Switching to UTM: Goodbye Parallels
As many people in the macOS virtualisation world know, Parallels is very expensive virtualisation software but it also is the defacto solution due to its incredible support of 3D graphics acceleration.
I used Parallels for games as there were certain titles that didn’t run on Apple’s M-series powered computers. However, I have been phasing out gaming from my life to focus on other areas (e.g. app development). Because of this, I didn’t require a powerful gaming PC or virtualisation/emulation (e.g. Parallels or CrossOver) as the occasional game on the iPad was sufficient. Because of this, my requirement for a fast VM dropped significantly and in return, saves me $139.00/yr AUD.
I still need the occasional Linux or Windows VM to run a specific program without affecting my Mac install — and after searching online for a solution, I have settled down with UTM.
What is UTM?
UTM is a powerful free and open-source virtualisation software designed for Mac. It makes use of QEMU to virtualise but also emulate x86 environments. I found this to be excellent as it allows me to run an older operating system where ARM/AARCH64 support is not there (e.g. Windows XP 😉) – this is called emulation.
However, the virtualisation side of UTM is also very good. It allows me to run Fedora Linux relatively well and Windows 11 ARM also runs decent enough for any Windows needs.
Is it worth it?
The only caveat with UTM is the lack of 3D acceleration but if you do not plan on playing games or running applications where low-latency is a requirement, UTM is perfect!
UTM is also free but I have bought it through the App Store to support the developers.
Please note though, it is slower than what you would expect with Parallels or even VMware Fusion, however, if your Mac does everything you ask it to do and you just need the occasional VM to run a Windows specific program, UTM might be what you are after.