How Good is it?

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by jbrowdy, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. jbrowdy


    I have been surfing the forums to get a general consensus on how well parallels runs Win XP on an Intel Mac. I am on the verge of an upgrade to an Intel Mac of some sort, and I am trying to decide where to invest my time: setting up parallels or testing out beta software from Apple.

    I realize that performance depends on what you are using, but I wanted to start a thread to establish a general consensus on XP performance on an Intel Mac. I am not using it for games.

    I'd love to hear your overall thoughts, including benchmarks, sense of speed, limitations, etc. How does it compare to running XP on a PC? Is it comparable to a mid-level PC?

    I know a lot of this information can be culled from the forums, but I'd love to establish a consensus here.

  2. VintageGeek


    All the basics are there. I have a 2 GHZ MacBook and it runs just fine for everything I've tried. You need to read Parallels documentation to undestand some of the restrictions e.g. writing CDs and DVDs. I've been a Windows user for years and made the jump to Mac last year. One of the reasons I tried a iBook and then bought a MacBook is there is no fan noise compared to PCs. OK, back to the MacBook and Parallels. In Parallels XP my wireless conenction works degradation. I switch back and forth readily. I have attached my camera readers via USB, no issues. Attached a Western Digital Portable Hard Drive via USB no issues. Of course I installed Firefox as the browser in XP. No way do I want to expose it to IE. I've installed Tivo2Go to retrieve my Tivo is exceptionally fast compared to my Windows computers. I can even surf from the OSX side while retrieving an 800MB file from Tivo on the XP side. I installed my Ximeta Wireless Hard Drive connection software to hit my wireless network drive and it works great under XP Parallels. Installed Nero 7 recently and Windows Media Player 11 so I could play my Tivo files on the XP side since Tivo offers nothing on the Mac side. I have 1-GB of memory and found the optimal setting for me is 384MB on the Parallels side and the rest for the MacBook. NOTES: Upgrade whatever you can to its Universal Binary made all the difference for my e-mail as I use Thunderbird from Mozilla. If you are running a program in Parallels and you kick off a non-univeral binary on the OSX side you will see real degradation as it starts up. You may see it on the OSX side too. I see this happen most frequently now with Adobe Reader which of course pops open for many things you need when surfing the web. Recomendations: Get the most cpu GHZ you can for speed and at least 1 GB of memory. If you run anything exotic in XP post it on a thread here and see who else may have tried it out in Parallels. Lastly, be cognisant of what window you're in when you plug in a device since you have 2 OS's that may want to capture it. In one case my Mac side was confused so I just suspended the XP session, burned by CD and restarted the suspended session a few minutes later and all was well.
  3. hhwong


    I personally am relatively new to using Parallels with XP on my brand new MBP 2.0GHz moving from a Dell Lattitude D610, and so far it is working pretty well. There are still some nits (USB connection to my Blackberry is flakey -- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't) and I would love to have a more fully-featured keyboard (I am used to using the Del key, which doesn't exist on the MBP), but for what I am doing for work, which is Office, it works extremely well so far.

    Give it a try. You can demo it first.
  4. hairyneanderthal


    Hardware support is Parallels biggest problem. Games (you already mentioned) don't work well at all, and video support is purely 2d at the moment..
    In addition the other two weak points are USB hardware support. and CDROM support. USB 1.1 is supported but many devices just don't like the environment so it's often a struggle to get USB devices working and sometime you just can't. Games that need to recognise their software in the CD drive often don't work, CD/DVD writing software is unlikely to work too.

    If you are looking to run a purely software solution on XP though, Parallels is lightning fast. Office, Visio, even Sony's Location Free, streaming video from my home DVD recorder works 100%. MS Visio, quite a heavy application is definitely faster here than my work PC (P4).
    If you just want to run software I would expect no problems, if you need to connect to hardware check first with an evaluation copy.
  5. hairyneanderthal


    Have you tried the fn+delete key? I believe this should be the equivalent of the Del key.

  6. jbrowdy


    Great input

    Wow. This is fantastic input. I am not sure what I'm going to do yet: get a MacBookPro or a new tower (if they get announced in August). I suppose the USB issues will be a big factor when the towers come out (to run the mouse and keyboard)?

    This is exciting. I'd love to hear more personal experiences.

    Anyone run anything heavy like Photoshop or Dreamweaver, etc. in Windows with Parallels?

  7. hairyneanderthal


    USB mouse and keyboard are no problem
  8. dkp


    I've been using it since early beta on a Mac Mini and a macBook Pro. I also had it installed on a Dell for a while just to see it work. That turns out to be a violation of the OS X agrement, though, so it's gone now.

    I've installed XP, Solaris, and a couple flavors of Linux. It all works fine. USB problems I've seen here tend to be user errors in that people don't know/understand how to make one OS or the other use or ignore USB devices. I've not yet seen a USB device that was impossible to get going by at least someone, though some users seem never to get things going. Not to suggest I've seen it all, I just know what I know. It's still possible there are some ill-behaved USB devices that don't adhere to all the rules - it is Windows, afterall.

    I don't have dreamweaver but PS works fine as does MS Office, Quickbooks Pro, and any apps that don't require video support not emulated by Parallels that I have tried. This does not include Flight Simulator.

    Windows performance is better than on any system I've owned previously, but I've never owned a 2gig proc before, and certainly not a 2gig dual core proc. Most of my systems are dual proc Sun Solaris systems but the fastest proc is 500mhz.

    There are a lot of user issues with VPN and misunderstandings of why VPN in one OS is entirely ignored in the other, but in fact VPN does work fine when you understand it well. Same with DHCP and the new TCP/IP stacks you get with Parallels. OS X does not magically become a router but some peeps here seem to think it should. It can be a router but this requires extra steps some folks either don't understand or don't take. It does not hold your hand and think for you.

    dp... who just may be Parallels' happiest customer
  9. VTMac


    Photoshop under Parallels is MUCH, MUCH faster than running the OSX version of Photoshop under Rosetta.
  10. hhwong


    Ah, you are a god. it does work. Scratch that issue. Now if they can just solve the USB issue, I'm set.
  11. dmgwork


    works great except usb support for many high speed or streaming devices. Scanners, printers seem to have problems, mice, keyboards, fingerprint scanners seem to work
  12. jbrowdy



    Is the VPN issue overblown? It's a dealmaker for me.
  13. Kloek


    Dreamweaver under parallels

    I have used Dreamweaver a couple of times and so far it worked fine.

    Macbook 1.83 GHz, 2 Go SDRAM of which 512 allocated to paralells
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2006
  14. zorro


    Slow screen redraw is an issue

    I have big issues with the screen redraw. I'm running a dual 2.16 ghz laptop with 2 gb of ram. When I close out of dreamweaver for example, the screen is super super slow on the redraw. This happens in numerous other apps too. Maybe there is a solution to this problem, but I haven't found it yet. I also increased my page file size to 1gb, to make sure the pc has plenty of VM.

  15. Thog


    A System Administrator's Swiss Army Knife.

    For me, Parallels Desktop on my MacBook (2.0Ghz/2G/100G 7200RPM drive) is now a "can't live without" tool. I support Solaris, OS X, a couple of Linux distributions, Windows, and IRIX. With the exception of IRIX, I can run all of the OSs I support on one laptop, and have them handy for when I need to do troubleshooting. There are some limitations (TANSTAAFL, after all), but overall I'm very, very happy. Especially since I can use my wireless under Solaris.:cool:

    Plus, there is one thing I've always liked about VMs. Build the OS image, get it right, then make an archive of it to restore when you mess it up. It's so very handy.

    I like it.
  16. na9d


    I just started running Parallels last week on a 1.83 GHz MacBookPro. The only thing I needed to do was upgrade to 1 Gig of RAM. Parallels ran OK with 512, but things were sluggish. After the RAM upgrade, it flies. I am considering abandoning my Windows desktop. The only issue I have is the MacBookPro I have just has an 80 Gig drive. I have a BootCamp parition that is taking up nearly half that space. Once Parallels can boot from that partition, I'll be REALLY happy!

    I am very impressed with it. Compared to trying to run Virtual PC in the past, this is a dream. VPC was terribly slow on the old PPC machines. Parallels is as fast as my HP desktop or nearly so.

    I'm also having a lot of fun using Parallels to view my Slingbox since there is no Mac client for it yet...
  17. joem


    I can see support for using a real partition as a hard disk in Parallels, but I suspect that actually booting from the same partition as bootcamp will be a long time in coming. Such a facility would require on the fly patching of the image to account for the differences in hardware (Parallels emulates hardware -- it doesn't provide direct access to raw hardware).

    It would also require different patching for every version of the guest.

    I rate it as unlikely any time soon.
  18. ccparallels


    >Plus, there is one thing I've always liked about VMs. Build the OS
    > image, get it right, then make an archive of it to restore when you
    >mess it up. It's so very handy.

    What are the files to be archived, the .pvs and .hdd files? Any others?
  19. ccparallels


    I think this should rank high in Parallels priorities. Otherwise it just becomes a hack for some people. I think it needs this to "be legit". (This sounds harsh but I think it's a reality too.)

    Also, as I understand it, booting native and booting in a virtual machine is currently requiring two XP licenses. That is unacceptable, and if a single installation can be used to accomodate this (I'm guess it does, or if it doesn't can be used as leverage to make it so) would make or break things for many people (that is, having to pay for a second XP license would be taken negatively by corps and individuals).
  20. MarkHolbrook


    I use Parallels and XP Pro for Solidworks (3D CAD modeling) and software development with Delphi and C++. Not a single crash in MANY MANY months. Very solid.

    Plus the other day I had to install a COM object barcode library. What did I do? Well first I shut down parallels and backed up my entire WinXP disk image. (something tedious and difficult to do on a real windows machine... it took me 4 minutes to copy it). I restarted parallels installed the bc lib with no problems.

    But had there been a problem the chances were good that a 4 minute copy would have saved the day. Can't beat that.

    I periodically do these backups just to have a "save point" to return to if I think something will go wrong.

    For me it's simply perfect and the networking support has worked great.


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