Should You Use Parallels or Boot Camp?

Cameron MacGregor writes:

I recently purchased my first ever Mac. It’s a mid-2012 13-inch MacBook Pro (non-Retina) with a Core i7 and 8 GB of RAM. I plan to upgrade the RAM to 16 GB. I also have a desktop PC running Windows 7 Pro.

I tend to do a lot of gaming, but I also do a lot of work that involves using Microsoft applications such as Visual Basic, Office, etc. I was wondering what your thoughts were on using Parallels versus Boot Camp for running Windows on my Mac? I want to keep using OS X for video editing because I’ve heard it’s a better OS for that.

Chris ParallelsYou’re on the right track with both. You can actually use Parallels to access a Windows 7 partition you have installed via Boot Camp. This gives you the ability to either load it on the front end to have native support and 100% use of system resources or to load it as a virtual machine if you plan to be working in OS X and just want access to your Windows software.

Parallels is an excellent choice for this application. You get the best of both worlds here and you don’t have to give up either operating system to do it.

Performance decrease when running Windows 7 in a virtual environment is negligible for the vast majority of the applications you’ve listed in your email. Gaming performance is also very good, but you can load Windows via Boot Camp if you feel that a little more of the system resources are required.

Boosting your RAM from 8 GB to 16 GB is a wise choice here. Each machine will use a significant amount of RAM while you’re running in a virtual environment. If you’re doing video editing in OS X while compiling code or running Office on Windows, then the extra RAM will work to your benefit. You can also experiment a bit with Ubuntu, Chrome OS, and a second OS X installation to really give your MacBook more flexibility.

Windows runs great on a Mac because all the drivers are in place and predictable. As for being a better or worse experience than other OEMs, that’s all relative. While one person may absolutely love the experience they have on an AMD-powered PC or the design of a laptop made by Asus, it doesn’t mean that everyone will. Choice is a great thing, and it’s nice to be able to have the Mac as just another great option from which consumers can choose.

You can try Parallels out for free by heading to go.tagjag.com/parallels.

Article Written by

Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.