Parallels Desktop vs. Boot Camp: Which is best for running Windows on a Mac?

Parallels Desktop 7 promises Apple users the best Windows experience on the Mac. But is it actually better than running Boot Camp? We put both solutions to the test.

1 2 3 4 5 Page 5
Page 5 of 5

Thanks to its built-in snapshot feature, Parallels also saves you the trouble of creating images. Just select a snapshot, in case you wrecked your machine, and you're good to go, again. The level of integration is exciting and the primary selling point of Parallels Desktop 7 in my opinion. Due to its nature, Boot Camp obviously has no such features and doesn't even try to integrate well with your Mac OS X (don't even get me started on the lack of full-blown HFS+ drivers).

Clear convenience winner: Parallels Desktop 7

Parallels vs. Boot Camp: Two Compromises

After 4 weeks of living inside Parallels, I have to admit that I came away quite impressed by the technical achievement and the level of detail. I remember using either version 4 or 5 of Parallels and can honestly say that they've ironed out the quirks that made the earlier versions unusable (for me). Version 7 just works and it's easy to use.

Personally, I was very happy to reboot my machine after wrapping up this article and finally get back into Boot Camp. I live on the Windows side for most of the time anyway, so the better performance in Boot Camp outweighs the convenience of Parallels by far. But even if I were a Mac user and relied on some resource-intense Windows applications, I'd think twice before running Parallels Desktop 7 and might go the native Boot Camp route. Now, what about gamers? Just forget it. DirectX 10 isn't even supported and DX9 games run at approximately half the speed. Do you really want to waste half of your $2000 iMac's performance? I know I wouldn't.

However, I don't think that's going to be an issue for too many Mac users. Most of them live on the Mac side and just need to use one Windows application. And this is where Parallels shines and deserves my honest recommendation.

All in all, both Boot Camp and Parallels are compromises. One compromises performance, the other compromises convenience. In the end, it's just a matter of which of these compromises sounds less frustrating to you.

This article, "Parallels vs. Boot Camp: Which is best for running Windows on a Mac?," was originally published at ITworld. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

Now read:
Running Windows on a Mac: The complete how-to
Windows 8: The 10 biggest problems so far
15 incredibly useful (and free) Microsoft tools for IT pros

1 2 3 4 5 Page 5
Page 5 of 5
ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon