Retina Display Feasability

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by TallManNY, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. TallManNY macrumors 601

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #1
    So I think a hi-definition "retina" level display would be game changing. It would improve the user experience dramatically. It is worth spending serious money on and also putting oneself in position to take advantage of it when it becomes available. My question to the group is do you think this is doable with current or nearly available technology? I'm probably going to buy an iMac on the refresh. I don't expect retina in an iMac this year. Could an iMac power a retina display in the near future (like two years from now)? Can current Mac Pro's power a retina display if Apple could build one? Are there any super hi-DPI displays on the market now? Can we expect some by the end of the year?

    I'd consider dropping big money on a Mac Pro this summer if I thought in a year I could attach a retina display to it. Does that seem feasible? Or are retina level displays years away? Note, I want at least a 21" and would prefer a larger display. If I were to buy an iMac now, I'd buy the 27". So 17" hi DPI displays aren't what I'm talking about. I need the number to start with a 2 or else it is too small for me.
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #2
    I don't believe that it will be anytime soon that we see such high-DPI displays. They do make such displays for medical purposes, however they are mostly displaying static images. Current GPUs, other than the higher-end ones that they put in the Mac Pro would likely struggle with such high resolutions, although it's possible that it would work fine.

    However, I think the prohibiting factor, more than the GPU, would be cost. High-DPI displays aren't easy to make or cheap, especially as you get bigger displays and resolutions.
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #3
    Current GPUs don't support resolutions higher than 2560x1600, and there are no displays with higher resolution available.

    Also, retina does not mean +300 PPI in a computer screen. While a phone is usually viewed at around 1 foot, computer screens are often viewed at about 2 feet. That cuts the PPI in half, 150 PPI. Desktops can often be viewed at 2.5 to 3 feet which makes the PPI 100 to 120.

    Current 21.5" iMac has PPI of 102.5, thus it is "retina" from 3 feet away. 27" iMac has PPI of 109 so it is "retina" as well from 3 feet.

    To make them "retina" at 2 feet, 21.5" would have to have a resolution of 2800x1575, making the PPI 149.5. 27" would require a resolution of 3840x2160, bringing its PPI to 163.

    With today's technology, you won't see a "retina at 2 feet" display in an iMac anytime soon.
     
  4. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 601

    TallManNY

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    Nov 5, 2007
    #4
    So even a current Mac Pro will need a significant GPU upgrade to run a 27" screen at "retina" level at 2 feet viewing. So even if I wanted to pay now so I'm ready for retina displays in the future, dropping $4,000 on a Mac Pro now isn't necessarily going to get me there because the bottleneck isn't just going to be the display that I attach. Current Mac Pro's might never be able to run the necessary GPU to power a 3,000 x 2,000 screen.

    Or could current GPU's get a software/driver upgrade to run a super hi-DPI screen if those came out?
     
  5. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #5
    Not likely. I wouldn't read too much into it yet, as it will likely be a ways off, and no current hardware could do it.
     
  6. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    UK
    #6
    Actually, the current displayport implementation supports up to 3840 × 2160.
    A whopping 8.3MP on a single display. Combine that with full resolution indenpendence and I'm in. :D
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    USA
    #7
    Absolutely not. A GPU is special hardware that is dedicated to flinging the bits required to render the display. There is no reason for AMD, Nvidia, or any other GPU manufacturer to hold power in reserve. Your current GPU is giving you everything that it is capable of giving. Its power cannot be increased by a driver/firmware upgrade. The upshot is that you will not see a 200-300 dpi iMac or LED Cinema Display until new GPUs and 5k panels are available at competitive prices. That day is coming, but I don't see it coming anytime soon.
     
  8. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    Oct 1, 2005
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    Colorado Springs, CO
    #8
    I think Apple is including these high DPI icons to be prepared for the future. Give it a few years for sure.
     
  9. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 601

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #9
    Okay, so people seem to think that super hi-DPI displays and the GPUs to run them are still at least two years off in the future.

    Based on that, I think my plan for this Summer is to buy the refreshed iMac and then revisit the issue in 2013.

    Whenever it is time for me to buy a new Mac, I always look into a reason to buy the Mac Pro. I can never justify the expense and it looks like there is no "retina" based reason either. :mad:
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #10
    I know that but AMD's site says that the max res on AMD 6970 is 2560x1600:

    This may be a limitation of today's displays though but even the HDMI 1.4a supports 3840x2160 but for some reason, AMD states 1920x1200 as maximum. Could be that the drivers just don't support greater resolutions since there is no need to.
     
  11. Nothlit macrumors regular

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    Sep 14, 2009
    #11
    Any display is a retina display if you view it from a sufficient distance. ;)
     
  12. vixducis macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium
    #12
    Don't be silly. GPUs are ready to drive these displays (in terms of processing power). They won't be able to play the newest games at the highest settings with that resolution. But basic desktop viewing is easy for a GPU (or how the hell do you think those people with 3 27" displays are doing it?)
     

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