Parallels Desktop for macOS adds DirectX 11 support

August 15, 2019 | 10:52

Tags: #application-programming-interface #directx-11 #dx11 #hypervisor #metal #parallels-desktop #virtualisation

Companies: #apple #parallels

Commercial Windows compatibility tool Parallels Desktop has announced the addition of DirectX 11 support on macOS systems, improving performance and compatibility with games and 3D rendering applications by translating it to Apple's Metal application programming interface (API).

First launched in June 2006 as Parallels Workstation for Mac OS X, following the release of similarly-named virtualisation packages for Windows and Linux, Parallels Desktop is effectively a fully-functional virtualisation platform. The most common reason to install it, however, is to run Windows software on macOS - and its most recent release comes with a major boon for gamers and those who work with 3D rendering applications, in the form of its first support for DirectX 11.

A collection of application programming interfaces (APIs), the most well-known of which is Direct3D, DirectX is officially supported only on Windows and selected console platforms. Parallels Desktop 15, however, allows DirectX 11 software to run on macOS by translating the calls to Apple's in-house Metal graphics API. Compared to previous support for DirectX 10, Parallels claims the upgrade boosts graphics performance by up to 15 percent while adding support for DirectX 11-exclusive software.

The addition of DirectX 11 support, however, still lags behind the cutting edge: DirectX 12 was announced in March 2014 and launched as a feature of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system. It also comes more than a year after the Wine compatibility tool - which allows Windows applications to run on macOS, Linux, and BSD platforms using a compatibility layer that translates Windows calls into those expected by the underlying operating system, rather than virtualisation - added Direct3D 11 support and confirmed it was working on Direct3D 12.

Other new features of Parallels Desktop 15 include the ability to share files via Windows email software, support for using an iPad as a secondary display in Windows via Sidecar, Bluetooth Low Energy support, and extended support for Linux guests.

More details are available on the official website.


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