What a lovely way to end the day… Parallels has announced that the latest version of its virtualisation software for the Mac will be released next Tuesday, September 14th. There looks to be quite a lot of new additions and updates made in this latest version, and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on it…
New To Parallels 6
Parallels Desktop 6 will have a brand new 64-bit engine, to take advantage of all the power that your Mac and Snow Leopard have to offer. Hopefully, this will perform as well as it sounds on paper! Gamers will also love the availability of 5.1 surround sound through Windows, which will also be available in the new version.
You can now tie Mac OS X and Windows even closer together, too (although whether this is a “good” thing is a different argument entirely). This includes extending the parental controls that you use in Mac to Windows and its applications, which is a pretty awesome feature for all those worrying parents out there. You can also use many of your OS X shortcuts to manage Windows, which will help people, myself included, who set up many keyboard shortcuts to get around all my windows and features of OS X.
Improvements On Parallels 5
When I reviewed Parallels 5 way back in January (how time flies, eh?), I loved a lot of the new features that were included, including support for OpenGL 2.1 in both Windows and Linux.
According to Parallels, their new version is fine tuned even more to squeeze even more performance out of your machine. You can now find Windows applications from within Spotlight in OS X, so you don’t have to go rooting through your stacks – or God forbid, your Start Menu – to find the application you want to run.
Parallels is also claiming that the new version of its application comes packed with enhanced 3D graphics that are 40% better than previous versions, so if you like to play some games on Windows that aren’t available on the Mac, then you should see some performance increases running here. Personally, I’d still suggest installing Windows on to a Boot Camp partition and running it without any performance drain from Mac OS X running in the background, but if you’ve got some crucial Mac apps that you need to be running in the background, then virtualisation could be the way forward for you!
One feature that I am seriously looking forward to in the new version of Parallels, though, is integration with my two most used OS X features: Spaces and Exposé. You can now enjoy better control by managing Windows through Spaces and Exposé, so all of those Windows applications that you have open can blend in with your Mac applications more easily – especially whilst using the built in OS X skin that comes with Parallels if you really dislike the look of the Windows 7 Aero design features (I for one like the Aero theme, but if you want the ultimate OS X feeling, then go for it).
If you’re still having doubts over upgrading to Parallels Desktop 6, let me leave you with a few benchmarks… Remember, September 14th!
Parallels Desktop 6 boots Windows more than 2x faster than Fusion 3.1.
Parallels Desktop 6 scores more than 2x better on 3D graphics
Parallels Desktop 6 works with files on a USB drive faster than Fusion 3.1
Parallels Desktop 6 works with files on a network faster than Fusion 3.1
Parallels Desktop 6 works with shared folders faster than Fusion 3.1