Lots of readers have emailed me questions about the Desktop Update RC, (mainly about RAM and Mac Pro support), so I decided to answer them here, rather than do so in the comments sections. I hope this helps clear things up about Mac Pro support!
- Why did you announce that Parallels Desktop is compatible with Mac Pros outfitted with only up to 4GB of RAM?
This is an issue related to Physical Address Extension mode, which, as defined by Wikipedia, “allows for up to 64 gigabytes of memory to be used in 32-bit systems, given appropriate operating system support.”
Right now, Parallels offers partial support for PAE mode, which is why RAM is limited to 4GB (3.5 to be safe). Our next version, due in beta around the turn of the year, will offer full PAE support.
- My Mac Pro has more than 4GB of RAM. Does that mean I can’t use Parallels at all?
No, it doesn’t! There’s actually an easy workaround that will let you use Parallels on any Mac Pro, regardless of how much RAM you have.
This is accomplished by limiting your memory size with a boot-loader oprtion. Directions are as follows:
- Load your Terminal window. You can find this application in Macintosh HD -> Applications -> Utilities
- Enter the following command: sudo nvram boot-args=”maxmem=3500″.
- Enter your administrator password. Hit enter.
- Reboot your Mac Pro
- Get to work with Parallels!
To refresh your Mac Pro so it can use full amount of memory you have installed, just repeat steps 1-4, substituting the amount of memory you have (in MB) in the command line sudo nvram boot-args=”maxmem=YOURMEMORYTOTAL”.
- Does this new build work on the just-released 64-bit Core 2 Duo iMacs?
Yes. We’ve had positive responses so far from the lucky few who have 64-bit Core 2 Duo users.
- I see you’re running Windows Vista Beta 2. What about RC?
Vista RC has been out for less than a week and we haven’t had a chance to fully test it. Beta 1 and Beta 2 do work right now, and we should have support for the RC builds shortly. I’ll circle back with QA on that one and see what the timeline looks like.
- When I load Parallels Desktop on my Mac Pro, I see that VT mode is disabled. Why?
This is actually an Apple bug, not a Parallels bug. You may remember that when we first launched Desktop in Beta back in April, some Mac Minis had VT inside, but it was disabled due to a firmware glitch. The same thing is happening here. We’ve already contacted Apple about this, and they’re working on the problem.
- I’ve seen in the comments and on the forum that some users are having some complications with this build. What’s the deal?
Short version: its beta software! Betas are there to be tested and evaluated, so we can work out all of the issues before we go “live” with the final release. Its completely normal to find bugs and other glitches in beta software. Also pkese remember that Apple does not provide anyone – not even some of their own teams – early access to hardware. We got our Mac Pros (and this week, our 64-bit iMacs) the same time as the rest of the world. That doesn’t give us a ton of lead time on fixes.
- What do I do if I find a bug or other technical issue?
You’ve all been a huge help in making Parallels Desktop what it is today, and I hope that you’ll continue to offer your advice, point out bugs, and give us your suggestions on how to make things better and more usable.
If you do want to let us know what you think about the beta, you’ve got three ways to get your comments to us:
- Submit your comments via our online support form.
- Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Discuss them on our online support forum.
A note on the forum: While our QA and Engineering teams may not be able to respond to every post, they’re always monitoring the forums and will definitely see your comments.
Installation went very smoothly; its actually an easier install than XP.
About a week ago I let you know that our Mac Pro compatible version was coming in a few days. Well, its here…and its got some really great new features!
First and foremost, this build offers full compatibility with Mac Pro towers running with up to 3.5GB of RAM (NOTE: You can run Parallels on Mac Pros with 4GB of RAM, but we recommend 3.5…more on that later). Thank you to all of the Mac Pro users out there who waited patiently (some more patiently than others) while we got this working.
Second, we’ve added support for the developer builds of OS X Leopard, which as most of you know is the next generation of OS X, due to launch sometime next year. This means that you can run Parallels on any Intel Mac running OS X Tiger or OS X Leopard…it does NOT mean that you can run OS X in a virtual machine (sorry guys!).
Third, you can now run Windows Vista Beta as a guest OS! I originally promised this to you around the end of the year, but our developers came through big time and we’re giving it to you ahead of schedule. Support for Vista is experimental, so you may run into some device and driver issues, but you can get Vista running and start tinkering with it in a safe virtual environment. If you do run into an issue with Vista, let us know by filling out our support web form.
There’s a bunch of other stuff in the Update RC, but those are the big three. You can get the full list of features, fixes and upgrades at the Update RC main page.
Ready to give it a try? Get the Update RC at the Parallels Desktop download page!
NOTES ON INSTALLING THE UPDATE RC:
- If you’re new to Parallels Desktop for Mac: you can start using improved Parallels Desktop for Mac by downloading and installing the RC on a «clean» machine. Click here to get a free 15-days trial!
- If you already have your copy of Parallels Desktop for Mac: Updating your build is easy. Just download the Update RC file and install it over your existing version.
- You will NOT need to reinstall any guest OS or any applications when you update your Parallels Desktop for Mac.
- Don’t forget to update Parallels Tools after installing Update RC!
Thanks to the lightweight hypervisor that powers our virtualization products, we’re able to fully support hardware virtualization technologies like Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) and AMD Secure Virtual Machine Technology (SVM). If you’re looking to run fast, stable, secure virtual machines (and you probably are, or you wouldn’t be reading this), that’s a very good thing.
VT and SVM are specially optimized processor architectures and firmware sets that serve as a kind of turbo booster for our virtualization engine. They offload some of the “heavy lifting” from our virtualization engine to the processor level, which means that virtual machines are substantially faster and more stable. We’ve seen performance increases of up to 150% on a VT/SVM powered box!
The great part about this stuff is that if you’re working on a box that’s VT or SVM powered, Parallels immediately – and automatically – takes advantage of it. No techie magic required!
Intel and AMD are rolling out their respective hardware virtualization technologies now, so chances are that if you’re buying a new computer, it’ll have VT or SVM inside it.
If you’re using Parallels Desktop on an Intel Mac, you’re already working on a machine that’s VT-powered. This is one of the key reasons why Windows runs so damn fast in Parallels Desktop!
There have been a number of questions both here and on the forum about Mac Pro compatibility, so I wanted to be sure to address all of them ASAP.
1) Is Parallels Desktop compatible with the new Mac Pro tower?
Not yet. The new Mac Pros have a different CPU model, and work with a specifically optimized OS X kernel. It is not difficult to make Parallels compatible with either of these, but it does take a bit of time. We should have a compatible build very soon.
2) “Very soon” sounds like marketing-ese for “we’ll have something someday.”
When I say very soon, I mean very soon. Like within the next few days.
3) How will we find out when the build is ready?
If you’re signed up to receive Parallels news, you’ll get an email from us with instructions on how and where to get the build. Not signed up? Just enter your email address on the main Parallels home page and you’ll be good to go.
Alternatively, you can check the Parallels Technical Forum, or just keep an eye on my blog. I’ll be posting notices to both places within minutes of the build being ready.
All in all, please keep in mind that the Mac Pro was only announced earlier this month! We started work on them within 24 hours of the announcement, and we’re continuing to work around the clock (really…our developers are working in shifts and our Mac Pros are always on) to get this ready for you.
Just hang tight. I’ll have good news for you really soon.