I have recently gotten and installed Parallels with WindowsXP Pro... both legal copies, the two combined cost me $380 USD plus tax & shipping.
The computer I am using is merely a week old Mac Pro, dual 2.0ghz intel, 2gb ram, two superdrives, two sata 500 hds, etc etc etc.
I got the program, with the intention of using it for occasional gaming, not of new system intensive games (as most of those give me motion sickness, esp 1st person shooters) but rather older titles from the mid 90s that were never ported to mac os (such as Tiberian Sun, the original Red Alert, the original C&C- stuff like that). These old games ran well in windows98 in virtual PC 4.0 on my PowerBook G3 (400mhz "bronze" keyboard) so there was no doubt in my mind that it shouldn't run ok in my vastly superior (system resource wise) Mac Pro using Parallels.
I was hopeful since windows XP installed quickly in Parallels, updated quickly and reliably, and Z Cpu stated the hardware (virtual) was very close to the real Mac Pro hardware (unlike say, VPC which gives you a processor a few generations- as a rule- older than whatever you're using).
So I went and installed Tiberian Sun so I could start playing it online with one of my friends... it installed quickly and without incident (in fact it might have been my fastest Tsun install to date...). I go to play the game, and I get no picture :mad: I get the sound, the game plays- but it won't display no matter the compatibility settings, the monitor settings, etc.
Thinking it might be a fluke due to incompatibilities, I tried updating it to the newest version- to no success. To rule out Parallels as the problem, I dived into my pile of ancient gaming cds.
To my horror, not a *single* one worked in windowsXP in parallels!
-the entire doom series (windows port) were so laggy- in gameplay, sound, picture that it can not be played
-the rest of the C&C series- the old stuff, not the last two titles (I am not trying to play Generals on this VM!) would not work- similar probs as I described for tsun
-the descent series would not play, again lag galore...
-even the old simcity programs were nightmares (simcity2000, simtower, even simant...).
So to me, this begs the question- does Parallels *actually* give you the system resources that are reported by PC utilities running inside your VM?? It boggles the mind that a system that supposedly is so fast, can have such trouble with even the oldest of games. I have a Gateway WindowsXP box next to my computer and I can safely rule widows out as *not* the problem. Just what are we supposed to use parallels for, if it can't actually do anything but the simplist of tasks (i.e. word processing & browsing the net)? Having all the speed in the world for your VM is entirely moot if the program can't actually apply that to something that would require it.
My response was; "ok, this isn't too bad- I can go use bootcamp"- only to find an other unadvertised draw back to parallels- when I go to activate XP in my bootcamp partician, I get MS's anti-piracy technology throwing fits... long story short it won't activate and MS wants me to spend $150 for an other XP Pro license. :mad: Had I known either this or the gaming situation upon purchase, I would NEVER have even remotely considered buying parallels. I can not afford, after that $380 USD, an other Windows license. Why weren't we warned about this from the retailers or on the main page for parallels? Was the company intentionally misleading the consumers?
I sent an email to customer service... did they respond? No, they didn't- not once.
There is a Parallels support forum, however it is not something they advertise or link from their product website... I found it by googling for a work around for all my problems with Parallels. Apparently they tried to "hide" that this board exists because people kept reading its posts, and were coming to the conclusion (gee wiz, I can't help but wonder why!) that the product isn't very good or far along yet development wise.
Even VPC threw connectix had better customer service than this, even up threw the end when they were about to be bought out by M$. There are *countless* threads on their support board due to a lack of customer service, the company will not return phone calls, emails, letters- even if you're using a pay per incident support system threw the company. My box for Parallels says it has a 30 day money back garrentee- but do they honor that?!?!? Nope.
I can't be the only one having these frustrations. In fact their support forum has dozens upon dozens of disgruntled mac users with the same (or similar) issues... and moving to bootcamp and/or away from parallels, is a common overtone in the threads.
Personally, I would like it if Parallels either had a workable crack to get around the XP activation issue, or some short of discount worked out with M$ for getting multiple licenses. What do I think would excuse this kind of intentional misleadings? Refunding my entire $380 USD would be a nice start... but somehow I doubt that will happen if I can't even get customer service to respond to my email.
As to the gaming issue, the company's party line is that they don't support 3d games- this is highly misleading and borderline fraud as the problem applies to ALL gaming, not just stuff that is 3d or system resource extensive... I have several old games going back to the early 90s that I would like to play, but since there is no classic support for intel macs- and the PPC emulators are all either too slow or too reliable (think sheepshaver)- running their PC versions in something like parallels would have been a viable work around.
Before anyone suggests otherwise, the activation issue is one without a legal work around. Cracking windoze in bootcamp to get past activation is violating the M$ EOA (and is not legal). Cloning your VM to the bootcamp partician violates the M$ EOA because per the EOA, the two are separate computers and it would be comparative to running a repair shop and "cloning" a single XP installed on a machine to every other machine you work with...., M$'s EOA allows (go and read it sometime) reusing an existing license in the event of a computer dying, if the new computer is a box that came without windows... however you can not take advantage of this because your VM has no real hardware, let alone hardware failure. If you explain the entire situation to M$, they WILL tell you to buy an other license.
In a nut shell-
1 - no customer service
2 - gaming is totally kaput
3 - you can't activate WinXP in say, bootcamp after activating it in your VM