Parallels has released the newest edition of its virtualization software for the Mac, promising dramatic performance improvements for those running both Windows and Mac OS on their systems.
Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 is 50 percent faster than the older version and has "silenced our critics with regards to performance," according to Parallels' Rawee Kambhiranond. The software allows Mac users to run Mac OS X and Windows side by side on their desktop, without having to reboot to switch between the two operating systems as enabled by Apple's Boot Camp technology.
Version 4.0 brings the aforementioned performance improvements designed to close the gap between Parallels and VMware's Fusion product, but also adds a few other tweaks.
Graphics performance is also improved with the addition of DirectX9 support and Open GL 2.0. Notifications from programs running in the Windows compartment can be displayed on the Mac menu bar, near the icons for wireless networking or Time Machine, allowing users to stay on top of what's happening in their Windows environment without having to toggle over. And Parallels improved support for mobile devices, allowing you to set preferences such as always having your iPhone connect to your Mac environment, but telling the digital camera to connect to the Windows environment.
The new software costs $79.99, and an upgrade version is available for a limited-time promotional price of $39.99, expiring on November 30. If you happened to buy a copy of Parallels Desktop for Mac 3 after September 1, you'll get a free upgrade copy.