Mac Pro & Seiki 39" 4K display - under $500 delivered

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 4, 2009
1,697
915
Pacific NW, USA


When the Seiki 39" display appeared this summer for $800, it caught my attention, but the lack of 60Hz refresh was a showstopper. With the price falling under $500 delivered 2nd day with Amazon prime, a 30 day no questions asked return policy, and no charge for return shipping, I had to give it a try.....

Mac Pro bench setup:
2009 Mac Pro - Flashed to 2010 firmware
Intel 990X CPU 6c @ 3.46 / 32GB Ram

Gigabyte AMD 7950 - 3GB Ram / Flashed EFI with 5.0Gts Link speed mod.
  • HDMI does not respond to display
  • Active or Passive MDP -> DVI -> HDMI offers reliable connection.
  • 24Hz / 25Hz / 30Hz @ 4k / 1080P HiDPI selectable from UI.

EVGA 680GTX - 2GB Ram / Flashed EFI
  • HDMI connection works
  • Display is locked at 30Hz, refresh rate change requires extra app
  • 4k / 1080P HiDPI selectable from UI.

The Good:
  • Under $500 delivered!
  • Crisp output at 3840x2160 or 1920x1080HiDpi @ 30Hz (sharpness must be set to 0)
  • Verified Compatibility on a 2009/2010 mac pro with a flashed AMD 7950 and Nvidia 680GTX
  • 110 Pixel per inch resolution. (compared to 110PPI on a Dell 3007wfp-hc)
  • Works great for content non-gaming usage. Can display lots of code, web pages, office apps, etc with out issue/
  • 1920x1080P @ 60Hz
  • No dead pixels
  • With proper calibration, the display's color and greyscale can be greatly improved.

The Bad:
  • 30Hz refresh rate at native resolutions.
  • 1920x1080P @ 60Hz - image is degraded due to settings baked into the TV's firmware that cannot be adjusted through the Service menu.
  • Fine tuning of image requires access to the Service Menu - press menu then 0000 to access
  • 60Hz variants of these displays should be appearing post CES - Q1 / Q2 2014 for around $800 +/-.
  • Display Height and angle cannot be adjusted.


Bottom Line:

For power users needing more desktop real estate at one heckuva bargain price, nothing can touch the seiki 39" 4K display. Personally, I'm very happy with the Seiki and the 3840x2160 workspace I use to develop iOS and OS X apps. While there are other options from Asus and others with a $3000+ price tag, the $500 option from Seiki fits my needs.


Terminal Tweaks for this display
  • disable VSYNC and associated LAG -sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.windowserver Compositor -dict deferredUpdates 0 (0 = off 1 = on)
  • modify font smoothing - defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 1 (0 = off 2 = MAX)
  • prompt $p$g equivalent for OSX terminal - PS1='$PWD>';export PS1
 
Last edited:

Celedral

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2008
332
14
Los Angeles
It's a decent monitor. Everything is great for the price, but that 30hz really affects how smooth the system performs visually. Overall I really like it for watching 4k videos and checking my 4k footage from my red camera.

Best 4k monitor for $500
 

Rich.Cohen

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2013
193
3
Washington DC
Bottom Line:

For power users needing more desktop real estate at one heckuva bargain price, nothing can touch the seiki 39" 4K display. Personally, I'm very happy with the Seiki and the 3840x2160 workspace I use to develop iOS and OS X apps. While there are other options from Asus and others with a $3000+ price tag, the $500 option from Seiki fits my needs.
I'm considering the 50" Seiki for similar reasons. My main need is to draw entity relationship diagrams and view as much of them as possible at one time. Video is secondary and I'll keep one of my existing monitors for that. I'd like larger pixels so I can read small text in my very large logical data models. That's why I'm interested in the 50" rather than the 39" screen. This may do the job for me.

The 50" is advertised as being 120 Hz, but I understand the HDMI 1.4 interface is only capable of 30 Hz.

I've heard that the cursor lags the mouse in the screen. Have you noticed this?

My present strategy is to wait till the end of January in the hope that something better will come along at a reasonable price. On the other hand right now it's on sale at Sears for $760.
 

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 4, 2009
1,697
915
Pacific NW, USA
I'm considering the 50" Seiki for similar reasons. My main need is to draw entity relationship diagrams and view as much of them as possible at one time. Video is secondary and I'll keep one of my existing monitors for that. I'd like larger pixels so I can read small text in my very large logical data models. That's why I'm interested in the 50" rather than the 39" screen. This may do the job for me.

The 50" is advertised as being 120 Hz, but I understand the HDMI 1.4 interface is only capable of 30 Hz.

I've heard that the cursor lags the mouse in the screen. Have you noticed this?

My present strategy is to wait till the end of January in the hope that something better will come along at a reasonable price. On the other hand right now it's on sale at Sears for $760.
I haven't seen any lag, just the effects of 30Hz refresh rates. While some users have reported a 40ms lag, it hasn't been noticeable in my usage pattern.

I've found running the display at 1080 hiDPI works well, I just end up making all of my fonts small since the display can handle it. It really brings a retina visual quality to the big screen.
 

Macshroomer

macrumors 65816
Dec 6, 2009
1,126
525
How would these monitors work for photos?
Color correction would not be that critical as I would use it for browsing large catalogs, editing, sorting, etc.
Also, will my GTX680 run both this and my ACD 30"?
 
Last edited:

Rich.Cohen

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2013
193
3
Washington DC
I haven't seen any lag, just the effects of 30Hz refresh rates. While some users have reported a 40ms lag, it hasn't been noticeable in my usage pattern.
That's very good to know. I've been worried about it based on some review I read.

I've found running the display at 1080 hiDPI works well, I just end up making all of my fonts small since the display can handle it. It really brings a retina visual quality to the big screen.
I plan to run mine at full 3840 X 2160 resolution. I need the pixels. I'm presently using an HP3065 at 2560 X 1600 and I need even more pixels. I want the larger (50") screen so I can read 12 point fonts.

----------

How would these monitors work for photos?
Color correction would not be that critical as I would use it for browsing large catalogs, editing, sorting, etc.
Also, will my GTX680 run both this and my ACD 30"?
I've read a number of reviews some OK and some negative. None were strongly positive. I suggest you check what Consumer Reports had to say. They are likely to be unbiased. As I recall, they gave it a middle-of-the-road review compared to much more expensive models. Also check the customer feedback on Amazon. The Amazon feedback includes a wide range of opinions. Finally, there is another thread on this forum, Seiki UHD TV as nMP monitor?, that you might want to read.

I'm planning to buy this or something else to use with the new Mac Pro I'm planning on buying in December, so I haven't considered the issue of graphics cards.
 

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 4, 2009
1,697
915
Pacific NW, USA
How would these monitors work for photos?
Color correction would not be that critical as I would use it for browsing large catalogs, editing, sorting, etc.
Also, will my GTX680 run both this and my ACD 30"?
If you calibrate the brightness, contrast, RGB, Greyscale and backlight, it should work well for viewing/reviewing photographs. Regarding editing, although the display runs at 30Hz(think FPS) the input system is not running at that sample rate to effect tasks such as photo editing.

I'm running the Seiki along side a Dell 3007wfp-hc and a Dell 2240T touchscreen monitor without issue.
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,929
54
England
It's a decent monitor. Everything is great for the price, but that 30hz really affects how smooth the system performs visually. Overall I really like it for watching 4k videos and checking my 4k footage from my red camera.

Best 4k monitor for $500
It's the only 4K TV for $500.
 

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
A fantastic price but personally I couldn't look at text properly and carefully on a monitor running at 30hz when using Quark or Indesign for example. The flicker would truly do my head and my eyes in.
 

Rich.Cohen

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2013
193
3
Washington DC
A fantastic price but personally I couldn't look at text properly and carefully on a monitor running at 30hz when using Quark or Indesign for example. The flicker would truly do my head and my eyes in.
This is my concern, too. However, while the interface is limited to 30 Hz, the screen is probably refreshing at 60 Hz or higher. I assume there is internal video memory. Perhaps I'm wrong.
 

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
This is my concern, too. However, while the interface is limited to 30 Hz, the screen is probably refreshing at 60 Hz or higher. I assume there is internal video memory. Perhaps I'm wrong.
I would want to see one in front of my goggles before I'd buy one but I'd be very wary. I'm old enough to remember when interlaced screens gave me serious eye-ache and I still get it working on sites with cheap fluorescent strip lights with no diffusers.
 

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 4, 2009
1,697
915
Pacific NW, USA
I would want to see one in front of my goggles before I'd buy one but I'd be very wary. I'm old enough to remember when interlaced screens gave me serious eye-ache and I still get it working on sites with cheap fluorescent strip lights with no diffusers.
Out of the box, without service menu adjustments, the the image looks good. Making the proper adjustments in the service menu to disable the display engines image sharpening process really bring the display into razor focus.

Displaying a HTPC 4x4 grid I created for sharpness calibration revealed the sharpening artifacts. The attached image is the current rendering I was able to attain on an AMD 7950.
 

Attachments

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
Out of the box, without service menu adjustments, the the image looks good. Making the proper adjustments in the service menu to disable the display engines image sharpening process really bring the display into razor focus.

Displaying a HTPC 4x4 grid I created for sharpness calibration revealed the sharpening artifacts. The attached image is the current rendering I was able to attain on an AMD 7950.
It's an impressive image, well worth the 500 bucks and if your googles can handle it you have one hell of a bargain. But it's how my eyes can put up with how fast that image is updated that would be my problem having one on my desk long term. I spent loads buying NEC multisync and Eizo tubed monsters back in the day and I could easily tell the difference between 60 and 75hz never mind 30hz.
 

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 4, 2009
1,697
915
Pacific NW, USA
It's an impressive image, well worth the 500 bucks and if your googles can handle it you have one hell of a bargain. But it's how my eyes can put up with how fast that image is updated that would be my problem having one on my desk long term. I spent loads buying NEC multisync and Eizo tubed monsters back in the day and I could easily tell the difference between 60 and 75hz never mind 30hz.
I remember those days. Luckily there is no flicker with LCD's. :eek:
 

Rich.Cohen

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2013
193
3
Washington DC
I just paid a visit to the nearby Sears to see one. The 40" was not on and the salesperson didn't know how to turn it on. There 50" was not on display at all. There was a 55" on display and it looked pretty good, but it was mounted above head height and I couldn't get very close. They said to try later this week.
 

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 4, 2009
1,697
915
Pacific NW, USA
Or your desk warping with a double bend after a year cos you had a mac on the left with an NEC and a 486 on the right with the Eizo!
Hahahah. It was a NEC 5FGE. and the desk I had then is the one I have now. I believe the 39" Seiki weighs less than the 5FGE did.

I've found that running video content and even the iTunes visualizer is not reveal any frame rate issues as the content is locked at 30FPS or less. Running iTunes visualizations with the deep black level and the high resolution screen is jaw dropping.
 

DisMyMac

macrumors 65816
Sep 30, 2009
1,078
9
I just paid a visit to the nearby Sears to see one. The 40" was not on and the salesperson didn't know how to turn it on. There 50" was not on display at all. There was a 55" on display and it looked pretty good, but it was mounted above head height and I couldn't get very close. They said to try later this week.
I don't understand how that store survives.
 

Celedral

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2008
332
14
Los Angeles
Any know how to get 31hz from a GTX 780? I'm running it at 30hz, which is fine, but would be a tad nice to get an extra hz.
 

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 4, 2009
1,697
915
Pacific NW, USA
Any know how to get 31hz from a GTX 780? I'm running it at 30hz, which is fine, but would be a tad nice to get an extra hz.
The monitor is locked to 31Hz. The only ones that have been able to over clock this display have done so by changing out the LVDS driver board.