What scales better at 4K? 27" or 32"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GeekOFComedy, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. GeekOFComedy macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2008
    Hi there,
    I'm deciding between the LG 27UK850 (Which I pre-ordered already) and the LG 32UD99 which i've been eyeing up.

    I'd never use either monitor at full 4K resolution, but in your experience, what does everybody think scales 4K better on Mac OS X, 27" at 3840x2160 or 31.5" at 3840x2160.
  2. dhershberger macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2018
    The larger of the two. From what I understand, 40"-43" is the sweet spot for rending 4k without scaling. I have a 40" 4k that I plug my mbp into and it is superb.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    The bigger the better if you want to run at native 4k and still be able to read it. If you want to scale it(ie as looks like 1440p by default) then it will make no difference to you.
  4. ignatius345, Jun 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018

    ignatius345 macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2015
    I don't know what's meant here by "rendering without scaling". A 4K monitor that's 27" has the same number of pixels as a 4K monitor that's 32" -- those pixels are just spread out over more space (and therefore less sharp) on the larger screen, which may or may not be visible depending on how far you're using it from your face.

    If you're talking about the scaling of the UI in macOS, that always gets scaled up on a retina screen, because if it didn't your UI elements would all be very very tiny.

    For reference here, the iMac 5K has 5 built-in "looks like" scaling levels available -- these basically tell your machine to emulate the UI scaling of a non-retina montor of the following sizes. It's sort of a kludgy and inexact way to refer to things, but it gives you a basic frame of reference.

    1600 x 900
    2048 x 1152
    2580 x 1440 (default)
    2880 x 1620
    3200 x 1800

    For the 27" screen I have, I find that the default looks good to my eyes, about 2' from the screen. But that's quite subjective. I'd assume that if you're using that big 31" screen you'd pick one of the higher ones (with smaller UI elements).
  5. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    It depends on what scaling you want to use. Pixel doubling is the clearest, which would be 1080p. Some people need that at 27" or even 32" for their eyesight, while some others just prefer it.

    Intermediate scaling has little difference. More important is would you be using the extra inches for more workspace? Or having things bigger?
  6. GeekOFComedy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2008
    I'm going to be powering this off a 12inch Retina MacBook.

    I was going to scale at 1440P as I assume that the pixel doubling or scaling would look great at 27" but then I wondered if 1440P would look better at 32" 4K.

    I don't have eye vision problems but I don't want the UI drastically tiny. I want the UI size to look the same as it does on my Laptop, just at the bigger 27" or 32" monitor I go for. I realise that 4K at 27" at full 3840x2160 everything will be teeny tiny.
  7. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    I have a 27" retina iMac as my main screen. It is 5K which gives 1440p as a perfect pixel double, and gives a great text size. My external monitor is a 27" QHD, so is also 1440p. The text is the same size, but clarity is far weaker.

    If I scale my iMac, the clarity is not quite as good, but far nearer perfect pixel double than the external monitor.

    You should be fine with the 27" for clarity, unless you are doing something like image editing and you want to see pixel-by-pixel, but you could always change the scale for that task if it is occasional.
  8. GeekOFComedy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2008
    Update: got the 27" 4K monitor. It's default by Mac OS High Sierra is 1920x1080 as that's a straight double to 3840x2160 and I do think it's ideal. I tried 2560x1600 but it was a bit too small for me not to mention the scaling reduces performance.

    Speaking of performance at 1920x1080 or 3840x2160 it runs amazing on the 2015 MacBook at 60Hz. I know online it said some monitors do 30Hz but it runs at 60Hz on this monitor anyway. It'll even run with the Macbook open although I keep it shut in clamshell mode.
  9. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    One of the few times Apple didn't "gimp" something artificially.

    The chipset as provided by Intel could always do 4k@60Hz. But IIRC, it only worked after an OS update, not from the beginning.

    Probably helped by the fact that Apple also sells a 4k display....

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