I Bought This 4K Monitor, What Else Do I need For Native 4K?

Heat_Fan89

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Here's the monitor I purchased on Amazon and I must say what a really nice monitor for $240.


When I plugged the HDMI cable that came with the monitor into my 2018 Mini I noticed it defaulted to native resolution which is 1920x1080. So I chose scaled display and the larger text is 1920x1080, it looked nice but as I went smaller to 4K resolution the text got tiny. So I set it back to 1920x1080 which still looks nice ans sharp. Do I need to use a display port cable so the native resolution defaults to 4K?

I saw this DP cable on Amazon

 

konqerror

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Is it doing 1920 or "looks like 1920"? "Looks like" is correct, since Retina on the Mac scales everything by 2x, and 3840x2160 is exactly twice 1920x1080.
 

Heat_Fan89

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Is it doing 1920 or "looks like 1920"? "Looks like" is correct, since Retina on the Mac scales everything by 2x, and 3840x2160 is exactly twice 1920x1080.
I don't know tbh.How can I tell if "Default for Display is 3840x2160? But regardless even at Default for Display the text does look larger but quite crisp. I don't notice any jaggies.

I have two options which are:

1) Default for Display

2) Scaled which gives me around five choices. The 1st scaled choice when I move the cursor over it says looks like 1920x1080 and it looks exactly like the default for Display.

It looks like this screen grab
1580432505171.png
 

konqerror

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"Looks like" means it's in Retina mode and is working at 4K. 4K non-Retina would be too tiny.

Anyway, you can open System Information (Apple menu, About this Mac, System Report), go to Graphics/Displays, and check under Resolution.
 

Heat_Fan89

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"Looks like" means it's in Retina mode and is working at 4K. 4K non-Retina would be too tiny.

Anyway, you can open System Information (Apple menu, About this Mac, System Report), go to Graphics/Displays, and check under Resolution.
OK, I see what you're saying. Yeah if I select About This Mac -> Displays, it says 27 Inch 3840x2160 UHD Graphics 630. Digging further in System Report -> Graphics/Displays -> Resolution 3840x2160 -> UI Looks Like 1980x1080 -> Framerate Buffer 30 Bit. So it looks like with the HDMI cable that came with the monitor it's natively doing 2160p.

However, maybe you can answer this for me. If I go to Launchpad and click on "Other" which opens the misc apps like Disk Utility, I get "frame rate stutter". Is that because of the HDMI cable I'm using? Would using a DP to mini DP cable smooth out the frame rate stutter?

Edit: I just noticed that if I scale down the UI Looks like 3840x2160 which makes the text real tiny and go into Launchpad then the "Other" apps folder, the framer rate stutter disappears. Interesting, I don't know why? Maybe it's running at a different screen refresh rate?
 
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Erehy Dobon

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[reply deleted because OP finally included relevant information that invalidated response]
 
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topmounter

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OK, I see what you're saying. Yeah if I select About This Mac -> Displays, it says 27 Inch 3840x2160 UHD Graphics 630. Digging further in System Report -> Graphics/Displays -> Resolution 3840x2160 -> UI Looks Like 1980x1080 -> Framerate Buffer 30 Bit. So it looks like with the HDMI cable that came with the monitor it's natively doing 2160p.

However, maybe you can answer this for me. If I go to Launchpad and click on "Other" which opens the misc apps like Disk Utility, I get "frame rate stutter". Is that because of the HDMI cable I'm using? Would using a DP to mini DP cable smooth out the frame rate stutter?

Edit: I just noticed that if I scale down the UI Looks like 3840x2160 which makes the text real tiny and go into Launchpad then the "Other" apps folder, the framer rate stutter disappears. Interesting, I don't know why? Maybe it's running at a different screen refresh rate?
If you're getting stuttering with HiDPI scaling down to 1080 and not at native 3840x2160, then it sounds like the Mini's Intel integrated graphics is struggling to handle the HiDPI scaling. Someone with actual hands-on experience can chime in, but based on my reading, adding an eGPU to the Mac Mini is the solution to competently driving one or more 4K displays at 60Hz, particularily when using HiDPI.

For comparison, a native 4K (3840x2160) desktop on a ~43" monitor is roughly the same PPI as QHD (2560x1440) on a 27" panel and HD (1920x1080) on a 24" panel. The Retina iMacs (which have a proper GPU) have a 5K native 27" panel and HiDPI scales it down to be QHD equivalent. IIRC the 24" LG display that Apple resells is 4K and the optimum HiDPI setting is equivalent to full HD (1920x1080). So yeah, a native 3840x2160 desktop on a 27" monitor must be crazy small :oops:

I purchased a new Mini recently and went through this exercise. I wanted to avoid any scaling issues (performance or otherwise), but I didn't want a ~43" monitor on my desktop (e.g. LG 43UD79-B) and ended up pairing a 34" UWQHD (Asus ProArt PA34VC) with the 27" QHD display (Asus MG279Q) that I used with my iMac. I've been very happy with the performance and workspace so far (no gaming though, I have a dedicated Win10 machine for gaming).
 

Erehy Dobon

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[Reply deleted because OP finally included relevant information that invalidated response. I hereby bow out of this discussion since information was withheld initially.]
 
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Heat_Fan89

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The problem with Amazon reviews is that they sometimes get bundled with older models, which is the case here. I did not find a user review for my particular model. All of the reviews I saw were older than 10-22-2019. This particular model, Amazon says was first sold Oct 22 2019 and they tend to sell new stuff usually shortly after the mfg releases the product.

But i’m not experiencing any mouse lag which is good. I do notice the mouse speed does drop as things get smaller which is to be expected with predictable mouse speed. With, UI looks like 1920x1080 or at 2K the mouse pointer doesn’t show any signs of lag. The system report says the monitor is operating at 60Hz.
 

konqerror

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The Other folder does stutter slightly on my HD 515 system on a 4K monitor; it may just be a limitation of the GPU.
 
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Heat_Fan89

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The Other folder does stutter slightly on my HD 515 system on a 4K monitor; it may just be a limitation of the GPU.
Thanks for the info. Are you on the latest ver of Catalina? My Mini is currently on 15.3 and mouse response is solid and predictable. What's weird is, that's really the only place I notice any framerate stutter and if I make the UI Look Like 3840x2160 the stutter goes away but the text as you say is TINY.

Overall, I'm very impressed with this monitor especially at it's price point. The colors are fantastic, no light bleed or dead pixels and the viewing angles are great. The only thing missing are USB ports but I'm buying an Anker USB 3.0 four port hub.
 

Heat_Fan89

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Yesterday and today my new Phillips monitor has been intermittently and momentarily losing it's video signal. The screen just goes "momentarily black" and the screen then pops back on.

Can someone please advise if they think it's the monitor, Catalina 10.15.13 or the 2018 Mini? I have had Bluetooth issues with my Mini and sometimes my USB wireless mouse just stops working then works fine after a few seconds.
 

etguler

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I believe you just need to enable HiDPI mode on macOS using a terminal command. Then you can choose a scaled resolution to force UI to work on retina mode. Open a Terminal window and give the following command:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.windowserver.plist DisplayResolutionEnabled -bool true
Reboot your Mac and head to System Preferences, then click on Displays. You should be seeing different HiDPI modes. Choose one that suits your comfort. I’d go with 1080p HiDPI on that monitor. If you don’t those HiDPI resolutions listed in System Preferences after the Terminal command above, try clicking on the “Scaled” button while holding the Option key on your keyboard. This is how I use my 4K HDTV as an external monitor on my Mac mini. That way TV screen becomes a retina screen. Same goes for my 2K portable monitor which is a 12.5” screen at 2560x1440 resolution.

Screen Shot 2020-02-15 at 23.36.49.jpg
 
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Heat_Fan89

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I believe you just need to enable HiDPI mode on macOS using a terminal command. Then you can choose a scaled resolution to force UI to work on retina mode. Open a Terminal window and give the following command:



Reboot your Mac and head to System Preferences, then click on Displays. You should be seeing different HiDPI modes. Choose one that suits your comfort. I’d go with 1080p HiDPI on that monitor. If you don’t those HiDPI resolutions listed in System Preferences after the Terminal command above, try clicking on the “Scaled” button while holding the Option key on your keyboard. This is how I use my 4K HDTV as an external monitor on my Mac mini. That way TV screen becomes a retina screen. Same goes for my 2K portable monitor which is a 12.5” screen at 2560x1440 resolution.

View attachment 894417
Thanks for that info but believe it or not I find the settings for "Default for Display" to be just perfect. The text is crystal clear and the font size is neither too big or too small. Everything is just right with the default settings.
 

watakoola

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According to my 'System Report' I'm getting 1920 x 1080 @ 60 Hz from 2 x displays using DVI to HDMI cables via my eGPU on my Mac mini.
 

Krevnik

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It is widely known that HDMI is really for Home-Theater and TVs.
- Most HDMI versions can only do 4K at 30Hz .
HDMI 2.0 has been out for a while now and handles 4K60 just fine. The 2018 Mini supports HDMI 2.0, and will handle a 4K display just fine. Displays that include HDMI tend to include HDMI 2.0 specifically so that they can hit 60Hz, including the OP's. There are a few exceptions still floating around, but they tend to be gaming displays using older G-Sync modules where DisplayPort is expected to hit the higher framerates, like the Alienware AW3418DW and AW3420DW.

USB-C hubs with HDMI tend to be limited to HDMI 1.4 because it has to share bandwidth with the rest of the ports.

EDIT: Unless you intend to go above 60Hz, or drive a monster 5K/6K display, HDMI 2.0 can handle the same displays DisplayPort can. DisplayPort 1.4 has an edge there, but is fairly new, and HDMI 2.1 will even the field more again once it's more readily available. In general, while HDMI is certainly aimed at TV/HT use, the Venn diagram between the two interconnects is nearly a circle these days, and they borrow quite a bit from each other.

But i’m not experiencing any mouse lag which is good. I do notice the mouse speed does drop as things get smaller which is to be expected with predictable mouse speed. With, UI looks like 1920x1080 or at 2K the mouse pointer doesn’t show any signs of lag. The system report says the monitor is operating at 60Hz.
This is expected, though, and a USB-C to DisplayPort cable will not fix it, FYI. So when the UI "looks like 1920x1080", the GPU creates a buffer @2x internally. Since 1080p @ 2x is 4K, everything's good. It just passes out the final signal to the screen as expected without much effort.

However, at something like "looks like 2560x1440", it's still using a 2x buffer internally. So it's rendering your screen at 5K, and then having the GPU scale it down to 4K before sending it to the display. It keeps things fairly sharp, but at the cost of extra work for the GPU. Both in the sense that a 5K framebuffer is harder on the GPU, and the scaling work too. The Mac Mini 2018's Intel GPU seems to cap out running a 5K UltraFine at "native" resolution, and asking it to scale on top of that is just too much.

This extra work is what makes things feel slow and creates the UI lag. For best performance, you have two options:
  • Run the display at "looks like 1920x1080" or 4K native, to avoid GPU scaling.
  • Get an eGPU so the beefier GPU can handle the scaling better than the low-powered Intel GPU.
And I honestly don't recommend the eGPU route if you don't need to. But I will say that I find 27" 4K displays at 1080 "too big" for my tastes and prefer something in the 21-24" range if possible (like the LG UltraFine 4K models). Not many 21-24" 4K displays though, sadly.
 
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