HOWTO: 2880x1800 Without Scaling in OS X

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by plazmic, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. plazmic, Jun 14, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2012

    plazmic macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2012
    There's probably a cleaner method of accomplishing this, but I've been unable to find such readily available.

    First of all, a camera shot showing the absurdly pixel-dense display in all its Retina glory inside OS X:


    I used a trial of the software package SwitchResX.

    Within the SwitchResX Control panel, choose 'Display Sets'.

    Create a new set with your choice of name and keybinding with '2880x1800' in 'Millions of colors'.

    Save, Apply (reboot if asked), and hit your global keybind to activate the new resolution.

    Some things of note: The Quartz window server appears to freak out at this resolution on a cold boot at the login screen... you can still see what's on screen, but there is graphical corruption until you login.

    Hopefully someone will disclose a cleaner solution sooner than later. In the meantime, this workaround does the job.
  2. Bradllez macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2012
  3. Nckcard macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
  4. Rmafive macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2008
    Richmond, Virginia
  5. zachnelson macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2010
  6. jbzcar macrumors regular

    May 11, 2012
    I hate you for tempting me towards the RMBP, lol.
  7. VacantPsalm macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Haha, wow. I knew this would happen, but it's still hilarious to see for some reason.

    "Oh, you have dual monitors on your home computer? Well guess what..."
    *flips out a pair of 3.25 reading glasses*

    I'm not sure if it's because clicking full size for your image just blows things up a bunch or not, but things actually look quite readable on that. I mean, I know in theory the text is fine, just small but... yea.
  8. GrayParrot macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2012
    This is great. Thanks so much for testing Switch Res X for those of us waiting for the Retina MBP.
    Could you do some of us a huge favor: try to lower the base resolution to 1400x900 so that the gpu only has to process this lower res? I know by default System Preferences will show a "pixel doubled" version of 2800x1800. But my concern is for 3d modeling applications, in which viewport rotation is already taxing on normal resolutions. It's similar to games, but, unlike games, you cannot easily change your resolution in the application.
    I would love to lower the demand on the gpu for a few apps, then switch back for "retina ready" apps.
    Thanks again for your valuable contribution!
  9. plazmic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2012
    SwiftResX does allow enabling non-scaled lower resolutions, however the video kexts appear to be redirecting that monitor mode back up to the HiDPI version of 1440x900. Eventually, that will be a possibility, its just not a trivial click and go at this time.
  10. thatguy215 macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2012
  11. houkouonchi macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2005
    I will definitely be doing this for Mac OS X but also will be using linux X windows with a 75 DPI setting. The only reason I am getting the macbook is not for pretty fonts but for screen real estate. I am a resolution whore.

    Should be very readable IMHO considering I already use a 22 inch 3840x2400 resolution monitor (204 PPI) so the macbook is only slightly smaller.

    Here is my desktop size at work:

    root@sigoto: 10:23 PM :~# xdpyinfo  | grep -A3 screen
    default screen number:    0
    number of screens:    1
    screen #0:
      print screen:    no
      dimensions:    8960x2400 pixels (3034x813 millimeters)
      resolution:    75x75 dots per inch
      depths (7):    24, 1, 4, 8, 15, 16, 32

    its 3840x2400 + 2560x1440 + 2560x1600
  12. npgatech macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2012
    Mother of tapdancing Jesus. Are you a stock broker or work in a control room?
  13. Eriksrocks macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2012
    Why would you ever want to do this? :eek:

    Everything would be next to unreadable.
  14. GrayParrot macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2012
    Oh, that's too bad. Thanks a million for the info and your super useful reply!
  15. AirmanPika macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2007
    Vandenberg AFB, CA
    Oh it gets worse. If I recall, the 2880x1800 is actually a scaled res also. The native res for these screens is higher. ScreenResX lets you go to 3840x2400 on the Retina MacBook...
  16. Eriksrocks macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2012
    Nope, native res of the actual display is 2880x1800. You can go to 3840x2400 because that's the resolution OS X renders at when you choose the "More space" option in the display settings (2x 1920x1200). It's probably the hard-coded max that OS X will render at at this point in time. The display just scales it back down to 2880x1800 though, so although you may have more real estate at that point you are at less than 1 pixel-to-pixel and as such it's going to look pretty ugly.
  17. AirmanPika macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2007
    Vandenberg AFB, CA
    Makes sense but to be honest at that can't really tell :)
  18. houkouonchi macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2005
    I work at a datacenter for a web-hosting company. Here is a picture taken just a few minutes ago. You can see the left monitor (my highest resolution 3840x2400 22 inch monitor) just has tons of terminals on it. It allows me to have lots of stuff running where I can see output all at once. I work for one of the largest shared hosting companies so its nice to be able to see everything at once especially when there are short burst outgoing DDoS servers that are hard to catch cause they run for very short time (you can have a ping running on tons of servers and see when one stops).


    This totally depends on the person. Honestly I have no problem reading 75 DPI X (which is lower DPI than most other OS's) Basically the text on my terminal monitor is about the height of the width of a dime.

    I think as long as someone has near 20/20 vision (or corrected) it is fine. I have glasses with a nearly 6 diopter (very heavily corrected) and have no issues.
  19. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

    Jun 29, 2011
    yes otherwise you couldnt make the 1920*1200 res
  20. JS77 macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2008
    You, Sir, have just made my day!
  21. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    If you have to ask, then you'll never understand! :cool:

    Totally trying this within the first 30 minutes. Hurry up and ship it Apple!
  22. bhtooefr macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2011
    Newark, OH, USA
    For that matter, this is the entire reason I want the MBPR.

    Not the 3840x2400 mode, that's just insanity (although I'm completely unsurprised that it's possible). I could use it, but it'd be pushing even my limits. And, yes, I own a T221, too. I'll be driving THAT at 3840x2400...

    There is a cleaner way to do it, though - educationk12 over on the IBM_T2X_LCD group found a MBPR in an Apple store that was "glitched"... so that it had the normal monitor control panel. No modes below 1024x768 were shown, so you couldn't select 1024x640 (HiDPI), but 1024x768 native, all of the HiDPI modes EXCEPT 1024x640, and all of the underlying native modes were available. Apparently the Apple store staff have tried to fix it, too, and have been unable to. So, the old control panel is lurking somewhere.
  23. darwinian macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2008
    In R4, more or less
    ... and they say the rmbp was bad for tinkerers ... :)

    I can't wait to play around with getting a GNU/Linux system up and running on this thing.

    (Yes, hardware tinkerers, I know. I know. Most laptops weren't meant for real hardware tinkerers.)
  24. Diversion macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2007
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Isn't even the 27" Cinema display scaled by default? It feels like the resolution isn't native at all.. but I could be wrong.

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