External Display Options with Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by profets, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. profets macrumors 601

    Mar 18, 2009
    Hi All,

    I'm going to be using a Mac Pro as a desktop computer for 3-6 months. I'm used to using a 27" iMac, but it was stolen (long story).

    I currently have an old 23" 1080p panel connected to the Mac Pro, but the screen real estate is too small. I'm used to 2560x1440 (as well as @2x on the 5K iMac).

    Looking at a few options for an external display. Nothing fancy, just decent price. I was going to pull the trigger on a 27" 2560x1440 display, but was then thinking about a 4K display.

    Anyone have experience using a 4K display with a Mac Pro? I assume you could run @2x and get 1920x1080. But I'd prefer to get more real estate.

    Wondering if scaling 2560x1440 on a 3840x2160 display would look ok - would it be sharper / better dpi than an actual 2560x1440 panel, or if it would look worse from the scaling and I should just stick to an actual 2560x1440 panel.

  2. JazzyGB1 macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    It depends on the Mac Pro you use.
    If you're talking about an up to date Trashcan Mac Pro I think you'll be fine running 4k out the box.
    If it's a classic tower Mac Pro from before 2012 you'll be okay too, but you'll need to upgrade the stock graphics card first.
    I use a 32" 4k display with my 2009 Mac Pro and it's great for the most part - but there are a few drawbacks to be aware of...
    At 4k resolution icons and text are VERY small, so unless you have great eyesight reading can be difficult and you'll find yourself enlarging text on web browsers and Word etc quite often.
    To run 4k smoothly you'll need to upgrade the stock graphics card.
    You'll need a card that can run 4k at 60hz as at 30hz the mouse is slow and inconsistent in response - not ideal.
    I use a stock PC EVGA GTX680 graphics card (which I flashed with Mac firmware), but to get 4k at 60hz from it you can't use the HDMI (as this outputs at 30hz only), so you have to use the Display Port on the GTX680 to get 4k.
    This leads me to another drawback, which is...
    Even on a flashed card you'll only see the boot screen (the grey Apple logo) when connected via HDMI. As HDMI only offers 30hz, you effectively have to choose between having a boot screen at start up or getting proper 4k.
    My eyesight is poor, so what I actually do is run the display at a lower resolution (2560x1440).
    This means of course I don't actually get 4k at all, making the whole thing pointless! lol
    And I don't have any more screen space than you did on your 27" iMac BUT... everything is that much bigger and MUCH easier for me to read as a result which for me was the objective all along.
    Also I use a great little app called 'SwitchResX' which allows me to change the resolution of the screen dependent on the App I'm running, so occasionally for my Logic Pro mixing sessions I will actually switch to 4k as this allows me to see MUCH more of the arrange and mix windows.
    However for general use (like now whilst I'm typing this), I'm running at 2560x1440) and tbh I'm very happy with it. :)
    Hope this helps.
  3. profets thread starter macrumors 601

    Mar 18, 2009
    ^Thank you - much appreciated. It is a 2013 trashcan Mac Pro.

    Searching around I could see that it was possible to drive even multiple 4K displays. More curious about scaling. Stupidly I didn't search in detail about scaling on a 4K display, and there were already some good threads here at MR about it.
  4. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    P2715Q may be a good option.

    And 1440P HiDPI is shaper than normal 1440P on 4K display.
  5. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I second this. I have a P2715Q and run it mostly at 1440p - love the look and crispness. I recommended it to a friend with a 2010 5,1 and a 5770 - works great there, too.
  6. profets thread starter macrumors 601

    Mar 18, 2009
    Thanks! Was looking at those options actually.

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5 June 20, 2018