Scaled Resolution on a iMac 5k 27"


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Hi. I'm trying to find the best solution for "scaling" on an iMac 5k 27". The UI on the recommended "looks like 2560x1440" is bit too small for my taste (ie. text size in system menus, menu bar, etc..). If, however, I "scale down" to 2048x1152, it says 4096 x 2304 in "System Report" (under Graphics/Displays) which seems to imply that I'm not getting 5K anymore...

I've been reading about Apple's "retina" display and how it produces clearer texts and user interface elements in general, by doubling/quadrupling the pixels used. I definitely notice the difference in clarity (for icons and text) between my 4k LG monitor the iMac 5k. However, am I still getting retina if I use a lower "scaling" than the recommended 2560x1440 (ie. 2048x1152)? Would my screen still be displaying the maximum pixels (ie. "5120 x 2880") or does that effectively reduce the resolution to 4096 x 2304?

Hoping someone could explain.
 
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As I understand it, the screen will still render at 5120 X 2880 but the the operating system will scale the user interface to give a perceived resolution of 2048 X 1440.
 
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As I understand it, the screen will still render at 5120 X 2880 but the the operating system will scale the user interface to give a perceived resolution of 2048 X 1440.
Yeah- I hoped and thought that would be the case but the "System Report" (mentioned above) suggests otherwise.

Also, just to test- I scaled way down to 1152x648 and then there was an undeniable decrease in resolution on the task bar icons (obviously, I accounted for the change in their size) This all suggests that "scaled" resolutions are indeed decreasing the screens visible pixels on the screen.
 

Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

Yes, it can be confusing, as Apple is the only one that advertises 5K. This article may help a bit:

How to Run iMac Retina 4K/5K at Full Resolution: EveryMac.com

Basically, if you leave the Displays setting at Default for display, you will get the native/best resolution the display is capable of. The 5K they advertise, is just the number of pixels of the panel, not necessarily with regards to resolution like you see for video content like 4K/HD/1080p/etc. The scaled resolutions are software-controlled resolutions that remap the resolution to the actual pixels in the panel. Because of the pixel density of the panel, the higher settings will still look razor sharp, but the lower you go, the more "blurry" it can seem. The higher the resolution (larger numbers), the smaller things will look on your screen.

Let us know if that helps,

C
 
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Thanks. I've read that page, and the way you explained it is certainly what I thought might be the case. So, that basically means that there's no software-controlled way to get 5k resolution on any layout "below" the Default display? Above, yes, but the lower display layouts effectively bring the resolution down, correct?

The default layout on the 5k 27" is tolerable for me, and I can easily adjust the dock/icons size to my liking. It's just that some the other elements -specifically the menus/menu bar seem tiny. Maybe there is a way to tweak their size, independently, perhaps in Terminal?
 

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