2011 13" Macbook Pro & Dell U2711 - Anyone using this setup?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Artagra, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. Artagra macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    I've got the opportunity to buy a Dell U2711 at essentially half price (Yes, I know the Apple Thunderbolt is better / more convenient / etc - but at half price, I'll take the Dell!)

    Has anyone used this on the 2011 MBP 13" under Lion? I've done a lot of reading on this forum and others - it seems that a lot of people get it to work fine, but not everyone, and that it's pretty sensitive to the Mini Display Port to Display Port adapter / cable used.

    I'm not too worried about the sleep issue (I never let my laptop sleep when plugged in at my desk), but if I can't get it to display full resolution that is a big issue.

    (BTW: I know the HD3000 might lag slightly at 2560x1440, I'm not worried by that)
  2. pixor macrumors member

    Dec 26, 2010
    I've the U2711 on a new 15" MacBook Pro, and it's superb. No glare!
  3. Goldfinger macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2006
    It won't lag. You won't be playing games at that resolution but normal 2D won't lag.

    BTW: the Dell is much better panel than the Apple 27" display. I own one as well.
  4. Artagra thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    Got the screen yesterday, been enjoying it thoroughly :) Beautiful and with a huge resolution.

    My current setup (Macbook Pro 13" 2.7, 2x Intel SSD, 8gb Ram, U2711) feels like the best of all worlds with no compromise - power, portability, performance, high resolution :) Loving it!
  5. jgz macrumors regular


    Mar 4, 2011
    I got a Dell U2412M display+ same mbp model (1x vertex3 + orig. HDD, 8GB RAM), BUT when changing desktops in Lion or using Autocad for Mac, the whole system lags a little bit.

    Do you use the USB Ports on your Dell, or you have an extra hub? Probably I shouldn't connect every USB gadget (keyboard, mouse, 2tb hdd) to my display for avoiding lags? Any experiences??
  6. Artagra thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    So far I'm using another USB hub, I'll try using the one integrated into the Dell to see if it makes a difference. However, it's probably not the USB causing the issues - although physically in the same housing, the screen is separate to the USB hub, and don't share bandwidth at all.
  7. jgz macrumors regular


    Mar 4, 2011
    hmm dunno then, whats my problem... The mouse (wired Razer Orochi) is also a little bit jumpy in some programs...

    My setup is:

    mouse -> wired Apple Keyboard with NumBlock -> Dell U2412M
    WD 2TB external HDD -> Dell U2412M

    Dell U2412M -> mbp

    I'll try to change the ports (ex. plug the mouse directly into the macbook)..
  8. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Lol, where did you find the Dell U2711 at half price?

    I thought it was the same price as the Thunderbolt Display?
  9. incognito6174 macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2009
    Even here in Singapore, known for its higher prices, U2711 is priced at S$849 while the Thunderbolt display sells at S$1348.
    Source: Dell and Apple online websites (Singapore) and recce at 1 direct store of each brand.
  10. rev.b macrumors regular


    May 1, 2009
    I used a '10 15" MBP and now a '11 17" with a Dell U2711, and never had any issues.

    And yes, it was roughly half the price of Apple's 27" display.

    I use a mini displayport to displayport cable from amazon.co.uk.

    The display is very nice, but some people might be annoyed with the antiglare coating - it's a bit too aggressive and adds some grain and glare to the image, specially if using too much brightness on the display. The 17" 1200p display that I use as a dual monitor setup (2560x1440 + 1600x1200 is really, really nice :D) is definitely sharper, but then again, a bit unreadable if a light source hits the display...
  11. derickdub macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2011
    Exactly what problem were you asking about?

    I'm glad to hear you enjoy your new display. I'm using the 24" Ultra Sharp (U2410) and it too works flawlessly minus the sleep problem. I'm using a Mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable bought from monoprice.com.


    I use the USB hub on my U2410 and I have no issues at all with lag. My keyboard is bluetooth though. Have you tried all your device to see if the lag goes away?
  12. Artagra thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    There's a problem that some Mac Users experience with this screen where it won't run at 2560x1440, and where the screen has to be power cycled every time the laptop is plugged in. This is only a problem with the 2560x1440 and 2560x1600 Dell displays - if you look at the reviews on Dell's website or google around a bit, you will see the problem:


    It's strange, because it definitely does not affect everyone, and there seems to be no method to the madness - people have had the issue with Mini's, Macbook Pros, and Macbook Airs, and with a few different cables. One thing I think it might be is sub-par MiniDP to DP convertors.


    Cool I've played around with the hub on mine, doesn't seem to have any issues.

    Based on your description above, I think your problem is probably caused by daisy chaining hubs - the keyboard is acting as an unpowered hub, and the screen as a powered hub. So it might be a power issue (not enough power to the mouse) or an issue of the two hubs adding latency.

    This would explain the perceived performance issues - you may find your system is running 100%, but all your inputs (mouse and keyboard) are lagging!


    Yeah, the anti-glare coating is lame. While it doesn't bug me while I'm working, looking at it it definitely makes the screen seem worse. To my mind, aggressive anti glare is worse than glossy glass! Dual display sounds awesome - are you using USB for the second display?


    I live in South Africa. Here the Dell goes for R10 000 normally, and R8 500 on periodic sales. The Apple Thunderbolt is R11 500 or so.

    A friend of mine bought this Dell about a year ago and wanted to get rid of it, so I got it for R4500 :) so I'm very happy!
  13. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    They are actually the exact same from a panel point of view. Image processing electronics and other bits and bobs differ.
  14. davmcn macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2011
    I need advice on which to get. The Dell is more expensive in Canada and i'm stuck between the two.

    Is there a huge difference between the two?
  15. Artagra thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    You mean between the Dell and the Apple Thunderbolt?

    I would say the Thunderbolt display - I'll list pros and cons below (and I'm saying this as the owner of the Dell!)

    Dell Pros:
    - better colour reproduction (important if you are doing serious photoshop / print work, otherwise not noticeable - this is a result of using CCFL backlighting)
    - Height Adjustable Stand
    - Matt
    - Lots of inputs - easier to use with multiple devices, especially non-mac systems, from PCs to BlueRay Players to Consoles etc.

    Dell Cons:
    - over aggressive anti-glare coating - makes the screen "sparkle" or have a grain / texture / pattern on white areas. Drives some people nuts, others hardly notice it.
    - Multiple connections (need to plug in USB and Display Port), potential compatibility issues.
    - Is not as bright as the Thunderbolt, and colours don't "pop" in the same way

    Apple Thunderbolt Pros:
    - Brighter, and colours "pop" more, when compared with the Dell (Apple has LED backlighting). If you put ten normal people in front of the two screens, 9 out of 10 will say the Apple looks better.
    - No "sparkle" or grain / pattern effect, because it has no anti-glare coating.
    - Includes a power adapter, and uses Thunderbolt. So you get all the "docking station" benefits, you don't need to worry about compatibility with the mac, and you can easily add other thunderbolt devices. (With the Dell, you would need to go Mac -> Thunderbolt device -> Dell U2711, which in theory should be possible but wouldn't surprise me if it causes weird issues)
    - Doesn't run as hot.

    Apple Cons:
    - Sometimes more expensive
    - Very, Very, Very glossy! It's a piece of glass, so yeah, super glossy. If you are putting it in a room where you can control the light, it won't be an issue, but just be aware of this. Personally, I would prefer the gloss to the anti matt coating, but it is a personal decision.
    - Can't easily be used with other devices.

    To summarise: I would buy the Dell if it's a lot cheaper, but if the difference is small (or it's more expensive / the same price), I'd buy the Apple.

    Only exception to this is if you really can't stand glossy displays, or if you want to use it with multiple devices, then get the dell.

    So why did I purchase the Dell? Well, it was less than half the price of the Apple :)
  16. rev.b macrumors regular


    May 1, 2009

    I guess those problems are mostly due to Apple MDP to dual-DVI adapter than the monitor itself. The way to connect a U2711 to a mac is through displayport.

    No, dual display counting with the MBP 17" 1920x1200 LCD. I use my MBP on a Rain design mstand.

    The U2711 antiglare looks bad with LCD default settings; way too much gamma and brightness.
    After proper calibration and setting brightness and contrast levels, I think the antiglare coat has more advantages than the "mirror finish" apple LCD's. Just look at my setup, daylight with a window at my back right. No, it's a macbook pro, not a mirror. :p


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