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When working on a retina MacBook Pro screen, the cycles viewport renders feel slow compared to a non-retina screen because it's rendering at full retina resolution. While this is sometimes useful, most of the time I'm looking for fast feedback when lighting, so a coarser but faster resolution would be better. Is there a setting or a way to limit the viewport renders to bigger pixels without running the entire application in low resolution?

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  • $\begingroup$ Not that I know of, but would Viewport border be useful? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Feb 16, 2014 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 Indeed I make heavy use of the viewport border. Thanks for the suggestion. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2014 at 21:53

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There isn't really a way to do that yet. You can play with the Start Resolution under the render properties panel to force Cycles to start rendering at a lower resolution, however, it will still eventually progress to a full, retina-resolution render.

Although one could argue that because of the high resolution, it takes less sample iterations to get to a visually 'smooth' image (even though each sample iteration does take longer), so you can probably try lowering the Preview Samples count.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. I think part of my issue is that I use the Branched Path Tracing algorithm and so each cycle takes longer, but it's working much better for the scene that I'm currently working on. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2014 at 22:39

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