Newbie Mac Pro & 4K Monitor questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tbalena, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. tbalena macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2008
    Hi all,

    I'm currently helping my father (a digital photography buff) plan his new setup for when the new Mac Pro is released. Assuming that Apple doesn't surprise us all at the last minute by announcing a new 4K monitor tomorrow, I'm planning on getting the UP3214Q Dell 32" monitor. However, I have a couple of questions.

    1) Do you think I'm making the right call as far as my choice of monitors? My father will be using the setup for digital photography work (mostly still photos, but some 1080p video also) and wants a larger screen than his current (old) 30" Cinema Display, so this seems to be a good choice. Plus, I heard that Apple often uses the same panels as Dell does, so we shouldn't be taking much of a hit quality-wise by not buying an official Apple display. Am I correct in my thinking so far?

    2) What's my best bet for actually connecting the display to the new Mac Pro? HDMI? Thunderbolt? I've been hearing about certain refresh rate weirdness that may occur because OS X isn't fully ready for 4K displays yet -- will this have any bearing on things?

    Thanks in advance, and sorry if these questions are really basic!
  2. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    What is driving the "larger screen". Bigger pixels ( so I can see better) versus more pixels. A 4K monitor doesn't really address the former directly. ( Apple 'should' implement better text rendering on a 4K monitor but if they are just chasing pixel count and movie reference monitors they may not).

    Why someone wants something is the real requirements. Someone people report the symptoms around what they really need.

    Most of the 32" 4K monitors are using the same Sharp panel. There is selecdtion filtering on panel defects but at the higher price points Dell's criteria are not particularly lower than Apple's.

    If this is "just for fun" photography then the upcoming Dell 28" monitor probably is better. It won't have the extremely high color gamut but unless the photography is about printing for highly criticial customers there isn't going to be much of gap betweeen the 30" and the far more affordable 28" coming ( about $1K ).

    With that Dell? then DisplayPort v1.2 with MST support. If Apple did things right that should be impliciting hidden inside of Thunderbolt v2's backward capability mode. Apple may call it "Thunderblt" because it is the "Thunderbolt socket", but it is really DP v1.2 MST you are looking for.

    That Dell model may not support 4K with HDMI. If you can find the user manual on Dell's support website. The "enable 4K" process has to do with turning DP v1.2 on.

    Most likely that will clear up as the Mac Pro ships. There isn't a 3 4K display Mac in the line up now so Apple doesn't particularly enable support for one in that role.

    It isn't weirdness it is simply slower refreshes due to the amount of data being pushed to the monitors. Some folks ( movie frame rates and static photography) don't move items on the screen as much and with trade-off slow refresh for more pixels. If this is "do everything" and 40% time photography machine then may want wait till get confirmation that DP v1.2 MST is correctly supported before jumping to the Dell's (or most of the other 4K solutions that will need that to enable 60Hz refresh. )

    Thanks in advance, and sorry if these questions are really basic![/QUOTE]
  3. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I also want a 4K panel, but I believe it's most prudent to wait a few months. 4K is just starting to emerge and the early adopter pricing is killer. Prices could easily drop in half compared to what they are today in just a couple of months. CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is coming up in Jan and I expect a variety of 4K products to be announced... at more competitive prices.

    Waiting a bit will also give others a chance to work out the kinks in running 4K panels at 60Hz on a Mac... which we don't even know if it's possible at this point.

    So, if he wants 4K now and is willing to pay a premium for it, the Dell, Asus, or Sharp panels are all equivalent and will connect with DisplayPort via the Thunderbolt2 connectors on the nMP. (Although no guarantee of 60Hz)

    However, if he can make do with his 30"ACD for a bit longer, he may have a lot more choice at better price points within a few months.

    As for panel size... for 4K on a desktop monitor, I think something between 28-32" is ideal. That offers a reasonably high DPI but not so high you can't read text.
  4. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Are you ok with 30Hz refresh rate? Will you be only viewing static, non-moving images? Will you be viewing any moving images (eg video, games etc)?
  5. tbalena thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2008
    Thanks for the feedback, guys.

    My father definitely wants the massive bump in detail that a 4K resolution will entail, but at the same time he's worried that -- with his increasingly poor eyesight -- he wouldn't be able to see the difference if the monitor were to be physically smaller than his current one. Actually, if there were a 35-40" 4K monitor for a comparable price, he'd probably opt for that.

    As for holding off and waiting for these early kinks to be worked out, I already explained all of that to him, but he'd rather enjoy a reasonably functional setup for an extra six months or whatever it will be until Apple releases a new display, instead of holding off. He's already been waiting for this computer for years, as it is! He can afford to offload the Dell and pay the difference for an Apple display when the time comes.

    So, just to be absolutely clear, I'm going to want to connect the Dell monitor via a regular Thunderbolt cable from the monitor's Displayport (and NOT the Mini Displayport, which Dell's site indicates is not version 1.2 compatible) to one of the Thunderbolt ports on the Mac Pro? So far as we know at this point, will there be any fiddling around with settings in System Preferences -- or even full-blown hacks -- required to enable the full resolution, or should I simply be able to choose the monitor's native resolution in the Display preferences and be good to go?

    Thanks again!


    No video games, but he does occasionally do some video editing in iMovie. Aside from that, not much involving constant movement. Do you think the 30Hz refresh rate will be very noticeable and distracting during regular usage -- i.e. cursor movement, window resizing, etc.?
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    There's a thread on here about using this affordable Seiki 39" 4K TV as a desktop display... many are happy with it...
  7. tbalena thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2008
    Interesting -- but would I be correct in assuming that the massively lower price of that Seiki versus the Dell I mentioned comes with considerable tradeoffs in terms of image quality? The posts in that thread you linked seemed decidedly mixed. I don't think my father would value a larger screen over general image quality.
  8. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I can't comment on that, you'd need to ask in that thread.
  9. deconstruct60, Dec 18, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    IMHO, I would at least wait until after the CES 2014 show in a couple of weeks. There is likely going to be a flood of 4K product announcements then. That should give a much more clear lay out as to where 4K monitors are going to be for at least the first half of 2014.

    Waiting for Apple could take several months. However, the Dell competitors who are actually in the monitor market (as opposed to the docking station one ) aren't going to wait that long.

    No, you are not going to want to do that. You ONLY need a DP cable. That is it. It is perfectly fine and nothing harmful to plug a DP cable into a TB socket.

    There is a very narrow niche where 4K purely over Thunderbolt network has any advantages. For the workload outlined and a Mac Pro 2013 having 6 sockets there is extremely small need to propagate 4K video down a Thunderbolt data format network if using 3rd party monitors.

    If he is moving the mouse yes. 30Hz is slow enough that if rapidly moving the mouse from top-to-bottom of a large monitor the cursor made fade out. An midly annoying factor that many will overlook if have high need to pixel peep.

    Even Apple's current "Mac and 4K" support documents don't point to regular Thunderbolt cables

    " 4K over Thunderbolt to HDMI "

    Highly unnecessary on a Mac Pro with a 4K HDMI connector already.


    " Using 4K Ultra HDTVs with Mac computers"

    Both of those support documents I think will get upgraded once the Mac Pro ships and there will be more options outlined. ( Although I do expect Apple to 'blur' the issue when only need DP cable in some cases with some 3rd party monitors they will ignore). The Sharp 4K UHD monitor showed up in a online store temporary about a week ago though and the connection issue are going to be very similar to what the Dell model (based on same core hardware) needs.

    Again the issues and supporting documentation and 3rd party testing of configurations should all play out in a matter of 3-4 weeks. It is worth waiting that long before pulling the trigger if want extremely clear view of what works.
  10. tbalena thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2008
    I appreciate the feedback, but I'm still a little unclear here. Are you saying that a DP cable would suffice, and though a TB cable would work just as well, it's not required in this situation?
  11. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The thunderbolt cable may happen to work, but it is wrong. What you may need different from the Dell supplied cable is a mini-displayPort to mini-displayPort cable. If I recall correctly Dell bundles a fullsized DP connect to mini connector cable aimed at GPU cards with full sized DP sockets. Apple invented mini DP sockets so they would never have to use the full sized socket. Thunderbolt abilities are a non issue ( it happens to look like a mini-to-mini cable but isn't the important part. )
  12. davidb367, Dec 18, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013

    davidb367 macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2007
    New Dell 4K Monitor

    The new Dell 24" 4K Monitor has both a displayport and mini displayport ports. The supplied DP to mDP 1.2 cable should work fine.

    You need a displayport 1.2 cable to drive a 4K monitor. The 1.2 mDP tp mDP cables are very expensive ($30 to $50) to run the monitor at 60Hz and hard to find.

    From my understanding, the HDMI 1.4 spec will only drive a 4K monitor or TV at 30Hz. There were a few reviews (9to5Mac) of the Seiki 39" 4K TV. They are incapable of working at 60Hz. They also said that the delay was noticeable when using the mouse.
  13. mrkennethtong macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2013
    My MacPro get's here on Tuesday and I have no Monitor for it bar the 84LM9600 which is my 4K TV!

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