Question about running an external display

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Hacks, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. Hacks macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2015
    Hey guys, I have an early 2014 13" Macbook Air with 1.4Ghz i5 and 4GB of RAM. It has the "Intel HD Graphics 5000 1536 MB" video. Just the basic $999 MBA.

    I would like an external display, I was looking at the ASUS PB278Q which is a 27" monitor with 2560X1440 resolution. It also has speakers which will help because I would like to close my MBA and put it underneath the desk while using the external display and Apple wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse.

    This should be simple, but I have read various issues. I was told that using displayport is better than HDMI. In some instances I read that HDMI might not pass anything higher than 1080p, which is surprising.

    My plan was to get a mini displayport to displayport adapter cable and be set. But I have read that the cable from Monoprice will not work because it is 1.1 and it won't pass audio and it might not pass the higher resolution. Is this true? If so, which model cable should I use to go from my MBA's MDP to the monitor's DP?

    Any other issues? Will I have a problem running a high resolution monitor from my little MBA?
  2. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    That's true, HDMI won't give you much more than 1080p.

    DisplayPort will work fine though.

    I have a similar monitor to the one you're planning to buy and it works great with a regular mini-DP to DP cable that I got for ~$6 on Amazon. Not sure if it was Monoprice or not but I'd be surprised if any cable you can buy didn't work.

    Word of advice though, I've had a few monitors with built-in speakers and they have all been horrific. Like, unbearably bad. I would buy some computer speakers--anything on the market would probably be a big step up.

    I have a 7-port USB 3.0 hub that I got for $35 which I use to "dock" my MacBook. I have a keyboard, mouse, printer, hard drive, etc. plugged into it. You can also get an audio adapter for $8 so you can plug your speakers into the hub and that's one less thing you have to plug in when you dock/undock.
  3. Hacks thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2015
    From what I've read, you're absolutely right about monitor speakers being pretty crappy. But I wonder, are they worse than the speakers in a MacBook Air? Because I find those adequate for my usage (system sounds and maybe some YouTube videos).
  4. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I can't speak for the Asus you're planning to buy but right now I have an Acer which looks to be very similar.

    I also have a pair of Logitech computer speakers that retail for $30, so, as you can tell, nothing very fancy.

    If I go into the control panel and switch the sound between the monitor and the speakers, the difference is absolutely jaw-dropping. And I would say that the monitor's speakers are worse than the MBA's too.

    By all means, try out the monitor speakers first, but please do yourself a favor and borrow some computer speakers and do a comparison.
  5. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    Just to confirm what Motrek said, there actually is no such thing as a DP 1.1 or 1.2 cable. Any DP cable that doesn't work is either defective or not certified.

    Now the port on the output device may be DP1.1 or DP1.2 capable, though even DP1.1. supports 2560x1600 @ 60Hz. I believe the original Thunderbolt ports only supported DP1.1, while TB2 supports DP1.2, which allows for 4K @ 60Hz.
  6. Hacks thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2015
    Why does Monoprice say that the cable only supports 1.1 and doesn't support audio and has a lower transmission rate?
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I just checked and this is what I bought, for $10:

    So if you want something that somebody has had personal experience with, you can order this one for a couple dollars more.

    As for the Monoprice cable, it might be a case of them not wanting to pay for certain certifications, or maybe they got the cable certified before the newer standard came out, or something like that. I suspect it would probably work fine, it's probably just not guaranteed to work.

    But, I would hate for you to get the cable on my "recommendation" and have it not work, so you might be safer getting the one I linked to.
  8. Hacks thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2015
    Thanks motrek, I'll order that cable. I don't care about the couple bucks difference in price, I'm just curious about Monoprice because they always seem to be on the ball when it comes to stuff like this.

    As you said, maybe it's like the longer HDMI cables that say they are only good for 1080i yet we use them for 1080p with no issue.
  9. Christian 5G macrumors 6502a

    Christian 5G

    Jun 16, 2010
    Orange County, CA

    I have 14 MBA (11 inch) and have been looking into external display for home. Saw it at my buddy's house and Now I am really into getting one.

    But what exactly do I get and what screen am I suppose to look at? Will this one work?

    I really have no clue on what exactly I need to get this started. I can buy speakers so it doesn't have to be inside the monitor.

    Thanks for all the help
  10. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Basically you can get whatever monitor you want as long as the resolution is 1080p or less (i.e., 1920x1080).

    So you just have to decide how big of a monitor you want (I would say anything over 20" is good) and what resolution you want (1080p is good). Make sure it's LED backlit. I would recommend "IPS" display technology. I would also recommend it have an HDMI connector. You can also pay attention to glossy vs. matte depending on your preferences.

    If you search Amazon for "1080 27 inch ips hdmi monitor" you get a lot of choices. Most seem to be around $260, so the deal you found on eBay isn't bad. Interesting that its logo was covered up. I wonder if it was used on a TV show or something.

    If you want a higher resolution display, the next step up is 2560x1440. These cost around $400 although they can go on sale for around $350 sometimes. Make sure whatever one you buy has a DisplayPort port because that's how you'll want to connect to it (vs. HDMI).
  11. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2014
    The Netherlands
    Not sure what Asus monitors come with, but current Dell monitors with DisplayPort come with a DP to mDP cable in the box so it works directly with your Mac.

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10 January 31, 2015