Advice on monitor/TV purchase please

hajime

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Hello, I was planning to buy a new MacBook Pro and a 4K monitor this summer. However, my MBP 2010 17" is still running fine and I don't need to get a new laptop at least for the time being. In the past, I got a 24" HP monitor. I put it next to my MacBook Pro so that I could use two screens at the same time. I don't have that monitor anymore. The 17" screen is not enough for productivity. I need an external monitor.

I was hoping to get a 4K monitor but my laptop does not support it. It supports an external monitor up to 2560x1600. In addition, I heard that there are many compatibility issues with 4K monitors under Windows 10. Not sure if Mac OS and Windows 7 have the scaling issues Windows 10 users are experiencing. I use both Mac OS and Windows 7. In case I want an external monitor, what suggestion do you have? If my laptop could support 4K, I guess getting a Philips 43" monitor could be good as I will not need to scale up the font size of such large monitor.

Under Sierra, what are the differences between using a monitor vs. a TV as an external display?
 

kohlson

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Things still seem to be evolving in this area. USB-C or DisplayPort or HDMI connectivity, for example, are all possible candidates to drive a 4K monitor. Why not buy a relatively inexpensive 24" HD monitor, and use that until you are ready to upgrade? Meanwhile, prices and technology improve.

I use a Dell 2715Q, scaled to 1440p, with my 2013 MBP - love it.
 
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hajime

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Am I correct that people who buy 4K monitors are those who mainly use them for watching TV and playing games? I guess in those cases, they don't have to care about font scaling issues. I don't know if Mac applications have compatibility issues with 4k monitors. I suppose some Mac users use 4K monitors to edit videos and photos. I wonder if they have font scaling issues.
 

campyguy

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IMO you ought to expand your opinions of what displays your MBP can connect to. I sold my 17" MBP several years ago, but I recall it was capable of DP 1.2 just like the current rMBPs. Consider buying a newer display - not the Dell P2715Q, which I own several of - but a display capable of HDMI 2.0 (like the BenQ BL2711U or that Philips display) and an active mDP 1.2 > HDMI 2.0 adapter (https://www.accellcables.com/collections/adapters/products/mini-displayport-1-2-to-hdmi-2-0-adapter). The P2715Q has HDMI 1.4 ports, limiting refresh rates when compared to HDMI 2.0-capable displays.

Buy an active adapter from a company that takes the time to get their cables certified by DP.org (Accell, Belkin), and you'll be rocking a new, really nice display with a bit of futureproofing.
 
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hajime

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IMO you ought to expand your opinions of what displays your MBP can connect to. I sold my 17" MBP several years ago, but I recall it was capable of DP 1.2 just like the current rMBPs. Consider buying a newer display - not the Dell P2715Q, which I own several of - but a display capable of HDMI 2.0 (like the BenQ BL2711U or that Philips display) and an active mDP 1.2 > HDMI 2.0 adapter (https://www.accellcables.com/collections/adapters/products/mini-displayport-1-2-to-hdmi-2-0-adapter). The P2715Q has HDMI 1.4 ports, limiting refresh rates when compared to HDMI 2.0-capable displays.

Buy an active adapter from a company that takes the time to get their cables certified by DP.org (Accell, Belkin), and you'll be rocking a new, really nice display with a bit of futureproofing.
Thanks. What do you think of the HP Pavilion 32 32-inch Display?
 

phairphan

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Do some research on this, but I suspect your MBP is capable of driving a 4K display over DP, but at 30Hz. While not ideal for a long term solution, you could upgrade to a 4K display now and it will be in place when you upgrade your notebook.

Alternatively, you could drive a 4K display at a lower resolution until you have a computer capable of driving it at its native resolution.

I cannot comment on the HP Pavilion display, but I use the BenQ BL3201 and enjoy it. I find it large enough to run at 4K without scaling.
 
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hajime

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I haven't bought monitors for a long time. In the past, I only bought from NEC, Samsung, HP and Eizo due to their high quality. It looks like these days, monitors from LG, Philips and Dell are ok as well. How about BenQ, Asus, and the rest? Which brands shall we stay away from?
 

hajime

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What will happen driving a 4K monitor at a lower resolutions, say 2560x1600, supported by MBP 2010 17"? Things look fuzzy and ugly?
 

campyguy

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Thanks. What do you think of the HP Pavilion 32 32-inch Display?
I haven't bought monitors for a long time. In the past, I only bought from NEC, Samsung, HP and Eizo due to their high quality. It looks like these days, monitors from LG, Philips and Dell are ok as well. How about BenQ, Asus, and the rest? Which brands shall we stay away from?
What will happen driving a 4K monitor at a lower resolutions, say 2560x1600, supported by MBP 2010 17"? Things look fuzzy and ugly?
I'll offer again that you think outside the boxes that many of think in, relative to displays, as I have in the past but I educated myself and both no longer have issues with my displays and am more satisfied with my display content (as are my 30 employees!).

Building on phairphan's advice, there's one key bit that most miss - including my past self: throughput of each channel, and that makes a big difference IMO. Think of it this way, you need to water a lawn - would you rather use a hose the size of a drinking straw or one that's 1" in diameter?

Accell, Belkin, Matrox, Eizo, and StarTech list the throughput of their cables while most manufacturers of adapters/cables don't. Those 5 companies are on the DisplayPort product portal for certified products - "certified" is not "compatible", like cheap products made by Monoprice claim and I found this bit out the hard way by spending plenty of money on displays and wondering why my Eizo displays were the only ones working perfectly for years…

The Accell adapter I called out is rated for the maximum throughput for DP 1.2, and it works wonders with the HDMI 2.0-rated displays/monitors in my offices. I also use Accell aftermarket cables for my displays that don't ship with cables made by manufacturers that go through the certification process (both Dell and HP ship with COXOC-made crap that's been binned). To the point, I see resolutions with Accell and Belkin cables in the Displays Pref Pane that weren't showing up with non-certified cables (I've waxed on about this elsewhere in these forums).

I'm buying Macs/PCs and displays this year for both myself and my companies with the hopes of focusing on the new USB-C port but knowing that HDMI 2.0 would better bridge the "gap" with excellent throughput and color gamut. Commenting on the BenQ 32 inch display, I'll recommend passing on it despite owning a few - it's an older display with HDMI 1.4 as are most Dell displays, they're stuck in the past IMHO. With your older MBP, that active adapter will help you bridge a gap of buying a display for your future. If I wanted to work in 4k, a 32 inch display would be the smallest display I would consider; that 43 inch Philips monitor is in two of my offices and it's pretty stunning for general work and presentations when connected to a Mac/PC with that Accell adapter - 4k at 60Hz.

Keep in mind, for your research, that it's not just one data protocol that makes things "work" here. Accell has addressed data conversion and throughput in a $40 adapter. I, too, lean on Eizo and NEC when I need "perfect" output. I've been happy with BenQ since they own the panel manufacturer, their professional panels are very, very good. I'm not keen on LG's consumer products, opting to spend a few more bucks for their business products that also increase the relevant warranty from 1 year to 3 years, but I'll likely not invest in LG displays anytime soon as all of the displays I've purchased over 3 years has been returned/exchanged. Cheers!
 
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hajime

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Do some research on this, but I suspect your MBP is capable of driving a 4K display over DP, but at 30Hz. While not ideal for a long term solution, you could upgrade to a 4K display now and it will be in place when you upgrade your notebook.

Alternatively, you could drive a 4K display at a lower resolution until you have a computer capable of driving it at its native resolution.

I cannot comment on the HP Pavilion display, but I use the BenQ BL3201 and enjoy it. I find it large enough to run at 4K without scaling.
The specs of the MBP 2010 17" is as following:
https://support.apple.com/kb/sp581?locale=en_US
 

BigAppleNYC123

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THis depends on what you use the monitors for. Mostly gamers use them in 4K. Are you a gamer? I got a 4K display and use the scaled down resolution. I assume your machine will support scaled down too. Some people argue it’s pointless to scale down, but in my opinion, the screen is better quality because the pixels per inch are greater. It’s not iPhone retina, but it’s better than OG iPhone. Look at lg displays. They make the best TVs and monitors. I have lg 4K 24” monitor, and an LG OLED tv.
[doublepost=1499484526][/doublepost]Also- buy display port adapters on . Display port gives the best image- better than hdmi.
 

hajime

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THis depends on what you use the monitors for. Mostly gamers use them in 4K. Are you a gamer? I got a 4K display and use the scaled down resolution. I assume your machine will support scaled down too. Some people argue it’s pointless to scale down, but in my opinion, the screen is better quality because the pixels per inch are greater. It’s not iPhone retina, but it’s better than OG iPhone. Look at lg displays. They make the best TVs and monitors. I have lg 4K 24” monitor, and an LG OLED tv.
[doublepost=1499484526][/doublepost]Also- buy display port adapters on . Display port gives the best image- better than hdmi.
Between now and I get a new laptop, if I get a Philips 43" 4K display now and use the scaled down resolution with my MacBook Pro 2010 17", will the fonts and graphics look ugly given that the native resolution is 4K?

I came across Post #2 of the following thread.
http://www.mac-forums.com/apple-notebooks/332271-mbp-mid-2010-2560x1440-proper-mini-dp-dp-cable.html

If I put the MBP 2010 17" in clamshell mode, will it be able to drive the 4K monitor at native resolution?
 

BigAppleNYC123

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Jun 6, 2017
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Between now and I get a new laptop, if I get a Philips 43" 4K display now and use the scaled down resolution with my MacBook Pro 2010 17", will the fonts and graphics look ugly given that the native resolution is 4K?

I came across Post #2 of the following thread.
http://www.mac-forums.com/apple-notebooks/332271-mbp-mid-2010-2560x1440-proper-mini-dp-dp-cable.html

If I put the MBP 2010 17" in clamshell mode, will it be able to drive the 4K monitor at native resolution?
If it’s down-scaling, it shouldn’t look ugly.. that’s my understanding, at least.

The safest thing to do is to buy a cord, go to Best Buy with your machine, and test different monitors. Returns are such a hassle..
 
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hajime

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If it’s down-scaling, it shouldn’t look ugly.. that’s my understanding, at least.

The safest thing to do is to buy a cord, go to Best Buy with your machine, and test different monitors. Returns are such a hassle..
That is a good idea but they don't have such monitors on display. Returning such big monitors is indeed a hassle.
 

krause734

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I use a 60" LG 4K TV connected to my Mac. I have the resolution set to 1920x1080. It is perfect. I'll never go back to a Macbook or iMac. The TV was $650 last December (even $600 on Black Friday) at Best Buy. I'm not sure of the advantage of a monitor unless you are a gamer and need a high refresh rate. Also convenient to use your computer as a home theater.
 
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hajime

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I use a 60" LG 4K TV connected to my Mac. I have the resolution set to 1920x1080. It is perfect. I'll never go back to a Macbook or iMac. The TV was $650 last December (even $600 on Black Friday) at Best Buy. I'm not sure of the advantage of a monitor unless you are a gamer and need a high refresh rate. Also convenient to use your computer as a home theater.
Are the letters crisp looking?
 

hajime

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What is the model number of your TV? On the net, some people mentioned that not all TV can be a good computer monitor. They suggested checking input lag, 555 for text clarity, etc.

I think in my case (programming, CAD, SolidWorks/Simulink), a very big (over 43") 4K monitor would be good. Whenever I watch curved monitor in store, I feel very sick to the point of vomit. Not sure if it is my own medical problem. 4K also have larger count of vertical pixels. Given that my desk is depth, I need over 43" to avoid scaling issues. The Philips 43" BDM 4350UC/27 seems to be the best choice but many users have complained about the burn-in effect. Why Philips does not fix this problem even the monitor has been around for over a year? Besides the curve issue, the LG38UC99-W costs more than two times than the 435OUC/27. A 4K TV from Samsung/LG/Sony of 45"-50" costs more than the LG38UC99-W.
Currently, MBP 2010 17" supports 2560x1600. Not sure if it can support 4K if I put it in chamshell mode. So, ideally, I should get a 4K monitor 43-50 inches with very thin bezel (silver or white preferred) and capable of producing crisp letters whether the TV is in 2560x1600 or 4K mode. Hard to decide.
 

krause734

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A desktop with dual monitors might be a good option as well rather than one big monitor.
 

apolkowski

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I have two 4K TVs connected to Win 10 machine for gaming. I use 2x1080 in SLI mode. I had 43" Philips monitor and 40" Samsung 4K TV for a while, but I exchanged Philips monitor to 43" Philips TV. I have a Mini attached to another HDMI input of Philips TV and at 1920x1080 it looks bad. I did not manage to get crisp fonts. Samsung 4K TVs seem to be better prepared to work as computer monitors. And one more thing. I am not a professional photographer or designer, so I do not judge color reproduction etc. I just want to see clear text and straight lines. What I noticed is that vector graphics look OK, but any bitmap based pop-ups in both Win and MacOS look bad. As my eyes are not anymore as they used to be, I use 150% scaling for Win displays.
 

hajime

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I have two 4K TVs connected to Win 10 machine for gaming. I use 2x1080 in SLI mode. I had 43" Philips monitor and 40" Samsung 4K TV for a while,
You had the BDM4350UC/27? Did you have burn in problem? I consider to buy it but I am concerned about this issue.

As my desk is 90 cm in depth and CAD software do not support 4K, I put the TV/monitor to the far end of the desk and do not use scaling. In other words, I need a monitor/TV of size about 43"-50" to be able to see the letters clearly.


[doublepost=1499728521][/doublepost]Let's compile a list of 4K TV (40"-55") made in 2016 and 2017 that are proven to be excellent for productivity work in addition to gaming (I don't game but if I have such a big TV, I may do so in the future). By productivity work, I mean programming, writing such as writing books and long reports using Words, latex, Page; reading pdf documents, Words, EXCEL, CAD such as SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor, Illustrator, Photoshop, Premier, web browsing, Matlab/Simulink.

The ability to produce Clarity and crisp looking text, straight looking thin lines are important.


According to this article, the KS9000 has 120Hz. Does that mean it can perform better than normal 4K monitor that runs at 60Hz?

https://www.slant.co/topics/6268/viewpoints/8/~4k-tvs-to-use-as-a-computer-monitor~samsung-ks9000
 
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hajime

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Yes, this was BDM4350UC. It is now used by my son and he complains about ghosting visible after just minutes of static picture.
Thanks. I have OCD. Better stay away from it. Talked to a staff in Apple Store today. He actually recommended me to buy a large screen TV rather than the LG5K. He is right that the letters will be too small to do programming work. He is using a 55" TV as a monitor himself. He said that I should look for TV with HDR.