Blurry Font on External Monitor 3440x1440 (2K): Asus PG348Q

Should I upgrade to a 4k UltraWide monitor for smoother fonts?

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 40.0%
  • No

    Votes: 2 40.0%
  • Continue to troubleshoot first...

    Votes: 1 20.0%

  • Total voters
    5

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
19
1
Hey all, just picked up a 2018 15" MacBook Pro (base configuration) and set it up with my existing 34" UltraWide 3440x1440 Asus PG348Q monitor. Mojave 10.14.3

Problem is font is blurry and I'm going nuts spending a lot of time troubleshooting this...





Appreciate any ideas and here is what I've tried so far:

1. Connected via usb c to DisplayPort cable, this one: USB C to DisplayPort Cable (4K@60Hz), uni Thunderbolt 3 to DisplayPort Cable Compatible for MacBook Pro 2018/2017, iPad Pro/MacBook Air 2018, XPS 15, Surface Book 2 and More-Gray, 6FT/1.8m(Not HDMI

2. Ensured that resolution is set to 3440x1440, refresh rate=100hz, and using monitor profile, and calibrated profile.



3. Set monitor's OSD settings to different presets, including sRGB mode which change clarity as much. Mostly color.

3. Ensured font smoothing is on via Sys Preferences -> General.


4. Turned on font anti-aliasing set with a strength of 2 (default) since supposedly Mojave turned it off, and restarted MacBook.
https://www.cleverfiles.com/help/mac-fonts-text-blurry.html
[doublepost=1549133378][/doublepost]Also I've found this git Ruby script that forces the MacBook to output RGB (in case it thinks my monitor is a TV and is outputting YCbCr), but I don't want to run it without knowing how to revert it completely if it doesn't work:

https://gist.github.com/adaugherity/7435890
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,124
2,006
Horsens, Denmark
What did you run the display with before, and are you sure it's less smooth now than it was then, and you haven't just grown accustomed to retina?
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
19
1
What did you run the display with before, and are you sure it's less smooth now than it was then, and you haven't just grown accustomed to retina?
Thanks for the response. Previously ran with a Windows 10 PC driven by a EVGA GTX 1080 graphics card without much customization.

It's in my other room now and font is smooth via Windows when I hook it up to monitor via DisplayPort with same settings on monitor.
[doublepost=1549134291][/doublepost]Oh, also this monitor I have is G-Sync which might give more weight toward upgrading to something with Freesync (Macbook's AMD compatibility).
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,124
2,006
Horsens, Denmark
Thanks for the response. Previously ran with a Windows 10 PC driven by a EVGA GTX 1080 graphics card without much customization.

It's in my other room now and font is smooth via Windows when I hook it up to monitor via DisplayPort with same settings on monitor.

Well, a logical troubleshooting step would be to check if it's software/fonts that makes the difference.

Try out a bunch of different fonts, and try and install Windows on the MacBook and see if you feel it's smoother that way.
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
19
1
Well, a logical troubleshooting step would be to check if it's software/fonts that makes the difference.

Try out a bunch of different fonts, and try and install Windows on the MacBook and see if you feel it's smoother that way.
Good point, already have Windows installed via boot camp and restarted to it now (default font).

I've been using the MacBook without a monitor for the first week I've had it so far and might just be spoiled now. :) :apple:

Does this look normal for 2K display in BootCamp?

Looks blurry when scrutinized but much easier on the eyes. I think it was like this with desktop setup too.
I'll need to compare "undocked" on the retina screen later...





 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,124
2,006
Horsens, Denmark
I mean, it's hard to really judge based on images. I'm not seeing what your display is showing, I'm seeing the frame buffer from the GPU at that resolution, so what I'm seeing on the images is a normal image at that resolution, but also upscaled to fit my 5k panel.

I think you may very well have just gotten used to the retina quality of the built-in display though. PPI determine sharpness, and the MBP Retina display has a PPI of just over 220 which is brillant.
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
19
1
I mean, it's hard to really judge based on images. I'm not seeing what your display is showing, I'm seeing the frame buffer from the GPU at that resolution, so what I'm seeing on the images is a normal image at that resolution, but also upscaled to fit my 5k panel.

I think you may very well have just gotten used to the retina quality of the built-in display though. PPI determine sharpness, and the MBP Retina display has a PPI of just over 220 which is brillant.
Ah makes sense and I think the same - thanks! I'll start shopping for 4k UltraWide monitors while I wait for others to chime in on this thread.
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
19
1
Long shot here, but have you tried another Display port cable? Sometimes the cable is at fault, even new ones.
I don't have one off hand. I've been searching through MANY other threads on this forum as well as google and saw that others tried multiple cables that didn't have any better effect.

Really thinking about just selling this thing and going 4k - it's hurting my eyes.
 

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,086
760
Austin, TX
I don't have one off hand. I've been searching through MANY other threads on this forum as well as google and saw that others tried multiple cables that didn't have any better effect.

Really thinking about just selling this thing and going 4k - it's hurting my eyes.
One more question, have you tried running the display on default settings and rebooting the Mac?

I run 2 25” Dell Ultrafine (2k) Monitors off my 2017 MBP with no problem and the font is crystal clear. Could be the brand of monitor because I do see a lot of people with this issue.
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
19
1
One more question, have you tried running the display on default settings and rebooting the Mac?

I run 2 25” Dell Ultrafine (2k) Monitors off my 2017 MBP with no problem and the font is crystal clear. Could be the brand of monitor because I do see a lot of people with this issue.
Good idea. Just tried and no difference though.
 

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,086
760
Austin, TX
Good idea. Just tried and no difference though.
Bummer! Sorry that didn’t work. I am out of suggestions then :( Typically for me all the monitors I have used automatically detect and run correctly without any trouble on my MacBook Pro. Windows I have had trouble with, but not the Mac.

Sorry I can’t be of more help! Best of luck on getting the issue resolved or upgrading to a new monitor!
 

SSD-GUY

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2012
1,019
1,767
Interstellar
I was going to get a 1440p monitor to go with my Mac, however MacOS for some reason really displays the fonts a lot smaller than windows. I’ve gone back to 1080p as 1440p is just too small.

With the scaling that Mac uses, I think 4K is the sweet spot. At work, a colleague has an LG 27” 4K monitor and that thing is crystal clear.
 

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,086
760
Austin, TX
I was going to get a 1440p monitor to go with my Mac, however MacOS for some reason really displays the fonts a lot smaller than windows. I’ve gone back to 1080p as 1440p is just too small.

With the scaling that Mac uses, I think 4K is the sweet spot. At work, a colleague has an LG 27” 4K monitor and that thing is crystal clear.
Isn’t 4K actually an even smaller font in native scaling versus a 2k Monitor (1440p)? The 2k monitors have been the happy medium for me personally (for my pocket book too), and you can adjust the scaling if you need a larger font. I had two 27” Samsung 1080s before, and honestly they were too low of a resolution and crispness compared to the 1440.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,124
2,006
Horsens, Denmark
Isn’t 4K actually an even smaller font in native scaling versus a 2k Monitor (1440p)? The 2k monitors have been the happy medium for me personally (for my pocket book too), and you can adjust the scaling if you need a larger font. I had two 27” Samsung 1080s before, and honestly they were too low of a resolution and crispness compared to the 1440.
If you plug a 2.5K display into a Mac, it defaults to 1X scaling. If you plug in a 4K display, it defaults to @2x which means scaling wise it'll be like 1080p just sharper. The scaling can be manually changed, so if you set the 4K panel to @1.5x, it'll be the same UI size as a 2.5K display
 

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,086
760
Austin, TX
If you plug a 2.5K display into a Mac, it defaults to 1X scaling. If you plug in a 4K display, it defaults to @2x which means scaling wise it'll be like 1080p just sharper. The scaling can be manually changed, so if you set the 4K panel to @1.5x, it'll be the same UI size as a 2.5K display
That's interesting, I was not aware of that difference in scaling between 4k and 2k, thanks for the info, I'll keep that in mind for the future!
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
19
1
Op here. After a lot more research I've concluded that the problem is lack of ppi

- MacBook's display is 220ppi
- My 34" 2k 1440p display is 109ppi
- 4k 27" monitor is 163ppi
- LG 5k 27" monitor is 218ppi

Target is at least 200ppi for human eye at 24" away, but LG monitor is plagued with issues.

I sold my monitor and am now shopping for a 4k 27" display.
 
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