Parallels 3.0 for Mac to feature 3D GPU emulation

Parallels has announced version 3.0 of its popular Mac virtualization package, offering long-anticipated emulation of 3D accelerated GPUs, allowing high-end Windows games to run in virtualization.

The company said it was just weeks away from the new release and named several key selling points:

  • Smartselect: the ability to associate a document on the OS X file structure to open in a Windows program, and vice versa. No more laborious switching to the virtualized OS and navigating to the file you want to open in your Mac shared folders.
  • 3D GPU emulation: Parallels is also touting the ability to "run the hottest games and graphics applications" with 3D with support for graphics software.
  • Snapshot manager: Take a snapshot of your virtual machine and roll back to it easily if you mess something up.
The company also promised the ability to browse through Windows folders in the virtual machine file, without launching Windows itself and a new USB connection assistant that automatically senses the type of device you've plugged in and connects it to either OS X or your virtualized operating system, depending on what you've chosen in the past.

Parallels Inc is offering $10 off the normal upgrade price to existing registered users of Parallels for a week only, bringing the cost down to $39.99 USD. After this time, upgrades will cost $49.99 and full licences will cost $79.99. It will give the upgrade away free to customers who purchased Parallels after May 1, 2007.

View: Pre-Order the Upgrade
News source: APC Mag (with screenshots)

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56 Comments

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now i wish that microsoft could do better work with virtual PC, with gpu emulation or use the discrete vcard power.

LTD said,
Except a PC can't run OS X. ;)

it is redundant unless you want to switch from OSX to Windows or such really fast... whats the point really? if you are going to spend a lot of time in one or the other just dual boot it on the mac.... then no virtualization at all... just pure hardware access

The point being time saving. Our web design firm does all of our work in OS x. However, most of our clients use Windows. Whenever we get sent something that only works on Windows or requires a Win32 app, we simply use parallels to open it and bring it over to OS X. It would really suck if we had to keep booting into Windows via bootcamp 10+ times a day.

Kramer2K said,

Actually, it can...

Just not legally and even then not with out problems everytime apple releases an update.

bobbba said,
Just not legally and even then not with out problems everytime apple releases an update.

the point isnt whether or not you can legally run it the point is that that PCs are just as capable of running osx as macs are of running windows except apple has made it easy for you to do it (Boot Camp) where as there is no easy way to run OSX on a PC (not that its hard, its just not as 'user friendly' ).

drygnfyre said,
Except I prefer my iMac, emulating Windows when necessary.

Well said. I wouldn't want to run OS X on anything that doesn't come out of Cupertino.

LTD said,
Well said. I wouldn't want to run OS X on anything that doesn't come out of Cupertino.

And I don't want to run Windows on anything made by Apple

offroadaaron said,
and we care if you do or don't?

Well I'm assuming you care as much about whether I want my Windows on a Mac or not as much as you care wether LTD wants his Mac on a PC or not

black_death said,

Well I'm assuming you care as much about whether I want my Windows on a Mac or not as much as you care wether LTD wants his Mac on a PC or not :)

think the whole thing about people saying i wouldnt run windows on apple...blah blah..... is stupid.... why read the topic and post if you're not even interested, or have something logical to say about the program or other programs like the one in the topic.

LTD said,
Except a PC can't run OS X. ;)

Well PCs can, PearPC works just fine and has for years. No magic needed... OS X is not that 'special'.

However back to the article...
With the low quality Video cards Apple uses, no matter how well this software works, 3D apps and games will continue to suck on OSX, even if the emulation gave 100% the performance of Windows on the hardware, which is not possible.

Besides the OSX overhead is staggering even with the crappy level of OpenGL performance Apple offers. This is why there is BootCamp, so Mac users can boot into an OS that is powerful enough to run games, or at least takes advantage to the 'full extent' of the hardware Apple is using.

For a company (Apple) that tries to 'fool' people into believing their hardware and computers are made for the graphics market, it is a shame that in even the 'uber' Macs the Video cards used are 2-5 times slower than the cards available on non-Apple PCs. (Even PC laptops have faster Video than the highest end Mac Desktops, and that is sad.)

anthonyspt said,

Well PCs can, PearPC works just fine and has for years. No magic needed... OS X is not that 'special'.

However back to the article...
With the low quality Video cards Apple uses, no matter how well this software works, 3D apps and games will continue to suck on OSX, even if the emulation gave 100% the performance of Windows on the hardware, which is not possible.

Besides the OSX overhead is staggering even with the crappy level of OpenGL performance Apple offers. This is why there is BootCamp, so Mac users can boot into an OS that is powerful enough to run games, or at least takes advantage to the 'full extent' of the hardware Apple is using.

For a company (Apple) that tries to 'fool' people into believing their hardware and computers are made for the graphics market, it is a shame that in even the 'uber' Macs the Video cards used are 2-5 times slower than the cards available on non-Apple PCs. (Even PC laptops have faster Video than the highest end Mac Desktops, and that is sad.)

I think you'll find that the raw power of video cards in Macs are governed more by supply and demand, rather than an arbitrary standard that requires the latest video card.

As for "3D apps", you'll need to be more specific. Same for "graphics market."

Further, you're talking as if everyone's a gaming freak, or wants to play the absolute latest games on their Mac. Apple's current revenue figures (including record share closings almost daily), say otherwise. If people are "fooled" by Apple, then what exactly do you call Vista users?

offroadaaron said,
think the whole thing about people saying i wouldnt run windows on apple...blah blah..... is stupid.... why read the topic and post if you're not even interested, or have something logical to say about the program or other programs like the one in the topic.

but by your logic you should be flaming LTD too since he did the exact same thing as me except vice versa with the OSes.

I'm amazed at how many of you don't know that a PC is a Personal Computer. Any desktop or laptop computer is a personal computer, thus damn near every computer out there is a personal computer, including Apple computers.

It's wrong to assume there is a difference between a PC and an Apple Mac computer; Apple is a flavor/type of PC. If you're going to toot your own horn, get it right first.

PCs can run OSX. It's just that Apple have tried very hard to prevent you from doing it. They wouldn't want anybody to spoil their hardware monopoly.

If you can run OSX on a PC which is faster and cheaper than a Mac, how many people would want to spend extra for the Apple logo?

@ Mark Otto:

Great attempt at being a pedant. IBM PCs are colloquially known as PCs. Apple's machines are colloquially known as Macs. PC is now a generic term for a computer which follows IBM's original specs. End of story.

It's like the difference between megabytes and mebibytes. Are you going to go through every Neowin post and tell everybody that they should be using MiB/GiB/TiB?

#8 has been asked in another thread and answered. OS X is optimized to Apple hardware and that's it. Mac customers don't want a generic OS X. Such an OS would lead to the same problems Windows customer have to deal with.

The 3D emulation works at very good framerates. Don't apply old arguments to current technology. You can play Quake4 at 800x600 with 50fps using Parallels 3.0 (beta). The final release will do better.

Will it replace hard core gamers computers? No. Casual players will enjoy the capability and performance.

I agree will you, but do really like this statement anymore:

"OS X is optimized to Apple hardware and that's it. Mac customers don't want a generic OS X"

Because is not really true anymore, OSX used to be strictly "apple harddware = PPC and very optimised for that specific hardware"

BUT . . since the transition to x86, OSX is optimised on any modern x86 hardware . . because really thats all apple hardware is anymore, generic common hardware in a fancy apple package.

Intel MB , CPU , Intel/ATI/Nvidia gpu . all regular components that lots of computers have.

OSX runs very well on a variety of computers . . actually any modern computer, with very little hacking/custom drivers involved.

So in essence it now a generic OS that apple has artificially locked to Apple products . . but it works "optimized" on most x86 hardware just fine :p

Why won't apple sell OSX to any x86 pc . . . only because believe it or not Apple is a hardware company . . they take generic components and enhance them with their apple styling . . so you get a regular computer in a fancy package for a marginal mark-up
. . but to get most people to buy this hardware (the ones who don't get it just for the styling) . .they need to lock OSX to it and make it exclusive. . . this wonderful OS sells hardware. . . and these hardware sales are their buisness. Without OSX, apple branded computers would not sell at their current prices.


But back to the topic . . . I'm very happy Parallels has progressed so well, and will be buying this release very soon.

But the thing is that Apple only has to write drivers for a small portion or hardware, not the large amount of different hardware we use on Windows. If OS X ever came to your generic PC, the hardware manufacturers would have to write drivers, which could be poorly written, and tarnish Apple's "good name" when it comes to reliability and stability.

Heres an off topic question. If Apple and others can enable Mac users to use Windows and its apps on Macs through virtualization software, how come Jobs refuses to allow OSX to work on standard PCs? I get that Apple makes their money on the hard ware sales but isnt this a bit hypocritical? Im not baiting or trying to start a flame war at all. I just would love to learn OSX and FCP etc... without having to spend a fortune on hardware. I remember not too long ago when that loser touted his CheryOS but Im surprised there hasnt been any in roads made with OSX support on PCs. If Jobs can claim that the RIAA need to ditch DRM, shouldnt he be willing to ditch the DRM lockdowns that prevent from using OSX on PCs as well?

yea i completely agree, although if things were that way, then clone macs would appear on the market and apple would loose a lot. For PC's there used to only be the IBM then Compaq cloned it, cause there were no laws for that then, but look at were we are today.

gamestargrinder said,
yea i completely agree, although if things were that way, then clone macs would appear on the market and apple would loose a lot. For PC's there used to only be the IBM then Compaq cloned it, cause there were no laws for that then, but look at were we are today.
Say what? No laws, so Compaq cloned IBM? :blink:

Where do you get your history? There were such things as laws back then. And following those laws was how things like BIOS was cloned, using a "clean room" type of process, where a group of engineers would review the internals of BIOS, then write a spec from the actual working code. A second, and completely separate, group was given the specs completely devoid of code, and wrote their own from scratch from that. This was the perfectly legal way of doing teh reverse-engineering that you talk about.

Clone Macs for sale in shops would mean Apple wouldn't be able to massively overcharge for its hardware.

Yes, it is hypocritical, but then Apple is a business; it's in their interest to be hypocritical. They're no different to Microsoft.

sLm4ever said,
mac people to play windows games Doom 3...
"It's like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell,"

Corrected. :cheeky:

(yes, I know D3 has a Mac port.)

You'd better call Steve and tell him how clever your comeback is. I *know* he'd be really interested, and that *now*, R&D at Apple will take a brand new turn thanks to your comment. I mean, something as clever and unique as that, playing on a comment someone else made, pretty much changes everything - it changes the whole game. It's *that* funny and relevant. Especially relevant to Apple shareholders who have been investing so heavily in what they thought was a winner. If only you had come up with this eariler! They really should call you because they desperately need someone who has the inside track when it comes to successful technologies.

I am in awe of you.

LTD said,
You'd better call Steve and tell him how clever your comeback is. I *know* he'd be really interested, and that *now*, R&D at Apple will take a brand new turn thanks to your comment. I mean, something as clever and unique as that, playing on a comment someone else made, pretty much changes everything - it changes the whole game. It's *that* funny and relevant. Especially relevant to Apple shareholders who have been investing so heavily in what they thought was a winner. If only you had come up with this eariler! They really should call you because they desperately need someone who has the inside track when it comes to successful technologies.

I am in awe of you.

Bro. Lighten up. It was a joke, and a good one at that.

LTD said,
You'd better call Steve and tell him how clever your comeback is. I *know* he'd be really interested, and that *now*, R&D at Apple will take a brand new turn thanks to your comment. I mean, something as clever and unique as that, playing on a comment someone else made, pretty much changes everything - it changes the whole game. It's *that* funny and relevant. Especially relevant to Apple shareholders who have been investing so heavily in what they thought was a winner. If only you had come up with this eariler! They really should call you because they desperately need someone who has the inside track when it comes to successful technologies.

I am in awe of you.

LTD said,
You'd better call Steve and tell him how clever your comeback is. I *know* he'd be really interested, and that *now*, R&D at Apple will take a brand new turn thanks to your comment. I mean, something as clever and unique as that, playing on a comment someone else made, pretty much changes everything - it changes the whole game. It's *that* funny and relevant. Especially relevant to Apple shareholders who have been investing so heavily in what they thought was a winner. If only you had come up with this eariler! They really should call you because they desperately need someone who has the inside track when it comes to successful technologies.

I am in awe of you.

Your comment is so extremely creative and witty I just *know* people will luagh at it, I mean it's just ground breaking, going on long rants on how something isnt funny even though it got several replies clearly saying that it is funny.

I am in awe of you.


the card is actually pretty much the same size as a sim card... just fatter

it looks cool, glad everyone has chosen a format for the "standard"

I didn't even think OS X was running 64-bit by default on Intel chips. None of the OS X frameworks are going 64-bit until Leopard.

Express said,
I don't think you can emulate present day GPUs. You can only virtualize it.

You can emulate anything, just not always at a decent speed. As the above commenter pointed out, they can emulate DX8 stuff at a decent speed, so it's possible DX9 stuff isn't far off.

Kushan said,
they can emulate DX8 stuff at a decent speed, so it's possible DX9 stuff isn't far off.

#3.1 has no clue what #3 meant.

Instead of spouting off a comment like #3.2..

As the above commenter pointed out, they can emulate DX8 stuff at a decent speed, so it's possible DX9 stuff isn't far off.

I think you're mixing apples and oranges here. DX8 and DX9 are software API's, not GPU's. You don't really "emulate" even a lowly Geforce 4 MX. Sure, you're probably *able* to at some horrendous speed, but this is unrelated to which graphics API's they emulate.

So I also think it's a bit off to say Parallels "emulate" 3D GPU's -- wouldn't this rather be about translating DX instructions for the graphics hardware? That wouldn't be GPU emulation anyway.

Jugalator said,
Instead of spouting off a comment like #3.2..

I think you're mixing apples and oranges here. DX8 and DX9 are software API's, not GPU's. You don't really "emulate" even a lowly Geforce 4 MX. Sure, you're probably *able* to at some horrendous speed, but this is unrelated to which graphics API's they emulate.

So I also think it's a bit off to say Parallels "emulate" 3D GPU's -- wouldn't this rather be about translating DX instructions for the graphics hardware? That wouldn't be GPU emulation anyway.

Thank you for being more constructive than the other guy.

I guess you're right, I was mixing the two up a bit, but what I was trying to point out was that you can emulate any kind of hardware you want, real or non-existent. There's absolutely nothing stopping you doing, it's just doing it at any real speed that's the trick.
Hell, they've emulated the brains of small animals, which just goes to show what's possible.

Jugalator said,
Instead of spouting off a comment like #3.2..

I think you're mixing apples and oranges here. DX8 and DX9 are software API's, not GPU's. You don't really "emulate" even a lowly Geforce 4 MX. Sure, you're probably *able* to at some horrendous speed, but this is unrelated to which graphics API's they emulate.

So I also think it's a bit off to say Parallels "emulate" 3D GPU's -- wouldn't this rather be about translating DX instructions for the graphics hardware? That wouldn't be GPU emulation anyway.

Then explain how 360 > Xbox emulation works then, if no hardware is emulated :s

And explain how console emulators you pick up at boot sales work.

Not being rude, I'm actually curious.

PureLegend said,
Then explain how 360 > Xbox emulation works then, if no hardware is emulated :s

And explain how console emulators you pick up at boot sales work.

Not being rude, I'm actually curious.

Emulating hardware in software is extremely computationally intensive. For any remotely recent hardware, it's either impossible or to slow to be useful. For older hardware (ie, NES, SNES, etc) it's not that big of a deal because hardware has come so far in the last 20 or so years. Emulating an 8 bit CPU running at a ridiculously low speed isn't a challenge for modern processors.

But even systems such as the PSX, N64, and others, the only parts that are emulated are those that can't be replaced with some hook into an equivalent function on the host system. When you're playing Mario 64 in an N64 emulator, the emulator isn't emulating the graphics chip (not completely, anyways), it's translating from your hardware to the N64 hardware. I'm not positive how the 360 does it, but more than likely it's doing something very similar.

Its hardware accelerated and runs pretty well.

VMWare Fusion has basic hardware accelerated graphics atm. They support directx8 so if you want to try some dx8 ganes in VMWare to get a feel for performance give it a go.