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MrRaupi

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 6, 2022
12
8
It's 2023 and Apple can't get the font to be sharp on a 1440p 27 Inch monitor.

With my Dell monitor (U2722DE), the font still looks fuzzy when compared to Windows.

How do you deal with it?
Ignore or is there something that makes the font nice and sharp? What are your experiences?

Would a 27 Inch 4k monitor help and look better? o_O
 

EugW

macrumors G5
Jun 18, 2017
13,732
11,418
It's 2023 and Apple can't get the font to be sharp on a 1440p 27 Inch monitor.

With my Dell monitor (U2722DE), the font still looks fuzzy when compared to Windows.
Apple stopped using sub-pixel rendering many years ago, and when they stopped this, the text quality on non-Retina screens got much worse. So, ironically, text quality in this context was much better years ago than it is now. (Retina screens don't need sub-pixel rendering.)

Now they're effectively saying everyone can just buy a Retina or near-Retina screen, and those that don't will just have to suffer.

How do you deal with it?
Ignore or is there something that makes the font nice and sharp? What are your experiences?
You deal with it by buying a new monitor.

Would a 27 Inch 4k monitor help and look better? o_O
Yes, text on a 27" 4K monitor looks way better than a 27" 1440p monitor in macOS Ventura. It's not quite as good as 27" 5K monitor, but it's good enough for most people. I use a 28.2" 4K+ monitor (see sig) which has the same pixel density as a 27" 4K monitor, and I'm pleased with the text clarity.
 

Zest28

macrumors 68020
Jul 11, 2022
2,120
2,967
It's 2023 and Apple can't get the font to be sharp on a 1440p 27 Inch monitor.

With my Dell monitor (U2722DE), the font still looks fuzzy when compared to Windows.

How do you deal with it?
Ignore or is there something that makes the font nice and sharp? What are your experiences?

Would a 27 Inch 4k monitor help and look better? o_O

Buy the Apple Studio Display or LG Ultrafine 5K. Problem solved.
 
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xraydoc

Contributor
Oct 9, 2005
10,767
5,216
192.168.1.1
It's 2023 and Apple can't get the font to be sharp on a 1440p 27 Inch monitor.
That's the problem (right or wrong) -- in 2023, Apple has decided that people shouldn't be using non-retina displays.

There's some software hacks that can help (BetterDisplay to force high-DPI rendering which then gets scaled down to 1440p), but otherwise not much else can be done.
 

Toutou

macrumors 65816
Jan 6, 2015
1,079
1,573
Prague, Czech Republic
It's 2023 and Apple can't get the font to be sharp on a 1440p 27 Inch monitor.

With my Dell monitor (U2722DE), the font still looks fuzzy when compared to Windows.

How do you deal with it?
Ignore or is there something that makes the font nice and sharp? What are your experiences?

Would a 27 Inch 4k monitor help and look better? o_O
How does the font look? Non-retina text does look a little blocky and unrefined, but definitely not fuzzy. That can also be a different issue, the computer talking YPbPr to the monitor instead of RGB.

Do you use HDMI or DisplayPort?
 
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BikGer2

macrumors newbie
Jan 26, 2022
28
9
I found a U2722DE for a really good deal, should I pass because it's a 2k monitor? Could it really be worse than the 1080p 24' I'm using right now?
 

jdb8167

macrumors 601
Nov 17, 2008
4,723
4,415
I found a U2722DE for a really good deal, should I pass because it's a 2k monitor? Could it really be worse than the 1080p 24' I'm using right now?
It'll be better than the 1920x1080 display but not great. The 24" 1080p display is about 92 ppi and the 27" 2560x1440 display will be about 108 ppi. Mac displays work best when you get closer to 200 ppi and you can use HiDPI mode. So a 24" 4K display will be about 182 ppi. A 27" 4K display will be about 163 ppi.
 

teohyc

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2007
484
388
It's 2023 and Apple can't get the font to be sharp on a 1440p 27 Inch monitor.

With my Dell monitor (U2722DE), the font still looks fuzzy when compared to Windows.

How do you deal with it?
Ignore or is there something that makes the font nice and sharp? What are your experiences?

Would a 27 Inch 4k monitor help and look better? o_O
Go download BetterDisplay app and you will be able to get HiDPI workspace with any monitor and resolution combo.

See this video to see what you can expect:
 
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Omega Mac

macrumors 6502a
Aug 16, 2013
580
346
Interesting and important topic!

I was thinking of upgrading my 2008 20" Cinema display on 2012 MM to a 2560x1440 something or other, but now I don't know!?

I'd like a little more brightness that the AD is giving but I like the size, a little more screen real estate would be nice maybe 23" is all I need, because I have a side companion dell ultra sharp in vertical position (can't use it in horizontal as main monitor because of bottom corner light leakage that causes fatigue, took years to figure it out this almost phantom source!), and while the Dell is a nice level of brighter with a better colour gamut, the text looks that bit crisper (but duller) on the old 20" AD, I definitely do not want to have text issue with a new monitor but I don't think the 20212 MM can power the latest Studio display either!
 
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Omega Mac

macrumors 6502a
Aug 16, 2013
580
346
It'll be better than the 1920x1080 display but not great. The 24" 1080p display is about 92 ppi and the 27" 2560x1440 display will be about 108 ppi. Mac displays work best when you get closer to 200 ppi and you can use HiDPI mode. So a 24" 4K display will be about 182 ppi. A 27" 4K display will be about 163 ppi.
What would you recommend spec wise for a 2012 MM, what res / ppt being the sweet spot?
 

Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,344
11,465
What would you recommend spec wise for a 2012 MM, what res / ppt being the sweet spot?
A 2012 Mac mini can't run a 4K display (which is the minimum resolution you need to get the HiDPI modes with their vastly improved text rendering out of the box) at 60 Hz. The highest refresh rate the hardware can manage at 4K is 41 Hz (using CVT-RB timings) due to a 360 MHz pixel clock limit imposed by the hardware itself, but macOS further limits pixel clock to 270 MHz, which reduces the maximum refresh rate at 4K to 30 Hz (using CVT-RB timings). If you don't mind lower refresh rates (which will make e.g. the mouse cursor behave sluggishly), you can go for a 4K display.

The highest resolutions you can run at 60 Hz given these constraints are 2560×1440 or 2560×1600. But in order to get into pixel density ranges where HiDPI modes "really make sense" then (say, at ≥160 ppi), you'd have to use small (like 13" to 18") displays. There are portable monitors which have 2560×1440 or 2560×1600 resolution at that size but they may be too small to use as a desktop monitor. The smallest 2560×1440 desktop monitors I'm aware of were 23.6" or 23.8" which is ≈123 ppi. But you could get a 2560×1440 monitor and try a custom 1920×1080 HiDPI mode. This will give you the same real estate as a 1920×1080 monitor but text will look better than on a real 1920×1080 monitor. My own tests using a 27" 2560×1440 with HiDPI modes have shown that I notice text quality degrading visibly after 2048×1152 HiDPI (which the 2012 Mac mini's GPU can't do though), so 1920×1080 HiDPI might be fine. But it's all subjective so you won't know until you try it yourself.
 
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chadamorrill

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2007
375
146
Orlando, FL
I have a 27" Viewsonic VX2778 at 2560x1440 60Hz with finder font sizes at 10 and everything looks peachy (this is on an M1 Mac Mini). No, it's not razor sharp like on my M1 MBA, but it's pretty dang good. I'm wondering if you are experiencing another issue. Where exactly are your fonts looking fuzzy? Is there an application (like in Safari) where text looks better than other times?
 

Omega Mac

macrumors 6502a
Aug 16, 2013
580
346
A 2012 Mac mini can't run a 4K display (which is the minimum resolution you need to get the HiDPI modes with their vastly improved text rendering out of the box) at 60 Hz. The highest refresh rate the hardware can manage at 4K is 41 Hz (using CVT-RB timings) due to a 360 MHz pixel clock limit imposed by the hardware itself, but macOS further limits pixel clock to 270 MHz, which reduces the maximum refresh rate at 4K to 30 Hz (using CVT-RB timings). If you don't mind lower refresh rates (which will make e.g. the mouse cursor behave sluggishly), you can go for a 4K display.

The highest resolutions you can run at 60 Hz given these constraints are 2560×1440 or 2560×1600. But in order to get into pixel density ranges where HiDPI modes "really make sense" then (say, at ≥160 ppi), you'd have to use small (like 13" to 18") displays. There are portable monitors which have 2560×1440 or 2560×1600 resolution at that size but they may be too small to use as a desktop monitor. The smallest 2560×1440 desktop monitors I'm aware of were 23.6" or 23.8" which is ≈123 ppi. But you could get a 2560×1440 monitor and try a custom 1920×1080 HiDPI mode. This will give you the same real estate as a 1920×1080 monitor but text will look better than on a real 1920×1080 monitor. My own tests using a 27" 2560×1440 with HiDPI modes have shown that I notice text quality degrading visibly after 2048×1152 HiDPI (which the 2012 Mac mini's GPU can't do though), so 1920×1080 HiDPI might be fine. But it's all subjective so you won't know until you try it yourself.
Brilliant reply thank you very much. One note. So far, I haven't come across a 2560x1600 monitor, I've only seen 1440 on offer, and I'm thinking that's just going to be too big. The 20" Cinema display is perfect right for the desk space too, when having two monitors to play with. I find also there is a performance hit when running dual display on the MM, so an even larger display as the primary things might become even more sluggish.

I understand the perils even better now.

Looking at the age of all the equipment. I'm thinking I would better served looking at spending the money on hardware elsewhere. Like a new mac in the M1/M2 range, or at least less old equipment.

Apple have kind of created these two worlds, and it feels like you could spend a lot of money trying to bridge between older equipment to stay somewhat anew, it might just be better to bite the bullet and jump to the other side.

Thanks again for most excellent and considered insight.
 
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Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,344
11,465
So far, I haven't come across a 2560x1600 monitor, I've only seen 1440 on offer, and I'm thinking that's just going to be too big
2560×1600 monitors are all ≈30". For a list, you can hit Display Finder and select 2560×1600 as the resolution to filter by.

The 20" Cinema display is perfect right for the desk space too, when having two monitors to play with.
One possible upgrade path, if you don't want to go ≈24" or larger would be a 22.5" 1920×1200 display. You can use Display Finder to find those by filtering for 1920×1200 and 23" max size. 23" 1920×1200 displays were once a thing (e.g. Apple Cinema HD Display or Sony SDM-P234) but disappeared a while ago.

Another, albeit "crazy" option, is the discontinued 21.5" LG UltraFine 4K. If you run that at 2560×1440 to get 60 Hz refresh, you basically have a 21.5" 2560×1440 monitor which is very similar in size to your 20" 16:10 Cinema Display. The 21.5" 16:9 panel is slightly wider but not quite as tall. However: (1) Those UltraFines can be pricey even second-hand, (2) running a 4096×2304 monitor at 2560×1440 causes interpolation which incurs some blurriness you may or may not find annoying and (3) the monitor requires USB-C video input so you need an adapter, such as the Wacom Link Plus, to connect it to the 2012 MM's miniDisplayPort and USB 2.0 ports.

I find also there is a performance hit when running dual display on the MM, so an even larger display as the primary things might become even more sluggish.
The 2012 MM has a Thunderbolt port so you could hook up a modern eGPU to it (egpu.io) and eliminate the performance issue as well as enable 4K (or even higher, depending on what GPU you go for) output at 60 Hz.

But, as you said:
Looking at the age of all the equipment. I'm thinking I would better served looking at spending the money on hardware elsewhere.
 
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Sptzz

macrumors member
Jan 13, 2024
40
9
BetterDisplay solves this. Highly recommend. Using it on my G34WQC 3440x1440. At default it didnt look that bad but after I activated "smooth scaling" and enabled HiDPI in the dropdown menu holy ****, the difference is astounding. It still shows it's using 3440x1440 but as a HiDPI resolution. In the System's Display settings menu it shows nothing is selected, but works perfectly!
 

Omega Mac

macrumors 6502a
Aug 16, 2013
580
346
BetterDisplay solves this. Highly recommend. Using it on my G34WQC 3440x1440. At default it didnt look that bad but after I activated "smooth scaling" and enabled HiDPI in the dropdown menu holy ****, the difference is astounding. It still shows it's using 3440x1440 but as a HiDPI resolution. In the System's Display settings menu it shows nothing is selected, but works perfectly!
What's the best download point for Better Display I don't see it in the app store. Thanks!
 
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