First, let me say that I did my own comparison of Parallels 8 and VMware 5 a week or two ago, and while they both were pretty good, Parallels provided a smoother end user experience.
I have three new 2012 Macs (MacBook Pro Retina 16GB/256GB, Mac Mini 2.7 16GB/256GB, and a MacBook Air 2.3 8GB/256GB) as well as a 2010 Mac Mini 8GB/500GB.
I intend to install Parallels 8, Win 7 Pro, and MS Office 2010 on each of them. I have brand new (not yet used) OEM Win7 Pro 64-bit system builder discs and licenses. The primary purpose is to have MS Office available on each. For the Mac Mini 2010, I will be doing some video encoding work, but that that's a queue it up, start it, and come back tomorrow task.
I've read extensively about Parallels and the pros/cons of Boot Camp vs running a VM from an image. Obviously, with Boot Camp, you have the capability to boot into Windows 7 to gain all of the hardware power. With Parallels as an image, you can run Windows software simultaneously with Mac software and you gain the capability to capture snap shots to preserve configuration baselines. With Boot Camp, you'd have to image your partition to take a snap shot.
My question is how smoothly Windows 7 handles switching between both environments. Presumably, the system drivers will be vastly different. Further, I've read of activation issues with Windows and Office (presumably because Microsoft's software detects a different operating environment).
Is it really worth it to install/configure Boot Camp and then use Parallels 8 (running Boot Camp if I want the extra speed such as for a Windows game)? Or will this arrangement ultimately bring me a bag of hurt.