Retina Pro resolution question

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jonahsaltzman, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. jonahsaltzman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #1
    I know I must not be understanding this right, but I'm wondering, if the native res of the retina macbook pro is 2880*1800, doesn't scaling it down to 1440*900 lose quality? If they are just rendering everything as 1440x900, then aren't they just simulating the quality of a smaller resolution by using multiple actual pixels to represent one virtual pixel? And what if you're trying to view a high-res picture, if Apple scales it down, what's the point of the better screen? Thanks in advance for an explanation!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    No, it increases quality. More pixels in the same dimensions = sharper image.
     
  3. -tWv-, Jun 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012

    -tWv- macrumors 68000

    -tWv-

    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Location:
    Ohio
    #3
    If you use the native resolution of 2880x1800 then everything would look tiny. The reason it looks like 1440x900 is to give higher detail while keeping text and UI details at a reasonable size.
     
  4. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #4
    In the default mode, apps and the OS are being rendered at full 2880x1800.

    Apps that have retina support run at 2x the size they would run on a non-retina display, using high resolution images and text, and don't have to be scaled by the OS or GPU.

    Apps that don't have retina support are the only thing that gets scaled up.
     
  5. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

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    May 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #5
    It's not downscaled.

    It's really at 2880x1800, it's just that the physical size of the elements are identical as on a 1440x900 display. To achieve that, they doubled the resolution of bitmaps, so for example an icon that was 1 inch and 64x64 pixels on a 1440x900 display is now still 1 inch but 128x128 pixels instead.

    It's the same transition that happened on the iPhone and iPad.
     
  6. jonahsaltzman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #6
    Ok, so if an app that doesn't support retina says to put a black pixel at (x,y), then Apple actually displays 4x4 pixels there?

    So I guess my real question is, if an app DOES support retina and says to put a black pixel at (x,y), then does that only take up one physical pixel? and if so, then isn't that really just running at 2880x1800? why call it 1440x900?
     
  7. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #7
    It depends on what the developers of said app chose to do. They may make everything smaller to give you more screen estate, but it appears that most apps adapted to Retina so far will give you elements of the same physical size (1 pixel previously will now take 4 pixels) but vector-based graphic look smoother and bitmaps are more detailed as developers usually upload new higher-res bitmaps.

    You can have a simulation on Apple's website: http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/features/ in the "Retina Display" section of that page. Notice how UI elements are the same size (not smaller) yet everything looks better when you place the magnifying glass over it.

    And yes, the default resolution is 2880x1800, not 1440x900. People say that because it "looks like 1440x900" in terms of physical size of the UI elements, just like the other settings "look like" 1680x1050 or 1920x1200, but are actually rendered at double those resolution and then downscaled to 2880x1800.

    As far as I know, there are is currently no way to have a Retina MBP render at lower than 2880x1800, it can only render higher than that and then downscale so that UI elements look smaller.
     
  8. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    #8
    you need to use a 3rd party app, or a fullscreen game to really change the resolution. Every setting in System Preferences really runs your screen at 2880x1800... people hear "scaling" and they are used to scaling things down to a lower res, but here its backwards, its scaling a lower res up to the full 2880x1800... and scales it so it basically looks the same size without getting tiny. If the App is actually made for Retina, then it can fully use every pixel on the screen right.
     
  9. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #9
    You're correct on both counts, but they don't call it 1440x900, they call it "Looks like 1440x900".

    It means that if you took a ruler and started measuring things on screen, everything on the Retina MBP would be the same physical size as on the 1440x900 15" MBP. The retina enabled apps will just be sharper and more detailed. If you've ever compared retina and non-retina versions of the iPhone or iPad it's exactly the same.

    There are also other scaled modes like "Looks like 1680x1050" and "Looks like 1920x1200". These don't refer to the actual number of software pixels, but rather to the physical size that things will be scaled to.
     

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