When the iMac Goes Retina

uptownnyc

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 28, 2011
496
401
As much as I can't wait to see a retina iMac, the one thing I'm concerned about when it does arrive is the resolution. If you look at the display options of the retina MBP, you've got the native resolution of 1440 × 900 or you can run the scaled resolution of 1680 × 1050 which incurs a performance-hit in order to achieve. So if you're coming from a prior-generation of MBP with the high-resolution screen, native retina resolution gives you less screen-real-estate to work with.

I'm wondering how this will translate to the iMac. The high-resolution iMac uses a resolution of 2560 x 1440. But would a retina iMac running at "native" retina resolution actually offer less screen-real-estate than that at a higher pixel density? Obviously all speculative at this point, but after playing with the retina MBP in the stores, it's the one thing keeping me from automatically embracing the concept of a retina iMac.
 

forty2j

macrumors 68030
Jul 11, 2008
2,585
2
NJ
The most likely scenario would be a 4K resolution, with 2560x1440 being the "more space" option. 5120x2880 isn't even currently supported by Thunderbolt, and I can't imagine them doing a retina iMac without doing a retina ATD in parallel.
 

mzjin

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2011
412
0
As much as I can't wait to see a retina iMac, the one thing I'm concerned about when it does arrive is the resolution. If you look at the display options of the retina MBP, you've got the native resolution of 1440 × 900 or you can run the scaled resolution of 1680 × 1050 which incurs a performance-hit in order to achieve. So if you're coming from a prior-generation of MBP with the high-resolution screen, native retina resolution gives you less screen-real-estate to work with.

I'm wondering how this will translate to the iMac. The high-resolution iMac uses a resolution of 2560 x 1440. But would a retina iMac running at "native" retina resolution actually offer less screen-real-estate than that at a higher pixel density? Obviously all speculative at this point, but after playing with the retina MBP in the stores, it's the one thing keeping me from automatically embracing the concept of a retina iMac.
27" iMacs are already Retina, I certainly can't see pixels at normal viewing distances.

If they wanted to boost resolutions, 2880x 1880 would do.
 

diagnostics247

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2012
34
0
The amount of GPU needed to power a retina display that large would be ridiculous and most likely would not be able to fit in the current form factor.


Stop the madness.
 

ivoruest

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2010
398
28
Guatemala
27" iMacs are already Retina, I certainly can't see pixels at normal viewing distances.

If they wanted to boost resolutions, 2880x 1880 would do.
That resolution you say is very uncommon, if it exists at all. It should be 2880x1800.

Even with this resolution PPI will be less than 130 in the 27" screen. This is nowhere close to 330ppi which should be a real Retina display.

If they were to use something worthy of Apples "Most Incredible iMac Ever" slogan it should be at least a 4k resolution screen. Even a 4k is still less than real retina for that screen size. But, of course users normally sit a bit farther away on an iMac than iPhone, which is around 325ppi. This would make an iMac sort of retina. Just like the Macbook Pro Retina Display. So 4k will be the minimum I would expect from Apple.

Besides. 4k on a 27" screen is around 220ppi and is not currently supported by most consumer graphics cards. Not to mention this will not happen in at least 1 year.
 

fisha

macrumors regular
Mar 10, 2006
165
11
I agree with the idea that IF the iMac end retina style, then it would be a QFHD panel running 3840x2160 where the native retina-resolution is 1920X1080, and then have the higher resolutions scaled.

Even on a 27" display, a smooth 1920 resolution would be nicely usable.
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,753
142
27" iMacs are already Retina, I certainly can't see pixels at normal viewing distances.

If they wanted to boost resolutions, 2880x 1880 would do.
They are? That's not what Apple seems to think. Though I think Apple made up the term Retina and we all bought it.
 

uptownnyc

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 28, 2011
496
401
I agree with the idea that IF the iMac end retina style, then it would be a QFHD panel running 3840x2160 where the native retina-resolution is 1920X1080, and then have the higher resolutions scaled.
That's what I suspect ... so a native retina resolution with less usable screen space than the high-end 2560 x 1440 that's available today.
 

fisha

macrumors regular
Mar 10, 2006
165
11
Agreed. Although 1920 resolution is still very usable ... especially if the content within is displayed retina. You can place 2 windows side by side at 1920 resolution and retina would make the text within them very sharp and easy to read at the average 100% zoom.

Whilst the higher res displays give you more usable space, most things still default to the 100% zoom and text becomes quite small. For general use, I think I would prefer the lower usable resolution, but sharper content.

Having a quick look round, Sharp seems to have a 32" 4K display on the cards but its panasonic that touted a 20" 4k lcd ... no obvious mention of the 27" size or anything close to it.
 

turtlez

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2012
977
0
Well whatever happens Apple will make it a great user experience. You can trust in that. Retina will come to the iMac eventually.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
That's what I suspect ... so a native retina resolution with less usable screen space than the high-end 2560 x 1440 that's available today.
By the time that a Retina iMac comes out I would think that scaling performance will be much better. Running a 4k iMac in "Looks like 2560x1440" mode should be just fine.

You could also run it at plain old 3840x2160 if what you want is max real estate :)
 

Cory Bauer

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2003
594
207
That's what I suspect ... so a native retina resolution with less usable screen space than the high-end 2560 x 1440 that's available today.
I personally believe Apple will continue to do as they did with the 15" MacBook Pro, where they exactly double the resolution of the screen in order to maintain the exact same usable working space as the previous stock configuration. I just don't see Apple downgrading the 27" iMac to a 1920x1080-equivelant usable working space; besides, if they did that then what would the 21.5" iMac operate at? The same 1920x1080-equivelant working space? Downgraded to a 1280x720 working space?

I think the 27" iMac will either remain non-retina until a 5120x2880 screen is technically and financially feasible, or be killed off entirely like the 17" MacBook Pro was, before it'd ever see a downgrade to a 1920x1080 workspace.
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
2,037
1,600
Lincoln, UK
Besides. 4k on a 27" screen is around 220ppi and is not currently supported by most consumer graphics cards. Not to mention this will not happen in at least 1 year.
The Ivy Bridge integrated GPU that is in the 2012 Macs can support 4096x4096, so 4K is fine.

http://www.techspot.com/news/45539-intel-ivy-bridge-gpu-to-support-4k-resolutions.html

I'm not sure if there is a discrete GPU set up to support 5120x2880 to enable pixel-doubling the current 27" iMac resolution. Maybe there will be a dual link going on as some video cards support dual monitors, one link for each half of the screen.
 

Rizzm

macrumors 6502a
Feb 5, 2012
586
11
That resolution you say is very uncommon, if it exists at all. It should be 2880x1800.

Even with this resolution PPI will be less than 130 in the 27" screen. This is nowhere close to 330ppi which should be a real Retina display.

If they were to use something worthy of Apples "Most Incredible iMac Ever" slogan it should be at least a 4k resolution screen. Even a 4k is still less than real retina for that screen size. But, of course users normally sit a bit farther away on an iMac than iPhone, which is around 325ppi. This would make an iMac sort of retina. Just like the Macbook Pro Retina Display. So 4k will be the minimum I would expect from Apple.

Besides. 4k on a 27" screen is around 220ppi and is not currently supported by most consumer graphics cards. Not to mention this will not happen in at least 1 year.
Clearly you don't know what "Retina" means if you think it's all about PPI.
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
Besides. 4k on a 27" screen is around 220ppi and is not currently supported by most consumer graphics cards. Not to mention this will not happen in at least 1 year.
4k (3840 x 2160) on a 27" display is 163ppi. That's the same ppi as the original iPhone display interestingly enough.

The issue of course is that as you go to larger screens you have yield issues (dead pixels etc. become statistically more likely) which can significantly increase the cost of a good panel, but 163ppi isn't exactly pushing the extremes of what can currently be produced.
 

ivoruest

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2010
398
28
Guatemala
Clearly you don't know what "Retina" means if you think it's all about PPI.
In the end its all about PPI. A 50" screen with 4 pixels will also be a "Retina" if you sit on the moon.

----------

4k (3840 x 2160) on a 27" display is 163ppi. That's the same ppi as the original iPhone display interestingly enough.

The issue of course is that as you go to larger screens you have yield issues (dead pixels etc. become statistically more likely) which can significantly increase the cost of a good panel, but 163ppi isn't exactly pushing the extremes of what can currently be produced.
Yes, I messed up with the numbers I guess. You're right in you're statement although not even high end graphics card like the GeForce 680M (which is currently the most powerful mobile graphics card out there) don't support this resolution.

The GTX660M does support this resolution but it would be working quite hard to run applications in this settings. Also the Radeon 7970M but, is Apple going to continue with AMD?

http://www.geforce.com/hardware/notebook-gpus/geforce-gtx-680m/features

*Please correct me if I'm wrong. I keep on learning everyday.