AAM: Windows Virtualization

by Aaron Wright Feb 05, 2007

There have been some great posts this week on the Apple Matters forums, a big thanks to all of those who have participated, keep it up. One thread that caught my attention was a debate on whether one user should purchase an Apple Computer or a PC running Windows Vista—it was basically a chance to gather everyone’s thoughts before he made his final purchase. It’s a hot topic folks, so check it out when you can.

However, this week I’ve decided to go with the old virtualization debate. Cadaver is curious to know whether virtualization is really an effective way of acting as a substitute for a PC and, on that note, wants to know which VM client to choose.

It seems that most of the Apple Matters readers think that a combination of Boot Camp and Parallels is the best way to go, as Parallels offers a quick switch to using Windows while still running OS X. However, as Parallels doesn’t support 3D graphics, anyone wishing to play games or use graphics (of any kind) would really need to go over to Boot Camp, which isn’t actually virtualization, but rather a freeware program that allows you to boot into a real instance of Windows on your Macintosh computer.

Still, check out my top answer to this week’s top question below and remember to keep posting your questions in the Ask Apple Matters forums—the best of which is picked out each week.

Question of the Week

Virtualization in General

Question by: Cadaver

Hello! This is my first post on your forum (in fact, this is my first post on a forum dedicated to the tech-side of computers at all). I was searching through different forums and decided to post here. My question may be too simple: I just want to find out whether virtualization is really effective. I heard a lot about Parallels Desktop and Boot Camp, and now, when I’ve become a happy Mac user I may need to run some Windows apps (mainly at work) as well as games (I’m not a gamer myself, but some people in my family would like to use my Mac for this purpose).

The question is: can virtualization in my case substitute for the use of a real PC? What is the best solution to choose here? Thank you for your attention.

Answer of the week

Answer by: Haye321

There are upsides and downsides to both Parallels and Boot Camp. I am running Parallels, which I like except for the fact that it does not support 3D graphics (any games). However, its upside is that you run it inside of OS X and don’t have to restart to get into Windows like you have to do with Boot Camp. Parallels just runs Windows in a window on your desktop like any other application. Boot Camp, on the other hand, can support 3D graphics, but it is impossible to switch from OS X to Windows quickly. So if you want to do something in OS X and Windows at the same time, that is impossible with Boot Camp. So in the end it is really up to you with what you want to get. It all depends on what best suits your needs.

Honourable Mention

Also a big thanks to 33Specter who helped out immensely on this topic along with Haye321—nice going Specter.

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Have a technical question? Drop by our dedicated forums and leave a message. You’re sure to get a reply from one of our regular readers or even a member of our staff.


  • Why do I need to run Vista at all?

    Because it is there?


    I have a hard enough time realizing the potential of my OS 10 operating system. It has got deep nuances I haven’t even plumbed the depth of…

    The last thing I need is more obligatory MS bloatware to master…

    I mean really.

    And you want me to pay for the displeasure too?

    Go on…
    You are pishing me right?


    koreyel had this to say on Feb 05, 2007 Posts: 22
  • If you don’t need to run Vista, then obviously this article isn’t for you.

    Pshaw, indeed.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Feb 05, 2007 Posts: 2220
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