Help choosing new monitor for my Mid 2012, 13-inch Macbook Pro Non Retina

jacob2cold

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
4
0
Indiana
Hi,

I've been reading posts here and elsewhere for weeks but I'm trying to get input for my specific situation.


My Mid 2012, 13-inch MBP is usually always in clamshell mode hooked up to a decent 1080p 24" display. I'm looking to upgrade my external monitor. I bought an LG 27" 4K monitor (I knew I couldn't run 4k, my MBP supports up to 2560x1600) but I thought of it as a future-proof buy for when I eventually upgrade my MBP. Through everything, I couldn't get it to downscale to 2560x1440 without looking extremely small. Tried SwitchResX, alt when selecting scaled in display settings. Everything. I returned it.


I'm now looking to buy a 2560x1440 display in hopes it will scale better.


My questions are:

1. Would it actually scale better/be useable on a 1440p monitor?

2. 24" or 27" 1440p display?

3. Any recommendations? My requirements are 2560x1440, DisplayPort, IPS panel and 24-27".


Specs are as follows if that helps in any way:

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)

2.5 GHz Intel Core i5

8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3

Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536 MB


Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

pshufd

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2013
1,410
938
New Hampshire
Hi,

I've been reading posts here and elsewhere for weeks but I'm trying to get input for my specific situation.


My Mid 2012, 13-inch MBP is usually always in clamshell mode hooked up to a decent 1080p 24" display. I'm looking to upgrade my external monitor. I bought an LG 27" 4K monitor (I knew I couldn't run 4k, my MBP supports up to 2560x1600) but I thought of it as a future-proof buy for when I eventually upgrade my MBP. Through everything, I couldn't get it to downscale to 2560x1440 without looking extremely small. Tried SwitchResX, alt when selecting scaled in display settings. Everything. I returned it.


I'm now looking to buy a 2560x1440 display in hopes it will scale better.


My questions are:

1. Would it actually scale better/be useable on a 1440p monitor?

2. 24" or 27" 1440p display?

3. Any recommendations? My requirements are 2560x1440, DisplayPort, IPS panel and 24-27".


Specs are as follows if that helps in any way:

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)

2.5 GHz Intel Core i5

8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3

Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536 MB


Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance!
My 2014 and 2015 MacBook Pros are setup with one QHD at home and two at work. I use the Dell 25 inch monitor and I find that it's pretty good for my eyesight. I didn't want 27 inches due to limits on desk space. So that's another option to consider.

I use EasyRes to control resolutions on the internal display and the external.
 

jacob2cold

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
4
0
Indiana
My 2014 and 2015 MacBook Pros are setup with one QHD at home and two at work. I use the Dell 25 inch monitor and I find that it's pretty good for my eyesight. I didn't want 27 inches due to limits on desk space. So that's another option to consider.

I use EasyRes to control resolutions on the internal display and the external.
Thanks for that info.

Your 25" Dell display scales to 2560x1440 pretty well? No unacceptable tiny text?
 

pshufd

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2013
1,410
938
New Hampshire
Thanks for that info.

Your 25" Dell display scales to 2560x1440 pretty well? No unacceptable tiny text?
The native resolution of the Dell 25" is 2560x1440. I looked at 4K (and higher) displays but I don't see the benefit of the extra pixels. The Dell 25" 2560x1440s cost me about $300 each.
 

jacob2cold

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
4
0
Indiana
The native resolution of the Dell 25" is 2560x1440. I looked at 4K (and higher) displays but I don't see the benefit of the extra pixels. The Dell 25" 2560x1440s cost me about $300 each.
Maybe I worded that wrong.

Your Macbook scales your 1440p monitor correctly? The 4K I bought wouldn't downscale to 1440p without looking like garbage. I don't want to buy a 1440p monitor just to go through the whole return process again because my MBP won't scale the display correctly. Reminder, my MBP isn't Retina so I don't have the option in my display settings to change the text sizes as I've seen others do.
 

treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
1,849
401
Honolulu HI
Maybe I worded that wrong.

Your Macbook scales your 1440p monitor correctly? The 4K I bought wouldn't downscale to 1440p without looking like garbage. I don't want to buy a 1440p monitor just to go through the whole return process again because my MBP won't scale the display correctly. Reminder, my MBP isn't Retina so I don't have the option in my display settings to change the text sizes as I've seen others do.
If you get a 2560x1440 monitor, it will work well with the 2012 13" non-Retina MBP. The scaling is 1.0 so most people would not consider the output as scaled. The HD 4000 GPU in the 2012 MBP was designed to do 2560x1440 at 60Hz and the Apple OS's for some time also target this resolution as one of the standard resolutions that has to be supported (I've used the 2560x1440 monitor with just about all the OS's since Mountain Lion). I have a 2012 Mini (same GPU) which I used with a 27" 2560x1440 monitor for 5 years and it worked well (it's now hooked up to a 2014 Mini which has a different GPU). I just tried my 2012 13" non-Retina MBP with the same monitor, using the MBP's Mini-DisplayPort port and it looks nice and sharp. I would go with 27". Personal preferences are always a tricky thing so how a specific monitor-computer combination is perceived will be different from person to person - the perception of screen real estate is also something personal. I bought my 27" over six years ago and I haven't been in the market for a 27" since so I can't give a specific brand-model recommendation.

There have been numerous people on these forums who are unsatisfied with how the recent Apple OS's scale 4K monitors to 2560x1440. If you try that with the HD 4000, it makes it even worse. So your reaction is not surprising. But most people find the quality of a good 2560x1440 monitor with the HD 4000 satisfactory - as long as you're not trying to play games that require a much more powerful GPU or try to do a scaling that is not 1.0.

It's best to get a monitor that has either a DisplayPort or Mini-DisplayPort port and get the appropriate cable.
 
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pshufd

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2013
1,410
938
New Hampshire
If you get a 2560x1440 monitor, it will work well with the 2012 13" non-Retina MBP. The scaling is 1.0 so most people would not consider the output as scaled. The HD 4000 GPU in the 2012 MBP was designed to do 2560x1440 at 60Hz and the Apple OS's for some time also target this resolution as one of the standard resolutions that has to be supported (I've used the 2560x1440 monitor with just about all the OS's since Mountain Lion). I have a 2012 Mini (same GPU) which I used with a 27" 2560x1440 monitor for 5 years and it worked well (it's now hooked up to a 2014 Mini which has a different GPU). I just tried my 2012 13" non-Retina MBP with the same monitor, using the MBP's Mini-DisplayPort port and it looks nice and sharp. I would go with 27". Personal preferences are always a tricky thing so how a specific monitor-computer combination is perceived will be different from person to person - the perception of screen real estate is also something personal. I bought my 27" over six years ago and I haven't been in the market for a 27" since so I can't give a specific brand-model recommendation.

There have been numerous people on these forums who are unsatisfied with how the recent Apple OS's scale 4K monitors to 2560x1440. If you try that with the HD 4000, it makes it even worse. So your reaction is not surprising. But most people find the quality of a good 2560x1440 monitor with the HD 4000 satisfactory - as long as you're not trying to play games that require a much more powerful GPU or try to do a scaling that is not 1.0.

It's best to get a monitor that has either a DisplayPort or Mini-DisplayPort port and get the appropriate cable.
Thanks for writing out that detailed description. The 2560x1440 monitors are the easiest to get working with a lot of screen real-estate. I agree on monitor sizes. I can use the rMBP at native resolutions so I can manage higher density but most people can't. My wife loved our 27 inch iMac but I didn't like the larger screen as I had to move my head more to see different areas of the screen.

2560x1440 seems to be the sweet spot with Macs just working out of the box. I've read articles on getting 4K monitors to work but they indicate that you have to get the right operating system, cables and, as you said, the scaled results are often unsatisfactory.
 
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jacob2cold

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
4
0
Indiana
If you get a 2560x1440 monitor, it will work well with the 2012 13" non-Retina MBP. The scaling is 1.0 so most people would not consider the output as scaled. The HD 4000 GPU in the 2012 MBP was designed to do 2560x1440 at 60Hz and the Apple OS's for some time also target this resolution as one of the standard resolutions that has to be supported (I've used the 2560x1440 monitor with just about all the OS's since Mountain Lion). I have a 2012 Mini (same GPU) which I used with a 27" 2560x1440 monitor for 5 years and it worked well (it's now hooked up to a 2014 Mini which has a different GPU). I just tried my 2012 13" non-Retina MBP with the same monitor, using the MBP's Mini-DisplayPort port and it looks nice and sharp. I would go with 27". Personal preferences are always a tricky thing so how a specific monitor-computer combination is perceived will be different from person to person - the perception of screen real estate is also something personal. I bought my 27" over six years ago and I haven't been in the market for a 27" since so I can't give a specific brand-model recommendation.

There have been numerous people on these forums who are unsatisfied with how the recent Apple OS's scale 4K monitors to 2560x1440. If you try that with the HD 4000, it makes it even worse. So your reaction is not surprising. But most people find the quality of a good 2560x1440 monitor with the HD 4000 satisfactory - as long as you're not trying to play games that require a much more powerful GPU or try to do a scaling that is not 1.0.

It's best to get a monitor that has either a DisplayPort or Mini-DisplayPort port and get the appropriate cable.
Thanks so much for this! It helps a ton. I didn’t know if “scaling” was the word I was looking for but I was basically hoping if the 1440p monitors max resolution was inside the limits of my 2560x1600 2012 MBP, it would have a better time displaying it rather than taking a 4K monitor and trying to get it to display something it’s capabld of. If that makes sense. Thanks again.
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Thanks for writing out that detailed description. The 2560x1440 monitors are the easiest to get working with a lot of screen real-estate. I agree on monitor sizes. I can use the rMBP at native resolutions so I can manage higher density but most people can't. My wife loved our 27 inch iMac but I didn't like the larger screen as I had to move my head more to see different areas of the screen.

2560x1440 seems to be the sweet spot with Macs just working out of the box. I've read articles on getting 4K monitors to work but they indicate that you have to get the right operating system, cables and, as you said, the scaled results are often unsatisfactory.
Thanks for this info. It seems that a 27” 1440p monitor will have a better time with my MacBook. I appreciate your insight.