Mac Mini Available Resolutions on 4K telly

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by robdrums2097, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. robdrums2097 macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #1
    Hi all,

    I am intending to buy my first Mac soon, to replace my desktop PC that has come to an unfortunate end. I've read pages and pages on the 4K @60hz issue, but one thing remains unclear: what resolutions I will actually be able to select, not just the maximum ones. I will be connecting it, for now, to my lounge 1080p TV via HDMI and via my HDMI 1.4 receiver. Next year I hope to buy a 65” 4K TV (with at least DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0, depending on what’s available by then).

    My question is, once I do, what are my resolution options? I understand clearly that by HDMI I am restricted to 30hz at 2160p or 24hz at full 4096 x 2160. The spec sheet only lists 1080p at 60hz as an option, but surely OS X has other options? I know it will run a Thunderbolt display (2 of them, I think, at 60hz), so there must be something in between. My new telly must be able to accept other >1080 16:9 resolutions such as Thunderbolt type displays, and I know native resolution is always going to be preferable, but therefore that’s no worse running it at 1080 on a 4K TV.

    Or is 1080p the highest resolution I will be able to run at 60hz? Will it end up looking better on my current TV (albeit smaller) than a UHD one? Or is the rendering of text compared to Windows a bad idea for this application? I have searched everywhere for this info but can never find anything between HD and UHD that the Mac would put out. I know I have no particular need for 4K now, but it is frustrating that the MM is half-baked in this department.

    Also, I read very mixed opinions on just how restricting these lower refresh rates will be. It is to be literally just my living room hub for music, web browsing (online shopping and casual browsing), the odd YouTube video, iPlayer and standard app usage. I will never be sitting there writing a letter, doing complex video editing, gaming or perusing spreadsheets that I think would necessitate 60hz. Just the occasional email, but clarity of text would be fairly important if I am reading a page on Safari. I can’t see that 24 or 30hz is a problem for video considering Blu-Rays are 24hz. I read about ‘choppy’ performance, then others saying that for the sort of usage I have planned, it would be fine. What are others’ experience of it for this kind of usage on a domestic telly?

    I am tempted to sit it out in the hope that the MM will be updated later this year with an Iris Pro graphics card and quad core i7 (as they should have been in the first place), but for my simple, non-resource-hungry usage, I think the current i5 or i7 models will do me just fine. Or I will upgrade it later and relocate it to a study as a desktop with a Thunderbolt monitor or similar.

    Many thanks in advance for any advice and clarity before I buy something I might regret.

    Rob
     
  2. MiniMe77 macrumors member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    #2
    2560x1600 if I've understood the Apple site correctly.

    You can get this resolution using a thunderbolt display and can even run two of those but I am not clear as to whether you can get that resolution using a TV or a third-party monitor?

    I am in the same boat as yourself. My mini will arrive this week, but for now I'll only attach it to my 1080p tv while I decide which monitor to get.

    I'm looking at the DELL P2715Q but hoping that a new thunderbolt display comes out that supports 4K even if the Mini can still only handle 30HZ (or 50HZ as some claim).
     
  3. MiniMe77 macrumors member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    #3
    Plus, does this mean that you can watch a 4K blu ray as you say they run at 24Hz?

    "Support for 4096-by-2160 resolution at 24Hz"
     
  4. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #4
    Well, yes apart from the lack of a drive! The 4K Blu-Ray standard hasn't been released or (publically) finalised yet, so I think we're a long way off from that (4K-upscaled Blu-Rays and DVDs are not the same thing). But I expect streamed films would be 24hz, yes. I think 4K just isn't realistically there yet, though I would love the chance to try a Mini out at 30hz and see what it's like.

    Would it not transmit Thunderbolt resolution over HDMI at 60hz, then, only DisplayPort? This would surely be an acceptable compromise and better than 1080P which would also not be native?

    Rob

    ----------

    I am also still blown away that the Thunderbolt displays are still £900, 4 years after their release.

    I'd love a crystal ball to know if there will be an update to the MM this year (with the more powerful processors and Iris Pro. Or something better.)
     
  5. VCRtapes macrumors newbie

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #5
    I just bough the 2014 MM for my office. I am using it with a Seiki 4K 39" TV as monitor. Running 3840x2160 at 30 Hz using only an HDMI cable. My primary use for the Mac Mini is heavy document editing... I've usually got ~6 Word documents open at a time. Along with the document editing, I use it for lots of web browsing (mostly reading articles) and watching video (including YouTube and Netflix).

    I can tell you 100% without a shred of doubt that 30 Hz will be perfectly adequate for your needs. I agonized for months over whether to buy a Mac Mini when I started having problems with SwitchResX on my Macbook Air after updating to Yosemite. I, like you, read varying reviews and reports from users making claims that 3840x2160 at 30 Hz was everything from atrocious to perfectly useable. A few weeks ago I called Apple and just asked, "Look, if I buy this thing and it doesn't do what I want it to do, can I send it back?" And they told me I had two weeks to send it back for any reason, so I went ahead and bought it.

    Having owned the MM for about a week now and watched several YouTube videos and the full Season 3 of House of Cards on it, I can tell you that any claims that 30 hz is "choppy" or "unusable" are pure hyperbole. I guess something like that is subjective, but I'm extremely picky and obsessive about ensuring that I get the most bang for my buck no matter what it is I'm purchasing. That being said, I'm totally satisfied with the Mac Mini in that it does all the things I need or want it to do, which seem to be about the same things you'll need it to do. I hope this alleviates your concerns.
     
  6. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #6
    Thanks for making the effort to share your experience, it's much appreciated. Not least because it sounds like I have no real need for concern.

    Just one thing, then, can you or anyone clarify if there are other options between 1080p and 4k, usable at 60hz in a 16:9 ratio?

    I intend to run it on a Panasonic TV with a DisplayPort input. Using the thunderbolt output, could I get a higher than 1080 resolution at 60hz? Or will it be identical as the hdmi?

    Rob
     
  7. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 18, 2013
    #7
    I was able to get mine to run at 3440x1440 @ 50Hz with a Thunderbolt connection. It got the nasty artifacts at 60Hz, but 50Hz (which is PAL...Europe) worked fine. There is an app in the App Store called Display Menu that enables several more display modes then what you normally see (like 50Hz). I eventually got a stand alone program called SwitchResX that lets you program EXACTLY what you want, even completely arbitrary resolutions.

    EDIT: I only mentioned Thunderbolt as a reference, I am not implying that it works better then other inputs.
     
  8. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #8
    Interesting. Again, thanks for the input (no pun intended). Hdmi would of course be cheaper & easier, but I wonder if DP offers greater scope in that domain. Is Display Menu an Apple app or third party, and is it still available outside the US?

    Rob
     
  9. MiniMe77 macrumors member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    #9
    I'm aiming for the Dell P2715Q so I'll let you know what happens with that.
     
  10. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #10
    Will you be HDMI-ing or DisplayPort-ing into that? #
     
  11. MiniMe77 macrumors member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    #11
    Haha, I wish I knew the answer to that. I'm still confused. I have a hdmi cable so I'll try that first but probably switch to the display port as I think that's the only way to get 50Hz at 4K resolution.
     
  12. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #12
    I think unfortunately you will find that 30 Hz is a restriction of both the graphics cards and the outputs. I don't believe you can get 50 Hz at full 4K even with DisplayPort. What I am intrigued to know is if when you use DisplayPort, do you get options for 60hz resolutions between 1080 & 4k? You can run a thunderbolt display with it, so surely plugging into a 4K TV should give you the same options? Are Thunderbolt Displays 16:9 ratio?

    I would be so overjoyed if Apple put an end to all of this by announcing a new Mini with Iris Pro graphics, Broadwell CPU and HDMI 2.0. By all accounts it is not predicted to be likely.

    Rob
     
  13. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #13
    I doubt a TV can handle anything other than 4K, 1080P, or 720P. The reason is that your TV would have to have a Scaler that would know what to do with "odd" resolutions. Who would build in support on a TV for 1440P if there is no content (for a TV) being offered in that resolution? All video content is either 4K, 1080P, 720P, 480P or 480i....

    As far as the output, you are right you can only pull off 4K @ 52hz max via the DP ports. The reason is the bandwidth offered by the DP ports in the Mini. Further another downside is that since it is only Iris instead of Iris Pro, you can only do 4K or 1080P "upscaled" to 4K and nothing in between since the Iris can't handle resolutions greater than 4K (when you use something like1440P on a 4K monitor, OSX actually creates the image in the buffer as if it were doubled, thus you would need Iris Pro to handle a 2880P resolution). This is problematic if you buy a 27" 4K display because either you get really small text/icons at native 4K, or you get really large ones (just really detailed) @ double 1080P. I like my 27" displays @ 1440P which just can't be replicated at this point....

    It really starts making those 5K Retina iMacs look really tempting. If only you could do Target Display with them!
     
  14. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #14
    Interesting what you say about the telly not being designed for odd resolutions. I agree & understand, and I expect you're right. But saying that, why are Panasonic putting DisplayPorts on their TVs? (No other major manufacturer seem to bother) I wonder if this is the holy grail: a way to get 4k at 50hz (not quite 60, but getting there) on a lounge tv. Or 1440 if it does support it. Not sure how to find out until I can try one.

    Rob
     
  15. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #15
    So, the million pound question (well, 1300-ish): on a DP-equipped TV & a default MM (no hacking or apps), would I be able to get 4k either at native resolution or 1080p HiDPI (I read that's actually better for reading text, as I'd need to) at 50hz or would I be stuck at 30?

    Rob
     
  16. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #16
    With switchresx installed you can do 50hz. The 13" MBP guys have been doing it for awhile with the same GPU....
     
  17. robdrums2097, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015

    robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #17
    Ok, so out of the box, I'd still only get 30 even through DisplayPort?

    And if I live with 30 via HDMI, will I have the option of 1080p hiDPI to improve text rendering and clarity?

    Rob
     
  18. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #18
    As I am intending to use it at a distance on a television, can somebody explain the HiDPI modes, and would I find even 1080p on my current TV difficult to read? Do Macs have the same kind of zooming / font size adjustment functions that PCs do?

    1080p HiDPI is still a 4k mode, presumably, and comes with the same HDMI / DP restrictions as any 4k res?

    Thanks for the input, all.

    Rob
     
  19. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #19
    So after all that, Panasonic finally unveil their 2015 tellies I'd waited for, and they've completely removed the DisplayPort (but now have three instead of one hdmi 2.0 ports), as well as discontinuing the 58" model in favour of 55"!

    http://www.panasonic.com/uk/consumer/viera-televisions/led.html

    SO...

    If I'm set on a Mac Mini 2014, and an update this year (if ever) is next to impossible, is a deal (if I can find one) on an AX802 a better idea than one of the new ones, so I could get 4k at 50hz through the DP? On the new versions the best I could do would be 30hz.

    Any input on the HiDPI 1080 modes, please?

    Thanks

    Rob
     
  20. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20
  21. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #21
    No the Mini has HDMI 1.4 which has a limitation of 30hz at 4K.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI#Version_comparison

    http://www.imore.com/seven-things-you-need-know-about-new-mac-mini
     
  22. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #22
    Yes, but that cable would output through Thunderbolt / Displsyport, not the MM's Hdmi. What isn't clear is if it will convert to >30hz when plugged into HDMI 2.0.

    Rob
     
  23. robdrums2097 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2015
    #23
    Has nobody tried this route into a genuine HDMI 2.0 port? I can't see any reason why the socket shouldn't accept & the lead / adaptor shouldn't transport the full DisplayPort resolution. As the leads are no different to 1.4, remember...

    Rob
     

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