Mac Mini + 4k TV

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Gillietalls, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    #1
    Hi all. I'm ready to set up a new HTPC. I want to buy a mac mini and set it up on my Sony 4k tv. To get the cpu to run at 4k, what type of cords/adapters will I need? Will a high speed HDMI cable work? What other settings might I need to adjust to try to get the TV to operate at 4k and about 25 - 29 hrz?
     
  2. macrumors 68030

    iPhil

    #2
    Well to run Mini on a 4K display - need a Haswell Mini then use Thunderbolt connection to run @ 4K resolution ..


    Haswell mini hasn't been announced yet ..
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #3
    You don't need a haswell mini (though it'd give better graphics performance). Theoretically the HDMI port on the current mini is supposed to be high-speed, but driver-issues seem to prevent 4k resolution except at low frequency rates.

    Easiest way to do this is with an Accell B086B-008B-2 adapter plugged into your thunderbolt port. That will give you 3840x2160x30Hz. With my Seiki 4k, it works out of the box on my 2011 mac mini. Some other users have found they needed to use switchresx to make up a mode for their TV's - not sure anybody has tried a sony set yet.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    #4
    Thanks for the info. What content have you been able to watch at 4k? Just Youtube or is there anywhere else to stream or download from? Have you tried gaming?
     
  5. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #5
    Seriously gaming? There isn't a GPU on earth that can game reasonably well at 4K! Let alone a Mac Mini!
     
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    #6
    Actually YouTube videos beg to differ. But thanks for much needed input.
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #7
    This I gotta see. They certainly aren't from a Mac and certainly NOT with an integrated GPU.....
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #8
    I'm currently using the TV for 2D cad at work - basically just a huge display (along with a 2560x1440 display out the hdmi port). For this sort of static work, 4k is really, really great. I'm now in the conundrum of whether I buy a second one so I can more effectively work from home...


    I have tried a few less serious things:

    - Video

    A coworker pointed me at some 4k content. My mini (2011, AMD 6630) had problems with youtube 4k. I did manage to get a mp4 to play decently, but only using the Quicktime player. Mplayer / VLC had a terrible framerate - probably due to less acceleration happening in the gpu, or maybe just a lot more efficient code in quicktime.

    Newer minis might be better. Any newer machine with a good discrete should have plenty of horsepower

    - Gaming

    My mini is underpowered for gaming even with more 'normal' resolutions - I can't remember how far I had to dial down D3 to look decent. The newer machines might be better, but I'd still bet it would be subpar.

    I did drag my 2011 iMac (2GB 6970) into work to test. Borderlands 2 actually seemed almost playable at full 4k in OSX - though the 30Hz refresh limit is kinda annoying. In windows (or with a better gpu), i bet it'd hit the 30Hz limit all the time.

    Until they have sets that can do 60Hz 4k, I doubt most people would be happy with it, even if you had a fantastic gpu.



    Since you're looking at HTPC, I think it is doable. But 4k is probably overkill - there's just not a lot of content, and I expect that to be true for a while.


    BTW: with the accell adapter, I do get audio over the connection - probably important to you on a HTPC setup.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

    SamTheeGeek

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Location:
    Planet Neptune
    #9
    I for one want a mac mini that runs on a 4k display resolution, i remember when i had my alienware x51 it did support 4k resolution but man did it lag :S, so i hope in future updates when it supports 4k res, there will be no lag what so ever.

    I know the new mac pro will support 4k but no doubt the price will be not soo tasty hahah.
     
  10. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #10
    The HDMI port on all Macs is single-link so you won't get anything above 1920x1200. You need DisplayPort to get 4k resolution, and right now there's no way of doing that with Macs.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #11
    I don't believe thats incorrect. The HDMI port is driver locked to 165MHz - one user broken the locks for machines using intel or the nvidia chipset in the macbook pros. Under windows the lock doesn't exist, and you could do 2560x1440x60 or 3840x2160x30. And with the adapter described above, you can do it right out the displayport - using that right now in fact.

    3840x2160x60 would require full HDMI 2.0 bandwidth, and basically not possible with current machines. Or a display-port 1.2 display - I believe asus makes a 30" that would work, but never tried it.
     
  12. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #12
    The connector is a Type A HDMI connector, which is a version of single-link DVI but with audio. This connector is only capable of 1920x1200. The Type B HDMI connector is wider (more pins) and can get you 3840×2400, which is not quite 4k.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    SamTheeGeek

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Location:
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    #13
    When i was using my Alienware X51 it supported HDMI 4k connection no display port, i think apple can achieve that.
     
  14. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #14
    Not through a single-link (Type A) HDMI port. If it could drive displays above 1920x1200 then it had to have a dual-link HDMI, dual-link DVI or (Mini) DisplayPort connector. Do you have a link to its specifications?
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #15
    I think you're a bit confused. You seem to be thinking of the type B connector, which adds extra diff pairs and would be similar to dual-link DVI, but has never been used in any products (according to wikipedia).

    HDMI 1.3 increased the bandwidth over the same number of diff pairs by increasing signal rate (3.4Gbit/channel from 1.65Gbit/chanel). 'High speed' cables use the exact same pinout, and increase the total bandwidth to ~10Gbit by increasing per-lane bandwidth. HDMI 2.0 will go even further, allowing up to 18Gbit (6Gbit/channel).

    The mac mini has been using a HDMI 1.4 connector since the 2011 product (maybe even before) - under windows I've actually done 2560x1440x60Hz, while the maximum under osx is 40Hz because of the driver limit the bandwidth to 1.0 spec.

    This has a good overview of the signalling rates
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    SamTheeGeek

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Location:
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    #16
    Sorry that i can't provide a lot of information but i can say that the video card is GTX 660 Nvidia.
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #17
    I've purchased the same 39" display along with the active mdp-hdmi adapter with two different intel 3000 based mid 2011 Mac Mini 5,1's and switchresX and so far I've had no luck on both 10.7 and 10.8. At one point I saw a corrupted boot screen showing most of the apple logo at 2160p, but it soon reverted to a 1080p. Not sure if this combination of hardware will be able to produce UHD resolution unless someone can chime in. I'm still trying to figure out what settings I should use with switchresX to see if it can work.
     
  18. macrumors 68030

    iPhil

    #18
    Any Mac that has haswell chip or HDMI 1.4 spec ( MP so far on 1.4 spec wise ) will be able to push a 4K display ... in case of MP it could push 3x 4K displays ...


    Any Mac without Haswell chip or 1.4 spec of HDMI will result in issues of trying to run a 4K display on a system won't support it ..
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    #19
    can we get factual not theoretical answer about Mac 4K

    The cable vendors and many forums have lots of 'works at 4K' tag lines, but the reality is that none of the claims are typically true!!
    What mac models running Mavericks REALLY seen with YOUR OWN EYES work driving 2160P via minidisplayport / thunderbolt?
    From Apple site - there is only one model currently available that is listed as supporting 4K (that includes 2160P - 3840x2160) at 24fps - namely the 15" retina mackbookpro (LATE 2013! model).
    I have 2011 macbookpro 17" and it does not seem to work. I would try switcherX if I knew it would work - but sending emails to Stephane (from the website) for details results in invalid email address.

    Does anyone have FACTUAL information about what Mac can work driving 2160p, and has anyone figured out a way to get 2011 macbookpro 17 to do so.

    There are several variables - the pixel clock, the various adaptors, the thunderbolt to hdmi convertor, and don't forget Apple's code that could disable it from working for various reasons even though physically possible.
    The claim that "X can theoretically do Y" is meaningless in the context of computers and consumer electronics. The marketing and business specifications are more relevant than the engineering specifications in this case.
    Thx
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #20
    I have a similar need for a 4K monitor, but I'm looking at running it from a new Mac Pro. I'm a data modeler - anything from 100 to 1000 labeled and colored boxes with twice that number of connections (Entity Relationship Diagram) on a single drawing that can exceed 5' X 20'. For me the more pixels the better. I'm considering either a 39" Seiki or a 50" Seiki until something better comes along. I can play games and watch videos on my existing HP 3065.

    Earlier this week I started a thread on the Mac Pro forum asking questions about the Seiki and got mostly negative responses. You seem to be happy with yours and your needs seem very similar to mine. For your CAD work, do you see any serious drawbacks to the Seiki? The price is great. If I buy one my investment won't be so large I can't replace it later. My current intent is to wait till the end of January to make a decision, but I'd like to buy a larger monitor when I buy the nMP.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #21
    Mouse lag is the biggest downside - when I was restricted to 17Hz refresh, it was really annoying. At 30Hz its much better, though noticeable compared to the secondary display. But it was enough to convince a coworker to get a used HP3065 (2560x1600) instead. I wish I could push the monitor to 40Hz - I know from past experience that feels smooth for me.


    Everything else is minor -- since its a TV it'll power off after 4 hours if no buttons on the remote have been pressed. Thats somewhat a positive since it won't go into standby when the computer shuts off video like a normal monitor would.

    I would never got back at this point to dual 27's. The only thing preventing me from getting a second 40" for home is the hope that there will be an affordable, 60Hz set in the near future. Probably not going to happen though.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #22
    FYI: Here's what I've successfully tried with my Seiki 39UY04

    15" Retina Macbook Pro (2012, nv650 gpu) - works straight from HDMI

    Mac Mini (2011 w/ ATI 6630) - w/ Accell active adapter & switchresx
    iMac 27" (2011 w/ ATI 6970) - w/ Accell active adapter & switchresx

    I have a older Macbook Pro (nv9600) I could test as well, though I'd have to steal it from my wife to test.

    The Accell adapter opens up a lot of possibilities, since it looks like displayport rather than HDMI to the computer. Does chew up a thunderbolt/mdp port though.
     
  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #23
    What is an Accell adapter? Does it work with the Seiki 39" TV when that is used as a 3840 X 2160 monitor?
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #24
    The Accell B086B-008B-2 adapter is what I've been using to run my Seiki 39UY04 at 30Hz with my various machines. Here's the amazon link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Accell-B086B-008B-2-UltraAV-DisplayPort-Adapter/dp/B00DOZHL82

    I believe what its doing is using a chip inside the adapter to make the connection look like displayport rather than a passive HDMI adapter -- this bypasses the OSX driver limitations on HDMI.

    Not sure if it still gives HDCP (not even sure how to test though), though I do know audio can be exported over the link - the monitor shows up as a possible output device in sound prefs.


    Further note: There's a passive adapter that looks almost identical - the B086B-005B-2 - I accidentally bought one of these the second time around, and it did NOT work with my older macs - in this case I believe the machine does see the connection as HDMI rather than DP. I've been using it with my rMBP since it does not have the HDMI limitations in 10.9
     
  25. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #25
    Thanks for the information. I'll keep that in mind. I'm not sure if it will work with the new Mac Pro I plan to buy in December. My interest is in running a 40"-50" monitor and the Seiki is relatively cheep. However, I understand there can be problems making the Seiki work. This adapter may be needed, but I may have to connect it to a Thunderbolt to display port adapter. Oh the fun of serial adapters.
     

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