option... That is my opinion though...
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post #30 of 52
I am surprised that there are posters who claim that Parallels beats Fusion in any category. I'm not accusing anyone of stretching the truth. Rather, I just can't fathom that other people aren't experiencing the bugs and bad performance I've seen on my machines and my colleagues machines.

I am running the latest build of version 3, and besides being dog slow, I have the following problems:

1. Parallels grabs 50% more system memory than the VM is configured to use. For instance, if I set the VM to 1 GB, Parallels will grab approx 1.5 GB of system memory. Then, when I quit out of Parallels, it never releases it back to the OS! I have to reboot daily because of this.

2. Every time I start a VM, Parallels shows me an error dialog saying that it can't run the VM in Coherence mode. The interesting part is that I don't use Coherence mode -- and just for kicks I tried to switch to Coherence and it works fine.

3. Don't bother to try to run Parallels in any but the primary desktop Space. OS X correctly switches to the correct Space, but the popup list of VMs to pick shows on another Space! When I try to switch back to the Space that shows the popup list, it gets sent to the back of the application windows so I can't select anything. Trying to select which virtual machine to run is a tricky sequence of Ctrl- and Command- combos just to see the list of VMs.

4. Crashes of Parallels and it's Virtual Additions....

5. Loading up Finder's "Open With" menu with strange (and many defunct) windows programs to open my files. (Even tough I thought I turned this feature off, these menu items keep finding their way back.)

Two of my colleagues have moved over to Fusion and have zero issues, speedy Windoze VMs, and tons of free RAM!

I am so bummed that Fusion's conversion app can't seem to read my Parallels virtual disks. As soon as it can, I am switching to Fusion.
post #31 of 52
Wow, lets see how Fusion responds to this features
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post #32 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkAnotherMile View Post

Are there only certain versions of Windows that you can legally run on a virtual machine? If so, which of the myriad versions are legal?

The ones you paid for.
post #33 of 52
I use Virtual Box. Its free and has a smaller memory footprint.

I use my Mac primarily to run Mac applications. Parallels locks too much memory and slows down my system for Mac apps. Virtual Box seems to lock less memory. It still runs Windows fine, doesn't slow down my Mac as much and you can't beat the price... free!
post #34 of 52
Be careful. I paid $39 and upgraded today and the upgrade process corrupted my bootcamp partition and now I have a useless VM causing me major headaches. Their email support must be swamped as I was notified it may be 3 days before someone from Parallels can get back to me for support. Now I'm creating a new bootcamp partition and starting all over. This is what I get for UPGRADING!?
post #35 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkAnotherMile View Post

Are there only certain versions of Windows that you can legally run on a virtual machine? If so, which of the myriad versions are legal?

I think it is (on Vista at any rate) from Business version up. Not the lower end versions. I bought Vista Business OEM from a well known on-line supplier. It was half the price and installed and was authorized by MS no problem.

My only gripe and it is a big one is if set up as a Boot Camp that's one license. If that same Boot Camp volume is accessed from VMWare (I stress same volume, same installation) MS insist this requires a second license. How bloody stupid! I can only use it via one or the other methods, never at the same time and it is the same installation! Go Figure!!!
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post #36 of 52
I am trying now. Vista Business, I want to run Coherence for IETester and IE7 applications.

Man, running this on a 8-core machine with 8GB and VIRTUAL LEOPARD SERVERS would be sweeet.

However, I am trying not to get washed over in the hype.

Converting my Parallels Desktop 3 Image now to 4. It is chugging away. Will update.

I know fiddling with virtual machines is sometimes not that easy.

I just need some cross-browser testing thingys. I wonder what games I could play on my GMA950 errr... Worth a shot, perhaps. Oooh, I know, I'll install Steam. Oh the madness.

Good luck to alls during the upgrade, if you decide to do so.
post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

The ones you paid for.

Believe it or not even if you pay for some of the lower end versions MS choose not to allow them to be used in a VM according to the EULA. As I said in another reply, buy they OEM version. It cost less for OEM Business than most sell the Home Basic version or close to it. I was worried it might not authorize but I took the risk and was happy to see MS authorized it on line no problem.
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post #38 of 52
Ironically, Acronis True Image - the backup program that ships with Parallels - won't back up a Windows partition on a Mac. I learned this the hard way when I purchased Acronis True Image and tried to back up my Boot Camp partition with it, and it said it doesn't recognize EFI partitions.

The only way to use Acronis True Image with Parallels is if your Windows drive is a disk image on your Mac partition.
post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

I use Virtual Box. Its free and has a smaller memory footprint.

I use my Mac primarily to run Mac applications. Parallels locks too much memory and slows down my system for Mac apps. Virtual Box seems to lock less memory. It still runs Windows fine, doesn't slow down my Mac as much and you can't beat the price... free!

the fusion upgrade from v1 to v2 was free which was a nice touch on vmwares part.
post #40 of 52
I find it intriguing that my previous 2 posts were deleted...

I've now spent 3 hours and 50 minutes, and am re-installing Parallels for almost the 10th time...

I actually got it all installed, and it's working... finally.

It turns out that if you have Boot Camp installed, which I did, you have to update Windows XP while running Boot Camp and NOT while in Parallels. So I managed to foul up Windows so that when I updated to 4, it caused Windows not to run anymore. Now that I've reinstalled, I've removed Boot Camp and have XP running just inside Parallels, and all seems to be fine.

But here's the interesting part:

During the process of trying to fix it, I set the startup disk to Windows, hoping that if I booted into Windows (in Boot Camp), I could update to service pack 3 and fix any problems. However, since Windows was fouled up, it wouldn't even boot.

OK, I thought, I'll reboot into Leopard and re-install Boot Camp. However, even though I held down the OPTION key, I never got the prompt to choose the OS. I put in my Leopard disk, held down the C key after restarting, never got booted up from the install disk.

I called Apple, sat on the phone with the tech for a half hour or more, until I asked if resetting the PRAM might reset my startup disk selection; he thought not, but I tried it anyway, and it reset PRAM and I was back into Mac world again.

What a nightmare!
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