Parallels Upgrades Mac Virtualization Software

Version 5 of Parallels Desktop is 300% faster, improves graphic performance, and adds 70 features.
Parallels on Wednesday released an upgrade of its virtualization software for running Windows and Linux alongside Mac OS X in Intel-based Macs, claiming the new version is three times faster than its predecessor.

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac has more than 70 new features, including the choice of running Windows in full-screen mode, over the Mac user interface, or in the new Crystal view that provides access to Windows and Mac apps from the Mac dock.

Along with the increased flexibility in using Desktop, Parallels is marketing the overall performance boost in the upgrade. The vendor claims Desktop 5 is up to 300% faster overall than Desktop 4 and offers seven times better graphic performance for games and 3-D applications.

Other enhancements in Desktop 5 include full support for Aero in Windows Vista and Windows 7 and the ability to run Windows and Mac applications across multiple monitors. In addition, the software supports eight virtual CPUs, 64-bit Windows, and Snow Leopard Server.

Desktop 5 is available for $80, or $50 as an upgrade from Desktop 4. Parallels is offering a free trial of the new product.

Parallels significantly improved performance and stability of Desktop in version 4, after users complained its predecessor was slow and buggy. The poor performance of Version 3 gave a boost to Parallels rival VMware Fusion.

VMware last month launched Fusion 3, which also costs $80, but only $40 for an upgrade. The upgrade includes 50 new features and improvements, according to the vendor. Like Parallels' latest upgrade, Fusion 3 provides a full Windows 7 experience, including support for the Aero interface and Flip 3-D task switching.

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