rMacbook Pro with external monitor - resolution is terrible

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by copydeskcat, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. copydeskcat, Jan 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015

    copydeskcat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #1
    Hi folks,

    got my new 15" retina Macbook Pro, 16gb, 2.5ghz, 2gb nVidia card from the States (saved a packet on the dollar conversion - and even managed to get a corporate 6% discount).

    I'm currently running it like a desktop machine, using a 21" Benq monitor via the HDMI out. I'm running it at 1920 x 1080p, 50hz (PAL) - and the resolution quality is terrible.

    Even if I change it to "best for display" - which changes it to 60hz NTSC, it's only marginally better - but still honking.

    Maybe it's just that I've been used to trying it with the retina screen, but it's really poor. In fact, it's worse than it was when I ran my Mac Mini through the same monitor.

    Is there something I'm missing - should it be as bad as this? Is there a setting I can change or something I can do to calibrate it?

    All tips and suggestions welcome.

    Best,


    CDC
     
  2. thebro20 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    #2
    well first off, the only way to get an external monitor to look like the retina screen on the mac is to have a 4k monitor that scales down so it renders double the pixels.
     
  3. copydeskcat thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #3
    I'm not expecting it to match the retina screen's quality, I'm expecting it not to be crap. The Mac Mini ran on the same monitor and the resolution quality was fine.

    There's clearly a problem - I've been searching around since I posted and there's a lot of people saying on some monitors, the rMBP HDMI output is terrible.
     
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #4
    Remember when mirroring, the resolution on every monitor in the chain is always equal. Henceforth the highest resolution you can set during mirroring is the native resolution of the lowest-res monitor in the chain (your external display in this case). So the highest you can set in your mirroring chain is 1920x1080.

    If I were to plug in a 4K monitor to my own chain and mirror, the highest resolution I can set in the chain is my rMBP's native resolution, 2880x1800, since it is the lowest-res monitor in my chain.

    I never use mirroring. I only use clamshell mode or turn off mirroring.
     
  5. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #5
    The resolution will go higher than that of the lowest-res display in Mirror mode, but it will be downscaled on that display. However, for two displays with different resolutions I would still recommend Extend Desktop mode.
     
  6. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #6
    a) Try a different HDMI cable.
    b) Try a Mini DisplayPort -> DVI (or HDMI) converter instead.

    I've been running the latter setup at work for years (the latest year with an rMBP) with no trouble at all.
     
  7. Enzo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #7
    Hello - I had a very similar problem (with same rMBP config) and was able to fix the problem by using a mini display port cable (mDP -> DP) instead of the HDMI. In my case, the monitor (Dell U30) was acting like a TV instead of a high res display. Now I am able to get 2560 x 1600 at 60Hz with clear text by just changing the cable!

    Also, you may notice some blurriness in some applications and you can fix that by trying to set a smoother font smoothing setting by typing the below in terminal:

    defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2

    and to reset the above:

    defaults -currentHost delete -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing

    Let me know if this works.
     
  8. Toutou macrumors 6502a

    Toutou

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    #8
    rMBP with 1080p monitor via HDMI - it's great for watching movies or having an iTunes Library open, but the text is terrible - not non-retina terrible, but oh-my-god-are-those-letters terrible. I can't figure out why, I'm planning to use the Mini Display Port instead. (The cable is OK, the monitor is OK)
     
  9. Enzo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #9
    rMBP to TV via HDMI is fine.
    rMBP to monitor via HDMI is terrible but can be easily fixed using DP. A single $9 cable fixed this issue for me.
     
  10. venom600 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    Make sure that the computer isn't seeing the monitor as a TV. OS X has a bad habit of treating TVs differently than monitors. It changes the color output from RGB to YCbCr among other things, and generally makes things look terrible. You can tell in the display preferences... if the resolutions are listed as 1080p or 720p instead of 1920x1080, and it has an option to adjust overscan, that's likely the issue.

    If that's the case, no need to buy adapters or new cables. The fix can be found here: http://www.ireckon.net/2013/03/force-rgb-mode-in-mac-os-x-to-fix-the-picture-quality-of-an-external-monitor. It forces OS X to see your monitor as a monitor instead of a TV.
     
  11. Toutou macrumors 6502a

    Toutou

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
  12. copydeskcat thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #12
    Venom - you are a genius. It now sees it as a monitor - colours and fonts look great.

    However.... when I now run Adobe Premier CC, everything grinds to a halt. I've enabled CUDA support, and it's agony - slow, unresponsive, lags and delays. Would the change in monitor recognition be causing this?
     
  13. Freyqq macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    #13
    if you use a mini-displayport adapter, it seems to always see the monitor as a monitor. HDMI has issues in OSX it seems.
     
  14. copydeskcat thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #14
    Thanks Freyqq. The issue with the monitor has been resolved thanks to Venom's post - but I have a different issue now, which I think I might have fixed.

    I'm running the rMBP in clamshell mode (using InsomniaX to allow the screen to switch off when the lid is closed, but keep the system up and running). The problem I was having was that everything was slowing down - but I think it's related to the order of the screens - when the lid was closed, the Mac was thinking I wanted to extend the desktop or run two screens (mirrored). I think I've sorted it now though...
     
  15. Toutou macrumors 6502a

    Toutou

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    #15
    I don't know about your specific needs, but this works natively for me. If I close the lid with an external monitor attached, the rMBP doesn't go to sleep but uses the monitor as a primary display instead.
     
  16. copydeskcat thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #16
    Thanks Toutou - I've stopped using InsomniaX and gone with this - and it pretty much seems to have resolved the speed issues (as the only display being driven at any one time is my monitor). However, when I use a program like Premiere Pro CC, I have to sometimes open the lid of the rMBP, then close it again in order to get the video to show on my monitor, for some strange reason. There's possibly a setting I'm missing somewhere.
     

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