4k Monitor: Performance, noise and heat

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by huayra, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. huayra macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2017
    How different Macbook configurations perform with 4K 60Hz monitors? I would like to know the difference between 2015 Macbook Pro 15 with Iris Pro and AMD 370X. Additionally, it would be interesting to hear how 2016 models perform(and any other model for that matter). Some people say that the fans run constantly and noise is annoying. Other say that the performance is not smooth. So, the questions are as follows(assuming 4k monitor running at 60Hz and Macbook in clamshell mode, meaning it drives only the external monitor):

    1. What is the exact model and configuration of the Macbook?
    2. At what scaled resolution do you run MacOS?
    3. How smooth is the MacOS? (gestures and overall performance under light and heavy load)
    3. Are fans running constantly even on light tasks like browsing? If not, when they start to be annoying?
    4. Is Macbook generating considerably more heat as opposed to standalone operation?
  2. dooban macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011
    I am very interested on this too. Currently owning new 13 ntb and wondering how will it perform with a 4K or 5K screen.
  3. WickedPorter, Jan 4, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017

    WickedPorter macrumors regular


    Sep 28, 2012
    On my 13" 2016 Non-Touch: I'm running a single BenQ BL series 32" 4K display @ 60Hz (using Alt-display mode USB-C to DisplayPort 1.2 cables from Amazon), also have the MacBook display open/in use and another 1080p display hooked up using the Apple USB-C multi-port adapter. No problems. UI is smooth, system seems to run as cool as it would without anything hooked up.

    On my 15" 2016, 450 dGPU: I'm running dual 4K Dell P2415Q displays @ 60Hz (using alt-display mode USB-C to DisplayPort 1.2 cables from Amazon, one monitor per port) in clamshell mode. Also no "native" problems. Did have problems with Parallels 12 with this configuration; Win10 was annoyingly slow/laggy in the UI both in windowed and full screen mode, and the system ran noticeably warm. Switched back to Parallels 11 and everything works fine. Based on Parallels support forum posts, Parallels 12 was released a bit too early and a good number of us users are "beta testing" it for them, not by choice.
  4. rutrack macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2017
    1. I was running 2014 13" with dual 4k monitors at 52Hz, which becomes annoying when working long hours due to lag, so I just recently changed to 2015 15" with Radeon M370X, which also hooked up to the same two monitors
    2. On 13" I was switching to 2560x1440 sometimes, but mostly at 4K
    3. Very smooth when running MacOS, not any different from a desktop
    4. No, fans are not running constantly, but can start pretty quick. On 2015 15" fans usually run at 2200rpm, which is hard to notice, but if you have a lot of browser windows open with flash content it can launch full speed. Same would happen when you need to have a lot pixels pumped out ... such as youtube, netflix and running virtual machines in full screen mode on external monitors at 4k. I usually use an external app, where I set a minimum fan rotation speed at 2700 rpm, which is comfortable enough for me and prevents the laptop from heating to the point, where the fans need to go full throttle. I also have a cooling pad under the laptop, although I'm not sure how much it contributes to the cooling.
    5. Yes.

    Overall, when I'm running 13" with IRIS pro at 2560x1440 it generates less heat that 15" with Radeon at 4k. If I had to buy again at the moment, I would go for 2015 without dedicated graphics as that seems to be more balanced solution, which also runs 4k@60Hz.

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