<![CDATA[Parallels at 2880x1800 with mac set to Best for Retina display resolution]]>

Parallels has recently announced in a video that their virtualization solution Parallels Desktop for Mac now "takes full advantage of the Retina Display on a Mac".

That sounds awesome, but it's not true. It's actually pretty much a lie! :( -- You can take some advantage of the Retina display, but definitely not full advantage.

All you can do is set Windows to believe it is running with a 2880 x 1800 pixels display. And that is indeed the physical pixel resolution of a Macbook Pro Retina display...

But, in NO CIRCUMSTANCE can you actually map each pixel from the 2880 x 1800 virtual machine to a physical pixel of the actual screen.

What you get instead, is blurry scaling all the waty down!

On the first screenshot below (click to zoom) you will see how 2880 x 1800 is scaled down (and BLURRED down) to 1440 x 900 if you keep you Mac runnign with the default setting of "Best for retian display".

On the second screenshot below you will se how 2880 x 1800 is scaled down (and still blurred down) to 1920 x 1200 if you change your mac display settings to the highest scaled resolution. This solution makes your windows look a tiny little bit better but it also makes your mac apps look less sharp (because they are now scaled too! Remember, you are no longer running in "Best for Retina display" mode!)

Note: The best results you can get for Windows is to set your Windows to 1920x1200 and set your max to the largest scaled resolution.

Parallels, inc.: What we need is:

  1. Not touch the mac resolution setting and keep it at "Best for Retina display"
  2. Have Windows (and hopefully other OSes too) map their pixels to a 2880x1800 buffer and NOT to a Mac resolution buffer! If Safari can do it when rendering web pages, why can't you do it when rendering an OS screen? (Yes I know it may not be that easy, but you get the idea...)
  3. Optionally: have your Windows tools automatically increase the dpi setting of Windows so the menus and text don't look so small...

<![CDATA[Parallels at 2880x1800 with mac set to 1920x1200 scaled mac resolution]]>

Comments from long ago:

Comment from: François Planque

Right now, we have a screen which has 2880 x 1800 physical pixels and that Windows 7 can handle a resolution of 2880 x 1800 without problems (except for the fact that the text looks small by default).

Given that, why does there have to be downscaling and upscaling involved ?

When Adobe says they are making Photoshop Retina display compatible, they mean that a 2880 x 1800 pixels photo will be displayed with a 1:1 pixel mapping with NO downscaling + upscaling involved … And NO need to change the Mac setting from “Best for Retina display”.

So when Parallels say they let us “take full advantage of the retina display” we expect the same thing: A 2880 x 1800 Windows desktop should be displayed without any scaling involved.

2012-07-17 18-39

Comment from: François Planque

In order to get Windows to actually display 2880x1800 pixels, you need to set your Mac to use that resolution.

Apple doesn’t let you do this (because then everything looks so small) but you can use FreeRez to do it!

2012-07-17 20-10

Comment from: Bryan

What about with Mountain Lion “retina” support. How does this work out?

2012-08-01 03-57