How to get 4K60 with 2018 MacBook Pro

Alameda

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Original poster
Jun 22, 2012
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I'll give you the answer, but first, let me say this: Apple, YOU STINK. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. <End Rant>

ANSWER: To make a 4K60 external display work with a 2018 MacBook Pro, you need to purchase a USB Type-C to DisplayPort cable, you have to plug the cable into the LEFT SIDE of the MacBook, and then you need to correctly configure the Displays Preference Panel.

Yes, you heard that correctly: If you plug the cable into the RIGHT SIDE of the MacBook, you can only get 4K30. If you use a Type-C to HDMI adapter with any of the ports, you can only get 4K30 (I tried). I also tried a $70 Kensington "Nucleum" dock, which says it supports 4K... but discovered it only supports 4K30, not 4K60 HDMI, and no DisplayPort at all (Dear Kensington: You Stink). There may be a $300 super-mega-dock which offers more options, but if you'd rather not burn $300 just to attach a monitor, then the connection MUST be Type-C to DP and it MUST be attached on the left side of the laptop. Apparently, Accell makes a $30 Type-C to HDMI adapter which does support HDMI 2.0. I don't know which side of the laptop you need attach it to.

On the plus side, with the Type-C to DisplayPort cable, you get 4K60 with 10-bit RGB color, while HDMI 2.0 can only do 4K60 with 8-bit color.

The steps:
1) Attach a USB Type-C to DisplayPort cable from one of the left side ports on the MacBook to the display. These are about $17 at Amazon. Turn on the monitor and make sure it's set to DisplayPort. You should get a desktop on your monitor.
2) Open the System Preferences Display Panel
3) Click the "Display" Tab
4) Check the box which says, "Show low resolution modes" (Yes, you have to check "low resolution" in order to get the highest resolution.)
5) Hold the Option Key down, then click "Scaled"
6) Now you can select 3840x2160 resolution, and the Refresh Rate menu should read "60 Hertz (NTSC)"
7) To verify that it's really 4K60, select "About this Mac" from the Apple menu, then "System Report" and then "Graphics/Displays". Under "Displays" it should list "Color LCD" and your external monitor. In the list for your external monitor, it should say "UI Looks Like 2840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz, and Framebuffer Depth should read 30-bit color.
 
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1096bimu

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Nov 7, 2017
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You probably have a fake MacBook Pro that is in fact a 2017 model.
Because that's how the 2017 model worked.
 
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Alameda

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Jun 22, 2012
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You probably have a fake MacBook Pro that is in fact a 2017 model.
Because that's how the 2017 model worked.
I checked, and that’s how the 2018 mode works too, ‘cause Apple says mine is a 2018.
 

doitdada

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Well, I actually have been struggling with similar issues. Have had about 8-9 MacBook Pros with similar issues. Every time I call support, they want me to test a lot of stuff and they say it may be a software issue, but then I say, haven't Apple also made the software? Like macOS and MacBook Pro is kind of the same thing. I've received terrible service with Apple for a long time. I don't want to spend hours and hours trying to log stuff and send them in to the engineers. I shouldn't pay with my own time after purchasing a premium product to error seek a product.

I had an error with my Dell UP3216Q which cost about 1000 dollar less than Apples MacBook Pro 15", but it only costs me 5 minutes on the phone to get a replacement for it, and they just wanted the service number and my address to fulfil it. I had to send a mail to tcook@apple.com to get Apples attention the last time. I spent around a week of work to get my money back from the last MacBook Pro. Who wants to spend 30+ hours on the phone and corresponding to get your money back. In fact the whole process took about 4-5 weeks.

I think a lot of the features in the Mac is great, but the support is cheap and fraudulent, and the hardware/software combination no longer seems strong. They will always try to make the consumer think they are wrong, and they do it by using people who are unskilled and lack technical depth. The fact that people are still considering the 2015 is hilarious. eGPU and the Touch Bar has been gimmicks, as the technologies seem uneven and unreliable. Stability trumfs innovation, at least the way Apple "innovates" at the moment.
 

SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

macrumors 601
Jul 4, 2015
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I'll give you the answer, but first, let me say this: Apple, YOU STINK. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. <End Rant>

ANSWER: To make a 4K60 external display work with a 2018 MacBook Pro, you need to purchase a USB Type-C to DisplayPort cable, you have to plug the cable into the LEFT SIDE of the MacBook, and then you need to correctly configure the Displays Preference Panel.

Yes, you heard that correctly: If you plug the cable into the RIGHT SIDE of the MacBook, you can only get 4K30. If you use a Type-C to HDMI adapter with any of the ports, you can only get 4K30 (I tried). I also tried a $70 Kensington "Nucleum" dock, which says it supports 4K... but discovered it only supports 4K30, not 4K60 HDMI, and no DisplayPort at all (Dear Kensington: You Stink). There may be a $300 super-mega-dock which offers more options, but if you'd rather not burn $300 just to attach a monitor, then the connection MUST be Type-C to DP and it MUST be attached on the left side of the laptop. Apparently, Accell makes a $30 Type-C to HDMI adapter which does support HDMI 2.0. I don't know which side of the laptop you need attach it to.

On the plus side, with the Type-C to DisplayPort cable, you get 4K60 with 10-bit RGB color, while HDMI 2.0 can only do 4K60 with 8-bit color.

The steps:
1) Attach a USB Type-C to DisplayPort cable from one of the left side ports on the MacBook to the display. These are about $17 at Amazon. Turn on the monitor and make sure it's set to DisplayPort. You should get a desktop on your monitor.
2) Open the System Preferences Display Panel
3) Click the "Display" Tab
4) Check the box which says, "Show low resolution modes" (Yes, you have to check "low resolution" in order to get the highest resolution.)
5) Hold the Option Key down, then click "Scaled"
6) Now you can select 3840x2160 resolution, and the Refresh Rate menu should read "60 Hertz (NTSC)"
7) To verify that it's really 4K60, select "About this Mac" from the Apple menu, then "System Report" and then "Graphics/Displays". Under "Displays" it should list "Color LCD" and your external monitor. In the list for your external monitor, it should say "UI Looks Like 2840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz, and Framebuffer Depth should read 30-bit color.
I get 4K 60hz 10 bit from both sides of MBP 15 inch model with HDMI or DP.

Some adapters and cables are not what they claim to be.
 

Alameda

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 22, 2012
595
88
With DisplayPort there was no guessing.
Yes there was.
On my 2015 MBP, there are two Thunderbold ports on the left, and they output video differently. The lower port always output hi-res video underscanned; the top port will fill the screen.
[doublepost=1542028094][/doublepost]
I get 4K 60hz 10 bit from both sides of MBP 15 inch model with HDMI or DP.

Some adapters and cables are not what they claim to be.
Sorry, but you are mistaken. For certain, you cannot get 4K60 10-bit RGB from HDMI, until HDMI 2.1 devices ship.
 

SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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Jul 4, 2015
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Yes there was.
On my 2015 MBP, there are two Thunderbold ports on the left, and they output video differently. The lower port always output hi-res video underscanned; the top port will fill the screen.
[doublepost=1542028094][/doublepost]
Sorry, but you are mistaken. For certain, you cannot get 4K60 10-bit RGB from HDMI, until HDMI 2.1 devices ship.
I am looking at 4K60 10 bit as I type this. Thousands of us have this set up. Before you post things so ridiculous at least do some study.
 
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doitdada

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I am looking at 4K60 10 bit as I type this. Thousands of us have this set up. Before you post things so ridiculous at least do some study.
I guess there has been a lot of trouble with the release of USB C and the new Pro machines. Nothing has really been plug n play. A lot of frustration around getting the right cables, support and KPs.
 

SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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I guess there has been a lot of trouble with the release of USB C and the new Pro machines. Nothing has really been plug n play. A lot of frustration around getting the right cables, support and KPs.
Yeah you have to be careful with adapters sometimes they are cheap and mislabelled and have fake online reviewers. Apple store has the most reliable cables.
 

doitdada

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Yeah you have to be careful with adapters sometimes they are cheap and mislabelled and have fake online reviewers. Apple store has the most reliable cables.
I don't get the universal design if the cables do so much different. Having to read and understand the differences are in my view the opposite. Especially for people who are trying to buy Macs and use them without having too much technical knowledge.

The old way was better for most of us. You could look at the cable and the port would give you a pretty good idea of what it could do.
 

Alameda

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Jun 22, 2012
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I am looking at 4K60 10 bit as I type this. Thousands of us have this set up. Before you post things so ridiculous at least do some study.
You aren’t viewing HDMI 4K60 10-bit RGB video, because it can’t be done with any HDMI 2.0 PC or TV. It takes 22.3 Gb/s with standard blanking, and HDMI 2.0 can’t deliver more than 17.82 Gb/s.
[doublepost=1542059284][/doublepost]
I think you might have a faulty one mate. The right ports work fine for me.
Maybe, but I doubt it. How are you verifying 4K60 operation?
 

SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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Jul 4, 2015
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You aren’t viewing HDMI 4K60 10-bit RGB video, because it can’t be done with any HDMI 2.0 PC or TV. It takes 22.3 Gb/s with standard blanking, and HDMI 2.0 can’t deliver more than 17.82 Gb/s.
[doublepost=1542059284][/doublepost]
Maybe, but I doubt it. How are you verifying 4K60 operation?

Dude you are just being a headache and contradicting thousands of users and Apple tech specs.

Here is my system profile whole I am watching a HDR movie right now in glorious high color.

I set the UI to look like 2560x1440. Any port with HDMI.
[doublepost=1542061329][/doublepost]
I don't get the universal design if the cables do so much different. Having to read and understand the differences are in my view the opposite. Especially for people who are trying to buy Macs and use them without having too much technical knowledge.

The old way was better for most of us. You could look at the cable and the port would give you a pretty good idea of what it could do.
Because DP and HDMI standards change but the connector stays the same. So the scammers selling cables online try to cheat by publishing the wrong spec.
 

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doitdada

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Because DP and HDMI standards change but the connector stays the same. So the scammers selling cables online try to cheat by publishing the wrong spec.
Haven't really had as any problems with DP as I've had with HDMI going to 4K and 2.0, but then again, USB-C / TB3 has given my the most headaches.
 

Alameda

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
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Dude you are just being a headache and contradicting thousands of users and Apple tech specs.

I can even drive a 5K display at 60hz and 10 bit color. Here is my system profile whole I am watching a HDR movie right now in glorious high color.
Your screenshot shows that you’re driving 2560x1440 10-bit. That's only 3.7 MP, so it's easy to get 10 or 12-bit color RGB at that speed. . A 4K display is 8 MP. But there is no HDMI product available today which can exceed 17.82 Gb/s.

4K60 10-bit RGB is impossible in HDMI 2.0 because:
(3840 VActive + 90 VBlank) X (2160 HActive + 560 HBlank) * (30 bpp) * (60 fps) * (10/8 8b10b encoding) = 22.28 billion.

Even if HBlank and VBlank are reduced to zero, the result is 18.66, which is still too high for the three 5.94 Gb/s PHYs in an HDMI 2.0 system.

https://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_2_0/hdmi_2_0_faq.aspx#146
https://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_2_0/hdmi_2_0_faq.aspx#119

You can display a signal on a 5K monitor, but you can't display 5K on a 5K monitor, and you can't display 4K60 10-bit RGB. Not until HDMI 2.1 products reach the market. That's still going to be a while, because the CTS for HDMI 2.1 high speed video hasn't been released yet. With HDMI 2.1, there will be a LOT of room for growth, because the 17.82 Gb/sec jumps WAY up, to the HDMI TMDS equivalent of over 160 Gbits per second. But it'll be a few years until we see displays and speeds that high.
 

Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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Maybe, but I doubt it. How are you verifying 4K60 operation?
The display says it’s running at 60hz. When it drops back to 30hz (eg when I use the tb1 dock) it shows the max (60hz) and current (30hz)
[doublepost=1542079991][/doublepost]
Haven't really had as any problems with DP as I've had with HDMI going to 4K and 2.0,
The DP spec started with a much higher level of support than HDMI - computer vs tv usage model. Also, tv cables/accessories always seem to be rife with advertising scams to me.

I’m still not sure why hdmi took off as a monitor connection.
 

Alameda

macrumors 6502a
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The DP spec started with a much higher level of support than HDMI - computer vs tv usage model
HDMI is DVI with audio packets and a different connector. You can send an HDMI signal to a DVI display using just a passive cable adapter, because the signals (at least the video + clock + DDC) are the same.


DisplayPort started with about 8.6 Gb/sec in 2006; HDMI 1.3 was out by then with 10 Gb/sec. DP 1.2 could support 4K60 with 10-bit RGB/4:4:4; HDMI took years to catch up, mostly because there was little demand for this performance until recently.

The current version of HDMI, 2.1, has a substantially higher maximum bandwidth than DisplayPort 1.3.
 

Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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HDMI is DVI with audio packets and a different connector. You can send an HDMI signal to a DVI display using just a passive cable adapter, because the signals (at least the video + clock + DDC) are the same.


DisplayPort started with about 8.6 Gb/sec in 2006; HDMI 1.3 was out by then with 10 Gb/sec. DP 1.2 could support 4K60 with 10-bit RGB/4:4:4; HDMI took years to catch up, mostly because there was little demand for this performance until recently.
None of that changes anything I said. HDMI was started by the TV manufacturers. It wasn't until v1.2 it was even suitable for PC usage.
[doublepost=1542094364][/doublepost]
Maybe, but I doubt it. How are you verifying 4K60 operation?
Here, you can 'verify' it yourself.

evidence for the court.jpg
 

SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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Your screenshot shows that you’re driving 2560x1440 10-bit. That's only 3.7 MP, so it's easy to get 10 or 12-bit color RGB at that speed. . A 4K display is 8 MP. But there is no HDMI product available today which can exceed 17.82 Gb/s.
2560x1440 is the UI scaling, not the display resolution. At least understand how macOS interface works.

Here’s my 4K monitor with the UI set to native resolution, 60Hz, 10 bit color, over HDMI adapter.

Now you can stop being ridiculous. It’s really annoying when someone is uneducated on a subject and refuses to learn. You just misinform people because you are misinformed.
 

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SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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None of that changes anything I said. HDMI was started by the TV manufacturers. It wasn't until v1.2 it was even suitable for PC usage.
[doublepost=1542094364][/doublepost]
Here, you can 'verify' it yourself.

View attachment 803755
He probably won’t listen still. He didn’t know the difference between UI scaling settings and screen resolution. It’s like he missed the last 17 years of macOS progression towards these goals. He could have done a 3 second search and read Apple’s support document for this subject.
 
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Alameda

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
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Well explain how other people including myself can get 4k60 to work on any of the ports without any configuration at all?
Do we secretly have the 2019 model?
Maybe you have the 15” model and it’s different from the 13”
[doublepost=1542109396][/doublepost]
2560x1440 is the UI scaling, not the display resolution. At least understand how macOS interface works.

Here’s my 4K monitor with the UI set to native resolution, 60Hz, 10 bit color, over HDMI adapter.
And here’s me telling you it isn’t possible. Either it’s sending 8-bit color or 4:2:2, but HDMI can’t send 10-bit RGB at that resolution:
http://community.cedia.net/blogs/david-meyer/2017/06/22/4k-60-444-hdr
 
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