Macbook Pro Retina Best External Display

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by RUFiO795, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. RUFiO795 macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2007
    Hello friendlies,

    I have a 2012 Macbook Pro Retina (whatever the first model released was, top end specs for the time), and I just finally made the long-awaited jump to external monitor-dom. I do a good bit of music recording, so I'm pretty pumped about the extra screen real estate - only problem is my new display is just...not as sharp as my Macbook Pro. Common issue, I know but what's the solution?

    The monitor I bought is the LG 24M45:

    It's not 4K or anything special, and my only connection options are HDMI and that huge, clunky D-SUB (which has no input on my computer). So I'm using HDMI. The picture quality isn't TERRIBLE - it's just noticeably worse than the Macbook Pro, in that I can distinctly see pixels in text, etc. Is there any particular setting I can use to make this better, or is my only option springing for a higher-quality, more-expensive monitor. If the latter, what monitor should I get? Do I have to get an Apple Thunderbolt Display? Do I need to be using DisplayPort connections instead of HDMI?

    Any guidance here would be much appreciated. I just want to have the most comparable picture quality between my Macbook Pro Retina and my external as possible. I don't think this monitor is gonna do it.
  2. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2013
    There is more than likely nothing wrong with your monitor. I hear this a lot from people I know that have a rMBP then get an external display. The reason it looks worse than your MBP comes down to Pixels Per Inch. If you have the 13in your getting 227 PPI with a resolution of 2560-by-1600 (little better than 2K) if its the 15in its 220 PPI with a resolution of 2880-by-1800 (little lower than 3k). Not to forget its displaying these resolutions at 13/15 inchs respectively. These are the fundamentals of how Apple describes what Retina actually is, saying at these screen sizes, resolutions and how far away most people sit from that screen makes it so the eye cant see individual pixels.

    Having said that, your taking a resolution of 1080p that's already lower than you rMBP, stretching it across 24inchs giving you only 91.79PPI and sitting just as close to it as you were from your rMBP. This will result in a picture that is far less sharp. To get a better idea of what you are dealing with queue up a youtube video on that monitor and make sure its playing at 1080p. Then sit as far away from that as you would if it was a TV, say about 6 to 8 feet. It will look a lot clearer, this is why 1080p TV's at this size, really up to 37inch are just fine and don't really need to be replaced for 4K for TV watching as there may be no noticeable gain. Its all about resolution + screen size + Distance from the screen.

    For you to get a monitor that will look just about as clear you your rMBP at 24 inch, you would need 4K. 2K would also look better than what you have but to get same experience as you have with your rMBP externally it would have to be at least 4k.
  3. Niarlatop macrumors member

    May 13, 2015
    Just a quick input, sadly your 2012 MacBook Pro can't handle a 4K external screen at 60 Hz (you can do 30 Hz max, which is all but smooth enough for daily use).
    You'd need at least a 2013 15" rMBP to display 4K @ 60 Hz, on a MST (multi-stream transport) monitor. To be able to run any SST (single-stream transport) 4K monitor, which is what's mostly on the market now, you'll need a mid-2014 15" rMBP, or 2015 13" rMBP.
  4. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    No, the ATD is a complete ripoff.

    You have to spend more than $300 to get a quality display. The Dell P2715Q at $500-600 is very popular with Mac people.
  5. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    You've come to the same conclusion as I have, namely that the 1920x1080 resolution looks pretty bad at 24"
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    4K is probably not a good solution for the 2012 rMBP 15, the graphics are fine but thunderbolt 1 just doesn't have the nessecary bandwidth.

    Your best solution would be a 24 or 27 inch 1440P monitor, it still won't be "retina" level detail but if you've ever used a thunderbolt display or 27 inch imac you'll know they are still much better than 1080p for use at monitor distance.

    something like these

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