Retina Display Speed ups!
Retina Display Speed ups! (the video thumbnail is even cringier... you're welcome)

Do you have a Retina Display and are constantly frustrated about low FPS desktop applications?

This is a big issue if you’re a Reaper or Waveform user (as of the writing of this post).

Let me show you how to get 10-15 extra FPS with little lost.

(Rorry for the clickbait title, I think it’s funny.)

If you have any questions or comments, please comment below! I read every comment and respond to most. No registration is necessary to comment, so don’t be shy.

Contents

The Fix

This only works on newer native Retina displays like what’s in the 2017 or newer Macbook Pro or iMac Pro. This does not apply to the 5k imacs (as of the writing of this post). It does not apply to most third-party displays.

Usually I start with an explanation of why you should fix this, but we’ll jump to the fix then explain it, and we’ll prove that it works.

  • Go to System Preferences
  • Click “Displays”
  • Go to the “Color” tab
  • Select sRGB IEC61955-2.1 or Generic RGB Profile. On my iMac Pro the sRGB profile retains the same visual look, so that’s what I’ll refer to the rest of this post (since that’s what I did the video on).

The colour of your display will change very slightly.

Where

I got the idea for this from this post by the author of Reaper and subsequently this post on Justin’s website.

I did a good bit of testing beyond this to confirm when and that it works.

Why?

The 2017+ mbp and iMac Pro displays are 10-bit per-channel displays. The native colour profiles are 10-bit. Using the 10-bit colour profile causes drawing slowdowns that are inexplicably still present in macOS Mojave.

It’s highly unlikely that you need 10-bit colour space if you’re reading this post. It can be mildly important when working with certain high end video cameras, and important when doing high-end camera RAW processing. I suggest that if you do these things that you compare using the native color profile against the sRGB IEC61955-2.1 profile.

Does it work?

This is important. There’s plenty of advice out there claiming to fix retina issues, but I don’t aim on giving advice without discussing the cons and showing that it works. The post I linked offers some benchmarks, but since we’re talking visual performance I think some video evidence is in order.

Check the video above for an A/B comparison of framerates when using the native profile compared to sRGB IEC61955-2.1.

The screencapture did not have an affect on the FPS, so what you see is what I see. So… what are you seeing?

  • My Reaper setup with HiDPI theme and iMac default color profile - Adjusting track height drops to 29fps.
  • My Reaper setup with HiDPI theme and sRGB IEC61955-2.1 color profile - Adjusting track heigh drops to 48fps.
  • Waveform 9.3.2 and iMac default color profile - Adjusting track height drops to 24fps.
  • Waveform 9.3.2 and sRGB IEC61955-2.1 color profile - Adjusting track heigh drops to 39fps.
  • Logic 10.4.2 and iMac default color profile - Adjusting track height drops to 36fps.
  • Logic 10.4.2 and sRGB IEC61955-2.1 color profile - Adjusting track heigh drops to 45fps.
  • Cubase 9.5.30 and iMac default color profile - Adjusting track height drops to 37fps.
  • Cubase 9.5.30 and sRGB IEC61955-2.1 color profile - Adjusting track heigh drops to 55fps.

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If you have any questions or comments, please comment below! I read every comment and respond to most. No registration is necessary to comment, so don’t be shy.

WRITTEN IN TextMate. See this post for more information.