What’s Windows 8 Looking Like On The New MacBook Pro With Retina Display?

Windows 8 On Macbook Pro

The best laptop display to date, running Windows 8.

Hopefully this very real experiment will result in very real hardware from Microsoft, because the potential is awesome

Normally, we don’t talk about MacBooks or anything Apple does unless it relates to Microsoft. Today is one of those days, because AnandTech has installed the Windows 8 Release Preview on the new MacBook Pro with Retina display and the results are astonishing.

For reference, Windows 7 boots up by default at an 800 x 600 resolution – pathetic stuff, to the point that downloading another browser is almost impossible – while Windows 8 defaults to 1024 x 768. Nvidia drivers have to be installed for resolutions higher than 1600 x 1200, though Windows 8 supports the Retina’s 2880 x 1800 resolution.

Despite the lack of drivers in Boot Camp, AnandTech tested the resolution using a more regular desktop display even though Apple doesn’t offer a desktop resolution higher than 1920 x 1200 on OS X. By default, the UI elements are tiny at the super-high resolution with desktop scaling: a picture showing the new Skyfall James Bond movie trailer had it covering roughly a third of the screen. Text is also small.

Nowhere Near Optimized, But It’s Definitely Exciting

It’s a similar story on the Metro side: the Start screen covers a fraction of the area and left a black space. DPI scaling improved the resolution slightly, though the basic problem is the lack of Nvidia drivers supporting the resolution. When they come, Metro could look fantastic. Bare in mind that when it is supported, putting the resolution on a 13- or 15-inch display will make Windows 8 look gorgeous.

Hopefully it’s a sign of what Microsoft is intending to offer, because most Windows 8 users won’t want to buy a MacBook, though I don’t know whether this resolution is going to be achieved by another company for a while. We haven’t seen tablet manufacturers coming close to the new iPad’s resolution, and only recently had the iPhone 4/4S Retina display been matched by the Galaxy Nexus.

Of course we have Microsoft’s conference on Monday, revealing something, and is it a coincidence that we’re getting a reveal just after the Retina display MacBook Pros announcement? Maybe, so stay tuned.

Published: Friday, June 15th, 2012 Last Modified: June 15, 2012

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