How many run iMac at native res?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by supercooled, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. supercooled macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2007
    I can barely see my text at 4k or UHD res much less 5k. Admittedly this may be a period of adjustment for me as I was really having a hard time with the 2560x1600 on a 30" when they first came out. I'm using it at UHD right now but anything more than that I cannot see the usability for myself personally.

    Curious to know what you guys do, apps you use if you do use it at native res or close to it.

    Also there is a setting for 6400x3600. What standard is that? I read something on Apple's community forums saying the 5K standard is rather obfuscated and that the 'best resolution' of 2560x1440' is actually 5K with pixel doubling or some such.

    Any idea?
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Basically, with 'best for retina' option, things will look like as if they're 2560x1440, but twice as sharp.

    I use this option most of the time.
  3. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    Same here.

    I am a bit of a map geek so sometimes ill put it into 5k and just put maps in full screen mode and explore the world.
  4. supercooled thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2007
    Is that the middle one? I have no option called best for retina.
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Apple changed the terms in a recent update. In Displays on a retina iMac "Resolution: default for display" is what you want.

    The screen will still be 5120x2880, of course. The image displayed on it will be as well, except that user interface elements and such will be shown at bigger dimensions, and with higher resolution. That's the magic of retina.

    So an icon of 200x200 pixels on a regular mac is say 1cmx1cm on a regular iMac screen. If you just set a non-retina resolution of 5120x2880, that icon would be ¼ the dimensions on a riMac (.5cm x .5cm). Too small. So Apple's software scales up that icon in "default for display/best for retina" and makes it 1cm x 1cm again, so you can see it at those dimensions on your 5120x2880 screen. But oh no, that means each pixel now becomes 4! Yuck! But retina-aware apps answer that by providing retina icons that are 400x400, so now you see a 1cmx1cm icon, but with four times the resolution, so much clearer.

    Look at the tick marks on the Safari icon or the Maps icon, you can see much more.

    But magically you don't always get the doubling effect. For example, in Lightroom when I view an image 1:1 it shows one image pixel for one screen pixel, so a 5000x3000 pixel image fits on the screen, and isn't doubled (or halved). Very nice; you get what we called "native resolution" for the photo, but those doubled interface elements for text, icons, buttons, etc.
  6. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Depends what you mean by "native". 2560x1440 HiDPI still amounts to 5120x2880, so I would consider that native as well as 5128x2880. I run it in 2560x1440 HiDPI, so yes.

    HiDPI mode allows elements to be rendered at the same position and size on a standard pixel grid, but utilizing 4x the pixels and therefore looking 4x as sharp. 2560x1440 is enough screen room for me, so I enjoy the sharper interface.

    Some resolutions are rendered at higher than native (such as 6400x3600 or 3200x1800 HiDPI) and scaled down to 5120x2880 on the display. Naturally this results in some quality loss and I would only recommend it if you're desperate for screen room.

    Yes, the middle one, or "Best For Display", which is 2560x1440 HiDPI.
  7. supercooled thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2007
    Thanks for the answers.

    I typed this long reply but I don't know if it will be received as good feedback or just pompous arrogance but I find using anything less than UHD on such a high DPI machine a waste.

    I'm currently playing around with 3200x1800 and liking it so far. It's a good compromise and still gives me great desktop space and doesn't force me to squint to see.
  8. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Glad it works for you, but at that resolution the Mac has to do a lot of scaling, and not at more sensible multiples as with the UHD (3840 by 2160). And you lose lots of the benefit of retina/HiDPI. The whole point of retina is that you shouldn't have to squint; you get the benefit of real 1:1 "native" resolution and high resolution interface elements. That IS 5120x2880, or what you paid for when you bought the retina iMac. And, as Apple notes, it may affect performance.
  9. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    It's not clear. Do you have a 5K Retina iMac ?
  10. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Hilarious. Missed that little detail. I guess the OP is running say a 4k monitor without HiDPI, so he wouldn't get that the riMac or rMBPs handle the higher resolutions differently than just "native resolution."

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