4K Thunderbolt Monitor or 4K HDMI UHD TV?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by peter321564, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. peter321564 macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2010
    I want to go for a 4K screen on my late 2013 Mac Pro (2x AMD FirePro D700). I currently have a 30inch Apple Cinema Display, and a second 1600x1200 DVI monitor, both probably consuming a lot of energy and desk space.

    It seems that nowadays there is a choice between a few very expensive 4K Monitors (via Thunderbolt), or I could go relatively cheap with 4K UHD LedTVs, which are connected via HDMI (and have tuners etc...). An example would be the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16889005953:

    What is the catch here? Is the difference in quality really that big, between a Thunderbold or HDMI connection?

    Any Mac Pro users out there who have a 4K UHD TV as main 'monitor'?
    Pros and cons please!
  2. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Most of the monitors I have seen have been Mini DisplayPort and not Thunderbolt. Come to think of it I recall only seeing a single monitor other than the Apple Thunderbolt Display that is Thunderbolt and it wasn't even close to 4K.
  3. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    The catch is 60 Hz being possible via DP/TB with the newer SST UHD monitors, but until you've got the next iteration of HDMI on your GPU and UHDTV (the latter is more common now), you're stuck at 30 Hz refresh, which is just fine for video, but not so good for computer work.
  4. ilandmac macrumors member


    Mar 25, 2012
    Remote island
    4k displays.


    4K displays are fine but it's also about scale. I'm running 2560 x 1440
    which is fine to work with and look at. Switching to 4 K, everything is
    also sharp but minute... Icons & folders are so small, it's ridiculous.

    Said abruptly, your desktop & everything else will be so small as not
    to be useful or practical.

    There are ways to enlarge the size of text & icons but it does defeat the purpose.

    iland mac
  5. xav8tor, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014

    xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    If you have 4K content, either your own, like pix or homemade vides, or if you're lucky enough to have Hollywood 4k/ UHD like Netflix or Sony offerings (limited I know), it is is well worth it, as it is if you produce 4K product. Otherwise, yep, it is a total pain. Lots of 4K content will be coming in the first half of '15, maybe 4K Blu-ray is in the offing. But as you say, everyday tasks for the average user is not suited to 4K. As a photo/video producer, and needing tons of pixels for audio analysis, it's a boon and already worth the headaches for me, allowing me to accomplish work heretofore impossible, with surgical precision editing content, but for WWW surfing, generating docs/pdf files, email, etc., and watching horribly compressed web content, even 1080p is overkill, and that won't change until Joe Schmo sees the quality difference and the bandwidth is there to support the stream etc. To me though, I'm even ready to ditch every display I have that cannot do 2160p. Once you see it done right, there's no going back.
  6. h9826790, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    I am an old Mac Pro user, sometimes I will connect my Mac Pro to my 4K TV for testing/gaming etc (via my HD7950's HDMI port).

    If you connect your nMP to the 4K TV via HDMI, the max you can get is UHD 30Hz, or 4K 24Hz. This is the limitation of HDMI 1.4. Besides, the input lag on a TV set usually much worse than a monitor (due to those picture enhancement post processing in a 4K TV which you may not able to turn them off). The combination of these may cause you very hard to control your mouse accurately, and could be a disaster.

    In this point of view, it's better to get a real computer monitor with display port input as your main 4K monitor. Something that can run 3840x2160 60Hz with virtually zero input lag.

    However, for 4K, size does matter. My TV is 84", I can set the output to 3840x2160 and still see everything clearly (very important for text). For a normal desktop monitor, even though 30" is too small to run everything in 4K resolution. Of course, you can set the resolution to 1080 HiDPI, but that basically means use a 4K monitor to display 1080 content, which may not be your purpose to use such a high resolution monitor.

    In this point of view. A 4K TV may be a better choice because usually the TV is much bigger than a monitor. And as you said, the TV is cheaper.

    For picture quality, it's not the difference between TV or monitor, but vary from display to display. A bad computer monitor can give out horrible pictures. A good TV can give out very accurate pictures (usually require lots of effort on fine tuning).

    If you prefer the TV route because of cost saving. May I suggest you go to a shop physically. Ask the sales to connect a real computer to the 4K TV (of course the one that you are looking forward to buy) and let you use it for few minutes. This is almost the only way to make sure it can works as expected.

    Usually a TV with game mode or PC mode with display port input will work much better. Those mode should disable most of the post processing functions to reduce input lag. Also, it will display a more accurate pictures without those unnecessary picture enhance functions when serve as a computer monitor.
  7. hkoster1 macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Looking at your sig I can see where you're coming from. Do yourself a favour next time you're in an Apple store and have look at the scaled resolutions of Retina MBPs and the new 5K iMac. Yes, text and icons are the same size (when using scale factor 2) as on the non-retina screens, but they will be a lot sharper, so much so that I for one wouldn't want to go back to a fuzzy non-retina screen.:)
  8. nisse32 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2015
    I have an upgraded Mac Pro 2010 and I used to have the 30-inch Cinema Display. I wanted bigger working space (more pixels) and after a lot of testing I now have the ideal set-up (for my needs)

    Mac Pro with GTX 980 graphics (standard PC-version) -> DisplayPort -> Club 3D CAC-1070 adapter -> HDMI 2/DVI input -> Samsung UE48JS9005 (Curved Euroversion with quantum dot LCD screen)

    This Samsung TV now works in full 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 and is great. Dot pitch is about the same as my old 30-inch. Color and picture quality is great and the curve is also great since viewing position and distance is mostly constant. This TV is a top-of-the line model with a lot of other features and also future upgradeability to HDR. Price is relatively high (about EUR 2000/ USD 2000) but worth it for me. The only issue so far is that I would like to redesign my desk in order to lower the placement of the TV. The set looks nice but there could be some interior design issues with this setup because of the screen size. Not many people have a 48-inch on the desk...

    This TV and the Club 3D adapter should work on any newer Mac with 4K DisplayPort support.

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