MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,121
15,927



The recently refreshed 2015 MacBook Air can drive 4K external displays at a refresh rate of 60Hz, as confirmed by Ars Technica. The report claims that Intel's new Broadwell processors with integrated Intel HD Graphics 6000 support 4K output at 60Hz using a DisplayPort 1.2 cable, whereas previous-generation notebooks with Haswell processors were limited to lower resolutions at 30Hz.

MacBook-Air-800x225.jpg

Apple's tech specs page for the new MacBook Air lists the notebook as capable of supporting one external display at up to 2,560×1,600 pixels, which clearly is not the case. Apple may be electing not to advertise 4K support for the new MacBook Air on purpose, however, as performance can still be somewhat laggy or jerky and the company has a shortlist of supported displays and configurations.
"Given that the Air is using one of Intel's integrated GPUs, general OS X user interface performance isn't too bad while driving the Air's internal display alongside the 4K display. Dropped frames are clearly visible when entering into Full Screen mode or using Mission Control, and of course you'll never want to try playing games or doing heavy 3D work at native resolution. But things are more than smooth enough for desktop use."
The new Thunderbolt 2 port included on the refreshed MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is compatible with the DisplayPort 1.2 spec, meaning that Single-Stream Transport is possible using one cable. Meanwhile, 4K over HDMI remains restricted to a 24Hz refresh rate due to the limitations of the current 1.4 spec. Multi-Stream Transport should also be possible using DisplayPort 1.2, although the number of displays will be limited and performance will likely be impacted.

Update: Apple has now updated its tech specs page for the new MacBook Air to note that it supports external displays up to 3840 by 2160.

Article Link: 2015 MacBook Air Can Drive 4K Displays at 60Hz
 

ipedro

macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
5,556
6,826
Toronto, ON
It was the first thought that came to mind when it was announced that the MacBook had USB 3 type C. The larger pipe on USB 3 type C could both connect MacBook to an upcoming Apple retina display as a second screen and power it with just one cable.
 
Last edited:
Comment

critter13

macrumors 6502
Aug 23, 2010
373
477
clamshell

does clamshell mode improve the gpu performance since it only has to drive 1 display? If so, I wonder how much better it would perform in that mode.
 
Comment

blizaine

macrumors 6502
Sep 17, 2003
339
127
My Mid 2014 MBP can do 4K @ 60hz as well. It looks beautiful on my 28" 4K Planar display. It's one of the best 4K displays for the money right now.
 
Comment

OriginalMacRat

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2007
591
862
It was the first thought that came to mind when it was announced that the MacBook had USB 3 type C. The larger pipe on USB 3 type C could both connect MacBook to an upcoming Apple retina display as a second screen and power it with just one cable.

No no no.

You're supposed to spew hate on the MacBook for not having all the ports of the MacBoo Pro Retina!! :p
 
Comment

MikhailT

macrumors 601
Nov 12, 2007
4,535
1,219
Thanks. How bout a new quad core mac mini i7 with a new 5k TB Display Please. :)

5K Cinema (TB) Display is not happening until a new TB standard with the next DP revision support is released via Skylake CPU coming later this year or early next year.

Either Apple releases a 4K monitor with (3840×2160 at 60Hz) spec that TB2/DP1.2 support or they wait until the CPU/GPU comes with the required ports.

----------

It was the first thought that came to mind when it was announced that the MacBook had USB 3 type C. The larger pipe on USB 3 type C could both connect MacBook to an upcoming Apple retina display as a second screen and power it with just one cable.

No, USB type C on Macbook does not have a wider "data" pipe. It is still limited to 5Gbps (USB 3.0 or as they now call it, USB 3.1 Gen1), and Retina 5K display is not going to fit 40Gbps+ worth of data down a 5Gbps pipe. Don't you think Apple would've released it by now with TB2 support that's much faster with 20Gbps?
 
Comment

rdav

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2007
312
30
So/California.
Full 4k(4096x2160)@60Hz /Tried?

Has anyone tested true 4k(4096x2160) monitors on the MacBook-Air(2015)? Would be curious to see if that resolution can also be driven @50/60Hz.

For example, the notorious LG-31MU97 monitor.
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1811376/
It's on the :apple:-approved list. With a reported bump from 50Hz to 60Hz under Yosemite 10.03.03 -
 
Comment

elmateo487

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2008
757
389
Thanks. How bout a new quad core mac mini i7 with a new 5k TB Display Please. :)

Dear Customer,

Because you have asked this question, we are happy to announce we will be adhering to your request. We have hired 3 disgruntled Samsung employees 3 weeks ago, and in that amount of time they were able to produce the most amazing new Mac Mini, it has the classic, yet reliable Core Duo architecture at a whopping one BILLION hertz! Never before has a company been able to use the words BILLION and hertz in the same sentence! It will not be able to support 4k video, and that is by design. (insert mumbo jumbo about why not)

SinSIRIly,

Apple
 
Comment

nutmac

macrumors 603
Mar 30, 2004
5,249
4,744
Thanks. How bout a new quad core mac mini i7 with a new 5k TB Display Please. :)

You will have to wait for Thunderbolt 3, due late summer at the earliest (but most likely in the fall). Among many awesome improvements are 40 Gbps bandwidth, support for two 4K or one 5K displays, and 100 watts of power.
 
Comment

agenda893

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2004
123
45
I wish my mid-2012 rMBP could push 4K at 60Hz. I have to run my Dell P2715Q at 1440/60 until I pull the trigger on an new laptop, which is hard to do when that's the only thing this machine is lacking. :(
 
Comment

Dargoth

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2014
242
372
Well, I doubt you'd get much performance out of the GPU while pushing that many pixels, at 60Hz, but it's still neat.
 
Comment

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
3,014
It was the first thought that came to mind when it was announced that the MacBook had USB 3 type C. The larger pipe on USB 3 type C could both connect MacBook to an upcoming Apple retina display as a second screen and power it with just one cable.

you're thinking the retina macbook. this article is about the macbook air, which i do not believe has a usb-c port.
 
Comment

jblagden

macrumors 65816
Aug 16, 2013
1,160
640
Interface?

My Mid 2014 MBP can do 4K @ 60hz as well. It looks beautiful on my 28" 4K Planar display. It's one of the best 4K displays for the money right now.

Which interface are you using? HDMI? Displayport?
 
Comment

Mr Fusion

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2007
812
853
Not surprising... When the 2015 MacBook Air only has to drive a 2010 MacBook Air's display, it should have plenty of extra GPU power.

Upgrading the internal display would make too much sense and satisfy too many customers. :rolleyes:
 
Comment

Doebldodl

macrumors member
Apr 26, 2004
46
163
Germany
It was the first thought that came to mind when it was announced that the MacBook had USB 3 type C. The larger pipe on USB 3 type C could both connect MacBook to an upcoming Apple retina display as a second screen and power it with just one cable.

Would be neat, indeed. If I could connect the MacBook 12" to an external 4k display, I'd order both in a heartbeat. But there is no USB-C to DisplayPort adapter yet; and no suitable Apple display either...
 
Comment

mcarling

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2009
1,292
180
If I could connect the MacBook 12" to an external 4k display, I'd order both in a heartbeat. But there is no USB-C to DisplayPort adapter yet; and no suitable Apple display either...

Also, and more fundamentally, USB does not support the 20 gbps bandwidth required to drive a 4K display and there is not yet a specification for 20 gbps USB in the future. Maybe someday, but not in the next three years.
 
Comment

Wooderson00

macrumors newbie
Feb 15, 2011
28
0
I wish my mid-2012 rMBP could push 4K at 60Hz. I have to run my Dell P2715Q at 1440/60 until I pull the trigger on an new laptop, which is hard to do when that's the only thing this machine is lacking. :(

I'm still rockin' my 2010 MBP. Every time I think about refresh, I keep telling myself it still runs like a champ (upgraded to 16GB RAM, 1TB Fusion). Once a 5k display comes out, I'll probably then upgrade to a MBP-R.
 
Comment

cppguy

macrumors 6502a
Apr 6, 2009
593
899
SF Bay Area, California
you can get that in the iMac right now, i doubt the mac mini + TB display would be cheaper

True, but I replace my computers every 2-3 years, but keep my displays for 10+ years.

I totally realize that right now 5K is not possible with a single connector. Two DisplayPorts would be needed to cover 5K @60Hz. In the future we'll get the bandwidth in a single cable, but not today.
 
Comment

Even Longer

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2012
468
396
Heidelberg
Technically 4k/60 Hz support has nothing to do with Broadwell.

Haswell can drive the full 4k resolution @ 60 Hz just fine (I have tested Surface Pro 3 here, Haswell and Intel HD5000).

For whatever wanky reason, it was solely Apple's decision to limit 4k resolutions at 30 Hz on Haswell MacBook Air artificially.

In order to force people, who wanted 4k/60Hz, buying more expensive MBP's, I guess...
 
Last edited:
Comment

Kai.Def

macrumors member
Mar 3, 2011
37
2
Manchester
Tb3

As far as I can tell from the roadmap ahead, 4k aint going to be feasible across board until Apple goes for Thunderbolt 3 which implies at least Skylake, set for this year end. Furthermore as much as I cant wait for a new Thunderbolt 3 Display etc, its the Mac Pro that is throwing the spanner into my wishlist, I can only await the year end hopefully, for some technical compromise (2k revisited usb 3 capable thunderbolt slim display) in the mean time, however realistically i don't expect Apple to change gears on that not until 2017, so much for my 2 cents.:apple:
 
Comment

anthony11

macrumors 6502
May 18, 2007
327
9
Seattle, WA
Apple's tech specs page for the new MacBook Air lists the notebook as capable of supporting one external display at up to 2,560×1,600 pixels, which clearly is not the case.

So, it can drive a 4k display, but not WQXGA with fewer pixels? This makes no sense.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.