Last year, Apple introduced its M1 Mac mini and M1 MacBook models, based on the ARM M1 chipset. Despite its impressive features and performance in almost all scenarios, where ARM-based Macs lag is the lack of Windows 10 boot via Boot Camp.
Now, thanks to the Parallels Desktop update, users can finally install Windows 10 on their M1 Macs. Parallels Desktop has been updated to version 16.5, which provides full virtualization support for both MacBooks with Intel and models with the Apple M1 chip. Windows apps on M1 MacBooks are now possible to run alongside Mac or iOS apps on Big Sur.
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However, there is one drawback here.
The version of Windows 10 on Parallels Desktop is Windows 10 for ARM, which in itself lacks support for a large number of Windows applications. Microsoft pointed out that Windows 10 for ARM will soon be able to emulate x64 applications.
But even when that support becomes available, M1 Macs will emulate the Windows operating system first, and Windows 10 for the ARM operating system will emulate x64 applications. Therefore, top performance is not expected from the very start.
It is suggested that the latest update provides some performance and battery improvements when the software runs on Intel Mac devices. This includes 2.5 times less power consumption compared to the 2020 MacBook Air with Intel chip; there’s also a 30% performance improvement in the Geekbench 5 over the MacBookPro with an Intel Core i9-8950HK processor in the same conditions.
In addition, the Apple M1 integrated GPU is a 60% faster AMD Radeon Pro 555X GPU in DirectX 11 applications when using Windows with Parallels Desktop 16.5 version.
Microsoft does not currently license the ARM version of Windows 10 for users, so there is no option to install a stable version. Users can use the Insider Preview version of Windows 10 for ARM on their M1 Mac devices, which also provides support for emulating x64 applications.