Apple M1 Parallels

Am starting to think of renewing my trusty but ageing iMAC on which I have Fusion, Windows 10 and Vectrics software. As VMware are not expected to release Fusion M1 until Autumn at best, I would consider switching to Parallels - but would like to hear of people’s experiences with Intel x86-64 applications inside Parallels on M1. Does Rosetta 2 still get involved? What is speed like? Graphics performance?

A good question indeed.

True virtualization uses specific mechanisms in the CPU to run instructions in a ‘compartmentalized’ version of the CPU, where registers and stacks are all native but can be swapped rapidly and securely. So in essence you are running the virtual component (usually an operating system) natively on the CPU in a supervised fashion.

Emulation is a way of synthetically creating a CPU as an abstract model running inside a program, where foreign CPU instructions are translated into native CPU instructions, and then their effect applied to the model.

Rosetta 2 is a pre-translation mechanism that translates intel instructions into their arm equivalent and executes that instead.

Sooo… with these concepts in mind, it’s mostly clear that Parallels will never create Virtual Machines for Intel/x86 windows since an M1 chip can’t run x86 instructions.

I think their latest idea is to virtualize the ARM version of Windows 10, which is not publicly released as yet. That ARM version of Windows 10 includes a “Rosetta” of its own to transcode and run x86 applications.

So the M1 mac running x86 Windows applications (Vectric etc) involves virtualizing ARM Windows 10 and then having Windows emulating x86 inside the Parallels VM.

The technical term for this is ‘ugly’. :slight_smile:


This may help you.

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Gerry,my 2009 I Mac is due for replacement and next week thinking of getting a I Mac mini with the M1chip.Do you think they will be OK with CC,CM and Pro??

I wouldn’t like to offer advice since I can’t really judge your expectations!

My humble opinion is that the M1 is a fantastic chip, so if you use your mac as a mac, I wouldn’t hesitate.

I remember going through Rosetta 1 and running my old 68000 apps on the brand new Intel stuff and it worked surprisingly well - so I would that there wouldn’t be any issues with CC and CM at the moment. But I honestly don’t know since I haven’t done it.

If the guys at C3D rebuild natively on an M1 and create a “fat app” I think you will be very happy I’m sure. It will fly! And I don’t see that they have any choice in the matter in the medium term.

I have a 2008 iMac and installed Windows 10 on it natively. It works just fine, so if you intend to keep your existing mac, you have an “intel machine” that you can use in case you need to run Windows software.

Please don’t take this as advice though. We are all different and are comfortable with different levels of “workage”.

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I think it might, given that CM/CC etc are native Mac/Intel applications, Rosetta 2 will perform the translation and run ‘as if’ a native M1 compiled application. I don’t think CC demands too much of the platform (it’s doesn’t need gaming horsepower), so - quite possibly

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This forum and its members are a fantastic repository of knowledge! Great explanation for us ugly ones, Gerry. Thank you! From an ape emulating a human being using a very old CPU. :smiley:

Jeff,I agree,the knowledge that these guys have leaves me for dust and is shared so freely.I will get a Mac mini 1 in about 10 days so will see how it goes.

The current situation with VMWare Fusion. Not looking as if they will be pursuing emulation of X86-64 on M1 silicon, believing that Microsoft will embed such an emulator into Windows ARM (which is in some form of Tech Preview). Looks like this is one to watch and see…