Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am considering buying a Macbook Pro Retina as a developer machine (and dual boot it into Windows 8).

The thing is I love big monitors, and lots of them.

How many and how big external monitors will a Macbook Pro Retina support?

In particular, can it display with native resolution on a 2560x1600 and a 2560x1440? And use its internal display too? Will it require particular adapters, e.g. DisplayPort?

Will I be able to use those monitors when booting into Windows 8?

share|improve this question
Except when you see the retina display, you won't want to use anything else, no matter how big it is. –  asmeurer Sep 26 '12 at 4:38
@asmeurer, I disagree. I've got a 27" IPS monitor that's every bit as good as the built in display, and I'd like to get a second. –  Paul Tomblin Jan 21 '13 at 21:58
It also matters how close you are to the monitor. If you're as close to the display as you would be for the retina MBP when using the keyboard, it makes a difference. If the display is much farther away (likely if it's 27"), then "retina" is a much lower DPI. –  asmeurer Jan 22 '13 at 1:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Here's one example of someone running two 27" displays at 2560x1440 via Thunderbolt/DisplayPort plus an HDMI display at 1920x1200: http://blog.macsales.com/14241-macbook-pro-15-with-retina-display-can-run-3-external-displays

The Thunderbolt ports officially support up to 2560x1600 so that resolution shouldn't be any problem either:

Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on up to two external displays, at millions of colors http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs/

To get up to that resolution, you're limited to either Thunderbolt/MiniDisplayPort or Dual-Link DVI via an adapter - single link DVI and VGA adapters won't go that high.

For the HDMI port, I haven't seen any specific maximum resolution. This person got up to 2048x1280: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-3121_7-57460642-220/how-to-power-four-simultaneous-screens-with-the-retina-macbook-pro/

Generally, external monitors work fine in Windows. I see no reason why it would be any different on the Retina model or on Windows 8 specifically.

share|improve this answer
I can confirm that it worked just fine using both the external monitors that I wanted to. –  Klas Mellbourn Jan 22 '13 at 8:41
To get 2560*1440 a DisplayPort to MiniDisplay cable would work, right ? –  Nock Apr 26 '13 at 19:03
@Nock yes that is the setup I have, DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cables. (It actually worked with the Apple DVI to Mini DisplayPort adapters too, but those are much more unweildy) –  Klas Mellbourn Apr 27 '13 at 9:18

From the tech specs page:

Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on up to two external displays, at millions of colors

So the answer is yes, it will support those resolutions to up to two external displays. There will be no problems using these resolutions on Windows either.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.