.NET development on a “Retina” MacBook Pro
The rumor that Apple would release a super high resolution version of its 15” laptop has been around for quite awhile, and one I watched closely. After more than three years with a 17” MacBook Pro, and all of the screen real estate it offered, I was ready to replace it with something much lighter. It was a fantastic machine, still doing 6 or 7 hours after 460 charge cycles, but I wanted lighter and faster. With the SSD I put in it, I was able to sell it for $750.
The appeal of higher resolution goes way back, when I would plug into a projector and scale up. Consolas, as it turns out, is a nice looking font for code when it’s bigger. While I have mostly indifference for iOS, I have to admit that a higher dot pitch on the iPhone and iPad is pretty to look at.
So I ordered the new 15” “Retina” model as soon as the Apple Store went live with it, and got it seven days later. I’ve been primarily using Parallels as my VM of choice from OS X for about five years. They recently put out an update for compatibility with the display, though I’m not entirely sure what that means. I figured there would have to be some messing around to get the VM to look right.
The combination that seems to work best is this: Set the display in OS X to “more room,” which is roughly the equivalent of the 1920x1200 that my 17” did. It’s not as stunning as the text at the default 1440x900 equivalent (in OS X), but it’s still quite readable. Parallels still doesn’t entirely know what to do with the high resolution, though what it should do is somehow treat it as native. That flaw aside, I set the Windows 7 scaling to 125%, and it generally looks pretty good. It’s not really taking advantage of the display for sharpness, but hopefully that’s something that Parallels will figure out.
Screen tweaking aside, I got the base model with 16 gigs of RAM, so I give the VM 8. I can boot a Windows 7 VM in 9 seconds. Nine seconds! The Windows Experience Index scores are all 7 and above, except for graphics, which are both at 6. Again, that’s in a VM. It’s hard to believe there’s something so fast in a little slim package like that. Hopefully this one gets me at least three years, like the last one.