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Quick Look at Parallels Desktop 9 Enterprise

As you probably saw here or on Twitter, I recently got a new 8-core Mac Pro. Occasionally, I occasionally test scripts in Maya for Windows and do model conversions in Autodesk Max and sometimes use a Windows virtual machine to do it, even though I have a gaming rig that could be used instead. If you read my review of both VMware Fusion 6 and Parallels Desktop 6 on Ars Technica, you might have been able to tell that I prefer Parallels’ speedier and robust 3D support but envied Fusion 6’s support for 16 virtual CPU cores.

So Parallels gave me a testout of their Parallels Desktop 6 Enterprise edition that has 16-core support for this machine. So I quickly put it to the test with Cinebench to compare it to VMware and the host Mac’s score. Results (score, higher is better):

Native 8-core Mac Pro in OS X 10.9.1: 13.74
8-core Mac Pro with VMware Fusion 6 Windows 7: 12.99
8-core Mac Pro with Parallels Desktop 9 Enterprise: 13.05

Not bad and it confirm that this is still my all-around favourite virtual machine program for demanding 3D client applications and rendering. Max runs well:

If you are testing Maya scripts in Windows, the viewport 1 performance is okay too:

And the best thing? You’re literally running two OSes and two demanding 3D applications but multitasking is still better than when rendering on native Windows hardware:


Multitasking with no priority drop for the rendering. Dare to dream.

Sorry Windows users, but I had to. After the spate of questions about why I’d run 3D apps in OS X when the OpenGL performance is better in Windows, that should be answer enough.

Anyway, Parallels Desktop 9 Enterprise a $100/year and, while that is a reasonable price for the software, I hope they add it to the base non-Enterprise version because VMware’s Fusion is cheaper and doesn’t require a timed-out subscription to offer similar virtual 16-core support. But, if you need a 3D machine in a VM now for OS X, this is the best option.

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