2012 Macbook Air supports 4K monitor (Seiki @ 3840x2160)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by 4kmac, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. 4kmac macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2013
    For all the programmers out there needing extra desktop real estate.

    This past week I purchased a Seiki for my MacBook Pro Retina. Just for fun I connected the monitor to my 2012 MacBook Air and to my surprise found out that the MBA supports an external resolution of 3840x2160. I was amazed :eek:! All the documentation that I've seen only says it only supports 2560x1440 externally (like Apple's website). It was so awesome that an early 2012 Macbook Air supports 4k resolutions. Apple has yet again surpassed my expectations.


    One additional note, the refresh rate is capped at 30hz so it isn't might meant for gaming. But if you were wondering about videos, youtube and 1080 video looks great and there were no stuttering during playback. Hope this info helps out the people that are thinking about moving to 4k. I wanted to share this info because the impression I got from the web was that you needed a Macbook Pro Retina to run at 4k, which isn't true. A MacBook Air, the correct cable and a 4k monitor is all that is needed to run at 3840x2160.
  2. robvas, Dec 6, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013

    robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    The 13" Air and Retina have the same video chip don't they? Why would one work and not the other.

    Whoops - looks like for 2013 they go with the 5100 instead of the 5000.
  3. yosemit macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2013
    Thanks! This is exactly what I've been looking for, whether MBA supports 4K display.

    The 30Hz cap is probably a limit from Thunderbolt 1st version. I believe MBP can support 4K @ 60Hz because of Thunderbolt 2. Well, 30Hz is good enough for office apps, photo editing and video playing. My MBA 2013 won't run games at 4K resolution and 60Hz. :rolleyes:

  4. arbitrage macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2009
    So would this mean my 15" Retina MacBook Pro (original release version) be able to drive this display. If so, I'm going to order one ASAP from Amazon and try it out. I didn't think they'd ship it to Canada but looks like they will (for $120) but not to bad when the TV is only $577 to start with.
  5. MBA79 macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2013
    Require Windows?

    Thanks for posting. Great to hear that 2012 MBA supports 4k monitor. I just bought it today.
    How are you running it currently? Do you require the MacBook Air to be running windows?
    What adapter are you using? (I have the UltraAV Mini DisplayPort 1.1 to HDMI Active Adapter).

    Your pictures are looking great - can't wait!
  6. Ryebread02 macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2013
    Isn't that a Magsafe 1 connector? The MacBook Air 2012 uses a Magsafe 2 connector in the other orientation.
  7. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    Maybe he bought a 2011 MBA in early 2012 and is calling it an early 2012 MBA. Looking at his name and join date he is probably just promoting Seiki or loves 4k screens.
  8. rainbowsofwhite macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    30Hz is actually a limit from the HDMI 1.4 port.
    Currently only the MacPro can support 4K via the Thunderbolt 2 ports.
    The late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina do not support 60Hz (currently). It is an issue with os x Mavericks and hopefully the issue will be resolved in the next update 10.9.2.
  9. BeeRich33, Mar 13, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014

    BeeRich33 macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2014
    Just returned from Tigerdirect.ca. Took my 2012 MacBook Air 11" which has the Intel HD 4000 video card/device in it. Hooked it up to this Seiki monitor. Didn't work. Had a 4K cable (comes with the monitor) and used a Mini Display Port to HDMI adapter. We tried 2 adapters to make sure it was recent and possibly HDMI 1.4, but we were not sure. The tech there said they don't make them yet, but they obviously do, from searching online. Restarted, separated display mirroring, etc. Nothing. See pics.


    Edit: Was just thinking, my MacBook Air isn't made in 2012. I bought it early 2012 before the June update. So, methinks it's a July 2011 update. But since it's still Thunderbolt, should it not work if given HDMI 1.4 from the port onwards?

    I REALLY want this to work.

    Attached Files:

  10. joefearnley, Jul 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014

    joefearnley macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2014
    Works on a mid 2012 macbook air

    For those of you that found this thread trying to figure if this works with a macbook air (or any sort of non-retina macbook), this dude is right, it works. At least for but from what I can tell, my macbook air is a little newer.

    I tried a bunch of different things to get this to work and ultimately it did.

    First, my macbook specs:

    11-inch screen
    8 GB ram
    intel HD 4000 video card
    OSX Mavericks (10.9.4)

    Second, this is the adapter I am using:


    I had to download and install SwitchResX:


    Once installed, open up the interface, click on Custom Resolutions. Once there, add a Custom entry with 3840 x 2160 resolution. It brought my pixel clock down to 147 or so and the Scan Rate to 16 Hz. Save it and reboot. Once rebooted the TV was showing 3840x2160@16 Hz.

    The picture is good but the movements are lagging and the video is a little behind. I'm using this monitor to surf the internet and do some development. Works for me.


  11. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2013
    Any laptop that supports HDMI 1.4a will also support 3840x2160 (even my 8 inch windows tablet does...), and this has been around since 2010.. nothing special for an Air to support it. I actually am quite mad that Intel has not embraced DP 1.2 as well as nvidia has.. that's the limitation of integrated graphics I guess... I say intergrated graphics because even the surface pro 3 with DP 1.2 (or is it 1.2...) supports 4k at 60hz but it has yet to be proven.. whereas, if nvidia has a display port on their card, you are guaranteed to get 4k@60hz support without any guessing.
  12. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    What I dislike is that the only reason why my Air can't do DP1.2 is the fact that the Thunderbolt chip only supports DP1.1a (the Intel HD 4000 supports DP1.2). That not only prevents it from driving a 4K panel but it also prevents the cool DP1.2 daisy chain functionality.
  13. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2013
    Actually, the Intel HD 4000 does not support 1.2.

    Link: https://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/quick-reference-guide-to-intel-processor-graphics

    I don't see any threads or information leading me to believe otherwise. Having DP 1.1a means a hub will work at 2x 1920x1080 @60hz and 3840x2160 @ 30hz.
  14. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Yeah, seem to have gotten incorrect information from the Intel guys on their forum (which isn't very unusual...). He may have mistaken DisplayPort with OpenCL.
  15. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    I've heard that 30HZ is not suitable for long term use. Is that true?
  16. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2013
    Yeah, 5th page in the PDF link that is at the top of page I posted says DP 1.1. It is a bummer, I admit.
  17. thadoggfather macrumors G4


    Oct 1, 2007
  18. iamkiyoshi macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2013
    Please note that even with this Seiki 4k tv, the active MDP-HDMI cable, and SwitchResX, it will not work @ 4k on a 2013 MacBook Air.

    2011, 2012, 2013 and onward MacBook Pro? Yes
    2011 or 2012 MacBook Air? Yes
    2013 MacBook Air? No... these use Intel HD 5000 cards and won't work.
    I made a very costly mistake in buying this monitor, be warned!

    However, the 2013 MacBook Air *will* do 4k if you Bootcamp into Windows.
  19. mglerner macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2014
    Can someone tell me exactly how to make SwitchResX do 30 Hz? I have a late 2011 MacBook Air, and it's happy at 16 Hz. I can't, however, get it to 30 Hz. I've basically just tried changing the refresh rate and rebooting.
  20. latteland macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2014
    I have a 2013 mbair that wont work with bootcamp windows and 4k seiki. can you please give more info about how you do it, what drives, etc?
  21. dmelgar, Dec 11, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014

    dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    I have not been able to get any resolutions to work above 1080p. displayresx always says, not activated - invalid?

    I'm using a mid-2012 Macbook Air 13" with a Seiki 39" 4k display with the August firmware update. Running Yosemite, 10.10.1

    Has anyone gotten this to work with Yosemite? Is it a Yosemite issue? I am using the same adapter reference in this post.
  22. dmelgar, Dec 11, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014

    dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    I have gotten it to work after all. Two modifications are required to get it to work on Yosemite with a 2012 MacBook air.
    Need a 4k display
    Need a mini display port 1.1 to HDMI 1.4 adapter
    Need a patch to remove a MHz limit on the display port. This allows the MacBook air to drive a 4k display at 30fps.
    On Yosemite, they modified something to break support that had worked in Mavericks. To get around that, there's a frame buffer kernel extension that needs to be replaced with the version from Mavericks.
    Displayresx cannot be installed. At least on my system it cause blanking issues. Uninstalling it fixed it.
  23. VCRtapes macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2014
    Would be super appreciative of more info as to how you accomplished this. Also wondering if the common "bottom half of screen is garbled" problem is still present when outputting at 4K running Yosemite w/out SwitchResX.

    Specifically interested in how to remove the MHz limit on the display port and how to replace the Yosemite version frame buffer kernel extension with the Mavericks one.

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