VMware pushes out beta of Mac virtual machine

Its Fusion 1.1 beta now supports 3-D games that require DirectX 9.0

VMware Wednesday released the first beta of Fusion 1.1, the newest version of its virtualization software that lets Mac owners run Windows on their Intel-powered computers.

Fusion 1.1 now supports 3D games that require DirectX 9.0, said VMware in the beta's release notes, as well as synchronizing iPhones within Windows virtual machines (VMs). The beta also improves several aspects of Unity, the Fusion feature that lets users run Windows applications without actually displaying Windows itself. When an application is run in Unity mode, it looks and behaves like a Mac OS X window.

The update also fixes a number of bugs, including one that caused the host Mac's wireless connection to max out the computer's CPU at 100 percent. Other fixes range from one that makes sure time and date stamps are retained on files dragged between Mac and a VM, to another that blocks a Mac kernel panic if an external drive containing the virtual machine is disconnected. The virtualization software maker also posted a long list of known problems that remain in the beta.

VMware specifically called out the improved gaming support -- important to Mac owners running virtualization software like Fusion or its rival, Parallels Desktop for Mac, because of Windows' larger gaming library. According to VMware, "experimental" DirectX 9.0 support will let users run more titles than before. Shader support is not included with the beta, however, so games that require that 3D feature may not run.

Users can download the beta from the VMWare site (registration required). The software requires an Intel-based Mac with a Core 2 Duo or Xeon processor, 512MB of memory and Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.

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