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chacrat

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 17, 2021
31
9
Hi !

I just have bought a Dell P3421W monitor (3840 x 1440, that is 109 ppi) and I just do not like how fonts look like.
I have a Mac mini M1 and so am using this as my main monitor.
I understand that there is not that much to do regarding blurring (I already have tested some tweaks), and so I am considering buying either:

LG 24MD4KL-B (218 ppi)

or

27UL850-W (163 ppi)

What do U think ?

Best,

W
 

chrfr

macrumors G5
Jul 11, 2009
13,414
6,886
Hi !

I just have bought a Dell P3421W monitor (3840 x 1440, that is 109 ppi) and I just do not like how fonts look like.
I have a Mac mini M1 and so am using this as my main monitor.
I understand that there is not that much to do regarding blurring (I already have tested some tweaks), and so I am considering buying either:

LG 24MD4KL-B (218 ppi)

or

27UL850-W (163 ppi)

What do U think ?

Best,

W
I find that 27" is also not a great size for 4k on Macs and I prefer 24" to increase the pixel density, but I also think the LG 4k Ultrafine is overpriced for what you get. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of other 24" 4k options available. You might consider a 27" 1440p display instead.
 

Riviera122

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2008
488
163
I bought the LG Ultrafine 24" a few months ago. I was ultimately concerned about sharpness as well, so that's what convinced me to buy the Ultrafine over others, because it has one of the highest PPIs (the old 21" Ultrafine has an even higher PPI). It's also the only consumer monitor endorsed by Apple. It's a fantastic monitor, excellent 4K picture quality, very sharp, great colors. Be aware of the lack of on-screen controls and I/O support, such as HDMI and audio-out... Though I guess it's not an issue if you're going to be using it with only TB3-enabled Macs. There are third-party Active HDMI to USB-C adapters, but they're expensive and only successful to varying degrees.
 

Stephen.R

Suspended
Nov 2, 2018
4,356
4,746
Thailand
Keep in mind that default scaling on a 24” 4K may also not be to your liking: I have two Dell 24” 4Ks and the default “looks like 1920x1080” (aka “retina”) makes the UI a little bit too big. Not horrendous but not ideal for me.

But that’s the beauty of a display with a high PPI - you can have it render to look like a different resolution with minimal quality loss (I read/write text all day).
 

Christopher Kim

macrumors 6502a
Nov 18, 2016
678
619
Keep in mind that default scaling on a 24” 4K may also not be to your liking: I have two Dell 24” 4Ks and the default “looks like 1920x1080” (aka “retina”) makes the UI a little bit too big. Not horrendous but not ideal for me.

But that’s the beauty of a display with a high PPI - you can have it render to look like a different resolution with minimal quality loss (I read/write text all day).
+1. A couple things I'd highlight:

In terms of the right scaling / "looks like" resolutions, I think most ppl would agree for 24", it's "Looks like 1080p" and for 27", it's "Looks like 1440p", where text and icon sizes look ideal given distance most ppl will use their monitors at.

This is why the 24" and 27" iMacs (and the LG Ultrafines) are 4K and 5K respectively, to pixel-double to get retina:
- 24" is 4K 3840x2160, and run at "Looks like 1920 x 1080"
- 27" is 5K 5120 x 2880, and run at "Looks like 2560 x 1440"

Having seen both, I agree with @Stephen.R that I prefer the 27" and Looks like 1440p resolution from a text/icon/workspace standpoint.

I have a 27" 4K LG monitor (the UD68) very reasonably priced, was ~$400 5 years ago when I bought it (and cheaper today) which I've been running at "Looks like 2560 x 1440" since Day 1. It looks fantastic, even though it's not a true native 5K resolution (so not true pixel-doubling HiDPI).

MacOS scaling makes my setup look better than a 27" native 1440p monitor would be. Mostly because MacOS basically pixel-doubles my 2560 x 1440 screen resolution to 5120 x 2880, then downscales the image to fit the 3840 x 2160 4K screen I have. A true 27" 5K screen would look better I'm sure, but for my purposes, this is more than good enough given the cost-benefit.

Just some food for thought, and another alternative to consider getting a 27" 4K monitor and running at 2560 x 1440, instead of a smaller 24" 4K and running at 1080p.
 

Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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I think most ppl would agree for 24", it's "Looks like 1080p" and for 27", it's "Looks like 1440p", where text and icon sizes look ideal given distance most ppl will use their monitors at.
The 27”/5k/looks like 1440p is essentially just a pixel doubling of the non-5k display (which was 1440p) so it’s the same UI size but “retina”.

the 24” UltraFine is a bit unfortunate. The ideal 4K display size to maintain the same relative UI size as most other Apple displays is around 21” - hence the original UltraFine 4K was the same size as the 4K iMac: 21.5”.

this is why the 27” looks better: it’s the “correct” PPI for macOS.
 

Christopher Kim

macrumors 6502a
Nov 18, 2016
678
619
The 27”/5k/looks like 1440p is essentially just a pixel doubling of the non-5k display (which was 1440p) so it’s the same UI size but “retina”.

the 24” UltraFine is a bit unfortunate. The ideal 4K display size to maintain the same relative UI size as most other Apple displays is around 21” - hence the original UltraFine 4K was the same size as the 4K iMac: 21.5”.

this is why the 27” looks better: it’s the “correct” PPI for macOS.
Roger that re: 24", it's not actually not ideal to show "Looks like 1080p" from a UI perspective, so the pixel-doubled 4K resolution isn't perfect. I assumed 1080p UI size would look good on the 24", but only have experience with 1440p UI size on the 27".

Even more so then for OP, I agree may make sense to look into a 27" instead, and consider a 4K monitor (run at "Looks like 2560x 1440") over a 27" native 1440p resolution. There's quite a few reasonably priced ones out there.
 

turbineseaplane

macrumors G5
Mar 19, 2008
13,784
28,225
I personally enjoy a 27-28" 4k running 2304x1296 (one notch below 2560x1440)

My eyes are just getting older and thus a slight bump up in the physical size of things is enjoyable for me.

I've had some 27" 5k in the house a couple times and it's certainly gorgeous and glorious, but honestly when not comparing them side by side, the 4k solutions with scaling look 90-95% as good.

I'd love to have a 27" 5k monitor if there were some options that were a bit more flexible (I like a few input choices as I dual boot).
 
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Stephen.R

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I personally enjoy a 27-28" 4k running 2304x1296 (one notch below 2560x1440)

My eyes are just getting older and thus a slight bump up in the physical size of things is enjoyable for me.

I've had some 27" 5k in the house a couple times and it's certainly gorgeous and glorious, but honestly when not comparing them side by side, the 4k solutions with scaling look 90-95% as good.

I'd love to have a 27" 5k monitor if there were some options that were a bit more flexible (I like a few input choices as I dual boot).
This is one area where I feel like Dell used to have reasonable options.

They had a 5K 27" at one point, they used to have a 24" 4K (which still isn't ideal but it's better than the 27" 4Ks)..

Now they mostly seem to focus on selling 20 different versions of a 4K 27" panel (and who knows how many sub-4K panels) based on seemingly arbitrary differentiators.
 

Stephen.R

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Roger that re: 24", it's not actually not ideal to show "Looks like 1080p" from a UI perspective, so the pixel-doubled 4K resolution isn't perfect. I assumed 1080p UI size would look good on the 24", but only have experience with 1440p UI size on the 27".

Even more so then for OP, I agree may make sense to look into a 27" instead, and consider a 4K monitor (run at "Looks like 2560x 1440") over a 27" native 1440p resolution. There's quite a few reasonably priced ones out there.
In terms of clarify/crispness, 4K @ 24" using the default "looks like 1920x1080" is flawless. The problem is that the whole UI is a little bit too big IMO. I run my 24" Dell's at the 2304x1296 setting and it's pretty close to perfect (sizing) for me.


If you're not doing pixel-sensitive graphics work, and you're either (a) using only one display or (b) using a reasonable GPU (I have no idea how well the M1 GPU handles display scaling) then scaling a 4K 27" to "looks like 2560x1440" is still likely to look better than a native 2560x1440, yes. But the GPU is doing a lot of work to make that happen.
 

alexanderwolf

macrumors newbie
Sep 13, 2021
19
12
Does anyone know how much performance is would be impacted on a Mac Studio (M1 Max, $2,000 model) when you are using display scaling? I keep trying to find this information out, but I can't find anything definitive... just that GPU performance may be impacted.

I am currently using a 23.7" LG UltraFine 4K display and bumping up the display scaling two steps up to 'More Space' - Looks Like 2560 x 1440.

The Mac OS interface looks HUGE when running at the 'default for display' setting.
 
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