Apple to enable pixel-doubled 'Retina' mode for 4K monitors in OS X 10.9.3

Posted:
in macOS edited March 2014
It appears that Apple will be enabling additional support for 4K displays with the latest OS X 10.9.3 maintenance update, with people familiar with the beta reporting support for so-called pixel-doubling, 60Hz refresh rates with late-2013 MacBook Pros and more.

MST
New 4K display settings in OS X 10.9.3. | Source: KhaosT via Twitter


According to reports, compatible Macs running OS X 10.9.3 now have more scaling options to work with, including a pixel-doubling mode that can display a desktop at native "Retina" levels over HDMI and likely Thunderbolt. The new options, spotted by Khaos Tian, reside in the Displays menu of OS X System Preferences and were not announced with in Apple's latest OS X 10.9.3 beta release notes.

The OS X 10.9.3 beta, released earlier today, allows for pixel-doubling, which makes content appear as it does on the late-2013 MacBook Pro with Retina display screen while maintaining sharpness. For most users, this new feature will make 4K displays easier to work with on a day-to-day basis.

With Apple's current external monitor support in OS X 10.9.2, Retina MacBook Pro and Mac Pro users are limited to a max scaled output resolution of 4,096 pixels-by-2,160 pixels at 24Hz, meaning system-level graphical assets are spread out. For example, the menu bar on the laptop would show up incredibly small on a connected 4K display.

Another output option for the laptop is 3,840 pixels-by-2,160 pixels at 30Hz, though the resulting image is similar and nowhere near native. In both cases, 4K signals are piped through HDMI.

In addition to the new scaling options, the beta now allows the Retina MacBook Pro to output to a 4K display at 60Hz. Currently, the refresh rate is capped at 30Hz, making animations like mouse cursor scrolling choppy.

It appears that the upcoming maintenance update will bring the late-2013 Retina MacBook Pro's 4K feature set more in line with that of the Mac Pro, which is already capable of pumping out 60Hz via multi-stream transport (MST) over Thunderbolt to displays that support the refresh rate. The changes Apple made to enable 60Hz for the Retina MacBook Pro is unknown at this time, though Khaos has found the refresh rate is available over HDMI.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    1) It's about time, but it'll still probably be 6-10 weeks before this update is out of Beta.

    2) I hope Apple releases their own 4K display this year and I hope it's $2,999 or less.
  • Reply 2 of 54
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    This change alone is enough to make me upgrade my 2012 MBP Retina to a 2013. Imagine: a 2013 MBP in clamshell mode powering a Dell UP2414Q at 1920x1080 Retina, with an external Apple keyboard. Like a nMP for people on a budget.

  • Reply 3 of 54
    Maybe a future Retina iMac and Retina Cinema Display is in the cards. And if not, it's still a great way to make use of high density 2160p displays on Mac Pros.
  • Reply 4 of 54
    hydrhydr Posts: 146member

    YAY!

     

    I´m picking up my Mac Pro + Pegasus 2 R6 next week. My plan is to use a Sharp 70" UHD LED display, and get 10.9.3 with 4k 60Hz running retina mode. 70" UHD cost less than $4k on amazon now. 

    Now if only Apple could come out with a 4K display of their own, I´d add that as a secondary in a heartbeat. 

  • Reply 5 of 54
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Works as advertised. :)

  • Reply 6 of 54
    19831983 Posts: 1,165member
    And about time too!
  • Reply 7 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    2) I hope Apple releases their own 4K display this year and I hope it's $2,999 or less.

     

    Of course they will, and it likely won't be much more than the current $999. People forget what a good deal the LED Cinema Display was when it came out - no other displays with that LG panel used LED backlighting, much less had a glass front, camera, speakers, microphone, ambient light sensor, USB hub and mini-DisplayPort. Dell is already selling barebones 4K displays at sub $1K prices, so Apple will be fine at $999 or a little more.

  • Reply 8 of 54
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    Gah! Only for late 2013 MBP's, and I've got an early 2013!

    Might be what finally makes me pull the trigger and buy a new Mac Pro.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Gah! Only for late 2013 MBP's, and I've got an early 2013!

    Might be what finally makes me pull the trigger and buy a new Mac Pro.

    That was expected since your MBP doesn't have TB2, which only arrived the second-half of 2013. Without TB2 you're only able to push 10Gbps in one direction. Perhaps 30Hz would work but from what I've seen it's not a good experience. If that still appeals to you, have you looked into one of the hacks?
  • Reply 10 of 54
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    bluevoid wrote: »
    Of course they will, and it likely won't be much more than the current $999. People forget what a good deal the LED Cinema Display was when it came out - no other displays with that LG panel used LED backlighting, much less had a glass front, camera, speakers, microphone, ambient light sensor, USB hub and mini-DisplayPort. Dell is already selling barebones 4K displays at sub $1K prices, so Apple will be fine at $999 or a little more.

    Dell does sell a 4K display under $1000, as do others, but it's not a quality panel. Dell sells other 4K display that are much more expensive. I don't see Apple selling a 4K display and using a cheap panel. Even when they used TN panels they still used high quality, factory calibrated TN panels. Then you have to consider it'll have a TB2 hub with USB3.0, GigE, a microphone, speakers, MagSafe, and probably resemble the iMac with its aluminum friction-stir welds. I don't see it coming in under $999 this year… or the next several years.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    brlawyerbrlawyer Posts: 828member

    Considering how crappy HDMI works with my Sony home theater setup, I can only expect that Apple's new displays accept only TB. It's unbelievable to see HDMI's feed gaps whenever changing video sources...not to mention the absence of support for closed captioning, of course.

  • Reply 12 of 54
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    That was expected since your MBP doesn't have TB2, which only arrived the second-half of 2013. Without TB2 you're only able to push 10Gbps in one direction. Perhaps 30Hz would work but from what I've seen it's not a good experience. If that still appeals to you, have you looked into one of the hacks?

     

    No, I've not look at any hacks to make this work.



    To be perfectly honest, I'll not do anything about 4k until Apple come out with a 4k display.  Looking at the 4k displays some people have at work now, coupled with a Windows machine, I'm not impressed enough to want to ditch my two Thunderbolt displays for a non-Apple 4k monitor.

     

    I was kind of aware of the fact that when 4k comes along from Apple I would probably have to switch of the Mac as well, since as well as the Thunderbolt bandwidth limit, I'd wonder whether or not the graphics card in my current machine has the horsepower to push two 4k displays and it's own inbuilt monitor.

     

    While I could live without using the laptop display and just have two Thunderbolts (or whatever they will call their inevitable 4k display), I absolutely couldn't put up with only one display.

     

    I've been thinking about getting a Mac Pro for at work, and getting a MacBook Air for when I need to be on the road.  This maybe the thing that tips my hand.

  • Reply 13 of 54
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    No, I've not look at any hacks to make this work.


    To be perfectly honest, I'll not do anything about 4k until Apple come out with a 4k display.  Looking at the 4k displays some people have at work now, coupled with a Windows machine, I'm not impressed enough to want to ditch my two Thunderbolt displays for a non-Apple 4k monitor.

    I was kind of aware of the fact that when 4k comes along from Apple I would probably have to switch of the Mac as well, since as well as the Thunderbolt bandwidth limit, I'd wonder whether or not the graphics card in my current machine has the horsepower to push two 4k displays and it's own inbuilt monitor.

    While I could live without using the laptop display and just have two Thunderbolts (or whatever they will call their inevitable 4k display), I absolutely couldn't put up with only one display.

    I've been thinking about getting a Mac Pro for at work, and getting a MacBook Air for when I need to be on the road.  This maybe the thing that tips my hand.

    4K is 1.5x as many pixels (50% more pixels) than a single 30" display, right?
  • Reply 14 of 54
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post









    4K is 1.5x as many pixels (50% more pixels) than a single 30" display, right?

     

    I don't think so?

     

    4k is 3840 x 2160, so ~8.3m pixels

    My Thunderbolt is 2560 x 1440, so ~3.7m pixels.



    4k is over twice as many pixels, isn't it?

  • Reply 15 of 54
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I don't think so?

    4k is 3840 x 2160, so ~8.3m pixels
    My Thunderbolt is 2560 x 1440, so ~3.7m pixels.


    4k is over twice as many pixels, isn't it?

    Thanks. I was thinking of resolution. 3840 ÷ 2560 or 2160 ÷ 1440 = 1.5.

    Anyway, what I was thinking is that because your laptop can power 2xTB displays at ?3.7Mpx and your MBP at once that if the hack does work for your machine that your GPU should be able to handle it, especially if you use the Retina look and not do a 1x1 pixel to make items smaller.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Thanks. I was thinking of resolution. 3840 ÷ 2560 or 2160 ÷ 1440 = 1.5.



    Anyway, what I was thinking is that because your laptop can power 2xTB displays at ?3.7Mpx and your MBP at once that if the hack does work for your machine that your GPU should be able to handle it, especially if you use the Retina look and not do a 1x1 pixel to make items smaller.

     

    Got it, yeah, I see what you mean.

     

    I'll dig in and see what I can figure out.

     

    On the one hand, I'd kind of be happy to switch to a Mac Pro at work, then a Macbook Air for on the road, but I'm loathe to give up the 15" Retina MBP I've got at the moment.  Of all the computers I've had, from the Sinclair ZX81 up, it's the only computer I've ever had where I genuinely can't think of anything I don't like about it.

  • Reply 17 of 54
    I've been running my late 2013 macbook pro retina on a 39" seiko 4K display for 3 months now. I had to use a special dongle (Accell (B086B-008B-2) UltraAV Mini DisplayPort 1.1 to HDMI 1.4 Active Adapter - AMD Eyefinity Certified) to go from the MBP to my monitor. It's 30hz and the color on the seiko panel isn't fantastic but it's workable for most of what I do. My ColorMunky display won't calibrate it, I think, because it's at 30hz and not 60hz.

    That being said it creates a ton of screen real estate to work with, which is nice. I was surprised the first time I hooked it up and mirrored the display that it forced the MCP screen into 4K but it's too small to read with any kind of usability.

    It will be exciting if I can do this natively with out the dongle.
  • Reply 18 of 54
    curtis hannahcurtis hannah Posts: 1,755member
    solipsismx wrote: »


    4K is 1.5x as many pixels (50% more pixels) than a single 30" display, right?
    It seems to be double the pixels of 2 thunderbolt, so older macbookpros should have the gpu.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    I have Mavericks on 3 computers. On one of them mail works with my most important hosted gmail account. The other 2 have had major issues. The latest update complete destroyed the ability to use apple mail for that account on my main work computer. It's been a nightmare. The strange thing is I have 2 other hosted gmail accounts that work fine in there. Add my main one, and it just kills Apple Mail.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    Dell has 3 4K monitors, a 24", a 28" and a 32". Only the 28" is a cheap TN panel, both the 24 and 32 are IPSAnd only the 32" is horrendously expensive,  the 24" (UP2414Q) is only US$1,149. And it has "PremierColor" = 99% AbodeRGB and 100% sRGB. This is the sweet spot IMHO, because it crams 4K resolution in to 24" which is more Retina-like than e.g. having it on a 32" monitor.

Sign In or Register to comment.