Question about new Macbook Pro & Dell U2713HM

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rmathes, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. rmathes macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    I bought a new Macbook Pro a week ago to replace an older one that crashed. All is well. Just got a new monitor, the Dell referenced in the title. At the moment I've connected it to the Dell's DisplayPort port going to the Thunderbolt port on my laptop. I'm using this cable:

    So, I'm wondering if I need to return the monitor. It's really nice but is displaying at a really high resolution that makes the text too small for my 53 year old eyes, and is giving me a headache the longer I use it. the resolution is 2560x1440.

    I wish I could wave a magic wand and reduce the resolution just a bit. But, if I change my sys prefs from "best for display" to "scaled" and then see what I can select, it's either 2560x1440, or 1080p, which is too fuzzy.

    I tried to research this on the front end and pick something that played well with Macs. Was surprised that so many Mac folks loved this monitor, but now I'm regretting the purchase. Is there any other option available to me here, or am I stuck with either just trying to get used to this resolution, or returning it?

    FYI, I decided to join here and ask at this forum after finding this thread:

    The guy had a different problem than me, so I'm not sure if the advice there is applicable to my situation or not. I appreciate any guidance y'all might have, thank you.
  2. DFWHD macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2011
    That is a great monitor, no need to let it go. I had a similar experience with my 50 year old eyes. Here is what I have done:

    1 - Install an app called Tinker Tool found here: - this is a handy little app that allows you to make some changes to the system settings including font sizes that are not available in the OS X System Preferences. I'm running fonts around 16 to 17 pts.

    2 - I use Firefox for browsing with 2 add ins called Default Full Zoom Level and another called Theme Font and Size Changer. These two combined allow a better browsing experience that is easier for our "older" eyes.

    3 - Some apps allow font size settings in Mac OS X (like - use these to increase font size where you can.

    4 - Desktop icons in OS X - you can increase icon size and font via the desktop view options. I have icons set at 100x100 with text set to 15 points which allows easy viewing of desktop icons.

    5 - If you use MS Office, once you launch one of those apps, increase the default zoom level to 150% or above. I've yet found a way to set this permanently, but maybe someone else does.

    I hope these help you. They have allowed me to enjoy my 27" Dell monitor. If these don't work, consider the Dell U2414H monitor at 1080P. I used one of those for a while and had no issues. A little smaller in size but still an awesome monitor. I have one sitting in the closet that I'm about to put on eBay, so PM me if interested.
  3. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    thanks for that post, and there's a possibility I might be interested in your monitor.

    I can't utilize your suggestions because I use my laptop as a laptop at work, and then I use the external monitor at home. So if I make all those app-level and system-level changes, I'll have to toggle them back and forth every work day, and that will drive me nuts.

    I just need to get a solution where I can plug the monitor in and go, and everything looks the way I want it.

    Just ordered a thunderbolt to dvi cable, and then dvi to hdmi cable. Read on another site that this solution enables a lower resolution. Question will be if everything is still clear enough to be suitable.

    I'd consider splurging on an Apple Cinema Display to get this dialed in, but I just read reviews of the latest version and apparently there are some issues with it. Shouldn't be issues with a thousand dollar monitor.
  4. Stetrain, Jan 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015

    Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    If you want everything on screen to be larger without extra fuzziness, one solution is a monitor with a lower native resolution.

    Apple's Thunderbolt display is also 2560x1440 at 27", so you will have the same issue of things either being too small or being too fuzzy.

    If the 1080p setting makes things a comfortable size but is too fuzzy for you, you could look for a 27" native 1080p display:

    A 24" 1080p display will make things slightly larger (91 pixels per inch instead of 108 for the 1440p 27"), but it won't be a huge difference except that it's a smaller monitor and you might feel more comfortable sitting closer to it.

    Another solution which would provide more flexibility in resolution without the fuzziness would be to get a 4k display, like these:

    You will have to check if your specific Macbook Pro model can handle driving a 4k display. A Mac can treat a 4k display much like the display in the retina MacBooks. By default it will double the size of everything, making it appear like a 1080p screen but super sharp. You will also get the larger and smaller scaling options just like in the retina MacBooks. This would let you increase the size of things system-wide while staying fairly sharp because the underlying resolution of the monitor is so high.
  5. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    first, I apologize for my ignorance on the topic. Thank you all for your helpfuilness.

    So a 4k monitor might work? That second Dell, for about $700, has great reviews and maybe that could work. I have the latest version of the 15" Macbook Pro retina display, just bought it from the Apple Store 9 days ago. So I'm assuming it would support this.

    If I could get 1080p size with my current resolution's level of clarity, THAT would be ideal. I think. Tonight when I get home I'll have to re-check 1080p and verify that the size is ok. I think it was, but it was so fuzzy I just immediately switched back and didn't spend much time assessing it.

    I'll have the new cable solution on Thursday, so will try that, too. Was only $20 for the two cables, figured it was worth a shot. But I would absolutely be willing to return this monitor and get the Dell 4k one if that would get me exactly what I'm looking for.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009

    I'm an older guy with eyes that aren't what they used to be, I'd like to offer some advice.

    What you ought to be considering is a 27" display with a resolution of 1920x1080. Dell makes these, as do other manufacturers.

    This will yield a pixel size of about 0.303" -- definitely on the "large side" when compared with the monitor you now have.

    The overall effect will be like a 24" display, but "blown up" to fit a 27" form factor.

    Younger folks will at a display like this and groan, "it's too grainy!"
    But for people with aging eyesight, it looks very good.

    To help with your search, I recommend you browse this list:

    I use a Viewsonic "2770" and am satisfied with it:
  7. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    it's funny, 1920x1080 is EXACTLY the resolution that supposedly my new cabling solution provides. So on Thursday night I'll see how this monitor looks at that resolution.
  8. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    how about this one?

    FYI, I'm by no means married to the Dell brand. I'm absolutely willing to consider other alternatives, only reason I purchased the one I have is I kept reading great review after great review about it.

    I'd be fine with a 24" screen. 27" is almost too big. Wouldn't want to go bigger. The monitor I've had for the last 4 years at home (an old Hanns-G) is 25", I think, and has been just fine in size.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    rmathes wrote above:
    [[ I'd be fine with a 24" screen. 27" is almost too big. Wouldn't want to go bigger. ]]

    I think you're kind of missing the point.

    You said your vision isn't as good as it once was, is this correct?
    In that case, won't slightly larger type be easier for you to read?

    The reason for getting 1920x1080 on a 27" is display is, the monitor can now run in its native resolution (at which the display runs "the clearest"), and text will appear larger, clearer, more readable without having to grossly increase its size.

    Larger display + midrange resolution = larger pixel size, bigger text.

    I sense that you may find the 24" display -- even with 1920x1080 -- still "tough on your eyes". I could be wrong...
  10. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    I don't need bigger text than normal, I just don't want smaller text than normal. For example, I'm just fine with the default settings on the laptop at its native resolution. I don't adjust any font sizes to make anything more "readable".

    I just want the external monitor to look like the laptop in terms of size and proportion, just bigger.

    If that makes sense.

    That said, I'd be fine going up to a 27", but wouldn't want to go bigger.
  11. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009

    If you have the latest 15" MBP then you should be okay for using a 4k external display.

    The big thing that 4k gets you is the ability to adjust the effective resolution of the monitor without things getting too blurry.

    When using a supported 4k monitor in OSX you get basically the same display options that you get for the display on your retina MBP (two larger sizes, best for display, two smaller sizes).

    If 1080p is really the size you want, then a 27" 1080p monitor is probably the simplest solution, but if not then 4k would give you some flexibility in resolution while staying sharp.
  12. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    so just fired up 1080p on this monitor.

    Nope, do not want. Too big.

    I'm like goldilocks at this point. Highest resolution is too small. 1080p, too big and fuzzy. Looking for what's just right. Size-wise, in between the two, but retaining text and image quality. I'm hoping the new cable situation is right in the sweet spot. If not, I'll return this monitor and get a 4k and see if I can make that work.
  13. Giev, Jan 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015

    Giev macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2013
    If 1440p is too small for you and you like 1080p more, I suggest to look into the Dell P2715Q (27 inch) or P2415Q (24 inch) 4K IPS monitors. You can run these on HiDPI mode (Similair to retina) but the text size will look like a 1080p but much sharper.
  14. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    So a question:

    If I think 2560x1440 is a bit too small...

    And 1080p is too big...

    Would a 4k monitor allow me to get something that effectively was in between?

    And a side note: is 1080p the same thing as 1920x1080?

    As I've mentioned, when I select 1080p, it's both too big and too fuzzy. I've purchased cabling that arrives tomorrow that supposedly will allow me to default to 1920x1080. If that looks the same as selecting 1080p now, then that's not going to work.

    My ideal would be just SLIGHTLY bigger than 2560x1440. Not sure if 4k with a retina display will allow me to get the effect I'm ideally going for.
  15. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009

    According to Anandtech's article, the modes you can select with a 4k display give you effective resolutions of 3200 x 1800, 2560 x 1440, 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720. So it looks like there isn't really an in-between option that would suite you.

    If you're curious you can look at the screenshots in this gallery to see what those different modes will look like size-wise:

    So if a 4k monitor won't really do what you want, the best way to figure out what will be a good monitor is to calculate the effective dpi (dots per inch) for each display using a calculator like

    Your 15" retina MBP has a real resolution of 220dpi (2880x1800@15.4"), but text and such will be sized as if it has a resolution of 110dpi at the default setting (1440x900@15.4")

    A 27" 2560x1440 display works out to 108dpi. This should make things almost exactly the same size as on your MBP's screen, but you'll probably be sitting further away from the 27" monitor so things will seem smaller.

    A 24" 1920x1080 display works out to about 91dpi. Things will appear slightly larger than on your current 27".

    A 27" 1920x1080 display works out to 81dpi, which makes things much larger.

    So the 24" 1080p display might be the best compromise, although it might still take a bit of font size tweaking to get exactly what you want.

    Edit: So to throw another dimension into this, you might want to take a look at this thread where people have figured out how to set up custom resolutions in OSX, including custom retina resolutions for high dpi displays:
  16. austinpike macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2008
    The new cable won't make a difference. The display physically has 2560x1440 pixels; when you ask it to do 1920x1080 those pixels have to interpolate the values to approximate a 1920x1080 image and it looks a little blurry. It doesn't matter if you do it in software with the Display control panel or by "forcing" it with an hdmi cable. The only non-native resolution you could do perfectly is 1280x720, or exactly half of the native resolution, in which case the pixels essentially double-up.

    I would look at either a 32" running at 2560x1440 or a 30" at 2560x1600. The 32" has the same resolution as a 27" but blown up to 92ppi. The 30" would be 101ppi, so in between the 32" and 27" but with a 16:10 proportion that matches the macbook screen. (i.e., a bit more vertical real estate.)

    Your choices are bit more limited than with 27", but I think either of those would be a safer bet than wading into 4k at this point.
  17. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    I have the same Dell U2713HM, and I very much like it.

    I definitely did notice that text and elements are smaller on a 27" 1440p than my previous 23" 1080p.

    I'd suggest getting a 24" monitor at 1080p. Given what you said about running the 27" at 1080p being too big, and 1440p too small, I figure 24" at 1080p will likely be your sweet spot.
  18. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    thanks for all the responses guys. Predictably, I'm a bit confused but that's ok.

    So, the same resolution on a smaller-sized screen will manifest as slightly larger text, correct? So if I'm at 2560x1440 now on a 27" screen, if I had the same resolution on a 24" screen, then everything would appear just slightly bigger, right? Or do I have it backwards?

    If I'm looking at it right, maybe the 24" 4k screen would be my best option. I guess I'm thinking that if my current resolution is really close to what I'd like, but just slightly smaller than I prefer, maybe my best way to fine tune things is with the same resolution at a different monitor size.

    And a question about 4k: is there something about it that would make display quality better than my current monitor if we were running same sized screens at the same resolution? Or is the advantage of 4k simply that it gives more resolution options?
  19. Giev macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2013
    On the same screen, with same settings, higher resolution = smaller text
    Same resolution, same settings, smaller screen = smaller text

    I am assuming that 1440p (2560x1440) resolution on the 27 inch is too small for you while 27 inch 1080p is too big, so I suggested a 24 inch monitor.

    4K screens have typically a resolution of 3840x2160 which has 4x more pixels that a 1080p (1920x1080) screen. When you run the screen in HiDPI mode (in Apple terms) you will have a 1920x1080 points where each of the points will be rendered by 4 pixels which in practice means a much sharper screen. In a LowDPI (normal) setup, one point = 1 pixel

    You could run the 4K dispaly on different resolution however the higher res you go, the smaller the text becomes so not sure of that is what you would like.

  20. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    ok, so if I'm understanding you correctly...

    Everything's the same but the screen is smaller = smaller text.

    Everything's the same but the screen is larger = larger text.

    On a 4k monitor, 1920x1080p should provide sharper, clearer text than on a non-4k monitor of the same size running the same resolution.

    Is that all correct?

    If so, then it would appear I have two options two try to get what I want:

    1) go with a smaller 4k screen (like 24") and 1080p resolution. It will be clearer and smaller than 1080p on my current monitor.

    2) go with a larger 4k screen and the current 1440 resolution, it will be as clear or clearer than what I have now, but with bigger texts from the screen size increase.

    Am I looking at this right?
  21. Giev macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2013

    Except there are two issues with option 2 (wouldn't recommend it):
    1) I am not sure of Macs can hadle HiDPI (scaled) resulition of 1440p. The way OSX works it has to render 4x pixesl and 2560x1440x4 is alot of pixels!
    With current hardware smooth 4K experiecne above 1080p will be quite costy (in general)

    2) LowDPI 1440p on a 4K screen. That really depends on the screen as it has to do interpolation.

    I would personally recommend going eith 24inchx4K res@1080p HiDPI or a normal 1440p (non-4K) that suits you better.

    Don't mean to confuse you, but I am seriously considering something like this:

    I don't think the text size will be different in menus compared to the 2713HM, but more workspace will allow for more real estate for each window allowing you to zoom-in more in applications in MS Word, etc.

  22. austinpike macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2008
    1) Yes everything will be a bit clearer, but the "cheaper" 4k displays are TN panels (though generally pretty good as far as TN goes) so you get worse off-axis viewing and color shifting. (versus the IPS panel in your Mac which has excellent view angles and color reproduction.) You may only get 30hz refresh rates (vs 60hz normally) which means your mouse stutters across the screen as you move it.

    2) As mentioned in the post above, to get 1440 resolution the 4k screen will be interpolating pixels, so it may not be as clear as you expect. 4k just isn't ready for prime time imho; if you do go that route I guess just buy from somewhere with a good return policy.

    I can't imagine -choosing- to go back to a physically smaller screen at 1080 (whether 4k or not) after experiencing working at 1440. It seems that something like this BenQ would work well for you. Same resolution as your 27" Dell but blown up larger. -
  23. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    great repiles, thank you all.

    Fortunately I bought the original monitor from amazon, which has a great return policy. I just bought the 24" Dell 4k monitor, arrives tomorrow so I can play with it and set things up over the weekend. Already initiated a return on the first monitor. This weekend will see if I find either setup satisfactory.

    I'm starting to grow more accustomed to the 1440 resolution on the current monitor. It's possible I could make that work, but really wish I could make everything about 2pt bigger.

    I'll see how the 1080 looks on the 24" screen. If that's a winner, then there I have it. If I can't find something I like on that screen, then maybe I return both and try a 32" like posted above, at the 1440 resolution.

    I really appreciate all the suggestions, you guys are awesome!
  24. PatrickVogeli macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2014
    Karlsruhe (Germany)
    I think a good solution would have been a 28" 4k monitor and run it in scaled 2560x1440 mode: you would get good clarity and slightly bigger fonts than on the 27".
  25. rmathes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    That is absolutely an option. If I'm not in love with how the 24" looks in 1080 mode, then a bigger than 27" monitor at 1440 is my next try.

    I really don't want much bigger than 27", and that size is already almost too big. I sit the exact same distance away from my laptop that I do from the external monitor. I use a Varidesk both at home and at my clinic. When I'm on the therapy floor (i own and run a clinic where we do exercise-based posture therapy for people in pain) it' s just normal laptop mode, but when I'm between clients and just doing computer work, I put it up on a stand so the top of the screen is eye height and use an external keyboard and trackpad. So the laptop screen is the same distance from me as the external monitor, maybe a couple of inches closer.

    A 30"+ monitor would be way too big, I think.

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