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resolution scaling for MacBook Pro (non-retina)

1417 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Feb 28, 2013 9:36 PM by pizza29965 RSS
buckym Calculating status...
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Feb 20, 2013 2:39 PM

I see that the MacBook Pro Retina has a nifty resolution scaling feature that can make the fonts/icons look bigger while maintaining the display's native resolution.


Does the non-Retina MBP have the same ability? I would really like to be able to scale by 125% (fonts/icons appear 125% bigger) while keeping native resolution of 1440x900.

  • pcpu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 20, 2013 8:38 PM (in response to buckym)

    You might be able to 'hack' your computer and enable 1400x900 HiDPI resolution through the software but...


    1.) Your display is mostly likely only capable of displaying 1400x900, you need a display that can display 2x that resolution of 2800x1800 at a minimum.   Only the 15inch Retina or some external monitor would be capable of that.


    2.)If you enabled HiDPI it might not look good on your native 1400x900 display.   The current 15 cMBP and rMBP can have the same hardware with few differences.   They can have the same processor and gpu so, the only bottleneck to you doing retina resolution of 1400x900 HiDPI is the display itself. Maybe some internal software setting that enable the up and down scaling,which might be only active for retina MBP.

  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 Level 7 (26,655 points)
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    Feb 21, 2013 2:55 AM (in response to buckym)

    Try a demo of SwitchResX - I'm not sure that it will do exactly what you're looking to do, but it might be of some assistance.



  • pcpu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 21, 2013 5:27 AM (in response to buckym)

    First thing is the resolution on your display is 1400x900, you cannot use any resolution above that value.   If you do it will look serious bad.  


    To achieve a 1400x900 HiDPI resolution you need to have a display with a resolution of at least 2800 x 1800.


    Bacially you are limited by your maximum display resolution which is a hardware attribute that you cannot change.

  • pizza29965 Calculating status...
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    Feb 28, 2013 1:16 PM (in response to pcpu)

    pcpu, you don't understand at all what he wants.  clinton, that program won't do what he wants.


    What the OP is talking about is that on a retina display there is the option to choose a lower resolution than 1440x900 and have it scale it up to still look reasonable, but have less screen space.  Therefore larger icons and such.  You can't do this on non retina displays.  The closest thing is to set your resolution (found in the display panel of the preferences app) to a lower resolution that still matches your screen size, and it will scale it up somewhat, but it will not be as crisp as it is now unfortunately.  You're using 1440x900 at the moment, which means you're on a 16:10 (or 8:5) display.  So, you should be able to set it down to 1280x800 and that should have a similar effect to what the retina displays do.

  • pcpu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 28, 2013 1:59 PM (in response to pizza29965)



    Read what I wrote, it is pretty clear.   To achieve a 1400x900 HiDPI resolution you need to have a display with a resolution of at least 2800 x 1800.  


    The best he can do with his current 1400x900 display is 700x450 HiDPI.  In order to replicate retina you need to divde your max_height, max_width of the display you want by 2.


    There is no chance he will achieve 1280x800 HiDPI mode on a 1440x900 display; but he can on 2560x1600 display.  How did I get 2560x1600, I multiplied 1280x800 by 2.  It simple math.


    Let me know if anything I said is not clear.

  • pizza29965 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Feb 28, 2013 9:36 PM (in response to buckym)

    Sorry, but I don't think it's possible.  The Retina display does let you choose a couple options that are higher resolution than half, but as far as I can tell those appear blurry just like selecting that smaller resolution does for you, and all it really does is make the OS treat it like that's the resolution.  At best you'd only get a few things taht would look any better than just straight up setting your resolution to 1280x800.  I looked around a lot and wasn't able to find anything.


    @pcpu  Sorry, but that wasn't what he was asking.  On the Retina MacBook you have 4 or 5 scale options, a few of them make it so you don't have the full resolution possible, but it's bigger than 1/2 the display resolution anyway, and I guess it might display UI elements that are vector in the actual full resolution, but most things look blurry from what I've heard.  He was asking if it was possible to do that same thing on his display, which I looked into, and I was unable to find any way to make the computer do the same thing on a non-retina display.  Telling him about how retina works isn't what he wanted, he wanted the UI bigger, and the UI is entirely vector or some such at this point so it would have looked just fine bigger if he could scale.


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