I think Apple should consider making higher-res Retina MacBook Pros

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Simplicated, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. Simplicated macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    I own a 2011 HiRes MacBook Pro that has a 1680x1050 display and am considering buying a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

    The one thing that has constantly put me off from buying a Retina Mac Pro is the low effective resolutions of displays. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro has an effective resolution of 1280x800, while the 15-inch model has an effective resolution of 1440x900. To my eye, everything looks gigantic on these displays.

    It's been 3 years since these Retina MacBook Pros were introduced, I think Apple should start considering making higher-res Retina MacBook Pros so that their effective resolutions are 1680x1050 on the 15-inch model and 1440x900 on the 13-inch model? Heck, even the 13-inch MacBook Air has a 1440x900 display.

    I know that the display can be set to look like a 1680x1050 or 1440x900 display, but that comes with a performance impact that I'd rather avoid, and it also makes text blurrier.
  2. Daelos macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2008
    This would certainly help solve my purchasing dilemma!

    I have the option of buying a mac before the end of the month at a heavily discounted price but torn by the screens. I'm also coming from a 1680x1050 mid 2010 mbp and need something smaller/lighter for portability as beginning a post grad which will rresult in a lot of carrying to and from campus, but working on it for a large proportion of the day. Half leaning towards an air now (plus influence from others who use them for design work) just for the slightly better working environment as just not sure about the performance implications for running the retina at the scaled resolutions.
  3. Greg1fraser macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2014
    inverness scotland
    i use an App Called retina display manager it allows to change res to many things have uploaded screen shot for you.

    Attached Files:

  4. Daelos macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2008
    How do you find this impacts on performance?
  5. Greg1fraser macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2014
    inverness scotland
    on my current res on screen shot not noticed performance issue, only just found the app its free goes on status bar quite good
  6. nikusak macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2014
    I have a 13" rMBP and most of the time I use the "best for retina" mode which is the equivalent of 1280x800.

    Sometimes I use the scaled 1440x900 mode and I am not experiencing any performance issues in normal use, i.e. mostly Safari, mission control, switching between the desktops and so on.

    But surely the scaling isn't free, so your mileage may vary depending on what apps you will be running.

    Also, the scaled 1440x900 mode looks a lot better than the native 1440x900 on an MBA. I was actually surprised how good the scaling is because I was thinking of how terrible non-native resolutions look on normal non-hiDPI LCD panels.

    Still, I wouldn't mind having a 2880x1800 panel in the 13" model too, but for my use the 1280x800 is mostly ok. I use multiple desktops a lot, so I don't have to cram everything to a single desktop.

    But when 1280x800 is not enough, I just switch to 1440x900.
  7. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    I would love to have a 3360 x 2100 Retina display that natively rendered 1680x1050 HiDPI.
  8. exizeo macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2014
    I would kill for 1920x1200. Perfect screen estate, reasonably high DPI, and better battery than vs. rendering 256x1600.

    You realize it requires more power to power the pixels right? Which is why most 3k/4k laptops have a dGPU.
  9. Hieveryone macrumors 68040

    Apr 11, 2014
    Not very good. If I set it up to a higher resolution, then the battery life goes down. Way down.
  10. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    Hmm, I'm guessing there are other factors. I run at 1680x1050 on my 13" and I get the stated battery life. But then you open Chrome and it drops by 50% :D

    Even with the scaled modes the display is still sharper than the equivalent "real" resolution (1440x900 scaled is sharper than the 13" MBA at the same res.)

    Though I do think they should bump both the 13" and 15" up, making 1440x900 the base res for the 13" (and going up to 1920x1200 scaled, and scaling down for those that like the huge UI elements.)
  11. chaoscarrot macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2015
    I highly recommend getting an addon and enabling HiDPI 1920 x 1200. Its perfect for the 13" rMBP in my opinion.
  12. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I agree. I'm already rendering at 1920x1200 hidpi on my 15", so might as well get a sharper image.
  13. OllyW, Mar 19, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015

    OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    Moderator Note:
    The thread has been cleaned up because it had become totally derailed by off-topic discussion.

    Back on-topic...

    I use mine at 1440x900 when I'm running Logic Pro X as the default retina desktop is just too small. I've not experienced any performance issues while running it in a scaled resolution and Logic is probably the most resource hungry app I've used on my MBP.
  14. geoelectric macrumors 6502


    May 19, 2008
    To be fair, you're least likely to notice a screen penalty when using it with an app that already sucks down performance. It's a smaller percentage of the overall load.

    To OP, I'm fairly sure the amount of work it's doing at "scaled" is pretty much equivalent to what it'd be to have a "best for retina" 1680x1050 screen: it's rendering at 4x that, then downscaling to the native resolution. Of those, I suspect the main cost is the rendering in the first place, not the downscaling. There are pretty cheap algorithms for doing that.

    So then the only big difference is that you're not precisely pixel-for-pixel. And I honestly cannot tell the difference there whatsoever. I expected blur and found none.

    The only time I've noticed was trying to color calibrator, because the scaling causes a moire pattern in the "expert mode" calibration test. I imagine anything else with one-pixel alternating dots/spaces will do the same. But those don't come up much precisely because they're prone to producing moire patterns.

    Otherwise, the high resolution scales look for all the world to me like they're native.
  15. Hieveryone macrumors 68040

    Apr 11, 2014
    Apple MacBook Pros IMO work best just using them stock.

    As in, unbox, turn on, use. That's it. Don't install virus software, don't change the resolution, don't install Mac maintenance software to clean the cache, don't mess with anything.

    At most, change your wallpaper, reorganize your dock apps, download Firefox, turn on encryption, basic stuff.

    Seriously, Steve Jobs designed Apple Computers to be EXTREMELY user friendly.

    Unbox, turn on, use. It's perfect from the get go. You really don't have to do anything. Ever. It's awesome.
  16. Flabasha macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2011
    Wait, I'm in the exact same boat with the hi-res 2011 Macbook Pro, and thought I'd be upgrading my resolution by going to a Retina, but is that NOT the case? What do you mean by "effective resolution"?
  17. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I can't imagine a higher resolution then what we already have, though the idea of a "5k" rMBP is tempting. The only thing that worries me is further performance degradation.

    People have complained about the rMBP lagging, there's lots of complaints about performance in the iMac forum with the 5k iMac. Pushing more pixels means apple will need to up the hardware specs even more then they have in the past.
  18. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    Apple have gone to the effort of providing scaled resolutions to give a bigger desktop if and when you need it. I'm just using the tools offered by Apple to get the job done. :)
  19. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I guess these are the trade-offs of Apple's method of dealing with high resolution screens vs. Windows. I asked this in another thread, but some of you here have said that when you use a non-native scaling that text becomes a bit blurry. That's what I suspect, but having never used a retina Mac at anything but the default settings, I haven't seen it for myself. In the other thread, a few people said there was no loss in sharpness. Which is it?

    Windows scaling has plenty of problems in its own right, and while I suspect that Apple's is the better solution for right now, in the long run, the Windows method may be the superior method. In Windows, any program that supports the new scaling method stays perfectly sharp regardless of what scaling percentage you choose. On my Surface Pro 3 with a 12" 2160x1440 display, the most natural size is 150% scaling which equates to a workspace of 1440x960. But I can choose any other scaling percentage I like, and things remain sharp (other than older, non-compatible programs, of which there are plenty).
  20. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013

    You don't want a performance hit (it's not eactly a big hit either) but you think having to push more pixels is the answer. I think you need to understand the laws of physics a bit better.....
  21. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
    This is sarkazem right?
  22. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Based on his posting history...what's sarcastic to the rest of the MR community isn't sarcasm to him.
  23. Flabasha macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2011
    Yeah, it'd be a real disappointment/shocker if I found out a new 15" retina doesn't display 1680 X 1050 as well as my 2011 high-res MBP, or does so with a performance hit.

    Can anyone confirm that running your MBP in 1680 X 1050 gives bad performance, or blurry text?
  24. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    The consensus is

    That it makes practically no difference in either case.

    Some people seem to be particularly sensitive to blurriness and complain (or are imagining it) and others seem to think that any sort of UI lag or software glitch is indicative of a slow computer (they are wrong).

    Why not just go into a store and try it out for yourself? If this is a deal breaker then hands on experience is the only way. Or order one and return it if you don't like it; you have 14 days after all.
  25. chaoscarrot macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2015
    I agree completely, I made a very similar post to this in another thread actually. I used to have a SP3 myself and know exactly what you mean.

    What my experience so far with the rMBP is that if you use a HiDPi Resolution (even up to 1920x1200) the text is still sharp. But if you use a non HiDPI resolution other than the native resolution, the text is less sharp. Its not as bad as the non supported programs are on windows, but noticeable nonetheless.

    So, these are my observations so far:

    The best for retina display performs the best and looks the sharpest. But its far too big for my liking.

    Any of the other scaled resolutions that I have tried in HiDPI mode (1680x1050, 1440x900, and 1920,1200) are all still very sharp. I decided on running 1920x1200 as my go-to, and performance wise it is definitely not as smooth as the best for retina resolution, but in my opinion it isn't that bad and is definitely worth the extra screen real estate. But the performance hit is of course subjective, and will depend on what you use the computer for. I don't use mine for all that much in terms of intensive work.

    I still think that at least for now its better than how my SP3 used to handle things. But I agree with you that in the long run the Windows method is better. But that's also assuming that OSX doesn't evolve as well, which it very well could.

    FWIW, I like my rMBP way more than my SP3.

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