3840 is the new 2560

Discussion in 'iMac' started by klknoles, May 5, 2011.

  1. klknoles macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2010
    Until the latest iMac revision came out the other day I had believed that we were going to see new sizes and resolutions. Instead, we got what is more or less the same machines as before, just with improved graphics, CPU and the addition of dual Thunderbolt ports. Nothing to scoff at, but not nearly as big or important a change as when the 27" was first introduced with its 2560x1440 resolution.

    So while the rumors of larger screens and higher resolution may have been wrong this time, they were probably only premature and inevitably the iMac will see some kind of bump up in resolution, hopefully in the form of a 30" model and I'm guessing the next resolution we can expect is 3840x2160, or Quad Full HD.

    Why 3840x2160? Everything we've seen for existing, albeit obscure displays suggests that it's the next step after 2560x1440. While other, "odd" horizontal resolutions like 2880, 3200, and 3600 are possible, they fall short of the "evenness" of exactly four time full HD, and with display technology being what it is, a jump of an additional 1280 pixels isn't out of the question (Witness the iPhone's jump from 480x320 to 960x640 at little additional cost. In time we may see a similar jump on the iPad.)

    3840x2160 Quad Full HD would allow Apple to tout "Quad HD" in all their marketing, show off iMacs simultaneously playing back four 1080p trailers, and boast that Final Cut Pro could have side-by-side full res. HD content. And, it would be the perfect "fit" for a technology they've supported, but not yet sufficiently marketed - DisplayPort.

    The introduction of Thunderbolt really threw me for a loop. I had thought it was going to come in the shape of USB and the last thing I expected was for it to use the mini DisplayPort form factor. But it did and we now still have what is essentially "DisplayPort" from a usability standpoint, even if the technology behind the port differs. I for one love it, but the one area it's lacking is in bandwidth. Thunderbolt is currently not up to the capabilities of DisplayPort 1.2 and the maximum resolution of DisplayPort 1.2 is 3840x2400, which is the 16:10 version of 3840x2160.

    So, if Apple is to eventually update the iMac resolution, presumably keep Target Display Mode, and have an external display with the same Quad Full HD resolution, Thunderbolt should get an update that puts it on par with DisplayPort 1.2. That means not just support for a single display up to 3840x2400, but support for up to four daisy chained 1080p displays as well, and, with sufficient graphics memory, a daisy chain coming off each port would allow eight externals(!)

    But there's something about 3840x2160 resolution, or at least any future implementation of it that concerns me. To my knowledge, for as long as LCD displays have been common, there has yet to be one that intelligently displays an even quarter resolution. For every LCD display on the market, be it an external or incorporated such as in laptops and the iMac, selecting exactly one quarter of the native resolution results in unnecessary and ugly scaling. 800x600, for instance, viewed on a 1600x1200 display is needlessly blurry, and this same problem exists when a 2560x1440 display shows 1280x720. The exact technical reasons for this make little difference, and there appears to be no way to turn it off. Usually it's only a concern for gamers or the occasional user wanting to watch some full screen video, but 3840x2160 is, for me, a threshold at which intentional blurriness at 1920x1080 would be a major irritant. There are only a few instances in which I'd want to drop a 2560x1440 display down to 1280x720, but I'd use a 3840x2160 display dropped to 1920x1080 all the time, both for video and some general OS use (Both web browsing and word processing would be easier on the eyes and without the need for scaling text up in size and messing up formatting in the process.) And of course, without perfectly rendered double pixels, use of Target Display Mode through mimicry of a lower res. of 1920x1080 would also be severely crippled - 1080p content that could easily look pristine would have an ugly blurriness that might as well make the feature worthless. However it might be done, Apple would have to give users the ability to show 1920x1080 as crisply as if it were the native res.
  2. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Here we get another plan from :apple: which is ridiculous. While they use 1440p for iMac 27", they sell 720p video on iTunes and claim it as HD. I tried to watch it and it began to look blurred while it looks perfectly okay on my plasma.

    Now they want to go bigger and reach retina display for iMac. Two choice for you :apple:

    1. Go 1080p for iTunes video
    2. Get BD drive as standard drive for your computer
  3. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    Did you take some pills tonight or did I?

    Why did you think we were going to see new sizes and resolutions?

    Use Google and you'll see that there are not any Quad Full HD LCDs being produced on a massive consumer scale to be affordable enough to put in an consumer machine.

    We had 3840x2400 22.2 inch LCDs @ 204 DPI since June 2001


    I had the opportunity to use the IBM T221 and Viewsonic VP2290b-2 and while they were great for still imaging, they totally sucked for video.

    Your dream of Quad Full HD so far has seen 82", 84", 3 makers of 56". Hmm none of these will fit in an iMac.

    And one ....... 27.84" for "Medical Displays" which won't be mass produced till Q3-2011 so it couldn't be in this year's iMacs


    Also, last time I priced Medical LCDs, a NEC Medical 20" LCD 1600x1200 was $20,000 USD, while a same size and rez Dell was $300.

    We'll see retina displays on the iPad a few years before they'll appear on an iMac. The yield (% of sellable products) is not anywhere near ready for mass production on these Quad Full HD LCDs.
  4. smiddlehurst macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Oddly I think you might be right in terms of a new display at 3840 but there's NO way it'll be in the iMac any time soon. Three reasons: 1) Availability - there's no commercial supplier of pannels at that res at the moment, certainly not on the scale you'd need for an iMac display. 2) Cost - even if there was the price would be horrific and I just can't see Apple chucking out a standard iMac a long way north of £2,000. 3) Power - running games on a display that large would take a ridiculous graphics setup and not only does it run into the same problems as the display, cost and availability, but you somehow have to fit it into the iMac case without melting everything in sight.

    What I think you may see is a new, larger Cinema Display. A display like that is going to be far more useful for professionals than general consumers anyway and as you rightly say there are potentially some very nice uses for such a display in applications like video creation but it's going to need a Mac Pro to drive such a beast. Plus it wouldn't sell in the same sort of numbers as an iMac so ramping up production might be a bit easier. That being said it's still likely to be a fair way off yet.
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    I think you got that wrong. Exactly the quarter resolution is perfectly fine and does NOT result in blurred images. The reason behind this is simple, at the quarter resolution exactly 4 pixels of the screen form a single pixel of the OS, which works fine. If you select anything else but the quarter or native resolution, the image will be blurry because the every 3.5 (example) screen pixels have to form an OS pixel. And since a pixel can either be on or off, the scaling doesn't work, hence you get a blurred image.
    So that is no problem at all. If I select 1280x800 on my cinema, the image is perfectly clear, the pixels are just insanely big.

    The only problem a 3840x2160 display brings these days is the missing resolution independence of OS X. Such a high resolution on a, say 32", display will be far from readable with the current implementation of OS X. So we need fully fledged resolution independence before such displays will be available for consumers. Before we've got that, higher res displays won't happen.
  6. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    The yields would be atrocious and even if you managed to get yields high enough that prices wouldn't be ridiculous you would still need graphics more powerful than a mobile chip could produce and you'd need at least 4GB GDDR5
  7. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    You were the only one that believed what you did.

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