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ramtha

Build 3036 of Parallels ROCKS!

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The latest build of Parallels Desktop, the Virtual Machine software which allows Intel Macs to run Linux and Windows in a Mac window alongside Mac OS X, has just been released and I've been running it all day - so here's a quick look at it.

 

For anyone unsure about using Beta software, don't worry. This is very stable. I've been running Photoshop, some video editing software called TMpegEnc and everything worked just great.

 

If you avidly watch the videos section on Digg.com as much as I do, you know how frustrating it can be when you occasionally come across a video which requires Windows Media Player. And you can guarantee it's always the video you really want to watch which refuses to work even using the Flip4Mac Quicktime add-on. Before Parallels came along this meant having to either wait for someone to post a converted version somewhere else, or loading the link on your Windows PC (if you have one). Or how about those sites which simply refuse to run in anything other than Internet Explorer, or those which require Windows Java?

 

It's such a great convenience now using Parallels to simply paste the link into Firefox on the Windows side, watch the clip and get right back to a proper operating system once you're done - and now with build 3036 it's even more seamless because, as with the previous stable version of Parallels, your clipboard is synced to that of Windows. So you copy the link and paste it - but here's the juicy part.

 

You no longer have to remember to mangle your hand into Windows awkward shortcut keys, because build 3036 comes with some software on the Windows side which re-maps the keyboard so that the Apple key and option and CTRL keys behave correctly.

 

The cream on the cake for me though, in build 3036 is being able to hide Windows completely and open Windows applications and Explorer windows right on top of your Mac desktop, so you don't have to constantly go into and come out of full screen mode, just to save your eyes from having to have that awful bland typical Windows desktop visible when you're not using it (see screen shot below).

 

If you do run Windows as a visible desktop you can now resize the window as if it where any other Mac application space and the Windows desktop re-sizes as if you've adjusted the screen resolution. This is especially handy if you want to use the other great new feature of being able to drag and drop right from Mac OS into Windows and from Windows into Mac OS.

 

Move a file from your Mac into any Windows Explorer folder and it copies across instantly - which is a really handy thing if you, like me, like to test designs you're working on in as many different web browsers as you can before going live. It's also a work around to a bug in Parallels I'm sorry to see hasn't been addressed yet, where you can't reliably map your Mac's shared directory as a network drive in Windows using Samba.

 

Fingers crossed Parallels tools will soon be available for Linux too, so that this new functionality benefits those of us using Parallels to run Ubuntu as a host environment for various open source video and music editing applications which are proving difficult to port over to Mac OS - such as LMMS.

 

All in all, if you are still on the fence about Parallels my advice is to get it - it really shows off the power of the Mac OS and has never been easier to use.

 

sparwinmac.jpg

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Edited by ramtha

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I was looking forward to VMWare to really get into the game because Parallels wasn't quite working effectively for me. I haven't used this but it looks like a major improvement (I'll have to get it once I get to somewhere with high-speed).

 

Since you've used it abit I'm wondering if the two main things that have been bugging me with Parallels were addressed.

Sometimes Parallels will just eat up CPU, even when idle activity monitor will say it uses up to 185% cpu.

Also, has the speed with which pausing/resuming to VM increased? I usually don't have parallels open (mostly cause of how it will randomly suck up CPU), and the major delay in pausing/resuming makes it kinda annoying for the quick times I need to just check on something in Windows and then send it away again.

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This review ought to go on the MacCast front page - with the author's permission - or at least be pointed to from there. There's a relevant news item here. I too am longing for a fully-fledged Windows emulator and may get this - though I am also looking forward to the "final" build of Boot Camp in Leopard - about which see this. If you're hoping to run Vista that may be the only option to some, due to cost, thanks to this.

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I love how not only are the Windows fonts ugly as hell, but the Windows "about computer" window shows that you have an "INTEL[R] CORE[TM]2 CPU T7600 @ 2.31 GHZ," while the OS X about window shows "2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo".

It also appears that you can limit the amount of RAM that Windows gets. Does this mean that you could give Windows free use of a single processor core and say, one quarter of your RAM and even a complete lockup wouldn't disable your computer?

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I was looking forward to VMWare to really get into the game because Parallels wasn't quite working effectively for me. I haven't used this but it looks like a major improvement (I'll have to get it once I get to somewhere with high-speed).

 

Since you've used it abit I'm wondering if the two main things that have been bugging me with Parallels were addressed.

Sometimes Parallels will just eat up CPU, even when idle activity monitor will say it uses up to 185% cpu.

Also, has the speed with which pausing/resuming to VM increased? I usually don't have parallels open (mostly cause of how it will randomly suck up CPU), and the major delay in pausing/resuming makes it kinda annoying for the quick times I need to just check on something in Windows and then send it away again.

That hanging you talk about is something I noticed getting worse on the previous version. I wondered if fixing the virtual drive size might be a work around but haven't tried it yet.

 

The CPU hogging isn't something I've come across, but I think it's safe to assume it's something Parallels will look into if it's a common fault.

 

This review ought to go on the MacCast front page - with the author's permission - or at least be pointed to from there. There's a relevant news item here. I too am longing for a fully-fledged Windows emulator and may get this - though I am also looking forward to the "final" build of Boot Camp in Leopard - about which see this. If you're hoping to run Vista that may be the only option to some, due to cost, thanks to this.

 

 

You've reminded me of something I forget to mention in the original comment. You can now open a bootcamp partition within Parallels. So for those of us who need to boot directly into Windows via bootcamp so that we can get Direct X support there's now no need to have two instances of Windows taking up valuable drive space.

 

Fingers crossed that future versions of Parallels will include Direct X support.

 

I love how not only are the Windows fonts ugly as hell, but the Windows "about computer" window shows that you have an "INTEL[R] CORE[TM]2 CPU T7600 @ 2.31 GHZ," while the OS X about window shows "2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo".

It also appears that you can limit the amount of RAM that Windows gets. Does this mean that you could give Windows free use of a single processor core and say, one quarter of your RAM and even a complete lockup wouldn't disable your computer?

 

There was definitely something mentioned on Security Now with Steve Gibson, a Leo Laporte podcast, on the subject of chip virtualization where it's possible to use only half of the chip for one Virtual Machine and the other half for the "real" OS.

 

How this is done and whether Parallels supports I have no idea - but you can alter the amount of RAM Windows is allowed to have both from within the Hardware configuration control panel in Windows itself and from the Parallels VM set-up screen.

 

I'm confused as to why Windows thinks I have a different chip than the one I actually have, but it's not difficult to become confused by many things in the Windows world.

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Does "Coherence" mode work well? Do the windows work in Expose? How does minimizing work?

 

Can "Coherence" mode do Linux windows too?

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You guys depress me. I really wish that I had an Intel based Mac now. I could have the best of both worlds at work if I had a new MacBook Pro. :)

 

This is a great review and I agree.. it should be on the MacCast front page.

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You guys depress me. I really wish that I had an Intel based Mac now. I could have the best of both worlds at work if I had a new MacBook Pro. :)

 

This is a great review and I agree.. it should be on the MacCast front page.

 

 

Yeah, BIG thanks to those of you who think this is front page stuff, I'm humbled.

 

kwsanders: It works both ways on the Intel machines, believe me. I've spent hundreds of pounds on third party plug-ins for Logic Audio, who's developers are yet to bring out Intel versions - so trust me, my old PPC machine still get used a lot, because some pro applications simply refuse to run via Rosetta.

 

Having said that, the Intel machines are just ROCKING! There isn't a day goes by when I don't look at my machine and exclaim to myself, and often out-loud at great volume (much to the dismay of my house-mates), "DID YOU SEE THAT!!!??" For example. A mate of mine recently bought a DVD of his favorite band which was in NTSC format. He didn't know, until the disc was delivered, that his DVD player didn't support this North American colour format (in the UK the colour format is called PAL).

 

He said to me, "Can your new fancy computer Mac thingy convert this video so I can watch it?" To which I said, "Oh yes, it can." He didn't believe me, because - being a Windows user, quote, "Macs are shit and can't run anything."

 

Turning up at his house with a DVD under my arm which my machine cross converted from one format to another, resplendent with animated menus and in less than 2 hours after he called me, was one of those pleasures in life which can only be described as a true Apple moment.

 

In short, if you have the means, buy an Intel Mac - but don't scrimp. Get LOTS of RAM and the fastest chip your pocket will allow - but don't think for one second you're missing out by not having one. A Mac is a Mac, and it's better to have a "slow" one than not have one at all - and the PPC machines still have a lot to give.

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I do have a dual 2.0 GHz Power Mac now with 3 GB of RAM. It is far from slow. I just wish I could run Parallels on it. Oh well... at least it is still a virgin machine... i.e., it hasn't had Windows on it. :)

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I love how not only are the Windows fonts ugly as hell, but the Windows "about computer" window shows that you have an "INTEL[R] CORE[TM]2 CPU T7600 @ 2.31 GHZ," while the OS X about window shows "2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo".

 

Windows gives you alot more info..... what's wrong with that, it not only tells you the manufacturer, and family of the CPU, but it's clockspeed and model number, all important info.

 

There will be a time where there are Core 2 Duos that run at the same clockspeed, but have more Cache etc.

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Windows gives you alot more info..... what's wrong with that, it not only tells you the manufacturer, and family of the CPU, but it's clockspeed and model number, all important info.

 

There will be a time where there are Core 2 Duos that run at the same clockspeed, but have more Cache etc.

I think he is commenting on how Microsoft just does things that look ugly while the Apple screen looks as it should.

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Well I tried Parallels today wanted to try it out with my BootCamp partition but I got hit in the face right away, it only work swith NTFS not with FAT 32 which my disk is formated in, really great!!

 

Well I hope another build is coming out soon, and for now my trail key is running out.

 

And I was so exited about this version :(

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Well I tried Parallels today wanted to try it out with my BootCamp partition but I got hit in the face right away, it only work swith NTFS not with FAT 32 which my disk is formated in, really great!!

 

Well I hope another build is coming out soon, and for now my trail key is running out.

 

And I was so exited about this version :(

 

It's worth buying Thorsten. Parallels is only going to get better.

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Beta 2 has been released today - stay tuned for a fuller review, but the main new feature seems to be being able to drag and drop Windows application icons to the dock!

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