Boot Camp vs VMware or Parallels

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Apparently, Virtual Machines are a hot topic! I’ve had a few calls lately asking about them, the differences, and my recommendations. This caller is buying a Macbook Pro, and is wondering what he should use as far as running Windows programs. He has a copy of Photoshop, and wonders what program he needs on the Macbook in order to use Photoshop to its peak performance. He’s also curious as to whether he should use Rosetta.

What exactly is Rosetta? You’ll never see it, you’ll never configure it, you’ll never have to think about it. It’s built into Mac OS X to ensure that most of your existing applications live a long and fruitful life. Here are all the instructions you’ll need: double-click the application icon. Behind the scenes, Rosetta dynamically translates most of your PowerPC-based applications to work with your Intel-based Mac. There’s no emulation. No second-class status. It looks and feels just like it did before. On a Mac, you’d expect nothing less.

If you want, you could always use Photoshop inside a Virtual Machine, using something such as Parallels or VMware. Or, you could use Boot Camp, which is included with OS X Leopard. Boot Camp supports the most popular 32-bit releases of Windows XP and Windows Vista. When you use either operating system on your Mac, your Windows applications will run at native speed. This is exactly what the caller is looking for! Windows applications have full access to multiple processors and multiple cores, accelerated 3D graphics, and high-speed connections like USB, FireWire, Wi-Fi, and Gigabit Ethernet.

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