Intel Evo vs Apple Silicon part five: Software

Windows 10 desktop running on Parallels Desktop on macOS

This is the fifth part of our Intel Evo vs Apple Silicon series, where we’re taking a look at what each side can do better than the other. The MacBook Pro 13, Razer Book 13, Razer Core X, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, Samsung T7 Touch SSD, and CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 dock were provided by Intel. All opinions expressed are a result of our own testing and experience.

When I started looking at software compatibility between the M1 MacBook Pro and Intel PCs like the Razer Book and the Spectre x360 14, I kind of expected to be writing something similar to what I wrote when I tested hardware compatibility. After all, there are plenty of peripherals that don’t work with macOS, even more than don’t work with M1 Macs, and they all work with Intel.

That wasn’t quite the case when it came to software though. As it turns out, there are absolutely some things that are better on a Mac from the software side of things.

Windows 10

Screenshot with text describing Mac on an M1 chip

Let’s start out by talking about running good old Windows 10. As you may have heard, the M1 Macs do not support Boot Camp. In fact, the MacBook Pro actually comes with a Boot Camp Assistant app pre-installed, and just tells you it won’t work if you try to open it. If you’re looking to dual-boot between operating systems, you’ll want to grab an Intel Mac while you can still get them.

But as Apple promised when it introduced the M1, you can run other operating systems through virtualization. In the keynote, the firm only promised Linux, and you’re about to find out why. It’s because Windows just isn’t ready.

Screenshot of Parallels configuring Windows 10

First of all, I ran the Windows Insider Program VHDX image for build 21286, which is available from Microsoft here. There is no production version of the image, mainly because Microsoft pushed back its major update from the spring to the fall. These images actually exist to run in Hyper-V, and Hyper-V for Windows on ARM won’t ship until then. You can blame the delay of Windows 10X for all of this.

Windows 10 runs well on the M1 MacBook Pro, in general. Windows on ARM runs native ARM32 and ARM64 apps, and it runs emulated x86 and x64 apps. Three of those things work, and the one that doesn’t is ARM32. This is because the M1 chipset simply…