One thing I never understood about retina

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by isephmusic, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. isephmusic macrumors 6502

    Oct 31, 2012
    im about to own my first retina macbook and i keep seeing people saying they scaled it down to 1600x900 or the 1400x720 whatever it is. i mean ? isnt retina supposed to be 2000x1400 or something like that ? why do u downscale it ? is the screen just small ? also i herd its not even true 2000x1400 its just 4 pixels for every 1. how does it work and effect desktop space. thanks
  2. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Downscale? The 15-inch has a resolution of 2880x1800, but the Best for Retina resolution is 1440x900. Retina is all about giving you the same amount of screen real estate, but with more pixels so everything is much clear.

    If the native resolution was actually 2880x1800, everything would be so small.
  3. isephmusic thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 31, 2012
    i checked out the samsung ativ book 9 and its qHD display was 3200x1600. is that downscaled or what
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    The retina MBP works the same way the iPhone 4 did, they doubled the pixel density to make the image appear much crisper, closer to what printed media looks like.

    Plain and simple.
  5. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Retina really runs at native resolution ie. the retina resolution, with HiDPI to resize UI elements.

    Its more like upscaling ie. sizing fonts/UI bars bigger so they appear the same size that you would see at the scaled resolution. Best for retina is just easier to calculate/resize, but the other scaled options are good as well though the highest scaled resolutions can tax systems a bit still, mores on the 13".

    True downscaling doesn't look nearly as good as HiDPI retina. You can see this if you have a tool like SwitchResX, and used a non-HiDPI lower resolution instead.

    Windows is pretty terrible at scaling up ie. making UI elements look right on an ultra high resolution display, Windows 8.1 improves this a bit, but tons of apps and so on just don't scale properly, so a hi-res display with Windows just can't match up to HiDPI mode on OSX. Plus tons of applications on Windows basically haven't been optimized for hi-res, while retina aware Mac apps are plentiful now.
  6. isephmusic thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 31, 2012
    when you view a 2500x1400 image on retina macbook 13 on the best for retina setting what resolution are u really viewing it at ? the downscale or ... ?
  7. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    There is no 2500x1400. On the 15-inch, it is 2880x800 and you are viewing things at 1440x900.
  8. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    If you hear someone says he set his scaling option to something like "1440x900", what it means is that the rMBP will render the image at 2x that resolution on each axis (2880x1800), then downscale it to the monitor's native resolution (2560x1600).

    The result of this is extra real estate (everything will be slightly smaller) at the cost of a very slightly less sharp image compared to Best for Retina. It's still however a lot sharper than if it was actual 1440x900 upscaled to 2560x1600, it's not even comparable.

    The non-Retina equivalent native resolution would be 1280x800, and while it's possible to have scaling options to go below that (make everything bigger and lose real estate), I've never heard of someone doing so.
  9. simon48, Nov 10, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013

    simon48 macrumors 65816


    Sep 1, 2010
    In the "best for Retina" mode the pixels are a quarter of the size, but the images have doubled height and width. So the image is sharper, but the same size.
  10. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
  11. Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    Jesus christ the replies in this thread are ridiculous.

    The Retina MacBook Pro 15", displays EVERYTHING at 2880x1800, because that is the resolution of the screen. It's always 2880x1800.


    The problem is that running any operating system whether is be windows or OS X at 2880x1800 is that every single icon and app is incredibly tiny. You cannot use the operating system at this resolution on a 15" screen. It would be ridiculous.

    So what Apple does is they enlarge the interface, example with windows:

    This is called "scaling". The purpose of this is to make the interface operate as if you had a "normal" resolution, so instead of clicking on icons the size of ants, you're clicking on icons that are sized normally.

    This is confusing because instead of calling it "2x Interface Scaling", Apple likes to explain this by basically saying "It's going to look like an imaginary computer with the same screen size that has a resolution of 1680x900 with scaling set to 1 ". Except they don't tell you that this is "imaginary" and "like" and "default scaling set to 1", they just say "scaled resolution: 1680x900", which isn't very informative if you don't know what it means.

    Hope that helps.
  12. jz- macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2013
    While it's not the most informative, to be fair, Apple does say "Looks like…".
  13. Valkyre macrumors 6502

    Dec 8, 2012
    it helps a lot but I have a question. What happens when you game with such a machine. If the display is always projecting in 2880 X 1800 , then what happens and why do games look nothing like 2880 X 1800 when you play at the default 1400 resolution? I have tried borderlands 2 in the default res and the jump to 1080p or even 2880 x 1800 is enormous!
  14. Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    When you select 1400px resolution in a game that is a completely different story. Games use a completely different rendering system, so when you select 1400px it's 1400px and you're not getting more. Occasionally you may also see a very strange interaction between the interface scaling and the game, usually due to the game being older or not programed correctly. You shouldn't have to change scaling to get a game to play properly, if you do submit a bug report to the developer.
  15. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    It depends on how the game is coded. Per default, OS X will prevent it from going 'high definition' because of performance reasons. But games can also ask the OS for a high-resolution screen, potentially reducing the performance. Nowadays, proper behaviour of games should be drawing the 3D graphics to a lower-resolution surface (to keep high performance) and drawing text/HUD to a 'retina' one and then combining them to a final image - this way you still get high performance but also the crispiness of retina UI. This is really easy to do with OS X but unfortunately, only few games actually do this...
  16. actuallyinaus macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2013
    when you run at 1440x900 the computer is actually running at 2880x1800 but telling the programs to make their buttons ... double sized so you can still click on them ...

    when you set it to 1600x1050 osx actually setts it to 3360x2100, then tells the apps to display in double size, then scales it to 2880x1800, thus you get slightly more screen space, it ends up not being 200% zoom but a bit lower

    it's kinda confusing, for me i run linux so it's set to 2880x1800 and then i set chrome to defualt scale the web pages to 150%-200% (depends on your preference) and thus i get the same kind of thing happening, however my interface elements (close buttons...) are tiny because they are not being doubled like they would be in osx
  17. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    It's pretty simple. The screen is capable of 2880x1800. However, 1:1 would make text really hard to read. So, 2880x1800 is rendered by the computer, and the resolution on the screen is 2880x1800. But, the OS alters the text size and the viewable area size such that it looks like 1440x900 resolution. That way, everything on the screen looks really sharp (4x as sharp), but the text size is just like it would look on 1440x900.
  18. priitv8, Nov 13, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014

    priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Jan 13, 2011
    Just to give you an idea of what OS X desktop looks like in native 2880x1800 resolution, have a look at this!
    You can see, that the UI is pretty unusable without a magnifying glass.
    PS In "Best for Retina" aka HiDPI modes, the UI is rendered in 144dpi (in contrast to the native 72dpi this screenshot is in)

    Attached Files:

  19. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    And to think some people actually work under this resolution 100% of the time.
  20. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    There are some advantages if your eyes can handle it. You are basically using the resolution of a 27" imac on a 15" mobile computer.

Share This Page