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ethy90

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
1
0
Rome
Hi,
Just bought a new 27' iMac 2017 base model and it's just stunning. However, I can't really use it at 5k resolution (default monitor settings), everything (text, icons) is so tiny. Just changed it to "bigger text" from monitor settings (second from the left, bit bigger than default), which changes it at 4k resolution i think. Still stunning even if a bit less. Both solutions actually bothers me -to have a 5k screen and use it as a 4k- or to have a 27' screen and be at 15 cm from screen cause i can't read 5k resolution text.
What resolution do you use? Do you really use 5k resolution in everyday use?
Thank you
 

imac2017mm

macrumors member
Jul 17, 2017
56
26
Yeah...too tiny.

But It would be good to use when you have a lot of apps open at the same time, more room for your screen
 

Chancha

macrumors 65816
Mar 19, 2014
1,084
945
Everything in macOS renders at full res for a retina screen, except older apps written before retina was conceived. This means the graphics are just scaled when you choose "lower" resolution settings away from the native 5K. Individual pixels are sill displayed one by one according to the native 5K resolution, it is the software that maps and dither the GUI into larger elements so that the screen will appear as if it had a visually lower resolution, but the actual pixels still maintain sharpness. The optimal scaling is 0.5 (2560x1440 for 5K iMac), since you use an integer of 2 pixels for 1, minimizing distortion due to dithering. But the retina pixel pitch is so dense and the macOS algorithm is quite refined, even non-integer scaling aren't noticably blurrier unless measured with close up cameras.

In short, don't be bothered about this. Just choose a scaled resolution that makes the interface appear as the most usable for you.
 
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EugW

macrumors G4
Jun 18, 2017
10,459
7,735
Bigger text is good, esp. for older eyes. However, I use it at default, because then it matches my non-Retina 27", which I use as a second screen. (If you change the text size on a non-Retina 27", it looks horrible.)
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,800
7,819
I prefer to leave mine on the native/default setting, which is effectively 2560x1440 rendered at twice the quality. This makes everything the same size as all the prior 27" 2K iMacs, just rendered at 2x quality (4 actual pixels for every 1 UI pixel) to be much more crisp.

Use an app like Retina DisplayMenu to switch it over to 5120x2880 @1x (1 actual pixel for every 1 UI pixel) and watch just how much tinier and unusable everything becomes...
 

Dave245

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2013
8,585
6,298
I believe the iMac can't be used to view 4K content with things like Netflix and or Apple's new 4K iTunes content, maybe support will come at a later date tho, it's a little disappointing. Personally i'm waiting to see what Apple announce with the 2018 5K iMac, it's due a redesign and possibly things like Touch ID and or the Touch Bar on the keyboard.
 

CE3

macrumors 68000
Nov 26, 2014
1,697
2,853
I believe the iMac can't be used to view 4K content with things like Netflix and or Apple's new 4K iTunes content, maybe support will come at a later date tho, it's a little disappointing. Personally i'm waiting to see what Apple announce with the 2018 5K iMac, it's due a redesign and possibly things like Touch ID and or the Touch Bar on the keyboard.

I recently rented and streamed some movies like Unforgiven and Life of Pi on iTunes, and they looked 4K to my eyes. I know the resolution of Life of Pi was definitely above 1080p.

As far as the original question is concerned, I scale my display to what "looks like 2048 x 1152" but this just changes text, icon, and web scaling. If you work with high resolution photos, graphics, and 4K video (which I do), scaling the display doesn't scale or diminish the quality of this content, so you're still using the 5K display to its fullest.
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68030
Jun 20, 2009
2,608
2,593
Lincoln, UK
I have a 27" QHD (2560x1440) monitor that I use at the default resolution. The 5K default is the same size, but sharper, so I am sure I would use it at that size.

Some things I would like bigger, some smaller, but most are OK. I wish the scaling could be applied to individual apps, not the whole screen.
 

EugW

macrumors G4
Jun 18, 2017
10,459
7,735
I recently rented and streamed some movies like Unforgiven and Life of Pi on iTunes, and they looked 4K to my eyes. I know the resolution of Life of Pi was definitely above 1080p.
Not 4K. Not supported on Macs at all from iTunes, at least in 2017.
 

sunlit

macrumors member
Mar 5, 2011
42
9
Everything in macOS renders at full res for a retina screen, except older apps written before retina was conceived.
That seems to be not true. QuickTime player reports "current size" of only 2560x1440 when playing fullscreen 4K video. I don't know how to actually check if other players like VLC utilise full panel resolution or also use the halved retina downsampling.
 

Cruciarius

macrumors regular
Aug 18, 2013
109
17
Massachusetts
I have mine set to the default 5K resolution and with the "More Space" text option. My 2nd monitor is just at 1080p widescreen though, so it's set to the highest it can do. Also, text size I have for desktop is 10 with 32x32 icons.
 

wilberforce

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2020
1,687
1,552
SF Bay Area
Default is perfect.
Get your eyes checked. (Seriously. I complained that "new" computers were too tiny text, until I got eyeglasses. Suddenly everything was fine again. Sucks to get older.) Of course, some people may just have vision challenges, and I sympathize, but those aren't the norm.
 
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wilberforce

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2020
1,687
1,552
SF Bay Area
Just so everyone is on the same page: Option-click the Scaled button to show the actual scaled resolutions. Default is 2560x1440, which means it "looks like" 2560x1440 but is actually displayed at a resolution of 5120x2880. If you use a 1:1 scaled resolution of 5120x2880, it is extremely tiny.

Screen Shot 2021-03-12 at 8.23.11 PM.png
Furthermore, if you check "Show low resolution modes" it will show what it would look like on a non-retina screen (showing 2560x1440 actually displayed at 2560x1440):
Screen Shot 2021-03-12 at 8.38.14 PM.png
 
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