Poor font rendering in Snow Leopard with NEC display

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by PCM, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. PCM macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2005
    Hi all,

    I'm having very frustrating font rendering issues with my NEC 2690WUXi2 display hooked up via DVI-D to my 17" Macbook Pro (just bought last week).

    I've attached some images (taken with a camera -- not screen grabs), that illustrate the font rendering issue with Snow Leopard. The text looks as if it's rendering "off-pixel". Images are fine.

    I've spent all morning on the phone with Apple and NEC and have changed all hardware settings (on the NEC) and software settings (on the Macbook Pro), and am unable to resolve the issue. Apple claims that it's likely the NEC driver provided by NEC for OSX. NEC did not deny the possibility, but said it's more likely the new font rendering engine in Snow Leopard, or that it also could be the video card driver (ATI).

    Either way, please have a look at the attached images. It's not as clear from these pictures, which are zoomed, but it really looks kind of bad when viewing the screen in person. Text is legible, but I would be pretty pissed if this is the new norm for Snow Leopard. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,


    Attached Files:

  2. ToastyX macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2005
    You were probably using subpixel antialiasing (LCD font smoothing) in Leopard. The problem is Snow Leopard removed the font smoothing options and replaced it with a single "Use LCD font smoothing when available" option, which doesn't do anything with most third-party LCD monitors. The old options are still there internally, but it's hidden.

    Open Terminal.app and type this in: defaults -currentHost write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 1

    Then log out and log back in (or reboot). That will set the font smoothing to what used to be the "Light" option. "Medium" would be 2 instead of 1, but I think "Light" is better.
  3. PCM thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2005
    Worked like a charm, thanks so much for your help. Seems that Snow Leopard continues a worrying trend of "dumbing" down user controls.
  4. karabuni macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2010
    LG Flatron

    Thanks ToastyX.

    This also worked on my LG Flatron W4043S.
    Font rendering has been worse since moving from a G4/OS X 10.4 to a MacMini with 10.6 (upgrading to 10.6.4 this morning didn't make any difference to text display).
    On some font sizes, previously it was difficult to to tell if it was an "n" or an "m", depending on the exact position of the window. Character width changed as the window was moved, and text could seem blurred - like an over-zoomed pdf.
    But now the text just moves without changing shape - brilliant!

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