What to expect going from 1920x1200 (17") to Retina Display (15")?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hajime, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. hajime macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #1
    Hello, I have been using the 17" MBP for a few years. I feel very comfortable with the 1920x1200 font size and matte screen. What should I expect if I switch to a 15" Retina Display? I suppose that with the higher resolution, I may see more things (larger screen estate) but at smaller, more difficult to read font? Thanks.
     
  2. ninja2000 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 16, 2010
    #2
    Unless you use a terminal command the highest res you can set is 1920x1200 so it will actually be the same as the 17" but obviously slightly smaller to your eye due the the reduction in screen size.

    That said, I actually prefer the retina's 1920x1200 than the 17" as the screen is much clearer.

    Obviously you will get a slightly more reflection too as you are moving from an antiglare to a glass panel, but it is not as bad as the mbpc
     
  3. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030

    yusukeaoki

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    Mar 22, 2011
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    Tokyo, Japan
    #3
    Had it for a month and I personally liked the 17in more.
    More screen size and 1920x1200.
    And yes you will see some more glare if you move from AG to glossy.
     
  4. Pagga macrumors 6502

    Pagga

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    Feb 21, 2009
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    Closer to the Artic circle than I like to be
    #4
    Hey,

    I´ve been using a 17" MBP from 2009 (that I still have). Bought/switched to retina this summer.

    First of all: the screen is much, much better generally speaking.
    I´ll also submit that the machine overall feels better, both design wise and performance wise. Fair enough, it being the next step in the Apple evolution.
    Obviously size and weight are huge improvements coming from a 17".
    However, there are a lot of smaller features that I really appreciate. Keyboard, keyboard illumination, tightness of lid, fan construction, start button - everything is slightly better built. Love the little tilt they gave the hollowed out lid opening space in front of the track pad (for lack of better name).

    Screen: I use a 1680x1050 resolution (the best fit for my daily use of Pages).
    Everything looks and feel better than the 17" screen. Coming from glossy, the improvement is radical. You might be a tad better off with the matte when it comes to reflection on the glass, I don´t know. My point is: reflection is not a big issue anymore, as it definately was with the 17" glossy.
    Looking back at the 17" screen, it now comes out as too bright, and it almost has a "hazy" feel to it compared to the retina. My personal opinion is that the retina feature is a much bigger improvement that anyone can understand before actually using it over some time. I would, could and should never go back.

    Performance: The retina does not feel as responsive and snappy as my 17" 2.93Mhz 4 GB ram and SSD. The retina can sometimes lag after hibernation. Sometimes it lags when using several apps at the same time (example: iTunes music can hiccup whilst surfing the net). And I did notice some screen flickering before the latest update. I think that means it´s an OS thing and not a hardware thing. The point is: I am not experiencing a faster machine here, and it almost feel like a drawback. Another thing is the battery, which is not yealding me more time, but approx the same as before. All in all the retina MBP performance feels quite solid, and I have a sense the machine is going to serve me well in the years to come.

    Design/usage: Aside from the size and weight, the biggest improvement is the "tightness" of the design. It simply looks and feels much better. You are truly immersed in your content. Everything from the glass track pad to the keyboard is more than satisfying.

    Conclusion: For me, the move has been good, if not overwhelmingly so. The retina screen is the true gem, and I have absolutely no regrets coming from a 17" screen. The performance of the machine, however, is just a little disappointing. But then all that might change with the next OS update ...

    :) P
     
  5. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

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    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #5
    I switched from a 17" 2011 MBP Anti Glare. I loved that machine, but the retina screen really is astonishing. Readability is vastly improved, I generally struggle to read read from screens using OSX, due to the way it renders type with soft edges. None of that anymore, it's pin sharp, quite an astounding difference even at the 1920x1200 setting. And it probably helps that the default contrast of the panel is fantastic, also.
     
  6. Elijen macrumors 6502

    Elijen

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    May 8, 2012
    #6
    Yesterday I was at a shopping center where was the Retina MBP next to MBP 15" and to be honest I don't see HUGE difference. Sure if I look from 5 cm I cannot see any pixels and dock icons are clear .... but screen real estate was exactly the same.

    Obviously all is up-scaled to maintain the same size as on non-Retina MacBooks. So my question is: does the retina display worth the extra money?
     
  7. Dyno-Mike macrumors regular

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    Aug 19, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #7
    Lets hope so....
     
  8. ninja2000 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 16, 2010
    #8
    Thats very subjective to the individual but IMHO yes for the following reasons:
    1. It looks great at standard settings and I use this when browsing but I also have the option of changing it to 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 which is really handy when I am using xcode or doing webdesign.
    2. It isn't as glossy as the standard classic (unless you fork out for the matt)
    3. The viewing angles are amazing
     
  9. Elijen macrumors 6502

    Elijen

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    #9
    I also forget to mention, that my (no tech savvy) GF told me, that she think the 15" non-Retina display looks better :D ... (I suspect due to different backgrounds on both computers)

    - Do you really change the resolution between use of different programs? Doesn't that cause you headache?
    - How does help you the lower resolution in webdesign/xcode? (I'm curious as I would like to use xcode on my future MacBook too).
    - Doesn't non-native resolution look blury?
     
  10. AzN1337c0d3r macrumors 6502

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    Sep 13, 2010
    #10
    I owned the Late 2011 17 inch Macbook Pro (glossy) as my previous laptop, so I have used the most recent of both displays.

    The rMBP is just plain better*.

    Much better DPI, viewing angles, contrast ratio, color uniformity and accuracy, less glare.




    *There is a caveat though. If you get an LG panel (and by my experience of 20+ machines in the store and only 1 being Samsung, you are very likely to..), you will experience image retention if you actually use your machine in high-contrast settings.

    So if you get a Samsung display, the Retina is just plain better. If you get the LG display, well it depends on your usage pattern if you'll actually see Image Retention (I got 6 LG panels in a row all with retention).
     
  11. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #11
    1. Why would you switch resolution between use of different programs? You find one you like and stick to it. The 1680x1050 is currently the one I find most comfortable, but I might switch to 1920x1200. The screen estate is obviously the same as of a screen with that native resolution
    2. I have no idea what you ask here.
    3. The rMBP doesn't really have a concept of a native resolution. Each of its modes is scaled resolution. And no, it does not look blurry. The pixels granularity is negligible from the start and OS X performs 4x supersampling to make sure that the scaling artefacts are minimised.

    And no, it does not look blurry compared to a native screen. If anything, it looks less blurry, because the screen is IPS. You might see some blur in web content, but this is a subjective effect resulting from mixing the default and HiDPI imagery.
     
  12. AzN1337c0d3r, Sep 16, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  13. Elijen macrumors 6502

    Elijen

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    May 8, 2012
    #13
    1. Read this (that's why I ask):
    2. About the headache? Try to work few hours on 1920x1200 and then change it to 1680x1050. Maybe I am just the only one who would got headache :)
    3. Indeed it does have "concept" of native resolution. Native resolution of the screen is 2880x1800, the other resolution are scaled and must be somehow resampled. To be honest I have no idea how this could be done as you cannot display "half" of pixel. I am sure the OS X does pretty good job resampling, but anyway I would expect the quality somehow decreased.
     
  14. afinch1992 macrumors 6502

    afinch1992

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    Dallas, Tx
    #14
    I would think that in most cases applications have to be scaled up to go to a higher resolution, rather than scaled down from it at this point in time. Anyone correct me if I'm wrong tho
     
  15. BANANACANADA macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2012
    #15
    I use 1920x1200 on my rMBP, compared to the 17" MBP it is like night and day, honestly. Don't listen to the ones who only own the 17" because its nothing like the rMBP — the screen is so crisp and customizable for your needs, the machine is definitely lighter then the 17", and everything opens/loads quicker on the rMBP. Once more updates are out for ML it will work like a dream.

    My only problem with the rMBP is that the screen sometimes goes black after start-up, meaning for the time being before I shut down my comp I have to turn off graphics switching. The battery usage also needs to be worked on (though it's not too bad) and the bottom plate on my machine is not entirely flush around the vents.
     
  16. kgs macrumors regular

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    Jul 29, 2012
    #16
    All screens are rendered at the native resolution and then scaled down. It's not scaling up, it's scaling down.

    Two of the three resolutions are integer scaled.

    2880 * 1 = 2880 (Native Resolution, obviously)
    1920 * 1.5 = 2880
    1440 * 2.0 = 2880

    So, in each of these cases, it's a simple integer scaling to get to the desired resolution.

    1680 is different though, and is non-integer based. So my guess is that they double the resolution, then downscale it too.

    I'm not sure, but I'd hazard a guess that 1680 is probably the worst of the three in terms of overall quality. You probably can't notice it, but if they have to double then downsample, then it would be rendering at 3360 and resizing. Which is higher than the native resolution, therefore would likely have the worst performance of the three as well.

    The last paragraph is all conjecture, so it could be wrong. But the other bits should be quite accurate.
     
  17. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #17
    This is not entirely correct.

    OS X renders the screen with 4x supersampling (2x2 upscaled buffer) — this is what Apple calls "HiDPI mode". For instance, "looks like" 1440x900 is rendered as 2880x1800, "looks like" 1680x1050 is rendered as 3360x2100 and "looks like" 1920x1200 is rendered as 3820x2400. Afterwards, it uses bilinear filtering to downscale this image to the native resolution. Such procedure has the following advantages: a) independently of resolution, you can treat a single pixel as 2x2 HiDPI pixels, which simplifies some rendering algorithms and UI design; and b) because the final image is always the same or higher resolution as the display, the quality stays high. Of course, this comes at the cost of performance.
     
  18. afinch1992 macrumors 6502

    afinch1992

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    #18
    good to know. so by it scaling up and down does that cause the flickering and other issues? i have no experience in display technology at all, i was just thinking logically about it
     
  19. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #19
    Well, the usual problem with the native resolution is that you get visual artefacts when trying to display a resolution different from the native. The reason for this is pixel granularity - because pixels have perceivable physical sizes, we can notice that something is wrong.

    Now, because the pixels of the rMBP are so small, the problem does not really apply here. The colors of hardware pixels are calculated as weighted sums of corresponding logical pixels. This way, you actually can display half of a pixel (which is what OS X does in 1920x1200 mode, where each logical pixel corresponds to a 1.5 hardware pixel, so the half in between gets average of all surrounding logical pixels).

    And by the way, this is what has been happening all the time with computer graphics. This is how photography works (de-facto downscaling the incoming light to the resolution of the sensor matrix) and also how our eyesight works. Even the pixels we all know and love actually consist of smaller elements - each pixel is a combination of a red, green and blue light dot. It is simply almost impossible to distinguish the dots, so we usually perceive the pixel as one single item. Again, with the retina screen, the size of the individual pixels makes them almost non-distinguishable without aids.
     
  20. kgs macrumors regular

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    Jul 29, 2012
    #20
    It's done at the video card level.

    So, before it sends it to the buffer to be displayed it does all of the calculations. The monitor doesn't do it, it just displays what the graphics card sends it. In this case whatever resolution you've chosen.

    Note that it is displaying it at 2880.. there is quite a bit of math involved here. But no, no flickering or anything.

    See what the other guy said. He has the math down. That makes more sense than my math.
     
  21. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #21
    1. his post is wrong. 2. no, it does not cause any flickering
     
  22. afinch1992 macrumors 6502

    afinch1992

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    #22
    is the general consensus that those issues are software based?
     
  23. leman macrumors 604

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    #23
    What issues? Are you experiencing flickering?
     
  24. afinch1992 macrumors 6502

    afinch1992

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    #24
    I dont own a rMBP. I'm going to be in the market for a new notebook in the next few weeks, so I'm just trying to learn as much as I can right now. I have read on other threads that people have had flickering when coming off of sleep and also some scrolling that not smooth.
     
  25. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #25
    I haven't noticed any flickering with mine, so I can't say anything here. There is a number of more or less severe bugs I have noticed, if it helps you I will list them: 1) resuming from sleep can take really long time (10 seconds), which is weird, because the thing boots in under 3-4 seconds; 2) Safari is definitively buggy - it has some responsiveness and rendering glitches which for example Chromium does not have.

    Scrolling is usually responsive, but it can lag with complex websites (like The Verge) or badly coded applications (like App Store). Note that these problems also exist with any other computer I tried them with, but they might be more pronounced sometimes on the rMBP, as it does has more rendering to do. For instance, resizing the App Store is sluggish on any Mac, but particularly sluggish on the rMBP. In contrast, lag while scrolling websites like Facebook or The Verge does not seem any different from any other Mac machine. I did Quartz Debug UI framerate measurements versus my older machine, and the rMBP performed better (at least in regards to FPS numbers). Neither felt very smooth, but I guess these websites are just too complex. Anyway, I don't measure the worth of the machine agains how smoothly it can scroll Facebook ;) For paper writing with LaTeX, programming and statistical modelling this machine is a beast, extremely fast and responsive. Very good for gaming as well.
     

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