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Apple M1 MacBooks can now run virtualized Windows 10 faster and more efficiently compared to Intel-based models

Virtual Windows 10 now runs faster on M1-based MacBooks than on Intel-based ones. (Image Source: Parallels)
Virtual Windows 10 now runs faster on M1-based MacBooks than on Intel-based ones. (Image Source: Parallels)
The latest version of the Parallels Desktop VM manager is optimized for the new M1-powered MacBooks and allows users to run virtualized Windows 10 at native speeds. Compared to previous Intel-based MacBooks, the new M1-based models are 2.5 more energy efficient, up to 60% faster in DX 11 games and up to 30% in general when running a virtual instance of Windows 10.

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Windows 10 is now fully functional at native speeds on Apple’s latest M1-powered MacBooks thanks to the release of the highly-anticipated 16.5 version for the Parallels Desktop virtual machine manager. More than 100,000 M1 Mac users tested the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16.5 in order to ensure a seamless Windows-on-Mac experience that is optimized for the new ARM-based processors from Apple. All the popular software suites including MS Office, MS Visual Studio, SQL Server, MS Power BI and MetaTrader, as well as many games like Rocket League, Among Us, Roblox, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Sam & Max Save the World run even faster than on an Intel-based Mac, while the M1 processors allow for significantly higher energy efficiency.

Here are some of the performance and efficiency highlights for the new Parallels Desktop 16.5:

  • On a Mac with an Apple M1 chip, Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5 times less energy than on a 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air computer.
  • Up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance: Parallels Desktop 16.5 running on an M1 Mac delivers up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance than on an Intel-based MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 555X GPU.
  • Up to 30 percent better virtual machine performance (Windows): Running a virtual machine (VM) of Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview on Parallels Desktop 16.5 on an M1 Mac performs up to 30 percent better than a Windows 10 VM running on Intel-based MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 processor.

In addition to these improvements, all the Mac-specific features have been re-engineered to make the most out of the new M1 processors:

  • Coherence Mode: Run Windows applications on your Mac as if they were native Mac applications, without managing two separate desktops or rebooting.
  • Shared Profile: Share your Mac desktop, pictures, documents, and other folders with a VM for easy access.
  • Touch Bar controls:  Quickly access apps in your virtual machine and customize your Touch Bar shortcuts to feature the apps and commands you use most.
  • Mac keyboard layouts: Easily customize your keyboard menu and shortcuts for a more personalized experience.
  • Hundreds of other Parallels Desktop features are included to help make it simple for customers be more productive.

Parallels is currently working on adding the possibility to run macOS Big Sur in a VM for M1 MacBooks. This feature should be ready later this year.


Buy the Apple MacBook Pro 13 with M1 processor on Amazon

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Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - Senior Tech Writer - 1507 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 04 > Apple M1 MacBooks can now run virtualized Windows 10 faster and more efficiently compared to Intel-based models
Bogdan Solca, 2021-04-15 (Update: 2021-04-15)