Parallels Desktop 17 gives M1 Macs a virtual edge for Windows 11

Parallels has released its latest Desktop 17 for Mac, bringing Windows 11 optimization for Apple Silicon and paving the way for macOS Monterey's full release later in the year. The software makes it easy to run Windows 10 and 11 in a macOS window, but also supports a macOS Monterey virtual machine running an M1-powered Macs.

In fact, the company says, Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac has been engineered with both macOS 12 Monterey and Windows 11 in mind. It will support the latest Apple operating system as both host and guest OS; though Apple and Microsoft are planning their full releases for later in 2021, Desktop 17 will work with the two public betas currently available now.

While Desktop 17 will work on Intel-powered Macs, this new release has specific performance improvements to take advantage of Apple Silicon. They should see up to 33-percent faster Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview start-up, and up to 20-percent faster disk performance. DirectX 11 graphics performance should be up to 28-percent improved, too.

Still, even if you're not using one of the latest Macs with Apple's homegrown chipsets, you should still see a speed bump. Macs with Intel processors could see up to 60-percent faster network connections on macOS Big Surprise (and newer) virtual machines, Parallels says.

All Macs should see up to 38-percent faster Windows, Linux, and macOS resume, Parallels says, with this new Desktop 17 version. OpenGL graphics could perform up to 6 times faster, and Windows could see up to 25-percent faster 2D graphics.

Meanwhile, there's a new display driver for a smoother Windows UI, not to mention better-synchronized video playback. Parallels says it should boost 2D frame rates in games, too. Coherence Mode – which allows Windows and Mac apps to run side-by-side, rather than the former being locked up in a Windows desktop window – has been enhanced, and now puts all Windows dialogs like shutdowns, updates, and sign-in screens in windows too.

Parallels support for dragging and dropping content – like text or images – between macOS and Windows has been boosted this time around, and there'll be support for macOS Monterey Quick Note too.

For M1 Macs, Windows 10 can now track battery status – and start battery saving mode – for the Mac hardware. A new virtual TPM chip allows things like BitLocker and Secure Boot to work in Windows 10 and 11, and there's now support for features like multichannel sound, jack presence detection, and windowed virtual machine views with dynamic resolution support for Linux.

Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac is available now, priced at $79.99 per year or $99.99 for a perpetual license. Those with a perpetual license already can upgrade for $49.99.