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Displays Graphics Windows Hardware

Windows 8 Has Scaling Issues On High-PPI Displays 171

Posted by timothy
from the to-be-fair-there's-not-much-room-there dept.
crookedvulture writes "High-PPI displays are becoming increasingly popular on tablets and notebooks, but Windows 8 may not be ready for them. On a 13" notebook display with a 1080p resolution, the RTM version of Win8 scales up some desktop UI elements nicely. However, there are serious issues with Metro, which produces tiles and text that are either too small or too large depending on the PPI setting used. That setting, by the way, is a simple on/off switch that tells the OS to 'make everything bigger.' Web browsing is particularly problematic, with Internet Explorer 10 introducing ugly rendering artifacts when scaling pages in both Metro and desktop modes. Clearly, there's work to be done on the OS side to properly support higher pixel densities."
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Windows 8 Has Scaling Issues On High-PPI Displays

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @02:43PM (#41467053)

    I once worked on hardware rendering with a webkit-based browser, and these kind of issues are very common when you're converting between floating-point layout coordinate and integer screen space.
    Some rendering pipelines make it harder than others to deal with, especially if you can't control the behaviour of non-integer pixels at the edge of images. To fix it, you have to visit all the conversion sites and decide how you want to handle the conversion. It gets especially tricky if you're scaling and stitching images together that you've uploaded as multiple textures to get around maximum texture size issues. Concatenated transformations through composition layers can be tricky too depending on what your graphics API does.

  • by mystikkman (1487801) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @02:53PM (#41467165)

    Thanks for the typical obligatory karma whoring post full of snark.

    Meanwhile, they did figure it out to the extent it can be.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/03/21/scaling-to-different-screens.aspx [msdn.com]

    Meanwhile, Apple has similar issues with their retina display:

    http://blog.macsales.com/14111-15-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-lessens-web-experience [macsales.com]
    http://www.robertotoole.com/2012/06/17/macbook-pro-retina-display/ [robertotoole.com]

    Meanwhile, let the anti-MS bashfest continue.

  • by Misagon (1135) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @03:03PM (#41467317)

    The Metro APIs were designed for web front-end programmers, not people who write for real GUI toolkits. You can build quite competent Metro apps in HTML and Javascript, and if you reach any limits, your web shop could hire a third party to write a module in C# or C++ to work around it.

    The API for web programmers includes also rules that that apps should be made for a finite set of fixed screen sizes. Not resolutions -- screen sizes. Metro was never designed to be scalable.

    This is not only a Windows problem, though. MacOS X on Retina(tm) displays is just as bad, but there the OS draws everything twice as big to begin with and scales down if needed when compositing windows. Apple never cared about hinting anyway, so all controls and labels are just as fuzzy scaled to 125% as always.

  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @03:30PM (#41467799) Homepage

    Your first link is a very interesting link, which kind of proves that MS doesn't understand dpi since they insist on a "minimum resolution" instead of a "minimum size" for screens for the Metro UI. Way off the point.

    Both links on the Apple side of the story, however, are so stupid I have to assume you haven't even had a look at them. Basically, both complain that the UI elements have the same size on the MacBook Retina than on a normal MacBook !!! Right from your second link: "This configuration should offer amazing detail but you don’t actually get any more desktop space". Well, guess what: That was the point, very precisely.

    Overall you just proved that MS doesn't know what they are doing and Apple does. Nice way to illustrate an anti MS bashfest. Wait... wasn't that your intent?

  • Re:Wha...? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pieroxy (222434) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @04:11PM (#41468581) Homepage

    They chose to build their own hardware specifically so that they don't have to solve unsolvable problems. To me, it looks like they are the smart one in this fight.

    But sure, blame it on Apple for taking a highly risky path to solve important problems hardware wise because it's so much simpler.

    In the meantime I am entertained to see MS struggle to tackle a problem clearly too big for them. Windows 8 will soon be there with so many stupid design decisions in it, like, I don't know, having 4 different modes for their browser. As if testing IE7, IE8 and IE9 wasn't enough, we'll now have to add IE10 Desktop, IE10 Metro, IE10 Webview, IE10 WebviewMetro and IE10MicrosoftIsFullOfShitICantTakeItAnymoreHowCanAnyCompanyBeSoStupid

    But please, give them your money. Support the good fight.

  • by LocalH (28506) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @03:25AM (#41474959) Homepage

    You're thinking old-school, and thus are part of the problem. The point of high-DPI displays isn't to have more screen real estate or to display more information in the same space, it's to have sharper text and image display at a usable size. Since this is a transition period, images are going to be worse off than text. I'm sick and tired of displays that are approximately 100dpi or so (given the average 17" laptop display). Display technology has lagged behind every other improvement in technology over the last 15 years. Thank God there's finally a push for higher pixel density. The best of both worlds will be when image and video editing apps make use of the higher resolution while still displaying UI at a reasonable size. Ever wonder why a lot of people have run LCD displays at non-native resolutions? Because without resolution independence, high-res displays present UI and text that is way too small for them to read. Proper resolution independence will allow people to run their displays at native, without worrying about being able to read what's on the screen.

    As with anything, early adopters tend to get burnt or otherwise are dissatisfied with the performance. Apple does happen to have a leg up here, with their experience on the iPhone/iPod touch 4. The fact that Apple uses integer ratios for their screens (even on the Macbook Pro where the resolution can be adjusted, the backend renders at an integer ratio) is a big plus as it means that what we see in these screenshots won't happen. I may not like some of Apple's business practices, but they completely win when it comes to presentation and aesthetics. Microsoft would do well to learn some lessons from them.

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