The power of the Apple M1 processor has been demonstrated time and again by using the M1 Macs for cases Apple never intended, not to mention would allow. That includes running resource and graphics-intensive gaming emulators or other operating systems on top of the Arm-based macOS. Perhaps the most glowing example, and most damning for Microsoft, was running Windows 10 ARM on an Apple M1 Mac, something that can now be done officially with the latest release of Parallels Desktop.
The fact that Windows 10 ARM reportedly ran better emulated on an M1 Mac compared to running natively on Microsoft’s own Surface Pro X was particularly telling of the power of Apple’s first desktop Arm chip. That was, of course, still an unofficial method without much optimizations and access to official macOS APIs and hidden hooks. That’s the benefit of virtualization technologies like Parallels Desktop, whose newly-baked version 16.5 brings official support for M1 Macs.
Parallels Desktop has long been the tool of choice for many Mac users who need access to other operating systems. With Boot Camp not making its way to the Arm-based macOS Big Sur, it is the only officially supported way to run Windows 10 on these Macs. And if Parallels is to be believed, these M1 Macs might be the best way to actually run Windows 10 on Apple’s OS.
The post boasts about the greater performance and efficiency of Parallels Desktop 16.5 on M1 Macs compared to their Intel equivalents. That includes support for DirectX 11 even when compared to an Intel MacBook Pro with a dedicated Radeon graphics card. Of course, special attention was given to running Windows through Parallels Desktop but the virtualization platform can also run popular Linux distributions as well.
It should probably be noted that the Windows 10 that runs on these M1 Macs is Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview, which means having all the limitations that this version of Windows. That said, the report also mentions x86 applications, practically games like Rocket League and Skyrim, raising hope for the gaming chops of this method.