This question is basically about how do different resolution settings affect the performance of your MacBook.

By default retinas are set at the "retina" display mode. You can also set them to the "more space mode", and with 3rd party tools you can go native (much higher)!

But what I want to know is, how does "upping" the res affect the performance of the mac, in particular how does going beyond the retina option affect:

  1. The CPU
  2. The GPU
  3. IO?
  4. RAM (I imagine there is no effect here?)
  5. Battery life (I imagine this depends on how much the CPU/GPU is affected?)

And if any of these are affected, is the relationship 1:1, or exponential, or what?

  • "and with 3rd party tools you can go native (much higher)" I'm sorry, can you please clarify your question? Are you asking if it's possible to run a display with, for example, a native resolution of 1280x800 at 1920x1080? If so, that is not possible. Here's a nifty little discussion on the topic: forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1983801 (it seems much of your question is in there).
    – user10355
    Jan 22 '14 at 3:29
  • @cksum It's clear to me...the 13" rMBP has a native resolution of 2560x1600, but by default Apple runs it at a simulated 1280x800 (which is "retina," since it's the same physical size as a standard 13" display, but with 4x the pixels). There's no built-in option in OS X to actually run the display at its native 2560x1600, but you can do so with third-party tools. That said, I don't have an answer to his question...
    – daGUY
    Jan 22 '14 at 3:40
  • @daGUY it's clear to me that you haven't a clue as to what you're talking about. All Apple notebooks run at their native resolution. If they didn't, the content would be blurry. Image scaling is not the same thing as DPI. And OS X doesn't run at x0.5. What Apple does is intelligently scale content to 2x (just like on iOS). Apple does this to maximize image quality rather than simply enlarging screen real estate. Next time, please don't be rude if you have absolutely nothing to add. We're here to help people.
    – user10355
    Jan 22 '14 at 7:49
  • hey @cksum sorry if the question isn't clear, perhaps you can help clarify? My question is twofold. 1. If I use the "more space" setting, does that affect perf? 2. if I use 3rd party tools like the ones described here apple.stackexchange.com/questions/53605/… does it affect perf? Which part of my question would you like me to edit, I'm happy to clarify! cheers.
    – andy
    Jan 22 '14 at 8:23
  • I can't speak for performance. My gut tells me no, but I really have no data to support that, so you'll have to wait for others to chime in. The problem with your question is the use of " native resolution." And that's why I linked to the discussion on Whirlpool. You aren't at all talking about resolution. You cannot alter an LCD panel's native resolution. You can, however, alter the display resolution (that is, what everything on screen is being scaled too). The link you posted seems to deal with the resolution issue. You may want to link back to that in your q, then ask about perf issues.
    – user10355
    Jan 22 '14 at 8:51

From personal experience, the resolution has little impact of the 5 aspects listed. However, for me, there's a 6th and this seems to be affected quite a lot. Namely myself. I find that tiny fonts will make my eyes squint and I need to use more brainpower to read StackExchange questions, leaving a little less available to understand some of the remarkable comments left below the question (especially since the font is even smaller for those). My own battery life is severely degraded and I think I'll need to hit the sack in an hour or so. Damn it, that's it, I'll switch to 'Best for Retina', can't even see where the submit button is!

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