We had a chat with the Parallels guys earlier today, and got some new information that should be very interesting to people who are even the slightest bit interested in running Windows on your Mac.
We went over some of the stuff we covered yesterday, but there's lots of new stuff and even one major feature we didn't mention: Snapshots.
First off, the three major features are 3D graphics support, SmartSelect, and Snapshots.
3D graphics support is the shiniest feature everyone's talking about now. Yes, it will support 3D games like Quake and Half Life, but no, right now it doesn't support Vista Aero—that's coming in a later release.
Parallels couldn't give me an exact number when I asked for how much of a performance gap there'd be between running a game in Parallels and running it in native Boot Camp, but they did say that it's very close to native and you wouldn't really notice any gameplay problems. That, of course, depends on the game, but Half Life 2 ran fine on his machine.
One thing to note is that not all games will be supported by default. They'll have a list of games they support, and the list will be updated whenever there's a new build available. Hopefully your game will be supported at launch, but Parallels has a reputation for releasing frequent, and top-notch, updates.
The second major feature is SmartSelect, which allows you to set a preference for opening any file in any application, no matter which OS it's in. Example: You can set text files to open up in Windows Notepad, so even if you double-click it in OS X, it'll still pop open Notepad. Think of it as an extension of Coherence, which lets you run Windows apps in its own window on OS X.
On a side note, if you're in Windows and you look in your start menu, you'll be able to see all of the OS X apps listed under a Parallels folder, and have a similar option for opening Windows apps in OS X. Neato.
The third major feature is Snapshots, which lets you take a snapshot of your virtual machine so you can revert to it if something's wrong. Do this before you install apps or make any major changes, and you'll have something to fall back on in case anything goes wrong.
It's super useful for software testers or people who make modifications to their OS, and only takes up minimal room on your hard drive per snapshot.
All in all, the guys tell us that besides the new features, everything else is more robust than even version 2.5, which just came out recently. With their track record, we believe them.
Product Page [Parallels]