Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac bring M1 chip support

This support brings with it huge performance gains and power benefits.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

If you need to run Windows 10 on your Mac, there is no better way than using Parallels Desktop. In fact, in my opinion in transforms a Mac into one of the best Windows 10 systems you can buy.

Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac brings support for the new Apple Silicon M1 processors, and this brings with it some incredible performance and power benefits.

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According to Parallels, M1-powered Macs get to enjoy the following:

  • Up to 250 percent less energy used (based on testing carried out on 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air systems)
  • Up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance (compared to an Intel-based MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 555X GPU)
  • Up to 30 percent better virtual machine performance running a Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview VM (compared to Windows 10 VM running on Intel-based MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 processor)

Note that when it comes to the M1-powered Macs, you can only run Windows 10 for ARM64, and that flavor is currently in the technical preview stage. Also, you can't run 64-bit (x64) applications, and are limited to 64-bit (ARM64), 32-bit (ARM32), and 32-bit (x86) apps. On top of that, Microsoft has listed a number of other limitations for this platform worth bearing in mind.

As far as compatibility is concerned, more than 100,000 M1-powered Mac users tested the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for M1 Mac, along with tens of thousands of different Intel based Windows applications.

"Apple's M1 chip is a significant breakthrough for Mac users," said Nick Dobrovolskiy, Parallels Senior Vice President of Engineering and Support. "The transition has been smooth for most Mac applications, thanks to Rosetta technology. However, virtual machines are an exception and thus Parallels engineers implemented native virtualization support for the Mac with M1 chip. This enables our users to enjoy the best Windows-on-Mac experience available."

It's not just Windows that can run in Parallels Desktop. You can run more than 50 supported guest OSs, including several versions of Windows, macOS, OS X, Linux, as well as Android OS and dozens more. 

More information over at Parallels. A new license starts at $99.99, while upgrades cost $49.99. There is also a subscription model where Parallels Desktop 16.5 subscribers also get access to Parallels Toolbox for Mac and Windows and Parallels Access.

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