Anyone using a 2018 Mini with multiple 4k@60hz monitors?

michael.richard1982

macrumors member
Original poster
May 18, 2018
51
72
If so, I'm wondering if you have anything to say about how it performs in typical desktop use. (no video games, video editing).

What configuration do you have? (ie, i3/i5/i7/16gb/32gb etc)
Are typical window operations choppy at all when in standard or scaled resolutions? (ie, resize, move, etc)?
Does 4k video play smoothly?
 

macdos

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2017
214
291
If so, I'm wondering if you have anything to say about how it performs in typical desktop use. (no video games, video editing).

What configuration do you have? (ie, i3/i5/i7/16gb/32gb etc)
Are typical window operations choppy at all when in standard or scaled resolutions? (ie, resize, move, etc)?
Does 4k video play smoothly?
2 x U28E590 Display, 27.5-inch @ 3840 x 2160
i7/64 GB

No choppiness, all is smooth, all the time, no matter what you do, including video editing. 4K video plays effortlessly, no lost frames (HEVC is handled by T2).

Now, if you scale, you will incur a hefty penalty on the GPU. And if your RAM is meager, it will also affect VRAM usage.
 

netdudeuk

macrumors 6502
Nov 27, 2012
327
249
The U28E590 is one of the cheapest 4K monitors around. I was looking at it on Sunday but they store was only playing stupid videos into th monitors so I couldn't see what a computer output would look like.

Do you scale ?

I have a 2017 13" TB MPB. Do you know how the picture would work out with this monitor ?

How would you connect it and set it up on the MBP ?
 

thirdsun

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
92
93
Now, if you scale, you will incur a hefty penalty on the GPU. And if your RAM is meager, it will also affect VRAM usage.
That depends on the scaling option you choose. If you use integer-based scaling like 2x / 200% aka "best for this display" macOS will simply use 2x assets and display text and UI elements (excluding video and pictures of course) at twice their size leading to crisp, sharp UI without performance penalties, but at half the actual resolution (so 1920x1080p for a UHD monitor).

If you choose non-integer-based scaling like 1,5x or "looks like 2560x1440px" macOS will render everything at 5k and scale it down to the target resolution. This looks blurry, interpolated, taxes your GPU and should be avoided. This is the kind of scaling you're talking about.

So, you should absolutely use 2x scaling / "best for this display" as this gives you a crisp image without performance trade offs. However it means that you're likely stuck with an effective resolution of 1080p on a 27" screen since the industry unfortunately settled on this combiantion. It should be 5k at 27" to get a full WQHD resolution at 2x scaling, but those monitors are rare and expensive.
 

lifeisepic

macrumors 6502
Mar 23, 2013
475
737
UK
The LG Ultrafine 4k is an excellent 4k monitor. Being 22" and a native resolution of 4096x2304, this will give you retina 2048 x 1152. So a little more real estate than 1920 x 1080.
 

thirdsun

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
92
93
The LG Ultrafine 4k is an excellent 4k monitor. Being 22" and a native resolution of 4096x2304, this will give you retina 2048 x 1152. So a little more real estate than 1920 x 1080.
And significantly sharper due to its high PPI of ca. 220 PPI (compared to 160 PPI in a UHD at 27"). For me the Ultrafine lacks inputs - I don't want to be limited to a single Thunderbolt input since I'm also using a PC with my monitors.

Another much more affordable option is Dell's P2415Q with a UHD resolution at 23.8" which is the natural size for an effective 1080p resolution. This monitor can be foud for 350 bucks if price is a concern.
 

Amazing Ox Space Monkey

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2015
149
144
Although I am not the OP, I’d like to thank you for your input as I’ll have to shoose a monitor for my yet-to-be-bought mini. However, at the beginning I’ll have to “put up with” my 43” 4K Sony TV.
 

lifeisepic

macrumors 6502
Mar 23, 2013
475
737
UK
And significantly sharper due to its high PPI of ca. 220 PPI (compared to 160 PPI in a UHD at 27"). For me the Ultrafine lacks inputs - I don't want to be limited to a single Thunderbolt input since I'm also using a PC with my monitors.

Another much more affordable option is Dell's P2415Q with a UHD resolution at 23.8" which is the natural size for an effective 1080p resolution. This monitor can be foud for 350 bucks if price is a concern.
I had a P2415Q connected to my 2015 MBP, mainly because I couldn't connect the Ultrafine 4k. My issue with the P2414Q was that it was shown up next to the screen of the MBP. Brightness and clarity where not quite there. Still a good monitor to pair with the Mini, since it can also be connected to other devices (PC/Console). If you plan to connect the same monitor to a console for a bit of gaming then you may want to skip the Dell since it doesn't have HDMI 1.4 which is needed to push 60hz/fps.

I also wish they updated the design to infinity edge, big bezels suck, but you get the same with the LG Ultrafine.

 

thirdsun

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
92
93
I had a P2415Q connected to my 2015 MBP, mainly because I couldn't connect the Ultrafine 4k. My issue with the P2414Q was that it was shown up next to the screen of the MBP. Brightness and clarity where not quite there. Still a good monitor to pair with the Mini, since it can also be connected to other devices (PC/Console). If you plan to connect the same monitor to a console for a bit of gaming then you may want to skip the Dell since it doesn't have HDMI 1.4 which is needed to push 60hz/fps.

I also wish they updated the design to infinity edge, big bezels suck, but you get the same with the LG Ultrafine.

Yes, it's all a bunch of compromises. Similar to OP I'm looking to buy the new Mac Mini to replace an iMac 27 (not 5K), but I can't find a monitor that fits my needs. I'm used to the iMac 5K (work) and my iPad Pro - there's no way I'm going back to low DPI / non-retina displays. However I also want to keep my effective screen real estate of WQHD / 2560x1440 - just in a very crisp fashion. So all those UHD displays, particularly at 27" won't work. It has to be 5K (with more than a TB input), which means I probably have to wait for an iMac refresh (I won't spend that kind of money on 2 year old hardware) and will add a second, shared display later.

It's a shame since the Mac Mini otherwise ticks all the boxes.
 
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thirdsun

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
92
93
Mini i7, originally had 8GB men, it was unusable with the settings on the screenshots. Upgraded to 32GB so far so good.


With 8GB look here: #32
Something is off. Why are those monitors reported as 6016x3084 when they are actually 4k displays? At simple 2x scaling I’d assume your system should be running smoothly, but that weird detected resolution could lead to all kinds of issues.
 

erroneous

macrumors newbie
Jul 25, 2004
25
2
Something is off. Why are those monitors reported as 6016x3084 when they are actually 4k displays? At simple 2x scaling I’d assume your system should be running smoothly, but that weird detected resolution could lead to all kinds of issues.
I think the OP is using the “looks like” scaling options macOS shows when using a hidpi monitor - it’s done this since the original retina MacBook Pros. If you want a slightly/much more dense UI than that the default x2 hidpi UI scaling gives, they can be very useful.

They also eat more vram, which was the OP’s point - the base 8Gbyte mini didn’t leave enough vram for the integrated gpu to deliver these smoothly.
 

zaphoyd

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2002
121
31
Wisconsin/Illinois
I am using a pair of Dell P2415Qs (23.8 inch monitor, 3840x2160 native res). I run them both at scaled "looks like 2560x1440", which macOS behind the scenes is drawing at 5K. These displays are high enough dpi (186) that the non-integer scaling still looks really good. I am primarily using this machine for software development so have lots of windows, browsers, terminals, lots of text. The mini is an i7 with 16GB ram. One of the displays is connected at 60Hz using a USB-C to Displayport cable, the other is connected at 60Hz using an HDMI cable. The P2415Q works at 60Hz over HDMI if you use the (very well hidden) menu option to enable HDMI 2.0 support.

I am very pleased with the UI performance. Based on my experience with my work iMac (with the Radeon M395X GPU) which struggles to draw the internal 5K display + 2 P2415Qs for similar workloads for things like space transitions, mission control, etc I was worried about the mini. The mini is buttery smooth all the time. I'm planning on adding a third low res 2560x1440 display as soon as the USB-C to mDP cable arrives in the mail and will reply if the third display changes anything.