Parallels Desktop 4.0 gets better graphics, 50% speed boost

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
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.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I'm not sure "50% speed boost" really tells us much. What we really want to know is: is it faster than Fusion?
  • Reply 2 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 51
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,591member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 51
    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 ?
  • Reply 5 of 51
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 51
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 51
    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...
  • Reply 10 of 51
    Does it support Aero? The screen shots suggest that it still doesn't.
  • Reply 11 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 51
    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



    ____________________

  • Reply 13 of 51
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,016member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 51
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 51
    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
  • Reply 18 of 51
    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?
  • Reply 19 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 51
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,016member
    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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