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I have a 2015 retina macbook pro, the default scaled resolution of 1920x1080 would be too small for me. I currently have a 2560x1440 display and couldn't accept less real estate.

Under the display settings, if you select "scaled" you should be able to choose between "larger text" or "more space". If I understand correctly, all of these options should use 3840x2160 pixels to render the output (ie, the monitor wont know the difference). The default scaling option should be the equivalent of 1920x1080. I was wondering if you choose "more space" it would allow for the equivalent of 2560x1440 (but scaled so should look crisper than a 2560x1440 display).

enter image description here

As a bonus question, would this be comfortable on a 24" display (eg, Dell P2415Q)

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I bought one (the Dell P2415Q) so can offer the results...

Scaled options are: 1504x846, 1920x1080, 2304x1296, 2560x1440 and 3008x1692

That is to say, the macbook always outputs 3840x2160, 60Hz as far as the monitor is concerned. It just "looks like" those resolutions in terms of real-estate.

1920x1080 is the default, and other scaled resolutions are given with the warning that "Using a scaled resolution may affect performance".

eg.

Looks like 1920x1080: 1080

Looks like 3008x1692: 1692

Source: My MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015), running 10.10.4, 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5, Intel Iris Graphics 6100 1536 MB

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Note that if you Alt+click the "Scaled" resolution radio in the display preferences you will see many more resolution options than the default 5 (source: Apple support article "Using 4K displays, 5K displays, and Ultra HD TVs with your Mac").

The options depend on the maximum resolution of your monitor and possibly your Mac graphic card/Mac generation etc.

For my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) and LG 27 inch 4K monitor I see the following options:

enter image description here

Full list:

  • 3840 x 2160 (4K)
  • 3360 x 1890
  • 3200 x 1800
  • 3008 x 1692
  • 2560 x 1440
  • 2304 x 1296
  • 2048 x 1152
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 1680 x 945
  • 1600 x 900
  • 1503 x 846
  • 1280 x 720
  • 1152 x 648

And to answer your bonus question:

I am guessing that you use 2560x1440 on a 27 inch display now.

If so then to be comfortable you should get also 27 inch 4K monitor and use scaled resolution from the list above that will "look like" 2560x1440.

You will get the same screen real estate and same size of everything, just sharper.

However performance will be noticeably worse, in form of a delay after you type something and before it appears on the screen. Of course it will be in range of milliseconds, but you will notice it.

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Default is (like) 2560 by 1440. The next smaller one would be (like) 1920 by 1080. The next larger would be 3008 by 1692, and the "More Space" would be 3840 by 2160.

Source: macworld

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