Running a 4K monitor with 2012 Mini at lower resolutions...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by aman74, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. aman74 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    #1
    I'm monitor shopping for the 2012 Mini I just got from ebay. There are a lot of cases where a 27" 4K monitor is not much more or even cheaper than a 27" 1440p monitor....especially with the Dell 4K on sale.

    I'd rather buy a better monitor now knowing that 1440 is soon to be outdated and knowing that I'll be upgrading the computer sooner or later and would rather just have the monitor for the longer haul.

    So what is the max the mini puts out at 60hz? 2560x1440 or 2560x1600? Can I run either of those resolutions on the 4K without it scaling poorly? I'm looking at the Dell p2715q.

    Thanks!
     
  2. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #2
    I've got a 2012 Mini Server with 16GB of RAM connected to a Dell P2715Q via HDMI; I've also used a mDP>DP cable - both cables work fine, I also connect a rMBP to this display and a second identical display via mDP>DP cables. The rMBP is my main machine, the Mini is one of my servers and I use the OSM to switch input sources.

    I have the Mini-connected display set to 2560x1440 or 1440x2560; generally the latter as it's often in portrait mode.

    I chose the P2715Q partly for the same reasoning you're using. We have a few BenQ BL2711U displays in my office, and that's the one I'd choose today - it's more coin, but it's a nicer display IMHO.
     
  3. aman74 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 9, 2011
    #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    It's my understanding that you're stuck at 30Hz over HDMI, this isn;t a concern for you?

    I can't confirm if this monitor will run at 60Hz when running at non-native resolutions even on DisplayPort. Coudl you confirm that it does?

    I'm hearing mixed results about running at 1440....you're saying it looks pretty good? I'm trying to figure out what the other scaling implications would be as well.

    I would look into the Benq and the rest of the competition, but the main reason I'm considering this Dell is that it's on sale for 429 and I can't really beat that, especially considering that's cheaper than the u2715H.
     
  4. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #4
    Running at 60Hz, over DP and HDMI - cropped screen shot attached. My Mini on my desk (we have 5 in our office) has 16GB RAM so there's a bit more RAM for the integrated video to feast on. No lag whatsoever. I'm only connected to the HDMI port for my convenience - the Mini is not my main Mac, and I want access to the TB port for file transfers.

    As to appearance, it's as good as a Mini's going to get IMHO. I have a rMBP sitting right next to it and I can definitely tell the difference between the two, however, I can work on the Mini for a few hours without any eye strain.

    About the Dell vs. BenQ price thing, I'd still choose the BenQ as I find the display even nicer, it's even more "futureproofed" than the Dell, and it's price is coming down as well - the BenQ has been out for only a couple of months and it's already come down $60 retail. I got my Dells for $450, so I'm not too heartbroken over the latest low price. If that $430 price is from Dell, get them from Dell and don't wait too long as their pricing can change from day to day, with a direct purchase from Dell getting much better customer service - we had one display go out, and I had a new display panel and calibration sheet (I used the existing cord, etc.) the next day with a return shipment slip in the box. Cheers!
     

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  5. JHZR2 macrumors newbie

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    Dec 31, 2010
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    NJ
    #5
    So will a 4k monitor taking a 1440 feed (which is common for "big" monitors used for office work) scale n:1 ratio of pixels to fill in the entire screen, or will it do like legacy apps do on my retina ipad, and only use the 2560x1440 pixels in the center of the screen? Can it be set to do either/or?
     
  6. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #6
    All of the apps I have installed on my Mini scale as they do on my rMBP, and I've not seen any overscan or odd scaling as you would on an iPad with an iPhone app. The Displays Pref Pane and SwitchResX "see" the Dell at 1440p as default, which is likely baked into the display's transmitted EDID; I could use SwitchResX to override some of the display's characteristics but really don't need to.

    And, I recall there are no override settings in the P2715Q's OSM. The guys with the BenQs are slammed today and I'm not getting in their way...
     
  7. JHZR2 macrumors newbie

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    #7
    IME 2560x1440 displays just fine, which is why it's great for big screens and office work. I was more concerned with a 4K monitor if the graphics card couldn't support that high of resolution, and you had to force output at lower res...

    Like send a 2560x1440 output to a 4K monitor. The monitor scales it??
     
  8. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #8
    On my Mini, is the maximum resolution that shows up - 4k isn't even an option. Basically, the display shows up as a 2560x1440 display would when active with my Mini and it show up as a 4k-capable display when active with my rMBP. Regarding the chatter about Retina scaling for Retina devices, ignore that chatter relative to the Mini - when my Mini's driving the Dell, the display acts just like a "normal" 2560x1440 display would.
     
  9. JHZR2 macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Sorry for being dense. So the 4K shows up as the highest res the video card can handle, got it. But does the display only use the center 2560x1440 pixels, or does it map like 4:1 or whatever the ratio is to fill the whole screen?
     
  10. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    Zurich, Switzerland
    #10
    Mini's highest resolution is actually 2560x1600. For each TB-port.
     
  11. JHZR2 macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Ok great. But my persistent question has been, when the mini sends a signal (800x600, 1920x1080, 2560x1440, 2560x1600, whatever, it really doesn't matter for the sake of discussion), to a 4K monitor, does the monitor map the pixels at the scaling ratio, or does it only display the information within the center a X b pixels, consistent with the signal the video card is sending?
     
  12. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    #12
    4k doesn't show up on the Mini. 4k displays, at least the 3 models we use here, show up only as a 1440p display - plug in a 1440p display or the 4k displays I'm using, and they're identical on the Mini - no difference in the display. Take your iPad scaling metaphor and forget about it in this thread - it doesn't exist between a Mini and the two displays I mentioned in this thread. No pixel mapping. No scaling. No overscan (black bars). No matter the resolution, I'm using 60 Hz because it's available. As far as the Mini is concerned, it's connected to a 1440p display. There are other resolutions available, and they're displayed as any other 1440p display we have in our office.

    Different matter. When I switch to Macs or PCs that are 4k-compatible, the displays I'm using switch capability automatically, whether I'm using HDMI/DP/mDP. No pixel mapping. No scaling. No overscan (black bars). No matter the resolution, I'm using 60 Hz because it's available.

    Regarding your last question, no, it's not consistent with the signal sent by the video card - it IS consistent with the handshake signal presented by both the video card and display's EDID, the latter of which is transmitted by the display and embedded in firmware by the manufacturer. On my Mini, 1440p is the "default" resolution; on my rMBP (4k-compatible, capable of driving two 4k displays simultaneously @60 Hz) the "default" resolution is 1080p but many more resolution options are available in either SwitchResX or the Display's Pref Panel on the Mini or the rMBP.
     
  13. aman74 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 9, 2011
    #13
    I can only find stats that say the 2012 Mini outputs a max of 1920x1200 over HDMI. 2560x1600 for TB.
     
  14. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    Oct 17, 2013
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    Southern Cal
    #14
    I think that they said yes it does map the pixels at the scaling ratio JHZR2. ;)
     
  15. Wallabe macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 15, 2015
    #15
    I'm shopping for a 4K monitor (or two) for my PC and hopefully mac mini will be updated soon to run displayport 4K at 60Hz.
     

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