Mac mini and external monitor resolution

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by cfurlin, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. cfurlin macrumors 6502

    cfurlin

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    #1
    I have a Samsung 28" E590 DS/ZA 4K monitor attached to my Mac mini. Its resolution is 3840 x 2160. My question is this: In the display settings, the Default for display option puts the screen at 1920 x 1080, which seems wrong. However, the clarity is absolutely fantastic at this resolution. If I scale it to the monitor's native resolution, it looks terrible. Is this some retina thing? I have no issue leaving it at the default (although everything is quite large). I'm just curious why macOS would choose the lower resolution. TIA.
     
  2. chscag macrumors 68040

    chscag

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #2
    I just checked the online user manual for the Samsung. It specifically states that it supports an input signal of up to 1080P and no higher. I couldn't find any nomenclature for its native resolution though? Normally macOS will choose the best default resolution for a given monitor. The Samsung is not a retina display as far as I know.

    Also, which Mini do you have, year and model? Perhaps your Mini does not support 4K.
     
  3. cfurlin thread starter macrumors 6502

    cfurlin

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    #3
    It's a 2018 Mac mini 6-core i5, 32GB RAM. The monitor specs are as follows:

    LU28E590DS/ZA
    28" UE590 UHD Monitor
    4K, 3840 X 2160 Resolution (UHD), 60Hz (DP)
    Sharper Viewing Angle with T-shaped Stand
     
  4. chscag macrumors 68040

    chscag

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #4
    There is no question that your Mini can support much higher resolutions than the Samsung. Which port are you using to attach the Samsung?

    This is what Mactracker says about display support for your model Mini:

    Display Support Up to two displays with 4096 by 2304 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096 by 2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0 or One display with 5120 by 2880 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096 by 2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0

    As you can see, you should be able to use that monitor at its native resolution.
     
  5. cfurlin thread starter macrumors 6502

    cfurlin

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    #5
    Display port, but I've tried both with the same result.

    Interesting. I wonder why macOS chooses 1920 x 1080, which strangely enough, is 1/2 width/height of the native resolution of the monitor. That's what you generally get with retina. I wonder if macOS thinks I have a retina display for some reason.
     
  6. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #6
    OP: can you screenshot the displays preference pane and upload it here? It sounds like you’re just seeing the effects of “@2x” scaling (which macOS generally does by default on a 4K/5k screen).
     
  7. Cruciarius macrumors member

    Cruciarius

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #7
    In the system preferences -> display, do you have "default for display" or "scaled" selected? If you option + click the "scaled" option, you should see a list of other resolutions you can use.

    Note that running a higher resolution does tax the iGPU more than the default option.
     
  8. macdos macrumors regular

    macdos

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2017
    #8
    That's the Tim Apple default. He only writes letters, and he likes his fonts blurry. He thinks the computer is a bigger Iphone.

    The rest of us want screen estate. And an option to customize UI size.

    The default resolution is always the native resolution of the screen, everything else is scaled.

     
  9. cfurlin thread starter macrumors 6502

    cfurlin

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    #9
    As I said in my original post, I have it set to Default for display. Scaled at a higher resolution looks awful.
    I think I'm just going to leave it as 1920 x 1080. The screen is clear and crisp. At the higher scaled resolutions, it almost looks pixelated.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 15, 2019 ---
    Yes, that's what I'm seeing: @2x scaling. Thanks for putting a name on it for me. ;-) I'm actually OK with it now that I know what is happening. Higher scaled resolutions don't look nearly as good.
     
  10. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #10
    In Mojave, with my displays at least, it even says "Looks like 1920x1080" - in reality its still sending a 4K signal to the display, but the way it's rendered the UI sizes it as if it were 1920x1080.

    @2x scaling mode literally makes things smoother on screen, what are you talking about?

    This argument doesn't make any sense no matter how many times you repeat it. Regardless of whether it says "Looks like 1920x1080" or "3840x2160, UI @ 200%" you're going to have the same "screen real estate".

    Have you ever heard the phrase "perfect is the enemy of good"?

    Sure, a fully vectored UI scaling system would be great, but the current system means apps built way before "Retina" Macs existed can be rendered in a way that doesn't look like a horses ass. I have a dev tool that was last updated seven ****ing years ago, and it looks amazing (albeit not dark-mode supporting) under Mojave.
     
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #11
    OP wrote:
    "I have a Samsung 28" E590 DS/ZA 4K monitor attached to my Mac mini. Its resolution is 3840 x 2160. My question is this: In the display settings, the Default for display option puts the screen at 1920 x 1080"

    That's NORMAL.
    That's what it's supposed to show you.

    The concept behind most 4k displays is that the user is not going to run them at "full resolution" -- but rather in "HiDPI mode", in which 4 [of the tiny pixels] are used to represent 1 pixel (as it would be displayed on a 27" 1080p display).

    As such, the image is "the same size" as you would see on a 1080p display, but it's MUCH SHARPER.

    This is what the "retina" concept is all about.

    If you were to run a 4k 27" display at FULL pixel-for-pixel resolution, the text (displayed at normal font sizes) would be so small you'd almost need a magnifying glass to read it.

    If you want to see all the resolutions the display can show you, do this:
    a. open the displays pref pane
    b. hold down the option key and (still holding it down), click "scaled".
     
  12. cfurlin thread starter macrumors 6502

    cfurlin

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    #12
    If you want to hate on Tim, do it somewhere else.

    No, WE don't. I want a clear image.
     
  13. macdos macrumors regular

    macdos

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2017
    #13
    It doesn't get more clear and sharp than with native 4K. Unless you are a hawk, you can't see individual pixels at that resolution.

    Upscaling and applying blur (which is what smoothing is) doesn't make it more clear, it is an illusion.

    --- Post Merged, Jul 15, 2019 ---
    That's unheard of outside Cupertino. A 4K display is of course intended to run at 4K. That is why they make movies and TV broadcasting in 4K.

     

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12 July 14, 2019