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4k 3rd party display

patseguin

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 28, 2003
1,612
481
I just got a Mac mini and I already had an LG 4K display. When I powered up the Mac, everything looked huge. I went into display settings and selected Scaled and the 2nd option that says 'looks like 2560 x 1440'. Is that the correct thing to do to get the correct look of 4K? Or is it just scaling down the resolution to that 2560x1440? It does say that using. sales resolution may affect performance.
 

posguy99

macrumors 65816
Nov 3, 2004
1,485
903
Define "correct look of 4k" and maybe someone can answer that question.

What is the native resolution of the display?
 
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KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
15,759
4,312
3840x2160.
The Mac is ordinarily set to display at 200%, which would be “looks like 1920x1080) on a 4K display. That said, your current setting is downscaling to QHD, which seems appropriate for a 27” monitor.
 
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patseguin

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 28, 2003
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The Mac is ordinarily set to display at 200%, which would be “looks like 1920x1080) on a 4K display.
So all of those settings are still 4K, just different UI scaling?
 
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theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,847
3,748
So all of those settings are still 4K, just different UI scaling?

Yes in that they all take advantage of 4k resolution, and the most visible effect is scaling...

Default - "Looks like 3840x2160" is 4k, but everything is a bit too small to use comfortably unless you have a larger-than 27" display.

"looks like 1920x1080" is actually still 3840x2160 - i.e. the right size for your 4k screen - but with 2x scaling. So text, icons etc. are the same physical size as they would be on an old school 1920x1080 "full HD" screen bit - provided your apps are all updated for retina displays - with twice the detail, so everything is still "4k sharp". If they don't have retina graphics, then the exact doubling gives the "least worst" results and is easily done.

With "looks like 2560x1440" everything is plotted internally at double-size as a 5120x2880 image (which is what you'd get on a 5k display) - that is then resampled (reduced), smoothly to 3840x2160 so it fits on a 4k screen. The result is quite a credible imitation of a 5k screen, but the fractional resampling gives it a very slight "soft focus" compared with either "looks like 1920x1080" or a true 5k screen. Frankly, though, unless you whip out a magnifying glass and start doing obsessive A/B tests, it will probably be fine. Bigger problem is that the process is GPU and video RAM heavy - not a problem on a MBP or an iMac - but its where the Mac Mini's weak GPU might be a problem. From what I hear, should be OK if you only have one screen and/or 16GB+ RAM.
 
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MecPro

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2009
445
129
London
It's utter trash the way OSX handles this.

I use Windows on the same monitors and it displays perfectly fine, but on OSX it looks blurry and lacks detail or just massive. Really annoying

People will type for minutes about how this is meant to be, but in reality it's just an excuse to say OSX handles 4K monitors properly. It simply doesn't
 
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KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
15,759
4,312
It's utter trash the way OSX handles this.

I use Windows on the same monitors and it displays perfectly fine, but on OSX it looks blurry and lacks detail or just massive. Really annoying

People will type for minutes about how this is meant to be, but in reality it's just an excuse to say OSX handles 4K monitors properly. It simply doesn't
My experience is the opposite. Both Windows and macOS handle it well enough at the OS level, but Windows apps themselves are still less likely to be optimized to take advantage of higher resolution screens.
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It's utter trash the way OSX handles this.

I use Windows on the same monitors and it displays perfectly fine, but on OSX it looks blurry and lacks detail or just massive. Really annoying

People will type for minutes about how this is meant to be, but in reality it's just an excuse to say OSX handles 4K monitors properly. It simply doesn't

One question is whether you are setting it correctly under macOS. If you set a 4K monitor to 1920x1080 it will look blurry. But if you set it to “looks like 1920x1080” it will be doubled and smooth. The preset options do this automatically, but if you are using the option key to display the manual scaled options, you will get a mix of scaled and unscaled options.
 
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MecPro

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2009
445
129
London
My experience is the opposite. Both Windows and macOS handle it well enough at the OS level, but Windows apps themselves are still less likely to be optimized to take advantage of higher resolution screens.
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One question is whether you are setting it correctly under macOS. If you set a 4K monitor to 1920x1080 it will look blurry. But if you set it to “looks like 1920x1080” it will be doubled and smooth. The preset options do this automatically, but if you are using the option key to display the manual scaled options, you will get a mix of scaled and unscaled options.

Sorry, I just realised I'm in the Mac mini room! I have these issues on my MBP Late 2016!

Does it look good on a Mac mini, as I am about to buy one this week?
 
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KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
15,759
4,312
Sorry, I just realised I'm in the Mac mini room! I have these issues on my MBP Late 2016!

Does it look good on a Mac mini, as I am about to buy one this week?
Don’t know. I have a 12” MacBook, a 13” MacBook Pro (2020) and an HP notebook from 2018. The Macs have handled 4K and 5K monitors better.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,436
7,248
For best performance, you want either:
- 3840x2160 -- "full 4k"
or
- "looks like 1080p" -- 1920x1080 (this is called HiDPI mode)

IF you choose a "scaled" resolution, such as 2560x1440, you may find the Mini runs hotter and the fans ramp up more quickly. This is because the "scaling" is putting a heavier load on the internal graphics.

It will run "with the lightest load" if you use "looks like 1080p"...
 
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patseguin

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 28, 2003
1,612
481
For best performance, you want either:
- 3840x2160 -- "full 4k"
or
- "looks like 1080p" -- 1920x1080 (this is called HiDPI mode)

IF you choose a "scaled" resolution, such as 2560x1440, you may find the Mini runs hotter and the fans ramp up more quickly. This is because the "scaling" is putting a heavier load on the internal graphics.

It will run "with the lightest load" if you use "looks like 1080p"...
So if I want best performance and my fan not running so much, I just have to run it as "looks like 1080p"? I looks great actually, just everything is huge. Is this how it would look on the official LG 4K display or retina Macs? Here is a screenshot...
 

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weaztek

macrumors 6502
Aug 28, 2009
253
115
Madison
IF you choose a "scaled" resolution, such as 2560x1440, you may find the Mini runs hotter and the fans ramp up more quickly. This is because the "scaling" is putting a heavier load on the internal graphics.

I never knew that was the case but it makes sense. I run my 32" display at 3008x1692px (scaled) which looks the best to my eyes. Any idea whether that little graphics scaling performance issue could be fixed in Big Sur?
 
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Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,143
2,394
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Any idea whether that little graphics scaling performance issue could be fixed in Big Sur?

That "little graphics scaling performance issue" is due to the Intel UHD-630 graphics chip - it's a hardware issue. The Mini has been criticized for using this graphics processor, and that is why some people use an external graphics processor (eGPU) for more demanding applications.

I think the point is that you want to use your monitor's native resolution, such as 3840x2160 for a 4k screen or 2560x1440 for QHD. That way the graphics chip does not have to work as hard. I opted for a 32" QHD screen instead of 4k for my Mini. Running at the native 2560x1440 resolution, I find that text and user interface elements are a nice size - about the same as 1920x1080 with a 24" screen.

Of course, you can choose whatever resolution looks best and if everything works, then all is good. But using something like 3008x1692 is certainly making the internal graphics chip work harder which causes it to run at a higher temperature.
 
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patseguin

macrumors 68000
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Aug 28, 2003
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That "little graphics scaling performance issue" is due to the Intel UHD-630 graphics chip - it's a hardware issue. The Mini has been criticized for using this graphics processor, and that is why some people use an external graphics processor (eGPU) for more demanding applications.

I think the point is that you want to use your monitor's native resolution, such as 3840x2160 for a 4k screen or 2560x1440 for QHD. That way the graphics chip does not have to work as hard. I opted for a 32" QHD screen instead of 4k for my Mini. Running at the native 2560x1440 resolution, I find that text and user interface elements are a nice size - about the same as 1920x1080 with a 24" screen.

Of course, you can choose whatever resolution looks best and if everything works, then all is good. But using something like 3008x1692 is certainly making the internal graphics chip work harder which causes it to run at a higher temperature.

I actually have a nice benq 2560x1440 display I was using with my MacBook Pro. I bought an ultrawide for my gaming pc and figured I would use the 4K on my new mini and have a nice Retina display. Turns out it’s not so easy, so might just go back to that 2560x1440 monitor and return the ultrawide.
 
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