The validity of a parabolic model for simulating the developing buoyancy-assisted mixed convection flow in a vertical channel with spatially periodic wall temperature is verified by a full elliptic model of the momentum and energy equations. A detailed assessment of the effects of the grid resolution, the Richardson number, the Reynolds number, and the preheating zone is presented through extensive comparisons of the velocity and temperature fields, and spatial variations of pressure and local heat fluxes at the walls yielded by both models. The parabolic model is capable of reproducing the flow modification into a pattern consisting of a recirculating zone with increasing Richardson number, capturing adequately the main trends of the flow and heat transfer results. For certain combinations of the relevant non-dimensional parameters, the solutions of the parabolic model agree reasonably well with those of the elliptic model from a quantitative point of view. In all cases examined here, the computational time needed by the parabolic model is significantly smaller than that of the elliptic model.