can the 15" rMBP handle 2 4k or 5k displays without hiccups?

cmm

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Apr 30, 2006
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I was hoping people with a dual 4k or 5k monitor setup with a 13 or 15" rMBP can chime in and tell me if you’ve had any glitches or problems with the setup?

I am trying to decide whether to go with a 15" rMBP and run 2 4k monitor (probably the Dell P2715Q or P2415Q). I want to be sure that the 15 rMBP can handle the 2 4k/5k displays… I am hoping to run them at 1440 HiDPi (if they are 5k, I’d want to run a bit higher, is 1880 HiDPi a recommended scaled resolution?). At 60 Hz (I'm not interested in running my displays at least than this).

For reference, I have 15-30 windows open at any one time, between Chrome windows (with dozens of tabs per window), my IDE, Sublime Text, PDFs, iTerm windows and Sublime Text docs. I’ll sometimes watch youtube or something on vlc but most of the time, my screen has dozens of static windows open.

When responding, can you tell me which version rMBP you have and does it have an upgraded dedicated GPU?


Do you think I will have any hiccups or glitches or can the rMBP actually handle this workload while displaying 2 HiDPi scaled resolution monitors? Otherwise, I’ll have to go with the 5k iMac and one 5k display.
 
Last edited:

jerryk

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I would love to know this also. I have a 2015 15" rMBP with dGPU and need multiple monitors. I would love for them to be 2-4Ks running at 60 Hz or better.
 

cmm

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Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
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@jerryk I asked a similar question a few months ago and got two replies of conflicting information. It's really frustrating! I just want to get correct info so I can make the right choice to build the right system I need (I have a lot of moving parts and I don't like buying extra things unless I NEED them). I NEED at least 2 high resolution monitors 24 inches or larger. I'll never use non-HiDPi again. I have 2 Apple Thunderbolt displays and thanks to switchresx I have them scaled but you can see a noticeable difference in the text quality and I have black vertical bars on each side of the screen. I would prefer not to purchase a 5k iMac just so I can run two HiDPi displays given I have a homelab VM server that does most of the heavy lifting for me and I don't want to have 3 primary machines; I would prefer to have one primary machine, a laptop, and use the VMs off my server as necessary, rather than having to maintain and sync a desktop (5k iMac) as well as my laptop AND my server.

frustrating.
 

jerryk

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Nov 3, 2011
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I want to use non-Apple displays since I need to switch between my Windows machines and MacBook but use the same monitors, keyboard, and mouse. It definitely is frustrating.
 

Samuelsan2001

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Oct 24, 2013
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I want to use non-Apple displays since I need to switch between my Windows machines and MacBook but use the same monitors, keyboard, and mouse. It definitely is frustrating.
A display is a display if it has the right connections it will work with either machine.

The 15 inch will run 2 4K screens or 1 5k screen. Wether there is any lags or hitches is another matter you are asking a laptop GPU to run a lot of pixels but it will do it.

From apples website

  • Dual display and video mirroring: simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 3840x2160 pixels on up to two external displays, both at millions of colours.
Thunderbolt digital video output
  • Native Mini DisplayPort output
  • DVI, VGA, dual-link DVI and HDMI output supported using Mini DisplayPort adapters (sold separately)
  • Support for up to 5120x2880 resolution at 60Hz on a single external display (model with AMD Radeon R9 M370X only)
HDMI video output
  • Support for 1080p resolution at up to 60Hz
  • Support for 3840x2160 resolution at 30Hz
  • Support for 4096x2160 resolution at 24Hz
 

jerryk

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Nov 3, 2011
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A display is a display if it has the right connections it will work with either machine.

The 15 inch will run 2 4K screens or 1 5k screen. Wether there is any lags or hitches is another matter you are asking a laptop GPU to run a lot of pixels but it will do it.

From apples website

  • Dual display and video mirroring: simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 3840x2160 pixels on up to two external displays, both at millions of colours.
Thunderbolt digital video output
  • Native Mini DisplayPort output
  • DVI, VGA, dual-link DVI and HDMI output supported using Mini DisplayPort adapters (sold separately)
  • Support for up to 5120x2880 resolution at 60Hz on a single external display (model with AMD Radeon R9 M370X only)
HDMI video output
  • Support for 1080p resolution at up to 60Hz
  • Support for 3840x2160 resolution at 30Hz
  • Support for 4096x2160 resolution at 24Hz
I have read that documentation numerous times and based on what it says it is very unclear to me that it will support 2 4K displays running at 60 Hz or greater.
 

JTToft

macrumors 68040
Apr 27, 2010
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Aarhus, Denmark
I have read that documentation numerous times and based on what it says it is very unclear to me that it will support 2 4K displays running at 60 Hz or greater.
- Yes, Apple's specifications are interestingly very unspecific on that.

It has previously been proved that 2 x 4K 60 Hz works all the way back to Late 2013 15" models with discrete GPUs. How hot the machine will get from it is a different matter, though.
 

cmm

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Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
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The 15 inch will run 2 4K screens or 1 5k screen. Wether there is any lags or hitches is another matter you are asking a laptop GPU to run a lot of pixels but it will do it.
Yes. That is the entire purpose of this thread. I've been burned before by Apple's claims and reality.