[HOT] : Parallels Desktop review: full review and 2021 part one review
If you want to run a full Windows system on an Intel Mac, Parallels Desktop is the best choice for home and small business. It is also currently the only practical choice for running Windows on Apple Silicon machines. Parallels is fast, has tight integrations between host and guest machines, and benefits from frequent updates to keep it compatible with the latest Windows and macOS systems. It wins our Editor’s Choice award for virtualization software.
Parallels Desktop is slightly less stable and user-friendly than Parallels, but this application is slower and does not yet officially support Apple Silicon hardware. VirtualBox Freeware will also not work on an M1 Mac and is too unstable for regular use. The experimental UTM application, based on the open-source QEMU emulation software, is unreliable and does not offer all of the built-in amenities of Parallel Desktop.
How much does Parallels Desktop cost?
Parallels Desktop offers both Standard and Pro editions of its software. The Standard Edition, which is aimed at home users, costs $ 99.99 all at once or $ 79.99 per year. Students can get the Standard Edition for $ 39.99 per year. The subscription version includes all updates to newer versions of the software during the payment period, while anyone who purchases a permanent license version cannot benefit from the free updates. The Pro edition costs $ 99.99 per year and you can try it free for 14 days.
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As the Parallels app is deeply integrated with macOS, and new iterations of macOS often require new versions of Parallels, I highly recommend the subscription model. However, if you have already purchased a single license for the Standard Edition, you can upgrade to a Pro subscription for $ 49.99 per year instead of paying the full price of the Pro version subscription. Of course, it is better to start with a subscription to the Standard or Pro version. You can also purchase a one-time upgrade to the latest single-license version of Parallels Desktop Standard Edition for $ 49.99.
Oracle VM VirtualBox (pour Mac)
The standard version supports virtual machines with 8 GB of RAM and four virtual processors; the Pro version brings these specifications to 128 GB of RAM and 32 processors. If you are using graphics or math intensive Windows software, you will need the Pro version. The Business version, which is priced the same as the Pro version and supports the same amount of RAM and CPU, offers centralized management and a single volume license for multiple machines.
VMware Fusion is more expensive than Parallels Desktop. It costs $ 149 for the standard Player edition and $ 199 for the Pro version. Upgrades to the latest version of the Player edition for current users cost $ 79, while upgrades for Pro users to the latest Pro version cost $ 99. Notably, VMware offers a free version that lets you run existing emulated systems, but not create new ones.
If price is what matters most, you can use the free VirtualBox or UTM solutions, but I think you are better off spending the money on VMware or Parallels rather than struggling with the free apps. Check out our article on how to run Windows apps on your Mac for more free options.
What platforms are supported by Parallels Desktop?
On a Mac M1, Parallels lets you run beta versions of Windows 10 or Windows 11 based on ARM and available for free. You can also run ARM-based versions of Linux – Parallels has a menu that allows you to download and install ARM-based Debian, Fedora, Kali Linux, or Ubuntu. Those who have the beta version of Monterey installed (or, presumably, the release version when it arrives this fall), can even run a special version of it virtually. However, at the time of my testing, this special version did not support any of the tight host-guest integration features that Parallels offers to those running macOS guest systems on Intel machines.
On a Mac with an Intel CPU, you can create virtual systems that run all Intel-based Windows or Linux versions, as well as all recent Intel-based versions of macOS from your recovery partition. On these devices, the download menu includes several versions of Android, Linux, and Windows.
You can also install any supported system from a disc image or DVD, as well as import an existing Windows system over a network after installing Parallels transfer software on the original machine. Keep in mind that you need to purchase a license for all virtual Windows systems except those running developer betas.
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Unlike VMware Fusion, you cannot download a version of Parallels Desktop that allows you to run emulated systems on Windows or Linux platforms. This means that with Parallels, you are limited to running your virtual machines on a Mac. VMware does not yet officially support Apple Silicon devices, but it recently announced a private technical preview of an M1 compatible version. and an upcoming public preview.
For games and graphics-intensive applications, Parallels Desktop, like VMware Fusion, supports DirectX 11 graphics, but DirectX 12 does not support. VirtualBox works up to DirectX 9. The only way to get DirectX 12 graphics on a Mac is to install Windows through a Boot Camp partition on an Intel-based Mac. Unless you are a serious Windows gamer or use very powerful Windows science and graphics applications, DirectX 11 support is probably sufficient.
Recent versions of macOS will not allow you to run older 32-bit applications, but Parallels, like VMware Fusion, allows you to run older versions of macOS (Mojave and earlier) that support these applications on virtual machines. . Our article on how to run 32-bit apps in macOS Catalina has all the details.
Getting started with Parallels Desktop
When you install Parallels Desktop, the application guides you through setting up the permissions it needs instead of sending you to your Mac’s System Preferences to set them yourself. I wish more salespeople would take the trouble to make this process as easy as Parallels.
If you are installing Parallels on an M1-based Mac, you must first follow the application’s instructions to download the preview version of Windows 10 for ARM machines. Next, you come across the Create New menu which allows you to configure a Windows system from the disk image you downloaded in the previous step or download a few prebuilt Linux systems. As with VMware Fusion and VirtualBox, Parallels lists all of your virtual systems in one window, which it calls the Control Center.