Parallels has released (opens in new tab) a new version of its Parallels Desktop for Mac virtualization software that features full native support for Mac computers equipped with either Apple M1 or Intel processors. The program allows users to run Windows 10 Arm Insider Preview as well as various Linux distributions on systems running the M1 SoC at native speeds.
Running Windows on Apple's Mac computers may not be a priority for most of their owners, but there are still quite a lot of users who need to run Windows applications from time to time. Since the latest Apple MacBook Air/Pro 13 and MacMini are based on the Arm-powered M1 SoC, it's impossible to install regular Windows 10 as the second OS on them. Furthermore, unlike other programs for Mac, virtualization machines did not run well on M1-based Macs via the Rosetta layer, so Parallels had to redesign its Parallels Desktop to make it run on an Apple's M1 SoC natively.
Parallels Desktop for Mac 16.5 supports all the capabilities that that users of PDM are used to on Apple M1 systems, including coherence mode, shared profile, and touch bar controls, just to name a few.
In addition to Windows 10 for Arm, Parallels Desktop for Mac 16.5 also supports guest operating systems on M1 Macs,including Linux distributives Ubuntu 20.04, Kali Linux 2021.1, Debian 10.7, and Fedora Workstation 33-1.2.
To ensure flawless operation of its Parallels Desktop for Mac virtual machine, Parallel used help of more than 100,000 Mac M1 users who ran Microsoft’s Windows 10 on Arm Insider Preview along with various software from PowerBI to Visual Studio and from SQL server to Meta Trader. In addition, engineers from Parallels did not forget games and ensured that titles like Rocket League, Among Us, Roblox, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Sam & Max Save the World worked well on Parallels Desktop for Mac 16.5 and Apple M1-powered systems.
Right now, Parallels Desktop for Mac 16.5 is good enough to launch it commercially, according to the company.
There are some interesting findings about performance of Apple M1 and Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac:
- An M1-based Mac running Parallels Desktop 16.5 and Windows 10 Arm consumes 2.5 times less energy than a 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air.
- An Apple M1 machine running Parallels Desktop 16.5 and Windows 10 Arm performs 30% better in Geekbench 5 than a MacBookPro with Intel Core i9-8950HK in the same conditions.
- Apple M1's integrated GPU appears to be 60% faster than AMD's Radeon Pro 555X discrete graphics processor in DirectX 11 applications when running Windows using the Parallels Desktop 16.5.
"Apple's M1 chip is a significant breakthrough for Mac users," said Nick Dobrovolskiy, Parallels Senior Vice President of Engineering and Support. "The transition has been smooth for most Mac applications, thanks to Rosetta technology. However, virtual machines are an exception and thus Parallels engineers implemented native virtualization support for the Mac with M1 chip. This enables our users to enjoy the best Windows-on-Mac experience available."