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Old Oct 5, 2012, 10:28 PM   #1
gowanis
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Font Rendering in Mountain Lion

I am new to the Mac world, having recently purchased a Retina MacBook Pro and a Thunderbolt display. The display on the MacBook is simply amazing, as anyone who has used retina knows. The Thunderbolt, however, is proving to be disappointing to me due to the way fonts appear.

Coming from a Windows 7 environment with a 1920x1080 23" display, I knew the Thunderbolt would not match the retina on the MacBook, but expected it to be at least as good as the 1080 display, and probably better given that the resolution was 2560x1440. Don't get me wrong, the display is bright and images look sensational, but for some reason I am just not happy with text. The fonts look fuzzy and jagged.

I did some reading on the subject, and tried using all three font smoothing settings with terminal commands with no success. I also read some articles (mostly a few years old) that explained the font rendering philosophies of Apple and Microsoft.

So what's the deal? Is it just a matter of getting used to this? Is there something wrong with my hardware? Anyone have a similar experience?
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Old Oct 6, 2012, 07:12 AM   #2
MisterMe
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Welcome to the Mac. It sounds like you are a Windows user who is not used to the way that the Mac renders fonts. Yours is a relatively common complaint made by switchers. No matter how high the resolution of a computer monitor, it still does not match the resolution of ink on the printed page. That given, Apple's design goal in font rendering is to be faithful to each font's metrics. As I understand it, Microsoft's design criteria is readability. However, this Mac owner of 23 years has never liked how Windows renders fonts.

Apple will not change its font renderer to be closer to the Windows method. Take heart. You will get used to it.
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Last edited by MisterMe; Oct 6, 2012 at 08:35 PM.
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Old Oct 6, 2012, 10:33 AM   #3
gowanis
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Originally Posted by MisterMe View Post
Apple's design goal in font rendering is to be faithful to each font's metrics. As I understand it, Microsoft's design criteria is readability
I suspected this to be the case. It has not been an easy transition for me - I'm constantly adjusting fonts, sizes, and browsers - text just doesn't look right. Also, I had the retina MacBook for about two weeks prior to getting the Thunderbolt display, and the retina display really spoils you.

Hopefully I will get used to it, but so far it has been a big problem for my eyes.
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Old Oct 7, 2012, 02:32 PM   #4
The Economist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gowanis View Post
I suspected this to be the case. It has not been an easy transition for me - I'm constantly adjusting fonts, sizes, and browsers - text just doesn't look right. Also, I had the retina MacBook for about two weeks prior to getting the Thunderbolt display, and the retina display really spoils you.

Hopefully I will get used to it, but so far it has been a big problem for my eyes.
You are not alone, sort of. I also find text weird looking, when reading on Windows.
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Old Oct 7, 2012, 02:51 PM   #5
JootecFromMars
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Your description sounds to me like you might not have the Thunderbolt Display displaying at 2560 x 1440. What is it saying in Display Preferences?
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Old Oct 9, 2012, 06:50 PM   #6
gowanis
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Your description sounds to me like you might not have the Thunderbolt Display displaying at 2560 x 1440. What is it saying in Display Preferences?
Its definitely 2560x1440. I suppose I'm slowly getting used to it. I have my MacBook retina side by side with the Thunderbolt, and it drives me nuts. I really want that retina quality on the big screen.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 01:48 AM   #7
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Its definitely 2560x1440. I suppose I'm slowly getting used to it. I have my MacBook retina side by side with the Thunderbolt, and it drives me nuts. I really want that retina quality on the big screen.
That will take a while... but that will definitely solve the font rendering issues.
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