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Anyway to tap into "Retina" images for a non-Retina Mac?

mac os x 10.8 mountain lion retina ui

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#1 Shadrack

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:53

I have a Cinema 27" display that can do 2560 x 1440, and the 13.3" rMBP can do 2560 x 1600. The UI elements on the 13.3 rMBP are not tiny, so I figure they are using larger images.

I realize things would seem really large, but I would like to have all the UI elements larger but still pixel-per-pixel high resolution. I've found I actually like using my 27" monitor at 1600 x 900, because the UI elements are easier for me to see. However, the font rendering is crap and the pixelation is crap.

I'm using a mid-2009 Macbook Pro with a 9400M. I'm thinking it would probably lag, but it would still be nice to see if it was possible.


#2 rfirth

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:02

Since the rMBP uses pixel doubling, it would make your 27" screen look like it was 1280x720, correct?

#3 The_Decryptor

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:56

http://osxdaily.com/...-mac-os-x-lion/

Basically you enable the HiDPI modes, restart and then chose a scaled resolution in the Display pref pane.

#4 OP Shadrack

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 16:49

http://osxdaily.com/...-mac-os-x-lion/

Basically you enable the HiDPI modes, restart and then chose a scaled resolution in the Display pref pane.


Oh nice! Can't wait to try this when I get home. Thanks.

#5 OP Shadrack

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 16:55

Since the rMBP uses pixel doubling, it would make your 27" screen look like it was 1280x720, correct?


In some applications it would. Like I said, I'm running 1600x900. Some graphics in applications will be stretched, but I think that the font rendering will look overall better in a HiDPI mode. Idk, I'm going to try it out and I'll post my thoughts here.

#6 OP Shadrack

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 23:13

I definitely feel a lag with HiDPI enabled. I have it in 1280x720 (HiDPI) mode. I'm a little bit confused on what that means exactly. To me, the display looks crisp and non-pixelated. Is it 2560 x 1440 resolution, but non HiDPI elements are displayed as if my monitor was in 1280x720 mode?

Also, is there anyway to force MS Office 2011 into HiDPI mode? I know that MS updates Office 2011 for rMBP but simply setting the monitor display to HiDPI doesn't seem to be working.

#7 +OOOOOOOO

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 23:24

In some applications it would. Like I said, I'm running 1600x900. Some graphics in applications will be stretched, but I think that the font rendering will look overall better in a HiDPI mode. Idk, I'm going to try it out and I'll post my thoughts here.


Font rendering will look the same as it does on normal. All that will happen is all the graphics etc will be larger. They'll still show in the same dpi on your screen. The difference between the pixel density is the core here. Not the size of the graphics or fonts ... fonts are rendered with vector data. I don't see any benefit to what you're hoping to do :)

#8 OP Shadrack

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 23:42

Why I've done this is because I want my whole UI scaled to be larger because I have a hard time seeing, but I still want my fonts to render sharply and if there are retina graphics to be used, use them so things still appear to be sharp. And it works. I could just set my display to 1280x720 but then all the fonts look pixilated. If I set it to 1280x720 (HiDPI) it really isn't 1280x720, it is 2560 x 1440 but some graphics are stretched and the fonts look really nice.

Also, you are absolutely correct that font rendering is the same because it is all vectors. However, soooooo much of Mac OS X is pixel-by-pixel based. You can up your default font sizes with a trick, but the result is that the larger fonts hang off of the rasterized UI elements. I'm loving this 1280x720 HiDPI mode so far. Its exactly what i was looking for.

#9 OP Shadrack

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 23:54

Just noticed that I hadn't updated Office 2011 to include the retina graphics. After updating it is all looking great. Brilliant. Thanks for the tip, The_Decrypter.

#10 OP Shadrack

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 00:12

Here it is in screenshots.

Here is my display on normal 2560 x 1440 mode (ignore my text in my word document). All the UI elements are sooo small!
Posted Image

Here is my desktop at 1280 x 720. I can click the UI elements easier, but I can perceive the pixilation and it bothers me and the text looks terrible on this 2560 x 1440 display!
Posted Image

Now, here is 1280 x 720 (HiDPI) mode. Notice that it is 2560 x 1440 but with larger UI elements and in some cases where higher resolution graphics are not available a 1280 x 720 graphic is used and substituted. Fonts look gorgeous.

Posted Image



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