Confused by rMBP Display Resolution

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dmw16, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. dmw16 macrumors regular

    May 14, 2011
    My new rMBP arrived tonight and I find myself a little confused.

    When I go into the display settings the display is set to "Best for Retina Display" but that certainly isn't 2880x1800 or at least I don't think it is. I say that based on going to interfacelift and finding a 2880x1800 wallpaper and it's scaled quite a bit.

    But when I change the display settings to letting me used scaled resolutions it seems the highest I can go is "looks like 1920x1200".

    What am I missing? Either way I am thrilled with my new machine, but I want to make sure I am getting as much desktop space as I can coming from a 27" iMac.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    Although the elements on the screen look as if they are running at 1440x900, each of those pixels has been divided up into four, and rendered independently as individual physical pixels on the 2880*1800 screen. So your desktop space has not increased, but the definition of things should be a lot clearer, as the pixels are half as big.

    It's kind of like running the screen at 4x Anti-Aliasing, if you know what that is, except even better, because each of the four pixels is displayed separately, instead of averaged, and displayed as one.

    If you want your display to run at 2880x1800, you will have to install 3rd party software. I think the name "SwitchResX" will do what you want. But if you do this, everything on the screen will be EXTREMELY SMALL, and difficult to read.

    Sorry if my post is quite confusing, but I don't know what your computer display technical knowledge is like.
  3. dmw16 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 14, 2011
    Not confusing at all, thank you for the explanation. I used to play a lot of PC gaming, so anti-aliasing terms are perfect context.

    So if I go up one to the "looks like 1650..." option I am getting the "same" screen space as the uprated cMBP, but with better pixel density and as a result better image quality/detail/etc?
  4. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
  5. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    better image quality/detail only applies to retina optimized images/apps. you also get a performance trade off.

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