Was Retina a FAIL idea? Bring back normal resolution.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by BluAffiliate, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. BluAffiliate macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    Hey guys,

    I don't mean to stir the pot or anything because I know a lot of people will support EVERY Apple decision no matter what - I am usually one of those people... but after owning a rMBP for about half a year I have come to the conclusion that the RETINA decision is way too ahead of it's time and doesn't work well, and that's not likely to change any time soon.

    Some of the major issues with the retina screen:

    -Most sites are not ready to use retina, and appear "stretched" if they don't have high quality assets. Doesn't seem like a big deal until you realize that you're paying more for a worse picture quality about 70% of the time.
    -Gaming is completely broken on the rMBP except for a handful of games. The giant resolution makes things LAG really bad, which is already hard to game with a Mac. The video card can absolutely not handle most games!
    -Windows 7 & 8 in the bootcamp is broken. This goes back to the prior point but I had used the bootcamp feature to play PC games on the Mac when I needed to, now they just won't even load most of the time because Windows can't read the retina resolution, especially in Steam.
    -Most people don't accept the standard for their sites, so they won't make their pages for retina. Macs are less than 10% of the market and more than half of Macs don't have retina anyway so the developers don't bother.
    -Battery Life is highly diminished because of the retina screen, especially if you have on max brightness..
    -Dimness: but you need to have it on the max brightness, because since there are more pixels to illuminate, the brightness on average is lower than a regular screen.
    -Designing stuff on retina is a pain in the ass. A lot of apps like Photoshop (older versions) are broken due to retina. Here's another $1000 to pay for the upgraded photoshop version. Ugh.
    -Other bugs that I can't remember, like the screen capture tool being BROKEN in retina mode due to pixel doubling.

    Overall, the retina idea has been an utter FAIL as of now. I think 1080p is the superior resolution for modern computers for the next 10 years. Apple should have spent more time ironing out these issues. I agree that for phones and iPads it's required to have a high resolution but they are a controlled environment and avoid these issues all together. I think in order to impress people and have another gimmick, Apple overcommitted to the retina technology for very few gains.

    Apple really messed up bad on this one, which isn't something I say a lot.
  2. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    What browser are you using? Retina MacBook Pros have no problems loading the web or many pages. To be completely honest with you, the complaint you are making is very petty because it will be fixed in 2 years. More and more PCs are getting very high resolution displays and will use similar pixel scaling techniques. It is only a matter of time before all of the web has the option for high end graphics if appropriate.

    As for Bootcamp, Windows will still show the proper "Retina" resolution if the drivers are properly configured. It is a high res display and so it will scale down for sharpness, clarity, and size. If your display is showing full res then you have a different problem. To programs, it appears as a regular 1400x900 display but with high end graphics.

    The MacBook Pro can also scale for any application accordingly. You can avoid Retina all you want and even go as far as to get a PC. Needless to say, high end models from manufacturers like Dell, HP, and Lenovo are all shipping with extremely high resolution displays that use the same type of scaling...
  3. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    It's a chicken and egg problem. Sites have no incentive to use HiDPI assets until there are computers that need them. It also doesn't help that it's currently a pain to set up, although apparently there are proposals to make it easier.

    I still have a "normal" display so I haven't personally run into any of your other issues but I can see where you're coming from.
  4. 53kyle macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    I don't get how you can say that retina is "ahead of its time." Think of it this way. When retina came out, and still a bit today, computers and the internet were not designed for such a high res display. BUT, now that they are out in the wild, manufacturers can actually design hardware and software around retina. If retina were to be introduced in a couple of years, computers would STILL be designed for regular displays until then. We would still need to go through the same problems, just a couple of years later. Apple had to release retina displays at some point and they chose sooner rather than later.
  5. BluAffiliate thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    Yeah but they don't. It's not universally accepted so they don't actually bother with retina.

    If you understand it, you would actually realize that basically ALL sites use pixel doubling to display on retina. They actually display at a resolution 2x less than you see on the screen, and then retina doubles the pixels. How is that efficient and how does that make sense?
  6. 53kyle macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    I do understand it. Many websites don't even have images that are large enough to be fully retina at their normal size. That means that in order for website creators to show websites at full retina size, they will need to create whole new set of retina images, and since the majority of computers aren't retina display, they don't see the need to basically re-create their websites just for a small market.

    It may take a while longer, but eventually retina will be more mainstream, then websites will be more motivated to take advantage of retina display. Again, if retina display was introduced later, we would still face these issues, just...later.
  7. BluAffiliate thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    So you feel okay about beta testing a product for a premium price?
  8. 53kyle, Jun 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014

    53kyle macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    Yep. How else do products get to their full potential? Either way, you pay for it being awesome in the near future (although it is already good enough for most people).
  9. SVTmaniac macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2013
    I love my Retina, don't feel like I'm beta testing at all. And as for the premium price, some of us have disposable income and couldn't care less what it costs.
  10. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    People said the same thing about retina on the iPad and iPhone. It may be ahead of it's time, but as time goes on more content will be updated.

    If you don't want a retina display, Apple still sells several computers without it.
  11. 827538 macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    Seriously? First I don't support Apple with everything, infact I'm more of a Windows guy and only just got into Macs. I just happen to really like they direction they are going in.

    -Paying more for worse picture quality? In what way? Any vector based stuff like text for example looks crystal clear, the vast majority of the sites that I visit look great on the retina display and that includes pictures and graphics. I don't know what sites or browser you use but I can safely say this is a non issue for 98/100 websites that I use.

    -Buuulllll******, sorry but I actually bought this with gaming in mind. I happily play BF4 at high settings, CoH2/WoT/WT/CS:S-GO/Civ 5/Skyrim all maxed out. It's simple, just use Bootcamp, get the latest Nvidia drivers and scale your resolution to 1680x1050 or 1920x1200... Infact I have plenty of games that I run easily at 2880x1800 like Deadspace and any Source game. This is quite a capable gaming machine.

    -Again what are you talking about? I'll load up Fraps and record everything I do to show you how well Window's runs in Retina and retina games. OK aside from a few menus which go weird with scaling it is perfect. The only game I can't get to load is World in Conflict and that's due to a Windows 7 patch and has nothing to do with the Mac.
    I run all sorts of games and software, I have a large Steam library and it's been able to play everything I've tried so far without problem (aside from WiC). There you go Windows running fine on Retina and things have improved greatly even since then.

    -I have hit nearly 11 hours on a single charge, now you are just trying to troll. If you open a dozen flash websites and max the brightness then sure the battery life will suffer, but show me a laptop that wouldn't.

    -Dimness? Do you understand what relativity means? Apple has compensated for this by using a more powerful backlight. This display gets plenty bright - just check out Anandtechs review if you don't believe me. The battery life lasts surprisingly long even at max brightness. Also the colour reproduction and contrast is excellent as well as having good response time.

    Anandtech review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6023/the-nextgen-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review

    -I use Photoshop CS6 which was patched ages ago to support the retina display and it looks great! 3D Studios Max works fine on Bootcamp.

    -Screen capture works fine on both Windows and OS X.

    Your post is a pretty sad attempt at trolling. I don't know if you just don't like Apple or your jealous you can't afford one but please don't post such stupid threads without even a little bit of research.
  12. Barney63 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2014
    Bolton, UK.
    Maybe we would all still be using 16 colour CGA screens if we didn't have the likes of Apple pushing new hardware.

  13. case2001 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    The retina screen is beautiful. However, I am not a graphic artist. I use Excel, Word read PDF's and routine email/web browsing. So I don't have the issues you mentioned.
    I had a Thinkpad a21p with what at the time was a very high resolution 1600x1200 this was back in 2003 with Windows XP. It was very poorly supported. The browser was odd. The fonts were very small at full resolution and adjusting it down made the the aspect ratio a little weird and it still did not look great. I liked being able to see more rows and more info in a smaller space. But my wife hated it and refused to use it.
    Compared to the Thinkpad, Apple has done a great job. System wide integration looks beautiful. Even old apps like my versions of word and excel look great.
  14. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Op, I completely agree. There's still many downsides and not many upsides to such high dpi. Apple should have pushed resolution independence instead, and let the screen size fluctuate naturally instead of forcing it.
  15. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    You obviously weren't around when Record players were launched. Or VHS. Or CD. etc

    You HAVE to get these devices out in the wild before the content. Admittedly the music industry worked together with device manufacturers to launch CDs and CD players pretty simultaneously in the run-up to the same Christmas as I recall but still, the first CD players were full component HiFi box in size and cost a fortune... and most people didn't notice much quality change in the sound because they were made from analogue masters due to the amount of media that was required on the format....only when digital mastering became mainstream did CD "quality" get achieved....tis the way of consumer devices.
  16. 827538 macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    You actually agree with the OP? Pretty much every point he made was critically wrong. Resolution independence does sort of exist. Going Retina isn't about resolution independence, it's about scaling which are two different things.

    I could run a Mac or Windows system happily at 640x480 or 4096x2160 if I wanted. Both are different resolutions and both have different aspect ratios, OS X and Windows are not dependant upon resolution like say iOS which is resolution dependent.

    This is an evolution in computing and to go along with such high PPI displays you need proper scaling which the OS X and the Retina Macbook Pro do flawlessly. Microsoft is also making improvements in scaling with W8.1 (which I wont use for other reasons).

    By all means continue using inferior displays if you like. Meanwhile I'll continue to use my retina Mac without a single issue. *Some* of the issues he raised were around when the rMBP did launch I concede, but in 2014 I assure you it's smooth sailing when it comes to retina displays. :rolleyes:
  17. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    This is my honest opinion having owned the Retina MacBook Pro (x5) over a 2 month period from October 2013 to January 2014.

    Websites, Apps etc = All good. Most sites that I used and software I used either were retina ready or relied on system elements that OS X provides in Retina resolutions for free like text and system drawn elements.

    Even most CSS styles on websites are based on telling the browser to draw boxes procedurally instead of providing a static rasterized image as an asset. And what this means is for most sites the design will be retina ready for free due to the browser being retina compliant, in my case I used Chrome.

    Now of course some images on websites and in software are not retina ready and can look a little fuzzy due to poor upscaling but I found for the most part I didn't notice.

    So for me Software and Services were decent enough for Retina use.

    But I would agree that the Retina technology itself aka super high resolution displays, super high pixel densities are not yet mature enough to make reliably. I went through five units because they all had display problems. Which is pretty ridiculous when you think about that because the display is the biggest selling point of these laptops and they can't even get me one that isn't malfunctioning.

    Now having said that, do I think we should cancel Retina and go back to 1:1 pixel scaling, abandon this idea. No I think like all new technology there is going to be some teething problems at the start and they need to mass produce something like this so they can get enough bad samples to see where the problems are that need to be corrected.

    It's no different to the first generation WiFi, Optical Drive, Hard Disk, RAM Chip, USB Port. All of these technologies had teething problems that were worked out on successive revisions.

    It was my choice as a consumer to return my faulty Retina MacBook Pro's and I currently do not own one I got a full refund because the technology did not meet my expectations the colour uniformity did not surpass my 2009 MacBook Pro.

    So I'm waiting for the next revision. I'm hoping to pick up a refreshed 2014 rMBP with a better more reliable display panel. They've been using essentially the same panel since June 2012 and I'm really hoping that this year they will change it for the better.
  18. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    First of all, I clearly disagree with OP here. In my opinion, the retina screen is one of the biggest, most important and most successful innovations of personal computing of last years (the other one being dramatic decrease of gap between desktop and mobile). As I work with text most of the time (scientific papers, programming, teaching), retina makes my experience with computer screen more enjoyable. Now to the individual points.

    The picture quality is the same or better compared to a classical screen. Just compare two computers side by side. Sure, the websites with HiDPI assets will look better. I don't see how this 'disturbes' your experience. Its either 'look good' or 'look better'. Not to mention that most of the web content is vector based (CSS, text etc.)

    This is silly. Nobody forces you to play at the native resolution, and its obvious that GPU can't handle it. Play at 1440x900 or 1680x1050, the image quality will be the same as a native screen of the respective resolution

    Sure, Windows does not handle HiDPI that well because MS messed their APIs up. And I see how this can be an issue for people that have to use Bootcamp for work. As your case is restricted to gaming, this should not be of any consequence for you — see my point above.

    All modern smartphones have retina screens and Windows-based retina machines are popping on the market like crazy. Its not just about Macs. All modern web frameworks are retina optimised. Developers absolutely bother about retina screen. Not everyone will include HiDPI images, but I don't really see this as an issue (see point 1).

    Its still better than the non-retina machines. And this is first-gen tech, it ill improve.

    Again, nothing to do with the retina screen per se. The tech will improve.

    I don't see how Apple can be blamed for you using outdated Photoshop or Adobe's ridiculous prices/upgrade policies. I got my Pixelmator upgrade with retina support for free ;)

    Screen capture tool is broken for more then one reason (e.g. inability to save anything but TIFF). Apple should have updated it long time ago, I agree.

    No, no, no and no. a) Retina has been an extreme success. b) The 1080p is not enough for clear text rendering and its also too small to be comfortable on a a 15" screen (at least for me). 1080p is nice for 20" displays, but the visa quality is still considerably worse compared to a retina screen. 1080p on screen bigger than 20" looks just awful. I have two 24" displays on my desk which I barely use because they make my eyes hurt after I got used to the superior retina IQ. c) Its most definitively not a gimmick, IQ gains are very evident d) Apple's transition to retina has been one of the most impressive, best planned and best executed software transitions I am aware of. They have been planning this for over 8 years. Experimental retina support goes back to as early as OS X 10.4 Tiger.



    I agree with this particular sentence. However, it also shows that Apple thought that out quite clearly. If Apple has pushed for classical resolution-independence instead (which was their original plan), they would have the same mess as Microsoft right now (who went for classical resolution-independence). Because Apple decided to restrict HiDPI to regular resolutions with real 2x2 subpixel accuracy, they managed to keep the programming model identical to those of pre-retina era and also provide a superior IQ to a 'classical' implementation. The true resolution independence will come in time. The first step is to change all the APIs from using pixels to using real-world size measures.
  19. librarian macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    Problem of retina is that the hardware is not good enough for it. It's simple as that. You're sacrificing heavily your performance And screen real estate for high res fonts and icons wich can be a benefit or an incredible waste of system resources depending on the user needs. Nvidia recently with the 800m series boosted vram quantity wich somewhat helps but still the gpu have to render a retarded amount of pixels... And if compared with 600 and 700 series the average power hasnt magially increased to 200%, unlike the resolution.
    This makes a retina display totally useless for the user who needs the performance for production purposes.
    Games and entertainment will be stuck to 1080p for years, get over it.
    Extreme, top of the line hardware still gets taxed at 1080p resolution, while everyone here apparently wants 4k when with current hardware the bloody browser lags on scrolling...:rolleyes:
  20. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Previous-gen Intel IGPs have fill-rate of 1.3Gpixels/sec. In its most demanding current form, the retina screen is 8 megapixels. The hardware is enough to redraw the full screen completely over 160 times per second, while the hardware refresh rate of the screen is 60 fps. Compositing a retina screen is a childs play for modern GPUs which were designed to play 3D games (an oder of magnitude more demanding task!). I have been using a rMBP as my primary machine for almost two years now and I don't notice any regression in performance. My simulations run as quickly as ever.

    And there is no browser lag :rolleyes: Sure, there were some early performance issues, but they have been fixed for over a year now.
  21. librarian macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    Fine, go ahead and load 8k textures on a 3milion poly model in mudbox on a retina mpb. Or some heavy after effects compositions. I have tons of projects done on a 2012 cmbp that simply craps out on the 2013 rmbp because the vram is not enough and in the case it does manage to load, just rotating the model or painting on it its an awesome slideshow experience, just what i wanted for precision work:p
    Painting with photoshop is also laggy sometimes, and that's not some OhMyGodNextGenerationNeverSeenBefore job, that's something i used to do super smoothly with the 2006mbp years ago with the same screen estate of a rmbp but with a much much slower hardware.
    As I said, depends on the user needs really.
  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Bootcamp/Windows is not broken because of retina displays. I use Windows 8 all the time on my rMBP and it renders just fine.

    I think Retina displays is a huge win for apple and you can see this as apple increases (rumored I know) the number of models of retina computers, like the MBA and possibly the iMac.
  23. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    I fully disagree with the OP. The fact that you can use different effective resolutions to give you the text size and/or work space that you need is great. I also enjoy looking at photos much more on the retina screen, presentations look crisp and clear in Keynote, etc.

    To the points of the OP:
    - most websites are just fine in my experience. The reason is that many of them have started optimising to also look good on phones and tablets, and in case you haven't noticed, most modern phones and tablets use some form of retina resolution (including most Android and Windows Phone products).

    - Gaming: Yeah if you were expecting to game in full retina resolution - sorry. That is just not realistic with the hardware that can be squeezed in a laptop. Games look just as good and run just as good if you set them to 1080p.

    - Win 7/8 & gaming: You bought the wrong machine...

    - not accepted as standard: As mentioned above, phones and tablets are also retina. Not all Mac apps have caught up yet with retina, but many are looking just fine. Also PC laptops with retina screens are starting to appear

    - battery life: Not seeing the problem here - battery life is great overall

    - brightness: Yes it is true the screen appears marginally dimmer

    - Photoshop: OK I don't know about this one. If your main productivity App does not run properly on the new hardware, then of course the equipment is not good for you. But at the end of the day the developer is to blame for that.

    I've had a few issues on my side:
    - Powerpoint - looks crap, dumped in favour of Keynote
    - Mathematica - text looks fine, but graphics was pixelated, fortunately there was an easy fix for that
    - there is a bit of UI lag when using the scaled resolutions

    You know what the saddest part is: In your first sentence you already call everyone that will disagree with you a fanboy. Great basis for a discussion!
  24. Anitramane macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2013
    Just set your 2880x1800 screen to 1440x900 to enyoy what the old mbp had but with ips!
  25. 827538 macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    Just finished a playing a few hours on CS:GO at 2880x1800, maxed out at 60FPS with FXAA and 16xAF. Maxwell should bring a 50% boost to that. I can also play BF4 on high with FXAA at 1680x1050 at close to 50FPS... Pretty incredible if you ask me, this isn't designed as a gaming machine but it does it pretty well.
    It has 2GB of GDDR5 which is OK, enough for gaming, I often run GPU-z while I game to keep an eye on temps etc and my most demanding games typically top out at 1.8GB, with many not even hitting 1GB. Could I run BF4 maxed at retina resolution with decent FPS? No, but why do I need to do that to have a good gaming experience? 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 is perfectly fine as a compromise, tbh in first person shooters I barely notice the difference.
    3DS Max works great, Photoshop works great. You do realise not all the program assets are stored in VRAM? Most are stored in system RAM or the CPU's sizeable cache.

    The only time I have experienced browser scrolling lag is in badly optimised flash heavy websites with loads of stupid effects. The same websites lag on just about any high end system. The vast, vast majority of websites I use have no lag what so ever.

    Why are people so angry at Retina Macbook Pros? They are the single best laptops on the market, have an incredible display and a solid OS to back it up? I wouldn't have spent all that money on mine if I didn't think it was so incredibly good. Retina displays are not a flawed tech, I realise some people have had issues with displays not being up to scratch but I certainly haven't had any issues with my Samsung panel. Mavericks is a great OS and works brilliantly with scaling the high res display.

    If you have such a problem with the Retina Macbook Pro then don't buy it. While your at it you might want to send back that Retina iPhone your using. Sorry but this is a stupid thread, half of these comments sound like people have hardly ever or never used a Retina Macbook Pro.

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