Getting used to font rendering/smoothing in OS X

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by chaseychasem, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. chaseychasem macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2012
    Any other former PC users find the transition to OS X font rendering/smoothing a bit rough, especially on an external monitor? I didn't notice it so much on the HR AG display of my MBP, but even after color calibration and forced font smoothing the 24" 1900x1200 HP ZR2440w seems just a smidge away from crisp. Maybe the less compressed resolution makes the particularities of OS X more apparent than on the 15" 1680x1050 HR AG? Whatever the case, my eyes feel a little strained.
  2. 537635 macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2009
    Yes, I've noticed it too, but as you've stated - only on an external monitor.

    It might has something to do with a low pixel density...

    It's rough on a 1920x1200 24'' HP monitor, but it is fine on a rMBP (obviously) and also on a TBD.
  3. nontroppo, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012

    nontroppo macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2009
    OS X and Windows use different strategies for sub-pixel rendering:

    Windows hints the font to fit in the pixel grid, this means slightly sharper edges at different font sizes at the expense of fidelity to glyph shape:

    When I moved from Windows, to be honest my first impression was that I much preferred the OS X font rendering. Although I program, I'm also a typography geek and hated Windows sacrifice of the glyph on the pixel grid alter. I did have to find a good font and font size for programming, however writing in a word processor was not an issue as changing view results in much better legibility IMO (the font design is actually used, not mangled). This is a subjective preference, and lots of Windows users hate OS X font rendering. EDIT: on the other hand enough windows users love OS X rendering that there are several projects completely replacing cleartype, for e.g.

    Note that as pixel density increases, the OS X method becomes clearly superior. Glyph rendering on OS X on the rMBP is amazing, you can see very subtle differences in the font design, and it is buttery smooth to read.
  4. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    At "standard" PPI, I definitely prefer Windows font rendering. Much easier on the eyes. At sufficiently high PPI, OSX looks great, though I don't have enough experience with Windows at high resolutions to draw any conclusions there.
  5. chaseychasem, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012

    chaseychasem thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2012
    Why would it be better on a TBD? I avoided the latter because of price, and also because I don't want a mirror for a monitor.

    P.S. Thanks for your responses, everyone, but I'm familiar with the technical reasons/philosophies behind differences in rendering/smoothing between Windows and OS X. What I'm wondering is whether I'll get used to these, and whether the feeling of eyestrain will dissipate. Screenshot attached as well, zoomed-in webpage.

    Attached Files:

  6. chaseychasem, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012

    chaseychasem thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2012
    Or maybe it's the AG coating on the ZR2440w interacting with how OS X does fonts?

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