Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac offers big performance gains, new ‘Crystal Mode’ (with video)

Run Windows on Mac OS X with no reboot!“Parallels has released its answer to VMware’s Fusion 3, bringing Snow Leopard compatibility as well as support for Redmond’s latest OS [Windows 7]. Parallels Desktop 5 adds Crystal Mode to its Coherence OS integration and offers a serious advantage in graphics performance,” Chris Foresman reports for Ars Technica.

“The latest version of Parallels’ solution to run Windows on a Mac—hey, it runs Linux just fine, too—boasts 70 new features, most of which are related to OS integration and speed improvements. Users can now choose from several levels of running a VM, from full-screen all the way to a ‘Crystal Mode’ enhanced Coherence, where Windows applications integrate with running Mac OS X applications, similar to the way Classic worked for Mac OS 9 applications,” Foresman reports.

“In the performance area, Desktop 5 claims a 300 percent performance increase in VM operations over Desktop 4. Parallels also says that Desktop 5 has a 22 percent speed advantage advantage over VMware Fusion [version 2] in ‘productivity application performance.'” It offers support for 8 virtualized CPUs, and fully supports 64-bit Snow Leopard and Windows variants,” Foresman reports.

“Graphics is an area where Desktop 5 seems to have the biggest performance gains. It supports OpenGL 2.1 for Windows WDDM and DirectX 9Ex with Shader Model 3 for full Aero support in Windows Vista and Windows 7,” Foresman reports. “It also supports OpenGL 2.1 for Linux VMs. The beefed-up graphics support in version 5 resulted in a 700 percent improvement in 3DMark 2006 Pro benchmarks over Desktop 4. This updated support is especially important if your use of Windows is primarily for gaming.”

Read more in the full article here.

Parallels Desktop for Mac 5 in action:

Direct link via YouTube here.

More info about Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac here.


  1. I already own P 4.x. I’ve just bought a PIXMA MP560 printer and am very frustrated because the WIFi printing feature of this printer is blocked by a conflict with Parallels. I would consider upgrading if the new version resolved this conflict. So far, Nova hasn’t responded.

  2. You mac fan boys are weird bunch of people, tons and tons of comments about how crappy OS Windows is year after year and then you have several articles in MDN about Parallels and users praising the software THAT ENABLES YOU TO RUN WINDOWS …the crappy OS rememeber? Wtf is going on here??

    And don’t even start with ..”I (occasionally) have to due to this and that …”..crap is crap remember ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. @ cptnkirk

    I have that running fine. You may need to adjust your settings. The virtual machine just gets its own IP on your LAN. Did you install the printer in Windows with the port set to the network address of the WiFi print server?

  4. @ WierdPeople

    VMWare and Parallels and VirtualBox are great for people switching to Macs who need to be productive on day one, even if it means using their old software/OS as a crutch.

    They are also good for testing out how something will look in Internet Explorer on Windows, or any other browser on Windows.

    They are also great for running Linux and Unix variants as virtual machines.

    They are also useful for being compatible with Windows-only apps that some people have to be able to access either to provide tech support to someone, or to access some legacy type of app that is not available on the Mac.

    There are good reasons for VirtualBox, VMWare, and Parallels.

    Ultimately, I like VirtualBox and I run the Windows virtual machine in its own Window.

    As users find out how to do everything the “Mac way”, they can stop using these virtualization technologies, but they are good for new users and for certain special situations.

    However, for new Mac users, please resist the urge to jump to your familiar Windows apps when you can. Learn how the Mac works because ultimately you will be more productive and happier with your computing experience. Many apps are available for the Mac or at least there are apps that are comparable that you can try out.

  5. @weirdpeople

    no we are not weird. The fact is that there are occasions when we need to run Windows software. Either because of our jobs or because there is not a comparable Mac app (yet).
    We are using this to run software, not to rum Windows specifically. That is why there is a coherence mode, so we don’t have to deal with Windows.

  6. @ WierdPeople

    Unfortunately, I have to run one online trading program that only runs under Windows, otherwise I wouldn’t deal with Windows. That’s not “weird,” that’s just common sense!

  7. @ WierdPeople,

    “And don’t even start with ..”I (occasionally) have to due to this and that …”..crap is crap remember”

    Yes, WierdPeople, crap is crap, but, sooner or later, you just have to take the occasional shit.

    If you have to use the odd piece of Windows software, having Windows XP, Vista or 7 working invisibly, in the background, in emulation, on your Mac is the only way to go.

  8. @ WierdPeople

    And don’t even start with ..”I (occasionally) have to due to this and that …”.

    Nice try at trying to protect yourself from getting flamed. It didn’t work.

  9. @wierdpeople

    Incidentally, it should be “weirdpeople.”

    I saw this exact same comment a few days ago. Do you just troll mac websites so you can cut and paste this comment in? Talk about weird.

  10. Parallels works pretty well for me. I have a windows install on my MBP so I can work from home. Means I don’t have to lug 2 laptops around.

    The upgrade to 5 was a bit tricky. Luckily I remember some issue with selecting 2 processors on the first start up. After installing the parallels tools I could switch to 2 processors.

    I do need to reactivate windows again which sucks cos I know that will be painful.

    Copy and paste to windows / mac works now. In my install (from a Boot Camp partition) the Crystal mode crashes parallels. So obviously some issues exist with this new feature.

  11. re: WierdPeople – you conveniently ignore and not apply the same criticism to the majority of Windows users out there who are not using Vista or 7 due to the same compatibility issues. How many Windows-only companies have to support Winodws 2000 still just because some critical business app still only runs in Win2k/XP? How many IT shops runs multiple versions of Windows but not support virtual desktop on their PC image? Blame the software makers and managers that choose the software. And don’t even get me started on IE6. As Macs become more popular in schools and the Internet becomes more powerful, this will change.

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