How to use rMBP Retina display ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AMSOS, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. AMSOS macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    Hi ,

    I've just bought a rMBP 13 in and can't seem to figure out what makes the Retina display special, and how I can put it to optimum use. It seems it doesn't actually have those many pixels, but creates this effect virtually?

    I've been using it on the default setting, but that makes me wonder what the big deal was all along. After all, it doesn't look all that different from my old MBP 13in display.

    When I shift to the next higher resolution that gives me more space, I am told that this may effect the performance.

    In all, I am quiet unsure how to maximise its potential.

    Can someone add clarity to all this? Thanks!
  2. Chundles, Jul 9, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015

    Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    It's not designed to give you more space, it gives you better quality.

    Your old 13" MacBook had a screen with 1280x800 points and each point was represented by one pixel. Your new MacBook Pro has a default setting of 1280x800 points but with each point being represented by 2 pixels in each direction.

    This means that text and images are rendered at the same size but with quality and sharpness similar to a fine print. It's much sharper, far more detailed and because it uses IPS technology has far better colour reproduction than the old MacBook Pro. The difference between them is truly staggering. The old one looks like I'm looking through a cheese grater.

    The extra pixels do give you the advantage if you choose to run it at a higher scaled resolution in that you lose less of the sharpness than you would if you did a similar thing on a low res screen. For the next-higher scaled resolution, Apple put 900 points vertically. Each of these points on the retina screen is represented by ~1.8 pixels - not an even fit but still workable. If you were able to do the same thing on the non-retina screen, all of a sudden you only have 800 pixels to represent 900 points - less than one pixel-per-point. EEWWWW...

    Apple also utilises a scaling method of drawing the screen at an even higher resolution then scaling that down to fit - this is why you may see a performance degradation at the higher scaled resolutions. At work I have to deal with spreadsheets and long documents so I generally run it a bit higher at 1440x900 without any issue.

    The difference in quality between the two screens is incredible and I simply can't fathom going back.

    EDIT: Changed from "4 pixels" to "2 pixels in each direction" to clarify. A 1 point x 1 point box contains 4 pixels on a retina display but only one pixel on a non-retina display.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Just use it for a week and then try something else you'll either understand or you are one of the minority who it is wasted on.

    If you need more screen real estate run it scaled, unless you are doing very intensive things the "performance hit" won't mean anything.
  4. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    The retina display is 2560x1600.

    It "looks like" a 1280x800 display (because UI widgets and text are scaled up for the new resolution) but everything is rendered at higher resolution. If you compare side by side you will either notice that text is much crisper in particular, or you need glasses.

    You can also use the additional resolution to mimic the screen real estate provided by other previous generation mac displays, to have "more room" on your desktop. Due to the way the scaling works this can have a performance impact. Try it and see for yourself; the impact isn't huge (maybe barely noticeable), depending on what you are doing.
  5. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I had a work rMBP for a while and am now back to my regular MBP. Some people say there is no way they can go back to a regular screen while I have no problem so for me retina sharpness is not the absolute selling point. While I had the 13" rMBP I would set it to a scaled resolution and loved all the extra screen space for coding and photoshop palettes. The sharpness also mean that smaller elements on the screen were easily readable.
  6. inhalexhale1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2011
    Serious question? o_O

    Anyway, I have to ask, did you try the MBP in store before ordering it? It's incredibly obvious if you use a MBA for 15mins or so, and then walk over and start using one of the rMBP's.

Share This Page

5 July 9, 2015