Mac Reviews

Parallels Desktop for Mac M1 Review

Written by John

Parallels Desktop is a powerful application that lets you run another operating system on your Mac by creating a Virtual Machine (VM). You do not need to reboot your computer to use the other operating system. By using Parallels Desktop for Mac, you can run Windows OS and its programs without slowing down your Mac. The advantage of using the cross-platform solution app is that it allows you to easily move files and folders between your Mac and the virtual copy of the other operating system.

The M1 chip from Apple is a move away from Intel chips where Apple is creating its own System-on-a-Chip (SoC) hardware to better integrate with its software to deliver a robust user experience. The superior performance and efficiency gains unlocked due to the tight integration of the hardware and software make Apple devices with the M1 chip outperform their Intel-chip counterparts by a huge margin.

Apps made by Apple have been optimized to work on M1-powered Apple devices. However, other apps with x86-64 instructions that run on Intel-based Macs have to transition to the new ARM64 architecture. Since this process takes time, Apple has released a translator called Rosetta 2 to translate apps with x86-64 instructions to run on M1-powered Macs. When an M1-compatible version of these apps is available, they can take advantage of the massive performance and efficiency boost brought about by the new M1 chip.

Install Parallels Desktop on Mac with M1 Chip

Slowly a lot of app developers have created a native version of their apps for M1-based Macs. Among them, one of the earliest to offer full native support for M1 Macs was Parallels Desktop.

Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac M1

Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac comes with full native support for M1 and Intel-based Macs. This is big news for Parallels Desktop users as they can now enjoy a seamless and powerful Windows-on-Mac experience. Parallels for Mac M1 was tested by over 100,000 users who ran Microsoft’s Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview. The application was found to run faster and more efficiently on the new M1 chip.

Run Windows 10 ARM in Mac M1 with Parallels Desktop

Some of the interesting performance benefits observed include:

  • Up to 250% less energy utilization — Parallels Desktop 17 was tested to prove that it uses 2.5 times less energy on an M1 Mac than on the 2020 edition of the Intel-based MacBook Air.
  • Up to 30% better VM performance (Windows) — Windows 10 virtual machine on ARM Insider Preview on Parallels Desktop 16.5 on M1-powered Mac performed up to 30% better than Windows 10 VM running on Intel-based MacBook Pro with the Intel Core i9 processor.
  • Up to 60% better DirectX 11 performance — DirectX 11 performance was up to 60% better with Parallels Desktop 16.5 running on an M1-powered Mac than on an Intel-based MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 555X GPU.

Parallels Desktop Features

A comprehensive Parallels for Mac review is not complete without mentioning the various features of Parallels Desktop. These exciting features make it compelling to get Parallels Desktop when you want to simultaneously run more than one operating system for your tasks.

1. Coherence Mode

Coherence Mode

When you’re running a Parallels Desktop for Mac, it is possible to run different versions of Windows — Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 —, Linux, and other operating systems as a virtual machine on your Mac. You will never have to worry about using different devices for accessing different operating systems.

The flexibility doesn’t come with compromises. Usually, there are compromises in the speed of the virtual machine for flexibility. However, Parallels has worked hard to ensure optimized performance when running Windows and other OS on Mac.

Users appreciate the ability to switch between virtual machines seamlessly without having to close one to access another, or rebooting to switch between the two. The implementation of Parallels to provide a convenient way to access other OS programs on Mac OS is highly commendable.

2. Easy to Use with Installation Assistant

Create Windows 10 ARM Virtual Machine

Parallels begins by presenting a menu to create a new virtual machine or opening an existing one, unlike other virtualization machines that use an existing virtual machine in place. Unlike all other virtualization apps, Parallels doesn't expect you to have a Windows or Linux installer disk or disk image ready when you start it up, although it can use that image if you have one, this is what makes parallels desktop unique and special from all other virtualization software. 

3. One-Click Tuning

One-Click Tuning

One-Click Tuning is one of the least appreciated features of Parallels for Mac M1. Users can choose how they will primarily use their other operating system and Parallels Desktop will optimize the virtual machine settings and performance to best suit the user.

There are many other Parallels Desktop features including Office 365 integration, Travel Mode, Remote Access, Disk Space Savings, Parallels Toolbox, and 24/7 support that make Parallels Desktop for Mac a superior choice to run more than one operating system on Mac computers.

4. Touch Bar on MacBook Pro M1

By providing the provision to add Windows applications to the Touch Bar, the access to frequently used applications is instant. The customization options make it sweeter for users who need to switch between Mac OS and Windows.

Parallels Desktop delivers on its promises and provides a highly convenient way to run Windows and other operating systems alongside Mac OS. If you require working on Windows programs and need to constantly switch between Windows and Mac OS, then Parallels Desktop for Mac is an excellent choice that can save you a lot of time and enable you to get your tasks done faster.

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