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Graphic card-related issues in games and 3D-modelling software

APPLIES TO:
  • Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac Standard Edition
  • Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac Standard Edition

Symptoms

I cannot start a game or a 3D-modelling applications in my virtual machine. I get the error messages similar to this:

    This video card is not supported. 

    your video drivers are out of date

My game or a 3D-modelling software does not show its best performance or some graphics features are inaccessible.

This issue may occur even if my Mac has the video card that is supported by my game or a 3D-modelling software.

Cause

  • The limitations of the virtualization
  • Parallels video card is officially not supported or even deprecated by the application vendor.

Resolution

A little bit of theory:

A technology Parallels Desktop uses to run Windows or any other Operating Systems and their applications, like your favorite computer games, 3D modeling software or Office software is called virtualization.

Parallels Desktop is using hardware-assisted full hardware virtualization that relies on the Intel VT-x technology and allows simulating the whole computer with its hardware and software. This simulated environment is called a virtual machine.

A virtual machine is isolated from its host system. Although the virtual machine runs on a physical host computer (in the case of Parallels Desktop, a Mac computer) and ultimately relies on its hardware capabilities, it nevertheless has its own set of virtualized hardware and works as a separate "software computer.” In other words, the guest Operating System (be it Windows, Linux or OS X) installed in a virtual machine is not “aware” it is running on a Mac, it does not use and in most cases is unaware of the real hardware installed on the Mac.

However there are cases when the game or other software vendors require that their software should run on a specific set of hardware to show its maximum performance or even explicitly make it not possible to run their software on some video cards including Parallels Video Adapter.

Workaround

If you encounter this or similar situation:

  1. Make sure your virtual machine is configureв properly to provide the maximum possible video performance, see KB #122485 for more details. In Parallels Desktop 10 choose Games only or Design profile.
  2. Contact your game or other software vendor support team for possible workaround or submit a feature request to support Parallels Video Adapter.



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