Higher than native resolution on non retina screen from 2018 Mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Spectrum, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Spectrum, Dec 14, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018

    Spectrum macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2005
    Never quite sure
    Is this possible? If so how? (I'm not asking if they would look good or bad.)

    Via SwitchResX, I have options on a non-retina MBPro (1680 x 1050) for:
    1280x800 (2x scaled)
    2560x1600 (1x scaled)
    1920x1200 (1x scaled)

    All the above involve rendering the desktop above the native resolution of the screen and then downscaling to the target screen resolution (1680x1050).

    On a Mac mini connected to a 1920x1200 display, the only higher-res option is:
    2560x1600 (1x scaled), or:
    960x600 (2x scaled).

    The Mac mini can certainly drive much higher screen resolutions (4K and above), so how would I access such options? With SwitchResX? If so, can someone with experience explain how this is achieved?
  2. Spectrum, Dec 18, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018

    Spectrum thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2005
    Never quite sure
    OK. SO I solved this myself using SwitchResX.

    1. Disable SIP
    2. Add a new Scaled resolution (2x what you want the final HiDPI resolution to be)
    3. Use and enjoy!

    Now here is the crazy part:
    I have a 2560x1440 Dell display, but for a few OS revisions, text in Preview has looked rather blurry. Especially compared to PDFs rendered by AdobeDC.

    So...I just made a custom scaled resolution of 5120x2880 (2x the native display).

    Now I have the option in SwitchResX to display regular 2560x1440, or "2x/HiDPI" 2560x1440.

    Using the HiDPI option causes a *very* subtle change to the way the fonts are rendered onscreen in Finder and Mail. Very subtle, and slightly smoother.

    But in Preview, the difference is night and day! Suddenly text is sharp and easy to read. It really is remarkable!

    So, for anyone with a GPU capable of powering >5K resolution (like the 2018 mini), but who has a standard '1x' 2560x1440 display, and is suffering from the blurry Preview fonts, I really urge you to give it a go. The difference is astonishing to my eyes. It would also help anyone that is tethering a recent MBPro to a 1x display.

    p.s. I also made a custom: 4608x2592 res, which enables a 2x scaled 2304x1296 for those that like slightly larger fonts. This also looks pretty good!

    Comments welcome!
    --- Post Merged, Dec 18, 2018 ---
    Here is an example:
    Left is HiDPI enabled, right is regular:
    Weirdly, you can't see the difference in Safari, but if you drag the thumbnail to desktop and open in Preview the difference is very clear.
  3. strawbale macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2011
    French Pyrenees
    I noticed that changing the viewing % in Preview has a great impact on perceived sharpness of text - sometimes 100% is definitely NOT the sharpest and is 75% or 150% much sharper.

    May give SwitchResX a try.
  4. Spectrum thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2005
    Never quite sure
    In my view, PDFs in Preview have looked terrible and blurry ever since I upgraded from Snow Leopard.

    If you are on a non-retina screen and have a mac with a decent GPU, I think you will find that the difference is astonishing! You can do a trial of SwitchResX that lets you make up to two new custom scaled resoltuions at a time per screen.

    The only downside is the extra GPU power required to drive the screen (4x the pixels plus scaling).

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