Is there really a need for 5K?

zipur

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 3, 2011
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The great state of Texas
There is no content for 5k yet.
YouTube & Netflix have only limited 4k. So why the need for 5k? I'm thinking that it would be unused unless you're doing photo editing. Other than that it appears to be a waste. Logically you would want a 8k display as the next jump for future proofing. I have a 4k Samsung TV which is outstanding! But 5k hits me as odd. (Pun intended). Why did Apple go that route?
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
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Retina benefits more than just photo/video editing. Clarity is enhanced for just about everything you do on it.

Also, they chose 5120x2880 because it is exactly double 2560x1440. Hence unlike 4K it is true Retina/HiDPI.
 

koyoot

macrumors 603
Jun 5, 2012
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There is no content for 5k yet.
YouTube & Netflix have only limited 4k. So why the need for 5k? I'm thinking that it would be unused unless you're doing photo editing. Other than that it appears to be a waste. Logically you would want a 8k display as the next jump for future proofing. I have a 4k Samsung TV which is outstanding! But 5k hits me as odd. (Pun intended). Why did Apple go that route?
Because 4K will be reserved for smaller iMac. Im not saying it might be 21 inch.
 
Retina benefits more than just photo/video editing. Clarity is enhanced for just about everything you do on it.

Also, they chose 5120x2880 because it is exactly double 2560x1440. Hence unlike 4K it is true Retina/HiDPI.
Excellent explanation.

OP 4K content is very limited, but is expected to become mainstream this year.
4K will most likely become ubiquitous on streaming services like netflix, amazon, and 4KBD is dropping this year. Although i have not watched BDs for some time now, many sill do.
 

Astelith

macrumors regular
Oct 10, 2014
249
13
Spain/Italy
In my case i love the 5K for : Editing a 4K content in 1:1 with enough space for the tools and timeline, photoediting, World of Warcraft in 5K :D
 

Astelith

macrumors regular
Oct 10, 2014
249
13
Spain/Italy
Now that would really be a waste of pixels... How many polygons are the characters made up of these days?
Well, the difference between 1440p and 5K is enormous, specially when I can can push everything on ultra except shadow and water, it looks like another game.
And the big difference is in the world details, really another story.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
This

In my case i love the 5K for : Editing a 4K content in 1:1 with enough space for the tools and timeline, photoediting, World of Warcraft in 5K :D
This is the reason apple chose 5K, it is specifically for this use case, so no it is not needed unless you do this. (except the WOW of course)
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,403
6,966
This is the reason apple chose 5K, it is specifically for this use case, so no it is not needed unless you do this. (except the WOW of course)
They chose 5120x2880 because it is exactly double the pixel density of non-retina 27" iMacs (4x pixels total) making it true Retina/HiDPI.

There is no specific use case in mind, although that's not to say there aren't certain use cases that do benefit more from it.
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
5,455
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Retina benefits more than just photo/video editing. Clarity is enhanced for just about everything you do on it.

Also, they chose 5120x2880 because it is exactly double 2560x1440. Hence unlike 4K it is true Retina/HiDPI.
This is the answer in a nutshell.
5k is better to look at and the future of resolutions.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
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I'd disagree...

They chose 5120x2880 because it is exactly double the pixel density of non-retina 27" iMacs (4x pixels total) making it true Retina/HiDPI.

There is no specific use case in mind, although that's not to say there aren't certain use cases that do benefit more from it.
I watched the keynote annoncement and they concentrated almost exclusively on it's use for 4K editing, they definitely had that in mind when they designed it. They even created a workaround to get the computer to run 5K, if all they wanted was a high definition screen 4K would have been a lot easier but far less useful for editing 4K movies.

I'm not saying that that is all it's good for but I am saying I can't see any other reason for such a design choice... especially from apple who totally ignore the specs game if it isn't useful to the product...
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
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I watched the keynote annoncement and they concentrated almost exclusively on it's use for 4K editing, they definitely had that in mind when they designed it. They even created a workaround to get the computer to run 5K, if all they wanted was a high definition screen 4K would have been a lot easier but far less useful for editing 4K movies.

I'm not saying that that is all it's good for but I am saying I can't see any other reason for such a design choice... especially from apple who totally ignore the specs game if it isn't useful to the product...
Let me explain it another way. Doing 4K in native resolution would have made everything smaller, and at HiDPI 1080p everything would become bigger. They could have tried running it in 2560x1440 HiDPI like they do now, but that would have been non-native and scaled down on a 4K display causing quality loss and appearing not nearly as crisp as it would on a native 5K display.

This was the reason Apple decided to go with 5K rather than plain old 4K. Speaking as someone who uses it on a regular basis it does benefit nearly every task, not just photo/video editing.
 

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
5,568
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newyorkcity
Now that would really be a waste of pixels... How many polygons are the characters made up of these days?
even if the only graphic being displayed is a single diagonal line, it's going to look better on a retina display.
if the display has to show a diagonal line made up out of xy oriented squares, there's no way for it to appear exactly smooth and you're left with seeing the jaggies.. anti-aliasing can help some but a lot more smaller pixels will eventually eliminate the need for AA altogether since we won't be able to see the jaggies anyway.

(like-- take a piece of graph paper and try to draw a circle via coloring in squares of the paper.. that's the same problem faced by displays.. but if your graph paper has small enough squares, eventually the circle will appear true to our eyes)
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,968
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As others have already mentioned, iMac is 5K because its the HiDPI evolution of the standard resolution that Apple has adopted for the 27" display. They made it quite clear that 2560x1440 is what they think is optimal for this size of the screen (and I am inclined to agree), so unless they change this fundamental decision, the resolution progression we'll see with 27" screens is 2560x1440->5120x2880->7680x4320 etc. until we reach a resolution where the human eye truly cannot differentiate anything. Which, at normal viewing distances should be somewhere around or slightly above 300ppi (the common resolution of a printed magazine) — so actually, 3x3 pixel backing should suffice.

As to the 'need' — there is no 'need' for anything, strictly put. Thats why Apple is an innovative company. With the retina screens, they have set a new quality standard and pushed the technology (both hardware and software) towards resolution-independent, hardware-based subpixel rendering. That said, as everyone who works with text (programmers, scientists, writers etc.) greatly benefit from HiDPI, I'd say even more then photo/video editors.


Now that would really be a waste of pixels... How many polygons are the characters made up of these days?
In the age of pixel displacement shaders, polygon counts are not that important anymore.
 

petvas

macrumors 601
Jul 20, 2006
4,419
508
Mannheim, Germany
Once you go Retina, there is no way you will want to use another computer, unless your eyes are severely blind.

Retina makes everything sharper. Working with text and video is a joy, and everything is crystal clear. Who cares if there is a lot of 4K or 5K content? It doesn't matter if there is.
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
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The OP seems to be confusing an iMac with an HDTV.

Better the OP should consider mobile devices and retina screens; that's a better comparison.
 

aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
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Serbia
The OP is actually correct when it comes to "consuming content". If you bought an iMac to watch movies and play games - you really don't need 5K. In fact, in some scenarios, the non-retina iMacs will actually be better than Retinas (watching Netflix, for example). And even when 4K becomes more standard, to be honest, watching a good quality 1080p movie and a 4K one isn't all that different from one another when viewed from a normal viewing distance (it is noticable, but nothing dramatic, in my oppinion).
Even while looking at large resolution photos - the difference is not that big as people might expect (mostly due to how our brains work). Sure, there is a difference, and professional photographers will see it - but for average users it is not that big, really.

So, is the 5K Retina only good for 4K video editing? No. While you might not notice the difference when just consuming content (again, mostly due to psychological reasons) creating content, any content, in 5K is very different. When you edit something, when you illustrate something, when you focus on your work as you always do while working as opposed to consuming - the difference between retina and non-retina is, well, dramatic to say the least. I am an illustrator and drawing on the Retina iMac allows me to see my work with all the details without zooming (or with very little zooming). This is really important, as it is really hard to get 'the full picture' otherwise. Even if the image can fit the screen zoomed, the larger it is physically, the harder it is to get a good "feel" for it. Retina is a game-changer in this regard. In fact, I know several artists (like the well-known Skottie Young, for example) that are switching from a Wacom Cintiq to a Retina iMac + Wacom Intuos just because of this difference.

So, in short - if you use your computer for consuming content, yes, the difference is not that big. If you're using it to create content - any kind of content, not just video - then it's miles apart. Choose your iMac according to your specific needs :)
 

xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
4,780
606
I have 3 imacs from 2014. One is a 5K. I can barely stand to look at the other two any more after being so used to the clarity of the 5K. I didn't expect that at all.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,304
1,696
Well, the difference between 1440p and 5K is enormous, specially when I can can push everything on ultra except shadow and water, it looks like another game.
And the big difference is in the world details, really another story.
How do you find the FPS? I can clearly see a difference on 5k with WoW but wasn't impressed with the FPS and ended up dumbing down the details then in the end ended up lowering the resolution and upping the details.

During raids we were seeing 15 FPS and even less (i7, m295x, 24gb RAM). Typically they were above 40 but when we needed the FPS the most they just weren't there.

What settings would you recommend?
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
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GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
How do you find the FPS? I can clearly see a difference on 5k with WoW but wasn't impressed with the FPS and ended up dumbing down the details then in the end ended up lowering the resolution and upping the details.

During raids we were seeing 15 FPS and even less (i7, m295x, 24gb RAM). Typically they were above 40 but when we needed the FPS the most they just weren't there.

What settings would you recommend?
Playing in Windows is way better than in OS X. The drivers in OS X are badly optimized for games.
 

PannaKO

macrumors member
Sep 12, 2014
35
3
As others have already mentioned, iMac is 5K because its the HiDPI evolution of the standard resolution that Apple has adopted for the 27" display. They made it quite clear that 2560x1440 is what they think is optimal for this size of the screen (and I am inclined to agree)...
Do you or anyone else have sources for this? I'm just curious as to their decision process
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,968
4,551
Do you or anyone else have sources for this? I'm just curious as to their decision process
I don't have any sources on that but all of their 27" displays are 2560x1440. And they have always kept their logical resolution across the models. Its not really Apple's style to suddenly opt for a lower resolution (what would be the case of 4K 27" iMac).