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Prayer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 13, 2017
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0
Hi guys, so I'm in the process of buying a new MacBook for myself which I plan to use as a desktop PC as well when I'm at home. So the question is; can a 2017 12" MacBook "run" an external monitor like the LG 27UD88-W without it overheating or thermal throttling doing basic stuff like watching Youtube videos, listening to music with let's say 10 tabs open at the same time for a prolonged period of time? If so, great! I have found the perfect machine for myself, if not what about the 2017 13" MacBook Pro? Do the fans get loud at 4K doing the stuff mentioned above or does the machine stay cool and silent?

Basically, I need a silent MacBook/Pro that can drive my 4K monitor silently, with no performance issues nor any overheating issues! Personal experience is greatly appreciated!
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
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How are you using the system?
Do you want 60z or do you want USB 3.1 data speeds?

IMHO, I feel the touchbar MacBook Pro is often the best choice when 4k and CPU/GPU-intensive work is involved (but obviously, the caveat is of course a significantly higher price, which I realize isn't always practical for someone's individual needs/constraints!)
 

Prayer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 13, 2017
10
0
How are you using the system?
Do you want 60z or do you want USB 3.1 data speeds?

IMHO, I feel the touchbar MacBook Pro is often the best choice when 4k and CPU/GPU-intensive work is involved (but obviously, the caveat is of course a significantly higher price, which I realize isn't always practical for someone's individual needs/constraints!)

I'm using it solely for web browsing, listening to Spotify and watching movies. I was doing my research and I found that some MacBook Pro models tend to be really loud even at doing basic stuff I mentioned above, hence I decided to go for the 12" model, but I guess even the 12" model don't come without a price (thermal throttling) so I decided to ask you guys if anyone has any experience with this kind of stuff.

EDIT: I prefer 60hz over data speed.
 

andy9l

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2009
1,699
365
England, UK
I’ve had the 27UD88-W for coming up one year this month. In that time I’ve used it with a 2015 rMB 1.1GHz, a 2016 rMB 1.2GHz, a 2016 13" MBP w/Touch 2.9GHz (only for a week), and currently a 2017 13” MBP w/Touch 3.1GHz. I also use it most often with my gaming PC, but that's via DisplayPort.

I can tell you the performance difference was massive between the 2016 rMB and 2017 MBP. I haven’t looked back once. A consistently smoother experience. Far less UI lag, iMovie in particular is far more responsive. Anecdotally, I feel I can keep more stuff running without sacrificing any performance.

I've only heard the fans on initial setup and when exporting from iMovie so far. When I'm on my Mac I'm generally doing web development, browsing, or editing in iMovie - so nothing too intensive. The fans on the TouchBar models are exceptionally quiet and soft sounding even at high RPM. The non-TouchBar model is slightly louder, but I cannot give first-hand experience on how different it is in real-world scenarios.

Remember, the fans in the MacBook Pro are also completely off (0rpm) most of the time. No different to having a MacBook - and that's coming from a guy who's had two MacBooks before two Pros.
 

Prayer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 13, 2017
10
0
The performance as in 4K with an external monitor? What about in normal mode (without an external connected)? Does the UI lag on the 12" model under normal conditions, also does the chassis heat up easily or to the point it gets unconfterable doing basic stuff?

The Pro with TB has two fans that keep the machine even cooler than the regular nTB model. I've been seeing too many threads and videos saying the regular Pro gets heated up even after doing some really basic stuff so I'm kinda concerned about that.
 

andy9l

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2009
1,699
365
England, UK
Yes performance as in when running the 4K display at 60Hz over USB-C. I never felt the rMB chassis reach uncomfortable temperatures, but I did get the 'your MacBook is too hot' warning a couple of times when on conference calls (not connected to a monitor). When this happens, it throttles hugely - a horrible experience. The MacBook used to throttle regularly when using iMovie on the 4K screen. I didn't even realise that scrubbing was supposed to be real-time in iMovie until I got a Pro. There was also fairly considerable UI lag with typical browsing/iTunes usage.

The short of it is that the MacBook is not intended to be regularly used with an external display, 4K or otherwise. The MacBook Pro is. That's not to say the MacBook cannot be used in this way, but based on the design, marketing and overall product line-up it's very clear that the little machine was not made to sit on a desk connected to 4K displays and other peripherals. Personally, I love it for having that very clear purpose.

The MacBook is one of the best ultraportables on the market. You should buy it if portability is your primary concern - it'll handle most tasks on-the-go. If power is your primary concern, the Pro range is designed for your use case.

If the cost of the Pro is putting you off, then perhaps consider 2016 refurb units.
 
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ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
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I'm using it solely for web browsing, listening to Spotify and watching movies. I was doing my research and I found that some MacBook Pro models tend to be really loud even at doing basic stuff I mentioned above, hence I decided to go for the 12" model, but I guess even the 12" model don't come without a price (thermal throttling) so I decided to ask you guys if anyone has any experience with this kind of stuff.

EDIT: I prefer 60hz over data speed.

IMO, the MacBook Pro with touchbar is a much better match for you. My limited usage of my 2017 rMB with 4k displays has found a significant decrease in performance, and, while temperatures were quite a bit hotter, it was not so hot that it was uncomfortable to set in the lap

I note the touchbar model over the nTB because when driving a 4k/60 display, the touchbar is much, much, MUCH quieter IMO, especially if this is combined with streaming higher resolution videos.
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The performance as in 4K with an external monitor? What about in normal mode (without an external connected)? Does the UI lag on the 12" model under normal conditions, also does the chassis heat up easily or to the point it gets unconfterable doing basic stuff?

Without a 4k display, the current model retina MacBook is awesome and does not lag at all. It performs surprisingly well when under a heavier load, and does not seem to ever get hot enough to be uncomfortable to place on a lap. Even when I run a VM such as Win7, I do not notice UI lag.
 
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Prayer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 13, 2017
10
0
The TB model is kinda pricey for me at the moment, and to be honest I don't need that much power nor a touch bar for that matter. The 12" seems very attractive to me solely because its fanless and as you mentioned above it doesn't get hot under load, which i don't intend to stress anyway. I might even buy a Mac Mini for my desktop needs. But that's a story for another time.

The only thing left I'm interested is: does the regular 2017 13" nTB Pro model get noisy under normal loads (not heavy stuff like video editing). I would buy it any day of the week over the 12" but I need it to be silent.

EDIT: Would the performance (including heat) be better on a 1440p or lets say a 1080p screen with the 12"?
 
Last edited:

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,158
The only thing left I'm interested is: does the regular 2017 13" nTB Pro model get noisy under normal loads (not heavy stuff like video editing). I would buy it any day of the week over the 12" but I need it to be silent.

With a 4k display and the display unit I tested, yes, the nTB is audible under normal loads when outputting 4k. To me, it was not terribly noisy and yet to my coworker it was 100% unacceptable - so there is definitely a lot of subjectivity here. Without a display, for most usage of business-class Apps that are not pegging the CPU, it is going to be silent or near-silent.

I'll plug my rMB into one of my 1080p Dells. Would you be using it as an extended desktop or in clamshell mode?
 

Prayer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 13, 2017
10
0
With a 4k display and the display unit I tested, yes, the nTB is audible under normal loads when outputting 4k. To me, it was not terribly noisy and yet to my coworker it was 100% unacceptable - so there is definitely a lot of subjectivity here. Without a display, for most usage of business-class Apps that are not pegging the CPU, it is going to be silent or near-silent.

I'll plug my rMB into one of my 1080p Dells. Would you be using it as an extended desktop or in clamshell mode?

That's very nice of you! I'm planing to use it in clamshell mode for basic stuff as described above!
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,158
That's very nice of you! I'm planing to use it in clamshell mode for basic stuff as described above!

From what I can tell, with my 1080p display, it runs extremely well in both clamshell and extended mode.
 
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Prayer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 13, 2017
10
0
From what I can tell, with my 1080p display, it runs extremely well in both clamshell and extended mode.
I thought as well. What about the heat, I'm guessing its the same as using it normally without a monitor attached to it?

One last thing, since this is my first MacBook (ever) I was wondering whats the real native resolution of the display, I mean out of the box since I've seen some weird info on the web. I'm guessing if it is really 1440p then I might as well get a 27" 1440p monitor and call it a day? No extra strain should be applied to the 12" MacBook hardware since it is basically its native resolution and heat and performance shouldn't be an issue?

What about 1080p? Does the MacBook downscale the native resolution to 1080p hence hitting the performance or does it perform as well as a 1440p resolution might.

Sorry for my silly questions but since this is my first Apple computer I would like to know all my options and choose the best one that suits me since 4K isn't an option as it seems.
 

curmudgeonette

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2016
586
496
California
I was wondering whats the real native resolution of the display, I mean out of the box since I've seen some weird info on the web. I'm guessing if it is really 1440p then I might as well get a 27" 1440p monitor and call it a day?

2304x1440. In terms of screen real estate, the user interface can pretend that it is 1152x720 - though Apple's "default" is one step bigger.

No extra strain should be applied to the 12" MacBook hardware since it is basically its native resolution and heat and performance shouldn't be an issue?

Adding the external monitor means it needs to render to both, and it needs to pump pixels out of two frame buffers.
 

c0ppo

macrumors 68000
Feb 11, 2013
1,889
3,264
@Prayer

I've used my rMB 16 with 2K display (Dell u2515h) all the time. And not in clamshell mode, but I've used both displays, internal and external. And not just for basic stuff, but for Unity 3D as well. And it worked like a charm. I had no major issues at all.

I really have no idea how it works with 4K display, but 2017 is also more powerful then 2016 version that I've owned.

I would purchase rMB in your place, and if it doesn't work out, just return it for a refund and purchase something else.
 
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Prayer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 13, 2017
10
0
2304x1440. In terms of screen real estate, the user interface can pretend that it is 1152x720 - though Apple's "default" is one step bigger.



Adding the external monitor means it needs to render to both, and it needs to pump pixels out of two frame buffers.

Why would it need to render both when only one screen is used in clamshell mode?
 
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