NightLion

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 8, 2011
30
1
I just got my Dell U3417W and am amazed at how crappy the fonts look. Is this just because i've been used to retina or 4k screens? Everything is jagged and pixel looking unless i increase the zoom to 150%.
The fonts also look like they have a red border around some of the letters if i look closely enough. Even if i zoom to 200 or 300, i can still see the red. I'm guessing this is just a byproduct of not having enough pixels on the screen?

Is there any way to fix this? or at least get relatively better looking fonts?
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
516
297
Finland
I bought a Dell 4K some time ago, and I do find my WQHDs a little pixelated now. I can live with it, but I do realize it every time I change machines (eg. displays).

You could try to turn of
System prefs - General - LCD font smoothing
if you are extra sensitive to that red and blue antialiasing scheme.

It will not change the jaggines though, see attached. Antialiasing just became grayscale.

I don't know if you can use pure B/W fonts anymore in MacOS. Earlier in OS X history you could do that.

Red_Blue_antialiasing.png
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,606
6,864
Is there any way to fix this? or at least get relatively better looking fonts?

Yes, it should look great.

Like @MarkJames68 says, what resolution are you running? The problem might be resolution mismatch.

Use DisplayPort or MiniDisplayPort cable. If you are using an HDMI cable, that monitor will drop down to 1080p.

Also, turn off all the zooming for now--that will complicate the issue. LCDs look best 1:1, and if its not, then the problem needs to be fixed.
 

h9826790

macrumors P6
Apr 3, 2014
15,267
7,559
Hong Kong
Yes, it should look great.

Like @MarkJames68 says, what resolution are you running? The problem might be resolution mismatch.

Use DisplayPort or MiniDisplayPort cable. If you are using an HDMI cable, that monitor will drop down to 1080p.

Also, turn off all the zooming for now--that will complicate the issue. LCDs look best 1:1, and if its not, then the problem needs to be fixed.

I agree with Actionable Mango.

I am now running a 3840x1080 monitor. So effectively, 1080P resolution. The front looks good on it (at proper distance of course). I used my Mac with the 27" ACD and a 4K TV, so I know how they look. And I am very happy with the font now. So, resolution of course can make the difference, but should not be the bad in general.

1) Since your monitor has 1440P vertical resolution, not 2160 (or higher), I highly recommend you don't use any HiDPI resolution. For 1440P, only native resolution looks good, anything else will become burry.

2) Check your monitor's "sharpness" setting. It can make a huge difference. Sharpest not always the best. The monitor may artificially make it sharper than the signal input, therefore, more "noise" (or pixilated). e.g. On my monitor, sharpness 60-64 is the best. Anything above 64 will become jagged

3) For non "Retina" (4K or above), I highly recommend turn on "LCD font Smoothing" in System Preferences -> General. That setting may be OFF if you used a 4K display before.

4) For non Retina", Try NOT to make yourself closer than required. The relatively low resolution make the font ONLY looks good at the proper display. If you intentionally make yourself closer for font calibration etc, the image will be wrong when you back to normal distance (e.g. too sharp). And of course, everything will looks pixelate when you are too close.

5) You may try to alter the font smoothing level in terminal by running
Code:
defaults write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 4
The integer value valid from 0-4. 4 is maximum font smoothing, 0 is to disable font smoothing. You may try different value and find the best one for yourself.

6) Which OS you are running now? Different OS has different default system font. And Apple do indeed improve the font in the latest OS. If you are running pre High Sierra OS, you may consider upgrade your OS.

7) In rare case, you may never able to make the font looks right. I personally never experience that. But other members reported that they can't get good font looking on certain display, but completely OK on another one (both displays has same resolution and size, but different model). I suspect it's the monitor's setting causing the issue (e.g. sharpness), but can't confirm.
 
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mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
516
297
Finland
Just came to my mind, is the OP using windows in a Mac Pro?

There is no 150% scale to find somewhere in OS X or MacOS, as far as I can tell. There are just resolutions to select.
There is this %-scaling in windows, as of 150% user interface scaling. I am quite new to windows, but that is a good feature in it. That feature should not decrease the sharpness of the fonts though.

It's just that the red and blue antialiasing sounds a little bit more like a Mac thing, but maybe I'm wrong.
 

h9826790

macrumors P6
Apr 3, 2014
15,267
7,559
Hong Kong
Just came to my mind, is the OP using windows in a Mac Pro?

There is no 150% scale to find somewhere in OS X or MacOS, as far as I can tell. There are just resolutions to select.
There is this %-scaling in windows, as of 150% user interface scaling. I am quite new to windows, but that is a good feature in it. That feature should not decrease the sharpness of the fonts though.

It's just that the red and blue antialiasing sounds a little bit more like a Mac thing, but maybe I'm wrong.

I thought about that as well. In MacOS, there is no system wide 150% options, but still plenty of apps provide 150% option inside the apps.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,606
6,864
Just came to my mind, is the OP using windows in a Mac Pro?

There is no 150% scale to find somewhere in OS X or MacOS, as far as I can tell. There are just resolutions to select.
There is this %-scaling in windows, as of 150% user interface scaling. I am quite new to windows, but that is a good feature in it. That feature should not decrease the sharpness of the fonts though.

It's just that the red and blue antialiasing sounds a little bit more like a Mac thing, but maybe I'm wrong.

I thought about that as well. In MacOS, there is no system wide 150% options, but still plenty of apps provide 150% option inside the apps.

OP uses the word "zoom" and there is a Zoom feature in Mac OS Accessibility.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,667
4,672
The Peninsula
That feature should not decrease the sharpness of the fonts though
My experience is that the Windows scaling is very good for TrueType (vector) fonts rendered natively, but crufty for raster fonts and apps that try to interpret the TrueType fonts (fortunately very few).

It also depends on the monitor. I have a bunch of the Dell 2715Q 4K monitors, and it seems that the monitors have edge enhancement and jaggy filters - even running the monitors at non-native resolutions the quality is higher than expected.
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
516
297
Finland
I've tried P2715Q with Win10 and MacOS now, a month or two now, with different GFX cards (AMD and nVidia). It's got really a good picture quality, it's got really fine details with everything I have tried.
I like it.
HiDPI (or whatever it's called with different systems) is most probably the way to go after this.
OP uses the word "zoom" and there is a Zoom feature in Mac OS Accessibility.
Accessibility is a great feature. I can't see those zoom-%s though anywhere in this Finnish translation of the MacOS? I do see the multiplication factors only, from 1x to 40x. And that ZOOM is a great feature, I use it almost daily, but just temporarily. Zoom does not give you a full view of all available pixels, it's only partial, or within a defined smaller window. That's why I don't think the OP would use it all the time as a daily basis functionality.
 
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