MBP to External Monitor

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by n8236, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. n8236 macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2006

    I have a 27" Planar monitor hooked up to my Macbook Pro (via HDMI), but it doesn't look as crisp as my laptop's screen. I'm not sure if it's a resolution issue or what.

    The MBP's max resolution is 1440x900. Monitor's max resolution is 1920x1080.

    What can I do to make the external monitor look sharper? Change Underscan?When I go into System Preferences of Display, there isn't a selection for MBP's 1440x900 for the external monitor. The ext. monitor is currently running on 1080p.
  2. Rmafive macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2008
    Richmond, Virginia
    Do you connect in Clamshell mode or do you use your external display with the computer open? If so, make sure you are not mirroring the display. I would imagine that the reason things don't look crisp is because of the low resolution on your display. 1920x1080 seems fairly low for a 27" monitor, since you are sitting so close.
  3. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Using HDMI connection you aren't going to get the maximum res. Underscan only changes the display area if things go off the external screen. Can you connect it using a different method? What ports do you have on the external?
  4. Rmafive macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2008
    Richmond, Virginia
    His monitor's max resolution is 1920x1080, which is the max for hdmi.
  5. n8236 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2006
    I am mirroring the MBP's screen.

    I am about 24" inches away from the monitor.

    From a farther distance, it does look better.

    Am I SOL?
  6. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    1920x1080 is pretty low resolution for a 27" display if you're trying to use it as a monitor on your desk. Many 27" monitors are 2560x1440.

    Also you may get better results using extended desktop rather than mirroring, since mirroring forces both displays to be the same resolution.
  7. Rmafive macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2008
    Richmond, Virginia
    Problem 1 is that you should not be mirroring, as you only get an effective 1440x900 pixels on a 27 inch display. Problem 2 is that your display is only 1920x1080!
  8. n8236 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2006

    I have to mirror because of the physical setup on my desk. It's also because I have a neck problem.

    Well, I guess this gives me an excuse to buy another monitor...
  9. Rizzm macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2012
    As others have said, 1080p is low for a 27", which is why things don't look as sharp. Pixels are stretched more since the screen is so large.

    Also, the latest spec HDMI supports up to 4096 x 2160.
  10. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    What about using it with the MBP closed and an external keyboard and mouse plugged in?

    Another option would be to choose extended desktop mode and drag the menu bar graphic over to the external display in the preferences screen. That would set your external 1080p monitor as the primary display.
  11. eron macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    Put the 27" 1080p monitor 3 metres away, and it will look crisper. Better still, put it much much further away, and it can claim Retina status. :cool:

    Basically smaller physical size screens with higher resolution will provide better images.
  12. n8236 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2006
    Thanks for all the tips, but the picture is still pretty crappy on this 27". Guess I'll be investing into another monitor with nutty resolutions. Prolly need a pretty high-end one too since I'll be purchasing the MBP Retina.
  13. titanflyer macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    I hooked my macbook up to an HD TV because I could buy a 42 inch LCD for 500 bucks. 1080p is plenty for me, but I found that HDMI connection would try and overscan and I couldn't get it to stop. Looked fuzzy and grainy, so I tried VGA which basically sucks as its analog, but it looks perfect. Give it a shot and see if you are having the same issue.
  14. n8236 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2006
    It just doesn't make sense to me, my MBP is 1440x900 and my external is 1920x1080. Shouldn't the ext monitor look just as sharp on the laptop?

    Would purchasing a monitor w/ a resolution of 2560 x 1440 help?
  15. ahpiang007 macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2012
    Provided you are not gonna use the mirroring mode. It will only output the lower resolution to both which is 1440x900 in your case. It will not help even if you get a 4K display.
  16. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Change the monitor. Seriously. 1920x1080 is fine on TVs that you sit some distance away from or 24" screens and smaller, but I would not use a 27" monitor with a 1920x1080 resolution on a desk. The resolution is just too low and no amount of tweaking the settings will help to fix that.


    Except that the screens are different sizes. So work out the pixel per pinch on both and compare.

    27" 1920 x 1080 = ~82 pixels per inch
    15" 1440 x 900 = 113.21 PPI

    There might be other things at play here as well besides the PPI, like the quality of the monitor itself. In general, a 27" with 1920x1080 resolution is not a quality monitor, just by looking at the resolution of the panel.

    Yes, 2560x1440 is a good resolution on a 27" monitor and it would help.
    27" 2560x1440 = ~109 PPI

    (these calculations are pure pixel per inch and do not account for viewing distance)

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