2017 Macbook 12 to support 4k in 60Hz?

Flekoun

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2016
25
17
Brno
Hello everyone. Just want to let you know I love my MacBook 12 :) It is so portable, lightweight, silent and yet enough powerful for me. My current setup is my macbook hooked to HD display which runs just fine. However I would like to upgrade in future to bigger 4k display. The biggest issue is that AFAIK you cannot run 4k in 60Hz on macbook 12. This is huge issue as 30Hz wont cut it for me. Also people report sluggish performance overall running these UHD displays. I know I could easily solve this by buying macbook pro 13, but I cannot stand how heavy, loud and bulky this thing is (I am spoiled I know). So, does anyone know if the new 2017 Kaby Lake Macbook 12 will support 4k in 60Hz? Because that would solve my issue entirely. If they wont I would probably have to reconsider the macbook 13 pro option which I really do not wont :(
 

sunapple

macrumors 68000
Jul 16, 2013
1,943
2,965
The Netherlands
I did some quick research and it seems like the processors are compatible, but the limitation seems to be the USB-C 3.1 gen 1 port. It's possible the new gen gets Thunderbolt 3 (which has the USB-C shape) and that could make the MacBook compatible with 4K @60Hz.

Can anyone confirm that the port is limiting the output right now?
 

Admiral

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2015
240
713
The people who know for sure work at Apple, and they ain't telling. That said, I am fairly certain that the Kaby Lake Macbook 12 will support 4K video out at 60Hz. There would be a general insurrection if it did not. The Skylake Macbook 12 (2016 model) does, if you have a DisplayPort-to-USB-C adapter (Apple's USB hub, however, only has HDMI 1.4b out and so with that device you're still limited to 4K at 30Hz); to lose this capability would really surprise everyone.

Thunderbolt 3 would be a great surprise. For Kaby Lake Apple would have to add a chip to the motherboard to add Thunderbolt 3 and it does not appear there would be room for that. Will there be USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10GBps), and possibly a 16GB option? That seems to be where the action will be this time around.
 

Flekoun

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2016
25
17
Brno
Hi,
thanks for your replies! I am just supprised that apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter does not support HDMI 2.0 thats a shame :(
 

Brookzy

macrumors 601
May 30, 2010
4,781
4,821
UK
Hi,
thanks for your replies! I am just supprised that apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter does not support HDMI 2.0 thats a shame :(
USB-C doesn't have enough bandwidth for 4K at 60Hz and USB 3. So it isn't Apple's fault. Though it would be nice if they made another version with 60Hz 4K support and a USB 2 port.
 

ahostmadsen

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2009
819
472
Hello everyone. Just want to let you know I love my MacBook 12 :) It is so portable, lightweight, silent and yet enough powerful for me. My current setup is my macbook hooked to HD display which runs just fine. However I would like to upgrade in future to bigger 4k display. The biggest issue is that AFAIK you cannot run 4k in 60Hz on macbook 12. This is huge issue as 30Hz wont cut it for me. Also people report sluggish performance overall running these UHD displays. I know I could easily solve this by buying macbook pro 13, but I cannot stand how heavy, loud and bulky this thing is (I am spoiled I know). So, does anyone know if the new 2017 Kaby Lake Macbook 12 will support 4k in 60Hz? Because that would solve my issue entirely. If they wont I would probably have to reconsider the macbook 13 pro option which I really do not wont :(
Even the the original 2015 MacBook 12 supports 4K at 60 Hz, over USB-C or DisplayPort. I'm currently running a 4K USB-C display.
 

ahostmadsen

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2009
819
472
Do you have a source? I thought 60Hz was only attainable in the 2016 MacBook 12.
Yes, from Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206587. That document is so poorly written and confusing - embarrassing to Apple. But reading the document very carefully one notices the following statement:

"With macOS Sierra, MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015) and later supports 4K (3840x2160) displays at 60Hz operation over DisplayPort."

This includes DisplayPort Alt-Mode over USB-C, although not stated explicitly. The 2015 MacBook does not support 60Hz over HDMI, but the 2016 does. I am running a 4K display at 60 Hz from my 2015 MacBook over USB-C, so I can confirm that it works.
 

Admiral

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2015
240
713
As always, coming Real Soon Now™. Intel's Cannonlake processors are scheduled to have Thunderbolt 3 on the chip die, meaning no external chipset shall be required. Since there's not much room on the MacBook 12" motherboard, and Apple seems to like amortizing the cost of redesigns over 1000 days or more, a reasonable person can't expect to see dual 4K/5K support in MacBook 12" unless and until the Cannonlake Y parts are available. Intel's roadmap says they can be expected to be released in 3Q 2017, which is still six or seven months out. The 2018 MacBook spring refresh would be my expectation. It could be later, of course, depending on what watch bands and emojis keep Apple's engineers busy.
 

- rob -

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2012
573
338
Oakland, CA
a reasonable person can't expect to see dual 4K/5K support in MacBook 12" unless and until the Cannonlake Y parts are available. Intel's roadmap says they can be expected to be released in 3Q 2017, which is still six or seven months out. The 2018 MacBook spring refresh would be my expectation. It could be later, of course, depending on what watch bands and emojis keep Apple's engineers busy.
Thanks for the summary.

Sounds like a single 4K on a small machine has to be good enough until 2018 then.
 

andy9l

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2009
1,697
364
England, UK
Do you have a source? I thought 60Hz was only attainable in the 2016 MacBook 12.
I use a 4K LG screen @ 60Hz with my 2015 12" rMB using a straight USB-C -> USB-C connection. No hacks required - it just works.

Performance is hindered though.
 

andy9l

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2009
1,697
364
England, UK
Choppy animations?
Worse than that - I've had stuttering of music streaming, extreme lag in iMovie, really sluggish Safari performance.

The rMB is fundamentally not built to be used with a 4K display. It's the wrong product for anyone looking to do so - that's what the Pro line is for.

And that's coming from someone who absolutely loves their rMB. It's my favourite Apple product I've ever bought - and there's been a lot.
 

- rob -

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2012
573
338
Oakland, CA
Worse than that - I've had stuttering of music streaming, extreme lag in iMovie, really sluggish Safari performance.

The rMB is fundamentally not built to be used with a 4K display. It's the wrong product for anyone looking to do so - that's what the Pro line is for.

And that's coming from someone who absolutely loves their rMB. It's my favourite Apple product I've ever bought - and there's been a lot.
It sounds like you use a 4k with it normally, anyway though? So for day-to-day it is still good enough?
 

Admiral

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2015
240
713
It sounds like you use a 4k with it normally, anyway though? So for day-to-day it is still good enough?
He's an optimist, like me, and loves his MacBook 12 well enough to have bought that 4K display to be ready for the spring 2018 refresh.
 

ahostmadsen

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2009
819
472
It sounds like you use a 4k with it normally, anyway though? So for day-to-day it is still good enough?
Yes. I use a 4K display with my 2015 MacBook, and it works fine. Animations are choppy, and some things take a fraction of a second to load in full resolution, like pdf files and images. But it is bearable, and not really worse than with a non-4K external display. The rMB (2015) is only really fast on the internal display.
 

andy9l

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2009
1,697
364
England, UK
It sounds like you use a 4k with it normally, anyway though? So for day-to-day it is still good enough?
Not good enough for me, no. I'm waiting to see what the next MacBook Pro brings to the table.

The entire design of the 12" MacBooks is based on providing short bursts of relatively good CPU power - the turbo-boost speeds for these little processors are quite respectable.

However, this means if you put the CPU under continual stress, the MacBook - and the surface it's on - will heat up, severely impacting its ability to dissipate heat. The CPU is then forced to throttle and you won't get the turbo speeds you're used to. That's when performance gets impacted. It's really simple physics.

From my experience, driving 4K worth of pixels is just too much continual load for these little machines.

I'm in Copenhagen on a trip right this second and brought my little MacBook with me. It fits in the safe in the room, was great for Netflix last night, and was so light to carry around today in a bag for ad hoc research and looking at our photos from the day over coffee. It's bloomin' brilliant. But it's not the right product for you. The Pro is.

Again, I stress to everyone - if you plan on regularly using your 12" MacBook with an external display, you are buying the wrong product. Apple has never, ever developed or marketed this product for that usage. It is an ultraportable that runs macOS and relies on the user utilising wireless technologies to get the most out of it. And it does that great - almost perfectly in my experience.

He's an optimist, like me, and loves his MacBook 12 well enough to have bought that 4K display to be ready for the spring 2018 refresh.
I bought a 4K display for my gaming rig. I made sure I bought a USB-C capable display for use with Macs.
 

bill-p

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2011
1,926
429
Eh... 2016 m7 MacBook works at 4K just fine. It's just that the 2015's GPU is severely underpowered.

I went from the 2015 base model to the 2016 m7 model and the difference in day to day use, plus driving a 4K display is huge. I'd think driving a high resolution display is entirely up to the GPU, and the m7 model does have the fastest GPU currently.
 

- rob -

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2012
573
338
Oakland, CA
He's an optimist, like me, and loves his MacBook 12 well enough to have bought that 4K display to be ready for the spring 2018 refresh.
I can't wait that long, unfotunately. I'm a 11" MBA user and expected something this past fall. I upgraded to the 13" tbMBP and returned the machine after battery problems and a vibe it was not for me.

Yes. I use a 4K display with my 2015 MacBook, and it works fine. Animations are choppy, and some things take a fraction of a second to load in full resolution, like pdf files and images. But it is bearable, and not really worse than with a non-4K external display. The rMB (2015) is only really fast on the internal display.
I tested almost a fully loaded 13" tbMBP on the new LG 4k and 5k displays at the Apple store. I saw choppness on the 5k video playback. It was not impressive.

However, this means if you put the CPU under continual stress, the MacBook - and the surface it's on - will heat up, severely impacting its ability to dissipate heat. The CPU is then forced to throttle and you won't get the turbo speeds you're used to. That's when performance gets impacted. It's really simple physics.
This happens on the MBA as well. Under heavy load, and on sunny days with high GPU use, I've used ice trays to keep performance up. When I'm home and docked it did not really bother me. I never have temperature issues when I'm mobile.

From my experience, driving 4K worth of pixels is just too much continual load for these little machines.
But it's not the right product for you. The Pro is.
Coming from using different gens of the 11" MBA for several years, the 2015 MBP is too heavy and big. It is not the spiritual successor to that product.

I work from home regularly and want a great external display. The MBA is very good at this with the 27" cinema display. Since the 11" is no longer being made, I assumed the Macbook is the natural successor to the machine, and thus would drive a successor to the last Apple cinema display. That would be a 4k to me.

Eh... 2016 m7 MacBook works at 4K just fine. It's just that the 2015's GPU is severely underpowered.
I suppose I'm looking to get one 4k now, and a second to go dual on a 2018 or other future mac. Strong portable + home docking is what I need.
 
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andy9l

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2009
1,697
364
England, UK
This happens on the MBA as well. Under heavy load, and on sunny days with high GPU use, I've used ice trays to keep performance up. When I'm home and docked it did not really bother me. I never have temperature issues when I'm mobile.

Coming from using different gens of the 11" MBA for several years, the 2015 MBP is too heavy and big. It is not the spiritual successor to that product.

I work from home regularly and want a great external display. The MBA is very good at this with the 27" cinema display. Since the 11" is no longer being made, I assumed the Macbook is the natural successor to the machine, and thus would drive a successor to the last Apple cinema display. That would be a 4k to me.
The Early 2015 11" MacBook Air offers similar performance to the 2016 M7 MacBook. But the MBA has better cooling (well, fans for a start), so can keep up with continuous demand for longer than the rMB. Of course, the CPUs have different TDP values - so you'd need to do real-world tests to validate this in practice. If you're already stressing your MBA, then the rMB has potential to really struggle.

The successor you're looking for is the 2016 MacBook Pro - the problem is, you don't like the design. I'm in the same boat. I know I need a MacBook Pro for my usage, but I'm reluctant to buy one due to how dated they look in comparison with my existing rMB.

There's a huge outcry amongst the Mac community at the moment that I'm sure you've noticed. It's clear Apple are no longer focusing on what they refer to as 'prosumers' or 'professional users'. Their mobile devices and weaker computers offer better profits, better cash flow and an opportunity to grasp market share. Unfortunately for us, the right business decision for them is to forget about us nerds and focus on the masses.

FWIW, I would strongly suggest a 5K screen if you can afford it. I had to go 4K for time being so I could run games natively at 4K via my PC (shared monitor). 5K would be asking too much of 2x GTX-1080s. 5K at 27" is perfect 2x retina scaling for 1440p. 4K at 27" isn't perfect 2x for 1440p, so things are blurred relative to a 5K equivalent (but still better than native 1440p, of course).
 
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