Higher resolution screen = slower performance?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by sevoman, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. sevoman, Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016

    sevoman macrumors member

    sevoman

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Location:
    Ancient Egypt
    #1
    Just a quick question. I'm interested in a mac mini and will probably be getting a new monitor with it. I know the HDMI connection allows for high res screens but will maxing out on the iMacs max resolution capability mean that overall performance will take a hit? "pushing more pixels" in effect?

    Thanks
     
  2. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #2
    That is probably a better question for the iMac forum instead of the MM forum.

    But to answer your question, it really really depends on what you will be doing. Basic use would be fine, but gaming for example on two 5k monitors wouldn't work well.
     
  3. sevoman thread starter macrumors member

    sevoman

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    Jan 23, 2016
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    Ancient Egypt
    #3
    Why a better question for the iMac forum? The iMacs come with screen included, not much choice. Mac Minis are to be used with your screen of choice that can effect performance, same thing really...

    I'm not pricing out a BTO mac mini, so my processor/integrated graphics chip option is fixed: so based on any given one processor/graphics chip, I guess my question is, does performance go down with higher res monitors? I gather now that the answer is yes.
     
  4. Hirakata macrumors 6502

    Hirakata

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    Burbank, CA
    #4
    Because your initial post states, "I'm interested in an iMac".
     
  5. sevoman thread starter macrumors member

    sevoman

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    #5
    Whoops... sorry! Mac mini!!!! Going to edit.
     
  6. ActionableMango, Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016

    ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #6
    Well I had a good laugh. :D

    Anyway, I use a 2012 which has a much slower integrated GPU than the 2014 you would get, and a fairly hi-res monitor (3440x1440). It is perfectly fine for general computing use but would be nearly impossible to do something like gaming at full resolution.

    You'll be better off than me, but again, it really depends on what you'll be doing. Even with something like video editing, it depends. Some software makes good use of GPU acceleration and will be crippled. Other software mostly uses the CPU and so the GPU will be fine because it's only handling display output.

    If you can wait a few (or several) months, we're likely to see a new Mac Mini model this year with better specs.
     
  7. blaichch macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2014
    Location:
    Augsburg, Germany
    #7
    I'm running two displays with a resolution of 2048x1152 on my Mac Mini 2012 (Intel HD 4000). A higher resolution does impact the performance but not that much and it runs well enough for daily use. And with latest Mac Mini you shouldn't have a problem.

    But you should know that the Mac Mini 2014 has two Thunderbolt 2 and one HDMI ports. On the Thunderbolt ports you can run up to two displays at 2560x1600 and on the HDMI port you can run up to 2048x1152 at 60Hz, 3840x2160 resolution at 30Hz or 4096x2160 resolution at 24Hz.

    In my opinion, running lower than 60Hz is no fun for desktop use. So your case I would recommend one display of 3840x2160 for the HDMI port OR two displays with a resolution of 2048x1152 for the Thunderbolt 2 ports (as I did).

    If you're interested how two displays of 2048x1152 perform on a Mac Mini 2012 I can record a video for you. But I can tell you that it runs smooth. But don't expect too much gaming performance. It's a great setup for desktop use though.

    Here's a screenshot of 2x 2048x1152 so you can get an idea of:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Schnort macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #8
    Yes, higher resolutions impact performance, particularly on mac minis without a dedicated GPU (pretty much all of them except the 2011 version with the radeon). This is true even when you're not playing games.

    The frame buffers are stored in main memory, which means the CPU is competing with the display controller screen refresh when accessing memory. They both can't access memory at the same time, and the display controller can't wait, so the CPU gets stalled.

    It's not the end of the world, but there is an impact.

    You also lose out on memory the CPU could use before paging to disk, which can hurt performance greatly when you start thrashing pages in and out.
     
  9. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #9
    I'm thinking of getting a maxed out 2014 mini and running two 1440p displays on it. Do you think the 2014 can handle this? I'm not going to be playing games, just browsing, word, lightroom etc.

    Also, with your 2 displays, when you say it impacts the performance, what do you mean? Is the mac laggy when swiping/scrolling etc?
     
  10. sevoman thread starter macrumors member

    sevoman

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
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    Ancient Egypt
    #10
    Hey thanks so much. I think you are right... I'm going to wait and see what 2016 brings as far as Mac Mini improvements.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 9, 2016 ---
    Thanks! Definitely not gaming and will not be using two screens. My guess is one 4 k screen via the HDMI. I've used the latest middle configuration mac mini:

    2.6GHz Processor
    1TB Storage

    • 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    • 8GB memory
    • 1TB hard drive1 5400 RPM
    • Intel Iris Graphics
    ...and found it to be too slow for my use. Normal stuff like opening up iTunes, Office 2016 apps, etc. seemed to take a while to load. Most apps would bounce a little too long for my comfort level before opening. Even the settings screen would take a while to open. This was when using it with a 1080p monitor. So I am thinking of getting the top of the base configurations:

    2.8GHz Processor
    1TB Storage

    • 2.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    • 8GB memory
    • 1TB Fusion Drive
    • Intel Iris Graphics
    ...and using it with a 4k monitor. My worry was that any speed improvement due to the fusion drive and marginally more powerful processor would be negated by the 4k display.
     
  11. MacDude205100 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2016
    Location:
    Eastern U.S.
    #11
    The main issue with adding a 4K display will be the Intel Iris Graphics, not the fusion drive or processing power. It's more graphically intensive, and the drive and CPU don't deal with that. I can't comment on how the Iris Pro is with 4K because I don't have one, but someone should be able to help you.
     

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