Playing PC games on Mac should get better with Parallels 18

If you’re unfamiliar with virtual machines, they’re basically a way to run a foreign operating system on your computer – Windows or Linux on a Mac, for example. This makes it possible to do things like play PC games on a Mac or run old 32-bit Windows apps (which were obsolete a few macOS versions ago). Parallels is probably the most user-friendly VM software left now that Apple has started Boot Camp for its own silicon and VMware options are stuck in the age of Intel. With Parallels 18 it is approaching the next version of Mac OS 13 (Ventura) with support for new features and improvements to existing ones.

In addition to supporting Manager Virtual Workspace in Ventura, there are some updates in the new version which can make the game much smoother. First, Parallels will now pass through Bluetooth connections for Xbox and PlayStation controllers from macOS to Windows (or Linux), which should streamline operation; the company says it adds no latency. It would also offer faster GPU operation on higher core count M1 chips, like the M1 Ultra.

Parallels has also beefed up USB 3.0 handling, so you get smoother video with streaming capture devices and file operations for Intel-based applications. (Because Apple Silicon is Arm-based, not x86-based like Intel and AMD, file operations can still benefit from some optimization).

Additionally, the update adds support for automatic refresh rate synchronization between macOS and Windows on ProMotion displays, although this is not the same as adaptive refresh support in a game.

There are also a few improvements for IT professionals in the Pro version, including better deployment and provisioning tools that support credential-based VM image upload as well as SSO/SAML. And developers using the Business version get tools like network state simulations for testing, easier sandboxing for VMs, the ability to boot a Linux VM from the network, and more.

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