Difference between old card and 4K scaled?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mugwump, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. mugwump macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2004
    Is there a difference in image quality between running an older graphics card native at 2560x1440 and a new 4k graphics card scaled to 2560x1440?

    I'm awaiting delivery of a gtx 750ti for this dell 4k screen, and the old ATI Radeon in my mac pro 4,1 runs the screen at 2560x1440.

    Is there an improved image quality scaling down from 4K rather than native 2560x1440?
  2. netkas macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2007
    Of course there is
  3. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    Your question is quite ambiguous. What do you mean by quality? Are you talking about looking at your desktop, or running a 3D application?

    And video cards don't have native resolutions, they have maximum resolutions. So, if you are asking if your desktop will look better with a card capable of running at 4K compared to a card capable of running at 1440 at the same resolution, then it would be no.

    If you are asking if you will have better performance with a newer, more powerful card, then obviously yes, but it has nothing to do with the video resolution that the cards are capable of, it has to do with the processing power.
  4. mugwump thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2004
    Thanks for the info.

    The terminology was unclear, but the difference between "default for display" in an older card or "scaled" in a 4k card that is scaled down to the same resolution.

    I was wondering if Yosemite or other Mac versions dealt with this somehow.

    For example, you can shoot a video in 4K and downscale it to 1080 HD, and that could be a better image than a native 1080 HD camera due to better camera hardware.

    The pixels are the same, but it's about how it's scaled.

    This would apply to the OS desktop and all apps such as Photos or Final Cut, Adobe, etc.

    By quality I am wondering really about sharpness and clearness of text, for example.
  5. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2013
    DMV Area
    In "Scaled" resolutions, the image is still rendered at the monitor's native resolution, but is presented in a "1440p" form factor. I use my UHD (3840 x 2160) monitor in a "Scaled" resolution at 1440p, and compared to the 1440p monitor that sits next to it, the image is definitely sharper. Not by a ton, but it's noticeable if you look for it. It's the same thing with the "Retina" effect on MacBooks. It enlarges the UI and programs so that it appears at a workable resolution, but renders at the monitor's native resolution.

    On an Ultra HD monitor, 1080p is the ideal "Retina" mode under OS X, as it renders each pixel as four pixels, resulting in excellent image quality.

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