Parallels has released Release Candidate 2 (RC2) of its
software for Intel-based Macs. Parallels Desktop is a “virtual machine” that lets users run Windows and other X86-compatible operating systems as windows inside Mac OS X.
Parallels Desktop is distinctly different from a PC emulator because it leverages virtualization technology built into the Intel CPUs that power new Macs. It works faster, and doesn’t require rebooting like Apple’s Boot Camp software does. Although it’s not suitable for really performance-intensive operations like gaming, Parallels Desktop offers enough speed for most users to run Windows productivity applications and other software while still operating Mac OS X and Mac applications at the same time.
RC2 of Parallels Desktop includes many changes, including better overall performance; better USB performance and broader device support; improved host-guest networking; on-the-fly switching of network adapters; customizable full-screen mode and a host of other improvements.
One notable change in this release is the inclusion of Parallels Compressor Server Edition technology, which will be included in this release. Parallels Compressor improves performance and conserves physical hard disk space if you’re using Windows 2000, XP or 2003. Parallels estimates you can reduce the size of your virtual machine’s hard disk by 50 percent or more.
With this inclusion of Parallels Compressor, Parallels Desktop will cost $79.99 on its final release, up from $49.99, the previously announced price. Customers who placed pre-orders for $39.99 will still receive it at that price.