• Price When Reviewed: 42.54

  • Pros: Easier to use than previous version. Better for many creative professionals than Boot Camp.

  • Cons: Headline 3D support is largely irrelevant.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 virtualization software lets you run Windows XP and Vista on an Intel-based Mac, and deepens your ability to run Mac and Windows OS side by side.

While its most trumpeted new feature is support for 3D graphics, the feature of most interest to Digital Arts readers will be its ability to allow Mac-based Web and multimedia developers to test projects on Windows systems.

We ran the virtualization software on a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook with 1GB of RAM. After installing Parallels, we installed Windows XP Pro. Parallels supports almost all major OSs from Windows 3.1 to Vista Enterprise, plus Linux flavours from Debian to Xandros and even older platforms such as MS-DOS and OS/2.

You can run Windows in one of three modes: Full Screen, OS Window (Windows Desktop in a Mac Finder window), and Coherence (which puts a Windows application in a window directly on the Mac desktop).

A few added enhancements to Parallels improve the ability to share files between operating systems. Coherence view now allows you to put Windows application icons in the Mac OS X Dock. The new SmartSelect feature lets you open Windows files in Mac OS X and vice versa, and you can drag-&-drop files between Mac and Windows folders.

Parallels 3.0 tweaks make it very worthwhile, and compared to Apple’s beta Boot Camp, it allows media testing on Windows without rebooting – a major plus.