Ars Technica review: Parallels Desktop 1.0 for Mac OS X

“Move over emulation, virtualization is in and it’s hotter than two Jessica Albas wresting the devil himself in a pit of molten steel. It’s no contest, virtualization has it all: multiple operating systems running on the same machine at nearly the full speed of the host’s processor with each system seamlessly networking with the next. Add to that the fact that it’s cheaper than getting a new machine and you have the guaranteed latest craze. Not even the Hula Hoop can stop this one,” Dave Girard writes fro Ars Technica.

“Okay, virtualization isn’t totally new–it’s just new to Macs and Parallels Desktop is the first out the door with a 1.0 product for Mactels. For those that are just getting to the party, here’s a bit of a breakdown on virtualization. The idea is that program acts as a virtual machine (VM) and its job is to be the PC (one of the more boring drama classes), tricking the client OS into thinking it’s inside a real x86 machine with a physical hard drive, keyboard, Ethernet card, etc., when in reality, it’s merely grabbing unused CPU cycles and RAM inside another OS to do it’s thing,” Girard writes.

“The benefits are pretty clear over a real PC: It’s running on the Mac you know and love but you’re not sacrificing access to the occasional Windows-only app that you might need. Maybe you have a copy of Office XP for Windows and don’t want to shell out for the Mac version. Sure, you could load up Apple’s Boot Camp, but using a program like Parallels–or its competitors VMWare, WINE and MS’ Virtual PC–means you don’t have to reboot just to use that accounting program at work,” Girard writes. ” It is a great prospect and now even Apple is recommending running Parallels on their Get A Mac site.”

Girard’s comprehensive review covers:
1 – Introduction
2 – Installation
3 – Windows XP Installation
4 – Windows application compatibility
5 – Peripherals
6 – Benchmarks vs. Boot Camp
7 – Conclusion

“People pondering the switch to a MacBook can rest assured that with the exception of USB device support and hardware accelerated 3-D applications, their needs will be well met by this little workhorse of a program. Between the networking that just works, the impressive speed and the inability of the client operating systems to know they are running within a “virtual machine,” I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find software for any x86 OS that doesn’t work within a Parallels VM. If you’re still not certain, you can always try the fully-working demo and make your decision later. Just keep in mind that the price tag jumps from US$50 to US$80 after July 15,” Girard writes.

Full review, very highly recommended for those considering Parallels Desktop 1.0 for Mac OS X, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Too Hot!” for the heads up.]

Introducing the super-fast, blogging, podcasting, do-everything-out-of-the-box MacBook.  Starting at just $1099.
Get the new iMac with Intel Core Duo for as low as $31 A MONTH with Free shipping!
Get the MacBook Pro with Intel Core Duo for as low as $47 A MONTH with Free Shipping!
Apple’s new Mac mini. Intel Core, up to 4 times faster. Starting at just $599. Free shipping.
iPod. 15,000 songs. 25,000 photos. 150 hours of video. The new iPod. 30GB and 60GB models start at just $299. Free shipping.
Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.
iPod Radio Remote. Listen to FM radio on your iPod and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Just $49.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
O’Reilly MacDevCenter Review: Parallels Desktop for the Mac is ‘amazing’ – June 28, 2006
Forced to run Windows? Make Parallels Desktop run faster – June 27, 2006 announces record Q2 sales based on high demand for Apple Macs – June 28, 2006
a href=””>Apple could buy Parallels with petty cash and say ‘buy a Mac, get two computers for price of one’ – June 22, 2006
Apple ‘Get a Mac’ web page pushes Parallels Desktop instead of Apple’s own Boot Camp – June 18, 2006
Parallels Desktop for Mac goes final; simultaneously run Mac OS, Windows, Linux on Intel-powered Mac – June 15, 2006
Which is better for running Windows programs on Macs, Boot Camp or Parallels Desktop? – May 25, 2006
Washington Times: Parallels Workstation 2.1 ran Windows XP ‘quite nicely’ on an Apple Macintosh – April 18, 2006
Dude, you got a Dell? What are you, stupid? Only Apple Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows! – April 05, 2006
Why buy a Dell when Apple’s Intel-based computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows? – June 08, 2005


  1. I’ve been using Parallels since beta 1 or 2, and it is excellent. Right now, I primarily use it at work when I need to access Outlook directly for forms, project and polling functions, and at home to run TivoToGo. For either convenience, it is worth more than double its price.

  2. I got some bad news

    Enjoy virtualization while you can, because Vista based computers will also have a TPM chip in them to protect the OS just like the new MacTels do.

    “Boot Camp” is only a temporary measure until Virtual PC makes it’s comeback. Apple is sticking to a dual boot solution because eventually we will have the choice of running only one OS on Mac’s either Vista or Mac OS X.

    This is of course if Microsoft allows Vista to accept the TPM chip in Mac’s, which I don’t think they will, we will have to buy Virtual PC for Vista and accept Microsoft’s intentional hobbling of the software.

    Sorry to bring the bad news.

  3. Dynamic, I’ve been using Virtual PC since Connectix first released it . . . and it is NOT EVER going to make a comback. (FYI: “it’s” = “it is”; “its” = the possessive pronoun.)

    If you think that Microsoft will do ANYTHING to prevent its OS from running on the Mactel chip, you haven’t followed the anti-trust legislation coming out of Europe. My guess isi that MS will be bending over backwards to avoid the A-T label from this point forward throughout the computing world.

    They’d BETTER if they want to survive in a market that INSISTS on CHOICE, not obsequious slavery to a single OS.

  4. Microsoft avoiding anti trust?

    They are about to give away about a billion dollars worth of music to iTunes on Windows users to buy the MP3 player market out from under Apple.

    If that’s not leveraging the Monopoly, you know, using your monopoly money, what is?

  5. As for virtualization, USB support is a real deal breaker for me. The only piece of Windows software I need has no Mac equivalent and uses a USB Hasp or Dongle for copy protection.

    Until Parallels has USB 2.0 support, it’s Boot Camp or my wonderful POS XP laptop.

  6. Actually, Parallels DOES have USB support. It just doesn’t work very well. Mine works fine for my flash drive and other assorted things, but not on my printer. Try it on your application, it might be ok.
    (I strongly suggest configuring Parallels to attach the USB device manually, not automatically. This requires you to assign the device to Parallels with a few mouse clicks, but it appears to work more reliably.) I’ve been using parallels since early beta, and other than printers, everything else works as expected.

  7. My main problem with Parallels has been the CD-ROM support. In a MacMini a disk designed for a PC (i.e. Windows install disk or a data disk for a Win based ed software package) grinds away forever as if the Mac can’t figure out what it is. Sometimes it will mount but apps don’t autorun from the CD nor do they easily eject from inside Windows. I heard this was due to the way that PCs CD ROM drives cache data vs. Macs.

    Ultimately, for me to be even able to install Windows on my MacMini I had to make a disk image and then connect Parallels to that first.

  8. Regarding Parallels and HASP hardware locks.

    The program worked fine on my MacBook Pro. It recoginzed the USB hardware lock. My specialized software runs just fine.

    The hardware lock doesn’t care if it is USB 1.0 or 2.0.

    Now that I know it works, I am going to start switching out my Power PC macs with Intel Macs. Get the best of both worlds.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.