13" MacBook Pro and 4K screens...

Populus

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Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
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Valencia, Spain.
Hi.

For the people with a 13" 2015 MacBook Pro with an external 4K display, I want to ask if the integrated Iris 6100 graphics can move easily an external display with such resolution @ 60Hz with no lags. I mean, a fluid experience with Mission Control, and full screen apps, as well as streaming content (not necessarily in 4K)

And the people with the 2017 nTB MacBook Pro with an external 4K display, connected via thunderbolt 3.0 (USB-C), how is the performance?

If I plan to purchase a 4K monitor in the next few months/years, is it worth the investment in a new 2017 13" nTB MacBook Pro? Or I will be OK with the 2015 13" rMBP? I'm asking this because I've read that the graphic power of the integrated graphics card is not much higher on newer MacBook pros... Although they have the eDRAM caché.

Thank you!
 

Patcell

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2016
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Bergen County, NJ
Your model officially supports the internal display and up to 2 3840x2160 external displays at 60Hz. I can't promise it will be a completely fluid experience though. My mid-2014 15" Pro (with GT 750M) was not always totally fluid with one external 4k display. My new 2017 15" is certainly more fluid; however, mission control sometimes stutters with the same 4k display (when running lots of programs) - I suspect this is less to do with the GPU and more to do with the fact that all windows need to be refreshed simultaneously when triggering mission control... don't know for sure though. Also, can't speak to any of the 13" models.

I would try your machine with an external 4k monitor and see if it suits your purposes. They will let you do this if you bring it in to the Apple Store.
 
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andy9l

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Aug 31, 2009
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FWIW I use a 4K LG 27UD88 (USB-C display) with my MacBooks. I was using it with a 2015 12" rMB, then with a 2016 13" TB MBP, now with a 2017 13" TB MBP.

Both tbMBPs can handle it well. It's not perfect - as mentioned above, there's sporadic frame drops - but it's pretty close now. I'm hoping High Sierra further improves performance.

As my 2016 TB MBP was fine with the screen, I imagine the 2017 nTB will be fine too.

What I will say is that if you're scaling at exactly @2x (aka. "looks like 1920x1080") then performance is slightly better than if you're scaling @1.5x or another multiplier (aka. "looks like 2560x1440"). I use the latter, but it's still 95% perfect for my usage.
 
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Patcell

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Aug 8, 2016
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Bergen County, NJ
FWIW I use a 4K LG 27UD88 (USB-C display) with my MacBooks. I was using it with a 2015 12" rMB, then with a 2016 13" TB MBP, now with a 2017 13" TB MBP.

Both tbMBPs can handle it well. It's not perfect - as mentioned above, there's sporadic frame drops - but it's pretty close now. I'm hoping High Sierra further improves performance.

As my 2016 TB MBP was fine with the screen, I imagine the 2017 nTB will be fine too.

What I will say is that if you're scaling at exactly @2x (aka. "looks like 1920x1080") then performance is slightly better than if you're scaling @1.5x or another multiplier (aka. "looks like 2560x1440"). I use the latter, but it's still 95% perfect for my usage.
This is a very good point! I scale my 4k monitor to "looks like 2560x1440," in which case the GPU renders the desktop at 5120x2880 then downsamples to 3840x2160. This setup is much more taxing than running at "looks like 1920x1080."

Also, they specifically mentioned in the WWDC keynote that Metal 2 will be used to accelerate system animations (i.e. Mission Control), so this should further improve things...
 

Populus

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
1,146
981
Valencia, Spain.
Also, they specifically mentioned in the WWDC keynote that Metal 2 will be used to accelerate system animations (i.e. Mission Control), so this should further improve things...
Yes, I know, I know, but in the first betas that doesn't appear to do much to animations... At least in the Mac where I tried the PB2 (another 13" 2015 rMBP).
 

Patcell

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2016
465
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Bergen County, NJ
Yes, I know, I know, but in the first betas that doesn't appear to do much to animations... At least in the Mac where I tried the PB2 (another 13" 2015 rMBP).
Oh, that's interesting... I haven't tried the beta yet. Hopefully this will be included in the final release!
 

iregret

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Jan 23, 2012
522
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Your model officially supports the internal display and up to 2 3840x2160 external displays at 60Hz. I can't promise it will be a completely fluid experience though. My mid-2014 15" Pro (with GT 750M) was not always totally fluid with one external 4k display. My new 2017 15" is certainly more fluid; however, mission control sometimes stutters with the same 4k display (when running lots of programs) - I suspect this is less to do with the GPU and more to do with the fact that all windows need to be refreshed simultaneously when triggering mission control... don't know for sure though. Also, can't speak to any of the 13" models.

I would try your machine with an external 4k monitor and see if it suits your purposes. They will let you do this if you bring it in to the Apple Store.
Can you tell me a bit about your setup? I have a late 2013 Macbook pro with the 750M connected to 2 P2415Q Dell 4K monitors. I have a base 2107 MacBook Pro coming in with the radeon pro 555 and I want to hook up my 2 existing monitors.

Whats the best way to do this? Buy a bunch of cables? I'd rather not since it would take up all 4 of my ports. Is a dock the way to go? That's doable, but with the $300 price tag, I wonder if it'd be smarter to get into an eGPU setup.

How did you hook yours up?
 

Patcell

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2016
465
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Bergen County, NJ
Can you tell me a bit about your setup? I have a late 2013 Macbook pro with the 750M connected to 2 P2415Q Dell 4K monitors. I have a base 2107 MacBook Pro coming in with the radeon pro 555 and I want to hook up my 2 existing monitors.

Whats the best way to do this? Buy a bunch of cables? I'd rather not since it would take up all 4 of my ports. Is a dock the way to go? That's doable, but with the $300 price tag, I wonder if it'd be smarter to get into an eGPU setup.

How did you hook yours up?
I have the exact same monitor (Dell P2415Q), but only one of them. I have an OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock that has native mini-displayport output (as well as a zillion other I/O ports). I connected the monitor to my mid-2014 through the dock, which worked perfectly. I use the same Thunderbolt 2 dock with my new 2017 15" machine, I just needed to purchase a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter from Apple. Now the setup is exactly the same as it was with my mid-2014. The Thunderbolt 2 dock also has HDMI, but that is only good for 4k at 30hz, so there is no way to connect both monitors using the dock I have.

OWC also makes a Thunderbolt 3 dock ($299), which would allow you to connect both monitors and charge your MacBook Pro all only using one Thunderbolt 3 port. The Thunderbolt 3 dock has mini-display port (for one monitor) and a Thunderbolt 3 output (for the second monitor via TB3 to DisplayPort adapter). This is the most elegant way to do it, but the dock is not cheap. I wasn't willing to shell out another $299 when my Thunderbolt 2 dock is only about a year and a half old.

Even without any dock, though, you could connect both monitors plus power and you would still have one Thunderbolt 3 port available on your new machine. You could use this for a USB hub or something...

There are many options with Thunderbolt 3. You will love the new 2017 computer!

PS: Just out of curiosity, how did the 750M perform driving 2 4K monitors?
 
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project_2501

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Jul 1, 2017
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here is my review comparing 2015 and 2017 MBPro 13

in summary - the 2015 MBP13 with Intel iris 6100 just about managed to drive a 4K monitor at 60hz (you have to use a Displayport connection, not HDMI) .. but the performance is stressed.

The 2017 models drive it qith much more fluidity. But for me the new machines have other problems that the 2015 didn't have...
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2017-macbook-pro-13-non-tb-review.2056971/
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2017-macbook-pro-13-non-tb-review.2056971/
 
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iregret

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Jan 23, 2012
522
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I have the exact same monitor (Dell P2415Q), but only one of them. I have an OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock that has native mini-displayport output (as well as a zillion other I/O ports). I connected the monitor to my mid-2014 through the dock, which worked perfectly. I use the same Thunderbolt 2 dock with my new 2017 15" machine, I just needed to purchase a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter from Apple. Now the setup is exactly the same as it was with my mid-2014. The Thunderbolt 2 dock also has HDMI, but that is only good for 4k at 30hz, so there is no way to connect both monitors using the dock I have.

OWC also makes a Thunderbolt 3 dock ($299), which would allow you to connect both monitors and charge your MacBook Pro all only using one Thunderbolt 3 port. The Thunderbolt 3 dock has mini-display port (for one monitor) and a Thunderbolt 3 output (for the second monitor via TB3 to DisplayPort adapter). This is the most elegant way to do it, but the dock is not cheap. I wasn't willing to shell out another $299 when my Thunderbolt 2 dock is only about a year and a half old.

Even without any dock, though, you could connect both monitors plus power and you would still have one Thunderbolt 3 port available on your new machine. You could use this for a USB hub or something...

There are many options with Thunderbolt 3. You will love the new 2017 computer!

PS: Just out of curiosity, how did the 750M perform driving 2 4K monitors?
Thanks fo the reply! The 750M did just fine. I never did anything too intensive, mostly writing word docs and coding.
 
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