question on using lower resolution on iMac 5k

Discussion in 'iMac' started by macmanzz, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. macmanzz macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2014
    hi first post here, I'm thinking about to get the iMac retina , but I'm very confuse about the basic knowledge of screen resolution. i hope you guys could help me out.

    if i use 5k iMac to watch a 1080 video will the quality look bad ?
    (lets say i use a a good quality full hd monitor vs iMac 5k watching a same 1080 movie) will iMac look pixelated 0r both quality is the same ?

    and same question on gaming too , i think for the gpu in 5k iMac i think at most i can ply on 2.5k resolution on gaming.

    im not editing video or photos. theres no 4-5k movie in common yet if 5k will decrease the lower resolution more i will skip it then.
  2. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    It will look the same if not better. Just like when you watch a 720p movie, it looks slightly better on a 1920x1080 monitor than a 1280x800 monitor. Another similar case is when you watch a SD or HD movie on a retina iPad, the movie is scaled up, but it looks fine.
  3. y-Rex macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2014

    Hi I moved from a 1080p monitor to a 5k iMac. I was also confused about this issue. I heard that it will look more fuzzy because it has to be scaled to that resolution. TBH I can't notice the difference. If anything it's better, especially colour wise with the more vivd colours due to the IPS panel.
  4. macmanzz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2014
    That's what I'm thinking, 1080 upscale to 5k is kinda too much. I'm happy you guys never feel any resolution degrade on this

    Monitor or screen manufacturer always adjusted the color on the new version of screen to make us feel is better or nicer than the old version.

    BTW may I ask are u upgraded from the imac or glossy screen?
    And do you feel the 5k resolution affected the system performance?
    Thanks you
  5. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007

    Don't be so worried. As well as the amazing resolution, the 5k retina is one of the best monitors you'll see at this price range. You can watch HD movies which will look fine whether you run them in full screen or in a tiny window. I game a fair bit, mostly at 5k, but if you are running something very heavy-duty then you can choose to drop the resolution to gain framerates.

    The retina imac can be used to watch videos, but it's intended mostly to be used as a computer.
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    You need to think about pixel density instead of resolution.

    A 1080 video is 1920x1080 little blocks of visual goodness. But that says nothing about the size of those blocks; they could be teensy on your iPhone, or 1 foot tall on a stadium monitor. But the image resolution is still 1920x1080.

    An iPhone may have 401 pixels per in (!! on an iPhone+). The riMac is 218 PPI. An old iMac is 109 PPI.

    If that 1080 image is shown on any of those screens with one pixel in the image mapped to one pixel on the screen, the video will be different sizes, since the individual pixels are different sizes. With more PPI the pixels are smaller so 1080 of 'em will fit in a smaller space.

    Below I have a picture from a digital camera; note how it's bigger on the 2560x1440 screen to the left, and smaller on the riMac to the right. That's because each pixel of the image is displayed with a smaller pixel on the riMac than the old iMac.

    But note that this would be bummer for say text; it would be ½ as big on the riMac. So retina awareness means that the developer makes an icon with twice as many pixels in the IMAGE of the icon, so it can be show 2x as big on the riMac, which makes it equal in size to the old iMac's display of that icon. Or text. But some applications know that you wanna see pixel for pixel, not doubled, on things like images. Like Aperture; that's what you see in the photo. It knows I wanna look at my images in FULL. But not all applications are that aware; Preview, e.g., will show an image the same size on both riMac and iMac, which means that on the riMac it is blown up 2x. Oh no, some say.

    But remember what's really going on, that the image pixels are independent of the screen pixel size. So when an image is doubled on an riMac what is occurring is that an image pixel is mapped to four riMac screen pixels. But those four pixels are still as small as a regular iMac pixel. So you probably won't be able to see the difference. It's like taking one pixel of the iMac screen and chopping it up into four with the same color; little change. Of course that means that some sharpness is left on the table, but that's because the 1080 image only has so much info; it was a 5k image it would be able to fill those littler pixels on the riMac.

    Or, in short, it's kinda like watching SD television on your HDTV. It looks crappy, but that's because the IMAGE is crappy, not the screen. Your HDTV could show it at pixel for pixel, and it would be much smaller, and might seem sorta sharper, in the same way that moving a TV across the room makes it seem sorta sharper cuz you can't see the pixels. You can replicate that effect by reducing the size of any object on any screen. That's the retina effect: the idea is that you see an image without pixels at some particular distance; for the iMac that can be 32", the riMac 16". Front row of theater vs back row.

  7. y-Rex macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2014
    I'm not sure what your question means. I had a fairly average 1080p 24 inch samsung monitor. It seemed pretty good to me but compared to the 5k screen it literally borders on horrible now. I have the i7/295x 5k imac and it's incredibly quick. I think the fusion drive helps it a lot. If you want even more speed you could go for a flash drive option.

    But either way I wouldn't worry. Especially if you're going with the i7/m295x option. You'll have a pretty competent computer. I actually think it's quite powerful for my needs anyway.
  8. vir3l macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2014
    1080p/Netflix movies look a bit worse than on non-5k screens. anything less than full hd looks even worse. one of the reason my 5k went back to apple.
  9. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm wondering how this can possibly be the fault of the screen.

    I can understand why you might not like the brightness, glossiness, etc. But a non-HD image on my riMac looks exactly the same as on my 2560x1440. The system simply uses four pixels for each one on the old monitor, and they take up the same space, so it's virtually indistinguishable. As The Verge noted, Netflix doesn't stream it's good 4K stuff, so you're stuck with their meh quality. And it looks worse by comparison, just like SD TV looks worse on a HDTV, when it really is showing it exactly as it is broadcast.

    Well, not exactly. The flaws in lower definition images, expecially video, become more apparent on a higher resolution monitor like the riMac because it can show them. Again, it's like viewing a crappy image across the room; it looks better because you can see it as clearly.
  10. FredT2 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2009
    Perhaps to you, but I find that to be absolutely false. I have yet to find a source of video or images that look worse on the retina iMac.

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