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

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

  • Yes

    Votes: 4 44.4%
  • No

    Votes: 4 44.4%
  • Continue to troubleshoot first...

    Votes: 1 11.1%

  • Total voters
    9

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
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 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,596
3,426
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?
 
Comment

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
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).
 
Comment

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,596
3,426
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.
 
Comment

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
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...





 
Comment

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,596
3,426
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.
 
Comment

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
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.
 
Comment

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
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.
 
Comment

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,196
942
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.
 
Comment

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
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.
 
Comment

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,196
942
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!
 
Comment

SSD-GUY

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2012
1,090
1,963
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.
 
Comment

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,196
942
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.
 
Comment

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,596
3,426
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
 
Comment

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,196
942
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!
 
Comment

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
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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ljubo_opaki

macrumors newbie
Jun 6, 2020
1
0
Of course you can always buy higher resolution monitors, but this is some retarded MacOS issue I haven't been able to solve after 2 years already.

Both Windows and Linux render the font beautifully crisp even on 1080p monitors.

I switched to a Mac 2 years ago, after some 2 years on Linux Mint, and before that many years on Windows, and this is one of the very few reasons that I found really irritating on MacOS.

I have two external 1080p monitors in the office, directly next to each other. When I connect one to my macbook, and my colleague connects the other one to his laptop running Linux, you can very clearly see how font is rendered all ****ed up on MacOS and how it's ****ing beautiful on Linux.

I just want to say that it's NOT "jUsT geTtiNg uSeD tO/bEiNg sPoILeD bY rEtiNA". Spending so much extra money on new 999K resolution monitors just so you could be able to read normal text on an external monitor should not be necessary.

</rant>

..yeah this thing pisses me off, sorry for the tone 😄
 
Comment

Titomix

macrumors newbie
Sep 12, 2020
1
0
Another one with problems... what a nuts pain.

User of iMac 2012 without problems.

Change to a MB Air 2019 and buy a Samsung QHD (2560*1440) 32", plug with HDMI and try pluggin with USB-C to DisplayPort.

Absolutely disgusting font rendering, literally I have headaches later than 15 minutes trying to read a forum page.

I try the commands on Terminal, the Accessibility option, the RGB profiles...

I think the problem is the QHD thing, this "intermediate" resolution, not 1080p, not 4K.

Result, return to Amazon and buy a 4K monitor and less size, I will try a 27" 4K with good ms (I mix the use with a Xbox One X).

Any recommendations?
 
Comment

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
1
Another one with problems... what a nuts pain.

User of iMac 2012 without problems.

Change to a MB Air 2019 and buy a Samsung QHD (2560*1440) 32", plug with HDMI and try pluggin with USB-C to DisplayPort.

Absolutely disgusting font rendering, literally I have headaches later than 15 minutes trying to read a forum page.

I try the commands on Terminal, the Accessibility option, the RGB profiles...

I think the problem is the QHD thing, this "intermediate" resolution, not 1080p, not 4K.

Result, return to Amazon and buy a 4K monitor and less size, I will try a 27" 4K with good ms (I mix the use with a Xbox One X).

Any recommendations?

Honestly I set my MacBook to boot to Windows via bootcamp by default and call it a day. Not going to hunt for a 5k monitor on top of dealing with compatibility issues for gaming and other stuff.

I would buy a Dell or equivalent if I were to do it again.
 
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