MacBook Pro 15" and LG 38" Ultrawide screen

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AlpineAddict, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. AlpineAddict macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2017
    Hi folks...

    Newbie here so apologies if this has been talked about before... Im looking at upgrading my iMac 27 (late 2012), for a MacBook pro and an Ultrawide screen...

    I currently have an apple screen as well, so am used to a lot of screen to play in... Reason for the MacBook/screen combo over a new iMac is that my 'old' MacBook is also on its last legs, and can't afford to replace both...

    My question is more about the relationship with the new MacBook pro touch bar (15 inch) and the LG range of screens... I've read there are some compatibility issues and thought I'd ask here if anyone uses this setup...

    Was specifically looking at the new 38" LG screen

    Also, was thinking the Elgato TB3 dock??? Anyone got any other thoughts... Any advice and help very much welcomed folks...

    Thx in advance
  2. english_mac_in_ny macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2017
    There are some issues with USB-C screens. First, USB-C screens means that they run on USB3.1, which has a limited bandwith compared to the new Thunderbolt 3. For example, once you attach a single 4K resolution display, the remaining bandwith is just good enough to have a few USB ports with 2.0 speed. Forget attaching USB3, multiple screens and network over a single USB-C with USB3.1 connection.

    The screens with sufficient bandwith are Thunderbolt 3 screens, and while they use the same USB-C connector and are thus USB-C screens as well, they are marketed as Thunderbolt 3 screens so that it's clear they don't rely on the slower USB3.1. There is only one available now, the LG Ultrafine 5K one. So you likely won't be purchasing a Thunderbolt 3 screen either.

    Back to the USB-C USB3.1 screens: Aside from the low bandwith, they have a huge drawback. They have to be compatible with your specific laptop, and so it might happen to you that a 2016 MBP works, but a 2017 doesn't, or when you upgrade to a different laptop in a few years it won't work with the screen and so on.

    There is a thread open on the forums here just now where owners of an Acer display need to send it in to Acer for a firmware upgrade because only the 2016 MBP works and not the 2017 (or maybe the other way around or something). That is pretty ridiculous.

    My recommendation for you is to purchase a screen with a DisplayPort connector. All modern monitors sold today will have one, or multiple. I suggest you get one with at least two DisplayPort connectors because it will allow you to both plug in a regular workstation at home as well as a laptop. You don't want to be limited to a single port and having to switch the cable between desktop pc and laptop.

    DisplayPort is the current standard and is compatible between all modern DisplayPort screens and DisplayPort devices. It only transmits the display signal (including audio!), but you won't run into issues using it.

    Of course now you need a separate dock, so it is slightly more expensive overall. I have the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 dock, and I had the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock as well. Turns out they both have the same hardware in them, because it is an Intel reference design and whether you get one or the other makes no difference. But the Elgato one is cheaper, so that is what I kept.

    It works well and it allows you to plug in one screen up to 4K resolution, via DisplayPort. You get a free Thunderbolt 3 port on the dock of course, and there you can plug in a Displayport adapter cable to attach a second screen with up to 4K resolution (both at 60 Herz).

    I use the Philips BDM4350UC which gives me a lot of space, obviously. It's not recommended very often, because the quality control is questionable, a lot of people have to return it due to pixel errors. I was one of the first to order it and received an excellent problem free screen, so if you are willing to risk having to do a return, I can recommend it. Besides the big panel, it has one advantage over other screens: It does not have the antiglare coating that all other screens have. So in a bright room it is a bit annoying, but I mostly use it when it's getting dark anyway since I am at work during the day. Antiglare coating makes the screen quality slightly worse and so I consider this a bonus. For you it might be a disadvantage if you want one with antiglare coating.

    The three brands I can actually recommend are HP, Dell, and NEC. All three usually make good quality screens and give you at least 3 years of warranty. They usually come with a good stand that isn't as flimsy as for example LG likes to do it (LGs stands are so bad nowadays that on the first screen I got from them since a long time, I thought it was broken). They are more expensive than Acer or Asus or Benq or others, but you can check the reviews and I find that they get better reviews in general. Viewsonic has good screens as well, I think, but I haven't had one from that manufacturer and can't really say anything about them.

    So to sum it up, look for a DisplayPort screen from HP, Dell or NEC with an IPS panel, check if you need/want the antiglare coating or if you can get one without it, and the 3 year warranty is a good indication that the screen isn't total crap. Then add a Thunderbolt 3 dock and you are good to go!
  3. AlpineAddict thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2017
    Hi bud... awesome response, thank you ever so much... Can I just confirm I've understood something though please...

    With the above, are you suggesting that if I plug this LG screen (for example) directly into my MacBook, then I wouldn't be able to plug any other devices into the screen and expect anything more than USB2??? However, If I plug the screen into an Elgato doc (again, for example), using display port, then I should still be able to plug other devices into the doc, and MacBook and get full power from the ports...?

    Sorry if I've confused myself here... o_O

    Thx buddy, again
  4. english_mac_in_ny macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2017
    USB-C is the physical connector and it supports one or both of the following two:

    USB3.1 -> Supports at the most one 4K display and then a few USB ports that are limited to USB2.0 speeds when you actually plug in a 4K display. That is what all USB-C displays do.

    Thunderbolt 3 -> Supports two 4K displays with one dock while simultaniously allowing for multiple USB ports at their full USB3 speeds, and more things (network, audio,...). This is what the Elgato dock and others do.

    So if you get a USB-C screen, depending on the resolution, it might give you USB ports that have USB3 or near USB3 speeds, but it might not. All I know is that once you go to the 4K resolution, the remaining bandwith is too low for USB3. If the resolution is considerably lower, such as FullHD, this will probably not be a problem.

    The screen you linked has almost 4K resolution and will thus very likely be limited in what USB speeds it has. A single USB3 port? Probably does the full speed. Multiple? Surely not all at the full speed anymore. I don't know how many this screen has, in the specs sheet it just says "yes" instead of a number.

    By the way, this has nothing to do with power. You asked for power, but that just means how fast connected USB devices will charge. That LG screen will charge phones etc. connected via USB pretty fast, with Quickcharge 2.0. It is worth pointing out that the newest version for this quick charging technology mostly found in phones is now QuickCharge 4+ and going by that, this screen has pretty old charging tech built in. The difference is that the latest version can charge a compatible phone in less than an hour (and actually up to 50% in just 15-30 minutes), while a 2.0 charger will require over half an hour to get up to 50% and at least an hour to fully charge a device.

    So not sure whether you actually want to know about speed, or power, as they are not the same.
  5. AlpineAddict thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2017
    Sorry bud... I incorrectly used the word power instead of speed... I was wanting to establish if other devices (USB) would work from the screen at fast speed, if the screen was plugged directly to the MB, or would they be no more than USB2.. and is this the same for if I plugged devices into my MB/elgato, with the screen plugged tot the elgato dock...?

    Hope that is better, thx :)
  6. english_mac_in_ny macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2017
    I did explain just that in the post above. There is not really any other or shorter way to write it down.

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