Parallels Desktop 15 lets you run Windows on a Mac faster than ever, thanks to a performance-enhancing switch to Apple’s Metal framework. Today’s update to the popular virtualization app brings loads of other feature enhancements, including support for DirectX 11.
The increased efficiency means some Windows apps that would not even launch in Parallels Desktop 14 work properly in the new version.
“We want you to do whatever you want,” said John Uppendahl, Parallels’ VP of communications, during a demo of the new software at the Cult of Mac office in San Francisco.
As an example, Parallels cites Windows game Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. Trying to play it in the previous version of Parallels Desktop spawned numerous warnings, and the game ultimately proved too sluggish to play. But in Parallels 15, it runs “as good as on a Windows PC,” according to the company’s marketing info.
Run Windows on a Mac
That doesn’t mean every Windows app in the world will run smoothly on Parallels Desktop 15.
“Your experience will depend on the hardware you have, and especially on the CPU and graphic card in your Mac,” the company says. “Parallels Desktop 15 with DirectX support can achieve some truly remarkable results. But Parallels Desktop can not turn your four-year-old MacBook Air into an $8,000 Alienware gaming rig with a $1,300 liquid-cooled graphics card. That is just not possible.”
Still, a demo of Madden NFL 19, played on a MacBook Pro using an Xbox controller, looked buttery smooth.
And it’s not just Microsoft software that can run on a Mac with Parallels Desktop. It also lets you run Google Chrome, Linux, Unix, macOS Server and OS X. (That’s on top of Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.)
Parallels Desktop 15 and macOS Catalina
DirectX 11-powered software will work best on the upcoming macOS Catalina, Parallels says. The company is also working to bring some of macOS Catalina’s best new features to Parallels 15, including Sidecar with support for Apple Pencil tilt and double-tap. (This looked extremely snappy running Windows 10 in tablet mode on an iPad Pro during the demo.)
Parallels also plans to add support for Sign in with Apple once Cupertino releases its next-gen Mac operating system this fall.
Parallels Desktop comes in standard, pro, business and student editions, with subscriptions available. The pro and business editions come with an extended array of features. They give developers advanced options for endlessly tweaking Parallels Desktop’s virtual machines.
People who bought a previous version of Parallels Desktop can take advantage of sweet upgrade discounts. Current subscribers can download the latest version now at no cost. And anyone can download a free 14-day trial to see if the software suits their needs.
Parallels Toolbox and Parallels Access
All versions of Parallels Desktop come with Parallels Toolbox, a suite of handy tools for Mac and Windows users that sells separately for $19.99. The list of useful mini apps in Parallels Toolbox just keeps growing. These one-hit wonders make everyday tasks like downloading YouTube video or freeing up RAM easier than ever to pull off.
Parallels Desktop also includes Parallels Access, another $19.99 standalone app. This one gives you remote access to your Mac from any iPhone, iPad, Android device or browser.
Price: Starts at $49.99 (free trial available)
Download: Parallels Desktop 15
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