MacDirectory Magazine

Spring-Summer 2010

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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REVIEW PARALLELS 5 >> BEST OF THEM ALL WORDS BY KEONI CHAVEZ It's been a year and a half since the release of Parallels Desktop For Mac 4, but the development team behind Parallels 5 has managed to pack in so much goodness in that time that it's virtually a new product (no pun intended). It should be noted that I'm running it on an Intel Core 2 Duo with OS 10.5.8, and using Windows XP. The new version promises the ability to run Windows 7 on Snow Leopard, and a friend of mine who's done just that seems pretty happy with it. I'm one of those guys who has been holding on to old Windows games in the hope that one day I'd be able to play them on my Mac, and I now feel completely vindicated. First of all, it's noticeably faster than its previous iteration. Events and tasks in the Windows environment just complete a lot more quickly. Gone are the days of having to wait whole seconds for a Windows Explorer window to open, or waiting the same duration of time for the same window to refresh when changing its View. Another speed issue that may or may not be related is that the rest of the Mac's OS no longer behaves as sluggishly when Parallels is doing its thing. It used to be that I'd have to split up my computer time between working on the Mac and working in Windows, because it was impossible to do both at the same time. This issue is no longer a problem. Also new in this release is DirectX 9.0c with Shader Model 3 support. Essentially, this is good news for Mac users who want to play PC games without having to fire up Boot Camp. Parallels 4 didn't quite work for me most times, even when trying out many older games. The framerates were never quite up to snuff, there would be odd refresh issues, and sometimes models just wouldn't pop in at all. To test Parallels 5, I downloaded the demo for Torchlight, which I was completely unable to run in Parallels 4. Not only does it actually run, but the framerate was solid, all the effects worked just fine, and there was no problem with lag at all. For experimentation's sake, I also installed the Steam client, which is a catalog of PC games with a long history. The demos I downloaded all ran without a hitch, though I have yet to try out some of the more graphically intensive games like Bioshock 2 or Dragon Age. One of the interesting new additions to Parallels 5 is its new Crystal mode, which takes away the full Windows interface and reduces your PC environment to an icon in the Dock and an icon in the Menu bar. The Menu bar will now feature a Parallels icon, which offers the Windows Start button, as well as certain Windows tray icons for easy access. There's even a Windows icon- branded folder in the Dock itself, right next to the Documents folder. If this proves to be too minimal for you, it's easy to switch back into Coherence, Windowed, or what have you. There's also a way to force Windows to appear a bit more Mac-like, with the Use MacLook option, which re-skins the tray and various folder and file icons to ape the smooth silver Mac OS appearance. It won't fool anyone, but it's a nice change. In fact, the Parallels 5 experience seems like an attempt to make everything about running Windows just that much easier. Try it today! Product Parallels 5 Made by > Parallels Price $79.99 boxed/downloadable Pros Faster processes, better integration, better 3D experience, especially for games Cons Some users experience Mac OS slowdown while running Parallels Summary The Parallels product just keeps getting better with each iteration, and this latest version is the best of them all Rating ★★★★★ 106 MacDirectory

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