Parallels Unleashes Desktop 8: a Major Upgrade

| Product News

Parallels has announced the release of Desktop 8 for Mac, its virtualization software that allows OS X users to run a wide variety of other operating systems, notably Windows. The many enhancements in Desktop 8, including Windows 8 support, are aimed at making the integration between these two OSes even more seamless.

PD8

Run multiple guest OSes simultaneously. Even Mountain Lion in Mountain Lion.

For a long time now, Apple customers who love their Macs and OS X have been able to run Windows and Windows apps, if they must, (or other OSes) on their Macs. MS Windows can be run in its own window on the Mac Desktop, or Windows apps could be placed in the OS X Dock, launched and run without ever seeing the Windows OS.

This kind of seamless integration is something that Parallels continues to refine, and Parallels 8 has added even more new capabilities. Here are the highlights of the new features Parallels 8.

Features

• A new button is made available in Safari, “Open in Internet Explorer.” When a website doesn’t render well or at all in Safari, just click the IE button and IE launches on the Mac desktop.

IE button

The “IE Button”

• In OS X, drag a file on the desktop to the Outlook icon and send it, in Windows Outlook, as an attachment.

• Dictation Support. For Windows apps that accept voice dictation, Mountain Lion’s voice dictation can be passed along to them.

• The Parallels Virtual Machine list now shows CPU and RAM utilization of each running OS.

• If a Windows app supports full screen, it will run full screen in OS X. A new Presentation Wizard makes presentations easier and interruption-free by disabling screensavers on Mac and Windows, optimizing the full-screen display and automatically adjusting resolution. In the “smart full screen,” the OS X dock is suppressed, and presentations can appear as if they are natively running on a PC.

Presentation Wizard

The new Presentation Wizard, sets resolution, suppresses screen savers.

• Notifications from Windows. Windows app notifications are passed along to Mountain Lion’s Notification center.

• Mountain Lion gestures like pinch, rotate and zoom are passed along to Windows 8. Copy and paste, drag and drop are supported for Windows 8.

• Retina display support – Mac Retina display resolution is supported for Windows 7 and Windows applications to see crisper fonts, vivid photos, images and animations.

• One can download the Windows 8 Release Preview right from the Parallels Install Wizard.

• One can put Windows apps in the OS X Launchpad and run them from there.

Launchpad

Add Windows apps to the OS X Launchpad.

• Bluetooth Support: Windows and Mac devices can now share Bluetooth connections.

• Improved speed. Parallels claims that Desktop 8 performance is up to 30 percent faster for input/output operations, 30 percent faster for games and up to 25 percent faster for virtual machine operations such as boot, suspend, shutdown and resume, when compared to Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac. The Mac Observer will be publishing a full review of Desktop 8, including benchmarks, in the near future.

Interoperability & System Requirements

Desktop 8 for Mac supports a wide range of guest OSes, including Windows, Linux and Solaris. Also supported as guests are Snow Leopard Server, Lion, and Mountain Lion. (Snow Leopard client is not licensed by Apple for virtualization.)

The OS X System Requirements for Desktop 8 are: Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or later, including Mountain Lion (10.8), at least an Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB of RAM and 15 GB of disk space for each virtual machine.)

Price and Availability

The Parallels Desktop 8 upgrade for Mac is available beginning Aug. 30, 2012 for current customers. The price is US$49.99 as a download only.

The full version will be available to new customers on www.parallels.com/desktop starting September 4. The download price is $79.99.

Packaged software will also be available starting September 4 at, for example, Apple retail stores, Apple.com, Amazon.com, Fry’s Electronics and Micro Center.

Special pricing of US$49.99 for the full version is available to customers currently using VMware Fusion.

Customers who purchased Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac from an authorized reseller on or after July 25, 2012, are eligible to upgrade to Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac at no additional cost.

For more information, visit: http://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/

Comments

rjrich

Until the release of Parallels 8 Desktop, I used VirtualBox for creating VMs on my Mac and PCs. Recently, I tested Parallels 8 along with VMware Fusion 5 and VirtualBox 4.2 using a Mac mini 2010 Core2Duo 8 GM RAM host and Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit guest. In each case, Windows was allocated 2 GB RAM and the maximum video settings available. My “Win Experience Index” scores were 4.6, 4.1, and 2.0 for Parallels 8, Fusion 5, and VBox 4.2, respectively, reflecting the superior graphics performance of Parallels 8.

Testing Linux guests gave similar results using a graphics-intensive molecular modeling program, Yasara. Parallels was able to open and run Yasara; Fusion could open the program but not run it; and VBox could not open the program.

The situation was different with Parallels Workstation 6, which was compared with VMware Workstation 9 and VBox 4.2. None of these programs could run Yasara, in Win7 or linux guests on the Mac mini host,  reflecting the relative lack of graphics support available in the workstation products compared to the Mac desktop software from Parallels.

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