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Bad raphics performance on retina display (early 2015 13inch Macbook Pro)

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Andreas
Andreas on 15 Apr 2016
Commented: Mike Garrity on 20 Apr 2016
Hello everybody,
I realized some strange graphics performance issues on my work computer, which is a early 2015 Macbook Pro. I use a Thunderbolt display as an external screen.
Animated graphics seem to draw much slower on the native retina display than on the external screen, when plugged in. After some tests with bench() (mean value of 10 runs), I can tell how much worse it is on the retina.
Time in seconds for graphics tests with Thunderbolt display:
2D: 0.7363 3D: 0.7025
Time in seconds for graphics tests with Retina alone:
2D: 1.6315 3D: 1.6474
This behaviour is present on all the 5 Macbooks I tested. All of them have MATLAB 2015b installed. One of my colleagues still has 2015a on his computer, which has exactly the same hardware like mine and there the performance on the retina display is much better. What happened? Is this a known issue?
Best regards

Answers (1)

Mike Garrity
Mike Garrity on 15 Apr 2016
I haven't benchmarked that particular machine, but whenever I do benchmark a graphics system, I start with the diagram I discussed in this post on the MATLAB Graphics blog .
As you can see, once the system is in the region I labeled the "pixel limit", the performance is pretty much linearly proportional to the number of pixels per primitive. On a Retina display, there are more pixels per primitive. So it's not surprising that you might see a slowdown on the order of what you're seeing.
  2 Comments
Mike Garrity
Mike Garrity on 20 Apr 2016
What changed in 2015b is that MATLAB Graphics actually started supporting Retina displays. Before that, it was generating the image at low resolution, and then MacOS was scaling that low-res image up to the resolution of the monitor.
That means that the R2015b version is actually rendering 4 times as many pixels as the R2015a version.

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