Image quality: Gaming with 1440p retina iMac vs. native 1440p with classic iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Mac32, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. Mac32, Oct 23, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014

    Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010

    Could someone with a retina iMac try gaming in 1440p (proper 1440p, not retina mode), and see if the image becomes more blurry/worse than native 1440p in the older iMac models?
    I game regularly, so having the crisp and clear native resolution image quality is important, but the native retina resolution is not an option because of low framerates. However, some people state that when running half the resolution (ok, a fourth) - then the image should not have the issues of other non-native resolutions (more or less).

    Anyone? Thanks! :)
  2. hyune83 macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2008
    It technically should be worse at it is not the native resolution, but who knows given the new display may just be better overall.
  3. bulldogg80 macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2009
    COD advance warefare looks crisp and plays smooth in 2560x1440 on the new iMac :) When I was playing a game on my iMac 2012 and was lowering the resolution to 1920X1080 it was little blueried picture.. Don't see that happen on the new iMac in COD :)
  4. Fenn macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2012
    With my 2012 iMac right next to my new 2014 Retina iMac the Retina screen actually looks better at 1440p. There is a noticeable brightness and clarity difference and I believe it has to do with the LCD gates being so much smaller on a retina display. I sit about two feet away from the screen but it is very noticeable.

    2560x1440 on the Retina should never be more blurry than an old 2560x1440 display because of the nature of the 5K screen evenly dividing itself by 4. One box of 4 pixels on the retina is equal to one whole pixel on the old 27 iMacs, but because of the black gates between the pixels being so much smaller on the retina display, the difference even at the same resolution is very apparent. You see pure color from edge to edge without any interruptions on the Retina, it is beautiful. 5k next to 2560x1440 is shocking though, it's like looking out a window.
  5. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    It looks more jagged at the edges than a non-retina display (for example, looking at diagonal lines). This is because the pixels are perfect squares rather than round blobs of colour. However, it looks great. But you should try gaming in 5k -- well worth it even if you have to lower some settings here and there.
  6. Seramir macrumors member


    Nov 10, 2006
    It looks more pixelated and blurry, especially on text. Is it bad enough that you can't use it? No... but in terms of sharpness and clarity it's not as good as 1440p on a native non-Retina 27" iMac.

    You can go see for yourself if you have an Apple Store. No need to even run any game. Go to their new Retina iMacs, download SetResX, launch it and switch the resolution to 1440p. Then you can compare it to a standard 27" iMac there.

    Believe me, there is a big difference in picture quality between the two.
  7. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    It will look slightly worse on the retina screen.
  8. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Ridgewood, NJ
    It won't look as clear, and the edges will be blurred/jagged versus another screen with that native res. It was the same way on the rMBP.
  9. Mac32 thread starter Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    Thanks for the tip, I'll try that! Thanks for the other replies too. I've decided anyway to keep my late 2012 iMac for now, and wait for the next riMac model - hopefully with a Nvidia Maxwell GPU.
  10. travishill macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2004
    I actually think in-motion games look better than standing text in the same scenario- so I don't think looking at one will tell you how you'll perceive the other. But I also realize that's quite a subjective thing. :)
  11. platzypus macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2014
    I'm deciding between a non-retina 27" iMac and the retina 27" iMac, and this is precisely my most pressing concern as a gamer. I currently play World of Warcraft on my 2012 15" rMBP, and using the native 2880x1800 is a no go because my FPS really takes a beating. So I usually play at 2466x1542. I've tried toggling it down to 1440x900 (non-retina 15" res) and it looks atrocious. It's like the pixels are all diffused and the screen is a terrible blur.

    Will this happen on a retina iMac if I played at 2560x1440 which is effective half (or a quarter?) of the native 5K?

    My overarching question is this:

    If I play at 2.5K on an iMac 5K with mostly ultra settings, would it perform/look better or worse than the native 2.5K on a normal iMac with the same settings? I know it's a terrible comparison because both have different internal configs to begin with, but I think I just wish to know if I'd be shortchanged for getting the retina 5K.
  12. Seramir macrumors member


    Nov 10, 2006
    WoW should run fine at 5K resolution. There are have been reports of people running the game at that resolution with decent framerates. If you plan on playing more modern graphic intensive games and desire the best picture quality, then I would consider the non-Retina 27" iMac. Or at least wait until Apple puts in a better GPU for the Retina iMac.
  13. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Good choice, as I'm impressed as I was with the screen, Apple's poor choice of the hot running AMD GPU chips has me sitting this gen out. Hopefully 2015's rimac will have either a 20nm AMD/Nividia chip in it.

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