Getting HiDPI to work with an external monitor (note to myself)

Macbook pro has an incredible retina display, and if you had a chance to work with it so much as a few days, going back to anything less feels quite unsatisfying to put it mildly.

Unfortunately this is exactly the kind of feeling you will experience when trying to connect your mackbook to an external (non-apple) monitor for the first time. The quality looks nothing like the retina display and life pretty much sucks. Fear not, as there is a way to make things prettier - enter HiDPI, which allows what is often referred to as "Pixel Doubling" or simply put "making things pretty again".

Luckily this neat online tool does an awesome job at helping you out with setting things up. 
Essentially one needs to understand that in order to define a resolution of, say, 1680 x 945 in HiDPI mode, one needs to set the values 3360 x 1890 in the online tool (double the original resolution) and make sure the hidpi checkbox is checked. Once you get this, it's a matter of following the on-site instructions.
Personally, I found 1920 x 1080 (i.e., 3840 x 2160 in hidpi) to work best for me when using my 27" monitor.

The steps for configuring HiDPI are covered in detail online, with the highlights being:
  1. Generate a configuration for your monitor's make (online tool)
    • Make sure you got the vendor and product ids right
  2. Copy the generated configuration to your system's directory (locally)
    • Make sure you got the vendor and product ids right (!)
  3. Reboot
  4. Fire up RDM and select your newly configured resolution to enjoy HiDPI
    • Your (original, not doubled) resolution should appear with a lightning icon beside it (on the right), to indicate the HiDPI mode
Again, the on-site instructions are great and provide the full walk-through to complete this quest.

Further Reading


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