Displayport or Thunderbolt connection??

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AlphaX, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. AlphaX macrumors newbie

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    Nov 28, 2016
    #1
    Hi All,

    This may be an easy question for most of you I presume, but I have purchased a new 34" monitor and I'm slightly lost in the tech jungle.

    I thought I would just connect the monitor to my macbook via HDMI but turns out the monitor can't show the full resolution of 3440x1440 and a different cable is required. I understand there are different solutions such a displayport adapter or a thunderbolt cable. However I struggle to understand the differences and advantages. The monitor does have Thunderbolt 2 slot and displayport slot.

    Could anyone shed some light of what connector would be beneficial ?

    Also if I was to connect the monitor to a regular windows notebook, would I face similar issues or will the HDMI cable suffice?

    I would really appreciate any help!

    Many thanks
    AlphaX
     
  2. xmonkey macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Please specify the exact make/model of your monitor, that will help greatly :)
     
  3. AlphaX thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 28, 2016
    #3
    Sorry I had it originally in my post but then my macbook frooze

    The monitor is a LG 34uc97-s

    Thank you!
     
  4. xmonkey macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Oh also one more important thing I forgot, what model MBP do you have? ;)
     
  5. AlphaX thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Its a Retina MBP from early 2013 running macOS Sierra :)
     
  6. mickeydean macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2011
    #6
    MiniDP
     
  7. xmonkey macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    The HDMI port is a bit limiting in terms of resolution and refresh rate so I would go with a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable like this: http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=15888

    If you're going to use the USB ports on the back of your monitor I believe a Thunderbolt 2 cable would be best as you would also get to use those ports without an additional USB cable to the laptop, but TB2 cables are quite a bit more expensive than the Monoprice one (and the USB slots on the monitor don't look very conveniently placed anyways).
     
  8. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #8
    When running over Thunderbolt, it will just be using the DisplayPort protocol to transfer the video signal anyway. The major benefit is you will get is the video signal, "daisy chained" Thunderbolt, and USB all over the one cable.

    Otherwise, you can use a DisplayPort to miniDisplayPort cable for video, plus a USB cable if you want to use the USB ports on the monitor. And you have "given up" one of your Thunderbolt ports on your laptop. (Using Thunderbolt, you may "lose" the port on the laptop, but you have a downstream port on the display to replace it.)
     
  9. AlphaX thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 28, 2016
    #9
    Hi guys,

    Thanks so much for your answers!

    MBP
    I went into an consumer eletronic store today and they didnt have any displayport cables, but I was advised that a HDMI 2.0 cable would suffice too. Given that I can return it, I bought it to try. Now when I plug it in, I have the same issue that I see just weird lines of colours, so it doesnt work I guess. I'm a bit scared that the monitor may be broken, but having googled I understand that MBP have no HDMI 2.0, right? So I will just buy a displayport to mini displayport online.

    Windows Notebook
    Also I want to use the monitor with a Windows Notebook, which however also doesnt work with the HDMI cable I bought. Does anyone know what cable I would need for the Windows laptop?
    It is a 2008ish Dell with HDMI ports. If I were to buy a displayport to HDMI cable, would the HDMI port not be insufficient for 3440x1440 and lower the output back to HDMI level, so that I basically have the same result, i.e. its not working?

    Thanks a ton for your help!!

    Alpha
     
  10. xmonkey macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I think your Windows laptop is too old to support the max resolution. HDMI 1.4 brought 4K support and that wasn't out until mid-2009 at the earliest. Hard to be certain without a specific model number.

    As for the MBP.... is it a 13" or 15"? And is it Late 2013 (MacBookPro11) or Early 2013 (MacBookPro10)? If it's an Early 2013 I think it may only support up to 2560x1600 over the Thunderbolt Port and 1920x1200 over HDMI. I believe it wasn't until the Late 2013 models that 4K/5K started being supported, actually. Please see the following references:

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206587
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacBook_Pro#Technical_specifications_3
     
  11. thesaint024 macrumors 65816

    thesaint024

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    #11
    Hi have/had a very similar situation. Various Win notebooks and have a 2009 MBP and the Dell 34" ultrawide monitor. Much to my surprise, the 2009 13" MBP drove the full 3440x1440 resolution through mDP, albeit at 30hz. I believe your newer DP port will even carry sound over, so bonus. It WILL work with your monitor, maybe even at 60hz. I don't have a TB2 port in my monitor so I never tried. In theory, the previous poster is right that you can send data back and forth (peripherals), if you use your monitor as some sort of hub. That's the advantage of the more expensive cable. I don't believe throughput is an issue for that resolution.

    HDMI will do it as well. I have an older desktop (2012?) that I run to the monitor via HDMI. For a 2008 PC, it may or may not do the full resolution, depending on the onboard video card. I'm guessing no. But you can still run it at a scaled down resolution. But to make it work, those converting cables from HDMI and DP and so forth don't usually work both ways. It's usually converting mDP to X connector. You will need just a regular HDMI cable (1.2, 1.4), but again, you'll be limited by your video card. Knowing how PC's are, it will probably freak out with the big monitor, so you will need to boot up in Safe Mode.

    Good luck. It's pretty cool when the one monitor is shared and can just be switched over.
     
  12. AlphaX thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 28, 2016
    #12
    Thank you both very much!

    Windows Notebook
    The laptop is a XPS1640 model which I bought around 2008/2009. I was in another electronic store today and the sales person told me that it would be too old to support 4k thats why I can't choose any higher resolution in windows. Even if I would have a displayport cable that has a HDMI connector. If that's true that basically just eliminated the option of using the windows laptop.

    MBP
    It is a 13" MBP Retina from early 2013 with Intel HD Graphics 4000. The sales person mentioned that if I get the displayport to displayport mini I should get a "full hd" resolution, but the MBP may be too old to support 4k, i.e. full resolution at 3440x1440. I will order now the displayport cable and see what result I get. I really hope I don't have to buy a new laptop!!

    What is the drawback of having a lower hz?
     
  13. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    Portland / Seattle
    #13
    Chiming in late. Owner of many displays in my home and small company, and a late-2013 rMBP with a dGPU with a bit of advice.

    Pass on a TB cable, don't think of that port as a Thunderbolt port - TB v1/2 is limited to DisplayPort v1.1a, which carries far less throughput than DP 1.2, which your Mac and display are capable of.

    Pass on the cheap DP cables - they're junk, anyone who tells you otherwise is pretty much clueless and can't back up an assertion to contradict me here. While cheap cables sound great (because they're cheap), the owners of them didn't sit down with electrical testing equipment - like I did - and found they were causing problems with Macs'/PCs' video cards and the displays, and also not conveying EDID data properly.

    Get a DP 1.2-compliant (not compatible) cable capable of at least 1440p (mine are 2160p). I'd wager you didn't even know about this throughput bit? Start here:
    http://www.displayport.org/products-database/
    pick "Cables" and read the spec of the products that suit your needs. I use only Accell UltraAV mDP-to-DP 1.2 Cable and Eizo PP200 cables (which came with the displays I bought).

    Take a bit of time with the DisplayPort wiki, and you'll see for yourself that you ought to focus on a compliant DP 1.2 cable. You spent a couple of grand on a rMBP, and a bit on a decent display - using a $10 cable that will silently cause damage to both is a waste (look up "displayport power over pin 20" using your preferred search engine) and a misleading sell job. Cheers, I'm done here...
     
  14. AlphaX thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 28, 2016
    #14
  15. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    Portland / Seattle
    #15
    About that post on the DP.org web site, I agree with that. What's more important to me, and to you, is the throughput related to that spec, which is why I alluded to check the throughput of the cable you're buying - we have several sizable 4k displays in one of my offices and can see "lag" in response times on those displays using DP 1.1 compliant cables. DP 1.2 2160p compliant cables will transmit far more throughput than a DP 1.1 compliant cable (Accell sells both, choose the correct version for your needs!).

    Think of it this way - a garden hose is a garden hose, but a 2" garden hose will carry more fluid than a 1" garden hose. With the DP 1.2-compliant cables that indicate they're 2160p, there's absolutely zero lag even at 4k or UHD/60Hz; almost all of my workstations have at least two 4k displays attached (including my rMBP at home...). Cheers!
     
  16. AlphaX thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 28, 2016
    #16
    Guess today is my lucky day. I had the monitor connected to my MBP via HDMI and used it with the lower resolution, as I'm waiting for the displayport cable. I put my MBP to sleep and closed the display. To reactivate I clicked on my USB mouse and the MBP woke up (display still closed) and the external monitor turned on. However, not in lower resolution, in full resolution!! I can't confirm 100% what it is, but in settings it says "default for display" and the default one for the LG is 3440x1440. It doesn't look as crisp but its already pretty nice!

    To summarise for everyone else who may want to give this HMDI workaround a shot:
    1. macbook is connected via HDMI to external monitor
    2. have the external monitor on and navigate to set the MB into sleep
    3. close the MB display
    4. reactivate the MB by clicking on any your USB / bluetooth connected devices (eg. magic mouse)
    5. monitor should work in full resolution


    I believe closing the display is not the key part, so this should also work with open display and putting the MB into sleep /reactivating it on the keyboard / tackpad, but I'm to happy to have this work atm and don't want to play around with the set-up.

    Hope the displayport will bring higher definition!
     
  17. thesaint024 macrumors 65816

    thesaint024

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    #17
    Read your replies and now I'm confused. I may be wrong but are you equating 3440x1440 to 4k? It is lower than 4k, so I don't see why there is an issue? HDMI will run that resolution. It's dependent on your video card. This rules out your old XPS, but your MBP will definitely do this, either with HDMI or DP. I might be missing the point here.
     

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