I was reading a blog entry today that mentioned an installation of Parallels in order to run a virtualized instance of Windows on an Intel-based Mac. I had heard of Parallels but was hesitant to give it a try based on my terrible experience with Microsoft Virtual PC 7 for Mac.
Well, I bit the bullet and downloaded the demo version to give it a shot and I was (and am still) absolutely floored by this product. It is nothing like Virtual PC (thankfully) and Windows runs inside it just as fast as I've ever seen it run. To think that my little 15-inch MacBook Pro is essentially running two operating systems - and running both of them like it's no big deal - is really amazing.
Although an Intel-based Mac is required to run Parallels, once you have one you'll find that the cost of the Parallels software ($79.99 as advertised on their site) is far cheaper than the $116.88 that Amazon.com is selling Virtual PC 7 for at the time I write this. And again - the performance is just jaw-dropping. I wouldn't even believe that what I'm using is virtualized if I couldn't drag the thing around on my Mac desktop.
Now I finally get to do all of my talks using Keynote (instead of PowerPoint) and still get to do all of my demos without having to switch computers or reboot into Windows using Boot Camp. I also get to use the Mac for all of my day to day work (email in Mac Mail, scheduling in iCal, IM in iChat, internet browsing in Safari, etc.) and still do any development or architecture in my "Windows window".
I will say this - it's amazing how much simpler Windows becomes when you can remove virtually everything from the Start menu and All Programs menu (see photo).
Now - can anyone offer any suggestions on how I can convince my wife that I need a Mac Pro to replace the quad PowerMac G5 I got in January?